The 1st Red War
There was only one dark period in their distant past, all but forgotten by all except by the lone Rune priest Skald Harold, the history of their kind memorised from beginning to the present, an ongoing saga that would be pass on to his apprentice should he finally leave his mortal body. It spoke of near the dawn of their migration, when all men were still bounded in leather hide armour and few wielded iron swords, the world was plunged into the first and bloodiest of all red war, where every living thing, man, woman, child and even the dogs were killed in their settlements by monsters of such terrfying stature that it took a hundred men to fell one of the beast. But they were legion and the northlanders were forced to flee with their families in a massive exodus to the lonely fortress in the north. Legend has it that with their backs to the walls, standing in front of their families the northmen stood grimly and faced the horde alone.
The monsters charged into the human line with men hurled into the air by the impact or crushed underfoot by giant heels and yet the line did not waver, men howling like wild wolves as they leapt unto the beasts in feral fury especially those with no swords, using their teeth to tear into the flesh of their demonic enemies. That single charge wiped out almost a quarter of their line but the men still held tenaciously, not taking a single step back. Perhaps inspired by the bravery before them, the Vanir finally opened the gates to the families of the northmen sacrifing their lives for them and as the refugees poured in, the silent warriors were led out by a giant wolf pelt banner. It is recorded that the only time in the known history of the Vanir did they howled like wolves in acknowledgement of the human bravery and stormed into battle along the flanks of the enemy while a small detachment went to hold the centre of the line.
Stunned by the intervention, the northmen could only watch as the demonic legion was beaten back metre by bloody metre, breathing heavily as they slumped down exhausted and astonished to be alive. The legion fled and the line of men gave a ragged cheer though all of them were wounded to such at extent it was surprising many of them still stood amongst the living. Only a few of the Vanir lied unmoving on the ground, no longer of this world and as their bodies were carried away by their brethren, the humans were signalled to follow their retreating backs. The red war was not over yet and for the next thousand days, the fortress would be repeatedly assaulted by the angered demons screaming in vengeance and hunger for human flesh. Children grew up to be warriors and fought alongside their fathers and brothers as the northmen defended the wall alongside the guardians.
It is said that it was the arrival of cloaked strangers in the fortress in the midst of night, proposing something to the Vanir in a almost melodic singsong voice that finally brought the war to an end the succeeding day. The fighting on the wall was so fierce the next day that it was finally breached in several places however the demons on the eve of their success screamed in fury and disbelief as they dematerialise from the mortal realm and hurled back to their plane, clutching desperately at anything to hold back their forced return. It was not to be and the race of men howled long into the night at this final victory. When they finally returned to the ice plains they noticed giant stone menhirs dotting the land almost randomly every few hundred kilometres, with gold almost eldritch lines traced along its length and breadth. The Vanir whom rarely spoke pointed to the menhirs and declared to the northmen that these stones were sacred and must never be disturbed. And so, it passed into legend that should they stumble upon one of these stones, that they should respectfully leave them be and not carve out the gold in greed or forever suffer the curse on their family line for a hundred generation.