The World of Theas
The Kingdom of the Nordeland
The Kingdom of the Nordeland, or Nordland, is one of the three Nordlander realms that emerged in the early 3rd-century, before the beginning of the Imperial Crisis. The Nordlander Kingdom was a name once used when all the three kingdoms were unified under the banner of the Therin the Navigator and the House of Glasfean but was split into three after Therin’s death, divided amongst his three sons. The eldest son, Branoc, was given rule of the Nordland, which is the largest of the three sister realm. The power of the House of Glasfean was broken, however, during the Aragonese invasion in 371 NE, and the kingdom became a province in the Aragonese Kingdom, but the kingdom was restored during the Sixth Absolution on Arago, when the Nordic-Aragonese aristocrat, Lewys of New Arnelia, a descendant of the House of Glasfean, led an independence movement to prevent the Nordland to fall into Teutonian rule, if the Absolution was to succeed. The Kingdom of the Nordland was restored in 414 NE and though the Absolution failed, Lewys refused to return the Nordland to the Aragonese, though relations were maintained and the Nordland became a client state until 429 NE.
The name Nordeland and Nordland are interchangeable terms and both mean “home of the Nordes” or “home of the Nordics”. The terms are Teutonian and Theasan in origin but the Nordes themselves refer to their realm as Andrastajord, which means “Home of Andraste”, and the Nordes refer themselves as Andrastavahl, which means “Children of Andraste”.
Arrival in Dorhall
The Nordes were once from Kansolos, but around the late 4th century BNE, they migrated from their homeland and to Dorhall on several ships, where they arrived on the Theasan province of Nordica, and settled on the shores near the River Fen. By this point, Nordica was a full-fledged province, inhabited by Theasan settlers and Valavians who had migrated from their homelands to the north. The arrival of the Nordes was met with fear and suspicion and the situation became more fragile when the new arrivals began to build settlements. However, the Theasan emperor, Therismos, opened diplomatic talk with the Nordes and an agreement was settled between Therismos and the Norde chieftain, Garanhon. The talks resulted in the Nordes becoming a tributary people to the Empire, and in return, the Empire would provide protection to the migrators. Over the course of the following years, even more Norde migrators would arrive to Dorhall.
However, tensions began when the Nordes refused to abandon the worship of their goddess, Andraste. Several priests began inciting violence against the Nordes for their worship of what they called “a false deity”. During this time, the provincial governor, Dardanius, attempted to maintain peace between the Nordes and the rest of the province. But tensions boiled into violence when a mob, led by the Theasan priests in Nordica, led a mob against the Nordes who were living in the provincial capital of Denemor. Two-hundred Nordes were massacred and when Garanhon and his son, Fyodor, came to Denemor to speak out against this massacre, they too were slain by the zealots. Not long after, Garanhon’s second son, Therin, returned from voyaging the continent and serving in the Imperial army and continued to speak out against the religious violence committed by the priests and their mob. He demanded that Dardanius execute the priests, but when the governor refused, coupled with the punitive tribute the Theasans demanded to fund their wars and the want to be granted the same rights as Imperial citizens, Therin declared war.
The Norde Rebellion
The Nordic War was a war of resistance fought between the Nordic tribe and the Imperial army under the command of Dardanius.The reasons for the uprisings was to allow the Nordic people to practice their beliefs in freedom without fear of persecution, as well as to push for citizenship in the Theasan Empire. It wouldn’t be later on when the intent of seceding from the Empire and create a realm for the Nordes proper. The war commenced in 254 BNE and began as a series of ambushes and guerrilla tactics. As the rebellion progressed, the various Valavian inhabitants of Nordica joined the rebellion. Around this time, Nordes began escaping the violence caused by the war and headed north beyond the provincial boundary, where they settled the land that would become Greenland.
What proved to be decisive for the war was the Battle of the Urselian Field (now known as the Andrastian Field), where 4,300 rebels fought against the Imperial Army under Dardanius, which numbered between 7,000 to 12,000 soldiers, though there are some estimates that put the army’s size at 50,000 but these are exaggerations made for dramatic effect. The battle was most for most of the day, involving several skirmishes between both sides until Dardanius ordered a massive cavalry charge, which was routed by a surprise charge from Nordic and Valavian cavalry, which would become the foundations of the famed King’s Company.
A year after the battle, the Imperial Army was forced to leave Nordica, due to the outbreak of civil war that marked the beginning of the Imperial Crisis. The Nordes were quick to capture various parts of the country, including the provincial capital of Denemor. Many Theasan citizens fled but many stayed in their home and Denemor was untouched by the Nordes and while there was looting, there wasn’t a general massacre of the populace as in other sackings.
The Reign of the House of Glasfean
Therin was the first king of the Nordes and began building a hall in Castleham on top of ancient elven ruins and this would become the capital of the kingdom. Throughout his reign, he built the defenses for the Nordeland, anticipating an attempt from the Theasans to recover their lost province, though no expedition would arrive, as the Imperial Crisis was in full sway. During Therin’s reign, the Nordes colonized more of Greenland and settled the Sealdragon Island, which became the Sealand. Therin would marry a Theasan woman named Theodora, and she would convert to Nordic paganism, which began the process of religious conversion amongst the Theasan populace, who followed Theodora’s example. The new King and Queen would have three children: Branoc, Fyodor and Cayo. On his deathbed, Therin decreed that all his sons would be kings and declared the separation of his kingdom into three: the Nordland, Greenland and the Sealand. Branoc, the eldest, became King of the Nordland.
The reign of Therin marks the beginning of the reign of the Great Kings, which saw the building of the Nordland into a stable kingdom. The reign of the first three saw the Imperial Crisis tear the Theasan Empire apart and when peace was restored, tensions returned as the Empire was split into two: the Northern Empire and the Southern Empire. It was the final two of the Great Kings, as well as the Second Kings who witnessed the further collapse of the Theasan Empire and would even support the Theasan Emperors, as shown by murals dating from this time showing Nordic warriors fighting alongside Imperial troops. At around this time, dwarven merchant fleets sailed from Kansolos to Dorhall and back, introducing new varieties of dwarven goods to the continent.
The fall of the Theasan Empire at the hands of the Teutonians brought great instability, as many nations were formed, all claiming descent from the Theasan emperors. Many saw the Nordland as one of these successor states, as the last Theasan emperor, Marius, fled to the Nordland, where he would reside in for the remainder of his life. This began a conflict with the newly established Teutonian Empire, which ended with both the defeat of the Teutonian Imperial Army and the rise of the Aragonese Kingdom.
The first century of the New Era was a period of invasions and internal strife between the three Nordic realms. The idea of reunification began to surface in this time. The Nordic king Branoc III sought to unify the realms by force, and the Greenlander king Rhonwen attempted to do the same. Throughout the second, third and fourth centuries, four Absolutions were launched against the Nordes, the largest being the Third Absolution, which was a war fought not only in the Nordland, but also against the Mithrandic Empire and the Abbasians. Here, both the New Great Kings and the Battle Kings gained renowned and fame for defending the realm against the Absolutions. The last of these Absolutions ended in the beginning of the 4th century and what followed was the reign of the Lesser Kings.
The Lesser Kings were the last three kings of the Nordland and their reigns turned a stable country, which became rich due to trade with the dwarves, into an unstable, corrupt and impoverished country. The country was weakened and became the target of the Sixth Absolution, led by the Aragonese Kingdom. The Teutonian Holy King had a clear objective with this campaign and that was the annexation of the Nordland, the destruction of Castleham and stomping out Andraste’s worship.
The Aragonese roi had another plan and launched his invasion of the Nordland six months earlier than what had been planned, as the Imperial Army had not fully mustered, as it was on campaign against the Abbasians. The Absolution lasted a year and ended with the complete capture of the Nordland, as well as territories in Greenland, by Aragonese forces and the Nordland became an Aragonese province, governed by viceroys. A new capital was constructed on the former border between Arago and the Nordland, which took six years to build, a city similar in size to Castleham and was consecrated as New Arnelia on May 14th, 377.
Aragonese Occupation and Restoration
The Aragonese occupation was initially seen with fear and hatred but quickly, the Nordlanders grew to accept the Aragonese. While churches were set up throughout the country, the old Sacred Groves and Shrines were left unharmed. Aragonese bishops worked to blend both Tetrarchinism and Nordic paganism for the Norde’s sake, even stating that Andraste was just another aspect of the Tetrarchy, specifically the Lady of Heaven, Kyth. The Aragonese viceroys adopted Nordic customs, such as learning the Nordic tongue, wearing Nordic clothing and even aiding in the consecration of new Sacred Groves, replacing those damaged during the Absolution.
The Nordes were quick to accept the occupation due to the fact that the Aragonese returned stability and wealth to the Nordland. However, the Aragonese occupation ended with the arrival of the Sixth Absolution, declared with the intent of conquering Arago and its new territories. As many soldiers were drafted to combat the Absolution, fears spread amongst the Nordic population. A noble descended from the House of Glasfean, Lewys, feared the possibility of Arago falling to the Absolution and wondered the fate of the Nordland if the Aragonese Kingdom fell to Teutonia. This began a rebellion which was met with approval from the populace as it meant that if the Absolution failed, then they could return to the Aragonese fold. Lewys’ rebellion was successful and saw the restoration of the old Nordic Kingdom.
A year after the rebellion, the Absolution ended with an Aragonese victory and instead of returning to Aragonese realm, Lewys opted to keep the Nordland independent. The reasons for this are unknown, but many say that Lewys desired to remain in power as king. Whatever the reasons, the Aragonese remained on very friendly terms with the Nordes, as the rebellion was mostly tamed and with little to no violence. The Nordeland remained an Aragonese client state until 429 NE, and even to this day, it is still an ally to the Aragonese, experiencing the same prosperity and wealth it enjoyed before the rule of the Lesser Kings.
The Nordland is located on the western shores of Dorhall, north of Arago, south of Greenland and to the west is the Sealdragon Sea and the High Ocean. To the east are the Snowdonian Mountains and beyond that is the Teutonian Empire. Most of the Nordland consists of hills and mountainous terrain and a great amount of forests. The climate is maritime, and the weather is often cloudy, wet and windy with warm summers and mild to very cold winters. The border between the Nordland and the Aragonese Kingdom is considered to be the Andusian River and the Taurevi Highlands. The land beyond the Highlands, which consist of Andrast and the Dale are considered the bread-basket of the country, containing most of the arable land.
CULTURE AND SOCIETY
The Nordland is a temperate nation, high in spirituality and its people are very superstitious and has been inhabited by a culture of people who highly revere the goddess Andraste. The Nordes have a distinctive culture, much different than the shared culture and religion that the other Dorhallic nations have with each other. The Nordeland is primarily represented with a doe, the symbol of Andraste. Other symbols for the Nordeland include the owl and the rose, which are also seen as iconography of Andraste. The Nordes are incredibly trustful of law-enforcement and have an irrational fear of the darkness, more so than any other people in the world. While Nordes are considered to be a tribe of bloodthirsty savages and raging berserkers, in reality, the Nordes are a peaceful people, preferring to trade and practice commerce. The Nordes are musically inclined and songs are a characteristic of Nordic culture.
The Nordes follow what is known as Nordic paganism, led by the druids. Nordic religious is centered in ceremonies around Sacred Groves, which are taken care of by the druids. In the Sacred Groves, sacrifices are performed in honor of Andraste. While there is the common belief that Nordes practice human sacrifice, in reality, Nordic sacrifices consist of valuable objects. This worship to Andraste is characterized by being closely tied to the natural world and in their view, the natural world is in itself a divine being, with Andraste being the one who guides it.
During the Aragonese occupation, the Nordes began utilizing the concept of churches by constructing shrines in the cities. This has been met with criticism from the druids, who state that shrines keep people from the natural world. However, the shrines have allowed the arrival of a new clerical groups such as priests, which serve as underlings to the priests and the Order of the Rose Shield, otherwise known as the Andrastian Dames, who take up residence in the first monastery of the Nordland, the Monastery of Saint Oviedo, built during the days of the Aragonese occupation. The Dames have become an important part of the culture of the Nordland, as they are seen as the guardians of both the Nordes and of Andraste. The Order is known to use a song as their battle cry.
Around 85% of the population worship Andraste and the remaining population is divided in the worship of the Tetrarchy and Valavian paganism.
The traditional seasonal festivals in the Nordland are:
Festival of the New Year
The Festival of Andraste
Day of the Rose Heart
Festival of Remembrance
The style of Nordic art was almost always concerned with religious expression of Andraste theology into artistic expression. Byzantine painting consisted mainly of murals and it is a common site in cities, villages and towns to see artistic depictions of religious matters on the walls of houses and other buildings. Nordic art is also very colorful and complex, with great amount of detail and fresco-like paintings. A major part of Nordic art is both poetry and song. Nordic poetry and song is characterized as the same way as its art, concerned with religious expression and theology. Nordic song and poetry is also considered to be very somber, but also very cheerful depending on the circumstance.
Nordic cuisine is usually described as hearty and rich and is known to be very filling. Stews are very common and include potatoes, turnips and on occasion lamb. Bread is the most common meal, as well as gruel and pottage. The most popular dish in the Nordeland is a holiday dish, readily available in food shops and in noble courts; this dish, called Ristedepie, consists of baking a pie, consisting of lamb or mutton, potatoes and several amount of vegetables, mostly beets. Once the pie is made and cooked like any other pie, the pie is cooked again by roasting it. It is a popular holiday meal, especially during the winter months. Nordic drink is varied, consisting of different types of beer, ales, meads and wines. While not known for their wines, the Nordes are known for their crafting of beer. Several types of beer include malt beer, stout and lagers and what is considered the strangest type of beer, which is turnip beer, a hot drink that is usually prescribed to treat ailments, especially for the country’s youth.
The Nordes in the Nordland, as well as Nordes in Greenland and Sealand, follow a similar system of social tiers. In general, it is broken up between nobles and commoners. At the height of the social pyramid lie the druids, and while they may not hold any political power, they are seen as leaders in society, deserving respect higher than any king. The position of king is hereditary and Nordes view their king as holding a sort of divine right. The king also functions as the voice of the druids, who in turn function as the voice for Andraste. The commoner class is divided within itself, with merchants and craftsmen holding the top of the social ladder; beneath them are the clergymen in shrines, and despite being clergy, they do not hold the same religious authority as the druids. Following the clergymen are the freemen and beneath them are the peasants.
Nordic law is extremely regulated and in the cities, many freemen make up the city guard and watch. In villages and towns, law is enforced through constables and the town watch. Nordic law is incredibly influenced by Andraste worship. Petty crimes are usually punished by the stocks or the occasional whipping, though a new practice has been established which consists of monetary or material penalty to pardon a crime. For major crimes, the punishments can be harsh and violent, ranging from long-term imprisonment, public humiliation, whipping and executions. The worst types of offenses are blasphemies against Andraste and those are met with extreme retribution, with offenders suffering the most violent and drawn out of executions.
It is generally frowned upon for a citizen to take the law in his/her hands, but on the occasion that law enforcement is unavailable, then citizens do take matters in their own hands. This practice is most common in cities and virtually unheard of in towns and villages due to the presence of constables.
In households, the father of the family is the one who dictates the house. Usually, the oldest child inherits, regardless of gender though a younger son or daughter can be named if they prove to be more capable.
Like most kingdoms, the role of sovereignty is exercised by a king (Konge in the Norde tongue) though power resides as well in the nobility. While the king has great power, this power is not absolute and in shared with the nobility, who join together in Castleham in the Hold Meeting, which functions as the legislative body of the country. Here, matters regarding the state are settled and all lords of the Nordeland participate, including the druids, who consecrate the meeting when it is done.
The Nobility of the Nordeland
Nobles Houses of the Nordeland
House of Glasfean, Kings of the Nordeland and Lords of Castleham (Royal family, deposed by the Fifth Absolution. Restored by Lewys of New Arnelia)
House of Rivard, Lords of the Dale and Norby
House of Dannenbor, Lords of Alsgowt
House of Baliol, Lords of Resbell and the Barrowlands
House of Cardonall, Lords of Glassvey
House of Powell, Lords of Alholmen
House of Breton, Lords of Sommerlas
The Nordeland is a merchant kingdom, with trade ships sailing to ports of several countries, with its largest trading partners being the Aragonese Kingdom, the Republic of Fiore, the Mithrandic Empire and the Eddic Kingdom. In regards with its relationship with the other nations, the Nordes are viewed with suspicion for their religious beliefs and the rumors surrounding them. It has been invaded several times throughout its history, its greatest enemy being the Teutonian Empire. The Nordeland is currently allied with the Aragonese Kingdom due to the marriage between Lewys of Arnelia and the daughter of King Aurelius of Arago, Ermesinda.
The Norde method of warfare consists in chasing the enemy of in retreating. While the Nordes can field sizeable numbers in open battle and hold their own in the field, they prefer ambushes and nightly sallies. The Nordes go into battle lightly armored, though close contact with the Aragonese has allowed the Nordes to adopt the usage of heavy cavalry and they can field hundreds of heavy cavalry, a segment of it consisting in Bluehart cavalrymen known as the King’s Company. The Nordes are also skilled bowmen, utilizing self-bows made out of yew and oak. The Nordes prefer to go into battle lightly armored, utilizing spears or axes, with round shields. Usually, when mustered, the Nordic army can number from around 8,000 to 10,000 men at full strength.