Iron Fist Kings
Words and Gold might bring you far in the Greenlands but not here. Beyond the March the only thing that counts is strength. The North will never bow nor kneel. You can't control it. Only tame it through an iron fist.On their own, the various tribes of the Far North pose no real danger to the defenders of the Northern March. For while they are all called Barbarians by the southerners and many think them all part of a single tribe, in truth there are dozens if not hundreds of different tribes with wildly varying cultures and faiths. They fight amongst themselves as savagely as they do the Vardanians, for land to settle on is rare beyond the March and good land even rarer. Every few centuries however this situation changes dramatically. From beyond the norths ever swirling mists appears a man. Brutal, ruthless and driven by boundless ambition. One that will forge the warring tribes into a weapon to strike down the walls of the Iron Men and conquer the Greenlands. A king not by blood or council but by strength. A king that rules through an iron fist.
Kings in the NorthThe Northmen follow a rather simple hierarchy. A Chief is the ruler of a tribe which can encompass anything from a few longhouses to several towns. A number of those tribes follow a Grand Chief, who in turn is ruled over by the High Chief. They lead the great tribal federations, some several hundred thousand strong. King is the title given to the supreme ruler, with a weight similar to that of Emperor or Elder King. Only those that have managed to subdue the north, beaten its chiefs and gathered them under their banner may wear the title. To declare yourself King is tantamount to a declaration of war on every ruler of the region. Few have ever dared to even attempt it. Even fewer have succeeded. Only the greatest have left a legacy.
The First King and the MonsterUbar Sin: In the decades after the Desolation the empty north remained of little concern to the people of Vardania. Ubar changed that. In 825 DA he led his people south evading the empty lands of the Sikirians like a plague. Raiding western Vardania for several years he was finally defeated by an alliance of the Gedari, Anari and the city-state of Aurasio in late 832 DA. Neither the largest nor the most devastating, his incursion alerted the Vardanians to the fact that people existed even further north than previously believed. As a result, several outposts were established along the river Ilin. Enlil the Despoiler: The Alevati invasion had been the final straw. Seven continent-wide invasions, fourteen major incursions and hundreds if not thousands of raids and attacks within 700 years. The Far North was not an empty wasteland like many had believed. Humans lived there. Warlike, large in number, organized and armed. And they were coming south. Horde after horde, intent on drowning Vardania under a tide of bodies.
A man? No, child. Enlil was no mere man. He was the wrath of the old gods given form.
A divided ContinentWith monumental effort, the rulers of northern Vardania began to turn the Northern March from a series of watchtowers and small camps into a fortress that rivalled any in the known world. A task that took hundreds of thousands of workers and over 100 years. Finished in 1640 DA these walls withstood assault after assault. And while some where broken and overrun no northern King managed to set foot in the south for over 1500 years. Until a fateful winter in 3098. Gimilkar the Breaker: Monstrous in battle he destroyed a dozen Tarquinnian Legions and slew Emperor Valerian IX. and his daughter and heir Amelia in combat. By 3105 he had conquered half the continent and threatened even the ancient metropolis of Tarquinnia itself when his life was cut short by a heart attack at the age of 61. His sudden death created a power vacuum, giving the battered Hegemony time to recover. It is generally seen as the beginning point of the Northern Kings and Southern Emperors Period. Nin Kirgala the White Kraken: The first and only female of the Iron Fist Kings was one of the most powerful rulers the north had ever seen. Brilliant, beautiful and absolutely ruthless she claimed the crown through manipulation and deceit. With her rivals in the north vanquished the young queen set about continuing the assault on the Vardanians. From 3202 DA on northern armies pushed further south than ever before, Caerne, Moira, the cities of the Summer Coast, no region was safe. However, from the ranks of the Hegemony, a rival rose to match her at every step. General Aleius Gerrin took command of the battered Imperial Army and countered Kirgala's forces at every opportunity. The war between the two would continue for over 13 years and rage across the entire continent. After years of strife, Aleius triumphed in the Battle of the Carian Gate and captured the queen. She died a few days after the battle at the age of 37. Her realm fell to infighting and dissolved within a few years time.
Last StandLugal Zare the Last King:
With Lugal Zare's death, the Barbarian realm collapsed. Imperial forces reclaimed the March for the first time in over 200 years. The remaining Barbarians were pushed into the lands beyond and those still settled in Vardania were deported en masse. Now behind restored walls, the south thinks itself safe again. Safety, however, is not guaranteed. Vardania is in chaos following the Tyrants War and the defenders of the March are weakened. Furthermore the last decades have been the warmest in centuries and the people of the north have grown more numerous as a result. The fighting for usable land has intensified again and it may only be a matter of time before another warrior steps from beyond the mists, unites the tribes under an iron fist and sets his sights on the south again.
Kings of the North, Kings in the North
I can feel it in my bones Gerrin. This is my final night, be it by gods will or mens. And when I die it will not be as an animal, humiliated and broken to the amusement of bored fatling lords. It will be as a warrior, brought down by a worthy opponent.Jaws of a Wolf Ahu Shanish was one of a kind among the northern Kings. Rising to power 20 years after Nin Kirgala had died his ambition was not to conquer the south but to unite the tribes into a stable and enduring realm. To this purpose, he married many of his children into other tribes and clans and in a grand feast intended to strengthen these pacts. However, the chiefs of the north turned on him, broke the oath of peace and slaughtered the Laughing Wolf and all his relatives and children in a single night. Before dying Shanish's mother, cradling the head of her dead son, cursed the traitors. The Curse of the Wolf, named after the banner of Shanish's clan, would in time claim its victims. Losing themselves in endless feuds the traitorous clans were finally annihilated during the Northern Campaign with the last northern King, descendant of Clan Zare, which had instigated the massacre falling at the hands of Adeon Vargan Vardanias Iron Wolf.
Eternal strife will be yours... Never to trust another again. A road of blood... and fire is what..waits for you... And at its end...the maw of a wolf.
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