They knew how to handle the snow, and their enemy did not.
So they stayed besieged, locked in their city, feigning more distress than they felt.
Summer turned to fall, and they moved deeper into their territory, ceding land when they had to, moving to the higher ground at the center of the city, fighting, yes, but perhaps not as hard as they might have.
The enemy pushed forward, slowly, inexorably. They had never been stopped. Sometimes they took their time, as they were here, but they were never rebuffed, never defeated. And they would not be defeated this time. No man, no strategist, no army could beat them.
And the city slowly retreated, folded in on itself, gave up the lower ground, as it did, every autumn, as winter encroached, as the snow began to fall. They people moved into their tight little winter houses, packed together under the hill, where they could conserve heat, where they could conserve energy.
The enemy, who were never defeated, certainly not by a little snow, plowed on forward, taking gleefully the land the city abandoned. They stomped through the late-October falls, and the November hail and blizzards. They continued bombarded through the first week of December.
And then the real storms came, the second week of December, when the enemy had really begun to think they were winning. They were bivouacked a mile into the city, stretched out around the whole downtown like beads on a string, camping in abandoned houses. Abandoned summer homes, with wide doors and no fireplace but the cooking fire. And then the snow fell, and fell, and fell. They were trapped, trapped and unprepared and freezing.
And when they were trapped, the city struck back.