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Holds of Norland

The nation of Norland is split into four regional territories known as Holds. Each hold has its own distinctive culture, society, personality and people. The nobility of Norland, the Holders, rule the Holds in a semi-democratic gathering in the largest city of the Hold in question. This is the Hold-Thing, and it only convenes once a year on the eve of spring. The most powerful force in the Holds are the Ætts or tribes of the holds. Claiming descent from the original Vanir and Aesir immortal tribes, the Ætts represent the largest and most influential groupings outside the Brotherhoods in Hold Politics.

 

Vanaland

Hold of Vanaland

Hold Traits:

  • Strong muscular build.

  • Light to dark blonde hair.

  • Blue or grey eyes.

  • Affinity for the sea. Able to pick of direction and a natural sense of navigation.

Art by MarkoTheSketchGuy

Vanalanders are the most notorius sea raiders, and pirates in the Ice Sea! Said to have started the Wars of Iron against the Erlingar (the Sidhe) centuries before, it is their tenacity alone that has generally driven the politics of Norland itself. The folk of Vanaland are often slightly hedonistic with a tinge for the dramatic. Within the hold of Norland honor is seen as a means to an end and in many cases it is not uncommon for Norlanders to play the game of thrones more so than others. They are folk oft to humors of delight and revel while also seeking riches from beyond the shores of their home hold. The Jarls of Norland have often been picked from the Freylingar folk and the respect for the blood of the ancient god of fertility is quite prevalent throughout the hold.

Another aspect of Vanalander culture is their sense of rebellion and pushing authority. Some say this descends from the once burning blood feud that existed between the Aesir and Vanir ancestors tribes. In many aspects it is the Vanalanders who have pushed for Civil War in the past and the identity of Vanaland as an independent homeland is a quite prevalent ideal.

 

The Freyringar (The Tribe of Freyr)

“We are the might of Kings.”

The Freryringar Ætt are the long standing rivals and feud bound rivals of the Thoringar of Alfland. For many years the Tribe of Freyr has completed for the Kingship of the Holds in the Allthing with the descendants of the Thunderwalker. For this they have often turned their inner ambition by encouraging the power of the Brotherhoods. This alone has earned them the animosity of the Gullgard League and has often placed them at odds with the various factions of Norlander politics. The Ætt is a large one and is generally located in central Vanaland and has often focused on the homeland as a political entity. Many Freyringar are farmers, warriors, skalds and much more . As they are the blood of fertility god they are perhaps the least likely to impose a sense of fidelity upon their people.

Freyringar women are often called Freyalings remarking upon their golden beauty and tenacity. Many a Freyringar woman has become a Shield-Maiden to serve upon raids and it is not uncommon for them even to become Valkyr. Historically the Ætt has held a stranglehold on the Jarl’s seat of Vanaland and even thought heir focus has mostly been inward they are major players in the push for raids against outside folk and nations.

 

The Ránningar (The Tribe of Rán)

“The Sea is our only mistress.”

Rán was the ancient goddess of the sea who was married to the sea giant Ægir and ruled alongside him as mistress of the seas. From her the Ætt gained an increased sense of navigation and skill at sea. Many of the Ránningar are fishermen, sea traders, and in ancient times reavers. A masters of the waves the Ránningar are more at home on the deck of a ship than they are on dry land. For many reasons the Scirs of the Ætt are located along the rivers and the coast of Vanaland. In all of Norland there are no greater shipwrights than those of The Tribe of Rán. This focus upon the high seas has in times past placed the Ránningar at the forefront of the raids and battles that plague the Wars of Iron in days past. It was they who first pioneered the navigation that led to northern trade of the islands west of Everyn. In fact many of the Hulduvolk of Huldoland share blood with the Ránningar in some shape or format.

Strange enough it was also a Ránningar of the Volsungar Kyn, Sigurd, who made war upon the Dragan Fafnir in the Norgard empire. For a tribe so set apart from the land lovers, they have had a great hand in not only changing the political scape of the HOlds, but also its very technology and drive.

 

Svartland

Hold of Svartland

Hold Traits:

  • Black hair or dark brown.

  • Slightly tan skin.

  • Lean stringy build.

  • Green or brown eyes.

  • Slightly Shorter than normal (tallest is 8’).

  • Affinity for Magic.

Art by ysucae

 

The lands of Svartland are infamous for their dark ways and brooding folk. Svartlanders are known for being slightly darker, and shorter than other Norlanders and Aesir in general. For this reason they are sometimes seen as outsiders in Norlande itself lending to an isolationist nature common among Svartlanders. Within the lands of Svartland the belief and fear of the Norns is perhaps at its greatest. For this reason the Svartlanders hold a great sense of the divine and the ways of magic or Seidr. With an extensive understanding of the arcane and the mystical it is not strange at all that many Svartlanders become Volvar and Skaalds. In fact if there is one thing that Svartlanders are known well for other than brooding it is storytelling.

Many of the greatest storytellers and poets of all of Norland are Svartlanders by blood. Perhaps nowhere is there a greater tradition of not only respecting the gods, but can a man or woman care a tune better than Hold of Svartland. Another final aspect of the folk of Svartland is their knowledge of law and their skill in bending it to suit them. Many Reeves in Svartland are notorious for their skill in of arbitration and argument. It is said, “Never debate with a Svartlander if ye wish to keep your land or wife!”

 

The Forsetungar (The Tribe of Forseti)

“Justice in the law.”

The God Forseti was well known for his skill as a mediator and arbiter in the long standing feud that once plagued the Vanir and Aesir tribes of old. His sense of justice was not as violent as Tyr, nor was his sense of honor as strict as Heimdallingar of Jotunland.  Members of the Forsetungar Ætt are often soft spoken and quick minded. Versed in many forms of debate, argument, and often trained as storytellers it is no wonder they are known to produce some of the keenest Reeves in Norland. Though they do maintain an air of calm meditation and control they are known for.warping the law to suit themselves. It should be known that the Forsetungar a decently honorable folk, but like any one seeking an advantage they will do what is necessary to maintain their power in the hold.

The magical ability of the Forsetungar is second only to the master Fatebinders of Jarlstad itself.

 

The Snotrungar (The Tribe of Snotra)

“Wise judgment in all law.”

The Tribe of Snotra are a quiet and somber folk who live in the southern reaches of Svartland. Most of them are known for being steadfast followers of the gods and adhering to the tenets in honor in a quite silent manner. They are not the type to boast, nor are they the type who likes to cause a ruckus. Strange compared to other Ætts as their demeanor is often seen by someone in other Holds as queer and cowardly. The Snotrungar are not in general interested in the bleak black and white world often toted by other members of the Aesir race. Their primary interested is in scholarly pursuit and increasing their understanding of the arcane. In many ways they are considered some of the most powerful magic users in all of the Holds. When the Forsetungar show a respect for ways of the Norn, the Snotrungar cast warnings to the wayside. Many of the Aesir made Svaraling (those cursed to become Dragan) were originally of the Tribe of Snotra.

Curiosity is another primary trait of the Ætt and at times it has caused them great troubles in the past. Problems aside the Snotrungar are a powerful tribe recognized for their contribution to the Brotherhoods and their wise presence in the Allthing.

 

Alfland

Hold of Alfland

Hold Traits:

  • Light brown to dark blonde hair.

  • Lithe, muscular, athletic build.

  • Green, blue, or brown eyes.

  • Sparse facial hair.

  • Affinity for the woods.

  • Generally feral personality and evident emotions.

Art by caiomm

 

The Alflanders are the descendants of the ancient Aesir immortal tribe. Made up of such bloodlines as the Thoringar Ætt and the lines of many ancient Valkyrie (precedessors to the Valkyr). The folk of Alfland are known for their rowdy nature, love of drink, and for their constant attempts to gain the throne of Norland. In fact except for the their more indpendent nature, the Alflanders are generally accomplished warriors and soldiers. When the Norgarders attempt to invade the holds in the early centuries ATA. During this period the region of Alfland was a border march guarding against roving bands of Jotnar giants and the ever increasing of the Vila of Norgard. IT was in those dark forests and nights that the Alflanders honed their skills as trackers, and skirmishers as they fought for their homes and freedom. In this time a culture of heroes and warrior sagas was born.

From their heritage of the likes of Thor Thunderwalker and Herja the Valkyrie Captain a culture of risk taking and monster hunting was born. When the Vanalanders seek wealth the Alflanders seek adventure and the next great fight.

 

The Thoringar (The Tribe of Thor)

“We shall Thunder the land!”

Thor Thunderwalker son of Odin Allfather was a champion of the common man, and a hero who fought the monstrous children of Loki the Trickster. For years Thor battled long and hard against the ravaging giant Jotnar of the Northern Wastes and was finally cut down in an epic battle against Jormugandr the great wyrm. From his acts was born not only a harrowing saga of bravery and courage, but the ideal of seeking great things even when all is bleak. It is perhaps for this reason that many of the Thoringar go above and beyond in their attempts to battle the fate bound curse upon most of the Aesir. When an normal Aesir sees failure, a Thoring only sees opportunity. Many over the ages have come to question the mental fortitude of the THoring as it seems to the outsider that they are far more interested in personal glory and virtue. There is no better ally and sworn brother to a Thoring other than the grim warlords of the Heimdallingar Tribe.

Even when all fails the Thoringar are always ready to fall to the last man. “We shall be alive in song!” They proclaim! In many ways it is their blood that had birthed the greatest of Kings, and perhaps this is why they are still seen with silent respect in the Allthing today.

 

The Herjungar (The Tribe of Herja)

“Thought and Memory.”

The Herjungar are the divinely descended children of Herja former captain of Odin’s handmaidens, the Valkyries (who the Valkyr take their name from). As a goddess she was known for her frenzied temper and her love of a good fight. There are even stories of Herja clashing with Odin’s son Thor at various points in the historical sagas of Alfland. The scirs of the Herjungar are located on the border with Jotunland and Vanaland. The proximity to the other Holds unlike their Thoringar neighbors has often seen the Herjungar raiding and being the victims of raids. In many ways they are perhaps the most blood minded Ætt found in Alfhland.  When the Thoringar earn the right of the Jarl’s seat and the throne of the Holds, the Herjungar ply their trade as fighters for the Black Oak Sisterhood. In fact it was the Tribe of herja that founded the guild of assassins in the first place.

The farms and steads of the Ætt are known for their brewing and mead halls. Many a Thoring can be found dtraveling south for a good time in the scirs of Herja. In the Allthing the politics of the Herjungar is complicated. Their actively violent nature has lent them a air of impatience, and outspoken determination. Generally this has often placed them at odds with the wealth seeking Freyringar, and the debate driven Forsetungar Ætts.

 

Jotunland

Hold of Jotunland

Hold Traits:

  • Tall stout muscular builds (Never shorter than 8”)

  • Thick hair, and generally present facial hair.

  • Slightly dark to very light skin.

  • Dark brown or grey eyes.

  • Generally Grim attitude.

Art by Luk999

 

The lands of Jotunland are so named after the ancient frost giants that once ravaged the north lands of Norland. For centuries the Aesir fought these creatures fromtheir fortress territory of Jotunheim which over time led to the cataclysmic battle known as Ragnarok. It was in that moment that most of the ancient tribe of old was cast down into the depths of the afterlife. Many a warrior was lost in this time and the days were dark with fear. It was in this time that Heimdall the great warrior guard of the bifrost bridge into the lands of Asgard drew up his own tribe and made war in the last nights of Ragnarok. From this was born the grim and determined culture prevalent throughout most of Jotunland. Nowhere in Norland is the concept of honor held in higher regard and with strict adherence than Jotunland. This heavy emphasis on honor extends throughout most life for those in Jotunland.

Most of the land is thick with high mountains, deep forests and dark lakes. No place is more wild or more ravenous than the ferocious region of Jotunland. Because of the horrors that walk in Jotunland the men and women often train in tactics of group combat and strength. This reason alone has given the Jotunlanders perhaps the most unified identiy and a reason blood feud is so rare in the region.

 

The Heimdallingar (The Tribe of Heimdall)

“Hold the line!”

He was the foremost watchmen and hunter scout among the Aesir of old, and it was his sight that alerted the warriors of Asgard when Loki had freed the great Ice giants. When Heimdall fell in Ragnarok his son Elric Heimdalson took up his great horn, Gjallarhorn, and blew it to summon the tribe the god had created to aide him in his duties. Ever since the Heimdallingar have acted as the northern vanguard, and foremost trained fighters in all of Norland. While others fight in disarray the Heimdallingar fight in close knit shield walls and dispatch their enemies with ruthless efficiency. The proceeding long war with the Ice and Frost giants of Jotuneim was the main reason why so many of the tribe show an outwardly grim attitude in life. The Heimdalllingar are perhaps some of the bluntest and true spoken members of the Aesir race. To them any form of lie even the smallest is an insult to the will of the gods and an act of dishonor.

Among the Aesir the Heimdallingar are considered great smiths and masons. Many of their weapons are the highest grade in all of Norland and their fortifications are generally well made to fend against the great beasts of the north.

 

The Skadungar (The Tribe of Skadi)

“Nothing escapes our sight.”

Skadi the Huntresss was a masterful tracker and one of the greatest seekers to travel the wastes of the north. Born of Jotnar blood mixed with ancient immortal lines dating back to Bori (the ancient progenitor of immortal Aesir and Vanir tribes) himself. From this divine bloodline was born a woman able to travel days without food and skilled in killing any beast she could find. It was this tenacity that was bred true in every member in the Ætt back to the time of Skadi herself. The thick forests and high mountains of Jotunland are home to ferocious creatures such as the great Dire Varg or great wolves that hunt in massive packs. Then there are the feral trolldyr or troll-beasts that still plague the north. Primitive creatures, the trolldyr attack in packs and are known to wipe out entire stead if not deal with in a careful manner.

This and much worse is what has horned the Skardungar into the premier hunters of the north. Few men and women or monster can outrun the tracking skills of a Skardung. The steads of the Skardungar are known for raising great war hounds to use in combat. Not only are they geared for hunting, they are also versed in animal lreo and are often known for taming various beasts found throughout Jotunland.

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