|Full Name||The Skags|
|Races||Ailor, Dwarf, Urlan|
|Cultures||Velheim, Ithanian, and Ohrneti Ailor, Aldor, Ruin-Khuur, Dredger and Greborrin Dwarves|
|Flora and Fauna|
The Skags are a grouping of three northern islands, well known to the outside world. Ignored by the Allorn Empire and the perfect place of escape for slaves, the region bore the Cataclysm well, and much of its population survived. With time, culture came to the land, and after the arrival of most of the fleeing Skagger Horde from the Regalian Archipelago, two warring kingdoms were born in what is now Nordskag and Hvitskag. Recently, the Kingdom of Nordskag has crushed the Hvitskag Horde, making their territory part of their own nation while nearby Mirnoye remains silent, shielded from the world by bizarre weather patterns which make it almost impossible to access. The Skags are also known for the unique juxtaposition of warm waters with a cool climate across most of its three regions thanks to currents flowing up from Daen, which has allowed the locals to extract the bounty of the sea for their own use.
The history of the Skags begins with the Allorn Empire. During their explorations north they discovered the landmass, charted the shores, and then moved on. Unlike their southern jungles, the land’s thick trees and temperate climate did not interest them. As time went on, this was reinforced as very little of value could be found on what now makes up the three land masses aside from trees and generally ore-less mountains. An outpost or two were founded on the landmass, mainly to aid in communication with the Allorn Empire’s northern client state, the Drovv. Because of this, the future Skags became an ideal ground to flee to if you were an Allorn Empire slave, and many did, though a great number also died trying to get there. The Velheim reached Nordskag relatively late, and in the decades before the Cataclysm left a minimal impact. Things became slightly more difficult for all Humans in the region when much of the temperate climate of the Skags became a winter climate, as the Isldar were born in distant Ellador. The blast of cold air touched Mirnoye, Hvitskag, and much of Nordskag but the populations in these lands survived. The next major event in the region was, unfortunately, the Fifth Void Invasion. As these forces marched south toward the Allorn Empire, they passed through The Skags, though they left a minimal impact as the Ailor avoided the many dark creatures. The Cataclysm which occurred shortly afterward shook The Skags greatly, breaking them off from Cain, with many Ailor populations either dying out on the coastlines or were thrown into chaos. For over 100 years, the Ailor remained isolated and decentralized. Around 150 AC, some small communities formed in the south and gradually, by 170 AC, there were several in the north as well. These came into contact with Ithania to the south and Cain to the north. Though the connection was minor, it was enough to inform the desperate Skagger Horde.
The majority of the Velheim tribes found in the Regalian Archipelago were fleeing, seeking new lands away from the Regalian Empire which was pushing them back on all fronts in its efforts to unite the entire Archipelago under their banner. The Skags offered a way out, and thousands fled to Nordskag and Hvitskag. Those sent to Mirnoye by the locals found themselves blocked by a vast storm current, and what ships dared to brave the phenomena were seen to be destroyed. Returning to the other two Skags, Hvitskag soon found itself bursting with people, and every inch of ground was contested between the different parties. In Nordskag on the other hand, the outside Velheim had quickly organized and effectively united themselves with the locals in a kingship. The newly formed Kingdom of Nordskag soon set its eyes on conflict-filled Hvitskag and invaded before 200 AC. Instead of the factionalism continuing as they had assumed, a Hvitskagger confederation formed to combat them. This conflict began the century-plus long Nordskag-Hvitskag War which would rage until 305 AC. As for other affairs on the Skags, contact was briefly made with the Mirnoye by the Nordskaggers, who were promptly told never to violate Mirnoye sovereignty. Shortly after this, Nordskag found itself in conflict with an even older enemy: the Regalian Empire, which was seeking expansion over all the Ailor realms. Hostilities almost immediately broke out between the two nations, as Co-Chancellors Cedmir I and Alexander I declared war. For many years Nordskag had the upper hand, the Chancellors not adequately prepared for the ferocity of the locals and Alexander died quite soon into the conflict. However, over the coming years Regalia brought more direct force to bear against the Nordskaggers, mainly in the shape of artillery bombardment.
In 252 AC, King Markus Krumme called for an end to the fighting. He had grown tired of the constant warfare and knew even a society like the Velheim needed peace to rest and recover. He therefore made himself a vassal to the Regalian Empire. Over the coming years, Nordskag troops saw action in the Chrysant War, the Ranger Crisis and other conflicts, though mainly they fought minor battles against the Hvitskaggers who still warred against them. In 304 AC, the nation was beset by Bone Horrors because of the Bone Horror Crisis, and while initially losing, soon gained the upper hand and eliminated the largest threats with the help of a Regalian taskforce that arrived to help reconquer the land from the undead abominations. In 305 AC, several changes happened on The Skags. The first was the death of Markus Krumme, who had ruled his lands for over 60 years. His son, Osvald Krumme, had been raised by the Viridian Order and was already half-Ithanian. He was not a Regalian puppet; while he did further unite with the Empire, replacing members of his court with Regalian officials, he was still Velheim in temperament. Immediately after, Regalian tacticians approached the king with an offer: the Regalian Empire would help conquer Hvitskag. Osvald Krumme immediately accepted and waged a capable, devastating war against his enemies which saw half of Hvitskag land conquered. Since that time, The Skags have been quiet. Hvitskag has largely been subjugated, while new mysteries of Mirnoye now exist, it remains accessible only once a year. Nordskag remains a loyal part of the Regalian Empire (though has briefly left twice to drive political change to the Regalian Empire in recent years) and it is likely many Nordskaggers will continue traveling to Regalia to ply their service as soldiers to that vast state.
The Skags sit northwest of the Regalian Archipelago, north-northeast of Ithania and south of Cain. They sit at the intersection of two bodies of water, the Feerlais Ocean to the west and the Windward Seas to the east. The region is a blend of terrains, some northern and harsh, while others are less so. Hvitøy (home of the Hvitskaggers), in particular, embodies this harshness. It is the most northward and far colder than the other two islands. As such, snow is constant across its rough terrain. Ridges and rugged hills cover much of its surface, while small but dense forests are crammed between the craggy rocks, their growth fed by other frozen over streams. The people here are very rugged, wild and untamed. However, their recent defeat to Nordskag has prompted a brutal suppression of their individuality and nation. They are currently a territory under the Kingdom of Nordskag, and while it is part of the Regalian Empire, the Empire lets the Velheim deal with their own. The other two landmasses are different, with Mirnoye of a similar size to Hvitøy, and Nordskag itself is easily larger than the two smaller regions put together. Nordskag is a flatter region when compared to Hvitskag, but also possess majestic, beautiful mountain ranges at the center of their landmass. These formations bear thick pine forests which often stretch as far as the coastline, as well as rivers that spring forth from these great grey mountains. Additionally, on Nordskag, marshes, swamps, and four large lakes sit near the center of the continent, while to the south, several small grass plains sit. The coastlines of Nordskag are varied, sometimes made up of short to tall cliffs or almost no shoreline at all, with an ocean of trees suddenly replacing the ocean of water. Much of the water around Nordskag is not arctic cold and is instead warm and pleasant due to the currents carried up from Daen and over from nearby Fendarfelle.
Mirnoye, in contrast to Nordskag and Hvitøy, has a totally mysterious regional appearance. A recent visit led by Velheim Regalian nobles in 308 and 309 AC found a land void of trees, animals, and covered in strange rocks. The locals, a strange species of giant beings, were more welcoming the first time, but were not Ailor, shattering the myth of the region being the homeland of the Krainivaya and so the mysteries of Mirnoye continue. These mysteries exist due to the present of a supernatural force of nature: the Mirnoye Maelstrom. The Maelstrom is a wild and unruly weather pattern which rages around the Mirnoye landmass. It produces extreme wind gusts, heavy rain and snowfall, and forms an almost impenetrable barrier between Mirnoye and the rest of the world. The Mirnoye people have developed special boats which allow transport to and from their home landmass, but most other wooden rigged ships are completely smashed before even being able to so much as lower an escape sloop into the water. The exact source of the Maelstrom is ill understood, but the Mirnoye have clearly learned much from it as indicated by their electric weaponry used in a brief encounter with the Regalian Empire. Even more curiously, the weather wanes once a year on the 24th of November for no clear explanation, only to resume the next day and effectively shut off contact with the world. This is the only time outsiders can travel into the mysterious region. The weather in the rest of The Skags varies from cold to cool to occasionally, in southern Nordskag, warm. Winters are hard, but summers are gentle, the seasons surprisingly even despite the two climate extremes Nordskag is crushed between.
The Skags possess a variety of plant life. The most obvious are the many types of evergreen tree that grow across the region, such as the Juniper Tree whose berries the local Velheim eat, drink and use in religious services. There are also smaller plants that grow in the forests, most notably several mosses like Dirtmoss and Duijnnemose, the second of the two is quite fascinating as its formations appear similar to the muscled Human form. There are also several species of fungi, like the Fingercap and Shademarsh Mushroom. These blanket the forest floor and thrive in and around the bodies of water found across all three landmasses. A final unique piece of The Skags ecosystem is the pale blue and beautiful Friblomst. Despite the harsh cold of Hvitskag, where the plant grows, it survives and thrives in the forests of the continent. Due to the long war between Nordskag and Hvitskag, it has become a symbol of Velheim independence across The North Belt and the wider world.
The Skags have a variety of fauna across the three islands. The most well known, despite its rarity, is the Medskala. The serpent thrives in and around bodies of water in Hvitskag and Nordskag with a venomous bite which helps it hunt. This venom has become a favored tool of Velheim assassins and plotters, though it is difficult to acquire. Other animals abound on the Skags, from the fierce Northern Wolf to the quick Rabbit to the majestic Stand Antler. In the waters and skies are a number of other animals, notably the Nordskag Kreb, probably the most well known as a majority part of the local fishing industry. The Dragged Crow is another common sight and, though it is an animal with connotations of death in Velheim culture, also functions as a form of messaging system. Even more animals live in the settlements. Goats and Sheep exist as herd animals, though others exist in a semi-feral state in the wild, and multiple domesticated dog breeds can also be found across the many settlements. Most were brought by returning soldiers after tours of duty serving Regalia or by foreigners who now live in the region.
It was originally political zeal and Unionist doctrine which drove the Regalian Empire to involve themselves in the politics of the Skags. They were seen as inheritors of the Skagger Horde, worthy of crushing should they not submit, and so the Regalians invaded. The stalemate that followed quickly dashed these dreams, and as Regalian politics and religion shifted, so too did the opinion of Nordskag. By the time the war ended, Regalian gratefully accepted the vassalage of the Kingdom of Nordskag, and today, has been a valued supporter for the Nordskaggers for decades. They assisted them in conquering well over half the Hvitskag Confederation, and have frequently been responsive to their concerns about Regalian politics. Ultimately, Regalia’s continued domination of the region is unlikely to end given the current ruler of the Kingdom.
Regalian Aligned States
- Kingdom of Nordskag, a powerful Velheim state with presence in Aloria. A military-focused nation headed by a Knight-trained King, Nordskag remains one of the most significant territories of the Regalian Empire.
- For information on the Kingdom of Nordskag, click HERE
- Hvitskag Confederacy, once held a large, wild population to match it’s controlled landmass. However, following Regalian-sponsored plans of conquest, Nordskag invaded and conquered over half of the Confederacy. The chiefs, barons and lords of the united but divided land who fell under Nordskag control largely accepted their loss, but guerilla combat behind the lines and raids over the current border the two lands share means that the Confederacy will likely remain a problematic conquest for Nordskag for some time.
- Mirnoye, mysterious and isolated. It is clear that the beings who live on Mirnoye do not seek communication with the outside world, and in fact, do not understand much about the world beyond their own. While they are capable of great violence, they also appear to be under the sway of their god to the extent of unanimous agreement, switching to a policy of non-violence in 309 AC.
- Click here for more information on Kongehaug
The Mirnoy Ablast was once said to be a quasi-holy site for the Mirnoye people, but also a graveyard for their gods. The city sits near the coastline of Mirnoye, and outsiders can occasionally see its ghostly image through the Maelstrom. The story of the Ablast is shrouded in mystery, but it is known to be a massive, highly complex city. Tales speak of a massive conflict that flared up among the Mirnoye within its walls, however, resulting in it being devastated and abandoned, becoming a dark husk of itself. The city is notable for several reasons, though the most important is the clear demonstration of Mirnoye architecture. Almost everything in the city is hewn from black granite, and it all features strong, geometrically shaped buildings. Also, high walls surround the entire city, still upright after all of this time. Instead of towers to support sections of the wall, massive statues of the Mirnoye gods stand in silent guardianship of the city behind them. However, contact with the beings of Mirnoye at the end of 309 AC has indicated a very different truth. Instead of being a graveyard for the gods, it is the home of the region's chief or perhaps only, deity, the Allfather. Outsiders are not allowed inside, let alone close, and the settlement is instead called Barrat by the locals. This has led many to wonder where the original beliefs about the site came from, with many deciding they were Velheim fabrications or part of some unknown past now hidden from perhaps even the strange local inhabitants.
The Ordvall Landgap is a sinkhole in Nordskag that randomly opened in 256 AC with little to no quaking of the ground. The sinkhole is around 300 meters wide and has never been fully explored due to an excess of toxic gases leaking up from the ground. Some gases are also flammable, as a torch-carrying Eronidas found out one day near the mouth of the hole, resulting in him losing most of his body hair. Much of the vegetation surrounding the sinkhole has died to the toxic nature of the chemicals at play, and most worry that with time, the taint may spread to the surrounding forest and cause a serious situation. Many assume it is somehow a passageway to the lands of the Dakkar, caverns deep beneath the earth that have been silent for several years now, following the end of Dakkar contact with the surface. More superstitious Velheim believe the Landgap to be a hole straight to the realm of Imellomgard or somehow related to a long buried and neglected Helbolwen. Others, far more radical, believe the chasm to be the beginning of Dodarrøs (the Old Gods belief in the end of the world), following in the vein of predictions that the netherworld will enter the mortal realm, which will then sink to replace it. As a result, around the site, are many piles of stones and altars, places of worship and animal sacrifice. A small group of religious figures routinely travel from the nearby town to call out lost names, and seek communion with lost souls which may or may not be seeping up from this tainted tunnel.
Stiilinnsjø is a beautiful, pristine lake of freshwater found in the eastern half of Nordskag. The body of water is located north of its sister lake, Berolinnsjø, and is a wonderful sight. It is the largest inland area of freshwater in Nordskag, hosting large schools of trout and salmon swimming alongside waterfowl and other creatures. Its clear waters reveal an emerald green lakebed of marine plant life and a surface dotted by Water Lilies that periodically die and regrown with each season. The lake also runs off into several beautiful rivers and later waterfalls, adding to its magnificence. There are a trio of small rocky islands near the western side of the lake, and these are often the destination of day trips by children, visitors, and lovers as the islands offer a fine view of the surrounding lake and also through the normally imposing treeline given their height. The shoreline of Stiilinnsjø is mainly small sandy inlets and stretches of dull colored sand against the treeline. A few small areas, particularly on the western half of the lake, are also religious sites where honors are made to a variety of Velheim deities from fully fledged gods to Maarda. However, the site has long been contested by the various barons from the Kingdom of Nordskag whose territory borders or is near the lovely lake. The fishing rights from this lake are invaluable as it helps those leaders to feed hundreds, earn admiration, respect and loyalty from being able to provide for their power base properly. While it is said no blood has ever entered the gentle waves of Stiilinnsjø, it has most definitely been spilled in the surrounding forest at various times over control of the lake.
- Despite records clearly indicating it, no remains or ruins of Allorn Empire outposts have ever been found in the region. Some claim that the fortifications might have fallen into the sea, though others believe the dense forests of Nordskag might have consumed the ruins, totally sheltering them from the naked eye.
- Many old Velheim sites exist in The Skags, and they have often been a source of Undead outbreaks, but also Navner and Staargir or Valsung travels.