Lands Of Chill
Here there is only darkness. Here night is eternal. Here there is only cold. Here are the Lands of Chill, where chill itself makes its home from whence to visit the rest of the world. A slave-people fleeing their own broken race huddle in the scant warmth of their own feeble desperation, while beyond a buckled and jagged wall of mountainous terror those things that have never seen the sun wait, and listen for they need not eyes. But amongst the forever-night there is a light. In the east a new way is coming. A new divinity. THE new divinity. And from the bleakest, most hostile womb is emerging a new world order, one so glorious it must be sinister.

Physical Geography

The northern subcontinent of Nardaan sits at the heart of the Irgattu Straits, where it was brutally wrenched from the mainland of Allornus during the Sundering. The Lands of Chill are home to the tallest mountains in all of Allornus, the Nachtrekt Mountains, which give Nardaan its most unique characteristic. Because the mountains are so tall, and stand so far from the sun, the lands to the north of them never see day - they are cloaked in eternal night. These cold, dark reaches have been dubbed the eternal darkness. To the south of the Nachtrekts the land is still mountainous - the entirety of the continent's surface being devoted to rising up into these towering peaks, but leagues-broad terraces make the rise a subtle one. Rugged, rocky and under the cowl of brutal winter three seasons of the year, the summer thaw creates a land of dirty grey, hardy grass and near unbearable dampness and humidity. Pine forests drape the southern coast, and it is here that the only real life of the region thrives.

One might say that the southern coast is the most habitable part of Nardaan, but in truth it is the only habitable part of the continent, and even then it offers little by way of welcome. The lands are under a blanket of snow for all but a single month around midsummer, save where the salt wind forces melt on the rocky shores. Firs and pines, with white-draped shoulders push their way up out of the snows, but beneath there is only rugged stone and knife-edged ice. But at least the snows here are shallow, and meadows of hardy grass, dark-hued flax, jagged berries and and fat tubers eke out a life in the frozen earth. And when the snow does briefly recede the land explodes into flower and clover in a resolute celebration of winter's mercy, and in a desperate bid to spread their seed for the next year before the icy fingers of winter again grasp the land.

Further inland the land is not so lucky. The snow banks grow deeper and deeper, and thaw is nothing but a vain fantasy. Only where the hardy pines still push doggedly above the snow, and cluster together, shoulder to shoulder as if huddling for warmth, and where the cerulean rivers race from the mountain melt, holding aloft vast chunks of pure-white ice as they pass, does the endless rolling grey-white abate. Here snowdrifts can be well over a man's head, and in fresh falls it is easy to sink deep into the soft falls, or even into pockets formed beneath the surface. Snow shoes and sledges are crucial, and the wildlife either learns to pass unseen beneath the snows, prove large enough to plough their own trail, or diminutive enough to skim the surface of even new-fallen snows.

Beyond the snow fields the land ascends steeply into the Nachtrekts - jagged peaks of ebon rock, rising into sheer peaks, sometimes knife-thin at their extremities, so mistreated by the wind and weather are they. Unassailably steep shoulders become utterly vertical rockfaces, and the jet basalt and obsidian shards would tear any man trying to climb to shreds as surely as a thousand swords. When the sun sets, which it does perpetually in the winter months, when day does not come for over sixty days to the foothills even on the southern face of the mountains, the shards of volcanic glass catch the light and the starry sky is indistinguishable from the flare-studded black range. Nothing lives here. No game trails mark the passage of mountain creature. No bird wheels or cries. The mountains are utterly empty. Utterly silent. And though a system of caves - carved by the might of water over the millennia - stretch beneath the mountains, likely even emerging on the north face in many places, none would be so foolish as to brave their frigid, flooded, stygian depths.

If they did they somehow survive such a descent, a wanderer might emerge in the most alien of all landscapes: the eternal night. None know what truly lies north of the mountains. What little is known, or whispered by those who claim to have ventured up the coast, or braved the seas, is that the land has never in the long history of the world seen the sun. Stories of vast glacial plains of flawless ice, hued pink and crimson. Of creeping sickly phosphorescent mosses with long meaty tendrils, in infectious yellows and garish greens. Of smooth sided conical rocks, jutting points sharper than the finest spear heavenwards, as if they pierced the stars in the blanket of night. All of these images are shared with a consistency that makes them difficult to entirely dismiss.

Setting Trait (3): Haven of Cold Nothing is so central to life on Nardaan as the cold. It permeates every facet of existence. Bitter chill creeps into the bones and stays for life, while howling winds and frozen sleet are a part of every day in every place. There is no escape, no remedy, and no respite from the chill air, the ice, or the embrace of eternal winter. The people here barely know what warmth is - only survival in the endless chill.

Spirit of the Land

Slothful, remorseless, dispassionate creatures are the elementals of the frozen continent. Lovers of solitude, these creatures take the closeness of night as opportunity to sleep, to dream eternally, and they meet being awoken with stone-faced retribution. Not rage, but coldly eliminating disturbances. Spirits of darkness bring with them secrecy, not creating false visions as spirits of light may, but obscuring what is true. Hiding beneath and around. Deepening the shadows, hushing every sound, and dulling the senses of those who wander in their lands. These beings want little save to be left alone to rest, to hide. They are sluggish and uncaring and do not care even for their own survival. But it is said that they draw secrets to them as men draw gnats, and some have sought out frozen glades or faces upon mountain sides to plead for some secret knowledge, even from a world away.

Political Geography


What was clear in the years before the Sundering was that none amongst the races of the myrnaműn sought to dwell in these lands. The Taruun never pushed north of their lands in the heart of the plains. The Ogiere showed no interest in the shores or mountains of the gulf. Even the Bärchak who ruled over the icy cold of the lands on the western slopes of the Ironheads made no effort to penetrate the northern coast of Allornus. Then came the race of men, and the Haedar never turned their eyes to the north, preferring the rich lands to the south and east and west of their new home. Even the Malorns, willing to brave the harshest lands in penance for the crimes of the Nofo turned away from the nightlands. And then the world broke, and the northern continent was torn from the back of Allornus, made ever more remote and carrying their sinister chill beyond the reach of the mortal races, and none lamented. But gradually in the intervening years the desperate, the landless, the forgotten, and the greedy have pushed north. They are few, but now mortals call Nardaan home and divide it into nations.

In the east Nasis and Meldoki claim the coast. These lands might be slowly coming to resemble realms of other regions, but in truth for a long time they were little more than refugee camps. When Casador revealed the Toldaks to the Draks, many of the Malorns who had remained true to Malar fled their home. Unwelcome in Haedrasia, which was now at war with the Draks, these Malorns fled over the Irgattu Strait, and swept east in their coasting craft, sometimes little more than rude fishing boats, they were eventually washed up on the Meldok Arm, or else on the Cosarian Islands. Here they founded tiny settlements, where they clung together in fear, to eke out a life. Eventually those in the islands made their way north to found Nasis under the strongest of their number, while the folk on the Meldok arm did the same. By the time they met again generations had passed, and Meldok and Vor Ushta had respectively formed. Now these feudal khanates each count the various villages on their territories a nation, and their warlord rulers are charged with keeping a band of ferocious warriors, with whom they perpetually rove the lands, driving off all threats that present themselves, or avenging those villages they find massacred by the dangers of the land.

To the west lies Arkenrecht, land of the Arkenmen. The Arkenmen are something unlike anything else in the world - they are the link between Kardes and Caliban, and the Kardes who meet them are horrified and appalled in facing proof that their two races are cousins. Once the Arkenmen were Kardes - reaver tribes who made the straits their home, whalers who came ashore on unclaimed coasts before striking out to plunder Drak or Haedrasian lands to the south. But the Arkenmen roamed far and faced powerful foes. Slowly over generations they forgot the Karda, and slowly they came to resemble the degenerate Caliban. Now the Arkenmen are barely Kardes anymore, descending into tribal savagery and making war on one another until one warrior comes to dominate and unite all the tribes of the Arkenmen. And should this ever happen, there is no doubt that all of Nardaan will swiftly be theirs.

The One True Faith

Betrayed by their own patron Malar, persecuted by the Toldaks of Maldaakore, by the time the wandering Malorns were driven to the frozen shores of Nardaan they had forsaken the Divh, just as the Divh had forsaken them. So it is all the more surprising that the growth of the fledgling One True Faith has been so meteoric. Scarcely four decades ago the enigmatic Divhi known only as the One True Divhi chose to reveal itself to the denizens of the tiny settlement of Timbalica in the mountains of Nasis. The people of that town took up its teachings with such fanatical zeal that saw them go forth and proselytize throughout the tiny nation. So compelling was the message that they carried - that a true Divh had come, that those who had mistreated them were but pretenders, and that the true Divh loved and cared for them - that within the space of a decade an infant cult had grown into the most influential and prosperous group in all of Nasis. Within two they had eclipsed even the Tarkhan. Now their influences reaches into all of the civilized corners of the frozen continent, and even south over the straits.

The One True Faith preaches charity, forgiveness, and salvation as they keys to their belief. Its followers speak of hardship and suffering in the world being rewarded in the next life. Adherents of the One True Faith believe that the real world is an opportunity to prove oneself, and adversity an invitation to demonstrate tenacity, spiritual strength, and wisdom. When a mortal being dies, the soul is taken to the immortal world and judged. Those judged to have led an imperfect life are recycled into the world to again have the opportunity to prove themselves, while those who have led an exemplary life, who have helped others on their journey, who have learned and experienced, who have forgiven and who have been generous will be rewarded by being admitted to the next world - a place beyond the spirit world where all noble souls are rewarded with eternal life. The other Divh are merely worldly temptations, designed to distract from true enlightenment.

The Divine of Divines

An important part of the One True Faith is trust in the One Divhi, and so the divine of divines is perhaps intentionally cryptic, to test the faith of his followers. No one truly knows what the One True Divhi is. He has taken many forms in the course of his short mythology to speak to his prophets. There is no indication that he has any earthly form, nor that he is of the world, but his uncovering in the northern mountains seems to imply some worldly scope. Followers of the faith would say that trying to comprehend the divine is fruitless for all but those who have achieved divinity, and that the truly enlightened do not grasp the divine, but rather accept that they cannot.

Setting Trait (2): One Divine Alone If the elements of this harsh land were not enough, a battle is raging in the hearts and minds of its peoples. The One True Faith not only preaches that its divine patron is the greatest, proselytizing aggressively, but it teaches that all other divh are mere fantasies, or else beings of mundane stature. People might balk in other lands, but in a place of continuous hardship, where the very land is against you, it is easy to doubt that other divines truly do watch over mortals. And the instant wealth and power of the One True Faith is both seductive, and proof of their divhi's potency.

Social Geography

The folk of the frozen continent do not live in bondage to their lords - they have no need to. The elements and the northern land keep them in bondage to those who can keep and protect them. The landsmen live in feudal societies, all being relatively equal under their warlords and their retinues, who form the sum of the civil service. Warriors fight to protect the people, they redistribute goods in lean seasons, supplying the Khan's Dole to communities in need. Rebuilding the homes of those struck by the savage conditions. But they exact a harsh price, demanding half of the goods gathered by any community they garrison, and unprotected communities must fund the settling of a garrison should they seek the Khan's protection. This hard, warrior culture is buttressed by stories of valiant warriors, mighty overlords and glorious victories told everywhere men gather and sing their songs.

Most of the common folk exist in rough poverty, eking out an existence in whatever the predominant trade of their tiny settlements is, usually living off the land and storing away what little they can for the coming of inevitably harsh conditions. Furriers, fishermen, hunters and loggers make the vast bulk of the population, as well as a very few enterprising traders who diversify surplus goods between settlements (however these are few, and a settlement can go years without seeing one), and warriors. Men generally undertake those tasks that take them into the wilds, away from home, while their women stay home to tend the children and prepare the materials their men gather. While a man might hunt, and butcher his meat on the trail, he will then bring his kill to his wife or mother, and she will tan the hide, cut the fur, preserve the meat, cook the meal. As a result what outdsiders might consider skilled trades are occupied by women. The one benefit of the cold is that vast surpluses can be kept for long periods in stony communal cellars kept under the common hall of each village.

Elders have a particular difficulty in Nardane societies, because the focus on physical labour and scarcity of resources makes them largely a burden. One or two elders are always revered for their knowledge and experience, and for keeping the history of the community, and knowing its trades, but most serve little purpose. As a result, in lean seasons the elders will simply wander into the snow until their bodies fail them. In major settlements there is often enough labour to keep elders late into their lives, but they still often make their way out into the snow, or even swim into the bay when they feel that their time is at an end.

The growing priesthood has yet to truly carve a niche within this structure. Monastic conclaves exist solely on the charity of the local community, but those communities give generously. The priests, for their part, redistribute those resources that they have to the communities that host them, offering their wisdom, their charity, and their guidance wherever possible. In some communities they have even taken to distributing the Khan's Dole on behalf of the Khan's soldiers, supplanting the traditional authority by appearing generous and wealthy where once the warrior elite did.

Major Races and Cultures

The Malorns represent the bulk of the northern continent's settlement. These men fled Casador's conquest and the war with Haedrasia to make a new home. They had no real intention of coming to this land, in truth they had no idea where they were going, but they made their home here after sixteen years sailing their crude vessels along the lethal Irgattu Strait. Not slaves, nor fodder for their cousin's cruelty, the men of Nasis and Meldoki might be a pale reflection of what the Malorns might have become, had they not made their fateful journey through the Nightmare Lands all those centuries ago. They are a proud people, independent, and fiercely defensive. They have a habit of assuming that every outsider has come to take advantage of them, and are quick and ruthless when they do feel oppressed. Forged in white-hot freeze, more than one offending outlander who does not show proper respect to even the most common fisherman has found himself staked naked to a stony beach, awaiting the mercy of the tide.

The Haedrasians, by contrast to the Malorns at least, are newcomers to Nardaan. As in many of Haedrasia's neighbours, the sons and daughters of Haederas have come to settle along the borders of their empire. However here there are no segregated enclaves. No formal ties to the empire. No, these Haedrasians are most often those who seek to escape the oppressive geas of citizenship. They remain proud of their heritage, and most still venerate the lord of war (although many are slowly turning to the One True Faith) but they are a people who dislike authoritarian society, who disagree with the empire, who would pay the price of the horrific cold for freedom from Haedrasian rule. They have integrated themselves in the major cities of the region, preferring to keep their own company but adhering to local authority happily. Many respect the martial strength of the khan rule, and admire the simple fact that a man can make his own fortunes on the frontier, without playing the game of politics, or serving one's nation with blood and steel.

Arkenmen and a few isolated Bärchak make up the remains of the civilized population of Nardaan. The Arkenmen live in their warrior bands, making little distinction between the sexes or classes, following the strongest warrior, and requiring that the strongest prove his strength in the face of every challenge. They hunt to supply their needs, food and warmth, and they seem to have mastered a way to forge weapons from the ice itself. When they meet other Arkenmen, or men, or really any challenge, they fight savagely until the enemy submits. Then they take what they want, and kill a few to demonstrate their strength, and leave. The Bärchak of the islands to the far east are like their Clawland cousins, living in small matriarchal societies, based around working metal and vying for position. Young males rove as far as mainland Nardaan before returning home to be chosen from as breeders.


Because of the mass of early Malorn refugee settlement here, and later the intrusion of Haedrasian culture, dates are given in both the Drak calender, counted from 0 YAM, or Years After Malar, and the Haedrasian calender, counted from YED 0, or Year (of the) Earthly Divhi marking the laying of the cornerstone of the eternal palace.

931 YAM/YED 755 Casador devastates Kal Maldrak.
947 YAM/YED 771 Malorn refugees land on the Meldok arm.

2054 YAM/YED 1878 The One True Divhi appears in Timbalica.
2058 YAM/YED 1882 The One True Faith proclaims itself to Nardaan.
2095 YAM/YED 1919 Present Day.

Nardaan, Land of Chill and Eternal Night
The Hallowedland, The Heathen North, Arkenrecht, Meldoki
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