Hopefully everyone still wants to read it after this post. :D
Half of them didn't reach the castle.
It took weeks of struggling to get through the frozen snows and frigid winds of the northern plain, the ground beneath them not ground at all but ice in a sheet nearly a mile thick. It was endless, broken only by cracks and fissures that they lost three of their people and all of their horses to.
It would have seemed madness to continue. Six of their group, which started out as thirty strong, decided it was insanity and long since turned back, making the slow return through the frozen wasteland with their fellows' scorn sounding in their ears. Another nine had died, whether from accident or cold or the increasing attacks of the creatures that served the Lord of Winter. Born of ice and wind, they were lethal and relentless, and it was only the determination of the group that kept them going until finally they saw the castle in the distance, rising up out of the ice and so brilliant in the sunshine that it was blinding to look upon.
"There it is," the leader gasped. He was a burly man short three toes from frostbite who went by the name of Porl. He shaded his eyes and stared at it, his face nearly hidden in the furs of the massive, thick coat he wore. "The castle of the Lord of Winter."