IceWings, also known as ice dragons or arctic dragons to humans, are a Pyrrhian dragon tribe who live in the Ice Kingdom, the "head" of the dragon-shaped Pyrrhia, which is known for its cold winds, freezing temperatures, and the Great Ice Cliff, which was destroyed by Queen Snowfall, their current queen.
IceWing scales can range from silvery-gray and white colors to pale shades of blue, purple, and pink, intended to blend into their icy surroundings. Their coloring has been described as "silver like the moons," "pale blue like ice," "as pale as the moons," or "moon-white scales,", "scales the color of sky reflected in the snow on the distant mountain peaks." and “like whiskers or tufts of fur.” IceWings have dark blue or stormy gray eyes, forked blue tongues, and dark blue blood.
The head of an IceWing is shaped like a diamond and is very narrow, with a ruff of extra horns behind their heads and spikes along their backs. They are lean dragons with thin, whip-like tails with icicle-shaped spines, ending in very sharp tips. They have serrated claws for walking on ice. Some IceWings, such as Lynx, have dark freckles or markings on their faces and wings, although this is not too common.
When upset, some IceWings have been shown to ruffle up the spines around their necks.
IceWings prefer to eat creatures who live in the Ice Kingdom, such as polar bears, reindeer, whales, seals, penguins, walruses, hawks, and fish. IceWing meals have been described as containing "bowls of dripping meat." They also consume scavengers, though not very often, as they are rare in the Ice Kingdom. IceWings are known to consume fish as well due to their presence in the ocean waters. Seals are common among the lower classes due to the gift of sustenance, a hole in the ice where the lower-born IceWings live, enchanted to always give the hunter a seal when they stick a talon in. IceWings would also eat frozen berries, and even have ice cream. IceWings typically enjoy their food raw.
IceWings can withstand subzero temperatures and very bright light. They have serrated claws for gripping slippery ice, which was described as "ten times sharper than normal claws" and "like getting clawed four times with each claw instead of once" when used offensively. They are also known for having sharper eyesight than the other Pyrrhian dragon tribes. Their scales emit an icy-cold chill, which can freeze tiny drops of water on their bodies. They can also exhale a freezing weapon called frostbreath, also known as "freezing death breath" by the dragonets of destiny.
They can handle flight distances well, but are weaker when subjected to heat.
Frostbreath appears as a cloud of sparkling smoke, and can cause limbs to fall clean off from frostbite. The only known direct cure is the gift of healing, a set of narwhal horns enchanted by Queen Diamond to heal accidental frostbreath injuries. In other cases, fire, bags of hot rocks, or related heat-emitting liquids are used to melt the ice.
It forms ice crystals where it makes contact with dirt, forms tiny chunks of ice when used on rain, and can be used to extinguish fires. An IceWing can be prevented from using their frostbreath for a short time by raising their body temperature either via a warm environment or manually heating them up (hot metal, fire, etc.), similar to MudWings, but reversed. Fjord's scales have been seen "melting" while in the arena, which could indicate that IceWings' scales cannot withstand the heat. A dragon affected by frostbreath will first feel freezing pain, shocking the affected area into paralysis, and is quite painful for the first few seconds until the area becomes numb. Victims of frostbreath will sometimes become unconscious, which can be treated with water and hot coals.
A fire-breathing dragon can survive having frostbreath shot down their throat for a short time, but the only known way to survive a long period of time after sustaining internal frostbreath injuries is by staying immersed in lava. Internal frostbreath injuries can eventually overwhelm a dragon if they leave their lava. This is shown in Battlewinner's case.
IceWings have sharp, glittering, and bright minds that are hard to read. Groups of IceWings will "reflect" off of one another and become even more difficult to read.
IceWings have trouble scenting things properly in more crowded environments like forests or towns. This may be due to how they are hatched in tundras, where many of the common scents are covered by the scent of snow and the small variety of animals that lived there.
IceWings were once known for having more animus dragons than any other tribe, as well as having magic the longest. These dragons were carefully bred into the royal family and monitored extremely cautiously, with strict rules for the use of their powers to keep their soul from turning evil. IceWing animus dragons were only permitted to use their power once, for the benefit of the tribe, at the gifting ceremony on their seventh hatching day. Some animus IceWings went against the rules, such as Queen Diamond who used her power four times — once for her normal animus gift, the gift of healing, another on Foeslayer to come back to the Ice Kingdom, again for the gift of vengeance (the Diamond Caves), and once to enchant the IceWing crown to make the wearer hate NightWings as much as she had. IceWings host a test similar to the SeaWings' Talons of Power ceremony[event 1] to find animus dragons.
The IceWings' line of animus dragons ended when Arctic, the last known IceWing animus, ran away with Foeslayer to the Night Kingdom, leading the IceWings to believe that the NightWings stole their precious magic.
IceWings appear to be fairly sophisticated, strict, and superior in comparison to the other tribes, being the only Pyrrhian dragons to have a hierarchy. IceWings are very prideful, and often perceived as rude and arrogant by dragons of other tribes. There are strict IceWing codes of behavior: most IceWings agree that the only way to make dragonets strong is to expose all of their weaknesses, and that shame and fear are powerful weapons in teaching. If everyone is disappointed in a dragonet, the consensus is that they will work harder to prove themselves. Most dragonets are seasoned warriors in the Ice Kingdom.
Royal IceWings are typically not affectionate, as Winter mentioned that hugging their family members would be considered undignified. The lines of guards that attend the IceWing queen are perfectly coiled, and IceWings are noble to their queen's orders. It is painful to hold the IceWing guard stance for too long, but Winter practiced for hours to get the pose perfectly right: his wings folded exactly so, his tail in the right position, his snout up and shoulders back.
The IceWing queen, according to the ancient traditions of the tribe, was required to assess and adjust the gift of order each night. She also has a council of powerful IceWings to guide and support her. Most queens are killed in royal challenges in a battlefield, an arena, or before the entire court in a bloodstained throne room.
Royal IceWings in the time of Darkstalker store the frozen heads of dead royal family members on walls in the palace and slide the deceased's corpses into the ocean. This tradition is no longer practiced.[event 3]
The aristocracy and nobility of the IceWing tribe is divided into seven ranks of status, known as Circles. The First Circle is the top, or best, while the Seventh Circle is the worst. IceWings below the age of seven are ranked as dragonets and graduate to the adult rankings on their seventh hatching day. A dragonet's ranking on their seventh hatching day determines the course of the rest of their life, and if a dragonet reaches their seventh hatching day in the Seventh Circle, they are stationed to an arctic outpost for the rest of their life. In the Ice Kingdom, IceWing parents with the highest rank choose the names for their dragonets, regardless of gender, and are then approved by the queen.
This system is managed via the gift of order and consists of a wall of ice showing the rankings of every noble and dragonet. Some noble dragons may wear accessories to indicate their rankings, such as a necklace with circles on it.
IceWing dragonets raise their ranking through hunting, training, performing traditional IceWing customs, and passing tests given by their guardians. In the dragonet rankings, each hunt is still a chance to prove themselves and increase their rank. The highest-ranked dragonets are more respected. When a dragonet reaches their seventh hatching day in the First or Second Circle, they will be housed in the queen's palace and allowed to provide input on important matters. When an adult loses this rank, they can lose their place in the palace. If IceWings die or are exiled, their names are slashed through on the gift of order, as shown in Hailstorm's case.
The gift of order has recently been destroyed by Queen Snowfall. She is also working on destroying the gift of defense so that IceWings can become more open-minded to other tribes willing to help them during crises.
If a dragonet goes down in the rankings, their parents will too.
The Diamond Trial, also known as the gift of vengeance, is a way for IceWing dragonets to increase their ranking in the tribe, generally as a last-minute effort to switch the places of two dragonets (the topmost and very low positions). It involves entering the Diamond Caves with narwhal horn spears, meant to touch a frozen NightWing (Foeslayer). She is unfrozen, and both contestants must battle her. Foeslayer is frozen again after she is killed, leaving the two dragonets to fight to the death. Only one of the dragonets is given information about the dangerous trial.
IceWing names are chosen by the family member with the highest rank and must be approved by the queen. They can be named after ice formations like Glacier and Icicle, arctic animals (terrestrial or aquatic) such as Lynx, Narwhal, and Ermine, words for "white" in various languages such as Alba and Hvitur, polar landscapes such as Tundra, polar weather such as Hailstorm, and after mountains such as Changbai. They can also be named after blue and white gemstones such as Crystal, Diamond, and Opal, as well as cold seasons like Winter.
Click here for a list of known IceWings.
Students at Jade Mountain
- Icicle (formerly; on trial in the Ice Kingdom for attempting to kill Starflight and Glory, and killing an unnamed NightWing by the orders of Queen Scarlet)
- Winter (formerly; currently living with the Talons of Peace in Sanctuary)
- 2 unnamed IceWings
- IceWings have accents that are different from any other dragon tribe. This accent is described as "high-pitched with a tinge of deep in certain words."
- IceWings may use fruit juice to make popsicles[event 4], and in The Dangerous Gift, Snowfall mentions that young dragonets have ice cream.
- The IceWing Royal Family is distantly related to the SandWing Royal Family, as Sunny is a descendant of Whiteout.
- There have been legends of IceWing animi that have gone mad from overuse of magic.
- IceWings have a specific sleeping schedule.
- When Winter was in the Rainforest Kingdom, he disliked the many colors there. This shows that IceWings may be chromophobic (afraid of many, bright colors). However, this may be one of Winter's specific traits and is not a general feature of IceWings.
- When the gift of order was first introduced in Winter Turning, Winter described the names as "the queen and her chosen advisors could slide them around like beads on an abacus". This implies that IceWings know what abacuses are.