Population: Est 800,000 ~ 1 million (99.9% human, 0.1% other)
Government: Democracy (The Jarl Council)
Religions: Tempus, Kord
Alignment: Unaligned, Chaotic
Imports: Food stuffs, Silk, Cotton, Chinaware and Spice.
Exports: Blood and Fire, Mercenaries, Vaegir forged weapons, Furs, Whale and Seal Oil.
Atlica is a land of ice and fire, the frigid cold of the north pole is only countered by the heaving earth lying beneath the ice as volcanoes rumble daily and magma carve through ice shelfs like rivers of fire. Many in the known world believed that only the insane would live there of their own will… and they are right. Only men and monsters carve out a living on this hazardous of all of Toria’s lands but men for unending generations have thrived and survived in such an environment. The rich mineral deposits that are spewed forth from the earth provides the lords of the north with an abundant supply of iron, and one of the perculiarities of the region, floating anti gravity rocks. With these two hand in hand, the wolfhead prowed iron skyships of the north prowls the edges of the known world in search of plunder, slaves to work the mines and glory for it is imbued in their culture to bring war and death. For lords (or Jarls as they are more widely known) this is so that they are feared and respected if they are famed by their men as gold or silver givers whilst for individual warriors it is the chance at returning home laden in riches that drives their hunger.
CULTURE AND SOCIETY
The northmen call themselves Varangi or otherwise known as the Firstborn of the human race and as such view all other humans living south of Atlica as barbarians following misbegotten heathen ways. Because they live in such a harsh land, the people are considered strong and hardy however they have a very down to earth and pragmatic view on life and tend not to view things in just black and white. Sometimes they can be considered arrogant although none would refuse the opportunity in hiring these men as mercenaries of high caliber, with many a foe balking and hesitating at the sight of their shield wall.
Unique to all the realms of mortals, the Varangi can be found living on the floating rocks that dots the region, slightly above the violent ice and fire of Atlica and like nomads they drift from one place to the next in search of recently cooling ground with the treasures of the earth exposed to the air from tectonic activity. Their individual homesteads are bound together by mighty iron bridges to form villages, the poorer and least numerous rising only slightly a metre or two above ground whilst the rich and properous communities can be found almost a 100 metres in the air and contains enough homesteads to be the size of a minor town.
They practice slavery but only as a necessary evil for no freeborn Varangi should be reduced to working the dangerous and volatile mines of Atlica that could suddenly erupt in flames and consume all within. There is no chance of escape for the slaves due to the nature of Atlica and it is safer to be near a Varangi sky village or basically on it and thus be recaptured and punished severely rather than wander the land only to freeze and burn to death. The mines are only temporary and can last months, weeks or even days before the earth closes up and the Varangi are then often forced to move to another region in search of better prospects.
Currently the lands of the North are divided into several neutral factions that rarely erupt into red war as the peace is kept by the understanding that it is better to raid sheep than to fight among wolves. Though the lands of the north are not guided by one king but a council of the most influential and powerful Jarls, this means that there is rarely a consensus on a given subject and the full might of the Varangi have never fell on any nation because of the fractitious and ambitious natures of the Jarls. However if they were to be united one day by a single power who stands as Jarl King of all the wolves, then the world will tremble in fear when their vast fleets of skyships appear. But it would take a king of all madmen to put a leash on such proud and arrogant warriors.
Valholl (Capitol and Sacred Site, Pop. None)
Directly located at the pole, Valholl is an ancient towering fortress with its spires seeming to pierce the sky, perhaps the sole place where the land doesn’t shift by volcanic or tectonic disturbance and only in the shadows of this monolithic structure can the Jarls of the north gather together in peace and expect no treachery because they believe they stand before the eyes of their gods. Who can say they are not, for guarding the wolves engraved iron double doors of the citadel stand silent giant sentinels known as the Vanir, who were more than a head taller than the tallest man, their broad shoulders graced by massive wolf pelts. In the perpetual blizzard that encase the area their brethren patrol the snowfields around the structure, their polished grey plate armour gleaming like captured moonlight with the sound of their chainmail tabards slapping softly against their armor the only indication that they are out there.
For these reasons alone this place is considered the most sacred in the north and therefore none are that insane enough to break the peace. It is said that warriors who are famed in warskill and leadership, the brightest scions of the north whose reputation runs before them like the cold winds, when the long night of winter finally comes they are taken willingly by the silent warriors to the stronghold where it is told they are set before trials and tribulation and should they survive the tests that would fell a mere mortal in seconds, they will be finally inducted to their ranks. None know for sure if this is true but those who have been taken to the fortress have never returned although when the season of the light of day becomes longer, there could sometime be seen a lone giant armoured figured striding away from the gateway, perhaps chasing a quest set by his gods.
Few know when the North was settled but it was believed that those who now call it home came to the lands from the first wave of human migration to the world and due to the violent nature of the region they lived in, maintained their warlike nature from those distant times. There has been periods of relative peace from the north barring their raids along the length and breadth of the world however there has been several minor invasions attempted by the north on the fertile lands of the south which has often been narrowly beaten back, especially on the rich famed lands of Ethium. This was mainly due to the fact that the northlanders do not have any magic users of any kind, viewing such powers with suspicion however it is not uncommon for their Jarls to display psionic powers which to the northmen is perfectly natural because it comes from within.
PLOTS AND RUMOURS
The Call of the Vanir
For the first time in living memory, the guardians of the lonely fortress are demanding the Jarls of the North to answer a call to arms and to assemble any available warriors in due haste as the Vanir are forewarned of the possible return of a dark and ancient nemesis. Jarl Reinar, one of the more honourable of all Jarls is unable to comply as he is currently on campaign in the lands of the south. Thus he is willing to pay any who would take a skyship to the North as bodyguards to his nephew, T’vir the Red, to represent his banner in the Jarl Council in the shadows of Valholl.