Ulverland

Jack Shear’s post on Ulverland is here. This is one of the country descriptions for my upcoming book on the World Between. This is a draft.

Basic Description

This grim, misty island is the shadow of a former empire. The gods of Ulverland, known as the Father and Family, grant powers to holy warriors who are ferocious in their defense of the Motherland. Ulverland balances a tradition of crazed warriors with a tradition as the center of elegant magical instruction in the World Between. Their greatest influence on the world now is through their formidable navy and through the reputation of Orxham Academy of Mystical Arts.

 Stylistic Feel

Not-England. In the mists of early history, Ulverland conquered most of the World Between. They left religion, architecture, ideas, and people behind when they withdrew. Their current isolation is in part caused by sulking in the wake of successful revolutions thousands of years ago, magnified by a stoic culture and a focus on domestic issues. There are misty moors, ruthless gods who are very present with their followers, bustling port cities, and a press of history that hardly leaves room to breathe.

 Ruling Structure

The Glorious King rules (currently Barthon I) with the Council of High Wizardry. The Council is made up of a representative of each of the four colleges of magic at Orxham Academy. Sometimes representatives from the Father and Family in Stormholt will consult with the king, or the king will seek them out, for the religious perspective. This relationship is important, but not formal. There are six dukes that answer to the king, and a feudal structure below them. The dukes are more powerful than the king, as a group, but the king balances them with the wizards.

 Stereotypes

Ulverlanders are tall and solidly built. Most look like Northrons, others look Caligarian. Their smiles are ironic, wry, sour, or grim, but seldom pleasant. Their sense of humor is dark and morbid, or focused on embarrassing situations, and even then they usually only allow a sardonic chuckle. None of them are really happy; at best, they take a determined satisfaction in their successes. They seem most alive and at ease when everything is going wrong. They are so besotted with the Father and Family pantheon that they refuse to make deals with any other supernatural power. They don’t expect protection from their gods or their government, they see their safety as their own concern. They think their nation and its ways are the best in the world, and every country that refused to stay conquered was giving up what is best in life. They like awful food; it reinforces their dark view of the world. They love mighty storms.

 Famous For:

Longbows and their expert military use, elite skirmishers, disciplined ship crews, tough ships, secret navigation techniques, the best and most diverse magical education in the world, illusionist spies, elemental war wizards, incredible libraries of collected lore, really bad food.

 Major Cities

Lizport. The capitol and seat of the king, and the home base of a powerful navy and trade armada. Once Lizport ruled an empire that stretched almost all the way to the Storm Range mountains and the Sea of Sothak. Traders from here have interests all over the World Between and beyond. Lizport also houses the Great Library of the Gaunt Gent, a true wonder of the world.

 Khendal. This port has thrived and defined itself through constant warfare with the raiders of Frostreave. Their naval clashes are legendary, and the coastal defenses devised by Khendal have been exported to countless coastal areas hit by Northrons. Khendal manages the reserved national pride of Ulverland, with museums and architecture hailing back to the Age of Storms, keeping their heritage alive.

 Stormholt. The holy city of the Father and Family, the Storm Sovereign Pantheon. All Ulverlanders romanticize this city, on the rolling moors. Since Hulmora is the goddess personifying their island, they see her natural beauty here. The massive thunderstorms that rake the highlands are the work of Garm-Gorak, their bloody chief god. All the children of the gods have their niche in Stormholt. The married high priest and high priestess live in the Temple of Storms and are sometimes taken up in oracular ecstasy. This city is the home base for an army of holy warriors gifted with supernatural powers by the gods themselves.

 Notable Locations

Vengeance Point. Those crazed by rage or grief, or looking to become toughened warriors (or dead) travel to Vengeance Point. The weather there is so hostile that it seems impossible people could survive there given the minimal trappings of civilization in the settlement. This is where warriors go to strike at Frostreave, outside the permission of governments or the logistics and chain of command that hamper the revenge these warriors crave. The warrior culture only acknowledges kills in battle and survival. Risk is something to be sought, not avoided. To be blooded and acknowledged in Vengeance Point is to be a respected warrior in all Ulverland territories and culture—and also in Frostreave.

Orxham Academy of Mystical Arts. They are the Spring House (wizards), the Summer House (mages), the Autumn House (illusionists), and the Winter House (necromancers.) Graduates of Orxham are highly sought after. The elemental war mages have proven battlefield prowess, the illusionists are some of the finest spies in the world, and the necromancers are considered the least distasteful of their kind. Tuition tends to be about 1,000 silver per semester, with 8 semesters to graduate (plus expenses.) There are many other schools and colleges attached to the Academy, but the magical schools are the most impressive.

 Supernatural Elements

Father and Family. The Storm Sovereign Pantheon was inherited from Frostreave, but the chief god adopted Ulverland and this is their religion now. Garm-Gorak, the Bloody Maw, is a god of winter, wolves, and war. He was awakened by the fighting on the island, and he adopted these people as he admired their pluck. He created a goddess out of Ulverland’s bones, Hulmora, Queen of Elements. Together they had three sons: Charlak, Maham, and the Gaunt Gent. These gods have come to define Ulverland culture, and each creates holy warriors to defend the Motherland.

Merrihel. This death goddess rules Frostreave, and she is possibly the sometime lover of Garm-Gorak. Independent and murderous, she has a foothold in Ulverland; around 3,000 years ago raiders stopped hitting settlements with a shrine to Merrihel. She even found her way into the Sovereign Calendar. She is not really worshiped in Ulverland, but regard and respect for her ebb and flow. When times are good, Ulverlanders thank Hulmora for protecting them. When times are bad, they look to Merrihel to get them out of their difficulties.

Sluurge. The Demon Lord of Pestilence, Famine, and Gallows Humor has a presence as an underground cult in Ulverland. For those who give up completely, Sluurge offers uncanny food for the starving. Whether that starvation is from hunter, need for revenge, or utter depression, Sluurge offers dark substitutes to meet those needs without relying on the outside world or other people. Newly self-sufficient cultists of Sluurge may have a new lease on life, but they become destabilizing influences as they undermine the culture and safety of Ulverland.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s