"When the Primordials first came to exist, they exhaled. Their cold breath created the first elemental pole, the Pole of Air, and the land crystallized into existence from that point."
- Popular Northern Myth.
As one goes farther north, the cold becomes increasingly bitter. Winter here is long and cruel, and even in the short summers freezing rain lashes herds of elk, mammoth and reindeer. It is said that in the farthest North, there is nothing but a great expanse of snow and wind.
And beyond even that lies the Elemental Pole of Air.
This is a sparsely peopled land of survival rather than grace, with city-states and [Icewalker] tribes scattered across its vast expanse. Exiles across all Creation hide in the North, finding havens in manses too dangerous for the Realm to claim, lands too harsh for others to survive in, and places where no other human may set foot for years.
The People Edit
Northerners are typically pale skinned, with hair ranging from jet black to platinum blond. Most have large strong frames and heavy muscular builds from a degree of selective breeding
Due to the extreme conditions, lack of spare food and resources, Northerners typically abandon unwanted or deformed children.
Northerners (even those in cities) make offerings to their ancestors and to dark spirits of snow, frost, and hunger. Hidden tomb-mounds and cemeteries are guarded by the tribes’ finest warriors, and chieftains are buried with their weapons to use in the Underworld and are sacrificed beasts to serve as their herds there. Herders and hunters offer sacrifices to the herd animal spirits and the spirits of the hunt respectively, but the vast majority of devotions go to the dead. In turn, the ancestors’ spirits protect and guide them across the trackless snows, driving away evil spirits and bringing warnings of plagues and blizzards.
There are no fixed customs for marriage in the North. If one’s ancestor ghosts do not signal disapproval, the marriage is blessed and deserves prosperity.
Life in the North Edit
Humans in the icy North face more severe environmental conditions than anywhere else. However this does come with an advantage. Since finding and storing food for the winter occupies many people’s time, mortals typically have a freer hand in managing their own affairs here, and Exalts who can leave for warmer climates usually do so. Wars between the city-states are also rare as it is difficult to support a standing army on the scarce supplies the North produces (easier to bribe the Icewalker tribes to make a raid and then pick over what’s left if they succeed).
The North supplies large quantities of furs and ivory to other parts of Creation. The Far North is also the only source of Feathersteel (metal as strong as iron, at a third of the weight) and True Ice (ice that retains its cold even in the far South and flash freezes flesh on contact; used for making magical ice-boxes and weapons).
Despite these resources The Realm holds limited sway over the North. Long winters, harsh weather and frozen earth made the land an unpleasant place to live, offering little luxury or riches for the Dynasts. Thus the further North one goes, the more independant societies become.
Major States Edit
Northern states are often rude affairs, usually consisting of an enthroned strongman propped up by a table full of well-fed thugs with swords and axes. Only three states here hold truly notable power.
- Population: 80,000
- Leader: Mistress Katrin Jadehand
- Gods: unknown
- Threats: Bull of the North, Guild, Underways
The City under the mountain, this isolated impenetrable fortress-city may be small in size but its defenses are considered impregnable as the mountain it was carved into - able to isolate itself completely from the outside and survive off their magical subterranian gardens.
Named for its massive enchanted perimeter, this metropolis is the largest city in the north and offers incredible sanctuary to all inside. Citizens can walk around safely, and the city holds a literacy rate of over 90% - factors unheard of almost anywhere else in creation. Their Thurmaturgy college is the closest to the Heptagram any mortal could ever hope to attend.
- Population: 821,000 (total population of all 9 city states)
- Leader: Council of Oligarchs
A collection of minor city-states and many barbarian tribes unified for common protection. The city states include:
- Crystal - Newest city in the League. A boomtown built on Feathersteel mines and First Age ruins.
- Diamond Hearth - A savage community that mines diamonds, Feathersteel, True Ice, and First Age ruins.
- Fair Isle - Forced to join the League, its largest emerald plans to one day regain its independance.
- Fort Bear - A small city built under a massive outcropping of white stone shaped like a sleeping frost bear.
- Icehome - Capital city of the League
- Ironfall - A glum, dour city whose citizens are highly loyal to the League.
- Shield - The guard of the League's eastern boundry. Its major industry being Bronze-working.
- Tuskstad - More an oversized barbarian camp than a city state, held by the Laughing Winds tribe.
- Windcreche - The smallest city in the League. Famous for its famed dairy products
Minor States Edit
- Cherak southeast of Whitewall. Affiliated with the Jerem scion family but haunted by undead infestations.
- Fella; City of Broken Walls. A cursed land, home to 50,000. Famous for its cursed structure and renown for its doctors and medical knowledge.
- Fortitude: Once a Prison-Fortress who believed criminal action was genetic, now a lawless society of gangs, slavers, and thieves.
- Grieve: At one point just another kingdom thriving in the bitter north, Grievian alchemists have recently uncovered the secret to immortality. Now people from all across the North and stranger lands come to Grieve to purchase this elixir.
- The Ice Walkers; Nomadic barbarian tribes who tend their herds and seek war and plunder as they follow the yearly elk and mammoth migrations from east to west and back again
- The Northern Wilds:
- Opal Spire:
- Pneuma: The Immaculate Temple City of the North.
- Shanarinara; a would-be expansionist democracy without the strength to go further. It ponders allying with a Deathlord.
- Wallport: Whitewall's sister port city; found at the opposite end of the Holyroad
- Zalvenesh Divers: A series of small villages whose people swim ice-cold water along side unnaturally intelligent dolphins as they search the submerged First Age Ruins of the White Valley.