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{{Info culture
{{Info culture
|pronunciation = vel-heym
|image = 1246f523bf6bcb3bebf3fa868f0049a0.png
|commonnames = Velheimer, Northerners  
|pronunciation = Vel-heym
|classification = Human Culture
|commonnames = Velheim, Northerners  
|origins = Regalian Archipelago (Pre-Kingdom), Ellador
|classification = [[Northland Culture]]
|dominantrace = Ailor
|origins = [[Old Ceardia]]
|socialclasses = Farmers, Shepherds, Raiders, Warriors, Hunters, Nomads
|dominantrace = [[Ailor]]
|majorcities = Kongehjem
|socialclasses = Fishers, Warriors, Soldiers, Woodcutters, Hunters, Explorers, Sailors, Divers
|majorcities = Speldsund, Kristianstad, Gammalstan, Birgosl, Vintuul and Vadrahammarand
|}}
|}}
The Velheim culture group, known to most of the world as the “Northern” culture, is a rough term that refers to the splintered cultures of [[The North Belt]]. Velheim is often considered to be a barbarian culture among what are generally perceived as the more “civilized” cultures of the world, and not without good reason: The cold people of the north have inflicted centuries of violent attacks and savage destruction on many southern kingdoms. Not only do the Velheim cultures have reputations of being feared; they are also reviled for their lack of common decency. That being said, to simply compare a Velheim to a wild barbarian does not do justice to an intricate culture that in itself is far more complex and isolated from the other surviving [[Ailor Cultures]]. By far, the Velheim culture is the closest connected to the ancient Ailor cultures of [[Old Ceardia]], a fact that Velheimers are all too eager to remind others of. Regardless of opinions, the fact always remains that the most ferocious and honorable warriors among the Ailor come from the Velheim people, as much as southerners might like to think of them as barbarians.  
 
The ancient and complex [[Culture]] of the Velheim is often said to be the grandfather of all other Cultures in [[Aloria]]. Indeed, while all of [[Ailor]]-kind descends from the [[Old Ceardians]], it was the first Velheim that explored the dangerous seas, filled with all manner of beast and hostile elfling vessels in search for easy slaves. The Velheim spread their longboats far and wide in search for new land, fleeing the destruction and warfare of [[Ceardia]], creating a vast network of the earlier Ailor colonies that all cooperated. Through various climates and expansions, the Velheim have become the most widely spread Ailor Culture, albeit outnumbered in raw population by various others. They are both staunchly traditional in their customs, but eager to learn new ways to survive in the various corners of the world that others sneer at. Indeed, their Culture is one of contradiction and overgeneralization. They are generally seen as a call-back to the past of Ailor, warlike, rugged, uncivilized. But the truth is that the Velheim Culture may yet be the most deeply complex and yet generally united Culture of the Ailor, bringing people together in centuries old ideologies and tales of the past that continue to inspire the warriors of the future.


==History==
==History==
Velheimer culture follows an old narrative dating back to at least five centuries before the Cataclysm. In the early days of the Old Ceardian landmass, Ailor developed means of travel through smaller vessels known as “Tall Ships” (which weren’t actually tall, but more long), which allowed them to begin the practice of hopping from continent to continent. These ships weren’t suitable for travel across oceans, but they did allow the Ailor to quickly spread from one continent to another, using them as stepping stones. This naval urge to expand and explore was largely inspired by captured Elven ships and maps that were used to raid Ailor coastlines for slaves. It didn’t take long for the Ailor to colonize most of the continental landmasses all the way up to Ellador, and despite the harsh conditions, many Ailor such as those on the Regalian Archipelago and in Ellador prevailed.
[[File:EPZStjoXsAMDYOM.jpg|260px|thumb|right|Some Velheim adopt other cultural concepts, particularly [[Regal]], but always find a way to stay true to their Velheim roots through small symbolism.]]
[[File:Hgdd.png|260px|thumb|right|The Velheim settle rough and harsh territories, earning them the names of pioneer settlers and hardy colonists.]]
[[File:EAGNYSQX4AA6jMM.jpg|260px|thumb|right|[[Urlan]] pose a considerable problem to Velheim in [[Ellador]], [[Jorrhildr]] and the Moors. Yet, Velheim Urlan are also far more likely than any other Culture of Ailor to stay true to their pre-Urlan roots and traditions.]]
[[File:D57V5l4W0AEmeum.png|260px|thumb|right|Toxic masculinity and macho-ness are strongly frowned upon in Velheim society, and as such, even if the Velheim want to look tough, they are usually far kinder.]]
[[File:D-sGe3iWwAA2Hy8.png|260px|thumb|right|Velheim tattoos do not strictly only need to involve geometric lines. These lines can sometimes also bend, and also include additional symbolism for decoration.]]
[[File:D5nGgNiWkAAtIcR.jpg|260px|thumb|right|Velheim love the idea of a reveal, and as such, try to hide their weapons or fighting body with heavy pelts and cloth before a dramatic moment.]]
[[File:DyNjlsGXgAAfB2L.jpg|260px|thumb|right|It is very common for Velheim women to look more tomboy-ish and for Velheim men to look effeminate when not interested in warfare. Their clothing and grooming options are often very non gender imposed.]]
[[File:C7db2d4f5922f3d453c1cd5c9c7be65d-png.jpg|260px|thumb|right|In the Empire that once took their land, the Velheim are now known as excellent frontline soldiers, known for their ferocity and bravery.]]
The earliest history of the Velheim people is not recorded, so historical records only exist in the form of oral storytelling. Storytelling has always been a massive component of Velheim Culture, so much in the ways of historical recording through surviving folk-tales does exist, but it is often pulled into question by modern day scholars. The earliest reference of Velheim comes actually from some of the earlier Ceardian Kingdoms around 500 BC, which reference a large group of people living on the northern shore of Old Ceardia (a reason why they are also sometimes referred to as Northerners), leaving the Ceardian mainland to settle on the islands that would later form [[Zemlith]] as it is known today. This move was largely motivated because the Old Ceardian kingdoms that existed on their borderlands supposedly moved towards the coasts, lands the [[Proto-Velheim]] originally inhabited, because they suffered less earthquakes caused by the activities of the [[Gray Scale Dragons]]. This violent movement caused the (at the time) peaceful fishing Velheim to flee across the water to Zemlith.
 
From Zemlith, contact has been sparse with the Ceardians, because it was mostly the fishing and seafaring Proto-Velheim that had developed ships capable of crossing into deep ocean waters. The Old Ceardians themselves had a great fear of the water, because this is where the [[Altalar]] came from with their slave vessels. How the Velheim weren’t wholesale enslaved by the Altalar is unknown. It has been theorized that some sort of intervention must have occurred by some force whether they be mundane or occult, because the isles of Zemlith have never been deemed particularly useful to defense, nor does the geography of the island suggest it was a particularly useful hiding place for those about to be attacked. If anything, Zemlith should have made these Proto-Velheim an even easier target, as the islands were at the time smaller, before a series of volcano eruptions increased their size, and any inland area must have been well visible from Altalar slavery vessels.
 
Exactly when the Proto-Velheim started their first voyages of exploration is unknown, but most modern scholars have put the estimation to around 350 BC. How these vessels managed to escape the prowling Altalar slavery vessels also remains a mystery, as the original Tall Ships as they were called, moved very slowly and were visible from far away due to their inefficient sails. Only through later iterations did their vessels develop into the more traditional longboats as they are known from the [[Kingdom of Hedryll]], a nation that preserves the construction of these seafaring vessels with virtually no changes since their final iteration. It is believed that the Velheim moved from Zemlith to early [[Carrhen]] and [[Essalonia]], founding early settlements, before island hopping to [[Talamoor]] and [[Drixagh]], before, in the third wave, to [[The Skags]], [[Ellador]] and [[Cain]], followed by further adjacent islands and lands through travel by land. This means that, even though their wide naval activities were more primitive than that of the Altalar, and their population smaller, their actual naval reach was much, much larger. Regular trade routes were supposed to have united all the smaller colonies together, some less successful than others. Notably, colonies settled on what are now known as [[Kelmoria]] and [[Dormin]] failed quickly, and attempts to colonize [[Nordskag]] and [[Hvitskag]] never fully succeeded until the influx of [[Skagger]] refugees from the [[Regalian Archipelago]]. The Velheim even colonized many of the regions in the Regalian Archipelago, meeting the pre-kingdom Cultures of the [[Breizh]], the [[Wirtem]], the [[Sarnt]] and the primitive [[Voltman]]. History tells that the Velheimers lived relatively peaceful with all these pre-Kingdom tribes and groups, except for the Sarnt and the Wirtem, who frequently pushed their people out of the forest regions of modern day [[Calemberg]] and [[Vultaro]]. The Velheim living on [[Ellador]] and the adjacent [[Essalonian]] lands supposedly also suffered from the wildlife, spawning many myths and legend about fearsome creatures. Especially those on Falsemarr have tales of the [[Trolls]] and giants of [[Tryllejag]], stories of clever [[Ogres]] that hid in forests near houses of killed inhabitants, only revealing themselves when someone would come looking for the now deceased inhabitants, and posing them a riddle that if they should fail, they would end up eaten.
 
By 300 BC, this trade network had supposedly been established to such a degree that a distinct clothing style and religion had formed, but the Velheimers were still relatively peaceful, a far cry from their later descendants that would form the [[Skagger Hordes]]. Throughout this period, the Velheimers were sailors, explorers and fishers, mostly living in more sparsely populated environments, and even not turning away from making barely viable villages on the boundaries of tundras and frozen plains, particularly in regions where Altalar slave raiders never went, even if there were some contacts with them in the Regalian Archipelago. The Altalar have few records, because Altalar did not see the purpose of attempting to differentiate between Ailor tribes, but remarked on the ‘people with faces painted like the lay of the land and maps of the waters, each person a canvas of their own of the nearby area’. What this implied, is that the modern art of Velheim tattooing might have actually originated in some sort of cartographic body art, where if one could assemble an entire crew of before-hand established friends, that one could line all of them up, and produce a map of the nearby waters by having them stand shoulder to shoulder.  
 
Success was not always even for the Velheim as they continued to spread the Ailor race across the land. Notably the Hedryll Kingdom grew to be immensely strong, but the settlements on Zemlith, their original home, and Carmoor were abandoned around 200 BC as Ceardians moved in instead, or volcanic activity drove them away from Kelmoria and Zemlith. Generally speaking, the kingdoms near Ellador and the Moors ended up succeeding, while those in the Regalian Archipelago managed to mix well with the local tribes, but failed everywhere else. The center of Velheim trade focused from Zemlith and Silbrae eventually moved further north, establishing a triangle from Drixagh, Hrdryll and Falsemarr, cutting off further interactions with the Altalar. The Velheim in the Regalian Archipelago both began to mix and isolate. Those in Drixagh spread out among the mountains, forests, and coastlines, avoiding the Wirtem that had started adopting more feudal approaches to governance. The Velheim broke most contact with the Breizh, due to the Breizh starting to show similar habits of the Old Ceardians that drove the Velheim out of Ceardia to begin with. It is mostly believed that the Velheim in Drixagh became more violent and aggressive because of repeated invasions by the Wirtem and the Sarnt, who often used the Wirtem as a jumping board to raid the Velheim. It is believed that the Velheim around 150 BC adopted the Skagger axe from the Sarnt when the Velheim destroyed their tribes in retaliation for a massacre, who actually developed that shape of weapon long before the Velheim did.
 
Velheim society continued to grow in number, until about 75 BC when a major influx of Ceardian colonists came in the wake of the Velheim that had gone before several hundred of years earlier. Historical grievances were quickly forgotten in the warmer and more fertile regions of the then Schön River Delta, and the Velheim communities there were essentially absorbed into the local populations that started spreading into [[Anglia]] and [[Clannadh-Alba]] beyond. It is as thus sometimes begrudgingly admitted by modern scholars, that even though the [[Cultures|Heartland]], [[Cultures|Regal]] and [[Cultures|Warmland]] Cultures ridicule the Velheim as being backwards, that every living Ailor probably has some percentage of Velheim blood in them. A severe disruption of Velheim life in Drixagh, which was at this point one of the most densely Velheim populated regions, occurred shortly after the Cataclysm. While Drixagh had fared well in the face of Cataclysm, other Velheim regions were utterly beset by destruction and ruin. Hedryll had been turned into a shadow of its former self by the [[Dorkarthi Princes]], whole kingdoms on the south shores of Ellador were wiped out of history, and all manner of demon beast attacked the Moors, killing thousands. The trade network rapidly disintegrated as the longboats were not capable of navigating through the rougher and disturbed waters that formed maelstroms that were both terrifying and unpredictable. The disruption of this network caused further famines and death, resulting in a large influx of refugees into Drixagh. While Drixagh was not necessarily a violent place at the time, the Falsemarr and recently war-worn and cynical Hedryllians that fled there incorporated a certain sense of urgency to conquest. These outsiders to the Archipelago were out of their depth, and did not understand the growing political concern over the Regalian Empire that had just recently formed, and started aggressively expanding through warfare and diplomacy.
 
The pressure of increased population and poor arable land, caused the Velheimers to form the initial Skagger Horde, which in the Velheim language just meant a horde of people without a house. Skagger even to this day somewhat translates to homeless person, but not in the sense that [[Regalians]] perceive a homeless person as unemployed and a blemish on society, but in the way that Velheim see someone who has forsaken their home through tragedy, and is searching for a new place of belonging to find themselves again. These Skagger Hordes poured south, conquering vast swathes of [[Wirtemcaller]] land (land which was previously inhabited by the Wirtem tribes which were now a formal kingdom). The race was on between the Regalian Empire and the Skagger Hordes for who could conquer the most land, and eventually, conflict was met in 67 AC when the Skagger Horde made contact with the Regalians through skirmishes along the [[Dorinn]] coastlines of Anglia, the Breizh people of [[Kintyr]], and the [[Highlanders]] in Clannadh-Alba and even as far north as [[Gallovia]]. Coastal raiding had always been depicted by the Regalians as savage pointless destruction, but it was in fact often used to test the defenses of the Regalians before a full scale invasion was planned. Still, these attacks and notably their brutality helped the Regalian clergy convince the people that they were beset by demons who had forsaken their humanity, which rallied more soldiers to the cause.


Once the migrants had settled in their new homes, the Velheimer culture remained very similar to the old Ceardian culture, though the settlers adapted their practices to suit their local needs. This included the exchange of the old practice of Wydt-Reedh (raiding on land) to Havstrid (raiding by sea), and also cultivated the adoption of cuisine and local customs to support a practical lifestyle in a much colder environment. The Velheimer culture has stayed distinctly different from Old Ceardian as a colonial culture, though it eventually replaced its ancestor as the last living remnant of ancient Ailor culture. As such, not much history is attributed to its birth.
The [[Skagger Wars]] officially started in 67, but the first real heavy conflict only occured in 97 AC, when the Skaggers completely overran the weakened [[Wirtemcaller Kingdom]] and occupied it. Further excursions were made into modern day [[Leutz-Vixe]] and [[Waldmark]] lands, until they were repulsed by the Regalian armies, mobilized in religious fervor against these pagan believers. Strong and weak Emperors of Regalia come and went, and so did the fortunes of the wars on both sides. Sometimes a truce was agreed upon, but increased resource pressure and desperation continued the Velheim people to push harder and harder, and also to radicalize more into a strength driven society that started turning more and more away from their seafaring roots as land became the primary resource of value. What eventually wore the Velheim down was their lack of coordination and central leadership. The Regalian Empire was unified under one single god-Emperor who held command over a vast nobility that would always induce new regions into their systems through local representation and rule. The Skaggers meanwhile simply expelled the locals, or outright murdered them in desperation to displace these peoples. Some Velheim look back on the Skagger wars as a shameful period in their history, because of the rapid and senseless slaughter of locals on both sides that likely exacerbated cultural fault lines that have still not healed to the modern day. By 121, Regalia declared a full blown holy war, mobilizing the entire Empire in an attempt to push the Skaggers out of Wirtemcaller, something they had managed to hold onto for the past decades. The Regalians not only succeeded, but pushed the Skaggers further back into Drixagh, even if that boundary was fragile and would frequently shift back and forth. By 179, the end game had been reached, and the Regalians burned the large and important regional capital of modern day [[Stralsunde]], which convinced the local Drixagh Velheim that the Skagger wars were pointless and that absolute destruction was inevitable. That same year, vast numbers, some say into the tens to hundreds of thousands, of Skaggers were evicted from the Archipelago by the Drixagh Velheim, or more specifically their ancestors that invited the Skaggers in originally, to wander the seas again. In the past 180 years since the Cataclysm, the seas had calmed, and the lands became safe for re-population, as the Vampires had meanwhile been pushed back by the same Regalian Empire that defeated the Skaggers, and the beasts of the Moors were pushed back by the [[Sihndar]] that stemmed the tide of wild beasts from [[Drowda]].
 
In 185, the Tvål Treaty was signed by the then leading elders of the remaining independent Drixagh realms with the Regalian Empire that caused their lands to be formally annexed into the Regalian Empire. Some Skagger tribes stayed behind in the depopulated areas of Drixagh, forming the first few schools that would continue to teach their veteran warfare skills to willing warriors. The most important part of the Tvål Treaty was that the locals managed to get the Regalians to concede on a no-contest clause for Drixagh. While it actually led to an identical outcome if they had been conquered in a bloody war of conquest, it allowed the Velheim to coin the phrase “Beaten but not Taken, Defeated but not Conquered”. What this essentially meant is that while they acknowledged the fact that they were defeated, they willingly entered the boundaries of the Regalian Empire without a single Regalian soldier on their actual land, and that Regalia never formally invaded and annexed their land. This in turn allowed the Velheimers to continue preserving their own Culture and religion in these lands. While allowing the Velheim Culture to thrive in the 100 years following lived in relative peace, they did set the stage for eventual clashes, as Velheim continued to be resilient to conversion to Unionism, and eventually clashed with the more imperial-minded Southerners, a term which they have now coined for any Culture other than Velheim (excluding Velheim daughter Cultures). The violent aspect of the Skagger Wars never truly left the Velheim. What was originally a very peaceful and seafaring exploring Culture had turned into a battle hardened and somewhat cynical people that expected to always be on the backfoot with anyone they interacted with. They had become a people that expected to be oppressed by others and belittled at every turn, and as such, armed themselves appropriately with weapons and skill for self defense. For some, this self defense turned to offense, as the Nordskaggers started raiding the [[Ithanian Kingdom]], while the Hvitskaggers became almost more savage, and returned to the days of roving warbands and tribes that would take their produce from less defended realms. In a way the lasting scar on Velheim society was not the loss of the war, but the fact that a co-operative Culture had slowly eroded into a complex one that oscillated between camaraderie and aggression, built around the idea of strength.


==Language and Dialects==
==Language and Dialects==
The Velheim speak the Language known as Skodje, which exists in many subdialects based on region. The tongue is particularly present in Ellador, Hedryll, Østryll, Jorrhildr and Nordskag. Velheim populations living in areas like [[Zemlith]], [[Ithania]] and [[Daendroc]] exemplify the formation of subdialects most strongly as the Skodje in these regions has been warped to include local words and better follow local Language structures or sounds. Another common Language was [[Tunge]], spoken by Velheim and some Ceardians living in the nations of Arlora and Torse. Unfortunately, that Language has largely gone extinct following the disasters that have befallen both of these regions.  
The Velheim speak several [[Languages]], the first and best known being Skodje (which is actually pronounced as Scuh-ye), which is present among the Velheim of the Regalian Archipelago. As a Language, Skodje sound very melodic, which is not something one would expect from a Language spoken by mostly warriors and hunters. It specifically makes use of the art of pitch to differentiate between words. While being melodic to the ears, the Language is often also quite forceful in its sounding. Even the most cowardly Velheim will sound confident and resolute with the words spoken in his own tongue due to strong and short consonants. Between their own people, however, pitch and manner of pronunciation differentiate moods between sentences, so it is much easier to pick up whether someone means what they say or not. Those Velheim from the north-west, from nations like the [[Kingdom of Nordskag]] and the [[Tryllejag Realm]] speak [[Nytalsk]] while those from the north-est in areas like [[Torse]] and [[Hedryll]] speak [[Forsk]]. Their parent tongue is [[Gamvelsk]], spoken by the Proto-Velheim which is largely dead today except for use during rituals, and remnants on the oldest remaining Velheim kingdoms. Generally speaking, Velheimers have a very bland to non-existent accent when they speak Common. This is largely theorized because Skodje and Common have a common Proto-Ceardian language ancestor, and as such produce very similar syllables and vowel pronunciations, besides the additional alphabet letters that Skodje has and Common does not.
===Naming Customs===
Velheim naming customs remain simple, yet often say plenty about a person. There is no strict naming system among the Velheim people, though many often follow the trendline roughly like this; Firstly, a first name is used on a more common basis, followed by a middle name that the Velheim chooses upon their coming of age ceremony, then, their surname usually describes where they came from, and the full name is finally completed with the parental suffix. The parental suffix is gender sensitive, meaning a son takes a name from his father, while a daughter takes her name from a mother (if either parent is missing, it defaults to the other) with the addition of -son or -dottir depending on whether they are the son or daughter respectively. This usually results in a long name, and sometimes also confusion which can arise from the fact that these rules aren’t universally used in casual times. Some Velheim introduce themselves as the son of such, followed by name, while others introduce themselves as name, followed by actual surname. Some even switch between the two, using the son or daughter of such distinction when speaking to non-Velheim, and the actual surname when speaking to Velheimers, since surnames frequently describe where they are from.  


As a Language, Skodje sound very melodic, which is not something one would expect from a Language spoken by mostly warriors and hunters. It specifically makes use of the art of pitch to differentiate between words, and the Language itself has several vowels which do not exist in the common [[Proto-Regalian]] alphabet used by all other Ailor languages. While being melodic to the ears, the Language are often also quite forceful in their sounding. Even the most cowardly Velheimer will sound confident and resolute with the words spoken in his own tongue due to strong and short consonants. Between their own people however, pitch and manner of pronunciation differentiate moods between sentences, so it is much easier to pick up whether someone means what they say. It is, as such, said that it is impossible to lie to a Velheim in their own language. They will be able to pick up small body language hints and differences in pronunciation that only the most skilled actors are able to overcome.
Velheim first names are unique among most other Cultures in that every single male or female name can be commuted to the opposite gender by adding a number of vowels and consonants. There is no clear distinct rule to it, but most Velheim will be able to tell whether a name sounds male or female due to the number of vowels in it. A good example of this is the difference between Alvid and Aldiva, the former being male and the latter being female. Another example is Bjorn and Bjornhilda. The Language of Skodje often assists in the creation of female names by using additional consonants to accommodate the vowels, but generally speaking the ground rule remains: whichever name has more vowels is the female name. Velheimers often name themselves after animals or legends, though it is also common to take Ceardian names and translate them into Velheim spelling. Some common creature or object-based names are:
===Naming Customs===
*Bjørn, or “Bear”
Velheim naming customs remain simple, yet often say a lot about a person. There is no strict naming system among the Velheim people, though many often follow the trendline of first name, followed by surname, followed by son or daughter of such. The last segment is particularly important because all Velheimer from a particular village might all share the same surname, and they differentiate from each other by using their parents in their name. As such, in locality, Velheim often omit their surname, though when dealing with foreigners or any formal state, they still use their full name.
*Ulvid, or “Wolf-life”
*Trenne, or “Strong as a tree”
*Stein, or “rock”
*Brunhild, or “Brown fighter”
Commonly Ceardian names converted to Velheim are:
*Ania, from Anna
*Karl, from Carl
*Sigmundr, from Sigismund
*Elsa, from Elizabeth


A Velheim often carries a surname based on a geographic feature of their birthplace, preceded by the general description. For example if a person comes from a sund (a sound, a waterway that forms the mouth of a fjord) while the primary product of the local fisheries is eel, their surname would be Ålesund, a combination of the Skodje name for eel and the word sund. Similarly, if a person were from an island named Valder, their surname would be Valderøya, a combination of the island’s name and the Skodje word for island, øya. Some examples of geographical features that are used in surnames:
As for the Velheim surname, that is often based on a geographic feature of their birthplace, preceded by the general description. For example, if a person comes from a sund (a sound, a waterway that forms the mouth of a fjord) while the primary product of the local fisheries is eel, their surname would be Ålesund, a combination of the Skodje name for eel and the word sund. Similarly, if a person were from an island named Valder, their surname would be Valderøya, a combination of the island’s name and the Skodje word for island, øya. Some examples of geographical features that are used in surnames (though there are certainly dozens if not hundreds more):
*Fjord, a waterway between two mountains that has a distant connection to the sea
*Fjord, a waterway between two mountains that has a distant connection to the sea
*Sund, a waterway that forms the mouth of a fjord towards the ocean
*Sund, a waterway that forms the mouth of a fjord towards the ocean
Line 31: Line 65:
*Heim, a name used to define an important family belonging to noble lineage
*Heim, a name used to define an important family belonging to noble lineage
*Borg, a densely populated area (particularly popular among Regalia natives)
*Borg, a densely populated area (particularly popular among Regalia natives)
*-enn, meaning “one” often added as a surname to define the person by their surname for example, “Sterke-enn” would be “strong one”. Nicknames basing themselves in surnames are not common, but often are used when someone has achieved something great that sets them apart from their ancestors giving them the right to start their own lineage.
*-enn, meaning “one” (often added as a surname to define the person by their surname for example, “Sterke-enn” would be “strong one”, though some consider these surnames pretentious and change them for that reason alone).
(There are more terms that permit creative freedom for the person in question, but these are just some examples)


Another number of examples with explanations:
Here are some explains of Velheim surnames:
*Skogheim, a noble family that lives in a forested area
*Skogheim, a noble family that lives in a forested area
*Håstdal, a horse breeder that lives in a valley
*Håstdal, a horse breeder that lives in a valley
Line 40: Line 73:
*av Uggla (a far less popular way of creating surnames by taking an Anglian approach and simply saying “This person is from there”, in this case from a place called Uggla)
*av Uggla (a far less popular way of creating surnames by taking an Anglian approach and simply saying “This person is from there”, in this case from a place called Uggla)


Velheim first names are unique among all other cultures in that every single male or female name can be commuted to the opposite gender by adding a number of vowels and consonants. There is no clear distinct rule to it, but most Velheimer will be able to tell whether a name sounds male or female, due to the number of vowels in it. A good example of this is the difference between Alvid and Aldiva, the former being male and the latter being female. Another example is Bjorn and Bjornhilda. The languages often assist in the creation of female names by using additional consonants to accommodate the vowels, but generally speaking the ground rule remains, whichever name has more vowels is the female name. Velheimer often name themselves after animals or localized names for the Old Gods, though it is also common to take Ceardian names and translate them into Velheim spelling. Some common creature or object based names are:
==Laws==
*Bjørn, or “Bear”
Velheim Law is very distinct in that it never developed as a result, or collaboration of the [[Regalian Law]] system. Velheim Law has existed for as long as the Velheim people have, and as such, is sometimes called the Law of the Sea by them. The basic principle of Velheim Law is that every person has an aspect of Soldi, which is a general term to describe someone’s good conduct, honorability, venerability or general trustworthiness, whichever term is preferable. Crimes and malpractice affect someone’s Soldi negatively, while heroism and selflessness improve someone’s Soldi. Since the adoption of Drixagh into the Regalian Empire, and later the conquest of Nordskag, most Velheim actually live inside the borders of the Regalian Empire, but the vast majority of them live in regions where only Velheim Law rules. Because the concept of Feudal Nobility only had been imported into these regions long after Velheim Law was established, Velheim Law actually ends up being entirely separate from the nobility. Velheim Law is in fact so separate that for all intents and purposes, nobility are the same rank as commoners in the eye of Velheim Law, or indeed Soldi. Principally speaking, Velheim law is administered by a person called the Jovrlov, which acts sort of like a judge, but is chosen by their people. In every city, a single Jovrlov can exist, and so it does for Regalia, though the Jovrlov of Regalia tends to swap in and out frequently because of the rapidly changing make-up of Velheim society there. Velheim remain very isolated from the other Ailor Cultures, preferring to stay among their own, because of the expectation to be ridiculed and excluded everywhere else. The principle laws of Velheim Law are recorded below.
*Ulvid, or “Wolf-life”
*Trenne, or “Strong as a tree”
*Stein, or “rock”
*Brunhild, or “Brown fighter”
Commonly Ceardian names converted to Velheim are:
*Ania, from Anna
*Karl, from Carl
*Sigmundr, from Sigismund
*Elsa, from Elizabeth


==Laws==
*Jovrlovgang, is the act of choosing a new Jovrlov. A Jovrlov is always decided democratically by any and all Velheim that choose to show up. The only valid voters are those who reside legally in the city where the Jovrlov is chosen, and that they must be at least full blood Velheim, or half-blood Velheim, or live and work and socialize in Velheim districts for the majority of their time. At any time, a Velheim can eject a non-Velheimer that they consider too “un-Velheim” from such elections, but Velheimers are always permitted, even if they do not live in the Velheim districts. The election is very simple, anyone wishing to appoint or replace a Jovrlov simply calls for a meeting of the Velheim at least a week in advance, and then a fair one vote per person no matter age or class counts. New appointments are sworn in immediately, and sit for a month before they can be voted out again, but technically sit indefinitely.
Velheimer Law is generally fairly straightforward. Do not steal, do not murder, do not violate and do not destroy. Disputes between families are settled by the Earl on a satisfactory-basis where the Earl attempts to compromise. When a matter has turned violent, the Rakhr, a type of sheriff in Velheimer communities, is necessary to decree an outcome. The Velheimer know numerous customs for handling such affairs, known as Jovr’s Justice Laws, that are nominally accepted as legal in the Regalian Empire even. Most foreign cultures respect Jovr’s Justice among the Velheimer (even if the Velheimer in fact do not believe in Jovr, and are Old Gods worshipers or Unionists, Jovr’s Justice is still more of a cultural norm than a religious belief). The specific codes of Jovr’s Justice are presented below. These are all legal within the boundaries of the Regalian Empire, though only apply between Velheimer and Velheimer. Regalian Law in fact does not interfere with Jovr’s Justice at all, even if it means the Velheimer in question are breaking state law by executing the specifications of Jovr’s Justice.  
* Huust, is the individual that refuses to accept a Jovrlov. A person who is Huust is legally outcast by Velheim Law, but not necessarily by their community. Huust are generally also considered sore losers however, because the appointment of a Jovrlov is generally considered blessed by the Old Gods, and to refuse to accept such a religious and democratically elected person is considered petty and childish. Those who are Huust, are usually denied the right to Velheim Law, and are instead judged by the strictest of Regalian State Law penal codes.  
*Lovgang, the act of challenging a sitting Rakhr for the seat of Rakhr. A Rakhr must always accept a Lovgang or be disgraced and removed him his position by default to the challenger. A Lovgang is a duel between challenger and position holder that concerns the title of Rakhr. This fight does not have to be until death, but death is a viable means of winning. When a Lovgang succeeds, the challenger becomes the new Rakhr. If the old one survives, they must pledge themselves and all the Velheimer that have pledged themselves to them to the new Rakhr. The men can object to this pledge, but become misfortuned Dreyr at that point, calling down Otr’s misfortune on their family for their disgrace.  
*Hjemgang, is the act of challenging someone’s Soldi. This can only be done by the criminal that is awaiting trial, and the accusing family or individual. This agreement must be consented by all parties involved, meaning the accused, the accuser, and the Jovrlovgang. If agreed upon, the trial is instead commuted to a duel of honor, where both the accused or accuser enter in a duel themselves, or appoint a representative to fight for them. This is a non-lethal confrontation, the winner of which declared innocence or guilt on the accused party. The idea is that while the Soldi of the accused is likely tainted, they can regain just enough of it through a battle before the gods to declare themselves innocent, and get away with it, which is why it is called Hjemgang or “the way to home”. In the case of a guilty verdict, the trial is immediately skipped, and the Jovrlov applies their sentence.  
*Rakhrgang, the act of forcing a Velheimer to accept a Rakhr as leader. A Velheimer that does not acknowledge a Rakhr as their leader is considered Huust, or honorless. If a Huust is discovered by a fellow Velheimer, they may publicly accuse them of being such, after which they have three days to pledge to a Rakhr, or face Otr’s misfortunes. A Huust when discovered may never challenge a Rakhr and will be shunned by Velheimer society, not being able to appeal to Jovr’s Justice Laws in any way.  
*Trille-Skulle, is the term used to describe the act of recompense. Velheim Law does not strictly punish people with corporal punishment, but seeks to resistute the damages inflicted on the suffering or accusing family or person. This means that, at the basest of forms, punishment can never be the removal of a limb or death of a person. Even with absolutely no Soldi left, a person can never have their life be threatened or have long lasting physical damage. It is the job of the Jovrlov to talk to both the accuser and the accused before the trial, to figure out what they are looking for or are willing to give to end hostilities in as amicable a way as possible. It is always expected of the accuser to come with reasonable terms, but the accused may always decline and insist on their innocence, leaving their Trille-Skulle up to the Jovrlov.  
*Hjemgang, the act of taking by force. A Hjemgang is a fairly controversial duel between two Velheimer that concerns their property. When Hjemgang is invoked, the challenger and challenged enter into a duel over the property of either, to any of their property. If accepted, the duel proceeds with live weapons until either surrender or first blood drawn. Refusing to accept a Hjemgang before winnings are settled upon is considered dishonorable and cause to be ridiculed by other Velheimers. Death is not necessary to win a Hjemgang, but can sometimes occur. The winnings of a Hjemgang are decided upon before the actual duel takes place, and can range from Sol-Kvinne, Bond wives and husbands, money, titles, organizations and more, but never someone's children. The winnings or so called Vinner-Ting, should always be equal between parties. Both parties should agree that what they stand to gain is equal to what they stand to lose. Losers aren’t completely shunned by society despite the loss of honor on a lost duel, and it’s in fact quite common for other Velheimer to take pity and provide them with free food and clothes and shelter. It is possible to re-challenge a Hjemgang winner to regain the lost items. A Rakr should always be present to arbitrate and act as referee during a fight.
* Saardi, is the term used to describe a trial which follows after Regalian State Law. Velheim are not protected by any sort of special arrangement in Regalia that substitutes State Law with Velheim Law. Velheim however consider Soldi a separate matter that cannot be addressed by Regalian Law, and as such, even though a person has been found guilty or innocent in a State Law proceeding, if both parties are Velheim, a Velheim Law case may follow immediately after. Sometimes in fact, it can result in a person being declared innocent in one trial, and guilty in another. Saardi thus describes a Velheim trial that comes after a Regalian trial. The opposite is Yaardi, which occurs when no Regalian trial is held, and it is instead a clean Velheim Trial. This can sometimes occur when Velheim on Velheim crime is not reported to the Regalian State, which is actually very common, as Velheim consider involving the Regalian State in the matters of Soldi humiliating.  
*Trille-Skulle, the act of recompense for theft. The point of Trille-Skulle is to compensate a thief with a path of thorns, requiring the thief to walk over a thirty feet path filled with thorn bushes and nettles, while their community pelts rotten tomatoes at them. Curiously enough, when the ordeal is over, everyone embraces the thief and takes them out for drinking to celebrate their forgiveness.
* Vittal, is the trial jury, which is usually the entire spectator crowd. However, the spectator crowd may ever only be Velheim, half-Velheim, or those who live primarily in Velheim Society, as long as they are not Huust or declared un-Velheim by other audience members. The Vittal listens to the trial, and weighs in by boo’ing the final verdict if it is too light, and remaining absolutely silent if it is too heavy. Only when a judgement from a Jovrlov is considered fair and measured, does the crowd proclaim Vittal-Merktsom, which is a fancy way of saying that they approve. The Jovrlov does not need to listen to the crowd, but usually will, especially when they weigh heavily in a particular direction. Ultimately, the punishment is always up to the Jovrlov, however is is expected that they are fair and just, and that the punishment is aimed at re-consoling the accused and accuser, not creating more animosity. This has sometimes resulted in just fines, but in other cases, a person being forced into the family of the person they murdered, to take over their position in that family that is now missing.
*Mord-Skulle, the act of recompense for death. The point of Mord-Skulle is to compensate a family for the murder of a person. Murder in Jovr’s Justice Law is very complex, because it often borders into implying that the person should have been a better warrior so as to not get murdered. If however the Rakhr determines that the murder took place while the victim was unaware or unable to even know they were about to die, then the murderer must take blame and act as a sacrifice to Jovr to cleanse the Soldi of the victim. This is done by beheading, after which the corpse is buried in a shallow grave after having been burned and trampled by oxen. Curiously enough, if the victim was considered aware of the murder and did not fight back in a decent way as per judgement of the Rakhr, the culprit is released after a stick beating where they are tied to a pole naked and beaten by three men with sticks.  


==Lifestyle and Customs==
==Lifestyle and Customs==
===Families===
===Families===
Velheimer families are a bit of an oddity among the many Ailor cultures in that they are a very pro-equality culture in terms of gender, but still hold a very strong concept of polygamy, though in a different way than it is implied in other cultures. A man must always wed his primary wife, or the so called Sol-Kvinne. In all aspects, a Sol-Kvinne is permanent. The concept of re-marriage does not exist among the Velheimer people, even when a woman and a man wish to no longer be married, due to the misfortune Soldi concept applying also to failed marriages and cursing their offspring. They simply separate themselves to live far away from one another but remain married (though, many Velheimer have found a solution to this by simply converting to the Old Gods Faith or Unionism where remarriage is permitted, since this aspect is only partly enforced by the Oldt Fayth). A man may never marry another woman officially (or man at all), though may take so called Bond Wives (or men), which border somewhere between prostitute, slave and consort. Bond Wives are often captured during raids on either other Velheimer towns, but more often foreign places like [[Ithania]] or the Essalonian Kingdoms. Bond Wives serve as secondary wives to the man, birthing children that will be legal offspring. A man can force any female slave to become a Bond wife, though curiously enough, a male slave also. Same-sex relations (or polyamorous relations involving a man, a Sol-Kvinne and a Bond-man) among Velheimer is far more accepted than most other Ailor cultures. While Bond Wives are essentially slaves, they are often treated well by the men, dressed in fine clothes and bathed frequently to keep them clean. The Sol-Kvinne are often responsible for their hygiene and obedience to the man. That being said, Bond Wives are still slaves even after they are chosen to serve their master, and can be treated as such, including but not limited to verbal and physical abuse, down to murder if the slave does not perform as wanted (though in the Regalian Empire, murder on a slave is still murder, the legality of this is only confined in Velheimer states). This practice is entirely optional however, there are many Velheimer men who marry only a Sol-Kvinne and simply sell off any potential Bond Wives if they should ever present themselves to them, thus remaining monogamous.  
Velheim families are sometimes difficult to understand for outsiders, because they fit so far out of the norm for Ailor Cultures. Many families, sometimes even more than half of them, are polyamorous, and usually also polygamous. Families recognize a ‘main’ pairing being partner and partner, but each partner is allowed to have bondwives and bondhusbands, which are so called ‘additional spouses’. It is also important to note that there is no real gender distinction here. This is because Velheim have traditionally been the first Culture to accept same-sex relations among their people. The Velheim separate the aspects of Kjaere and Hildrae, Kjaere being a bondpartner that is purely loved in a non-erotic way, while a Hildrae is a bondpartner that is additionally loved in an erotic way. It is perfectly normal and common for a heterosexual Velheimer male to have several Kjaere bond husbands, even though there is no sexual attraction present in those relations. Velheim claim that this is because they allow themselves to love more freely than all other Cultures. That being said, the main pairing of partner and partner must always be Hildrae, otherwise they would not be compatible lovers. If the other main partner is a woman, they are called a Sol-Kvinne. If they are male, they are instead Sol-Mard. Because of these arrangements, the Velheim Culture has the largest number of same-sex pairings, though many of them exist in non-sexual commitments. It is also important to state that while technically there is a main partner in a marriage, the distinction ‘main’ only exists for legal and bureaucratic reasons. Generally speaking, each husband or wife and additional husband or wife is loved in a different way with different intensities, but a completely fair and equal spread is also very possible. Within relations themselves, the terms Sol-Kvinne and Sol-Mard are rarely used, unless there is a very clear reason to declare a boundary between asexual and sexual partners.  


Marriage among the Velheimer is always arranged between fathers, mothers have no input in the matter, which is one of the very few cases where Velheimer society is more patriarchal than equal. The purpose of marriage is often to carry many children, and even though society among the Velheimer is far more equal than say, [[Anglian]] or [[Calemberg]] cultures, sons are often preferred, because they can bring great honor onto a household, while far less women take the path of the wolf and become warriors. Family units beyond marriage tend to be strong. Parents care greatly for their children, and even take care of the elders that are infirm or incapable of taking care of themselves. A great father-son and mother-daughter relation persists among the Velheimer where parents pass on their skills to their children of the same gender, or in some rare cases, the opposite gender.
Additionally, Slaves are a cornerstone of Velheim household, though not strictly in the way that slaves are seen in other Cultures. Slavery to the Velheim is called Bondebillung, the idea that someone has either done a crime, given themselves up voluntarily, or was conquered during a war to become part of a family. The concept is far less about slapping someone in chains, and far more about including them into the household, and welcoming them into the family as part of a lasting responsibility to the Soldi gained from those victories. Such slaves are generally treated very fairly, and sometimes even transition out of slavery when they become bondhusband or bondwife to one of the Velheim masters. It is said among scholars that a Velheim slave never dies a slave. This is because slaves among Velheimers are always released when they reach the age of 50, and if they before that enter the field of battle alongside their master, they are released moments before the battle commences. It is not unusual for those who were released in battle to return to their master and re-pledge, in a perpetual cycle until they are eventually too old to serve in battle.  


===Gender Roles===
Children live a relatively happy life, albeit somewhat harsh in the natural environments that Velheim tend to live in. Because most Velheim families have multiple members in the same relationship, children are hardly ever not taken care of, and are usually passed between parents and bondparents for care within the same household. This is why almost every Velheimer can claim to have multiple fathers and multiple mothers. They acknowledge all bondmother and bondfather as their real father or mother, regardless of whether they were the biological parent, or whether there was even any Hildrae between the bondparents. It is often said among the Velheim that a child that grows up knowing only one father and mother, or less, is a poor child indeed, and is lost in the world without a community of their own. Sometimes, strictly monogamous families co-rent with other strictly monogamous families in case children get involved, just to ensure their children have a varied and busy upbringing. Still, Velheim do tend to put their children to work at much younger ages, and declare them adult at the age of 13, often in contradiction with Regalian State Law. At the age of 13, they try to perform some feat of strength, skill, or intellect, during which they choose a word or object or person as their middle-name to identify themselves strongly with that chosen name. There is generally no difference between the opportunities of male or female children, as Velheim society is fiercely egalitarian.
Velheimer gender roles, aside from the more strict cultural norms in their relations, are incredibly equal. Men and women treasure each others as equals in a marriage, a Velheimer man is never found obstructing a woman from trying to achieve the same things a man could. While women are more suited to raising their children, men take a strong role in parentage as well, and women and men are both equally welcome in combat schools and in war. This is often also why Regalian women, who find no way to enter Regalian military academies, travel to [[Nordskag]] to serve in their army for the necessary qualifications. In politics, women can equally achieve the same heights as men, though often because of the physical nature of men in relation to women, men tend to occupy more of the top roles in Velheimer society. The only position that is entirely unique to men among the Velheim is the Staargir, which is a fortune teller of sorts.  


==Religion==
==Religion==
The Velheim people follow faiths largely considered outdated, if not somewhat heretical, by the standards of the Unionist-dominated Regalian Empire. These are Oldt Fayth and [[Old Gods]], the latter often easily subsumed under the other. The religion has been around for centuries, going as far back as the ancient Ailor of Ceardia who later spread across Aloria. The Oldt Fayth is vast, with a pantheon of central deities but also countless lesser ones crafted and formed by the local population. As a result, Oldt Fayth is as individualistic as the Velheim are themselves, and helps to enfuse the sense of honor that they carry about in everyday life. It also fuels their focus for combat, as Soldi (most comparable to an individual’s soul) is made fair by valiance, honor, ferocity, and not falling without a fight. Those who do, or who are cowards or are treacherous, possess bad Soldi.  
The Velheim primarily believe in Stor Gudr, or as most others call it, the Old God, the oldest religion known to the Ailor Race. It is wildly different from its original inception due to the constant modification as the centuries passed by. Old Gods is inherently a very disorganized religion, meaning that regional differences and small custom exceptions may exist, though generally speaking, its core principles are well followed. Among the Velheim, Old Gods is by far the most practiced religion, and all major changes and religious sites also exist in their lands. Other notable populations of Old Gods worshipers exist in the Caeren, Dunbrae, Fridurfolk, Tarkkin, and Zvorun populations, particularly in the northern mountain regions of Drixagh where Unionism reverted back to Old Gods. Old Gods is a polytheistic religion, setting it apart from most other Ailor religions, though it has many aspects in common with the Faith of Estel, and is often accused, by Altalar, as a copy of the Altalar faith even if Velheimers will violently disagree with this assertion. Old Gods as a religion shrunk considerably since the creation of Unionism by Theomar at the rise of the Regalian Empire, however it remains a massive religion for the Ailor, far outclassing all other minor religions isolated to various cultures, and second only to Unionism. To some Unionists even, Old Gods has a certain allure of freedom and spiritual absolution not revolving around back breaking work or self sacrifice. While Old Gods is certainly shrinking in the Regalian Archipelago, where whole regions have not a single worshiper left, elsewhere, Old Gods is actually on the rise as populations among the Velheim and Heartland Ceardian kingdoms continue to grow due to an increase in welfare, following their introduction into the Regalian Empire, increased food supplies, and Regalia’s relatively moderate religious freedom laws.
:*''For more information on Oldt Fayth, click [[Oldt Fayth|here]]
 
:*''The full page of the Old Gods is too large for this page. For more in-depth information, read the [[Old Gods]] page.


==Literature and Folklore==
==Literature and Folklore==
===Philosophy===
===Philosophy===
The role of the state among the Velheim people is very ambiguous. They do not formally recognize the existence of a state (though will when it is practical for them, for example when they are part of the Regalian Empire). They do, however, also maintain a dualist structure of State based leadership, and Honor based leadership. This presents itself, in the simplest of terms, in the dual leadership of an Earl (more commonly seen as a Count, or called Jarl), and a Rakhr. Rakhr are not legal leaders in a sense that a King rules over their people, so they do not contest the rule of the Earls. They do however, command the loyalty of the warriors and the hearts of the people through Strength and Honor. In a way, in Regalia it could be compared in that the people owe their allegiance to the Emperor, but only through the local lords and Nobles who answer to the Emperor. The Rakhr however don’t necessarily answer to the Earls, and often even struggle for power with the Earls. In many places, the Earls pay heed to the advice and opinions of the Rakhr, for even though the Earls can legally force the people to serve him, only the Rakhr can make them do it with spirit and vigor. The distinction of where Rakhr authority stops and Earl authority begins is often hard to understand for outsiders, so the role of Rakhr is often simplified by calling them the Sheriff of a Velheimer community.
The Velheim people are strong believers in the concept of staying true to one’s customs and traditions, even in the face of immense pressure and adversity doing so. It is the very reason why so many outsiders claim them to be stubborn and unworkable in a more culturally mixed society, and this is also by far their biggest weakness, being unable to properly process events in real-time around them and always attempting to apply an outdated outlook on things. Still, others praise their philosophy as well for being strength focused, breeding a society built around the will of the strong, and the ability of those to enforce their will through arms, intellect, or sheer luck. It is largely why Velheim don’t have strict inheritance clauses and rules, rather, a system of ‘the strongest takes it all’, either through duels, battles of wit, or a combination of either with a healthy sprinkle of luck. This can sometimes lead to violence inside families, but is usually kept fairly contained, as weaker siblings understand at an early age what their place in the family is, and Soldi demands that stronger siblings continue to take care of their weaker siblings like a good patriarch or matriarch.  


Rakhr can be both male and female, and is inherently a hereditary title by default. They are the administrators of Jovr’s Justice, a legal code system that often differs from Velheim community to community, but often supplements the Earl’s state law as additional Velheim custom laws. This mostly pertains to the codes of honor, rites of the dead, religious and traditional festivities, but also the morale of the warriors and the general satisfaction of the people. Earls and Barons (or other rulers for that matter) often learn how to work with these Rakhr on a local level to ensure smooth rulership, though it’s not been uncommon for a Rakhr to oust an Earl or Baron in favor of sole rule. Typically however, this is seen as a disgrace to Jovr, and most Velheimer will quickly attempt to restore order by having a new Earl appointed.  
Strictly speaking however, while Velheim Culture is very macho in its make-up, it should never be understood to be a toxic level of macho-ness. There is a lot of verbal posturing in Velheim society, but at their heart, each Velheim is expected to treat each other Velheim with a level of fairness and the benefit of the doubt. Unless they have a strong reason to doubt someone’s Soldi, Velheim are expected not to insult each other for any reason beyond friendly banter, and that strangers should never become stand-off-ish or exclusionary of each other. Velheimers are expected to be hospitable to those of their own Culture, welcoming to newcomers (even if they slightly act out of the norm), and open to the idea of discourse and debates about their own personal conduct to others. Those that engage in toxic levels of macho posing or violent altercations or provocations with other Velheim are called Slemmer, which very loosely translates to ‘mean person’. Slemmer are quickly talked about in Velheim community as being undesirable, and they are generally denied entry to Velheim community events or gatherings, and denied entry to stores or bars. This tends to even extend to Velheim that antagonize other races or religions for no self-defensive reason, or for a reason to defend another Velheim that is being attacked or pressured. The entire act of seeking conflict with others for no other reason than to create conflict is considered banishment-worthy behavior in Velheim society, and the status of a person as a Slemmer, is often not rectified until that person profoundly and aptly apologizes to those they have offended in a public display in front of the whole of Velheim community, or at least a sizeable part of it.  


Due to the raiding nature of the Velheimer people, to go out and plunder foreign lands and bring the profits back, Earls are inherently necessary to integrate this economic activity with any formal state or Empire. The Earl takes a set percentage of the profits of a raid, which they pay to the state as taxation. In return. Velheimer people generally don’t pay taxes (though sometimes there is a general tax that requires them to pay off part of their cattle or wool if they produce those things). The Earl also dispenses social security to struggling families as well as legal control over who can farm or fish where. While the position of Rakhr is formally hereditary, hereditary inheritance barely ever happens. To be a Rakhr, is to command the loyalty of other Velheimer through boundless honor and just rule of Jovr’s Justice. If another person presents themselves to be more honorable or more just, they can challenge the Rakhr for a Lovgang. This practice is more explained in the Laws further below.
===Folklore===
There is a prophecy among the Velheim that one day, Basjtur will bless a chosen Velheim’s axe, the strongest of all Velheim that ever will be and ever has been, with the essence of the sun, allowing them to burn the gnarled ancient tree of Forseth to the ground before it may fall, thus ending the all-end before it can begin. This prophecy in particularly resonates with the Skagger people, especially those in the[[Skagger Order]], which trains their followers in the use of axes. It is said that the Velheim will know the coming of the chosen one if the crown should burn red as blood, and crows shall herald his naming by flocking within a league’s distance. It is said that the son or daughter of Basjtur, this chosen one, will then go on to found a glorious era of service to the Oldt Gods and enact a hundred years of successful raids.  


===Folklore===
As for the rest of Velheim mythology, there are countless animals and beliefs mainly due to the incredible diversity in locations that Velheim can be found in. Some are very well known though, mainly in the role they have played in past Velheim history or cultural events. One of the best known are the Ursarrin, bear men of the north who live to protect the Velheim people though they hide themselves in Velheim communities. They transform into their bestial bear form through the use of an enchanted bear fur, and do battle with their mortal enemy, the Ulvak, wolf-like creatures of darkness who come from the dark islands of Gallovia. Many today believe that the creatures are metaphors for the very fierce and aggressive fights between the Highlanders of Gallovia and the Velheim of Drixagh (as during the period of the Skagger Wars, much of Gallovia was occupied by the Velheim). Another creature with a mysterious history is the [[Ohnark]], beasts of luminous moon energy said to be the heralds of the Union of Water, who were heroic Valsung that transcended when they Valsung an entire battlefield of the dead. They were thought a myth as well, but their appearance alongside Estel in the events that led to the Battle of Curag Fields proved their existence. Other notable, though lesser-known Velheim myths, are those of the Tomte, the Bevinget Død, and the Bjarkansønner.
There is a prophecy among the Velheimer (those that believe Forseth is a tree) that one day, Daguyr will bless a chosen Velheimer’s axe, the strongest of all Velheimer that ever will be and ever has been, with the essence of the sun, allowing them to burn the gnarled Forseth to the ground before it may fall, thus ending the all-end before it can begin. This prophecy in particularly resonates with the Skagger people, especially those who follow the [[School of Skagger]] and the [[School of Beorl]], both combat schools that train their followers in the use of axes. It is said that the Velheimer will know the coming of the chosen one, if Daguyr’s crown should burn red as blood, and crows shall herald his naming by flocking within a league’s distance. It is said that the son or daughter of Daguyr, this chosen one, will then go on to found a glorious Era of service to the Oldt Fayth and a hundred years of successful raids.


==The Arts==
==The Arts==
[[File:VelTap.png|260px|thumb|right|Velheim artwork, like this tapestry, often feature heavy use of duality and mirroring.]]
===Art===
===Art===
Velheimer art is deceptively simple, though intricate and incredibly time consuming to produce. Their art is most often displayed on wood carving, but also on woven cloth and metal decor. Carved or woven decor often depicts swirls and lines running through each other, woven patterns which represent Jaud and the passage of time. Animals are also frequently used to decorate especially silver, a commodity that is not natively found within Velheimer occupied lands, but that is greatly prized among their people. Silver casting and manipulation is greatly prized among the Velheimer, producing chains, necklaces, earrings, nose rings and general bodily decorations with fine details. Velheimer art, much like the people, is pragmatic mostly in that it needs to tell a tale. No other piece of Velheimer art does that as strongly as their body tattoos. Every Velheimer has body tattoos made with different blue shades color made from roots from [[Ellador]] that functions as its own alphabet of sagely storytelling on the body of the wearer. Their achievements, but also their hopes and dreams are printed in these tattoos of geometric lines and shapes all over their body. They can be very large and pronounced almost inch thick lines to tell of great achievements, or smaller quarter inch lines to speak of family and ambitions. When a Velheimer dies, their body ought to be half covered in these tattoos so that the surviving relatives may tell their tale by simply reading their body markings. This is why one of the greatest punishments one can inflict upon a Velheimer, is to obscure or otherwise erase their tattoos. Since Velheimer don’t have a formal written script that survives more than 3 towns far (their alphabet differs widely from area to area), attacking their tattoos feels like erasing their identity and their biography. These tattoos are always applied by the respectable Staargir, and only tattoos applied by the Staargir are considered authentic.  
Velheim art is deceptively simple, though intricate and incredibly time-consuming to produce. Their art is most often displayed on wood carving, but also on woven cloth and metal decor. Carved or woven decor often depicts swirls and lines running through each other, woven patterns that represent the mirror of time and the passage of time. Animals are also frequently used to decorate [[Silver]], a commodity that is not natively found within Velheim occupied lands but that is greatly prized among their people. Silver casting and manipulation is greatly prized among the Velheim, producing chains, necklaces, earrings, nose rings and general bodily decorations with fine details. Velheim art, much like the people, is pragmatic mostly in that it needs to tell a tale. No other piece of Velheim art does that as strongly as their body tattoos. Every Velheim has body tattoos done in various shades of blue produced by roots originally from [[Ellador]]. These tattoos function as their own alphabet of sagely storytelling on the body of the wearer. Their achievements, hopes, and dreams are printed in these tattoos of geometric lines and shapes all over their bodies. They can be very large and pronounced almost inch thick lines to tell of great achievements, or smaller quarter inch lines to speak of family and ambitions. When a Velheimer dies, their body ought to be half-covered in these tattoos so that the surviving relatives may tell their tale by simply reading their body markings. These tattoos can be applied by any artist however, as long as they are considered skilled in their art.
 
===Music===
===Music===
Velheimer music is simple and straightforward, often to just produce a drumming beat or a lute tune. As such, the only instruments known to the Velheimer are the drum, the horn, and the lute, though in some rare cases a violin is also used by more upper class Velheimer. The music itself lacks direction and is just an expression of energy and happiness, producing a chirpy tune with fast tones and notes to entice listeners to dance. To Velheimers, there is a time to be quiet, and a time to be loud, though some Velheimers have trouble deciding when that is. Singing rarely exists among the Velheimer, though is often used in special occasions. Staargir chant the songs of the gods, and are the only ones allowed to sing them. These chants often sound like ominous, low bass tones accompanied by animalistic grunting, and produce a very barbaric yet organized melody. Women have a few work or nursery tunes that they also sing to entertain themselves or their children, and finally, warrior men have the Th’ud, a song to herald the coming of the dead, when one of their comrades has fallen.
Velheim music is simple and straightforward, often to just produce a drumming beat or a lute tune. As such, the only instruments known to the Velheim are the drum, the horn, and the lute, though in some rare cases a violin is also used by more upper-class Velheim. The music itself lacks direction and is just an expression of energy and happiness, producing a chirpy tune with fast tones and notes to entice listeners to dance. To Velheimers, there is a time to be quiet and a time to be loud, but some Velheimers have trouble deciding when that is. Warriors have the Th’ud song, a song to herald the coming of the dead, when one of their comrades has fallen. Families have nursery rhymes and songs, while children sing simplified versions of their legends and folklore. The song of the dead and the laments of the dead carry huge significance to the Velheim. It is believed among their people that a person never truly dies, until their song or their story is no longer heard in song. These songs are incidentally also the sole right of the Valsung to be song, meaning that Valsung represent a respected part of Velheim society that assists the living with processing the passage of the dead and their grief. When a Staargir embalms a dead person, or when a dead person's last march proceeds before being laid to rest, Valsung are always present singing the Helsang, a chant of the dead in a rare showcase of Velheim singing without instruments. The Helsang is both a beautiful yet harrowing chant that laments about the death of a person while giving a poetic citation of their life to all those who listen. Valsung accompany so called Death Marches, where an embalmed person is taken on a procession through their home town before being laid to rest. They also sing to the dead from the doorways to the Helbolwen. Furthermore, Valsung are consulted when a dead person's past has not been resolved. For example, a hidden treasure, a long lost relative, or a conflict between relatives that has never been resolved are all the jurisdiction of the Valsung. Valsung take offerings and compensation to engage in rituals of the calling, where they use the Helsang to summon the soul of the dead for reconciliation with the present. It is also said that Valsung are lucid in their dreams, and fight off the evil spirits from trying to corrupt and possess the bodies of the dead to make them rise again as Helvall, or the undead. To be Valsung is relatively simple in Velheim society, though not often a chosen role. More often than not, Valsung are chosen for their singing talent, or because they've had some sort of supernatural encounter or vision of the past.
 
===Fashion===
===Fashion===
Velheimer fashion is simple in that it doesn’t really exist. Velheimer dress in whatever way is practical to them, the environment around them, what they have available on hand and what they intend to do. Fashion, or at least the sense of dressing to impress, mostly exists among the richer and more well-off Velheimer who use specially traded (or raided) silks from Ithania or dyed furs from their own native hunting grounds. Red dyed bear and reindeer fur in particular is popular, though [[White Calemberger Fox]] furs have started becoming more popular among the southern Velheimer due to the practicality of white fur in snowy landscapes. Velheimer often dress in single-layer compositions, meaning they have a tunic that serves as a half coat, and a simple set of pants and boots. This is sometimes complimented with a cloak or animal fur on the shoulders, though Velheimer generally do not wear undergarments.
Velheim fashion is simple in that it doesn’t really exist, and is largely genderless. Velheim dress in whatever way is practical to them, the environment around them, what they have available on hand and what they intend to do. Fashion, or at least the sense of dressing to impress, mostly exists among the richer and more well-off Velheim who use especially traded (or raided) silks from Ithania or dyed furs from their own native hunting grounds. Red-dyed bear and reindeer fur in particular is popular, though furs from regions like Calemberg have started becoming more popular among the southern Velheim due to the practicality of white fur in snowy landscapes. Velheim often dress in single-layer compositions, meaning they have a tunic that serves as a half coat and a simple set of pants and boots. This is sometimes complemented with a cloak or animal fur on the shoulders, though Velheim generally do not wear undergarments. Popular combinations for Velheim clothing, especially for warriors, are combinations of chainmail into their usual attire. Skagger warriors, or those who live alone in nature however, more often than not wear very heavy thick pelts over their shoulders that cover their largely bare upper body. The pelt is usually removed in combat situations, where the only cover on their body are so called Silverspygl, small fist-sized silver disks suspended from their shoulders and necks with chains that represent their Skagger school or the lord they serve, and offer little to no actual combat advantage. The Velheim believe that they were raised to fight in the cold, and can also regulate their body temperature in the heat of battle, while always favoring speed to the point of not needing heavy armor. Still, this has resulted in their somewhat barbarian portrayal by other Ailor Cultures.
 
===Architecture===
===Architecture===
Velheimer, much like their clothing and customs would portray, don’t have a formal sense of architecture. They simply build with what they can where it is practical in whatever way is practical. If that means upturning a boat and filling the walls with dirt, then that will be done. Most Velheimer houses are half dug into the ground to protect them from the elements during long winter months, though some Velheimer have also been known to build their houses on stilts to avoid flooding if that should be present in the area they settled in. With few exceptions, all Velheimer constructions are made of wood, largely to enforce a more nomadic idea that they might be able to pick up their belongings and move at any time should it be necessary. The more nomadic Velheimer that have embraced the trek often simply live in skin and pelt built tents which are held together with rope,sticks, and bones. Velheimer houses are never fancy, lacking proper plumbing or much privacy. This does however foster a strong family bond as every action in the household is shared one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally.  
Velheim, much like their clothing and customs would portray, don’t have a formal sense of architecture. They simply build with what they can where it is practical in whatever way is practical. If that means upturning a boat and filling the walls with dirt, then that will be done. Most Velheim houses are half dug into the ground to protect them from the elements during long winter months, though some Velheim have also been known to build their houses on stilts to avoid flooding if that should be present in the area they settled in. With few exceptions, all Velheim constructions are made of wood, largely to enforce a more nomadic idea that they might be able to pick up their belongings and move at any time should it be necessary. The more nomadic Velheim that have embraced the trek often simply live in skin and pelt built tents which are held together with rope,sticks, and bones. Velheim houses are never fancy, lacking proper plumbing or much privacy. This does however foster a strong family bond as every action in the household is shared one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally. Thaty being said, major Velheim cities do exist, largely entirely built out of wood, but with intricate and sometimes even gold-inlaid carvings and animal and beast heads adorning the roofs. Major cities in the regalian archipelago are Speldsund, Kristianstad, Gammalstan, Birgosl, Vintuul and Vadrahammarand. Major cities like Kongehaug exist outside of the Archipelago, but by far the largest cities are centered in the Regalian Archipelago and Nordskag.
 
===Cuisine===
===Cuisine===
Velheimer cuisine is in many aspects incredibly dull. Their food is rarely salted and even less commonly spiced up with herbs. It mostly consists of flat bread, fish, dried fish, smoked or roasted fish, and leafy greens. Velheimer have difficulty adapting to foreign cuisine as their tastes are considered flat and small. Strong flavors give them a sense of bitterness, though they are able to adapt after long term exposure to new foods. Velheimer are however known to make delicious pancake-like treats called [[Svele]] and [[Lefse]], the former a wetter pancake with drizzled sugar syrup, the latter a drier pancake with a mixture of sugar, butter and cinnamon on top.  
Velheim cuisine is incredibly dull in many aspects, yet very strong in odors in others. It is said that the Velheim only know three spices: salt, pepper, and fermented. It mostly consists of flatbreads, smoked, dried or roasted fish, and leafy greens, alongside whatever other meat may be collected from a hunt. As a result, Velheim have difficulty adapting to foreign cuisine as their tastes are considered flat and small. Strong flavors give them a sense of bitterness, though they are able to adapt after long term exposure to new foods just as anyone is. However, one bright spot in Velheim cuisine is that they are known to make delicious pancake-like treats called [[Svele]] and [[Lefse]], the former a wetter pancake with drizzled sugar syrup, the latter a drier pancake with a mixture of sugar, butter and cinnamon on top. These are frequently pre-packaged for long trips as treats along the way, or a victory meal. Velheim have an intense hatred for Avela Altalar cuisine, denouncing it as ‘fire in the mouth’ and all-round repugnant to the taste-buds. Velheim also have a long history of sun-dried and fermented fish, as well as widely being accepted as the Culture that invented apple juice and travel-aged cask spirits.


==Recreation==
==Recreation==
===Sports===
===Sports===
Velheimer people are generally considered the physically most robust and healthiest Ailor people on account of their sports and leisure often including many arduous physical activities on top of their already harsh physical lifestyle. Their main acts of sports are spear throwing, disk throwing, and also [[Tre-Paller]], an activity that involves trying to cut down a tree as quickly as possible in a race with others.
Velheim people are generally considered to be some of the most physically robust and healthiest Ailor people in Aloria on account of their sports and leisure often including many arduous physical activities on top of their already harsh physical lifestyle. Many of these sports double as military exercises, such as contests of spear and axe throwing alongside archery competitions. However, their one unique sport is heavily tied into the lifestyle of many of their kind. The sport is [[Tre-Paller]] and involves trying to cut down a tree as quickly as possible in a race with others. Such sports normally take place at religious or general festivities, but it should be noted that the event can also take on a more ceremonial nature due to its links with the practices of the Old Faiths wedding ceremony known as Ellearøre/Ballarøre.
===Leisure===
===Leisure===
In leisurely time, Velheimer often pick up wood carving or hunting just for pleasure. Men are also known to engage in Northern Wrestling or [[School of Lecgaen|Lecgaen Wrestling]], or just drunken brawling during a night out drinking.
The Velheim are people not well known for having a leisurely existence, as many live in harsh conditions and live hard lives. However, they are capable of relaxing and taking time to destress themselves in simple activities. Most tend to pick up the art of wood carving for pleasure, while hunting can also be a task done in the downtime of those who normally do not depend heavily on it. An additional activity undertaken in downtime, though more often in urban areas or ports, is the game of Forsvare. Considered by most dismissively as Velheim chess, the game is actually more unique in how one player is at a disadvantage with fewer pieces defending the center of the board and the Earl piece, while the other player has a larger force in four quadrants of the board. The game ends when the Earl is fully pinned in on four sides. Due to the popularity of chess though, Forsvare has mostly died out in more “southern” Velheim regions like the Regalian Archipelago and Nordskag, though Ellador and Cain keep the game alive and well. As for more boisterous leisure activities, drinking in a favorite pastime as is wrestling, though considering that the two are often mixed, such affairs sometimes degenerate into brawls rather than just one on one matches.  
 
==Regional Customs and Traditions==
One of the more unexpected customs that Velheimer maintain is the keeping of slaves. Velheimer warriors frequently raid foreign towns (and sometimes even other Velheimer towns) taking anything they find of value: particularly noble metals, and seizing people as slaves. They often opt for weaker slaves, and as such frequently capture frail young women, though some Velheimer make a business out of capturing large brawny men for more arduous physical activity. Velheimer don’t treat their slaves as dogs however, unlike the [[Songaskians]]. In fact, some slaves (which they call Bonds or Thralls) are sometimes free enough to be considered an extended part of the family. Certainly, any slave can become a Bond-wife (or Bond-man for same sex-Velheimer; women are not permitted to take Bond pairs). Slaves often help with maintaining the food supply on a farm, or teach the children if they have skills worth teaching.
 
Raids are essential among the Velheimer people. Their entire economy is based around surviving and preparing for the next raid. During autumn and winter, shipwrights build ships and women forage and tend the children. During spring and summer, the warriors raid foreign shores and bring back booty, which is used to pay for the ships and the men to pilot them, and the cycle begins anew each year when Raiding finishes. While the Earl dictates what the Velheimer can raid, only the Rakhr decides what specific target the raiders will attack, and how high each member can claim their share of the raid profits.
 
Burial customs among the Velheimer are different than most other cultures. Among the Velheimer, the body of the dead are preserved through a process of dry mummification before the dead are stored in large and ancient Helbolwen, large underground cave or hewn tunnel complexes where the dead are stored in small alcoves. The dead are tended to by the Staargir, who actually live inside the Helbolwen from where they dispense their fortune and potions to the people when they seek them out among the dead. It is, as such, said that the Staargir live in the cities of the dead, while Valsung are the guardians of the dead. 
 
Staargir in particular are a revered and reviled bunch. By Regalian Empire terms, they are nothing but soothsayers and heretics that claim to know the future. As such, Staargir occupy a very strained position within Regalian Empire lands, one where they should be careful not to reveal fortune tellings and superstitious sagas and prophesies to non-Velheimer, though the Velheimer greatly appreciate their services and advice. Staargir are solely male, and chosen from boys who are either born blind, or become so after a disease or simply from malnutrition. Staargir specifically look frightening since their lips are cut off as well as the soft tissue of their nose, while their eyelids are darkened with charcoal dust. Their face is often also littered in scars, lines drawn with knives to resemble Oldt Fayth runes to allow them to hear the gods. Finally, they blacken their teeth with charcoal paste also, cutting all hair and dressing head to toe in black. Even if a Staargir is reluctant to become one at an early age, they eventually realize the benefits of having the adoration of the Velheimer as well as a position of power for little work. They are provided everything they require, even Bond-Wives that they did not capture themselves (though they may not take a Sol-Kvinne). The accuracy of Staargir predictions and fortune tellings is a hotly debated topic among the Regalian Scholars in particular due to their unusual far-higher average than usual prediction correctness. It is as such believed that their practices through the dead and the soul-essence that drifts in these great cities of the dead, somehow has an impact on their ability to perceive events from far away, or to predict natural occurrences before they take place simply by reading the world around them through the essences. There are two known cities of the dead even in Regalia, though both of them are in the Regalian underground, rarely visited even by the law abiding Velheimer due to the fondness of Vampires to roam around the cities of the dead who surprisingly leave the Staargir alone, but attack other Velheimer on sight.  
 
Valsung are equally respected in Velheim culture, but to a much lesser extent than Staargir. Where-as Staargir use rituals to augur the future, Valsung use rituals to illuminate the past. Valsung are an all-female religious role in Velheim society, a role which has often also been described as the "Guardian of the dead". While Staargir often live inside the Helbolwen, the Valsung guard the entrances and perform their ritual services to the dead from there. When a Staargir embalms a dead person, or when a dead person's last march proceeds before being laid to rest, Valsung are always present singing the Helsang, a chant of the dead in a rare showcase of Velheimer singing without instruments. The Helsang is both a beautiful yet harrowing chant that laments about the death of a person, while giving a poetic citation of their life to all those who listen. Valsung accompany so called Death Marches, where an embalmed person is taken on a procession through their home town before being laid to rest. They also sing to the dead from the doorways to the Helbolwen. Furthermore, Valsung are consulted when a dead person's past has not been resolved. For example, a hidden treasure, a long lost relative, or a conflict between relatives that has never been resolved are all the jurisdiction of the Valsung. Valsung take offerings and compensation to engage in rituals of the calling, where they use the Helsang to summon the soul of the dead for reconciliation with the present. It is also said that Valsung are lucid in their dreams, and fight off the evil spirits from trying to corrupt and posess the bodies of the dead to make them rise again as Helvall, or the undead. To be Valsung is relatively simple in Velheim society, though not an often chosen role for young girls. More often than not, are Valsung chosen for their singing talent, or because they've had some sort of supernatural encounter or vision of the past.


==Symbols==
==Symbols==
The Velheim people are closely associated with owls and axes. Owls are cherished namely because they are seen as a sign of wisdom. Within the Oldt Fayth, they are the messengers of the Gods (where the Staargir do not suffice at any rate). Axes are the favored weapons of the Velheimer people as well as all their gods (even if they are female or portrayed as frail beings, they all fight with axes). The colors brown, red and green are also often used to identify the Velheimer people, as are depictions of wolves and bears, who are highly regarded for their strength. Swirling wave patterns as well as flowing rivers of waterfalls are used in many Velheim tapestries and crests, particularly in reference to Jaud.  
The Velheim people have many symbols due to the spread across Aloria, but are most closely associated with [[Owls]] and axes. Owls are cherished namely because they are seen as a sign of wisdom but they also have religious ties. Within the Old Gods, they are the messengers of the Gods (where the Staargir do not suffice at any rate) and are seen as majestic heralds of great things. As for the axe, they are the favored weapons of the Velheim people as well as many their gods, as while a few do not wield an axe directly, they always have one hanging from their belt or in their offhand. Additionally, the colors brown, red, and green are also often used to identify the Velheim people, as are depictions of wolves and bears, who are highly regarded for their strength. Swirling wave patterns, as well as flowing rivers or waterfalls, are used in many Velheim tapestries and crests as well, as they are a reference to Jaud, but also the naval inclination most Velheim tend to possess.  


==Trivia==
==Trivia==
*While Velheim culture is considered the closest to [[Old Ceardian]] and the old Ailor cultures, it has diverged in that it has become far more violent towards outsiders, though far more free thinking and equal internally.
*Jovrlov are generally speaking more often men than women. The only reason why this is, is because it is believed that many women who would normally become Jovrlov actually become Valsung, as women voices are generally deemed more beautiful than men’s voices, when singing the lamentations of the dead, thus reducing the available female pool of candidates.
*One of the more notable Rakhr that ever lived was Rådlig Varmadal the Brown-maggot, a name he was given in reference to the fact that the was a homosexual. He was widely known to have been the only homosexual Rakhr ever recorded in history, and was a terrifyingly strong one at that. He unfortunately met his end when his Sol-Kvinne murdered him for neglecting her in favor of the Bond Wives (which were all men).  
*Oogabooga is a common term used by the more rejecting Cultures of Ailor when describing the Velheim people, or their actions. It is a very base and un-creative insult, that is nonetheless often invoked to accuse Velheim of being the toxic macho people that they try to avoid being.  
*While Velheim is still a strong culture in its existence, it is generally accepted that the culture is slowly dying due to the modernization of the world, and the success of Regalian Empire policies with regards to civilizing the lesser (from their perspective) cultures. While thousands convert however, there are still many healthy communities of Velheimer in the old lands, which will endure the test of time so long as they do not touch the sprawling reach of the global Empires.  
*Conflict can actually exist in Velheim families between lovers that do not quite pay as much attention to each other as they should. While polyamory and polygamy are common in Velheim society, they do not underestimate the pressure and strain of maintaining multiple loving relationships.
 
{{Cultures}}
{{Cultures}}
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[[category:Cultures]] [[category:Northland Cultures]]
[[category:Cultures]] [[category:Northland Cultures]]

Revision as of 23:46, 18 April 2022

Velheim
1246f523bf6bcb3bebf3fa868f0049a0.png
Velheim
Pronunciation Vel-heym
Common Names Velheim, Northerners
Classification Northland Culture
Origins Old Ceardia
Dominant Race Ailor
Social Classes Fishers, Warriors, Soldiers, Woodcutters, Hunters, Explorers, Sailors, Divers
Major Cities Speldsund, Kristianstad, Gammalstan, Birgosl, Vintuul and Vadrahammarand

The ancient and complex Culture of the Velheim is often said to be the grandfather of all other Cultures in Aloria. Indeed, while all of Ailor-kind descends from the Old Ceardians, it was the first Velheim that explored the dangerous seas, filled with all manner of beast and hostile elfling vessels in search for easy slaves. The Velheim spread their longboats far and wide in search for new land, fleeing the destruction and warfare of Ceardia, creating a vast network of the earlier Ailor colonies that all cooperated. Through various climates and expansions, the Velheim have become the most widely spread Ailor Culture, albeit outnumbered in raw population by various others. They are both staunchly traditional in their customs, but eager to learn new ways to survive in the various corners of the world that others sneer at. Indeed, their Culture is one of contradiction and overgeneralization. They are generally seen as a call-back to the past of Ailor, warlike, rugged, uncivilized. But the truth is that the Velheim Culture may yet be the most deeply complex and yet generally united Culture of the Ailor, bringing people together in centuries old ideologies and tales of the past that continue to inspire the warriors of the future.

History

Some Velheim adopt other cultural concepts, particularly Regal, but always find a way to stay true to their Velheim roots through small symbolism.
The Velheim settle rough and harsh territories, earning them the names of pioneer settlers and hardy colonists.
Urlan pose a considerable problem to Velheim in Ellador, Jorrhildr and the Moors. Yet, Velheim Urlan are also far more likely than any other Culture of Ailor to stay true to their pre-Urlan roots and traditions.
Toxic masculinity and macho-ness are strongly frowned upon in Velheim society, and as such, even if the Velheim want to look tough, they are usually far kinder.
Velheim tattoos do not strictly only need to involve geometric lines. These lines can sometimes also bend, and also include additional symbolism for decoration.
Velheim love the idea of a reveal, and as such, try to hide their weapons or fighting body with heavy pelts and cloth before a dramatic moment.
It is very common for Velheim women to look more tomboy-ish and for Velheim men to look effeminate when not interested in warfare. Their clothing and grooming options are often very non gender imposed.
In the Empire that once took their land, the Velheim are now known as excellent frontline soldiers, known for their ferocity and bravery.

The earliest history of the Velheim people is not recorded, so historical records only exist in the form of oral storytelling. Storytelling has always been a massive component of Velheim Culture, so much in the ways of historical recording through surviving folk-tales does exist, but it is often pulled into question by modern day scholars. The earliest reference of Velheim comes actually from some of the earlier Ceardian Kingdoms around 500 BC, which reference a large group of people living on the northern shore of Old Ceardia (a reason why they are also sometimes referred to as Northerners), leaving the Ceardian mainland to settle on the islands that would later form Zemlith as it is known today. This move was largely motivated because the Old Ceardian kingdoms that existed on their borderlands supposedly moved towards the coasts, lands the Proto-Velheim originally inhabited, because they suffered less earthquakes caused by the activities of the Gray Scale Dragons. This violent movement caused the (at the time) peaceful fishing Velheim to flee across the water to Zemlith.

From Zemlith, contact has been sparse with the Ceardians, because it was mostly the fishing and seafaring Proto-Velheim that had developed ships capable of crossing into deep ocean waters. The Old Ceardians themselves had a great fear of the water, because this is where the Altalar came from with their slave vessels. How the Velheim weren’t wholesale enslaved by the Altalar is unknown. It has been theorized that some sort of intervention must have occurred by some force whether they be mundane or occult, because the isles of Zemlith have never been deemed particularly useful to defense, nor does the geography of the island suggest it was a particularly useful hiding place for those about to be attacked. If anything, Zemlith should have made these Proto-Velheim an even easier target, as the islands were at the time smaller, before a series of volcano eruptions increased their size, and any inland area must have been well visible from Altalar slavery vessels.

Exactly when the Proto-Velheim started their first voyages of exploration is unknown, but most modern scholars have put the estimation to around 350 BC. How these vessels managed to escape the prowling Altalar slavery vessels also remains a mystery, as the original Tall Ships as they were called, moved very slowly and were visible from far away due to their inefficient sails. Only through later iterations did their vessels develop into the more traditional longboats as they are known from the Kingdom of Hedryll, a nation that preserves the construction of these seafaring vessels with virtually no changes since their final iteration. It is believed that the Velheim moved from Zemlith to early Carrhen and Essalonia, founding early settlements, before island hopping to Talamoor and Drixagh, before, in the third wave, to The Skags, Ellador and Cain, followed by further adjacent islands and lands through travel by land. This means that, even though their wide naval activities were more primitive than that of the Altalar, and their population smaller, their actual naval reach was much, much larger. Regular trade routes were supposed to have united all the smaller colonies together, some less successful than others. Notably, colonies settled on what are now known as Kelmoria and Dormin failed quickly, and attempts to colonize Nordskag and Hvitskag never fully succeeded until the influx of Skagger refugees from the Regalian Archipelago. The Velheim even colonized many of the regions in the Regalian Archipelago, meeting the pre-kingdom Cultures of the Breizh, the Wirtem, the Sarnt and the primitive Voltman. History tells that the Velheimers lived relatively peaceful with all these pre-Kingdom tribes and groups, except for the Sarnt and the Wirtem, who frequently pushed their people out of the forest regions of modern day Calemberg and Vultaro. The Velheim living on Ellador and the adjacent Essalonian lands supposedly also suffered from the wildlife, spawning many myths and legend about fearsome creatures. Especially those on Falsemarr have tales of the Trolls and giants of Tryllejag, stories of clever Ogres that hid in forests near houses of killed inhabitants, only revealing themselves when someone would come looking for the now deceased inhabitants, and posing them a riddle that if they should fail, they would end up eaten.

By 300 BC, this trade network had supposedly been established to such a degree that a distinct clothing style and religion had formed, but the Velheimers were still relatively peaceful, a far cry from their later descendants that would form the Skagger Hordes. Throughout this period, the Velheimers were sailors, explorers and fishers, mostly living in more sparsely populated environments, and even not turning away from making barely viable villages on the boundaries of tundras and frozen plains, particularly in regions where Altalar slave raiders never went, even if there were some contacts with them in the Regalian Archipelago. The Altalar have few records, because Altalar did not see the purpose of attempting to differentiate between Ailor tribes, but remarked on the ‘people with faces painted like the lay of the land and maps of the waters, each person a canvas of their own of the nearby area’. What this implied, is that the modern art of Velheim tattooing might have actually originated in some sort of cartographic body art, where if one could assemble an entire crew of before-hand established friends, that one could line all of them up, and produce a map of the nearby waters by having them stand shoulder to shoulder.

Success was not always even for the Velheim as they continued to spread the Ailor race across the land. Notably the Hedryll Kingdom grew to be immensely strong, but the settlements on Zemlith, their original home, and Carmoor were abandoned around 200 BC as Ceardians moved in instead, or volcanic activity drove them away from Kelmoria and Zemlith. Generally speaking, the kingdoms near Ellador and the Moors ended up succeeding, while those in the Regalian Archipelago managed to mix well with the local tribes, but failed everywhere else. The center of Velheim trade focused from Zemlith and Silbrae eventually moved further north, establishing a triangle from Drixagh, Hrdryll and Falsemarr, cutting off further interactions with the Altalar. The Velheim in the Regalian Archipelago both began to mix and isolate. Those in Drixagh spread out among the mountains, forests, and coastlines, avoiding the Wirtem that had started adopting more feudal approaches to governance. The Velheim broke most contact with the Breizh, due to the Breizh starting to show similar habits of the Old Ceardians that drove the Velheim out of Ceardia to begin with. It is mostly believed that the Velheim in Drixagh became more violent and aggressive because of repeated invasions by the Wirtem and the Sarnt, who often used the Wirtem as a jumping board to raid the Velheim. It is believed that the Velheim around 150 BC adopted the Skagger axe from the Sarnt when the Velheim destroyed their tribes in retaliation for a massacre, who actually developed that shape of weapon long before the Velheim did.

Velheim society continued to grow in number, until about 75 BC when a major influx of Ceardian colonists came in the wake of the Velheim that had gone before several hundred of years earlier. Historical grievances were quickly forgotten in the warmer and more fertile regions of the then Schön River Delta, and the Velheim communities there were essentially absorbed into the local populations that started spreading into Anglia and Clannadh-Alba beyond. It is as thus sometimes begrudgingly admitted by modern scholars, that even though the Heartland, Regal and Warmland Cultures ridicule the Velheim as being backwards, that every living Ailor probably has some percentage of Velheim blood in them. A severe disruption of Velheim life in Drixagh, which was at this point one of the most densely Velheim populated regions, occurred shortly after the Cataclysm. While Drixagh had fared well in the face of Cataclysm, other Velheim regions were utterly beset by destruction and ruin. Hedryll had been turned into a shadow of its former self by the Dorkarthi Princes, whole kingdoms on the south shores of Ellador were wiped out of history, and all manner of demon beast attacked the Moors, killing thousands. The trade network rapidly disintegrated as the longboats were not capable of navigating through the rougher and disturbed waters that formed maelstroms that were both terrifying and unpredictable. The disruption of this network caused further famines and death, resulting in a large influx of refugees into Drixagh. While Drixagh was not necessarily a violent place at the time, the Falsemarr and recently war-worn and cynical Hedryllians that fled there incorporated a certain sense of urgency to conquest. These outsiders to the Archipelago were out of their depth, and did not understand the growing political concern over the Regalian Empire that had just recently formed, and started aggressively expanding through warfare and diplomacy.

The pressure of increased population and poor arable land, caused the Velheimers to form the initial Skagger Horde, which in the Velheim language just meant a horde of people without a house. Skagger even to this day somewhat translates to homeless person, but not in the sense that Regalians perceive a homeless person as unemployed and a blemish on society, but in the way that Velheim see someone who has forsaken their home through tragedy, and is searching for a new place of belonging to find themselves again. These Skagger Hordes poured south, conquering vast swathes of Wirtemcaller land (land which was previously inhabited by the Wirtem tribes which were now a formal kingdom). The race was on between the Regalian Empire and the Skagger Hordes for who could conquer the most land, and eventually, conflict was met in 67 AC when the Skagger Horde made contact with the Regalians through skirmishes along the Dorinn coastlines of Anglia, the Breizh people of Kintyr, and the Highlanders in Clannadh-Alba and even as far north as Gallovia. Coastal raiding had always been depicted by the Regalians as savage pointless destruction, but it was in fact often used to test the defenses of the Regalians before a full scale invasion was planned. Still, these attacks and notably their brutality helped the Regalian clergy convince the people that they were beset by demons who had forsaken their humanity, which rallied more soldiers to the cause.

The Skagger Wars officially started in 67, but the first real heavy conflict only occured in 97 AC, when the Skaggers completely overran the weakened Wirtemcaller Kingdom and occupied it. Further excursions were made into modern day Leutz-Vixe and Waldmark lands, until they were repulsed by the Regalian armies, mobilized in religious fervor against these pagan believers. Strong and weak Emperors of Regalia come and went, and so did the fortunes of the wars on both sides. Sometimes a truce was agreed upon, but increased resource pressure and desperation continued the Velheim people to push harder and harder, and also to radicalize more into a strength driven society that started turning more and more away from their seafaring roots as land became the primary resource of value. What eventually wore the Velheim down was their lack of coordination and central leadership. The Regalian Empire was unified under one single god-Emperor who held command over a vast nobility that would always induce new regions into their systems through local representation and rule. The Skaggers meanwhile simply expelled the locals, or outright murdered them in desperation to displace these peoples. Some Velheim look back on the Skagger wars as a shameful period in their history, because of the rapid and senseless slaughter of locals on both sides that likely exacerbated cultural fault lines that have still not healed to the modern day. By 121, Regalia declared a full blown holy war, mobilizing the entire Empire in an attempt to push the Skaggers out of Wirtemcaller, something they had managed to hold onto for the past decades. The Regalians not only succeeded, but pushed the Skaggers further back into Drixagh, even if that boundary was fragile and would frequently shift back and forth. By 179, the end game had been reached, and the Regalians burned the large and important regional capital of modern day Stralsunde, which convinced the local Drixagh Velheim that the Skagger wars were pointless and that absolute destruction was inevitable. That same year, vast numbers, some say into the tens to hundreds of thousands, of Skaggers were evicted from the Archipelago by the Drixagh Velheim, or more specifically their ancestors that invited the Skaggers in originally, to wander the seas again. In the past 180 years since the Cataclysm, the seas had calmed, and the lands became safe for re-population, as the Vampires had meanwhile been pushed back by the same Regalian Empire that defeated the Skaggers, and the beasts of the Moors were pushed back by the Sihndar that stemmed the tide of wild beasts from Drowda.

In 185, the Tvål Treaty was signed by the then leading elders of the remaining independent Drixagh realms with the Regalian Empire that caused their lands to be formally annexed into the Regalian Empire. Some Skagger tribes stayed behind in the depopulated areas of Drixagh, forming the first few schools that would continue to teach their veteran warfare skills to willing warriors. The most important part of the Tvål Treaty was that the locals managed to get the Regalians to concede on a no-contest clause for Drixagh. While it actually led to an identical outcome if they had been conquered in a bloody war of conquest, it allowed the Velheim to coin the phrase “Beaten but not Taken, Defeated but not Conquered”. What this essentially meant is that while they acknowledged the fact that they were defeated, they willingly entered the boundaries of the Regalian Empire without a single Regalian soldier on their actual land, and that Regalia never formally invaded and annexed their land. This in turn allowed the Velheimers to continue preserving their own Culture and religion in these lands. While allowing the Velheim Culture to thrive in the 100 years following lived in relative peace, they did set the stage for eventual clashes, as Velheim continued to be resilient to conversion to Unionism, and eventually clashed with the more imperial-minded Southerners, a term which they have now coined for any Culture other than Velheim (excluding Velheim daughter Cultures). The violent aspect of the Skagger Wars never truly left the Velheim. What was originally a very peaceful and seafaring exploring Culture had turned into a battle hardened and somewhat cynical people that expected to always be on the backfoot with anyone they interacted with. They had become a people that expected to be oppressed by others and belittled at every turn, and as such, armed themselves appropriately with weapons and skill for self defense. For some, this self defense turned to offense, as the Nordskaggers started raiding the Ithanian Kingdom, while the Hvitskaggers became almost more savage, and returned to the days of roving warbands and tribes that would take their produce from less defended realms. In a way the lasting scar on Velheim society was not the loss of the war, but the fact that a co-operative Culture had slowly eroded into a complex one that oscillated between camaraderie and aggression, built around the idea of strength.

Language and Dialects

The Velheim speak several Languages, the first and best known being Skodje (which is actually pronounced as Scuh-ye), which is present among the Velheim of the Regalian Archipelago. As a Language, Skodje sound very melodic, which is not something one would expect from a Language spoken by mostly warriors and hunters. It specifically makes use of the art of pitch to differentiate between words. While being melodic to the ears, the Language is often also quite forceful in its sounding. Even the most cowardly Velheim will sound confident and resolute with the words spoken in his own tongue due to strong and short consonants. Between their own people, however, pitch and manner of pronunciation differentiate moods between sentences, so it is much easier to pick up whether someone means what they say or not. Those Velheim from the north-west, from nations like the Kingdom of Nordskag and the Tryllejag Realm speak Nytalsk while those from the north-est in areas like Torse and Hedryll speak Forsk. Their parent tongue is Gamvelsk, spoken by the Proto-Velheim which is largely dead today except for use during rituals, and remnants on the oldest remaining Velheim kingdoms. Generally speaking, Velheimers have a very bland to non-existent accent when they speak Common. This is largely theorized because Skodje and Common have a common Proto-Ceardian language ancestor, and as such produce very similar syllables and vowel pronunciations, besides the additional alphabet letters that Skodje has and Common does not.

Naming Customs

Velheim naming customs remain simple, yet often say plenty about a person. There is no strict naming system among the Velheim people, though many often follow the trendline roughly like this; Firstly, a first name is used on a more common basis, followed by a middle name that the Velheim chooses upon their coming of age ceremony, then, their surname usually describes where they came from, and the full name is finally completed with the parental suffix. The parental suffix is gender sensitive, meaning a son takes a name from his father, while a daughter takes her name from a mother (if either parent is missing, it defaults to the other) with the addition of -son or -dottir depending on whether they are the son or daughter respectively. This usually results in a long name, and sometimes also confusion which can arise from the fact that these rules aren’t universally used in casual times. Some Velheim introduce themselves as the son of such, followed by name, while others introduce themselves as name, followed by actual surname. Some even switch between the two, using the son or daughter of such distinction when speaking to non-Velheim, and the actual surname when speaking to Velheimers, since surnames frequently describe where they are from.

Velheim first names are unique among most other Cultures in that every single male or female name can be commuted to the opposite gender by adding a number of vowels and consonants. There is no clear distinct rule to it, but most Velheim will be able to tell whether a name sounds male or female due to the number of vowels in it. A good example of this is the difference between Alvid and Aldiva, the former being male and the latter being female. Another example is Bjorn and Bjornhilda. The Language of Skodje often assists in the creation of female names by using additional consonants to accommodate the vowels, but generally speaking the ground rule remains: whichever name has more vowels is the female name. Velheimers often name themselves after animals or legends, though it is also common to take Ceardian names and translate them into Velheim spelling. Some common creature or object-based names are:

  • Bjørn, or “Bear”
  • Ulvid, or “Wolf-life”
  • Trenne, or “Strong as a tree”
  • Stein, or “rock”
  • Brunhild, or “Brown fighter”

Commonly Ceardian names converted to Velheim are:

  • Ania, from Anna
  • Karl, from Carl
  • Sigmundr, from Sigismund
  • Elsa, from Elizabeth

As for the Velheim surname, that is often based on a geographic feature of their birthplace, preceded by the general description. For example, if a person comes from a sund (a sound, a waterway that forms the mouth of a fjord) while the primary product of the local fisheries is eel, their surname would be Ålesund, a combination of the Skodje name for eel and the word sund. Similarly, if a person were from an island named Valder, their surname would be Valderøya, a combination of the island’s name and the Skodje word for island, øya. Some examples of geographical features that are used in surnames (though there are certainly dozens if not hundreds more):

  • Fjord, a waterway between two mountains that has a distant connection to the sea
  • Sund, a waterway that forms the mouth of a fjord towards the ocean
  • Haug, a large hill or small mountain
  • Fjell, a large mountain (not frequently used since few Velheim live on mountains)
  • Dal, a valley or large plains area
  • Vik, a bay or secluded shoreline area
  • Heim, a name used to define an important family belonging to noble lineage
  • Borg, a densely populated area (particularly popular among Regalia natives)
  • -enn, meaning “one” (often added as a surname to define the person by their surname for example, “Sterke-enn” would be “strong one”, though some consider these surnames pretentious and change them for that reason alone).

Here are some explains of Velheim surnames:

  • Skogheim, a noble family that lives in a forested area
  • Håstdal, a horse breeder that lives in a valley
  • Frisfjell, a person living on a really cold mountain
  • av Uggla (a far less popular way of creating surnames by taking an Anglian approach and simply saying “This person is from there”, in this case from a place called Uggla)

Laws

Velheim Law is very distinct in that it never developed as a result, or collaboration of the Regalian Law system. Velheim Law has existed for as long as the Velheim people have, and as such, is sometimes called the Law of the Sea by them. The basic principle of Velheim Law is that every person has an aspect of Soldi, which is a general term to describe someone’s good conduct, honorability, venerability or general trustworthiness, whichever term is preferable. Crimes and malpractice affect someone’s Soldi negatively, while heroism and selflessness improve someone’s Soldi. Since the adoption of Drixagh into the Regalian Empire, and later the conquest of Nordskag, most Velheim actually live inside the borders of the Regalian Empire, but the vast majority of them live in regions where only Velheim Law rules. Because the concept of Feudal Nobility only had been imported into these regions long after Velheim Law was established, Velheim Law actually ends up being entirely separate from the nobility. Velheim Law is in fact so separate that for all intents and purposes, nobility are the same rank as commoners in the eye of Velheim Law, or indeed Soldi. Principally speaking, Velheim law is administered by a person called the Jovrlov, which acts sort of like a judge, but is chosen by their people. In every city, a single Jovrlov can exist, and so it does for Regalia, though the Jovrlov of Regalia tends to swap in and out frequently because of the rapidly changing make-up of Velheim society there. Velheim remain very isolated from the other Ailor Cultures, preferring to stay among their own, because of the expectation to be ridiculed and excluded everywhere else. The principle laws of Velheim Law are recorded below.

  • Jovrlovgang, is the act of choosing a new Jovrlov. A Jovrlov is always decided democratically by any and all Velheim that choose to show up. The only valid voters are those who reside legally in the city where the Jovrlov is chosen, and that they must be at least full blood Velheim, or half-blood Velheim, or live and work and socialize in Velheim districts for the majority of their time. At any time, a Velheim can eject a non-Velheimer that they consider too “un-Velheim” from such elections, but Velheimers are always permitted, even if they do not live in the Velheim districts. The election is very simple, anyone wishing to appoint or replace a Jovrlov simply calls for a meeting of the Velheim at least a week in advance, and then a fair one vote per person no matter age or class counts. New appointments are sworn in immediately, and sit for a month before they can be voted out again, but technically sit indefinitely.
  • Huust, is the individual that refuses to accept a Jovrlov. A person who is Huust is legally outcast by Velheim Law, but not necessarily by their community. Huust are generally also considered sore losers however, because the appointment of a Jovrlov is generally considered blessed by the Old Gods, and to refuse to accept such a religious and democratically elected person is considered petty and childish. Those who are Huust, are usually denied the right to Velheim Law, and are instead judged by the strictest of Regalian State Law penal codes.
  • Hjemgang, is the act of challenging someone’s Soldi. This can only be done by the criminal that is awaiting trial, and the accusing family or individual. This agreement must be consented by all parties involved, meaning the accused, the accuser, and the Jovrlovgang. If agreed upon, the trial is instead commuted to a duel of honor, where both the accused or accuser enter in a duel themselves, or appoint a representative to fight for them. This is a non-lethal confrontation, the winner of which declared innocence or guilt on the accused party. The idea is that while the Soldi of the accused is likely tainted, they can regain just enough of it through a battle before the gods to declare themselves innocent, and get away with it, which is why it is called Hjemgang or “the way to home”. In the case of a guilty verdict, the trial is immediately skipped, and the Jovrlov applies their sentence.
  • Trille-Skulle, is the term used to describe the act of recompense. Velheim Law does not strictly punish people with corporal punishment, but seeks to resistute the damages inflicted on the suffering or accusing family or person. This means that, at the basest of forms, punishment can never be the removal of a limb or death of a person. Even with absolutely no Soldi left, a person can never have their life be threatened or have long lasting physical damage. It is the job of the Jovrlov to talk to both the accuser and the accused before the trial, to figure out what they are looking for or are willing to give to end hostilities in as amicable a way as possible. It is always expected of the accuser to come with reasonable terms, but the accused may always decline and insist on their innocence, leaving their Trille-Skulle up to the Jovrlov.
  • Saardi, is the term used to describe a trial which follows after Regalian State Law. Velheim are not protected by any sort of special arrangement in Regalia that substitutes State Law with Velheim Law. Velheim however consider Soldi a separate matter that cannot be addressed by Regalian Law, and as such, even though a person has been found guilty or innocent in a State Law proceeding, if both parties are Velheim, a Velheim Law case may follow immediately after. Sometimes in fact, it can result in a person being declared innocent in one trial, and guilty in another. Saardi thus describes a Velheim trial that comes after a Regalian trial. The opposite is Yaardi, which occurs when no Regalian trial is held, and it is instead a clean Velheim Trial. This can sometimes occur when Velheim on Velheim crime is not reported to the Regalian State, which is actually very common, as Velheim consider involving the Regalian State in the matters of Soldi humiliating.
  • Vittal, is the trial jury, which is usually the entire spectator crowd. However, the spectator crowd may ever only be Velheim, half-Velheim, or those who live primarily in Velheim Society, as long as they are not Huust or declared un-Velheim by other audience members. The Vittal listens to the trial, and weighs in by boo’ing the final verdict if it is too light, and remaining absolutely silent if it is too heavy. Only when a judgement from a Jovrlov is considered fair and measured, does the crowd proclaim Vittal-Merktsom, which is a fancy way of saying that they approve. The Jovrlov does not need to listen to the crowd, but usually will, especially when they weigh heavily in a particular direction. Ultimately, the punishment is always up to the Jovrlov, however is is expected that they are fair and just, and that the punishment is aimed at re-consoling the accused and accuser, not creating more animosity. This has sometimes resulted in just fines, but in other cases, a person being forced into the family of the person they murdered, to take over their position in that family that is now missing.

Lifestyle and Customs

Families

Velheim families are sometimes difficult to understand for outsiders, because they fit so far out of the norm for Ailor Cultures. Many families, sometimes even more than half of them, are polyamorous, and usually also polygamous. Families recognize a ‘main’ pairing being partner and partner, but each partner is allowed to have bondwives and bondhusbands, which are so called ‘additional spouses’. It is also important to note that there is no real gender distinction here. This is because Velheim have traditionally been the first Culture to accept same-sex relations among their people. The Velheim separate the aspects of Kjaere and Hildrae, Kjaere being a bondpartner that is purely loved in a non-erotic way, while a Hildrae is a bondpartner that is additionally loved in an erotic way. It is perfectly normal and common for a heterosexual Velheimer male to have several Kjaere bond husbands, even though there is no sexual attraction present in those relations. Velheim claim that this is because they allow themselves to love more freely than all other Cultures. That being said, the main pairing of partner and partner must always be Hildrae, otherwise they would not be compatible lovers. If the other main partner is a woman, they are called a Sol-Kvinne. If they are male, they are instead Sol-Mard. Because of these arrangements, the Velheim Culture has the largest number of same-sex pairings, though many of them exist in non-sexual commitments. It is also important to state that while technically there is a main partner in a marriage, the distinction ‘main’ only exists for legal and bureaucratic reasons. Generally speaking, each husband or wife and additional husband or wife is loved in a different way with different intensities, but a completely fair and equal spread is also very possible. Within relations themselves, the terms Sol-Kvinne and Sol-Mard are rarely used, unless there is a very clear reason to declare a boundary between asexual and sexual partners.

Additionally, Slaves are a cornerstone of Velheim household, though not strictly in the way that slaves are seen in other Cultures. Slavery to the Velheim is called Bondebillung, the idea that someone has either done a crime, given themselves up voluntarily, or was conquered during a war to become part of a family. The concept is far less about slapping someone in chains, and far more about including them into the household, and welcoming them into the family as part of a lasting responsibility to the Soldi gained from those victories. Such slaves are generally treated very fairly, and sometimes even transition out of slavery when they become bondhusband or bondwife to one of the Velheim masters. It is said among scholars that a Velheim slave never dies a slave. This is because slaves among Velheimers are always released when they reach the age of 50, and if they before that enter the field of battle alongside their master, they are released moments before the battle commences. It is not unusual for those who were released in battle to return to their master and re-pledge, in a perpetual cycle until they are eventually too old to serve in battle.

Children live a relatively happy life, albeit somewhat harsh in the natural environments that Velheim tend to live in. Because most Velheim families have multiple members in the same relationship, children are hardly ever not taken care of, and are usually passed between parents and bondparents for care within the same household. This is why almost every Velheimer can claim to have multiple fathers and multiple mothers. They acknowledge all bondmother and bondfather as their real father or mother, regardless of whether they were the biological parent, or whether there was even any Hildrae between the bondparents. It is often said among the Velheim that a child that grows up knowing only one father and mother, or less, is a poor child indeed, and is lost in the world without a community of their own. Sometimes, strictly monogamous families co-rent with other strictly monogamous families in case children get involved, just to ensure their children have a varied and busy upbringing. Still, Velheim do tend to put their children to work at much younger ages, and declare them adult at the age of 13, often in contradiction with Regalian State Law. At the age of 13, they try to perform some feat of strength, skill, or intellect, during which they choose a word or object or person as their middle-name to identify themselves strongly with that chosen name. There is generally no difference between the opportunities of male or female children, as Velheim society is fiercely egalitarian.

Religion

The Velheim primarily believe in Stor Gudr, or as most others call it, the Old God, the oldest religion known to the Ailor Race. It is wildly different from its original inception due to the constant modification as the centuries passed by. Old Gods is inherently a very disorganized religion, meaning that regional differences and small custom exceptions may exist, though generally speaking, its core principles are well followed. Among the Velheim, Old Gods is by far the most practiced religion, and all major changes and religious sites also exist in their lands. Other notable populations of Old Gods worshipers exist in the Caeren, Dunbrae, Fridurfolk, Tarkkin, and Zvorun populations, particularly in the northern mountain regions of Drixagh where Unionism reverted back to Old Gods. Old Gods is a polytheistic religion, setting it apart from most other Ailor religions, though it has many aspects in common with the Faith of Estel, and is often accused, by Altalar, as a copy of the Altalar faith even if Velheimers will violently disagree with this assertion. Old Gods as a religion shrunk considerably since the creation of Unionism by Theomar at the rise of the Regalian Empire, however it remains a massive religion for the Ailor, far outclassing all other minor religions isolated to various cultures, and second only to Unionism. To some Unionists even, Old Gods has a certain allure of freedom and spiritual absolution not revolving around back breaking work or self sacrifice. While Old Gods is certainly shrinking in the Regalian Archipelago, where whole regions have not a single worshiper left, elsewhere, Old Gods is actually on the rise as populations among the Velheim and Heartland Ceardian kingdoms continue to grow due to an increase in welfare, following their introduction into the Regalian Empire, increased food supplies, and Regalia’s relatively moderate religious freedom laws.

  • The full page of the Old Gods is too large for this page. For more in-depth information, read the Old Gods page.

Literature and Folklore

Philosophy

The Velheim people are strong believers in the concept of staying true to one’s customs and traditions, even in the face of immense pressure and adversity doing so. It is the very reason why so many outsiders claim them to be stubborn and unworkable in a more culturally mixed society, and this is also by far their biggest weakness, being unable to properly process events in real-time around them and always attempting to apply an outdated outlook on things. Still, others praise their philosophy as well for being strength focused, breeding a society built around the will of the strong, and the ability of those to enforce their will through arms, intellect, or sheer luck. It is largely why Velheim don’t have strict inheritance clauses and rules, rather, a system of ‘the strongest takes it all’, either through duels, battles of wit, or a combination of either with a healthy sprinkle of luck. This can sometimes lead to violence inside families, but is usually kept fairly contained, as weaker siblings understand at an early age what their place in the family is, and Soldi demands that stronger siblings continue to take care of their weaker siblings like a good patriarch or matriarch.

Strictly speaking however, while Velheim Culture is very macho in its make-up, it should never be understood to be a toxic level of macho-ness. There is a lot of verbal posturing in Velheim society, but at their heart, each Velheim is expected to treat each other Velheim with a level of fairness and the benefit of the doubt. Unless they have a strong reason to doubt someone’s Soldi, Velheim are expected not to insult each other for any reason beyond friendly banter, and that strangers should never become stand-off-ish or exclusionary of each other. Velheimers are expected to be hospitable to those of their own Culture, welcoming to newcomers (even if they slightly act out of the norm), and open to the idea of discourse and debates about their own personal conduct to others. Those that engage in toxic levels of macho posing or violent altercations or provocations with other Velheim are called Slemmer, which very loosely translates to ‘mean person’. Slemmer are quickly talked about in Velheim community as being undesirable, and they are generally denied entry to Velheim community events or gatherings, and denied entry to stores or bars. This tends to even extend to Velheim that antagonize other races or religions for no self-defensive reason, or for a reason to defend another Velheim that is being attacked or pressured. The entire act of seeking conflict with others for no other reason than to create conflict is considered banishment-worthy behavior in Velheim society, and the status of a person as a Slemmer, is often not rectified until that person profoundly and aptly apologizes to those they have offended in a public display in front of the whole of Velheim community, or at least a sizeable part of it.

Folklore

There is a prophecy among the Velheim that one day, Basjtur will bless a chosen Velheim’s axe, the strongest of all Velheim that ever will be and ever has been, with the essence of the sun, allowing them to burn the gnarled ancient tree of Forseth to the ground before it may fall, thus ending the all-end before it can begin. This prophecy in particularly resonates with the Skagger people, especially those in theSkagger Order, which trains their followers in the use of axes. It is said that the Velheim will know the coming of the chosen one if the crown should burn red as blood, and crows shall herald his naming by flocking within a league’s distance. It is said that the son or daughter of Basjtur, this chosen one, will then go on to found a glorious era of service to the Oldt Gods and enact a hundred years of successful raids.

As for the rest of Velheim mythology, there are countless animals and beliefs mainly due to the incredible diversity in locations that Velheim can be found in. Some are very well known though, mainly in the role they have played in past Velheim history or cultural events. One of the best known are the Ursarrin, bear men of the north who live to protect the Velheim people though they hide themselves in Velheim communities. They transform into their bestial bear form through the use of an enchanted bear fur, and do battle with their mortal enemy, the Ulvak, wolf-like creatures of darkness who come from the dark islands of Gallovia. Many today believe that the creatures are metaphors for the very fierce and aggressive fights between the Highlanders of Gallovia and the Velheim of Drixagh (as during the period of the Skagger Wars, much of Gallovia was occupied by the Velheim). Another creature with a mysterious history is the Ohnark, beasts of luminous moon energy said to be the heralds of the Union of Water, who were heroic Valsung that transcended when they Valsung an entire battlefield of the dead. They were thought a myth as well, but their appearance alongside Estel in the events that led to the Battle of Curag Fields proved their existence. Other notable, though lesser-known Velheim myths, are those of the Tomte, the Bevinget Død, and the Bjarkansønner.

The Arts

Velheim artwork, like this tapestry, often feature heavy use of duality and mirroring.

Art

Velheim art is deceptively simple, though intricate and incredibly time-consuming to produce. Their art is most often displayed on wood carving, but also on woven cloth and metal decor. Carved or woven decor often depicts swirls and lines running through each other, woven patterns that represent the mirror of time and the passage of time. Animals are also frequently used to decorate Silver, a commodity that is not natively found within Velheim occupied lands but that is greatly prized among their people. Silver casting and manipulation is greatly prized among the Velheim, producing chains, necklaces, earrings, nose rings and general bodily decorations with fine details. Velheim art, much like the people, is pragmatic mostly in that it needs to tell a tale. No other piece of Velheim art does that as strongly as their body tattoos. Every Velheim has body tattoos done in various shades of blue produced by roots originally from Ellador. These tattoos function as their own alphabet of sagely storytelling on the body of the wearer. Their achievements, hopes, and dreams are printed in these tattoos of geometric lines and shapes all over their bodies. They can be very large and pronounced almost inch thick lines to tell of great achievements, or smaller quarter inch lines to speak of family and ambitions. When a Velheimer dies, their body ought to be half-covered in these tattoos so that the surviving relatives may tell their tale by simply reading their body markings. These tattoos can be applied by any artist however, as long as they are considered skilled in their art.

Music

Velheim music is simple and straightforward, often to just produce a drumming beat or a lute tune. As such, the only instruments known to the Velheim are the drum, the horn, and the lute, though in some rare cases a violin is also used by more upper-class Velheim. The music itself lacks direction and is just an expression of energy and happiness, producing a chirpy tune with fast tones and notes to entice listeners to dance. To Velheimers, there is a time to be quiet and a time to be loud, but some Velheimers have trouble deciding when that is. Warriors have the Th’ud song, a song to herald the coming of the dead, when one of their comrades has fallen. Families have nursery rhymes and songs, while children sing simplified versions of their legends and folklore. The song of the dead and the laments of the dead carry huge significance to the Velheim. It is believed among their people that a person never truly dies, until their song or their story is no longer heard in song. These songs are incidentally also the sole right of the Valsung to be song, meaning that Valsung represent a respected part of Velheim society that assists the living with processing the passage of the dead and their grief. When a Staargir embalms a dead person, or when a dead person's last march proceeds before being laid to rest, Valsung are always present singing the Helsang, a chant of the dead in a rare showcase of Velheim singing without instruments. The Helsang is both a beautiful yet harrowing chant that laments about the death of a person while giving a poetic citation of their life to all those who listen. Valsung accompany so called Death Marches, where an embalmed person is taken on a procession through their home town before being laid to rest. They also sing to the dead from the doorways to the Helbolwen. Furthermore, Valsung are consulted when a dead person's past has not been resolved. For example, a hidden treasure, a long lost relative, or a conflict between relatives that has never been resolved are all the jurisdiction of the Valsung. Valsung take offerings and compensation to engage in rituals of the calling, where they use the Helsang to summon the soul of the dead for reconciliation with the present. It is also said that Valsung are lucid in their dreams, and fight off the evil spirits from trying to corrupt and possess the bodies of the dead to make them rise again as Helvall, or the undead. To be Valsung is relatively simple in Velheim society, though not often a chosen role. More often than not, Valsung are chosen for their singing talent, or because they've had some sort of supernatural encounter or vision of the past.

Fashion

Velheim fashion is simple in that it doesn’t really exist, and is largely genderless. Velheim dress in whatever way is practical to them, the environment around them, what they have available on hand and what they intend to do. Fashion, or at least the sense of dressing to impress, mostly exists among the richer and more well-off Velheim who use especially traded (or raided) silks from Ithania or dyed furs from their own native hunting grounds. Red-dyed bear and reindeer fur in particular is popular, though furs from regions like Calemberg have started becoming more popular among the southern Velheim due to the practicality of white fur in snowy landscapes. Velheim often dress in single-layer compositions, meaning they have a tunic that serves as a half coat and a simple set of pants and boots. This is sometimes complemented with a cloak or animal fur on the shoulders, though Velheim generally do not wear undergarments. Popular combinations for Velheim clothing, especially for warriors, are combinations of chainmail into their usual attire. Skagger warriors, or those who live alone in nature however, more often than not wear very heavy thick pelts over their shoulders that cover their largely bare upper body. The pelt is usually removed in combat situations, where the only cover on their body are so called Silverspygl, small fist-sized silver disks suspended from their shoulders and necks with chains that represent their Skagger school or the lord they serve, and offer little to no actual combat advantage. The Velheim believe that they were raised to fight in the cold, and can also regulate their body temperature in the heat of battle, while always favoring speed to the point of not needing heavy armor. Still, this has resulted in their somewhat barbarian portrayal by other Ailor Cultures.

Architecture

Velheim, much like their clothing and customs would portray, don’t have a formal sense of architecture. They simply build with what they can where it is practical in whatever way is practical. If that means upturning a boat and filling the walls with dirt, then that will be done. Most Velheim houses are half dug into the ground to protect them from the elements during long winter months, though some Velheim have also been known to build their houses on stilts to avoid flooding if that should be present in the area they settled in. With few exceptions, all Velheim constructions are made of wood, largely to enforce a more nomadic idea that they might be able to pick up their belongings and move at any time should it be necessary. The more nomadic Velheim that have embraced the trek often simply live in skin and pelt built tents which are held together with rope,sticks, and bones. Velheim houses are never fancy, lacking proper plumbing or much privacy. This does however foster a strong family bond as every action in the household is shared one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally. Thaty being said, major Velheim cities do exist, largely entirely built out of wood, but with intricate and sometimes even gold-inlaid carvings and animal and beast heads adorning the roofs. Major cities in the regalian archipelago are Speldsund, Kristianstad, Gammalstan, Birgosl, Vintuul and Vadrahammarand. Major cities like Kongehaug exist outside of the Archipelago, but by far the largest cities are centered in the Regalian Archipelago and Nordskag.

Cuisine

Velheim cuisine is incredibly dull in many aspects, yet very strong in odors in others. It is said that the Velheim only know three spices: salt, pepper, and fermented. It mostly consists of flatbreads, smoked, dried or roasted fish, and leafy greens, alongside whatever other meat may be collected from a hunt. As a result, Velheim have difficulty adapting to foreign cuisine as their tastes are considered flat and small. Strong flavors give them a sense of bitterness, though they are able to adapt after long term exposure to new foods just as anyone is. However, one bright spot in Velheim cuisine is that they are known to make delicious pancake-like treats called Svele and Lefse, the former a wetter pancake with drizzled sugar syrup, the latter a drier pancake with a mixture of sugar, butter and cinnamon on top. These are frequently pre-packaged for long trips as treats along the way, or a victory meal. Velheim have an intense hatred for Avela Altalar cuisine, denouncing it as ‘fire in the mouth’ and all-round repugnant to the taste-buds. Velheim also have a long history of sun-dried and fermented fish, as well as widely being accepted as the Culture that invented apple juice and travel-aged cask spirits.

Recreation

Sports

Velheim people are generally considered to be some of the most physically robust and healthiest Ailor people in Aloria on account of their sports and leisure often including many arduous physical activities on top of their already harsh physical lifestyle. Many of these sports double as military exercises, such as contests of spear and axe throwing alongside archery competitions. However, their one unique sport is heavily tied into the lifestyle of many of their kind. The sport is Tre-Paller and involves trying to cut down a tree as quickly as possible in a race with others. Such sports normally take place at religious or general festivities, but it should be noted that the event can also take on a more ceremonial nature due to its links with the practices of the Old Faiths wedding ceremony known as Ellearøre/Ballarøre.

Leisure

The Velheim are people not well known for having a leisurely existence, as many live in harsh conditions and live hard lives. However, they are capable of relaxing and taking time to destress themselves in simple activities. Most tend to pick up the art of wood carving for pleasure, while hunting can also be a task done in the downtime of those who normally do not depend heavily on it. An additional activity undertaken in downtime, though more often in urban areas or ports, is the game of Forsvare. Considered by most dismissively as Velheim chess, the game is actually more unique in how one player is at a disadvantage with fewer pieces defending the center of the board and the Earl piece, while the other player has a larger force in four quadrants of the board. The game ends when the Earl is fully pinned in on four sides. Due to the popularity of chess though, Forsvare has mostly died out in more “southern” Velheim regions like the Regalian Archipelago and Nordskag, though Ellador and Cain keep the game alive and well. As for more boisterous leisure activities, drinking in a favorite pastime as is wrestling, though considering that the two are often mixed, such affairs sometimes degenerate into brawls rather than just one on one matches.

Symbols

The Velheim people have many symbols due to the spread across Aloria, but are most closely associated with Owls and axes. Owls are cherished namely because they are seen as a sign of wisdom but they also have religious ties. Within the Old Gods, they are the messengers of the Gods (where the Staargir do not suffice at any rate) and are seen as majestic heralds of great things. As for the axe, they are the favored weapons of the Velheim people as well as many their gods, as while a few do not wield an axe directly, they always have one hanging from their belt or in their offhand. Additionally, the colors brown, red, and green are also often used to identify the Velheim people, as are depictions of wolves and bears, who are highly regarded for their strength. Swirling wave patterns, as well as flowing rivers or waterfalls, are used in many Velheim tapestries and crests as well, as they are a reference to Jaud, but also the naval inclination most Velheim tend to possess.

Trivia

  • Jovrlov are generally speaking more often men than women. The only reason why this is, is because it is believed that many women who would normally become Jovrlov actually become Valsung, as women voices are generally deemed more beautiful than men’s voices, when singing the lamentations of the dead, thus reducing the available female pool of candidates.
  • Oogabooga is a common term used by the more rejecting Cultures of Ailor when describing the Velheim people, or their actions. It is a very base and un-creative insult, that is nonetheless often invoked to accuse Velheim of being the toxic macho people that they try to avoid being.
  • Conflict can actually exist in Velheim families between lovers that do not quite pay as much attention to each other as they should. While polyamory and polygamy are common in Velheim society, they do not underestimate the pressure and strain of maintaining multiple loving relationships.

Accreditation
Writers MonMarty
Artists MonMarty
Processors HydraLana, MantaRey
Last Editor HydraLana on 04/18/2022.

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