"Blonde-haired savages, have driven the remaining Hyborian tribes out of the snow countries, except the ancient kingdom of Hyperborea, which resists their onslaught. Their country is called Nordheim, and they are divided into the red-haired Vanir of Vanaheim, and the yellow-haired Æsir of Asgard.” – The Hyborian Age
Asgard- Home of the AesirEdit
Asgard is the nation of the Aesir, situated east of Vanaheim and the Blue Mountains, west of Hyperborea and the putative River of Death Ice, and north of Cimmeria and the Eiglophian Mountains.
Asgard and Vanaheim together comprised the region known as Nordheim, which was probably analogous to the mysterious Thule of pre-Cataclysmic times. The high mountain regions were permanently glaciated, with the glaciers growing as the climate cooled. In the southern lowlands, taiga forest was presumed to cover much of the terrain. North of this lay the tundra, a soggy plain underlain by permafrost. The country is characterized by its harsh and brutal landscape, as it is shadowed by a constant winter. Nearly half the country to the North is covered by glaciers. The South is little more then a frozen tundra. Such is the landscape that farming is virtually non existent and animal husbandry is the only means of producing food.
Blond reavers of the icy north, the mailed warriors of the Aesir are held in check only by their equally ferocious kin the Vanir to the west, the grim Cimmerians southward, and by arcane Hyperborea to the east. Loosely organized, the clans await their forging to a cause, or a great captain of men, to spur them over the ice towards bright and bloody conquest!
After the Cataclysm destroyed the civilizations of the world, humanity began again its fight for dominance. Among these, a primitive people, the Hybori, only slightly more evolved than the Neanderthal, traveled north and fought the snow-apes. They drove these monsters north of the arctic circle to perish, and they occupied the cold northern lands as conquerors. These snow-apes, over the next several thousand years, managed to evolve into gigantic blond arctic savages. A thousand years later, a wanderer to the North returned to the Hyborians with the news that the Northern icy wastes were inhabited by ape-like men, descended from the beasts driven out of the more habitable land by the Hyborians' ancestors. To exterminate these creatures, a small band of warriors followed him beyond the arctic circle. None returned and pushed back south. A thousand years later, they finally pushed the Hyborians south and established Nordheim. These barbarians were split into two major groups based primarily on hair-color. The yellow-haired Æsir settled in the inland portion of Nordheim and called it Asgard. They are not Hyborian, and their bloodline remains pure.
Aesir in the Hyborian AgeEdit
Asgard, a far-northern mountainous nation which is permanently glaciated, is home to the blond-haired, blue-eyed Aesir (Æsir), a virile and rough hewn race of hunters and axe-wielding warriors who fight by day and carouse by night. They are also considered by many to be the best warriors in Hyboria.
The Aesir who populated this rugged land were a numerous and virile lot. A shade less bloodthirsty than their neighbors the Vanir, they nonetheless gloried in warfare, wearing their famous horned helmets and swinging awesome battle-axes.
Asgard is in the unfortunate position of being stuck between three mighty foes: Cimmeria, Vanaheim and Hyperborea. They have a grudging mutual respect with the Cimmerians, insofar as they would not attack each other often, although some Cimmerians have joined the Æsir on war parties, and it’s likely some Æsir have done the same. Hyperborea will likely make rapid slave raids, and Vanaheim will try to wipe their old enemies from existence. Even the Ice is proving an enemy: in the later years of the Hyborian Age, the Arctic Ice will start to travel south, triggering a massive exodus of the Northmen, which will undoubtedly devastate the southern kingdoms.
Each tribe of Asgard was ruled by a "king", whose headquarters was a timber-roofed Great Hall. The Aesir live in tribal units with its own chieftain, or "king", who presides in timber-roofed Great Halls. The typical appearance of these men was that of a golden-haired, blue-eyed, bearded barbarian, with chain hauberks, axes and wooden shields.
All Aesir worship Ymir, the Frost Giant, Lord of Storm and War, who lives (according to legend), in Valhalla, his castle far in northern Vanaheim. The Nordheimir believe in an afterlife and the afterlife often mirrors how one lives life and meets one’s doom. For the common folk, the afterlife is dull and dreary, a life spent gathering and serving the warriors. According to Nordheimr shamans, the souls of valiant warriors who fall in battle go to Valhalla to feast and fight forever. This belief makes Nordheimr warriors terribly fierce in battle, and they often fight with no regard for their own safety. Valhalla is a realm of long halls, snowy glaciers and eternal drinking, wenching and fighting. Ymir represents the Earth to the Nordheimr, and both the Vanir and the Æsir sprang from Ymir. Battle for the Nordheimr is not only the basis of their economy and social life, it is also the basis of their religious life, for Ymir is worshiped by doing battle all day, then eating, drinking and singing all night. Indeed, even those activities have religious merit, for ale is the drink of bold Ymir and, as such, it is sacred and consumed in large quantities. It is said among the Nordheimr that it is possible to come into direct contact with Ymir if one drank one’s self unconscious. Thus, inebriation is a religious obligation as well as a social activity.
It is likely that there are regional gods as well, considering the Æsir and their life-style. They have no unified government to enforce anything. Any local gods are subordinate to Ymir, in any case.
Among the Æsir, who are each fiercely independent, even religion is viewed as a personal matter. They have no time, or interest, in priests to interpret Ymir for them. Each man is his own intermediary to Ymir. The Æsir keep no temples to Ymir, but they acknowledge many sacred outdoor sites, such as mountains, islands, fields, rocks and groves. Three times per year, the Æsir hold ceremonies to placate Ymir, asking for victory in war and raiding, making sacrifices of animals and humans, feasting on steaming food, hot from the fires, drinking their ale in fantastic quantities and singing lustful songs celebrating their wars and heroes. These ceremonies, occurring in the spring, mid-summer and autumn, last for days and are loud, brutal affairs for such is their life.
Life was meant to be embraced with savage enthusiasm and death is to be met in the same manner. The Nordheimr believe in an afterlife, and the afterlife often mirrored how one lived life and met one’s dooms. For the common folk, the afterlife will be dull and dreary, a life spent gathering and serving the warriors. For valiant warriors, however, the afterlife would be filled with fighting and feasting in the snowy plains and halls of Valhalla.
The Aesir have also been known to invoke the name "Audhambla's Dugs", a cow owned by Ymir and made of ice as well, whose udders give rivers of milk. Audhambla was herself nourished by licking salty, rime-covered stones. The Aesir also invoke the god Buri in expletives, who in Norse mythology gave rise the other gods. Audhambla licked the stones into the shape of a man; this was Buri. Buri, in the Norse religion, was the first god, who sired Bor, the grandfather of Odin.
Æsir Relationship with other CountriesEdit
The Nordheimir in general are welcoming to peaceful strangers, though they constantly raid foreign lands and can be vicious when abroad on one of their forays.
The Æsir are the blood enemies of the Vanir, the red-haired barbarians of Vanaheim. Eons of feuding ensure that there will never be an easy peace between these two peoples. The Aesir fear the Hyperboreans, knowing what dark arts they practice in the land, and that of those who venture there, few return. Being in close proximity to Hyperborea has made them slightly more civilized than their barbarian neighbours, although they continue to sustain a hunting and foraging culture as opposed to agricultural.
The Aesir also have an animosity for Cimmerians, believing their presence in Asgard is for spying purposes or declaring war. This is mostly caused by border disputes with the Cimmerians. As said by Conan I, it is usually the Cimmerians who win these battles. However, there seems to have been a rough alliance between Asgard and Cimmeria, since the young Conan spent time with the Aesir raiding both Vanaheim and Hyperborea. The Aesir have a some what rough alliance with the Cimmerian people to the south, who regard each other with equal respect when travelling through each others lands. They share a common foe with both Nordheim to the west and Hyperborea to the East, and the two regularly form raiding parties in order to vent mutual destruction on there enemies. Such raids are usually met in turn with raids from both the countries, and as such the borders are never guarded. It has been theorized by the scholars of Nemedia that should the Aesir, with or without the Cimmerians, join together under a single King, then they would be as big a threat to civilization as they know it than the Hybori were to the Archeans.
Even though the two races of Nordheim are closely related, the Æsir and the Vanir despise each other for reasons that are never completely explicated. Unlike the feud between the Cimmerians and Picts, it is never explored in detail: it could be a cycle of revenge whose origin has been lost to time, or something more sinister than that. The only real hint as to the feud were these lines said by a Vanir warrior: "Blood feud lies 'twixt these Aesir dogs and true Vanirmen". Perhaps the Vanir consider themselves the true race of Nordheim. The truth of the hatred is never to be revealed.
The times when Aesir villages are most vulnerable are when the men are on the harvest hunt. At this time, the only people left in the villages are the old, young, and frail. No match for the raiders from Vanaheim. Nemedia, unconquerable by Hyborians, reeled between the riders of the east and the swordsmen of the west, when a tribe of AEsir, wandering down from their snowy lands, came into the kingdom, and were engaged as mercenaries; they proved such able warriors that they not only beat off the Hyrkanians, but halted the eastward advance of the Picts.
Nemedia is increasingly more dominated by the Æsir mercenaries. They relished battle, but only to loot and pillage, not as means of expanding their borders. Given their lack of agricultural knowledge and their disdain even for the herding of animals, they wouldn't know what to do with conquered lands if they had them! The AEsir who settled in Nemedia soon adop ted many of the ways of their civilized allies, modified powerfully,however, by their own intensely virile and alien culture. Later on, Nemedia will become a Nordic kingdom, ruled by the descendants of the Æsir mercenaries.
The Æsir are fierce warriors, proud and honorable. With white hot enthusiasm they pursue life, facing death fearlessly with a song on their lips. They were giant men who valued honor, loyalty and reputation above all things. Even the women are strong, running households while the men war with each other across the icy plains and mountains. Their land is harsh, and they are hardened by generations of living in near-arctic conditions and almost constant warfare with the Vanir, the Cimmerians, the Hyperboreans and the Picts.
War is an essential ingredient in the life of the Æsir. War is their economy. War is their social setting. War is their religion. War measured courage. War measured honor. War measured manhood. This being the case, weapons are of prime importance to a golden-haired Æsir. Their favored weapons are the broadsword and the axe. Hunting and war spears are also commonly seen.
Weapons are so important in the life of an Æsir they are almost always highly ornamented, etched with exotic designs or runic characters. The Æsir tend to prefer dragons or birds of prey in their complex ornamentation. In addition, they also etch stylized nature designs into their armor, clothing and tools as well. The Æsir often wear leather helmets reinforced with pieces of metal, including a piece of iron or steel over the nose. These helms are often decorated, in addition to mere design-work, with horns to symbolize fierce power. Mail shirts and large shields are standard. The common shields seen among the Æsir are made of wood and covered in leather hide or bearskin. A round metal hump is placed in the center of the outer face of the shield to protect the hand holding the shield.
Ferocity and courage are not the only measure of manhood among the Æsir. They expect no quarter, and neither do they want mercy. If wounded, they will rather die and be sent to Ymir a man than to be left suffering or to be taken prisoner. Self-esteem is also valued, and a portion of self-esteem revolves around appearance. Using combs made from antlers, the Æsir groom themselves daily, braiding their hair, mustaches and beards. Many carry small tools to clean their fingernails and ears with them.
The Æsir bathe at least once a week, and use saunas for health. In addition to grooming, self-esteem includes a measure of status. Status among the Æsir is achieved through combat prowess or wealth. The display of wealth gives an Æsir status. Their clothes and armor have coins sewn onto them. Coins are also hung on chains and worn as jewelry, displayed with arrogant pride. Jewelry is equally prized by Æsir men as by the women. Precious metals are often melted down and recast as wearable items, such as bracelets or armlets.
The Æsir use precious metals, usually silver, in trade. They pay for goods with coin or an appropriate weight in silver, cut off from their jewelry. The Æsir rarely carry purses or sacks of coin because of the noise. It is easier and quieter to recast the coins as a bracelet, and then just slice off pieces of it as needed. The Æsir also engage in barter for trade goods. Of course, their preferred manner of gaining necessaries is to raid a rival for them.
At the close of each winter, the Aesir begin their yearly raids, riding south on horseback to pillage townships of their cattle, wealth, and women. Men who surrender to Aesir warriors are usually spared. Those who resist are slain in a gruesome fashion. Aesir rarely burn a village they plunder, preferring to leave their targets fairly intact to allow the survivors to rebuild and provide another lucrative target in the future. Aesir love to travel, which is why they kill the Vanirmen. It is not that they hate the bastards so much, but they give them a reason to be away from their wives and squalling brats.
Though the Nordheimir women do not usually fight alongside the men in war, they are charged with the responsibility of managing and defending their longhouses while the warriors are away. Many a female Nordheimer has won renown by beating off a horde of raiders with a broadsword or battle-axe to protect her home and children. Another job of some women with special connections to Ymir is wizardry. These witches can be easily identified since they usually wear the skin of some powerful animal, such as the wolf. These witches can summon ancient monsters of Nordheim's legends, such as the Skrae.
The frigid northlands are not suited for agriculture, and the Æsir do not practice farming. The Æsir do not herd animals either. They hunt for their livelihood as befits a warrior race. Their wasteland realm isn't as barren of life as a first glance might suppose. The frozen mountains and icy plains support bears, mammoths, moose, reindeer and similar beasts of the wild. Wild fruits and berries supplemented their diet. During their more peaceable moments, the Aesir supported themselves by hunting abundant musk ox, mammoth, bear, reindeer, moose, fox, and the like. Hunting is also widely embraced and one of the chief exports of the nation is Mammoth ivory. Hunting the giant Mammoths, when there found, is both a blessing and a curse. Such a prize cannot easily be left alone. Yet to track one invites death under its massive frame. When they are caught and killed, the fur and meat will usually feed a large tribe through the winter and the hunters will become renowned for years to come. They doubtless augmented their meat diet by gathering lingon-berries and other wild fruits in season.
The Æsir feast in a loud, boisterous fashion and often engage in ‘friendly’ brawls when drunk.
Dependent upon wildlife, their villages, built using whatever materials are close at hand or can be readily raided, are usually near known animal trails and water. Their villages consist of individual huts. To conserve warmth, there is a smithy, a tanner's hut, and a longhouse. The Aesir for the most part live in huts covered in animal hide. These huts are usually built around a single long hall which serves as the home for the current King and his trusted retainers. It acts as the nerve center for the entire village, and will occasionally be surrounded by a make shift log wall in order to reinforce its position. In the center of these villages stood the largest and longest of the many buildings. This great hall was the home of the king.
Asgard is not a unified kingdom serving one supreme king. Essentially the Æsir are a village-based people who are bound by a common way of life, nothing else. The Aesir (as the people of Asgard are known) are comprised of many separate clans and tribes. The Æsir have many kings, for each village is like a kingdom unto itself. A king, to the Æsir, is any local warrior who could maintain a following, using both income and honor to hold onto that following. This King rules them as an equal in peace time, and when not at war the Aesir Kings are known to be both friendly and fair. However in war time they have to be the strongest and the fittest in the clan for the king always led his warriors into battle, which meant that most Æsir kings died young, but with barbaric honor and pride. It has been known for kings to step down of his own will if he believes himself incapable of leading the best of his clan. When such kings do not step down, the clan rallies around a new man. Such times are tumultuous and troublesome, and only blood can settle such quarrels. It is however, rare for this to happen. A king hangs the heads of his most hated opponents from his lodge pole. There can be a high chief of the Aesir, and the one who holds this position is supreme lord of all the Aesir tribes.
In battle, Aesir prefer the broadsword or battleaxe. Additionally, they rely upon their chain-mailed shirts, horned helmets, and wooden shields to protect them from the weapons of their enemies. Many Aesir learn to use the throwing axe and pikes/spears, but it is rare to find an Aesir warrior with a bow, a weapon they find cowardly. What better way to kill a man than face to face rather than just killing him from afar. What glory is there to be found?
Only by dying in battle, with sword or axe in hand and courage in the heart, can an Aesir find his way to Valhalla, the after-life paradise sought by all Norsemen. If an Aesir dies without his weapons, he can still reach Valhalla by having his body set ablaze in a funeral pyre. This is so the smoke rises to the heavens, becoming a stairway for the souls of the departed to reach the Halls of Forever.
The Aesir live by conquest. When two Aesir fight, the winner takes his choice of the loser’s women, children, and animals. Aesir men will have only one wife at a time. When they tire of their present wife they either kill or sell her, and obtain a new female more to their liking. If a woman is unfaithful to her Aesir husband, she is most often killed by a ritual called "the Wheel of Axes", where all who disbelieve her hurl axes at her bound body. Any man caught in adultery is stripped of his belongings, and forced to cross the snow plains naked. In this way he freezes to death and never gains his chance to reside in the Halls of Valhalla. Only a legitimate wife can commit adultery, and thus an Aesir man can be frivolous with as many unmarried women as he wishes.
Nordheimir names tend to be Scandinavian and Germanic. It is likely that many of the Norse gods share names with the Nordheimir.
Æsir Warrior ClassesEdit
Oxmen (Axemen)- Every man in Nordic society knows how to wield a shield and axe, and when times are grim kings will summon these farmers and craftsmen from their homes to defend their land. They are not particularly well trained nor well equipped, but very well motivated to battle, and they can use their trusty household hand-axes to good effect so long as they are not committed to the hardest fighting.
Hirdmen (Swordsmen)- Hirdmen are the sworn companions of mighty Nordic chieftains – great fighters loyal to the death to the nobleman they serve. They are stalwart warriors in either attack or defense, but excel in the dense and almost unbreakable shield-wall. Like the Huscarls, these men are handpicked veterans given the best that their lord’s generosity can provide.
Huscarls- The Huscarls are the elite forces of the great Nordic kings. Veteran warriors, hand picked, given the very best equipment and fed from the lord’s table. They swear the mead-bargain with their lord, giving loyalty to the death in return for mead, wealth and land. It is considered the greatest disgrace to live if your lord dies, and such men will be condemned to live as exiles. As a result, these units have exceptional morale, and will fight to the death rather than retreat unless their lord orders it.
Berserkers- Dedicated to Ymir, the Frost-Giant of Nordic mythology, these men are an elite among the Nordic warriors, set aside for war. They are also known as bear-shirts, and prefer fighting rather than talking to settle quarrels. They protect themselves with little other than animal pelts and an unshakable belief in their own invulnerability, hurling themselves against the enemy line in reckless fury. They are best used to shatter enemy defensive lines before the war-bands pour in behind them, for they can rarely be held back long enough for any sustained defense.
King: A king is a chieftain who has consolidated more than one tribe or clan under his rule.
Chieftain: The chieftain has the responsibility of enforcing the laws of Nordheimir society. A chieftain is expected to be generous in all things and to protect the honor of the clan against outsiders. The chieftain must be a good leader, a powerful warrior, an excellent speaker and an inspiration to his men. He is required to attend every Thing or Althing lest he lose his position.
Jarl: The Jarls are the upper class, the wealthiest of Nordheimir. Jarls are the closest thing the Nordheimir have to a nobility: the chiefs and sons of chiefs who commit their tribe's forces to their local King's army. They are the most well-equipped of the Nordheimir, and act similarly to a general's bodyguard. They wear heavy scale mail, the heaviest armor available to the barbarians but through conquest or alliance can gain access to plate mail.
Hirdmadr: The Hirdmadr are those who have sworn Allegiance to the king or chieftain and ﬁght by his side.
Leiding: A leiding is a man who rents or leases his land to another in return for payment in food. A leiding is usually a wealthy land-owner or farmer and his tenant can be anyone from a former slave to a chieftain. He is a free man with all the rights and duties of such in Nordheimir society.
Hauldr: A hauldr is a true free man with full rights and duties in Nordheimir society. The hauldr owns his own land and has a hereditary right to that land; his family has owned the land for at least six generations. Most people in Nordheimir society belong to this class of people.
Løysing: A løysing is a slave who has been set free by his owner because of hard work or exceptional service. He is usually still dependent upon and owes duties to his former owner. The children of løysing parents are free. Members of this class often participate in raids and military excursions in order to supplement their wealth. The only right they lack is a hereditary right to land.
Thrall: Thralls are slaves; thralls are not protected by the law but are treated as property. Killing a slave is not murder, so the killer need only replace the slave if it was owned by someone else. Children born of slaves are the property of their mothers’ owners. Slaves work hard and the only thing they are allowed to own are knives. Slaves are captured during raids into Pictland, Asgard, Nordheim, Cimmeria, the Border Kingdom and Hyperborea. Other Nordheimir might become slaves if they ﬁnd themselves unable to pay the mulct (ﬁne) imposed by the Althing or Thing or unable to provide for themselves and/or their families
Skald: A skald is a Nordheimir poet who retains the oral history, culture and traditions of the clan.
Lawspeaker: Usually a skald, a lawspeaker is a Nordheimir who has memorized the laws of the Thing or Althing. He recites the laws at the outset of these gatherings to ensure the laws are remembered and obeyed by all present.
Godi/Godar: Nordheimer shamans, known as godar in Asgard, tend to be more political than religious, taking an advisory or leaderlike role as well as ensuring the proper ceremonies are conducted for any given event.
Völvas: A völva is a Nordheimir sorceress who practices seid, the Nordheimir version of Shamanism. Seid is considered unmanly in Nordheimir tradition because it is a manipulative practice, so almost all are female. Old women völvas are seen as representatives of the spirits of death.
Asgard's Last BreathsEdit
Asgard was one of the few nations never subdued during the wars of the latter Hyborian Age. The creeping glaciers ultimately forced its people out.
Part of the great migration kown as the Nordic Drift, wandering Aesir tribes blotted out Hyperborea and drove fellow Asgardian tribes before them until they came across Hykarnia. The Aesir assailed thse lands to savagely that the Hykarnian riders fled eastward onto the steppes along the Vilayet Sea. To the west, the hordes of Aesir and Vanir pressured by the advancing ice sheets, pushed into Cimmeria, dislodging the race as a whole.
But the onslaught did not stop there. Hordes of Æsir and Vanir swarmed into the Cimmerian lands, and the Pictish empire reeled beneath their strokes. Nemedia was overthrown, and the half-civilized Nordics fled before their wilder kinsmen, leaving the cities of Nemedia ruined and deserted. These fleeing Aesir, who had adopted the name of the older kingdom, and to whom the term Nemedian henceforth refers, came into the ancient land of Koth, expelled both Picts and Hyrkanians, and aided the people of Shem to throw off the Hyrkanian yoke. All over the western world, the Picts and Hyrkanians were staggering before this younger, fiercer people. A band of Æsir drove the eastern riders from Brythunia and settled there themselves, adopting the name for themselves. The Nordics who had conquered Hyperborea assailed their eastern enemies so savagely that the dark-skinned descendants of the Lemurians retreated into the steppes, pushed irresistibly back toward Vilayet.A band of Aesir drove the eastern riders from Brythunia and settled there themselves, adopting the name for themselves. The Nordics who had conquered Hyperborea assailed their eastern enemies so savagely that the dark-skinned descendants of the Lemurians retreated into the steppes, pushed irresistibly back toward Vilayet.
In the end, the western world was dominated by Nordic barbarians. There was no such thing, however, as a consolidated Nordic empire. As always, the tribes had each its own chief or king, and they fought savagely among themselves as usual.
What their destiny might have been will not be known, because another terrific convulsion of the earth, carving out the lands as they are known to moderns, hurled all into chaos again. Great strips of the western coast sank; Vanaheim and western Asgard — uninhabited and glacier-haunted wastes for a hundred years — vanished beneath the waves.
The buckling of the land thrust up great mountain ranges in the central part of the northern continent. Whole Nordic tribes were blotted out, and the rest retreated eastward. The territory about the slowly drying inland sea was not affected, and there, on the western shores, the Nordic tribes began a pastoral existence, living in more or less peace with the Cimmerians, and gradually mixing with them. In the west the remnants of the Picts, reduced by the cataclysm once more to the status of stone-age savages, began, with the incredible virility of their race, once more to possess the land, until, at a later age, they were overthrown by the westward drift of the Cimmerians and Nordics. After the end of the Ice Age, in the north the Baltic Sea was formed, cutting the heights of Asgard into the Scandinavian Peninsula later known as Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Their descendants came into these countries as Aryans. But there were variations among these primitive Aryans, some of which are still recognized today, others which have long been forgotten. The blond Achaians, Gauls and Britons, for instance, were descendants of pure-blooded Æsir. The Nemedians of Irish legendry were the Nemedian Æsir. The Danes were descendants of pure-blooded Vanir; the Goths — ancestors of the other Scandinavian and Germanic tribes, including the Anglo-Saxons — were descendants of a mixed race whose elements contained Vanir, AEsir and Cimmerian strains. From pure-blooded Shemites, or Shemites mixed with Hyborian or Nordic blood, were descended the Arabs, Israelites, and other straighter-featured Semites.
The greatest legacy of the Æsir is that they are remembered as gods to the modern man.
Njalsteinn- Bear Riders of the NorthEdit
The Njalsteinn tribe are named after the location of their Long house. It resides upon the flat plain of Njal's Rock, an excellent defensive position with views across the Njal plains and with many small caves dotting its surface which have been converted into dwellings, as well as barns for the cattle.
The tribe of Njalsteinn are like many other Northern tribes. They are ruled over by Bjorann the fair, whose Great Hall is one of only a few to be adorned with the skin of a giant Mammoth. His throne has been handed down through the generations of Njalsteinn rulers and his carved from the skull of the same Mammoths. The tusks have been hollowed out and in them sleep the two children of the King, in order that they can be shown to be destined to sit on the throne.
Being quite a large tribe they maintain links with Brythunian traders in order to bring in crops that they cannot produce in exchange for fur and the ever sought after ivory. In this way the tribe has always remained strong, and has over the recent years adopted certain ways of doing things not native to the Aesir, including the learning of various languages. There are also several small families of Cimmerians that live with the tribe - remnants from a joint raid whose village was destroyed in retaliation by Vanir raiders. This has enabled the tribe to move quickly into Cimmeria, and alliances with its southern comrades are frequent and strong.
What the tribe is best known for however is its bear riders. Numbering around two dozen, the bear riders are a feared and famed cavalry throughout the North. The Cimmerians find it amusing to have such strange people on a raid with them, as the beasts are neither fast nor agile. However once the fighting starts they prove themselves more then capable and many Cimmerians owe there life to the great bear riders of the Njalsteinn tribe.
Major Geographical Features of AsgardEdit
Blue Mountains – This range of rocky and frozen mountains forms the border with Vanaheim. The mountains tower over ice plains and appear blue in the distance. It is said that Ymir walks abroad in these cold mountains, as this is his ruling domain.
Eiglophian Mountains – An incredible mountain range that separates Vanaheim, Asgard and Hyperborea from the southern kingdoms. Passes through this impressive range of rock and ice are usually blocked during the winter by weather conditions but otherwise afford traffic between the frozen north and the warm south. A small portion of this cold range passes through the northern reaches of the Border Kingdom. A tribe of Hyperboreans called the Verunians live in these mountains, fighting off attacks from cannibal pithecanthropoids who also live in the higher peaks of the range.
Snow Devil Glacier (The River of Death Ice): This is a titanic Eiglophian glacier that flows along the borders of Hyperborea, the Border Kingdom and Asgard. It is also known as the River of Death Ice. It can be seen easily from the top of a nameless pass that leads southward into the Border Kingdom from Asgard. This pass moves along the fringes of this glacier and is dangerous because of hidden crevasses, thin snow bridges and sudden avalanches. Small, gnarled trees litter the rocky slopes of the pass, living on the water and soil brought by the glacier. This glacier is a place of fear among the people who live in the north, even among those who had likely never seen it. Of course, it was not uncommon for entire parties of men to perish on the dangerous glacier. The glacier is home to the vampire ice worm of the north, variously called the Remora or Yakhmar, as well as tribes of hairy humanoids who are a few steps back on the evolutionary ladder.
Overview of Æsir and their LandEdit
- Population: about 5,349,550
- Capital: Wolfraven
- Ruler: Wulfhere
- Major cities: There are an estimated 10,900 villages and 67 towns in Asgard. The Æsir do not build cities.
- Resources: Game (musk ox, mammoth, bear, reindeer, moose, fox), mammoth ivory
- Imports: Steel weapons
- Allies: Cimmeria
- Enemies: Hyperborea, Vanaheim
- Tech level: Dark ages
- Religion: Ymir