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Realms Beyond Kickstarter Update #15: Lore Update #4 - Kvenland
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 15 November 2018, 00:19:51Tags: Ceres Games; Realms Beyond: Ashes of the Fallen
The Realms Beyond Kickstarter campaign is in its final 24 hours. Yesterday it reached the world map stretch goal and the writing team stretch goal looks like a sure thing. It doesn't look like Ceres are building up towards a big conclusion, though. Today's Kickstarter update brings us more lore. This time it's about Kvenland, the totally-not-Scandinavia of the Realms Beyond world. Kvenland is inhabited by four tribes - the mercantile Vadians, the rustic Vestani, the warlike Gauds and the piratical Vresians. I'll let you figure out which real-life ethnic groups they correspond to.
At the southern shore of lake Kallvatn, right in the heart of Kvenland, at a point where several rivers convene, a trading post named Vadaheim was built. After the Great Cataclysm, the sky had darkened for several years and the cold north missed out on a couple of summers. This led to large masses of ice forming in the mountains, and once the climate normalized the ice melted and raised the water level of the lake, flooding parts of Vadaheim. An enterprising people, not willing to give up their city and stop their profitable trading operations, the Vadians converted their ships into rudimentary homes. Still today many of them live in house-boats and use these mobile homes on their mercantile journeys, traveling down the rivers with their entire families. Most Vadians are in the service of one of the two powerful families ruling the city of Vadaheim. Those who live in the town are better off joining one of the two families than staying neutral – which risks attracting the wrath of both the Ingvarsons and the Grimharsons. For independence is only an option for those who can assert it. But since the long-running feud between the two houses had adverse effects on commerce, they agreed to an armistice and divided the city amongst themselves. But if there is an opportunity to siphon the other family’s profits into their own pockets, they always take it – there may be an armistice between them, but in business, everything is allowed.
A common saying among the Vadians is, "By Valon’s golden apples!" which is an expression of surprise over an unexpectedly profitable business transaction that pulled more gold out of their customer’s pocket than they anticipated.
The Veštani are a peaceful people who value a honest heart over a sharp sword – for which they have little use, anyway, as they prefer to use spear and shield in combat.
Around the village Kvilu, which is located at the eastern end of the Lurking Forest, they herd their flocks of sheep and till the earth of their fields in peace. Their evenings they spend in community, listening to the music of the flute and stories of strange creatures and ominous events, which might stem from their tendency for superstition which their priests can only shake their heads over, try as they might, they cannot drive it out of them. It might be encouraged by their elders, whom they highly respect, as they warn the younger generations of all the dangers lurking in the depths of the forest, amongst the shadows of the trees.
But Kvilu is not as peaceful as it may seem, as the Veštani regularly fall victim to raids of the Gauds, a tribe they share a bitter enmity with.
But voices of reason no longer manage to calm those who lost their loved ones and their homes to the Gaudian raids. Especially the younger generations either support an escalation of the conflict to strike back at the hated enemy in force, or think of leaving their homes for greener pastures. From Vadian merchants they heard stories of prosperous towns and lives without hardship beyond the forests of Kvenland, and now grow weary of the simple and uncertain life in Kvilu.
The Gauds are known as the most feared and remorseless warriors of Kvenland, settled in the rough lands to the north of the great lake. Ever since he had slain a dragon on the mountain of Dauganrög, they worship their king almost as a god. After his heroic deed the Gauds hailed King Odulf’s under his new name – Sigimer the Dragonslayer. Together with his retinue he founded the town of Güldinheim, which today has become the most important city of the Gauds.
The king’s treasury is filled to the brim with all kinds of riches, but also with plenty of curiosities – a collection he constantly seeks to expand. He is especially fond of artifacts from a long extinct tribe, whose king Hodar, for whose exploits there are no sources but the songs of bards, is said to have ruled the entirety of Kvenland and even projected the power of his kingdom deep into the lands of Cormac. This legendary king is, to Sigimer, an example to follow. He wants to forge a kingdom to rival Hodar‘s, and he is ready to ally with the Vresians and mercenaries of Vadaheim to take the rich lands of Cormac’s north under his control. But he will never make peace with the Veštani, as his son Sigurt lost his life on a cattle raid against them. Had he the resources for it, he would long ago have marched against Kvilu to raze it to the ground. But the day will come when his wrath will triumph over the worldly concerns of logistics, and for this day he is already prepared.
Even his daughter Siglind he kept from a woman’s comfortable life of home and marriage, so her sword would always be ready for war and not dulled by the need to care for offspring. So he declared her to be a sword maiden, and any men who dare touch her will be condemned to death by stoning.
On a northern bay of the Galtan Sea, Vindeborg sits as the largest town of Kvenland as well as the most important settlement of the Vresians, who are known to be excellent shipwrights and seafarers as well as fearless explorers. The fishermen not only set out to drag their nets through the deep waters, but add to their catch by raiding and looting other ships. Their reputation of engaging in piracy is widespread and almost sealed their fate 200 years ago. Too long they provoked Cormac on the waters, which culminated in a crushing blow against their tribe. Once, they had reveled in their independence, their leaders chosen by election and ready to step down whenever the people grew unhappy with their rule; following this horrible defeat, they put their fate into the hands of the most charismatic among them. Unnar Usbek became the first king of the Vresians and swore on the ruins of old Vindeborg to take revenge on the Cormacian attackers, even if it took generations to pay them back for what they did.
Ever since, the Vresians have worked at erecting an impregnable fortress and training a formidable fighting force to bring the fire of vengeance against Cormac’s shores. They suffered a major setback thanks to the Great Cataclysm, but Bjar Rabek, the most influential advisor of king Hjör, claims that the time has come to make true the promise of the forefathers. He feels obligated to fulfill the old oath of vengeance, whereas the people are fearful of a war they consider to be hopeless, while a longing for the old freedom spreads through their hearts, symbolized by a white albatross – the animal that adorned the Vresian banners before they had a king, and which has now become a call for open resistance, scrawled on the walls in white chalk.