To outsiders, this place is naught but ice, snow, and eternal wind that scours exposed skin and freezes your very bones. There is nothing of value here, and it is impossible for anyone to even attempt to live here. The natives approve of that attitude. Located to the far north, this island appears to be a lump of ice, with some barren, rocky beaches and during the summer thin bands of green fringe the coastline where the warmer coastal waters push back the ice for a time. The greening is quick, and short, a mere three months from what sailors report. A few rugged trees grow inward from the shore, but they are short and twisted for the most part. No serious exploration of the place has ever been recorded, it is obvious that it has nothing to offer, not even impressive glaciers or ice cliffs.
All that is known to most of the world is the fact that it is an island, it was circumnavigated a century or so ago to verify that. Nothing unusual was revealed, ice, and dingy beaches, a small fringe of green during the brief summer, and a few stunted, gnarled trees. So far north very little manages to survive. The majority of the ground is frozen year round. The island rises towards the center, but not in any major way. It seems that the very ground is flattened and weary from bearing the burden of generations of ice and snow. A few rivers breach the coastline, seasonal flows that only thaw for a brief time. There is much more to this place than can be seen from a ship. All is not ice and snow. It contains a great secret near the interior. Those seasonal rivers? They flow year-round, but during most of the year is is under a shield of ice and snow so cannot be seen from a distance. How do they flow all the time? The island nestles over a subterranean hotspot.
Very little life exists on the island, most of it is covered in ice and snow year-round. Mosses grow briefly along the coast during the summer months, but are dormant for most of the year. A few stunted trees can be seen as well. In the deep interior, it is different. Heat rising from the earth warms the soil and water is plentiful, melted from the surrounding ice and snow. Life thrives here, volcanic soil, warmth and water make a rich environment. It cannot compensate for the limited sunlight that makes it to the surface most of the year, but during the summer months life flourishes. It has adapted to grow fiercely, and quickly and is abundantly successful.