- 1 History
- 2 Cultural Overview
- 3 Lifestyle
- 4 Arts and Entertainment
- 5 Fashion
- 6 Economy
- 7 Naming Conventions
- 8 Religion
- 9 Military
- 10 Magic
- 11 Perspectives on Other Races and Nations
The Frozen North
Norlundar was the northernmost Nation of the Realm, occupying a harsh and unforgiving terrain of highlands and tundra. Villages tended to thrive in the lowlands where resources such as timber were in, comparatively speaking, ample supply. Most of the landscape was rough and sparse uplands which, whilst holding an ample supply of coal, peat and iron were unsuitable for permanent settlements. This was even more difficult further to the north, where the lands gave out to permafrost-covered tundra. The Norls were a people that grew within those severe conditions, clans often disjointed and far spread from others. Communication between villages became more difficult in the winter, the cold more severe than anywhere else in the Realm. There was also the constant threat of the creatures that could survive the wild, direwolves with white fur that would stalk the snow, rocs that would pilfer from the livestock of the farmers, territorial broods of harpies in the uplands and, most threatening of all, the forces of the Yotunaar.
Being so remote, their advancement was a little stunted compared to other nations, but that remoteness fostered a respect for more traditional values within the Norls. 'Norl' is a term that has been adopted by the other nations to be the shorthand of Norlundar, which is slightly incorrect. Norlundar was the name given to the allied tribes of the North that had a seat in Wulfhould and were recognised by the Ard Ulv. It was much more likely that an individual would refer to themselves by their clan than as a Norl.
The Norlish, through most of the history of the Realm, have remained a barbaric force in the North that beset upon neighbouring Damryn and the elves of the Iron Empire. They were a constant threat to the civilised folk, often invading the outskirts of the nations and setting upon villages for resources, or to sate their desire for bloodlust, or possibly both. The grounding of civilisation was slower to take root with the northern tribes and, in many respects, it was when the warfare techniques of the Iron Empire and Damyrn became more complicated and their numbers were able to better defend against Norlish raiders that the tribes began to rely less on their marauding and more on self-sufficiency.
Formed in 204 BF, the Norlundar's ruling authority of the Ard Ulv has only ever been held by two clans: first by the Torvald of Drenhould, formed under Ustjad, the first of the clansmen that successfully united the northern tribes, and then lost by his son Ustgran who some scholars believed grew mad with paranoia and set about attacking his closest allies. After Ustgran lead the Torvald to ruination, the Daelnorn took the position of Ard Ulv. The position had remained with the Daelnorn until the Fall, and Wulfhould remained the seat of the Ard Ulv, only contested once.
Before the formation of Norlundar there had been a series of alliances between various clans and families, mostly obtained through marriage and co-operation, but they were just as easily lost as they were forged. After a period of particularly harsh winters, however, the aged Ustjad of the Torvald set out visiting settlement and telling the tribes of a vision that had been presented to him in a dream - that the clans should unite in a single pack, as wolves do under their pack leader. In the destitute times, with a steep increase in deaths through starvation and the cold and a discernible decrease in newborns surviving the first six months, a coalition to share resources and to ensure that neighbouring settlements would help defend the village should they be attacked by the savage Yotunaar. Most of the tribesmen willing joined under Ustjad under this new alliance, provided that Ustjad made good his promise that his council would have equal voice in his halls.
The settlement of the Torvald, Drenhould, saw the first meeting of the council of tribes’ leaders. It began with disaster. Two minor families, the Elgalf and the Gemeshyr, began to bicker before proceedings were underway and weapons were quickly drawn. Ustjad himself waded into the fight to separate it and banished both families from his halls for a year and receive no protection from the united clans. The head of the Elgalf demanded to know why Ustjad believed he had the authority to condemn his clan to death when the winters showed no sign of easing up, and Ustjad replied simply: ‘The authority is mine because I have taken it, and no man other than I sits at the head of these halls.’ This is the etymology of the name given to the united clans: the Norlundar, which means literally ‘No man but I.’
Despite the tyrannical undertones of the name, the first council of the Norlundar progressed well enough once the Elgalf and the Gemeshyr were ejected. Each of the families swore to one another. Arrangements were made that those who were within sight of an allied neighbour would build tall torch-towers and set them ablaze and, should trouble come, they would signal the attack in a request for aid. Those that were too remote for that luxury agreed to send and receive outriders every three days. Crops and livestock were agreed to be salted and shared, timbre saw even distribution – enough for what was immediately necessary in order to preserve the livelihood of those that lived near pine forests. Several marriages were arranged to underpin these agreements.
The Fall of the Torvald
In the fledgling years of the Norlundar, Ustjad Torvald took on the head of the Daelnorn, Kjeld, as an advisor and, come Ustjad’s death, his son Ustgran continued the tradition. Not only did the young Ard Ulv continue having Kjeld sitting by his side at the halls, but Ustgran also married one of Kjeld’s daughters.
The increasing closeness between the Torvald and the Daelnorn made some of the other clans suspicious of nepotism; some believed that the young Ard Ulv was pursuing the interests of his family over the interests of the Norlundar. Some believed that Kjeld was manipulating Ustgran and conspiring to usurp the Ard Ulv and take the position as his own. For many, the harsher winters were simply testimony to this.
This disquiet was not aided by movement from the Yotunaar. The harsh winters had taken their toll on the ogrekin as much as it had the humans, and whilst some of their settlements had little option and taken to desperate raids against the newly fortified villages of the Norlish, settlements of Yotunaar that could afford the time to wait had bided their time and gathered their strength. Seven years into the existence of the united Norlundar, Yotunaar began waging a terrible campaign against the settlements with barely any peace. The structure of the Norlish and the defences and precautions that they had put in place were tried and tested. In some areas, it was found very much wanting, and some smaller clans were all-but destroyed by the Yotunnar’s assault. Wulfhould, the home of the Daelnorn, came under one such attack. With his wife fearing for the life of his father, the young Ard Ulv did something that he would do for no other clan: lead the Torvald out to defend Wulfhould.
There began a period of distrust in the Ard Ulv. Kjeld withdrew himself from the advisor and declared that the Daelnorn would no longer be a presence in the halls of the Ard Ulv but be no less serve the interests of the Norlundar. Perhaps Kjeld Daelnorn believed that Ustgran would learn from his mistake and that Kjeld had no more to teach the young Ard Ulv. Perhaps Kjeld had seen in that brash act that the Ard Ulv would think with his heart first, and so Kjeld hoped to remove himself from Ustgran's concerns. Some even speculate that Kjeld might have seen the way the waters were raising and either got himself out to protect his family, or was biding his time to take the position of Ard Ulv for himself. Whatever had brought about the decision, Kjeld Daelnorn essentially left the Ard Ulv to stand on his own two feet, and thus set into action the chain of events that would see Ustgran's demise.
Within three years, the Ard Ulv had become a very different man. Without Kjeld's guidance, the decisions made in Drenhould became more and more cantered around the protection and security of Drenhould, whatever was in the best interests of the Torvald clan and the Ard Ulv himself. Without realising it, the Ard Ulv began to alienate himself from the other clans. It was likely in these days that Ustgran began to blame Kjeld's absence for the lack of respect he seemed to command.
The Rise of the Daelnorn
The next summer solidified the idea in Ustgran's mind that had been betrayed by the Daelnorn. Perhaps it was ill fate that saw the Yotunaar attack Drenhould that night. Perhaps the night was foreseen as fortuitous by Yotunaar soothsayers. There came a night where Kjeld's wife, Gethwine, had to oversee the pregnancies of two of her daughters: the frail-framed Hennah and Edoma, the wife of the Ard Ulv who had, true to custom, returned to her family to oversee her maternity. With Edoma's waters breaking, the Daelnorn were in no position to ride to the defence of the Ard Ulv. Though the attack was pushed back, the Torvald clad suffered many losses. Ustgran saw the Daelnorn's absence as the final slight against his family. His thoughts turning to conspiracy and paranoia, his warriors were given two nights to recover their losses, repair their equipment and regroup. Then the Ard Ulv marched the Torvald clan against the Daelnorn.
The battle was bloody and, whilst it was mostly contained outside the palisade of Wulfhould, some Torvald lead by the Ard Ulv managed to get into the settlement. They stormed Kjeld's halls, the Ard Ulv fully intending to decapitate Kjeld's wife and take her head to battle. When Ustgran stormed the halls, however, Gethwine was no-where to be seen. They found only two figures awaiting them: Edoma and her wolf. Edoma's wolf set upon the paranoia-frenzied Ard Ulv and tore his throat from his body. Edoma, armed only with a short blade, demanded the men stand down. She then marched out to the battlefield with her husband’s head. The battle stopped and the warriors parted as Edoma made her way across the field to her father, to whom she not only present the head of her husband, but also his position as head as the Norlundar. Accompanied by her wolf whose maw was still bloody from the dead Ard Ulv’s savaging, she declared that any who opposed the decision to make Kjeld Daelnorn Ard Ulv was opposing the will of the wolves.
The Daelnorn have held the seat ever since.
The Return of the Gemeshyr
One-hundred-and-eighty years before the Fall, the Gemeshyr returned to Norlundar, marking their first visit to Wulfhould, and asked to be permitted to sit on the council. Laor Gemeshyr was permitted at the council, but over the next three years slowly poisoned the then Ard Ulv, Kelver, son of Kjeld. Kelver’s health waned until, in the thick of the third winter, the Gemeshyr assaulted Wulfhould, assisted by a foul ally that they had been consorting with for all the years they had not sat in the halls of Norlundar: demons from the roiling chaos of Hell. Bolstered by a foe that the Norlish had seldom seen, the Gemeshyr took Wulfhould. This did not last long, however, as it was soon won back for the Daelnorn by the united tribes of the Norlundar. The lineage was saved, and fealty to the Ard Ulv was proven. The few Gemeshyr that managed to survive the slaughter retreated into the mountains and haven’t been heard of since.
The Norlish were more interested in internal affairs and wanted little to do with outsiders. They could see too much of themselves in neighbouring Damryn and disliked how 'civilisation' could cause so freely a lost way of life. To them, the Realm was a place of material worth and struggles for power that were nothing more than signatures on writs and the size of a home. Wealth and greed had made Damryn the seat of power for humans and the Norlish were too proud a people to bow to that. Similarly, those outlying villages that had interactions with the elves of the Iron Empire conducted those interactions mostly through raids on villages for crops and livestock. The Norls saw the elves to be no better than the Yotunaar in some respects, and so never fostered any relations with them.
It was only in recent years before The Fall that rangers of Lancereaux and a pious Zartoshtite, Darond Laurent, lead an expedition up into Norlundar to meet with the Summer council of Wulfhould to bring the message of Zartosht, claiming that their god of The Man Above was no different to the Norlish god of the hunt. Laurent was met with surprising hospitality, but was challenged to defend his god in trial by combat. Laurent accepted, and met Ard Ulv Mundric in an honour duel. It is said that Laurent defeated the Ard Ulv, but would not take his life, claiming that the fight had been so close that Laurent couldn’t rightfully take the life of a man who was no less a pinnacle of Zartoshtian ideals. In this, the Ard Ulv lost no honour in the eyes of the other tribe leaders. The Ard Ulv accompanied Laurent to meet with the Lancereaux Count and the Damryn High King. The Norls were made a full member of the Realm in 32 BF.
The Legion marched on Norlundar from out of the ruins of the Iron Empire. The invasion beginning with the out-skirting eastern clans, then swept westwards through the tundra. The vast distance between the settlements of Norlundar meant that word was slow in spreading, but soon the scorched earth the Legion left in their wake meant that the billowing smoke towered high enough for some of the more centralised clans to raise the alert. Even then, they did not know what they faced. By the time the Legion was sighted marching towards Wulfhould, the Ard Ulv had gathered what he could of the clansmen. It is rumoured that the Gemeshyr clan showed to face the enemy. The Ard Ulv refused to share a battlefield fighting alongside enemies of old or demonic forces and bid the Gemeshyr to leave. If Wulfhould would have stood strong against the Legion should the Gemeshyr been allowed their demonic agents goes as a matter of speculation. Once Wulfhould had fallen, most surviving clans began to flee.
Before the Fall
- Capital: Wulfhould
- Head of State: Ard Ulv Mundric Daelnorn
- Legislative Body: A council of Tribes
- Former Population Density: Low
- Religions: Zartosht
- Motto: Glory is won by the bold
- Primary Language: Common
- Demonym: Norlish (a Norl)
Norls of all tribes were taught from an early age that life was a constant struggle for survival. The world was populated by enemies monstrous in the Yotunaar, enemies bestial in the creatures that stalked the tundra, and in the enemies political in the rest of the Realm. As devastating as a bad season of crops might be elsewhere in the realm, it was tenfold in the north where nothing was surplus. The winters, even when they weren't harsh, meant that the tribes had to be self-sufficient and would likely not see their neighbours until the thaw.
These conditions brought about a great deal of pride amongst the Norlish. Their way of life didn’t foster much in the way of recreational activities. Weddings and harvests and midwinter feasts were still important communal events that would see celebration, but the nights were deep and the days were fleeting. There barely enough hours in the day to tend to everything that needed doing within the home or whatever one might do for a profession. For this reason, evenings were likely spent repairing or making clothes and fletching arrows. The village’s metal-workers likely kept odd hours, partly so that they could be available for defending the village during the days, and partly so that they could enjoy the luxury of a hot furnace through the night.
The hunt was one of the most important activities for the Norlish tribes. Most able-bodied men and women were expected to go on the hunt, and magic-uses were expected to train with sword and shield as much as anyone else. The only exceptions were the pregnant, ill, infirm, the priests (and even then, they would need at least one on the hunt to bless them) and, usually, the smiths and tanners. Anyone who did not hunt must find some other means of contributing to clan-life.
The hunt was not exclusively a hunt for wildlife to kill for its meat, however. Where possible, be it against Kordurren dwarves, Damryn humans, Iron Empire elves or even against Yotunnar ogrekin, the Norls would raid and pillage for supplies they were lacking or could not obtain themselves. Each day the hunters would need to bring back sufficient food for the next couple of days, either to eat that day or to be smoked and stored for the week. Meals were quite often communal affairs, though any hunter that had a particularly worthy kill was often given that carcass in reward. A family that had raised their young right could expect to eat well the first day they joined the hunt: the youth’s first kill was always given to their family.
The women of the Norlish tribes were typically treated and respected in the same way as men were, and there was not a great deal of gender divide. With conditions as harsh as they are and life expectancy so fleeting both able-bodied men and women were expected to hunt with the men and defend the village. Norlish women train to fight from the same age as Norlish men, which is around seven years of age, but when a woman becomes pregnant for the first time they retire to a more village-based way of life. The duties expected of a mother are the rearing of their offspring, of any hunting animals that they might keep, the upkeep of farms and the home, and teaching children too inexperienced to hunt the art of swordplay and archery. Most Norlish tribes practised monogamy, but some did practised polygamy. Generally in these circumstances when man died, his property was divided between his women and not his children.
Most clans and families had something which distinguished them from others. Sometimes this was a subtle thing, such as being predominantly fiery-haired and freckled. Sometimes this would be an altogether more mystical ability. The women of the Daelwrod have an affinity to the wolves that the Daelwrod rear, for instance, and each woman would have a wolf companion. To the Daelwrod, women were not only expected to bring up their children, but to help in rearing the wolves.
When the Norlundar joined the Realm in alliance, there was almost no acculturation. It was not distrust in civilisation, mind. No-one could argue with neither the medicinal advances that the Realm had seen, nor the effectiveness of Realm-tempered metals, Calavrian ingenuities and so on. But the Norls remained suspicious of the ways that such progress might change the minds of men to thoughts of greed over thoughts of community. They only dealt with those that they felt they could trust. As such, Damryan traders and priests were met with suspicion and distrust. The Norls did, however, foster a very close relationship with Lancereaux.
It’s said that when Ard Ulv Mundric Daelnorn first saw a procession of full-plate wearing Tyaus paladins, it was at a Lancesian banquet. Guffawing with laughter, he picked up a meat knife and challenged one to a duel right there in the middle of the banquet hall. The ‘duel’ saw both men disarmed and wrapped up in a bear hug, with the Ard Ulv eventually yielding. After the meal he was fitted with some plate armour himself and found the whole thing so hilarious that he was still laughing about it when he got back to Wulfhould. When he was gifted that same suit of armour following a visit by the Lancesian Count, the Ard Ulv swore a blood bond with the Count.
After the fall of the Iron Empire, Norlandar were the first human nation to be assaulted by the Legion. The vast distance between the settlements of the north meant that word was slow in spreading, but soon the scorched earth the Legion left in their wake meant that the billowing smoke towered high enough for some of the more centralised clans to raise the alert. Even then, they did not know what they faced. By the time the Legion was sighted marching towards Wulfhould, the Ard Ulv had gathered what he could of the clansmen. It is reported that even the Gemeshyr clan showed to face the enemy. The Ard Ulv refused to share a battlefield fighting alongside the Gemeshyr or the demonic forces they commanded and bid the Gemeshyr to leave. If Wulfhould would have stood strong against the Legion should the Gemeshyr been allowed their demonic agents goes as a matter of speculation. Once Wulfhould had fallen, most surviving clans began to flee.
The distance travelled from Norlundar to Andermark was an arduous journey that saw the frail and injured dying on the road. Yotunaar remained a constant threat for the refugee Norls as they fled through the mountains. Damryn was originally not welcoming of the Norlish refugees, but most Norls that could afford to moved through the land to Lancereaux, where they were met with more hospitality. They were pushed back with the Lancesians into Andermark when the Legion came.
After the Fall
- National Leader: Elder Jarvi Grevehorn
- Advisory Council Representative(s): Lord Loghlin, Duke of Geitrim
- Religions: The United Church, Zartosht
- Primary Language: Common
- Demonym: Norlish (a Norl)
Whilst most nations did have their populations cut down drastically, the Norls suffered greatly due to their widespread communities and the overall distance an average Norlish refugee has had to travel in order to survive the Fall. Misconceived by most Andermen as barbarians, Norls are treated warily amongst society, though most find themselves surprised at just how civilised a race they are. Norls still get on better with anyone of Lancesian heritage than any others. Damryans have not forgiven the Norlish tendencies for raiding, and so too have the Norls not forgotten how poorly they were treated when travelling through Damryn.
Being so heavily clan-based, survivors that have lost their clansmen and families tended to find themselves in the slums of Starkholm, wanting to be close to the city’s hub in the hopes they might hear of loved ones or brothers-in-arms. Some Norls have stuck together remain in family units in the poorer ends of the city, but most Norls live outside of the city altogether. These Norls tend to live in communities of their own making, sometimes infringing on neighbouring villages or in the territories of beastkin. City life is not abhorrent to a Norl, but they much prefer to live with distance from their more civilised neighbours.
On top of this, there is a tendency for the prejudices attached to their heritage to bring trouble to Norls within Starkholm. The Norlish have been slow in acclimatising themselves to life after the Fall. In many way losing so much has made them more intent on preserving the way of life that has been stripped from them. Norlish honour and duty have become concepts that the tribesmen struggle to maintain in a world where desperate times are calling for desperate measures, and the contrasts between more chivalrous conduct and conduct the Norlish deem appropriate can sometimes cause friction, and not always due to Norlish ignorance. It’s long been observed by Norls that if there is an incident involving a Norl and an Anderman, regardless of what that incident was, the blame usually falls on the Norl’s shoulders.
All of these matters have made the Norls more insular a people than ever before. Some do make sincere efforts at integrating themselves in society, working laborious jobs for very little pay, spurred by the notion that a community must band together in order to thrive. Quite often these Norls end up in scenarios where they are overworked and underpaid for their labours, but seldom will a Norl allow themselves to be taken advantage of for too long.
Sitting on the Alliance Advisory Council is Elder Jarvi Grevehorn, a half-blind but wizened soothsayer. The Grevehorns were a part of the Daelnorn clan and, as the elder of his family, Jarvi sits in wait for the Ald Ulv to find his way to Andermark, claiming that the winds whisper that Mundric has not perished, but is merely lost.
‘A boy too young to hunt must train, a man too old to hunt must tow, and he who can do neither may rest well, knowing that they have given their all in their lifetime. A girl too young to hunt to train, a woman with child must nurture them, and teach her life lessons to the next generation to prepare them for the world.’
These words remain true for pretty much every Norlish class, but whilst most Norls were seen as equal, there were some differences between the classes.
The peasant class was almost indistinguishable from the warrior class, as the average Norlish farmer, shepherd, miner or all other walks of life were usually just as capable of taking up a blade for the sake of defending the settlement as anyone else might be. The village blacksmith stood out amongst the labourers as they were essentially the second to the clan leader. Exempt from hunts and raids, the blacksmith was respected for his capacity to shape metal and forge skills were an invaluable asset to village life.
The merchant class first emerged with the rise of the Norlundar alliance. Tradesmen would accompany the clan's leader to the halls of the Ard Ulv to discuss trade of commodities and luxuries with other merchants. When the Norls were inaugurated within the alliance of the Realm, these tradesmen would typically be taught in the ways of other cultures and essentially acted as ambassadorial aides to the Ard Ulv.
The most notable class, every man and every woman was first and foremost a warrior of their respective clans. Whether riding out against other clans, to defend against Yotunaar, to hunt or to raid, the warriors of Norlundar were men and women that had been trained from an early age in tracking, trapping and warfare.
The closest thing to a noble within Norlish society were the immediate family of the clan heads. The clan would be ruled by the head of the family, with his wife (or wives) ruling under him. After his spouce (typically a first come, first serve scenario) the clan head's children would be next in line to take over the clan. In this way, several families would often be encompassed into one clan, usually by a female clan head re-marrying. Both man and wife would rule the clan equally, the eldest of the children on either side standing to inherit.
The clan heads only held the luxuries of larger holdings (the clan's halls), but otherwise they were expected to lead any war parties and hunts, lead feasts and attend councils under the Ard Ulv.
Arts and Entertainment
What thrived within Norlish communities were communal entertainments. Storytelling contents and boasts were popular, as well as feats of strength such as tossing caber of sheaf. Whittling, sculpting and painting were seen as softer arts and were quite often done in conjunction to the telling of stories, but were invaluable skills to hold for the sake of decorating runestones in memoriam to the dead. As well as fletching arrows in the evenings, many would carve utensils for the home whilst sharing a fire and chatting. The Norls also enjoyed dice games and tafl games, games played on latticed board with counters or pieces featuring two teams of uneven strength. Also popular were bolas displays, with more experienced bloas-wielders using burning wedges of peat and hay and preforming dazzling displays in the thick of night.
Furs were as popular as they were necessary within Norlish communities, quite often with robes and cloaks made of the skins of your own kills. Otherwise Norls would wear mostly woollen clothes, which would be coloured by mineral and vegetable dyes of red, green, brown, yellow or blue. Three-quarter length coats were common for outwear, for men, whereas woman would usually favour a cloak. Women that were not on the hunt would wear a combination of a pleated dress and a woolen tunic. Those that did head into battle most warriors would adorn a combination of mail and fur, quite often with an iron helm.
Norlish trading was mostly done through material goods and vows as much as they did coinage. For instance, a farmer could barter with a shepherd for six sheep to be traded for a sack of the vegetables from the next harvest, a vow to lend some aid in rebuilding the roof of the shepherd's wall, and several copper coins. Sometimes these trades would also include vows of marrying daughters to sons, but these were generally not pre-arranged marriages, rather a solidifying of a marriage that already looked likely to happen.
Coinage wasn't a recent development within Norlish trading, but actually a testimony to Damryan raids. The first coins that the Norls dealt with were usually stolen amidst other Damryan loot. They were quickly adopted as generally a good idea, particularly in light of the High King's profile on the coin itself, and when Norlundar formed coinage with the Ard Ulv's depiction came into production as means to denote the solidifying alliance of the tribes.
Your average Norl tends to have two or three names: a given name, a family name, and a clan name.
A Norl's given name is usually given with some regard to the circumstances around their birth. For instance, if the wolves of a village are spurred by the noise of childbirth into howling, it is generally assumed that the babe will have a close affinity to the wolves, so 'Oswulf' or 'Acwulf' might be chosen.
The family name is the name of the family an individual was born into. Unlike the clan name, this name never changes. A Norl's clan name is indicative of which clan he or she swears his allegiance to. This name changes when a Norl marries, usually to indicate the clan they live with. If someone remains sworn to the family they were born into, they refer to it as their clan.
Sample Male Names: Aelfwald, Estmund, Guthred, Ricbert
Sample Female Names: Botilda, Estrid, Maerwynn, Wyverun
Sample Family Names: Vanhala, Fjordhun, Castren, Brannstrom, Daelwrod
Sample Clan Names: Daelwrod, Gemeshyr, Ohnstad, Ramberg, Skar
For example, one might give their name as 'Wiermund Dahlhof of the Clan Daelwrod' if they had been married into the clan, or simply 'Selwyn of Clan Petterssen' if they had not married out of their clan.
The Norlish traditionally are followers of Zartosht, a god whom they had known as the Huntsman through history. The United Church holds little interest to the Norlish, as what little of their beliefs they cannot attach to the message of the Hunt they generally associate to Ancestor worship. Norls are big believers in respect for the ancestors, erecting great and ornate runestones at sites of battles and noble deaths to commemorate the glory of the hero, as well as acting as wards for any enemies of that hero's clan that should dare venture through these lands again. The Norlish have had a great deal of experience with ghosts and other forms of undead. Chieftains are often prone to visitations from their ancestors, or animal-spirits acting in their behalf, to bring guidance or warnings as to the coming days.
There was no Norlish military. Clans and families would move to battle when they were mustered, but they lacked the discipline and the tactics to make them in any way a military force. The only
Perspectives on Other Races and Nations
Put them under a foot of snow and cut down all the trees, and they'd be just like us. They know what it's like to live in a harsh land where everything fights back and the slightest mistake can kill you. You'd think that they would understand, but they have quarries and fertile fields, and they think that makes them better than us. While we live under their hospitality we'll respect them, but they're not our friends and they likely never will be.
We took crops, animals, sometimes wives, and we got called barbarians. They stole five whole kingdoms, and they get called heroes. Now their precious High King is dead, their country is as lost as ours, and still they act like this is some minor set-back. When the time comes, we'll teach them that the world has changed.
They've got fighting spirit and a sense of respect for people who prove themselves worthy. We're not the same as them. We never will be. But they've never asked us to be something we're not, and that counts for something. They call us barbarians sometimes, because we wear the wrong sort of animal skin and live in the snow, but we call them soft southerners for fighting in metal boxes and wearing lace. Nobody really means anything by it.
Plus, they've the good sense to hate the Damryans as much as we do.
I hear Calavrians shit gold. Maybe one day I'll cut one open and find out. Until then, take their money, and never trust them an inch.
They live in sand instead of snow, and they fight goblins instead of Trolls. It seems we have some things in common. Still, for all the things that bring us closer together, half the world keeps us apart. Maybe we should correct that.
The Iron Empire
Damryans with pointed ears. Their pride is shattered and their empire broken. Pity them, it hurts them more than swords.
Dwarves of Kordurren
They hide underground and keep to themselves. Can't blame them for that; if our doors could keep out the Legion, we'd have closed them and lived. They make good weapons and armour, so buy that from them. Other than that, we don't know much.
Enemies of the United Church. They never raided us, and as for their gods? Zartosht, our ancestors and the spirits haven't said anything. Who cares?
You fight someone long enough, you learn about them. They have their clans, their chieftains, even their own gods, we think. We heard that the Legion got to them first, before they reached us. That's the only time I'd pity them. Otherwise, they're still our enemies. Kill them before they kill you.
Animals who walk as men? Damryans call us the same thing. If the Andermen tell the truth, the beasts keep their territory and fight those who would take it from them. They honour the land, maybe they even know something of the spirits. We'll fight them if they come for us, but we don't have to hate them.
The Gemeshyr taught us well. Any who consort with demons will die. That is all.
They took everything from us. They killed our land. They broke us. And now they're gone. Don't chase them or talk of revenge, we've suffered too much. Pray that they're gone, and if they come back, sell yourselves dear.