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Frozen throughout the year and rarely free of ice until the summer months arise, the isles of Jorrsundr are mysteriously overshadowed by eternal black storms and are home to brutal conditions. Ailor have populated the isles for centuries, going on to develop a society and culture unparalleled to any other in humanity. Having formed numerous tribes, these Ailor worship mysterious deities that are said to live and fight an eternal battle upon the sacred mountain Arrestig. Only in the past one hundred years have settlers from Regalia come to Bodo, one of Jorrsundr's islands, to spread the influence of Unionism, and study the seemingly barbaric Northerne people who reside there. Jorrsundr, a place of wild environment and hardships, is truly a challenging place for any who visit its frigid shores.

HistoryEdit

Not much is known of the history of the Jorrsundr Islands before the Cataclysm, as histories and tales were not recorded, only preserved through oral storytelling. As a result, the origin of Jorrsundr is rather vague for historians today. Jorrsundr was devoid of sentient races until the Ailor began expanding northwards around 1000 BC. Ailor settled down on the chilly isles, and found the abundance of wood and materials to be useful in the construction of their homes. These men were very few in number and reserved themselves to the largest isle of Arrestig, which is said to be the birthplace of the Jorrsundr Ailor found today.

Jorrsundr gradually experienced expansion and migration. The Ailor became tribal and multitheistic, and believed the mountain upon Arrestig to be the home of powerful, unforgiving deities who had control over the forces of nature. This belief came about because of the constant dark storm clouds which have endlessly crackled above the island and swirled around the mountain’s tip. Due to this, the Ailor used the benefit of the frozen lakes and seas in between the isles to move over to other islands and leave the gods to their own doings. Jurind, Olsund and Hannaema were the first islands to be settled.

Come the Cataclysm, the Ailor of Jorrsundr had formed strong cultural groups. All the islands, excluding Arrestig, were populated by various tribes and roaming bands of Northerners, and worship of the mountain deities had become commonplace. Although their materials were simple with naught but iron, stone, and wood to fashion tools with, the Ailor managed to form villages and small homes within the environment. However, the islands became home to different communities that splintered away. Sumenso remained the primary language, but the Allemann, Dietsch and Estee tongues developed, whereas certain islands became home to specific practices. By 200 AC, a detachment of Regalian settlers sailed towards Jorrsundr and were initially met with hostility, but managed to form relations through trade of better foodstuffs and equipment with the Jorrsundr Ailor. These Regalians were permitted to settle on the smallest isle of Bodo, situated close to Jurind, and created townships without the worry of hassling tribes.

In the past 20 years, Orc invasions have been frequent in the northern isles of Jorrsundr. The local Jorrsundr tribes have defeated the Orcs through their homeland advantages, though more waves have started to invade. Every time a wave hits their homeland, the split tribes unite against the invaders and meet them head on in battle. After the invaders are defeated, the Ailor often adopt the Orc infants left behind or force Orc women into servitude to the chief. Nowadays, the Regalians and Jorrsundr Ailor have formed strong bonds of trade and commerce Historians and scholars flock to the town of Tamtown in order to study and document the Jorrsundr cultures. Jorrsundr is largely untouched by external difficulties, but with the influx of Orcs every few years, it is always busy preparing for the next slaughter. Many tribes upon the islands have, by 303 AC, learnt a grasp of Common and can be found sailing elsewhere to escape the conditions of Jorrsundr and to see the outside world.

EtymologyEdit

Jorrsundr owes its name to the Sumenso dialect, which translates to ‘islands apart,’ a reference to the six different islands within the chain. Jorrsundr is also known differently in the dialects of Dietsch, Estee and Allemann. For those who speak the Dietsch and Allemann tongues, one might call Jorrsundr ‘Heima’ due to the belief that the isles are their peoples’ birthplace. To them, Heima means homeland. In Estee, Jorrsundr is often referred to as ‘Fedreland’, which means fatherland. All the tribes of Jorrsundr hold a special name for the island group, or the ‘Crucible of Arkadell’. The capital of Jorrsundr, the harbor town of Hopsfield, is named for the farming that occurs in the summer months.

GeographyEdit

Jorrsundr is comprised of six islands. The largest and most central island is Arrestig, then Trollars, Hannaema, Bodo, Jurind and Olsund. Jorrsundr is famed for its mountainous isle, Arrestig, where the fabled ‘Gods of the Mountain’ are told to rest. The five smaller islands feature the majority of the population of the Jorrsundr islands and are the only islands suitable for living and agriculture. These islands feature impressive seaside cliffs, rolling hills of grass,when not covered in snow, and lakes. Bodo is home to the towns of Tamtown and Hopsfield, and is the most fertile in terms of agriculture, albeit being the smallest island.

Flora is quite meager. Alpine trees only grow on the islands of Jurind and Bodo due to excessive deforestation on the other isles in the early years after the Cataclysm. Despite this, Arrestig is host to an entire forest of trees lining its shores and slopes, but the Ailor are too fearful to cut them down lest the Gods be angered. Because of the lack of trees on many of the islands, the native Ailor will use a plant named Hennetraer. It is an extremely fast growing bush that spreads like an epidemic on the islands of Olsund and Trollars, and have a very dense fiber structure and sticky coating, which makes it perfect for burning. Modra Root is another plant found on the cliffs of Olsund and Jurind. Modra is a grey-blue root, and is used by the Ailor to create intricate blue patterns and markings on their bodies. Bushes, which host bitter red berries, are found over most of the islands, alongside average weeds and shrubs.

Rabbits are common, as are bears, but there are no pigs, cows or deer on the island, apart from those shipped into Bodo. The fish, on the other hand, are very large and can be found frequently around the islands in the sea and lakes. Jorrsundr is also home to the elusive and rare Arrestig fox, a creature that is sought by outside hunters for its rare white fur, but is protected by the local populace for superstitious reasons.

ClimateEdit

Jorrsundr is situated in the northern part of Aloria, so the climate is fairly cold. Temperatures rarely reach above 10°C (50°F), even during the summer months. Blizzards and snowstorms are frequent in the winter, which spans from August to April, and hosts temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F). For the majority of the year, Jorrsundr is frozen shut and the harbors are covered in large icebergs and ice chunks. Additionally, the seas between the islands freeze entirely, which unites all the islands, until it thaws in the early summer, only to freeze again come autumn. Due to this difficult environment, many children die before the age of 10 during the winter.

Notable landmarksEdit

  • Hopsfield
A Regalian town on the coast of Bodo. Hopsfield features stone cottages with thatched roofs to conserve heat, and an impressive harbor. Hopsfield is the only place in Jorrsundr that contains proper marketplaces, so tribes will flock to the town during the summer and trade their wares, and stock up on useful stores for the approaching winter. The fields can be quite fertile during the summer so the townsfolk grow barley and hops in order to process alcohol.
  • Tamtown
Tamtown is another Regalian settlement, though it’s much smaller than Hopsfield. Unlike Hopsfield, Tamtown is built of sturdy wooden houses that ring around a much less sturdy central stone building. This building is home to the scholars and studious people who archive and research the Jorrsundr people, though it has collapsed more than twice in a decade due to poor workmanship.
  • Arrestig
Arrestig is a large, round island which gradually increases in height before forming into a single high mountain that is visible from all other islands around. With the height of the mountain, the island is almost always covered in bad weather, and it is rare to see the tip of the mountain without clouds. The coastal areas are relatively calm and forested; the beaches slope gradually and the waters are rich with fish. The mountain, or Fjall in Sumenso, is said to be the home of gods who wage an eternal war on its summit, hence the imposing storm that floats above it.
  • Kastali
Whilst Hopsfield may be the official capital, the tribes of Jorrsundr regard the settlement of Kastali to be their main center to meet. Kastali, found on Jurind, is basic in appearance; houses are no more than tents fashioned from animal hides. Kastali allows the different Ailor groups to converse and meet with one another without the need to fight or squabble. It is never ruled over by a certain chief, but rather chiefs collaborate and set any familial or inter-tribal conflicts aside.

GovernmentEdit

Jorrsundr Ailor are very diverse when it comes to political matters. Even on individual islands, the number of tribes is large, and the amount of members per tribe is low. Tribes are often made up of chiefs, men who have large harems of women, who are supported by fighter-elites. The right to govern is often extended to the best fighter-elite. After an old chief dies, the fighter-elites engage in a mock battle of bodily prowess and shows of strength. These battles used to be real, but the tribes found they could not afford to lose nearly all their entire fighter-elite population during every round of inheritance and continue to function as a tribe. These mock-fights still escalate into violence on occasion, resulting in death, though the act of murder during one is a crime punishable by execution.

The law on Jorrsundr is odd, given that it’d be hard to enforce a set code of laws and rules upon scattered and diverse tribes. However most tribes agree to certain regulations. Murder is met with execution. Punishment for thievery depends on the tribe; some tribes choose to take fingers, others humiliate the thief and some remove an entire hand. Violence is usually supported, given that it acts as an exertion of strength. Treachery to the tribe is seen as the worst crime possible. If somebody deserts the tribe, supports a rival group, or purposefully acts in a way which would hinder the tribe’s progress, they will receive the ‘Våldsam,’ a name which is exclusive to the Sumenso dialect meaning ‘ferocious,’ as punishment. This act of punition entails the criminal publicly humiliated by the tribe before he’s stripped and tattooed in red, and then tied to a stump in the wilderness for the bears. Some scholars see these punishments to be barbaric, but for those of Jorrsundr, they are simply part of their cultural and moral code.

The government on Bodo is similar to that of any Regalian land, however. The Regalian towns of Hopsfield and Tamtown have mayors, jails and the usual punishments.

List of RulersEdit

  • Before Cataclysm - Chieftains upon Arrestig
  • 0 - 303 AC - Various chieftains across the islands without any unification

Foreign RelationsEdit

Jorrsundr stays out of foreign conflicts and many diplomatic endeavours. The isles are on good terms with Regalia, as the Empire is a major source of trade through the town of Hopsfield. With the influence of Regalia, some Ailor have been looking outwards to the other continents for a life away from the Jorrsundr Islands. This stems from the exposure to the Hopsfield markets, and the allure of what the foreign Regalians have to offer from abroad. Due to co-operation with Regalia, it would not be uncommon to see a Jorrsundr Ailor march as a mercenary in a different army, or work as cheap labor in mines or logging camps. Furthermore, with study of Jorrsundr occurring in Tamtown, it’s more common nowadays to see some women of the tribes settle down with scholars and find a way out of their closeted lifestyles in the tribes.

MilitaryEdit

Boys who are selected for warrior duties are taken from their mother at an early age and subjected to a childhood of cruelty and fighting. In this sense, the Ailor often end up creating an army of large brutes who will not shy away from massacring an entire enemy village if they see the need to. Mining in the isles is fairly minor so iron is the best material the warriors and fighters can afford; spears and axes made of iron are the most common weapons, and trade with the Hopsfield Regalians permits fighters to replenish their stocks of weaponry. Jorrsundr Ailor are famed for their ferocity, strength and skill in battle.

The warriors of Jorrsundr also hold pride in social beliefs that, in their opinion, aid their fighting prowess. Modra root is used in a coming-of-age ceremony on the islands of Jurind and Olsund to mark out boys who will be men, and to signify that they are powerful and impressive fighters. Alongside this, the consumption of Blaborjus is an important practice. One of the fruits on the island of Trollars, Blaborjus is unique as it naturally contains fermented alcohol in it, and when squeezed down, produces a strong liquor. This drink is popular, especially before battle as it numbs the senses of the Jorrsundr warriors, which allows them to tolerate more pain in combat, which in turn is another feat of masculinity.

Economy and TechnologyEdit

The Jorrsundr Islands don't have a formal economy, other than the light bartering that happens. Food and materials are valued by the tribes and must be conserved to help them sit out the harsh winter period, while fish is a commodity. What makes the islands interesting to the foreign populace, however, is the pelts of the elusive Arrestig fox. Icy white and very soft to the touch, the furs are very valuable to the rich elite of any race. As such,foreign Ailor often make attempts to trade for it with the Jorrsundr Ailor, especially in Hopsfield. Trade is commonplace amongst many tribes and Ailor as a result. Jorrsundr is also especially favorable to those in the tattoo trade due to the abundance of Modra root on the islands. Alcohol is also an attractive bartering tool for many a tribe.

Some tribes are more accustomed to maintaining a strong policy of self-determination and isolation. They very rarely trade with foreigners and mostly shun outsiders who they believe to encroach on their land, which is considered sacred on islands such as Arrestig. Whenever Jorrsundr’s people do trade, they often favor iron weapons or simple things such as beads or jewelry. Those of Jorrsundr live simply and aren't used to the wealth the southerly Ailor kingdoms offer. Iron is seen as an item akin to wealth, as it is the best metal the Ailor can afford, and the easiest to be mined out of the iron mine on Hannaema. Due to many islands holding specific resources, trade is sometimes a necessity amongst tribes from different parts of Jorrsundr. For example, the Hennaetraer plant, which sprouts on Trollars and Olsund, is often traded for iron from Hannaema, as Hannaema is devoid of suitable fire-starting flora. For others, tribes from Trollars will occasionally barter with those of Jurind, and exchange weaponry for berries and fruits.

DemographicsEdit

  • Ailor - 90%
  • Orc - Ailor Halfbreeds - 7%
  • Orc - 3%

CultureEdit

Due to the distance between the isles, the communities formed and maintained different practices. Dialects vary across the islands with Sumenso being popular everywhere, Dietsch being spoken on Hannaema and Bodo, and Allemann utilised by those of Jurind and Olsund. They are all quite similar to one another in pronunciation, except for Estee. Speakers of Estee rarely interact with other Jorrsundr natives, possibly due to the large differences in the core language of the speakers, so it is reserved for those on Trollars. One thing that unites all the languages is the universal naming tradition of patronymic surnames. This means that many family members won’t share the same last name, as they may have different fathers. An example of this patronymic naming would be Lund Joriksson, meaning Lund, the son of Jorik.

Hannaema and Trollars, the two islands furthest to the north, became accustomed to more violent cultural beliefs and a lifestyle revolving around warfare and conflict with other tribes. These tribes have great faith in the belief that by fighting and committing bloodshed, the ‘sacrifice’ of unworthy, weaker tribes will strengthen the God of Storm in his war against the Gods of Earth and Sea. In reality, the violence is perpetuated by the Orcish invasions and the grim conditions of the harsh north, but these tribes value it as a way of life. The Jurind and Olsund people are more docile in practice, valuing more practical lifestyles, whilst still participating in the odd tribal feud. These native Ailor survive by a combination of short season farming midsummer and fishing, gathering and hunting during the other seasons. Still, food shortages are often seen across all islands, and it’s not uncommon for whole communities to be wiped out by a particularly bad blizzard. Nonetheless, these communities are rather tight-knit.

Clothing-wise, the Jorrsundr people tend to wear brown or red clothing, often made of bear furs or rabbit skin leather. As a consequence of trade in Bodo, it is not uncommon for chieftains of tribes to purchase jewellery from the Hopsfield markets, such as gold and bronze. Architecture is minimal for the tribes because many islands are devoid of wood, and some tribes prefer to be more mobile. As a result, homes and abodes of many Ailor are simplistic yurts or tents made from animal hide. Dietary habits are quite poor for those of Jorrsundr. Fishing is the main method of getting food as it is in such large quantities. Berries and fruits are harvested in the summer, though trade with Hopsfield permits some tribes to get access to staple foods like bread and grain. Tribes also adore alcohol, and ferment the berries found among the isles into bitter and sour liquors. Due to this love of alcoholic beverages, trade with Hopsfield for ale and wine has been immensely successful.

ReligionEdit

Worship of the ‘Gods of the Mountain’ is popular amongst the locals. This refers to a pantheon made up of the God of Storm, the God of Earth and the God of Sea, in constant battle with one another over the elements. The Jorrsundr Ailor believe that the storms enveloping Arrestig are eternal and, as such, are collectively called the Eternal Storm. It is coupled with the belief that the end of the storm will herald the end of times, as it will indicate that either the God of Earth or the God of Sea has won the battle. Entry on the island of Arrestig is highly forbidden to all but the native Ailor of Jorrsundr, and they will violently defend the island from invaders.

In local folklore, it is stated the gods granted the Jorrsundr people increased strength to live in a land which they call ‘The Crucible of Arkadell’, which refers to the rough living conditions on the lands, though in actuality they are Northerners who have slightly altered accents from their seclusion. Nonetheless, the Jorrsundr Ailor are passionate about their beliefs and wish to uphold a vigilant protection of their isles. Other pieces of folklore from the clans and tribes include tales about the Arrestig Fox. Ailor of Jorrsundr picture this elusive fox to be a guardian of Arrestig, symbolising a vigil of the ‘Gods of the Mountain’. Efforts from the Regalian Ailor on Bodo to convert these northerners to Unionism have been immensely unsuccessful.

SymbolsEdit

Jorrsundr has no official flag since there is no official state. Each tribe tends to take a symbol or image important to them in their beliefs, and these images are often very crude and basic. Weaponry usually suits for the militaristic tribes, with many painting pictures of spears, axes or shields to be their symbol. Others favor animals, features of a landscape like mountains or lakes, or flora. It varies depending on the tribe. Although there is no flag for Jorrsundr as a whole, the Arrestig fox usually acts as a good motif for the isles. If people wish to associate with Hopsfield, however, the town and surrounding Bodo communities may take a sprig of barley as their sigil.

TriviaEdit

  • Ailor from Jorrsundr are similar to most Northerne men, but are praised for their bulky frames, muscular bodies and height. They have high metabolisms to make up for their frames, but are extremely susceptible to diseases. This is due to their isolation from the outside world, as the influx of Regalians has brought a plethora of new and unknown diseases to Jorrsundr.
  • Some Jorrsundr Ailor have recently started regarding the Orc blood as a welcome addition to their bloodlines and have started to actively mix and assimilate the Orcs into their genealogy. This results in a high half Orc - half Ailor population on Trollars, where the first generation of half breeds is soon to come of age.
  • The Sumenso dialect found most commonly amongst Jorrsundr tribes is the easiest to learn for non-Jorrsundr people. The scholars of Tamtown are making great breakthroughs in relations with the tribes as a result.
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