The islands of the Vedel/Vestenmannavnjar are located to the north of Eisen
The early history of the Vestenmannavnjar (VES-ten-Mahn-NAH-ven-yar) is one of separation from the rest of Theah. They were, according to the ancient traditions of the land, given form by Oddis - the all father. They lived their lives among the northern islands in 25 tribes of fierce warriors, constantly fighting for dominance. This changed when the Great Wyrm came. No one knew what it was, but they learned to fear it. The Great Wyrm killed them by the hundreds - even destroying one of the tribes so completely that even it's name was forgotten. In desperation, each tribe sent their fiercest warrior to face the beast. These warriors, blessed by Oddis himself, fought for weeks with the beast, neither able to take advantage. Then, in a moment of luck, the Great Wyrm faltered - for just a moment. The moment was enough however and the warriors were able to slay the beast. History has forgotten which warrior struck the final blow, but each tribe still maintains it was theirs. After the battle, the 24 warriors each took one of the scales from the Wyrm's body. Much to their surprise, the runes granted each these 24 warriors one of the Wyrm's potent powers. So powerful were these new abilities, that even invoking the name of the mighty hero was enough to call a fraction of his or her power. Thus, the Rune magic Laerdom was born.
For a time, all was good. The warriors returned to their tribes, quickly becoming powerful shamans among their people. Unfortunately, this time could not last. Each of the warriors discovered far to late that their newly gained powers was not without its cost. Slowly, the warriors were driven mad by their power, though each resisted as long as they could. It was Krieg who first fell to the insanity, and so made war upon the land. The remaining warriors all joined together to face their fallen brother, but he proved to strong for them. When the smoke settled, only Four of their numbers remained - Villskap (who struck the final blow), Host (who supported the warriors from the rear), Herje (who lost everything save his life), and Varsel (who saw all that would transpire long before it took place). in the wake of the battle, each of the warriors agreed to exile themselves from their tribes in hope of preventing the tragedy from repeating itself. They created the capital of Kirkjubaejarklauster to unify their peoples under one name. Oddis, who had not been seen since before the battle with the Wyrm, returned and proclaimed the leader of Villskap's tribe the first High King of the Vestenmannavnjar people, and has since returned each year upon the death of the previous king to declare a new king from among the people.
Their warriors, no longer able to fight amongst each other under the new order, chose to travel from where the Great Wyrm had come, hoping to find another such beast and slay it. While they failed in this task, they did discover the rest of Theah and began their tradition of raiding the weak southern lands. Their wars brought the Vestenmannavnjar much wealth, only losing once to the people who would one day create Avalon.
Until two centuries ago, the Vestenmannavnjar lives as they always had - living simple lives on their snow covered, northern islands. They farmed and hunted and, when that proved insufficient, they raided their southern neighbors aboard long-ships, better crafted by far then their nearest competitor, using axes and swords and their Laerdom magic. They told tales of honor and bloody conquest, and did deeds so great their names would not be forgotten that their souls might live on after death. Their leaders were the Jarl (yar-l, warrior caste), and above them was the High King - still chosen by Oddis. Then, the Carl (Kar-l, merchant class) started a new tradition - they traded with the nations of the south. For a time, it was good; The Jarl brought home what was needed to feed the people, and the Carl made/bought/traded for what they could not take by force. The high king gave them the right to continue the practice. Slowly however, time moved on, and the Jarl became increasingly overpowered by the armies of the south and the trade began to bring in all that the Jarl could not. The Carl grew in power year after year, and with each year something changed. Streets had their names changed to names the weak southern tongues could pronounce, and in doing so the souls of who those streets were named were consigned to be forgotten. Even the capital, Kirkjubaejarklauster, was shortened to "Kirk" - all for the benefit of the southerner's ability to say it and for the all-mighty "Guilder" - the Vendel until of currency. This came to a head, when the Carl began calling themselves "Vendel", forgetting their heritage entirely. The Vestenmannavnjar have fled to their ancestral homes, fleeing the Carl controlled cities, and begun a shadow civil war against the clan-less Vendel.
Of course, the Vendel see it another way. The Jarl are violent barbarians, caught in their ways, unable to accept the world has changed and that they are obsolete. The Vendel are the most powerful merchants in Theah, with more money then even the Voddace merchant princes - a fact they take every opportunity to rub in the southern merchants faces. They invented the Guilder - paper money given value not by it's intrinsic worth, but by what the Vendel say it's worth. It is the accepted currency of all Theah (except in Vodacce, where they burn the money whenever possible). What they don't have they can buy, and by their action Vendel is strong. So what if they change a few, neigh-unpronounceable names of heroes who's stories are as outdated as their Vesten holdouts. Besides, Theus is the one true god, creator of the world, and he says that the names are unimportant. Vendel is strong. Strong because of the Carl and the Guilder.
The Vendel/Vestenmannavnjar are officially ruled by a High King, but the throne has been empty for nearly a century. In practice, the Vendel League - a group of the 12 most powerful merchants - runs the nation. The Vestenmananvnjar follow their own clans Jarl, and will until the return of the High King. The Vestenmannavnjar maintain relationships with few people, only the Vodacce out of mutual need (the Vodacce fund them to strike against the Vendel after all) They have been known to work with Avalon when needed - they remember the treaty the High King made with King Elilodd so many centuries ago and a Vestenmannavnjar will never go against his word. They also receive aid from the Ussura, who understand their struggle. The Vestenmannvanjar haven't made a raid against these nations in centuries. Meanwhile, the Vendel maintain a good business relationship with all the nations, save Vodacce - their main "business rival", the Crescents who interact with no one but the Vodacce, and the Cathay who are a world away (they have yet to find a trade route to Cathay). They have a mutually beneficial relationship with the Eisen - the Eisen provide the military to protect the Vendel and the Vendel provide the money needed to rebuild the Eisen state.
Vendel/Vestenmannavnjar is a land home to the magic of Laerdom
Schools of FightingEdit
The long military history of the land has created several schools of war.
Halfdansson - this style of fighting uses the Harpoon and grew out of early whaling
Kjemper - this style of fighting uses a Heavy Shield and a Longsword to destroy enemies.
Larsen - a recent style developed by the Vendel, this fencing style uses a Rapier and a Lantern and emphasises the use of terrain to your advantage.
Leegstra - one of the oldest styles, Leegstra uses any heavy axe or sword and wrestling moves to attack like a beast
Ramussen - a Vendel style, this style is for the up and coming buisnessman and uses a pistol and good manners to protect the user.
Siggursdottir - this style uses a hand axe to rip enemies apart up close or at range
Snedig - this Vendel fencing style uses medical knowledge to better aim Rapier blows and was developed by a Vendel surgeon
Swanson - this style of fighting makes use of the swordcane and underhanded tactics.
Urostifter - a true Vestenmannavnjar style of fighting, this style uses two Longswords and relentless attacks to destroy opponenets
The Vendel are home to The Vendel League - a guild of merchant traders across all Theah. They accept all other organizations who aren't about stealing.
The Vestenmannavnjar only accept organizations that aid their attempts to undermine the Vendel, including the Vesten Sea Raiders - a member of the Pirate Nation
Vendel and Vestenmannavnjar respect the authority of the Swordsman's Guild, though only the Vendel follow the rules regarding who can and cannot duel (or the rules of dueling for that matter)
Native Magical CreaturesEdit
the Vestenmannavnjar have erradicated most every dangerous creature over the centuries, though occasionally a creation of Oddis or a Sidhe finds its way to the lands of the Vendel/Vestenmannavnjar.
Unique Weapons: Rune WeaponsEdit
Rune weapons are weapons which have had a Laerdom rune inscribed upon it. The rune can be any of the Laerdom runes. These weapons can be o any design but can only be crafted by Vestenmannavnjar Laerdom mages. The weapons always have a name, per the Vestenmannavnjar way. To activate the stored magic, you must call out the name of the weapon along with the power.
Most rune weapons can only hold a few uses of the power, but extremely powerful Laerdom mages have been known to craft weapons with permanent rune magic for their greatest heros (lately this means anyone who strikes a major blow against the Vendel)