Perhaps you've heard of Winter's Gem, and of the tragic fate of the Lady Karina. And perhaps not. It is, after all, a tale unspeakably old. Yet the Earth does not forget, and those of us who guard it do not wither...
Nine thousand years she has slumbered, while Winter diminished. So obsessed was He in her care, that He allowed Summer to run unchecked. His power dwindled, and Summer grew. There is a great unbalance in the world, young ones. One that I fear will break the back of the Earth itself, if not addressed. Winter must return. It is the Way.
A real-world location fit for filling out your adventure; where norse icelandic fishermen suffered unthinkable conditions throughout frigid winters to harvest the fruits of the ocean.
In the summer there is a small stone jail for those who are caught breaking the rules of the Sorcery Springs Geyser Basin, but in winter they are imprisoned within the warm waters themselves. No bolts or bars are needed, the cold takes the place of prison walls.
A shape-shifter of some sort has taken up a post at the War College of an enemy realm, where he secretly picks off only the most promising officer cadets, arranging bizarre accidents that gradually debase the leadership of the hostile army. In the long run, this will improve his nation's chances when the inevitable conflict comes.
As a shape-shifter he can impersonate superiors and peers alike and send the target candidate to the cleverly-prepared site of his (or her?) execution. As long as he is successful, no-one will ever know about the deception--even necromancy will only implicate the one impersonated...