Kingdom of Nordskag
|Kingdom of Nordskag|
|Nations and States|
|Full Name||Kingdom of Nordskag|
|Pronunciation||King-dom of Nord-skag|
|Official Languages||Skodje, Common|
|Regional Languages||Skodje, D’Ithanie, Oortaal, Dwarven Dialect, Common|
|Current Ruler||King Osvald Krumme|
The Kingdom of Nordskag was a nation established from the ashes of a defeated enemy of the Regalian Empire, which grew to become a great Velheim state. Sadly, for some anyway, Regalia came again and conquered their old foe, joining them to their expanding Empire. Today, the Nordskaggers contribute large sums of valuable and experienced troops to the Regalian Military, and though their nobility is as bickering as those in the Regalian Archipelago, the nation remains stable. Nordskaggers are also known for their fine alcohols, the one product that stands out besides their soldiers in a generally basic economy, and their spirits are enjoyed the world over, even if their Velheim society often is not by those who suffered mightily at the hands of that Culture in the past.
The Kingdom of Nordskag takes its name from a simple combination of words. Nord was a term sometimes applied to people of the north by the ancient Ailor and Altalar, while also being another term for the cardinal point of north. Then Skag, a shortened form of Skagger, which was the term used to refer to an individual of the Skagger Horde of the Regalian Archipelago. That population moved en-mass to what is now the North Skags, thus also giving the region its name and also naming the large island that they settled on most, itself called Nordskag. This is somewhat ironic as Nordskag is actually the island farthest south out of three land masses in the North Skags, though when it was named, outsiders were unaware of the other two regions.
Nordskag can trace its origins to the Skagger Horde, who’s last members that left the Regalian Archipelago in 179 AC. The defeated of the Skagger Wars fled the Regalian Empire, seeking new land to settle and survive in. Their scouts found and made contact with those Velheim already in the North Skags, and so at the end of 179 AC, the region experienced a great injection of people. While many went to smaller Hvitskag, promptly overcrowding it and causing conflict, the much larger region of Nordskag and its already sparse population was extensively and effectively settled by the leadership of the Skagger Horde that remained. But these leaders were both young and old, and saw the old ways (that of separate tribes and clans) as weakening to their cause. The Regalians had divided and conquered them, using their rivalries to destroy each other. Thus, they chose to elect a king from among their number to unite their people. The resulting moot lasted one month long and saw twelve duels, six brawls, and one murder. But in the end Jjol “The Joyful” was chosen, and his family, the Ragnvalds, were uplifted to take control of the fledgling nation. A bear of a man, quick to jest and laugh just as quick as he was to throw a punch, Jjol went across Nordskag appointing various men and women to the position of barons and baronesses to help rule over the new nation. This early time is seen as the best in Nordskag’s history, when there was a spirit of cooperation and genuine peace between the many types of Velheim within its borders. However, that slowly began to end after 200 AC.
In that year, Jjol decided that his people needed a good war to unite them even further and so he targeted Hvitskag, still quarrelsome and a tangle of loyalties that he thought would be an easy target. Instead, he was bogged down into a quagmire of conflict, and the Hvitskaggers united into their own monarchy to oppose him. He died in 203 AC back in Nordskag, a life of enjoying drink and women wantonly finally getting the better of him, whereupon he was succeeded by his first son, Harald. Harald was an earnest king, but he saw the conflict in Hvitskag as a grindstone that merely sharpened two identical blades at the same time and ultimately pulled out of the conflict. Many disliked this decision, but his push to encourage colonization across all of the island, as well as engage in foreign trade, seemed to placate people. However, he fell into conflict with the Regalian Empire. Alexander the Giant led a conflict against the Nordskaggers and the war that came afterward was fierce, Harald himself dying not long after it began. Alexander then pressed his advantage, but he wildly underestimated the power of the Nordskaggers, and was ultimately cornered and killed a year later in 216 AC, his death dealt in retaliation for the nation’s fallen ruler.
His brother, Friedrich, continued his brother’s policies, but any plans he had to maybe deviate from them came to a screeching halt when he died of dysentery. This then saw the regency of the Queen’s brother, Olai Schaksson, for the young son of Harald, in what many Velheim consider to be their worst period of ruling history. Olai wasn’t a warrior, yet he did have good generals, and so the war continued for several years. However, it ultimately lulled as while peace was never declared, no new offensives took place for a number of years. For the next decade, Olai ruled decently, however, he was finally ousted from power when Tomasz Ragnvald came of age. There was also a scandal involving Olai and Tomasz’s older sister, the two being secretly married as each other's main spouses despite both already possessing main spouses, thus casting his reign in an even poorer light. Tomasz proved to be just as controversial as his regent. Some might call him a passionate youth, while in the mind of others he was violent and irresponsible, but what is sure is that he didn’t rule for long. By the end of 240 AC, he was dead, killed under vague circumstances but generally understood to be a brawl within the palace walls. To say the barons and baronesses had had enough of the Ragnvald line was an understatement, and thus they passed over them all, and bestowed the crowd to Markus Krumme, the young patriarch of the Krumme cadet line formed by Jjol Ragnvald and one of his Hildrae. Krumme ruled adequately for several years, only to have the Regalian Empire come roaring back onto the scene in 250 AC. Their new offensive was bold and aggressive, and Markus quickly saw a grim future for his people if they kept fighting. Thus, he surrendered two years later, and the Kingdom of Nordskag joined the Regalian Empire.
Many barons and baronesses hated this decision, but over the next 50 years, Markus ruled fairly and bought them off by further decentralizing the Nordskag bureaucracy. All he required was a supply of levies when requested, and an adherence to certain Regalian regulations in terms of trade. His son, Osvald, was sent and educated by the School of Viridian, and the nation prospered as its soldiers fought for the Regalian Empire on many fronts. Within the past several years though, great changes have challenged their society. First was the chaos of the Bone Horror Crisis, which saw thousands of frozen undead rise to menace the North Skags. The population was originally very weak to this threat, but the hostile land worked in their favor and the vast hordes that originally formed were soon split up or sent tumbling into geographical traps. When the Bone Horrors became killable, the Velheim crushed the largest hordes of these profaned undead thanks to help from Regalian forces seeking to aid in the reconquest of their disrupted Empire. Then, in 305, Markus Krumme died. The stress on his aged form from fleeing the Bone Horrors and the rough trek he underwent ultimately became too much for him, and he never recovered in the months following his return to Nordskag’s capital. Thus, Osvald Krumme arrived and proved that while Regalian in education, he was Velheim in spirit and made it clear he was not a puppet. He helped to lead a successful, final conquest of the Hvitskag Horde with Regalia’s help, dismantling their monarchy though he was unable to properly reinforce his possessions due to the stern urgings of the Mirnoye. In the aftermath of this, he led several Velheim states in seceding from the Regalian Empire during the Anglian Mist Crisis, citing the poor treatment of the Velheim within the Regalian Archipelago. This breach was ultimately mended, and Nordskag has rejoined the Empire, once again sending their soldiers off to fight for the Regalian Empire.
Nordskag is a decentralized monarchy that follows Velheim ideas of limited government or statecraft within their society. At the top is a king, who is hereditary, albeit the will of the barons and baronesses disinherited the now-vanished bloodline of Ragnvald. The king has the right to govern the land and deal with foreign nations, and has several special posts within his court he awards to those he deems as useful. Beneath him is a simple feudal structure, with barons and baronesses ruling over baronies in the name of the king. Technically, all owe him their fealty, pay taxes to him based on their region’s production, supplying troops when he requests, and maintain societal order. In the last four decades of Markus’ reign, he loosened his strictness over these requirements, save the troop supplying regulation, and thus allowed the nobility to enrich themselves which calmed their irritation from being ruled by the Regalians. But this has led to squabbling amongst the aristocracy for land and power, with some resorting to blackmail, bankruptcy, and brutal force to absorb weaker families and eradicate competition. This is worse in the north and west of the nation, with the south and east are fairly passive due to the large influx of foreigners in the south, and due to Krumme lands being in the west around the capital city of Kongehaug. Nonetheless, families will make determined efforts to overcome others if they see the opportunity for a chance at power arise in both peaceful regions. Beneath them are the local chiefs, Jovrlov and more of traditional Velheim Culture, who oversee their own small territory in the name of the baron or baroness they serve. They are also typically responsible for tax collection.
List of Rulers
- Pre-Cataclysm to 180 AC - Various groups of Ailor
- 181 AC to 203 AC - Jjol “The Joyful” Ragnvald
- 203 AC to 216 AC - Harald Ragnvald
- 216 AC to 222 AC - Friedrich Ragnvald
- 223 AC to 233 AC - Olai Schaksson (Regency)
- 233 AC to 240 AC - Tomasz Ragnvald
- 241 AC to 305 AC - Markus Krumme
- 305 AC to Present - Osvald Krumme
The laws of the Kingdom of Nordskag are those of Velheim Culture, and its officers are the Jovrlov. The only quirks are primarily Regalian taxation regulations and rules instituted onto the region by the Regalian Empire as the kingdom is their vassal. As for the rank of citizens, Nordskag follows the system as laid out in the Regalian Laws of the Regalian Empire, and even then the full breadth of these Laws is not present within the rugged, largely rural and wild kingdom that still follows many old and local Velheim ways.
The kingdom is classified as a sub-state, or vassal, under the Regalian Empire, and therefore owes allegiance to that nation. The original contract drawn between the Regalian Empire, whose head negotiator was the infamous Morgann Kade, and King Markus Krumme, was this: Regalia would extract a yearly tax as tribute from the nation, while also supplying men to fulfill quotas created by the Regalian Military. In return, their trade was allowed unimpeded with all nations and the Imperial Navy would take on the workload of defending their lands. Despite Regalia’s war with Nordskag, the two are generally on good terms, as most within their lands have a begrudging respect for the powerful nation and are also grateful for being given a chance to earn Soldi in the field of battle when serving with the Empire. The treatment of Velheim is still an issue though, and Nordskag even left the Empire for several months as a protest move, though it should be noted that the move also occurred when Regalia was weak and relations were rapidly patched up.
Generally speaking, Regalia’s enemies are Nordskag’s enemies, though there is a particular bit of animosity between Nordskag and the Ithanian Sovereignty despite both being Ailor and residing within the Regalian Empire. The Ithanians cannot forgive the Velheim for their raiding practices, which while they have greatly reduced, still occur and have not been stopped despite the decades-long length of the issue. As a result, the Ithanians often see the land as a place to exile their most failed nobility and citizens who cannot be killed, though in practice many Ithanians when given the options ultimately choose Nordskag over other exile locations since it is still close to Ithania, the people are largely Ailor, and it is still part of the Regalian Empire. Additionally, what better place is there to avoid being raided than by living with the raiders? Nordskag once had a fierce rivalry with the much smaller Hvitskag but have now conquered that nation, this for the moment, deciding their contest of strength.
Nordskag’s best asset is its army, which forms a portion of the Regalian Military. Men who wish to pursue a soldier’s life are recruited around the age of sixteen and trained for four years. The training is often quite tasking, with activities such as swimming in chilly ponds to build stamina, sparring early in the morning, or taking mid-afternoon runs through the spacious highland woods as just a few of the many vigorous pursuits. After this period, they are considered “graduated” and are sorted into the military, which is divided into two divisions in Nordskag. The first is the Spydenhed, men famed for their skill with spears and bows as a light force. These men tend to act as the scouts, runners, and archers of the army. The other is the Tvangruppe, who feature as Nordskag’s typical infantry with swords and shields. A separate wing of the military is the King’s honor guard, named the Basjtur Akser (the Axes of Basjtur). These are soldiers hand-picked by the royal administration to serve and protect the royal family of Nordskag. They are infamous for their use of curved axes to cleave their enemies open, breeding a feared brutality in their combat style. It is customary for one son of a baron to join the military, and they are usually absorbed into the ranks of the Basjtur Akser, given most have had access to weapon training from youth. Naturally, when the Tvangruppe and Spydenhed serve under Regalia in the army, they tend to assimilate with the other troops and lose their names, though their fighting methods remain the same.
The uniform for those of the Nordskag army varies for each division. Spydenhed soldiers tend to be presented with light leather armor and furs, the armor highlighted with dark blue cloth. On the other hand, Tvangruppe warriors customarily wear Steel armor or chainmail, alongside having rounded shields that are painted dark blue and marked with the stag symbol of Nordskag. Lastly comes the Basjtur Akser, who wield axes and wear very little in the way of armor. They will wear an assortment of Steel armor, though the norm is to go bare-chested so to show off one’s tattoos, and hopefully gain a scar. Although impractical, these soldiers believe that each scar gained in combat against an enemy will gain them favor from the deity Basjtur, and they will proceed to tattoo around the scar after.
The economy of Nordskag is not very robust. The economy’s problems are due to the issues within the aristocracy where barons and landowners have the tendency to argue and disrupt the economic flow, but also as a result of the wild land. Nordskag is fairly expansive, but land suitable for agriculture is only found in the south. Marshlands and bogs take up a large proportion of the low-lying northern regions, and the cold climate found there year-round further impedes this. Nordskag, therefore, relies on the lumber, mining and fishing industries to gain coin, and use the pine from the forests and the fish from the lakes, rivers, and sea to trade. Thus, fishermen and lumberjacks are the second-largest employers in the kingdom with mining just behind them. The one notable product the nation exports is their alcohol, hardy and strong stuff enjoyed by other Velheim and the daring drinkers of the wider Regalian Empire. Sumpbær, made from the berries that grow in the mire and a sour-tasting concoction that warms the throat and heart is notable, as is Dovrinik Viksfjord, a drink made on board a ship and then kept close to the sea or any major source of water for months on end as it ferments.
The Kingdom of Nordskag is dominated by the worship of the Old Gods, with particular emphasis placed upon the deities of the Union of Water and the Union of Air, for self-explanatory reasons given their domains. There are also a variety of lesser marsh or swamp gods believed in by the Nordskaggers, such as Mørdam and Billvann, due to the swampy terrain their land possesses. There are some darker cults said to lurk in the mountains though. Unionism is perhaps the least worshipped, with its only enclaves being in the capital city of Kongehaug and in the south, both sites possessing large numbers of foreigners who are more inclined toward that faith.
Nordskag’s flag features a grey stag standing proudly, set against a backdrop of dark blue. This stag is meant to represent the historical figurehead of Jjol Ragnvald, who supposedly wore the antlers and pelt of a stag on his person. For those of Nordskag, a stag symbolizes regal power and prestige, which is one of the reasons why hunting stags and deer is forbidden for all bar the nobility. A more toned-down national image is simply a stag’s head ringed by a circle of dark blue lines.
- Some believe today that Jjol Ragnvald was, in fact, an Url, though his body was never exhumed by modern scholars before the Bone Horror Crisis removed his remains. This is believed both by tales that he traveled to Jorrhildr in his younger days, and that he is said to have “worn his horns and hair constantly.” It might have just been a ceremonial dress or his personal sense of style, as the wider public believes, but the rumors persist.
- Lake rights are one of the most common points of argument between the various barons and baronesses of Nordskag, since such bodies are often deep and bountiful with seafood.
- When insulting the Nordskaggers, people commonly call them the Nordskagger Horde. This not only compares them to their former enemy, the Hvitskagger Horde, but also to the Skagger Horde that helped form both nations. At the same time, a lot of the common public calls the Kingdom of Nordskag the Nordskagger Horde without regard for the offense it causes as they are not well educated enough to know the difference between the modern Kingdom and the Skagger Horde.