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Odinia (Barony of)
Location: Norwold, continent of Brun, east of Alpha, near the entrance to the Great Bay.
Area: 3,492 sq. mi. (9,044 sq. km.).
Languages: Heldannic, Alphatian.
Coinage: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp); barter common.
Taxes: None, inhabitants sometimes give goods to their baron to gain his protection against dragon attacks.
Government Type: Theocracy (barony ruled by the church); bears allegiance to the Kingdom of Alpha.
Industries: Fishing, mining (gold), crafts (shipyards).
Important Figures: Ulf Karlsson (Baron High Priest, human, male, P15 of Odin), Heinrich Niederhaus (Grand Knight of the Order of the Ash Rod, human, male, Pa10 of Odin).
Flora and Fauna: Odinia has marshes on its western shores, while a great valley extends from the northern shores to the southern foothills. The borders comprise also part of the northern tip of the Wyrmsteeth, and for this reason Odinia has its share of problems with wyrms preying on the farmers living in the valley. No real herders exist in Odinia because of the frequent dragon and wyvern raids on cattle, and hunting is likewise very limited, although fishes abound in the Great Bay. Great evergreen sequoias, pines and oaks rise mightily in the foothills and in the lower parts of the Wyrmsteeth.
Further Reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords.
Description by Adik de Chevas and Arcadius.
Odinia is the Heldanners' answer to the southern theocracy of the Knights of Vanya. Here the faith in the Northern Gods is strong and sincere, unlike the imposed cult of Vanya in the former Heldann Freeholds. Was it not for the problems with the nearby dragons, Odinia would have already become a rich and powerful nation.
Half of Odinia's territory comprises the lowlands going from the foothills of the Wyrmsteeth to the south to the shores of the Great Bay to the north. This vast valley, known as Wiudental by the locals, is where the great majority of Odinians live, under the protective wing of the Church of the Northlands. The valley consists of many farmlands and a small trait of marshes and bogs in the western part of Odinia's coasts. This area has a unique feature found nowhere else throughout Norwold and the Old World: it's called wattenmeer. When the ebb comes, the water retires leaving a big chunk of the Great Bay seafloor exposed. As long as the flow doesn't come, people can walk and ride in this area [which stretches up to 8 miles from the coastline. Arcadius.] freely and without danger. But one must know exactly when it's time to return to the safe land, since when flow comes, the sea returns to occupy its former position all of a sudden. Wattenmeer can be deadly if one doesn't reach the koog in time. Koog is an Heldannic word that indicates that part of the coast which has been wrestled away from the wattenmeer and the bogs, separated from the sea by a dam and then reclaimed and cultivated. The Heldanners living here have been using koog for hundred years now, building dams with earth, rocks, sandbags and mud.
Wiudengrad, the capital of Odinia, has been built on the part of the coast not affected by the wattenmeer phenomenon. It is an important centre for shipbuilding, and the Odinians use the abundant wood that grows in the southern part of the barony to make swift and resistant sailing ships, including lake and sea-going vessels. The capital is famous not only for its shipyards, but also for being the spiritual centre of the whole land. Yggdrasill Hall (a majestic longhouse of Heldannic tradition) is the holy headquarters of the Church of the Northlands. Here priests, godars, skalds and paladins of the church gather once a year to celebrate Odin's Death [Kaldmont 20. Arcadius.], to remember Odin All-father's sacrifice when He created mankind and gave them His wisdom, the runes. The hall is a wooden thatched longhouse, with many coats of arms hanging from its inner walls. Each symbol refers to one of the noble heroes who have given their lives to defend Odinia from great perils, and each one is revered by the community as guardian warriors who now sit in Valhalla (Odin's Hall).
The southern half of Odinia consists of forested hills and mountains that belong to the Wyrmsteeth Range. They are lush with evergreens and thick underbrush, a real paradise for every forest druid [actually a druid's cove does exist somewhere in these woods. Adik.]. However, the close proximity of the Wyrmsteeth makes these mountains dangerous to live in. The few settlements here are mining villages who dig out gold and precious gemstones from the Wyrmsteeth's sides. There have been numerous draconic raids in the past, but the Odinians keep holding their position, especially since they are now protected by the Order of the Ash Rod's members. Many rangers and woodcutters also live in the woods and up the hills not far from the mountains.
The political system of Odinia is pretty straight: everything is in the hands of the priests of the church or belonging to the order. They act as village bürgermeisters and spiritual leaders, as judges and officers of the army [even though the military charges are reserved to the members of the Order of the Ash Rod. Adik.]. Since they are the Gods' ears and mouths, nobody can really contest their judgments, so the Odinians have deep trust in their leaders' capacities and rarely question them.
The Odinians are Heldanners to their heart. Few Alphatians live here, mostly in the capital of Wiudengrad, running fine shops and selling overseas the goods produced in Odinia. They have begun to meddle with the common Heldanners in the last years, getting to know and to like these heartily and spontaneous folk. The Heldanners are great workers, fond of drinking and telling old tales regarding the ancient forefathers and their Immortals. They are honourbound people, and seldom act maliciously, even with strangers. The influence of the Church of the Northlands has even bettered their behaviour, since they are now a bit more thoughtful and do not normally exceed in beverages and brawls. The Odinians as a whole are a simple but honest folk, with a great faith in the Immortals and in what they call "Wyrd." We have not been able to determine whether this Wyrd refers to a strong belief in the power of destiny or to a real Immortal [since there is an Immortal with the same name worshipped in the church's pantheon. Arcadius.], but whatever it is, the Odinians revere that as the highest power in nature. Even Odin [or Wiutan and Wiuden, as they call him. Arcadius.] must knee in front of Wyrd, and this could well mean the Odinians are a fatalistic people.
As mentioned before, the Church of the Northlands is the dominant faith in Odinia, but it's slowly spreading its influence even to the other Heldannic communities south of the Great Bay. In fact, thanks to its godar (itinerant priests and paladins), the church now counts new shrines and temples even in Ossian, Alpha, Kameloth, Siegeria and even some of the Tranquil Coast baronies (including Oceansend). The tenets of the faith are quite straight and begin with the Creation Myth: humans spawned from Yggdrasill, the World-Ash. Then Odin All-father hanged himself to Yggdrasill and gave humans the knowledge of the runes [magical symbols He received during His coma. Adik.] to control nature and their instincts. Men attained reason and prayed Odin All-father to thank Him for His gifts. Then Loki the Trickster came to the world and tempted men, who succumbed to Loki's treachery. Giants invaded the human lands, and the humans invoked again Odin All-father, asking for protection. Odin sent them His son, Thor the Thunderer, who repelled the giants in the mountains and chased Loki away. But Loki still plots and schemes with evil and malicious men and monsters to conquer the human lands, so the Order of the Ash Rod was created, to defend humans from the Trickster and His allies. Until the day of the Ragnarok will come, when all the Immortals and mortals alike will meet their fate and Wyrd will prevail. This basically sums up the tenets of the church, which are also the Odinians' beliefs.
Odinia was founded in AC 1004 by Ulf Karlsson, former High Priest of Siegeria. One night, he received an omen from Odin to travel eastwards and establish a new bastion of light and law in the land where sea came back and forth. He abandoned his position in Siegeria and went east, until he met the Heldanners living near the wattenmeer. There he founded his new barony, creating the new Church of the Northlands, with the goal of spreading it to the whole Norwold.
The first years were hard ones, especially because the Great War began shortly thereafter, and many times small pirate vessels were able to evade the blockade of the Strait of Todstein [organized by the Draken navy to prevent Thyatis from gaining ground in the Great Bay and sending reinforcements to the dominions allied with Thincol. Adik.] and hit the coasts of Odinia. If you include the continuous draconic raids that terrorised the country ever since gold was discovered in the southern mountains, you get the idea of Baron Karlsson's first years of rule. However, the Odinians did not lose hope, and thanks to the Church of the Northlands' preaching they began to think these were tests sent by the Immortals and that they had to resist adversities if they wanted a place in Valhalla. Many followers of the church united and in AC 1006 they formed a holy society, the Order of the Ash Rod, with the sole purpose of fighting evil in Norwold in the name of the Northern Gods. The order was pivotal in recruiting the best warriors of Odinia and nearby lands and organising the army of Odinia, which started to repel the pirates and contain the dragons' attacks.
The years following the end of the Great War and the sinking of Alphatia saw the order rise high in Norwold, as well as the church, with many longhouses and shrines founded in many regions south of the Great Bay. One such stronghold has even been built in the isle in the centre of Alinor Lake, between the Wyrmsteeth and Icereach Ranges, and is now recruiting new members for the Order of the Ash Rod to counter the Heldannic Knights' advance.
Do not miss Yggdrasill Hall in Wiudengrad, for it is a really inspiring place to go, especially during Odin's Death celebrations. The hall is filled with a mystical energy that gives all those who prey inside it a strong vitality and such a sense of unity with the universe and the Immortals' powers, that they feel regenerated and somewhat inspired to perform incredible tasks. Also, many priests have reported having had prophetic dreams while sleeping in this place, and the legend tells that High Priest Karlsson built this sanctified hall on the very ground where Thor's blood was spilled in the final battle against Loki. Obviously this is only a legend, but given the effects of the place, there might be some truth in it.
Another place to visit is obviously the wattenmeer, since it is a natural phenomenon that is unique to Norwold and really astounding. Be only sure to know when it is time to retreat to the koog once you're there, and do not stay there one minute more if you don't want to drawn [unless you can fly, of course. Adik.].
Stay away from the southern region altogether. Although its lush forests are a breathtaking sight, the presence of the Wyrmsteeth and its winged dwellers is a strong enough deterrent to any explorer who is not familiar with the place. Also, the evergreen forests hide their own share of dangers (both natural and animal) not only the mountains, so the unwary traveller is warned.
Also, even if not technically part of the dominion, the Strait of Todstein to the north has a bad reputation among the locals [and this is confirmed by the rumours about the location that circulate in the northern County of Draken as well. Adik.]. It is believed that the isles of Todstein and Graben were once inhabited by a fiendish necromancer that got blasted by the Gods for the heinous crimes perpetrated on the folk living in those islands. Nowadays the isles are presumed deserted and the sailors keep away from the fog filled area.