The frigid folks of the North
A new snow falls over the Northeast. A dry type of snow, a snow that is twice as heavy and ten times as cold. Some Northerners have never seen the Sun, some think they never will, and some scoff at the notion of a flaming ball in the sky.
The British keep invading, but the frost they caused proved to be the Northerners' biggest ally. Landship engines break in no time, steamtank drivers freeze, dirigibles fall from the sky, icebreakers beach, and footsoldiers keel over and die.
Meanwhile, deep underground, cities thrive about megaforges, whose locations are only occasionally betrayed by pillars of black smoke.
The final cinders
It takes a certain type to live in the North. Part industriousness, part ingenuity, part able-bodiedness, part resistance to cold. Though barely straggling, the Tsarnarchy has developed the best lenses and cold-resistant engines in the world. Everything can grow out of necessity.
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