The Kingdom of Salvagard [REJECTED]

Old world development posts that have been reviewed and incorporated or put aside.
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Maddness
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Name: Helmer Norberg
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The Kingdom of Salvagard [REJECTED]

Post by Maddness » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:35 pm

OOC: This is incredibly long, topping out at over 13,000 words. If you need a rest break, I’d go now; this will take you a while.

THE COLLECTED WORKS CONCERNING THE KINGDOM OF SALVARGARD, LAND OF THE SNOW LORDS
By Henrick Drekvale

Salvagard is a realm steeped in history. Located in the rugged far north, close to the boarders of northern Taig Xia, its history is long and rich, filled with heroes and battles from ages long past. However, like every story, this one starts at the beginning, at the Kingdom’s founding almost 1800 yeas ago.

EARLY HISTORY: The Prophet Salvagard and the Long March

After the Changer’s war the races of Shifters were still recuperating after the devastation suffered during the Changers war. They had been slaughtered like cattle, and even after the changers left there was still no real organization, with the remainder eking out what little existence they could.
Of all the shifter breeds the most populous to remain were the Wolf kin, known as werewolves to humans. Their kind had been the best able to resist the carnage of the Changers, and so many remained scattered around the world.
After a time the pack instinct of the werewolves led them to be drawn together, seeking out one another as a means of survival. Many chose to hide amongst humanity, attempting to blend into the communities forming after the war.

However, some chose to stand up for what they were, and not be cowered by the suspicious and agressive nature of humanity. One such community was that of Gelneth Salvagard and his brethren. A fierce tribe from the north of what is today known as Eyropa, Salvagard refused to allow humanity to dictate their destiny. He decided to fight back, and his tribe began raiding west along the continent, taking what they needed from humans who had sought to hurt them before.
The tribe became very successful, and gathered many Wolf Kin to them. They became a powerful force, eventually able to sustain themselves with the arrival of women and children from other tribes. For Salvagard had a vision, of a land in which a Shifter need not fear the animosity of man, and truly live free of oppression.

Regrettably, it was their success that led to their downfall. It was at this time that some of the bigger empires began expanding their boarders to include many of the settlements Salvagard depended upon to feed his tribe. In several fierce retaliatory strikes this empire began to hammer the werewolf forces, reducing their numbers considerably.
Without a source of supplies the tribe of Salvagard was on the verge of collapse, with many worried mumblings among the people.

For Salvagard it was as if his dreams had been reduced to tatters. His fears were manifesting, and soon they would be engulfed by the human world.

But there is always a way. As Salvagard was walking in a wood close to camp the rains came and he was forced to find shelter or be washed away. By chance he came across a cave, its narrow mouth hiding its depth. As the downpour hammered outside Salvagard proceeded to explore his new surroundings. Down, deep into the heart of earth he strode, the walls going from broken clay and stone to dark granite, smoothed by centuries of water flowing over them. Salvagard could not explain it, but he was compelled to continue, his journey taking him through passages that had never seen before seen life travel through.
At long last he reached a cavern, its walls lit by an eerie green light tinged with blue. Before him stood a vast underground lake, with its vast expanse as calm and still as a mirror. What puzzled the Werewolf was the water, which was coloured a deep crimson, almost as if it was composed of blood rather then water.
As Salvagard stood there looking over the sight a call echoed from deep within the cavern, a cry of loneliness and fear. From the shore Salvagard spied a small form struggling in the waters, a child struggling to stay afloat.
Without a second thought the Warrior leapt into the lake, his form shifting to that of a half man, half wolf. With powerful strokes he swam out to the child, grasping the struggling form to him tightly as he swam back towards the shore. However, as he swam, the child seemed to grow heavy, and the harder he swam the further away it seemed to be. Regardless, the warrior continued on, refusing to release the child and leave it to its fate. Eventually the waters closed about his head, and he felt his life begin to drain away as he struggled to hold both the child and his breath. The world turned to a tunnel of light fading in his vision, tinged red by the waters of the lake. He waited until he could stand it no more, and took a gulp of the water as if trying to breath.

And then the lake was gone, and Salvagard stood upon the bare rock gasping to regain his breath. As he looked up he discovered that the Cavern had vanished replaced by a small chamber only a dozen feet across, a small pool of red liquid set into the floor. But that was not all, for in the room stood twelve figures, their features obscured by a blinding white light that wreathed them like flame. As one they spoke to the astonished werewolf, “By the sacrifice you chose freely to make we have deemed you worthy. You have drunk from the waters of life, through which we grant our wisdom to those who have proved their worth. Now, we will reveal to you the path.”

It is not known what occurred next, for Salvagard would never reveal what he saw there in the presence of the twelve; all that is known is that he saw the future, and knew what he had to do to save his people.

He returned to his camp, a large scroll clutched in his hand and the words of prophecy on his lips, for he clutched the Book of the Twelve in his hands, the text of the gods that laid down their plans for the future of the world, to be guarded by Salvagard and his people until such time as the gods returned to claim them, never to be opened or read.

With this sacred relic in hand he preached the word of the twelve, and even the staunchest sceptics were led to believe by the fervour of his words. In his vision Salvagard had seen a land where his people could live, free from the arm of humanity, and be allowed to prosper.

With a sense of new purpose the peoples of the tribe gathered together their possessions and set off on their quest for a new land, travelling far to the north east beyond their know borders and beyond. Over hill and mountain, through valleys and fording rivers they travelled, living off the land and fending off numerous attacks from many who lived in the lands through which the Salvagardians were travelling.
However, word of their travels spread, and by the time they reached the boarders of what would be their new land the number had grown to over ten times the original amount.
As they passed through the huge mountain ranges that would become known as the southern peaks the peoples of Salvagard were granted the first sight of their new homeland. It was a huge bowl, many tens of miles both long and wide, filled with trees and wild game as far as the eye could see, all the way to the distant glaciers that were little more then a dark line in the distance.
It was as if a huge hand had descended from heaven and scooped out this land from the barren mountains, and filled it with everything the tribe needed to survive.
However, this land was not free from terrors, as the tribe soon discovered. Not only was the infested with dangerous animals such a Snow Leopards and Black Bares, but many other dangers lurked in the hills and forests, from the Snow trolls and Ice Giants to the tribes of savage Icemen, arriving later in the far north of the land.

It was these that new dangers that the tribe had to fend off as they carved out their new territory in the land of snow and ice. They spent many moths wandering the land, looking for a suitable place to call home. However, one day they found what they were looking for. Salvagard and his people came across a Mesa of dark granite, jutting out of the forest, its surface sloping on pone side to a point whilst all other sides were as shear as sea cliffs. Along it’s base ran a bright river, it’s swift flowing nature allowing water to flow free of ice almost the year round.
It was here that the People of Salvagard would found their first settlement that would one day become known as the City of Salvagard, Home of the Snow Lords.
It was also the final place that Salvagard ever saw. Mere days after he and his followers arrived the Prophet of the Twelve fell gravely ill, although none of the healers amongst the assembled peoples could discover why. For five days he lay dying, his body slowly wasting away to a shade of its former self. Even as he died the prophet still preached the ways of the Twelve, giving his final orders on how the new settlement should be created, and teaching the new leaders of tribe what they needed to know to allow their continued survival and veneration of the Twelve.

When Salvagard eventually did pass from this world on the morning of the sixth day all the people stood in grief for the passing of their great leader. Many wept openly at the passing of one so great, and some questioned how they would survive without his gifted vision of events yet to come. But the new leaders of the people settled their fears, stating that the Prophet had passed on what was needed for his people to survive in this harsh land. The funeral Procession wound down the Mesa from the new settlement to the river, where a raft had been made and covered in tinder. Here the body was laid to rest, and his Second in command, an old solider named Kogen Norberg, lit the raft, setting it off on its long journey southwards towards the distant sea.

Thus with the Passing of the Prophet began the First age of the People of Salvagard, known to those who lived it as the time of building.

THE FIRST AGE: The time of building and prosperity

For the next 400 years the new kingdom of Salvagard knew relative peace. Safe upon the Mesa from the wilds that surrounded them, the people began to build a new settlement on the rocky surface. They began by building a large hall of wood and stone at the peak of the Mesa to look out over their new land and shelter the people in times of crisis. Then they began on the settlement proper. The people moved from the canvas tents that had sheltered them on the long march and into new shelters made of thick tree logs to shelter them from the harsh conditions. At first they were simple constructions, an A frame at an angle that prevented the heavy and frequent snows from crushing the small buildings, but over time they became far more permanent structures, their roofs being raised and true walls being constructed from planks cut during the summer months.
As the people became more settled they began cutting new roads into the rock of the mesa, a process taking many years due to the makeup of the rock (almost pure granite) and the long winters of the north. Over time a rudimentary economy was established, with many basic items being bought and sold in the market before the keep. One thing that was agreed upon by all was the construction of a monument to the great prophet, a massive obelisk several stories tall to look out over the land, with a large crystal found in the granite of the mesa being shaped into the obelisks point. Its surface was covered in pictographs describing the Prophets life and prayers to the Twelve for the safety of his people.
With a wall of stone hewn from the very rock of the Mesa and set across the narrow access ramp to the plateau above the Salvagardians settlement was protected, and the people for the first time felt no need for fear.
Then began the taming of the land. Although they had no desire to impose their view of things upon the great forests and peaks as humans did, they knew that many of the forest monsters, like the Trolls and Giants, would need to be pushed back so that the people would have room to expand.
Under the reign of the Norberg kings a new force was created, made up of small hunting packs, designed to harass and harried the lumbering monsters, taking them down one at a time so that they would be pushed back, away from Salvagard and into the foothills and mountains. Although several pack members were killed in outright fights with the Giants, the likes of which few werewolves had seen before, the campaign was a success. Vast swathes of land were cleared, allowing the Werewolves free dominance to hunt in the forests that abounded with game of all kinds.

As time wore on the settlement of Salvagard grew into a bustling town, its buildings now spreading not only over the Mesa but onto the lands around it. The people had taken to farming vast areas of hardy crops to support their new population, and although Werewolves preferred a meat heavy diet, the advent of brewing and creation of ales resulting from farming was something much celebrated in the growing city. Many new Taverns and Brew halls were opened by enterprising individuals, and they did good business within the first hours of opening (the later hours were less fruitful owing to most of the patrons being passed out on the floor).
However, with the local economy becoming more powerful by the day the Norberg kings were faced with a problem. Their economy still ran upon the coinage brought with them from the long march, and very little more was made due to the Werewolves compunction to be severely claustrophobic, meaning any sort of long term mining operation to find more gold was impossible. At this point there were no true mages among the Salvagardians, so the creation of Bishani was also out of the question.

However, this problem was solved by a young hunter out on his Right of Ascendance. As he hunted an illusive Snow Leopard across a small range in west he stumbled upon a stream. It was a small thing, not to wide or deep, something to be expected in the foothills of a mountain range. What caught the Hunters attention was what the stream ran over. Beneath the thick topsoil that covered it lay a riverbed that shone as pure as glass, is surface only blemished in areas by small rocks brought down in mountain floods. It seemed impossible, but the Hunter had to believe his eyes. The hill was made of diamond.

It was a massive find, and after the hunter had reported it to the king several packs were dispatched to confirm the find. When they did so it was the answer to the kings prayers, and many workers were dispatched. It was discovered that it was not only the hill of the stream that was made of diamond, but almost every hill in the range was also made of diamond. It was from then on that the kingdom of Salvagard used diamonds as currency, and it continues to this day. It was also the site of the second settlement if Salvagard, Eadburg.

With this crisis averted the Kingdom of Salvagard entered into an era of prosperity unknown to its inhabitants for since time immemorial. Many more villages and towns grew across the land, although many remained small as to not disrupt the abundance of game across the land. However, like all good things, it’s time was coming to and end, and 500 years after it’s founding the people blessed by the Twelve were plunged into the Ice war.

THE ICE WAR: First war in the land of Salvagard

The first true war that Salvagard ever faced began before many even realised. It originated far to the north of kingdom, on the icy glaciers known as the Great Northern Expanse. For there lived the Icemen, a barbaric people abandoned by their creators at the end of the changer war.
Despite their name, The Icemen bore little resemblance to humanity, being some sort of reptile descendent that walked on two legs and lived in the coldest of environments. Their bodies were thickly scaled and they wore little to no clothing, carrying weapons of bone and whatever they could forage in the wastes of a home.
They were also cannibals.
For hundreds of years they had remained in the frozen wastes, large tribes battling one another over resources like fresh water and shelter, causing so much bloodshed that they almost drove their race to extinction on several occasions.
At this pint they had undergone a population explosion, with their numbers numbering far more then almost any other point in their history. With the merger resources being stretched to the limit they had to move south, to find more to survive.
What they found was Salvagard. The peaceful kingdom of the Werewolves held a huge bounty for the starving Icemen, and lay close to the barbarians limits, any further south being too warm for them to survive for any length of time.

The horde that had gathered descended into the kingdom down the northern glaciers, known to the Salvagardians as the Ice Wall. It was like a flood of living flesh, with thousands of the savages entering the kingdom to ravage the land and the homes of the peaceful werewolves.
The People of Salvagard were wholly unprepared for the onslaught, knowing the Icemen only in passing. Much of the northern kingdom was lost within a week of the arrival of the horde, and the Savages began regrouping for another push further into the kingdom.
Until now the Salvagardians had known nothing of war. They were hunters, not warriors, and had little skill in the art of warfare. Time was running out, and for the first time in 500 years it seemed that the Kingdom could be undone by the very thing that made it a good place to live, its bountiful resources and lack of challenging opponents to contest their dominance.
With this invasion the Salvagardians needed to change their ways, fast. King Hengal Norberg held a council of all the remaining nobles in the kingdom, and drew on the ideas of his ancestors as they fought the human tribes long ago. He formed the kingdoms professional hunters, of which there were huge numbers, into leaders of large packs of werewolves made up of every Man and woman over the age of ascension that was not too old or infirm. These packs would then go out; armed with the finest weapons they could get their hands on, and meet the enemy in the fields and forests of their homeland. All those who could not fight would be sent to Prophet’s pass in the south, a small settlement on the southern boarders of the kingdom, and were prepared to migrate south and away from Salvagard if the war ended in defeat.

Thus began the Ice War. And it was a war unlike any before it. The Icemen had commanders, no war leaders to control them. They were a singles mass, acting and reacting in groups, like shoals of fish and hunting jackals.
Thus the way the Salvagardians fought had to differ from the norm. There were no formations, no marching lines, no banners and certainly no cavalry charges. The Werewolves needed to use guile and wit to out maneuver the horde, Isolating small groups as they would beasts from a pack, then setting upon them, breaking from their cover to tare at the savages before they could rejoin the main group. It was an effective tactic, but it cost the Warriors of the Twelve dear, for casualties were inevitable, and the loss of life was like nothing before in the Snow Kingdom.

Before long the werewolves were pushing the Icemen back, their harrying attacks preventing the savages from advancing any further into Salvagard. However, there were side effects to this tactic. The Icemen horde had begun to consolidate, and was becoming a concentrated force far too large to be dispersed by the Werewolves guerrilla tactics. It was the second wave, and it was every bit as devastating as the first push, getting further inland then ever before, smashing aside the hunting packs as they went after the true prize, the city of Salvagard itself.
So the battle came. Close to a year of fighting had led to this moment, the first and only pitched battle of the war. The horde stood at the edge of the forest, the Icemen waiting for nightfall to begin their attack, whilst the battered forces of Salvagard stood behind their crude wooden palisade, many standing with spears clutched at their sides, ready at any moment to make their final stand in a battle that few could see them winning.
As the dusk drew in the horde grew restless, and they drew together, ready to overcome the defenders and loot the city and its wealth. But in the eastern lines there was much turmoil, and the defenders looked on in puzzlement as the mass seemed to be fleeing the trees, running as if demons from hell were chasing them.

The answer came soon, for from the trees came a monstrous roar, loud and long, that shook the snow from the trees, and made the Great Monument to hum in sympathetic tone. Suddenly hundreds of trolls charged from the trees, the bulk of them blocking out the snow beneath their feet. They hit the Icemen with a sound like a hammer hitting meat, tree trunk like clubs rising and falling as they smashed the northern tribes to paste.

The werewolves were in shock. A group they saw as little threat to them had arrived from nowhere, and was causing havoc in the lines of the Icemen. The Werewolves quickly rallied their forces, and as one charged the Icemens now exposed western flank, crushing the horde between the two forces of werewolves and trolls. It was fierce and bloody, with more dying in minuets then had during the course of the war, and the slush underfoot was stained red with the blood spilt by both forces.
The battle was long and tough for all involved, but eventually the Icemen broke, fleeing towards the distant Ice Wall.

As the last of the Icemen fled the field the werewolves and Trolls turned to regard one another. The Salvagardians tensed in anticipation of another battle, but the Trolls merely snorted in a roundabout way and quit the field. To this day no one knows why the Trolls helped in the battle, and what incentive they had for doing so, although rumours abound in every tavern and home.

THE SECOND AGE: The Return and the Great Strife

So the people of Salvagard returned to their cities and their lands, gladdened by the defeat of the Icemen and eager to return to their peaceful lives. But the king knew that things would never be as they were. The Icemen were defeated, but they were not gone, and without defences his people would be at their mercy if they ever returned, as they were in the time of the long march.

So he ordered the formation of an army, and had every large settlement fortified against possible Icemen attacks, their walls being made of thick stone and built high to prevent the Savages from ever plundering their centres of wealth again.
The military trained to use their hunting skills as a weapon, taught not only how to fight as a pack, but also how to use formations and tactics to outsmart a potential enemy.

It was not a popular move, with many of the population being pressed to serve the army as auxiliaries for at least 2 months a year to help bolster it’s numbers. There were grumbles everywhere, but the people relented as time wore on, knowing that the threat of the Icemen was one that could not be ignored.

So it was for almost 650 years. The people became far hardier as time wore on, and the Icemen began raiding the Kingdom on many occasions, with periodic incursions by larger forces, although it never came near the numbers seen during the Ice war. But the new army proved itself a good investment, holding off the Savages many times, although never able to push past the Ice wall and eradicate them once and for all.
It was also at this time that the Ice Giants began waking, and raiding the eastern kingdoms, descending from their mountain caves to hunt for food and plunder from the rich villages in the south, poorly defended compared to the northern Marches.

The Kingdom continued despite these challenges, but every year became harder, with the winter months becoming inexplicably colder and the summers less bountiful.

It was not a good time for the people of the Twelve, and the situation came to a head when King Gorgrim died suddenly.

The reason for this problem was because he had not yet called for the Trial of the Heir, which sent aspirants north to the pool of life as a test of the potential ruler’s dedication to the task. And as only a king could call for the Trial, the realm was left for the first time without an heir to take on the Snow Throne.

There was chaos. The Nobel family of Norberg was split into several factions, each arguing for supremacy over the others, all carving up the kingdom into their personal domains whilst trying to take the others land as their own.

The strife lasted many years and drove the people of Salvagard apart. Eventually, after much bickering and in-fighting, the problems centred around the Late King’s two oldest sons, Vilhelm and Rastmir, both of whom claimed the title fell to them by divine right, and that the opposing brother’s claim was false. It was behind the two heirs that the other nobles rallied, their forces eventually consolidating outside the city of Salvagard, two vast forces of battle hardened werewolves ready to fight one another for their Lords right to rule.

For the Clerics of the Twelve, who rarely got involved in the running of the Kingdom, this was a catastrophe of huge proportion. Looking on from their temple high on the old Mesa of the city they saw the plans of the Prophet collapsing under the greed and stubborn denial of the two princes. They had to act.

Descending through the city as quickly as possible they made their way to the potential battlefield, their robes of office billowing behind them. The two forces immediately bowed their heads and closed fists upon their breast as a sign of respect, averting their eyes from the prophets chosen. Only Vilhelm and Rastmir looked on from either side of the battlefield, puzzled by the Clerics sudden presence there.

As they neared the centre of the field the holy men of Salvagard gestured for the pair to join them. With the clerics were two daggers, used usually for sacrificing animals to the Twelve. They handed the pair the daggers, and told them that they could not let their conflict destroy the nation they sought to rule. If they were to fight it would be between themselves, and whoever the victor was between them would be judged worthy to rule.

Thus began the Duel of Heirs. It was a fierce battle, for the brothers were evenly matched in both strength and speed. Between the two armies turned spectators the pair fought, their blows fierce and many horrific wounds being inflicted by both dagger and claw. For a full day they fought, their iron constitution tested to the limit and beyond as they sought victory.
Finally, as the sun rose on the second day, the final blow came. Rastmir slipped in a pool of his own blood, and his dagger flying from his hand as he fell to his knees. Without giving it a second though his older brother let lose a howl of rage, plunging his dagger deep between Rasmir’s eyes.

Thus the strife was over, and the kingdom returned to its whole state under the new king, Vilhelm. However, it took almost a generation for the animosity to fade between the various domains, and even today many citizens of Salvagard still identify themselves by the Domain they once fell under.

THE THIRD AGE: The Blood Queen and the Coming of Humanity

After the restoration of the monarchy it was almost 200 years before the next crisis arose for the people Salvagard, and the people enjoyed relative peace, as the Icemen attacks became more infrequent and the seasons became warmer, allowing for a relative return to prosperity for the northern kingdom.

The only stain was the arrival of the Blood queen. No one knows her true name, but what she was is well known, an ancient and terrible Vampire.

Although the Kingdom had been isolated for many years behind its great boarder mountains, there were still many rumours of its existence in the lands of the south, although many were false, overblown stories of gold cities and fire breathing Dragons. However, there were some willing to test these rumours, and although many perished in the frozen passes, some survived. One was the Blood Queen.

Driven from her homeland after her subjects revolted, the Blood Queen had fled north, seeking a safe haven. Although she did not credit the rumours of Salvagard’s existence, she did know something lay beyond the northern peaks, hidden from many prying eyes. What she found was beyond her dreams, a land safe from the outside, full of riches and an unsuspecting population.
She quickly integrated with the population of the town Frosgard, a population centre in the far southwest, surrounding the large lake of Teilman. From here she began to create followers amongst the people of the town, seducing them by some unknown means to be utterly devoted to her in every way, with some even forgetting to eat unless told to do so.

This continued for almost two years, with everyone in the domain falling under her spell. She had them build her a palace by the lake, rough by her standards, but far grander then anything in the region, almost a match for some of the Nobel homes close to the capital city. Although Teilman was a populated region, it received very few visitors, and they never saw the strange palace that had been erected.

The queen had held more territory then any enemy since the Icemen, and yet no-one knew. That was, however, until she tried to expand into the rest of the Snow Kingdom.
It was the third year of her tenure in Salvagard when the rest of nation finaly noticed the strangeness of the Teilman peoples, and their sudden drive outwards into the rest of the Kingdom. Envoys were sent to Frosgard, but none returned.
He king decided enough was enough and began rounding up the wayward Teilman people, taking many for questioning in the old dungeons beneath the palace. There they learnt of the Blood Queens existence, and that the people of the Teilman region were completely in her thrall.
The king was horrified by the state of the people he once called his own, now so completely in love with the woman that they had forsaken all other oaths. He ordered a swift execution for the Thralls they had captured whilst he rallied his men.
However, as the clerics gave a Thrall their final blessing and sang their death hymn they placed a silver token upon her head, as was the custom with traitors to the crown. The metal burning into the werewolves’ skin, as expected, and the Thrall screamed with the pain. Then, suddenly, they became confused, as if waking from a deep sleep, not knowing where they were or how they had arrived there.
The Clerics were shocked by the revelation, and tried using the silver tokens upon other Thralls that had been captured, each having the same effect of releasing the thralls from their infatuation with the Blood Queen.
The king was contacted and brought before the prisoners by the clerics, showing him the effect the silver had upon the people. After he had been convinced no trickery was involved the king came up with a new plan to retake Teilman. He ordered the manufacture of as many tokens as possible, which were then blessed and issued to the soldiery. With these tokens in hand (One side was backed with leather for the soldiers to hold) the men could subdue the people of Teilman and release them from their thrall whilst keeping them alive, minimizing the losses of life to both the soldiers and citizens alike.

So the campaign began against the Thralls of the Blood Queen, with the soldiers hunting through the forests and towns in small packs to be as mobile as possible. The campaign was not wholly bloodless, with many thralls fighting back to prevent the soldiers from freeing them. However, for every thrall that fell there were many that were redeemed, and every one rose with vengeance to fight back against the one who had clouded their minds.
After a month almost all of the people of Teilman had been liberated, and only the last few remained with the Blood Queen in her lakeside palace. The Soldiers had gathered together all available citizens, and soon the palace was surrounded, and the queen face imminent death at the hands of her one time thralls. What happened next is a mystery, but it is theorised that the Blood queen used the last of her magic to cast a spell, for when they stormed the castle they found it empty, nothing left other then some scattered furniture and a few lifeless bodies. The forces never saw her leave, nor did they sense any magic affecting their senses, but they could not doubt the sight they saw. As a precaution they tore down the keep, leaving the ruin as a warning to any of her kind who dared return to Salvagard. However, the land around it is still uninhabited, with many believing that it is cursed by the Blood Queens presence.

It was 100 Years after the defeat of the Blood Queen that another crisis came from the outside world, one that the people of Salvagard had thought they had escaped 1500 years before, the advancing human empires.

THE BATTLE OF PROPHET’S PASS: First war with the humans

On the back of the Blood Queens escape came a groundswell of rumours about the existence of Salvagard and the apparent riches that were contained within. There were whispers of the Blood Queens involvement, but as with many things, this could never be proven.
In response to these rumours came hundreds of pioneers set on finding a safe way to cross the great peaks that shielded Salvagard from the rest of the world. Cold weather gear was fashioned to provide the pioneers with a measure of protection from the conditions, and durable foodstuffs that could last the months of travel that were required when searching for a passage though the mountains.
However, the task was a massive one, and the profusion of trolls in the mountains (Forced there by the Werewolves so many years before) meant that many pioneers met a grisly death before they were ever able to find a route through. But, in the end the inevitable occurred when a group of enterprising gnomes joined an expedition, bringing with them many gnomish inventions. Among these gadgets and gizmos lay the devices that began the war, black powder explosives.

Using these devices the expedition was able to blast through the snowdrifts and rock falls that had blocked many a pioneer before them. Finally they broke into the Pass of the Prophet, the route through the mountains taken by Salvagard himself on the Long March, an area sheltered from the weather by high peaks and free of the trolls that patrolled the rest of the mountains.

The Pioneers followed the pass, taking the shelter it afforded, realising that this gap in the mountains may have been what people had been searching for these many long years. Through perseverance they eventually reached the head of the winding route, and were stunned by what they saw.
A Wall. Not one of snow, ice or lose rock, but of dressed stone. Set into it was a great gate, 3 times the height of a man and many times as board, fashioned from iron and steel in a way that dwarfed many homes, leaving none of the Pioneers in any doubt that they had reached the fabled Kingdom of Salvagard.

What they had found, in fact, was the Great Gate. Bordering the fortress town of Prophet’s Pass, it had been constructed over a thousand yeas ago as a last line of defence against the Iceman hordes. If needed, the gate would be sealed, allowing the remainder of the Salvagardians time to escape as the Icemen tried to pass the immovable door.

Now the pioneers stood before it, pondering how to get past the great defence. In its position it prevented any further advance into Salvagard, and the cliffs either side were too shear to climb round, and remained that way for many miles back into the pass. It was a dilemma, and although they spotted shadowed figures high atop the wall, they calls went unanswered. They tried to enter for many days, but with no success. Finally, greed won out, and many could not wait to find the promised treasure that was rumoured to lie beyond. They decided there was nothing for it, and set several charges on the gate, ready to blow it open, then they would explain themselves.
However, luck was not on their side, as the charges had become damp. When they detonated, their power was far reduced, causing a lot of smoke and sparks, but very little force.

For the defenders of Prophet’s Pass, Who had been observing the strange creatures trying to enter their kingdom with aloof distain, saw this attempt to breach their defences as an attack. Leaping the battlements they dropped into the deep snowdrifts at the base of the Wall, their forms shifting to half man/ half wolf to combat the invaders.
It was a massacre, with almost all of the pioneers being killed by the Guards of the pass, and the remainder fleeing as fast as possible from the ‘monsters’ that guarded the pass.
Only three of the original pioneers ever made it out of the mountains, their minds almost gone. They were convinced that they were being stalked, although the guards had never left the wall. It took them months to finally tell the tale, and many still did not believe them, thinking the story to be fabricated to hide other events that may have occurred. However, one man did believe, named Tzu Chereng, general in the armies of Taig Xia. For it was his eldest son that lead the expedition, and Tzu’s pain at the reports of his son’s death overrode any sense that it had been his sons greed that had led to this outcome.
Mustering every force he could find, the general defied direct orders from his superiors and set off into the mountains with one of the surviving pioneers as a guide, leading them the winding route to The Pass of the Prophet and the Great Gate. Many soldiers died in the treacherous conditions, but the general pushed the men on, motivating the men and women with stories of untold treasures and great glory if they conquered the ‘monsters’ at the gate.

So, as their forces gathered before the wall, Tzu called up to the sentries that could be seen, observing the gathering forces with alarm. He ordered them to surrender, to face punishment for their crimes and to be subjected to the rule of Taig Xia, claiming the empire to be the rightful owner of the land they inhabited.
Unknown to the general, the Sentries had no clue as to what he was saying, with even the Cleric’s being unable to understand the speech. A thousand years of isolation meant what little knowledge was left in the scriptures of the time was hopelessly out of date.

With no answer forthcoming the general ordered the attack. Archers began to pepper the walls with arrows as specialist infantry advanced with gnomish charges, ready to break down the gate and pour into the Fortress town beyond.

However this was unnecessary, for as the specialists approached under the arrow cover the Great Gate screeched, and then opened a small gap with a grinding noise. From this opening came the town guards, 100 werewolves armed with daggers and spears, their wolf like forms outlined in the light for all there opponents to see.
And on the walls stood the citizens of Prophet’s Pass, every able bodied man and woman, armed with light spears and simple rock slings, ready to combat the opposing forces as best they could.

Standing before the gates the commander of the guard drew a line in the snow with his spear, and spoke a line remembered by all who fought in that battle. “Not one step further shall they come.”

With that the 100 charged, hopelessly outnumbered by the forces against them, but far greater in strength and speed then any of the forces that opposed them. With Spear, dagger and claw they fought, cutting a bloody swath in the Taig Xia forces, even as the army began to close in around them, over three thousand armoured warriors fighting to prevent the Werewolves reaching the general at the rear of the force. From the walls both Spear and Stone rained, with many hundred human soldiers falling wounded or unconscious by the projectiles even as their archers rained death upon the walls.

The battle lasted for almost a full day, and the cost in lives was huge. Over a thousand humans were killed or injured in the fighting, and every member of the 100 guards died, their bodies punctured and bleeding as they died, taking many humans with them as they died.
On the walls the Numbers were thinning by the moment, and although their reach and strength allowed even the most average citizen to kill many with their spears and slings, they were no match for the arrows being fired at them by the archers below.

Finally the werewolves retreated, and the Taig Xia forces were finally able to plant the charges on the Great Gate, blowing the structure to pieces and dismantling a large chunk of the wall along with it.

The Humans flooded into Prophet’s Pass, and the general ordered the slaughter of every citizen of the small town, his mind still filled with retribution for the wrongs committed against his family. However, the Generals second in command, a man known as commander Tzen Wo, was appalled at the generals order. He saw buildings aflame, mothers and children hacked down in the street, and babies being thrown from high windows to hit the frozen ground hard. It was a scene from hell, with the remaining citizens helpless against the onslaught of the Taig Xia forces. As the Killing died down the general ordered that all surviving werewolves to be brought before the far wall of the town. The group was made up of those too old, too young or too sick to fight, and were a pitiful group huddling together against the bitter night winds. The General looked upon their huddled forms with Malice in his eyes, the fires of hatred still burning strong within him, and he sought nothing more then complete destruction of the ones who had taken his son from him, regardless of the pitiful nature of the group assembled there.
He then ordered their deaths.
Tzen was Horrified, and demanded that the general repeal the order, arguing that they had not come here to slaughter innocents. The general refuse, and grew angry at the commander’s defiance. He had him arrested, and immediately had the army assemble on the Kingdom side of the wall, the Night masking the view. The general was ready to make an example, and had the commander tied down, and began to beat him with the haft of a spear, calling him a traitor and shouting obscenities at him for defying his generals will. As the beating continued the general began to rant about how the Werewolves must be destroyed, for they did not deserve a place in this earth, and how they had taken from him, so he would take from them.

The men, many of whom respected the Commander, found the generals fervour disturbing, and began muttering to themselves about the true motives for their presence here. The general noticed, and flew into a rage, calling their objections traitorous and cowardly. It was not long before he began to strike the men as he ranted, many receiving blows from the haft of the spear as the General attempted to restore order in his own force, and when he could not, strode over to the still bound commander and threatened his death. The men relented, and backed away, but knew now that General Tzu Chereng had truly gone mad.

As the general stood there, ready to drive the spear through the commander’s chest, he suddenly went stiff, and dropped to the floor, a long spear projecting from his back. Suddenly the light from the burning town seemed to grow brighter, and from within the tree line thousands of Werewolves stood, an army watching the spectacle of the humans silently.

It was the Kings force, 10000 strong and led by King Akrim Norberg himself, which had been sent for at the first sign of the human advance, and had only just arrived to see the town in flames and the General shouting at his men. The king had halted the advance, watching the humans and to asses the situation.
The Forces of Taig Xia drew back towards the walls of the burning town, their forces completely unprepared to face a foe so large. Whilst they number close to 6000, a fight one on one would leave them completely outmatched but the werewolves, and many knew that their end was near.

As the Humans helped their new General to his feet, he saw that fighting was hopeless, and so was their reason, for they had been duped by a madman, and it was going to cost them their lives.

The choice was obvious to Tzen. Walking towards the werewolf forces alone, he spotted the obvious leader in the Firelight, King Akrim standing a head and shoulders above all others there. He approached the king, arms by his sides, and then dropped to his knees, his head bowed in submission in a gesture of surrender to the superior force.

King Akrim, now known as the wise, understood Tzen’s gesture, and although his blood cried out to kill the ones who had caused this devastation, he knew that any fighting would cause huge lose of life for all involved, and no amount of blood could ever bring the dead back from the grave.

From that day on the remaining Taig Xia forces were treated as prisoners of war, sentenced to hard labour for the rest of their lives to rebuild what they had helped destroy. Their manual labour was used in rebuilding Prophet’s Pass and the Great Gate, larger and with fortifications better suited to attack from the outside world.
They were then used as miners, able to get at resources previously unavailable to the Salvagardians. Although never truly trusted, the 6000 human prisoners were a boon to the Kingdom, allowing many new advances through the resources they now had access to.

THE FOURTH AGE: Current age

It has been 250 years since the Battle of Prophet’s Pass, and today the community of humans still exists, although no longer prisoners of war after their descendents gained a posthumous pardon for their crimes 100 years after their capture. They exist today as miners and craftsmen, although still treated as second class citizens, and are restricted to the restored town of Prophet’s Pass when not working.

Although human forces did return many times, they were never successful at breaching the Great Gate, now remade larger and stronger then ever before. After many years of trying the Human forces eventually stopped, their commanders despairing at the cost of funding such an long range campaign. Not long after the attacks ceased envoys were sent, and peace was declared between the lands of men and Werewolves, with limited visitors being allowed into the land for trading purposes (Although the Diamonds were never used in trade, as the People of Salvagard knew that even the smallest unit of their currency was far too expensive for the goods they received). Instead they traded goods. These ranged from furs of rare creatures to finely crafted gold jewellery and even the local ales. Although welcome, outsiders were also restricted to Prophet’s Pass for safety reasons.

Today the Kingdom still stands as it has for over 1800 years, proud of its heritage and free from the influences of man.

GEOGRAPHY

The Land of Salvagard is a green one, with most of it’s surface covered by evergreen forests. It is bordered my mountains on three sides, whilst the northlands are secured by a massive glacial sheet that stretches hundreds of miles to the north. The Winters in Salvagard are long usually lasting between 8-9 months, and in the deep winter are cold enough to sometimes trouble even the Salvagardians hardened physique. The Main problem is the water table, which is actually higher then many of the lowland areas of the kingdom.
If there is a rare case of storms in the summer months then major flooding is guaranteed, with the ground containing large areas of permafrost that prevents most of the water from draining away. Although rare, it is still an ever present danger in the summer months, and is behind blizzards as the main environmental killer in the Kingdom.
Although there are many rivers in the kingdom, along with several lakes, most freeze over in the winter, with only the River Grenamir remaining ice free all year round.
There is only one true road in the Kingdom that stretches between Prophet’s Pass and the City of Salvagard. Most other marked passages through the kingdom are merely dirt tracks, with many natives choosing their own routes through the forests to get wherever they are going.
As to the placement of the many settlements trough the land, many are located close to areas of bountiful hunting along with other resources, and can move or be abandoned if the game becomes too scarce. There are several large towns catering as population centres their positions fixed and relying on their satellite villages to keep them going. The only true city is the capital, Salvagard, which stands close to the centre of the realm and has been the seat of the Norberg Kings since the founding.

*Landmarks
There are many landmarks in the Kingdom of Salvagard, most being areas of local importance to the natives of a domain. However there are some that are known to almost every citizen of the realm.

-The City of Salvagard
The Capital city of the kingdom, Salvagard is renown by everyone who lives within the realm, with most having travelled there at least once in their lives. It is the centre of culture, with most of the artisans of the kingdom living there.
It is also the focus of worship for those who follow the Twelve, with the Great Temple being located high on the mesa and close to the palace itself. The people are considered the most educated in the realm, but it is also an area of great political struggle, with many lesser nobles attempting to gain status whilst causing their rivals to lose it.
It is also home to the Great Arena, Situated on the very site that hosted the Duel Heirs many centuries ago. It is now used as an area for both sporting events and matters of justice. Prisoners will be sentenced to fight to the death, where as two parties may fight to settle a dispute, the victor being judged worthy in the eyes of the gods.
Note, to avoid confusion most citizens of Salvagard know call the Capitol merely as ‘The City’

-Ice Wall
The face of the northern glaciers, it is a sacred place, seen as the barrier between this world and the frozen wastes beyond. It is also immensely dangerous, as many Icemen still rove the area on raiding parties and wild beasts hunt down the unwary among the frozen snowdrifts. It is also an obstacle that must be passed during the Trial of Heirs to reach the Pool of Life.

-The Diamond Hills
Located around a large group of mountains to the west, the diamond hills are the source of the kingdoms wealth, being made primarily out of diamonds. The reason for this is unknown, but it is theorised that a cataclysm in the past may have cause the transformation of common minerals into the super hard diamond, allowing it to be dug up in open cast mines by the people of Salvagard. It is also restricted land, and anyone found there who is not authorised by the crown is to be killed on sight to prevent the theft of the riches from what is seen as the kingdoms treasury.

-The Pass of Prophets
A wide valley running through the Southern mountains, it is renowned as the route taken by the Prophet Salvagard when he led his people to the Kingdom 1800 years ago.

-Prophet’s Pass
Not to be confused with the Pass of Prophets, it is a small fortress town situated at the base of the pass, making it impossible to cross into the kingdom of Salvagard without passing through the town first. It is renowned for being destroyed 250 years ago during the battle of the same name. It was rebuilt by the human prisoners who originally destroyed the town, and is now the centre of trade between Salvagard and the outside world. It is inhabited by both Werewolves and the Human decedents of the prisoners who destroyed the town, along with any visitors from outside who come to see the Kingdom of Salvagard itself, albeit the very edge.

-Great Gate
The Great portal that prevented access to the kingdom of Salvagard by the invading human forces after the Battle of Prophet’s Pass, it was originally designed as a final escape measure during the Ice War in the event the people of Salvagard needed to flee the kingdom. It has since been rebuilt to be more defensible and allow trade to flow more freely if a caravan does approach.

-Blood Queen’s ruin
Located on the banks of the Teilman, several miles from the town of Frosgard, the ruins of the Blood Queen’s keep is a reminder to many to be vigilant against those who would usurp the people through seduction. However, the land around it is uninhabited, and few venture there, as many see it to be cursed.
You don't have to be mad here, but it helps.

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Maddness
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Name: Helmer Norberg
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Re: The Kingdom of Salvagard

Post by Maddness » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:38 pm

INHABITANTS

The primary race that inhabits Salvagard are the wolf shifters know to many other races as werewolves. However, years of isolation has cased several changes in their physiology that, whilst not too apparent, still helps them to stand out amongst the others of their breed. Firstly, Salvagardian Werewolves are normally much larger then others of their kind, in human form usually being between 6’ to 6’3” and in wolf form being half as large again as the largest breed. The most common hair colouring is light blond, and eyes of blue or green are also common. In wolf from this translates into pure white colouring all year round whilst retaining the same shade of eye colour in every form. They are also known for having smaller ear cups to help retain heat and a larger paw tread to enable better traversing of the snowy climate.

*Biology
There are two major biological elements to Salvagardian werewolves that must be discussed. The first is the lack of any kind of infectious bite. Human literature is full of stories that tell of werewolves biting normal humans and changing them into werewolves themselves. This is not the case for Salvagardians, for whom the need for an infectious bit became irrelevant in a world where there was no-one to infect. Whilst they still have a strong bite, there is no chance of infection.
Because of this, werewolves of Salvagard rely on procreation in order to propagate their race. However, the harsh conditions of the climate meant that it was vital that all fertile females have as many children as possible per litter. To do so the mating process is almost always done in wolf form by both parties, after which the mother will remain in wolf form for the duration of her pregnancy until the pups are born, where she is able to return to shifting as normal. This means that litters of 6-9 pups are a regular occurrence in Salvagard, although there is a decline in population numbers as the age rises due to the many dangers still present in the kingdom.

*Birth and the Family
In Salvagard there is no such thing as marriage, as the community usually works as a whole, and any sort of binding ceremony would be pointless. Relationships are normally very close between all community members, with disputes being rare. After a group of pups are born and weaned they will be given to the father, who will help teach them the basics of survival in such a harsh land, along with the skills to hunt in any form (Note, this differs in the royal family, where the male hairs will remain almost exclusively with the father whilst the female heirs will remain with the mother most of their young lives).

They will also be taught rudimentary weapons handling with the professional soldiers in the community. Literacy is also common, with almost all young Salvagardians learning the basics of reading and writing.
At the age of 10 the child will be returned to the mother, who will then begin to educate the child in the roles they will be fulfilling in the community, which can range from being a guard to the local tanner. However, they still continue their hunting and fighting skills to prepare for the Trial of Ascension when they reach 18. Once it is completed they will become full adults and can own their own land or move to another community, although that is rare. However, family ties remain strong for the entirety of a werewolf’s natural life and the loss of a relative always affects the family emotionally.

*Death
As with all living things, the werewolves of Salvagard eventually age and die. However, like all shifters the span of years by which the people remain on this plane of existence is greater then that of the average human. Many who survive the trials of youth live well into their 100’s, with some even reaching the age of 150, although none have been known to live beyond the age of 152.
Most deaths in the Kingdom occur whilst hunting, as the dangers in the forests of Salvagard are many even after all this time.
The next most common is death in combat, as the raids by the Icemen still continue even after 1300 years, and all people of Salvagard are required to do a year’s military service every 10 years to help bolster the numbers.
The Last biggest killer is old age, as many who reach the age of 130 are retired from the battlefields and gain a place as honoured elders in their community.
There are few deaths from disease, as a werewolf’s natural constitution keeps them well when most people would be stricken by many infections.


CULTURE

The Culture of the Salvagardians is rich and varied, with many layers of interaction between the people and the nobles that many outsiders would not understand. On some occasions there is a strict hierarchy in place, even among the average citizens, which is usually followed in times of war or whilst on the hunt. At other times there is almost total equality, and everyone, regardless of their standing is given a fair say, although this usually surfaces during arguments and disagreements, or when trade agreements are being negotiated. There is also no gender bias in Salvagard, with both sexes expected to do the work, hunt for food and raise the children.

*Hunting
Hunting is a major aspect of life and culture in Salvagard, as first and foremost every citizen of the realm will consider themselves a hunter, and depending on their hunting skill a person may gain or lose status within the community. Many of the Heroes of Salvagardian legend were hunters, killing legendary beasts with guile and skill as opposed to outright fighting prowess. Although the people of Salvagard never developed bow technology, the spear is widely used, and has been honed over many years into a hunting weapon unparallel in the kingdom. Hunting as a wolf is also common, although this is rare if the food is to be returned to community, as it is less sanitary. Hunting is such an important aspect of Salvagard that the spear has come to be the national symbol, and used on the heraldry of the royal house.

*The Trial of Ascension
A test undertaken by every Salvagardian child on their 18th birthday, they assemble before the community leader, be it the village headman or the king himself. They will then be assigned the task of hunting a specific animal and presenting it to the leader as an offering and proof that they are ready to become an adult. For most it will merely be a boar or bear, something uncommon to show particular skill. However, for more skilled young hunters the task could be far harder, such as hunting monsters like the illusive Salamander or the barbaric Ice Troll. For those of singular skill they are sent to the Capital, and given a task by the king himself, to hunt the rare and immensely dangerous Snow Giant. This is rare, and has only been issued once in living memory.
The Trial lasts as long as it takes for the aspirant to hunt and kill the beast. However, if the aspirant is unable to find and kill their assigned animal they will return to the community. It is a shameful act, but sometimes necessary. If this occurs the failed Aspirant must spend a year in the community doing the most menial and dangerous tasks until their next birthday, when they will be given the chance to attempt the trail again. This time they either return victorious, or not at all.

*The Trial of the Heir
This is a task like no other, and only undertaken by the potential heirs to the throne on the kings order. It holds huge risk for the aspirants, and has been a staple tradition of the court since the death of the Prophet Salvagard 1800 years ago.
When the king is ready, he will call together all of his sons and daughters, announcing to them that he wishes for the trial to commence, and any who want to undertake the trail must volunteer.
The task is relatively straight forward. The aspirants must race one another north, past the Ice wall into the Frozen northlands. Once there they must continue to travel north until they reach the Roof of the World, (Also known as the North Pole). There they will find the Pool of Life, a hole in the ice in which sits a pool of red water, similar to the one found by the Prophet Salvagard in the cave of the Twelve. Once there the aspirants will drink from the waters, collect some of the liquid, then pour a drop of their own blood into the pool as an offering to the Twelve. Once this is done they must the return to Salvagard. The first one back is named heir apparent, with the others who come later becoming next in line to the throne depending on the order they arrive back in.
However, the trip is fraught with danger, for to make this journey the aspirants must pass through lands full of Icemen, Strange monsters and bitter weather in order to reach their goal. Regardless of the training, it is almost certain that 90% of all those who venture north will die there. This is why the trial is usually held of until the Kings heirs have reached an age where they are most likely to survive the journey, as if they were too young they would not yet have the skills to complete the journey in one piece.

*Language
Although Salvagard and his original tribe were from the north of Eyropa, most of the Shifters that joined his tribe hail from the south, many coming from around the Mediterranean Sea. Thus the language adopted was one in common use at the time, and is called Oscan. Today it is only the shifters of Salvagard and a few outside scholars that understand this ancient tongue.

*Death Hymns
A popular part of Salvagardian culture, it is common practice to sing the death hymn of one who is about to die or has recently died. The hymn is a common one, and prays to the Twelve Gods to grant them a good death and to be granted admittance to the Hall of Ancestors, to sit amongst their long dead kin to feast and hunt for all eternity the in the sight of the Twelve. When going into Battle soldiers will sing their death hymn loud for all to hear as a precaution in case they fall in the coming battle.

*Ale Drinking
Since ale was first brewed in the north it has been a tradition amongst all Salvagardians to drink as much of it as possible. It is traditionally served ice cold in large tankards, and comes in hundreds of varieties depending on the local recipe. It is a very small settlement indeed that does not have a drinking establishment, although most Citizens of the Kingdom know enough to brew their own ale in an emergency.

THE TWELVE GODS OF SALVAGARD
The Twelve Gods, or merely the Twelve, are one of the central of Salvagardian life and culture. They are venerated universally throughout the kingdom as the saviours of the people, who through the prophet guided them to their Homeland, then protected them in the many disasters that occurred over the years. There are shrines to the gods throughout Salvagard for people to bring offerings, and many hunters dedicate their kills to the gods, most notably Ullir.

*Names of the Twelve
Although the Twelve are all considered omnipotent, it has been said that each one has a remit of influence over certain areas of the world:

-Aldrin: Chief among the Twelve, God of Creation, Knowledge, Order and Royalty
-Delingr: God of Light, Purity, Beauty and the Sun
-Yngvi: God of Fertility, Life and Water
-Setin: God of Law, Justice and the Afterlife
-Ullir: God of the Spear and the Hunt
-Noki: God of Cunning, Music and Air
-Vali: God of Vengeance, Anger and Disorder
-Tir: God of War, Death and Fire
-Vidarr: God of the Moon, Darkness and Silence
-Vilin: God of Craftsmen, Journeys and the Stone
-Milir: God of Love, Time and Stars

*The Clerics
Earthly representatives of the Twelve, the Clerics live in seclusion from the rest of Salvagard. Most occupy temples dedicated to the twelve, although some have been known to rove the countryside, preaching the word of the Twelve in the distant hamlets who lack even a shrine.
Clerics are selected from the population at a young age, most being chosen before they can even walk on two legs. Although many are regular children, pups that were born as only children are taken from the moment of their birth, the unusual circumstances seen as a sign from the twelve.
The Clerics are exempt from military service, and spend most of their lives trying to interpret the will of the Twelve and preaching it to the people. However, Clerics do know how to hunt, offering their kills to the Twelve as a sign of their devotion.

*The Silver Tokens
Once used to brand the heads of traitors, the Silver tokens are now worn by every member of the Salvagardian population as a sign of devotion and protection against becoming enthralled. They were first used to combat the influence of the Blood Queen, and have been since used in rituals to prove that a Citizens heart is pure and devoted only to their gods and their Kingdom.
They are the size of a small Bishan, one side engraved with the bearer’s name, the other with an image of Delingr, God of purity.
Production of the tokens is very hazardous for Werewolves, and since the arrival of outsiders to Salvagard it is mainly humans that forge the tokens now.

*The Place of Judgment
It is believed that when a Citizen of Salvagard dies and his battle hymn is sung he is taken by Tir, God of Death, and brought before a great alter. Here sits Setin, who weighs the soul of the deceased and passes judgment over its worthiness. Those judged fit will be taken to The Hall of Ancestors. Those judged unworthy or blasphemous will be sent to the Abyss. Any who are not worthy, but have been judged redeemable, will be taken to the Land of Bone, and made to carry out the final test.

*The Land of Bone
It is a desolate place where nothing grows and the sun never shines. Here is where Tir presides. He will then test the sprit of the Dead in a series of tasks. Each one is gruelling, and takes courage on the part of the soul to but itself in danger and prove its worthiness to enter the Hall of Ancestors. If they succeed they may proceed, but failure means being cast into the Abyss for all eternity.

*The Hall of Ancestors
A wooden hall designed in the traditional Salvagardian style, it is here that the souls of the worthy are housed. Beyond the hall is a lush land filled with game, allowing the Worthy souls to hunt for all eternity. Every night is a feast honouring past achievements, and new souls are welcomed with open arms by those they lost long ago.

*The Abyss
It is nothing, pure and simple. The soul that is cast here is destroyed, their essence lost forever to ensure others are not tainted by their failures.

MILLITARY
Although not a warlike race, the people of Salvagard have used the military for protection since the Ice war, and it is made up of both professional soldiers and conscripted citizens in their service to the crown (which must be a total of one year every ten years). This mixed force is used as both a police force and an army, although they mainly hold back the Icemen raids that occur every year and prevent the Ice Trolls from entering the kingdom proper. It must be noted that only the Clerics of the Twelve are exempt from crown service.

*Ranks
There are no ranks as a Human would understand, however there are hirachies which exist. Most soldiers will be led by a pack leader, who is always a career solider. Packs are then formed into Groups, up to 5 packs to one group, commanded by an experienced solider known as a group leader. There are 10 groups in an army, commanded by a general

*Hunters
Professional hunters are conscripted in times of conflict as scouts and fast response units, their skills and training lending them well to combat. However, a hunter will rarely bee seen battle, usually keeping out of sight to prevent any flanking force from approaching the main battle.

*Crime, Justice and Punishment
Crimes such as theft and murder are exceptionally rare in Salvagard, as every citizen has the ability to tell when someone is lying by scent and posture. However, crimes of indiscretion, such as brawls, are regular occurrences. Most crimes are solved in an open court presided over by a Cleric of Setin, who will render judgment and punishment on the matter. Punishment is usually time spent on hard labour, such as cleaning latrines or working in the tanneries. However, in major crimes, such as murder, the King himself will preside, and if convicted they are sent to the Grand arena to fight against wild animals and monsters until they are dead. Anyone who survives a full day will be pardoned.
However, when High crimes such as treason or rape are committed the punishment will be public execution with the silver spear Kasherik, local folklore holding that those killed with silver have their soul destroyed, and are instantly cast into the abyss
In many cases major disputes are settled with Duelling daggers in the grand arena, with the victor considered as having the favour of the gods.

*Weaponry
The Weaponry of Salvagard is basic, as a race that can become killing machines at will require very little assistance at the task. However, several forms of weapon have become used to help increase the ease of the tasks of hunting and fighting. The most common weapon is the spear, roughly 6’ long, made from tough wood with a simple iron/steel head. Next are Duelling daggers with board blades, given to a Salvagardian after their Trial of Ascendance. Less common are Slingshots, mainly used by hunters to bring down birds, and Swords, which have only recently appeared in Salvagard after the coming of Humans to the land.
Items such as axes are considered tools, and not used to fight with, and Bows were never needed in a land where a half man/ half wolf could throw a spear like a trebuchet bolt.

ECONOMY
The economy of Salvagard, whilst not as complex as that of the human lands, still relies heavily on trade. Most Domains specialise in some way, be it in wood, fish, furs, or diamonds.

*Resources
Resources of the country are mainly wood and stone. There are few metals here, and mining is rare. Many homes are built from wood, although the city of Salvagard is renowned for its stone architecture. Game is still abundant after 1800 years through strict controls of who can hunt and where, but items such as fish or fruit are rare, with the climate being too harsh for most to survive, although there are isolated pockets.
The Biggest resource is Diamond, found in the foothills of a western mountain range around Salvagard’s second settlement, Eadburg.

*Food Allocation
Although there is a system of money in place, food is mostly free in Salvagard, with the exception of imported luxuries, and so even the lowest citizen will eat as well as the richest noble. Most diets are supplemented by game hunted from the forests.

*Money
The monetary system in Salvagard is based on the Diamond standard. With almost infinite supplies of the gem from the hills around Eadburg, the kingdom can afford to use what is considered to be a precious stone the outside world as common currency. Each stone is mined and cut into small, polished crystals about 1/8 large. This is then added to the treasury and distributed into general circulation.
Of note is that no diamond is to be taken beyond Salvagard’s boarders, as the seam is big enough for the people of Salvagard, but could not survive long if their currency began to leak into the outside world.

TRESURES OF SALVAGARD

*The Book of Twelve
The most Holy relic of the Salvagardian nation, it was discovered in the Cave of Life by the Prophet Salvagard, it is in fact said to be a long scroll that contains the knowledge of the gods, and would allow the barer to see into the vary nature of creation itself, giving them the power to shape events to their will. For this reason the book is sealed in the vaults of the Royal castle, never to be looked upon under penalty of death.

* Snow Throne
Situated in the throne room of Salvagard castle and carved from the very mesa itself, the Snow throne is the seat of absolute power in Salvagard. It has been occupied by an uninterrupted line of Norburg Kings for the last 1750 years. It is a plain seat, twice the height of a man, usually covered in furs to allow ease of sitting.

*The Seeking Stone
A curious device, It was created by the clerics of the Twelve using knowledge said to be passed down to the High Cleric in a dream. A tall object of Clear crystal, it is used to know if the person it is currently bonded to is alive or dead. The bonding requires the chosen person to press their hand against the base of the crystal, which will then glow, indicating that said person is alive. It will remain bonded to said person until their death, when it will stop glowing. It is usually used to keep track of a King if they take to the field.

*The Twin Silver Spears of Kashinor and Kasherik
Created during the time of strife, these two spears were created by the clerics as holy weapons to be used against traitors to the crown. They are ornate rods in their rested form, each end capped by a large silver spearhead surrounded by a fan of silver blades pointing towards the Spears tip.
When they are to be used the centre of the rod is turned once, and the spear extends to its full length of 6 feet.
The Spears are kept in the Palace vault, close to the Book of Twelve.
You don't have to be mad here, but it helps.

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Maddness
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Re: The Kingdom of Salvagard

Post by Maddness » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:40 pm

So, thoughts. Note, this is a rough draft, so if you have any thoughts, queries or comments let me know.
You don't have to be mad here, but it helps.

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