Nestled in the Orlus Valley, within the Jarldom of Valdarr, the city of Valdarr is noted for its historical fame in being Kerlag's birthplace and a gateway to mount grelth, the birthing place of Northern spirits. It may not have been the seat of power for the greatest Northern empires, but the city has always had its solid place in history. With several ruinous events however, the city had become but a shadow of its former self. Will the city grow and become anew with its new inhabitants that have little fear for the fate of the past?
The First CityIt is thought by Northern scholars that Valdarr may be the oldest city on the continent. Of course, this disputes with the claims of the Drahl, but their opinion matters little on this matter. Our oldest records all point to Valdarr, with tales of Sin Kath only existing after Kerlag's conquest. The region is named after Kerlag's tribe, Tribe Valdarr. It was noted for its massive size and fortifications for the time, as it was used as a base with which Kerlag launched his first conquests. Grulk's were a common threat at the time, but with Kerlag's ambition, the Grulk threat was removed from Valdarr. This early city of Valdarr had impressive wooden and partially stone fortifications that made the city quite mighty, even compared to early Norvaskr. This early city lacked in resources, as the great Iron deposits of Valdarr were still unknown.
Upon Kerlag's death, the North was thrown into chaos, and Valdarr was under threat. With the new wars of the north. The man who took over Valdarr became its first chief after Kerlag, Siggurd Bjornson, and began the first of his line. The years that followed were steeped in hardship and difficulty. Time after time, the Bjornson line fought against the rival northern powers located in the rest of the Melting lands and the North. This of course meant the grulk had free reign to bring their terror upon the north. The large coldsnap spiders would also begin hunting stray northerners and Valdarr had many issues on their hands.
Growing StormsWith Siggurd’s great grandson Chief Dagvalld, the Bladebender, the conflict was escalated. With the years since Kerlag’s passing, the tribes’ hatred had only grown more intense, as had the competition. The tribe settled in Norvaskr had recently conquered the glacial lands and was moving westward towards the melting lands. They had managed to convince several tribes to back them to raid the westward melting lands for its resources. Dagvalld was known to be an excellent manipulator and managed to trick many rival tribes to marching to the border of the melting lands under the guise of a combined effort with the Bjornson tribe to raid the other tribes of the melting lands. Little did the tribes know they walked right into Dagvalld’s trap. The great battle that took place here left most of the tribes in complete tatters, and with a lust for vengeance.
Dagvalld was too crafty for most of the Northerners, and although many tribes tried to gain an upper hand on him, he was always one step ahead, leading them to ruined bridges and ancient chasms where they would be ambushed or killed by “natural occurences.” Dagvalld had created many enemies however, and to the south, the roving tribe of the Stormr, led by Chief Magni “The brutal.” Upon Dagvalld’s death, he had left only a weak son, Trygve. When the Stormr tribe invaded Valdarr, they torched the stone walls of the city and tore down many of its great buildings. They made Trygve the last of the Bjornson tribe. Tribe Stormr continued to fight the other tribal chiefs for power for many years until they were backed into a corner.
An Iron Will!Something needed to be done in order for Tribe Stormr to keep its hold on power in Valdarr. The seers had travelled to the mountain peak and received their words from the spirits, but it was not enough. Harrin the Insane, a nearly uninfluential man apart from his wealth, claimed the spirits had told him Iron could be found in the mountains nearby. Chief Eysteinn Stormr permitted Harrin to dig his mine in desperation, due to the many enemies outside his fragile gates. The Stormr tribe fought for some of the longest six years of their lives until Harrin struck a breakthrough, a major iron vein!
The wars quickly shifted in the favor of the Stormr Tribe, who created new shields, shortswords, and spears. Technology began to progress rapidly in this era of relative peace. Smithing and mining both had major advancements in this time period, and even traders began to get into the market. Where trade happened however, other tribes would soon begin acquiring some of this massive influx of iron. The Stormr tribe occasionally had to make deals with these tribes as well, meaning even more problems down the line.
A Weapon to Surpass AllAn interesting development, the battleaxe, had come from the west, through Norvaskr. The Skeggøx Tribe had derived their name from the weapon, and moved east, into the melting lands. The Skeggøx tribe learned of the origin place of the iron they used for their weapons and sought to conquer Valdarr. Tribe Stormr, now led by Chief Hedlund, would have none of this. In a grand battle that saw many of the men of Valdarr die at the hands of the Skeggøx. The Stormr won the day, but only just. From the ashes and the dead bodies, the Stormr found the battle-axe, and made it their own. They dug out a new crypt beneath their great hall to house the dead from the battle.
For many years the tribes of the melting lands would just fight amongst themselves without too many concerns for the outside world. The Yaelk fought the other Drahl, the Northerners of the Summit fought the Krelkans, and elsewhere, there was little concern for outside influences. In the year 589, the first Yaelk began to raid in the melting lands. Chief Geir Gunneson, an indirect descendent of the Stormr tribe, joined with Graham of Tribe Hailstorm who led a larger mobile tribe to the south. Geir was killed in the battle, along with most of the other northerners. This event marked the start of the descent of the Gunneson line.
A New LineageThe Gunneson family line struggled to keep the other tribes of Valdarr in check and had to give powers to various other tribes through the next century in order to grasp onto any power they could. Through this powergrab between the tribes, two major Chiefs rose to prominence. The Varkan Tribe, and the Einar tribe bargained for power and even began to skirmish within the streets. The authority of the Gunneson’s had never been lower. The only thing keeping the Gunneson tribe in power was their absolute control of the local iron mine. Iron had become a monopolized export from the region, and was used frequently by other northern tribes, as well as even the Drahl peoples. When Iron sources were discovered in the summit, the Gunneson family clung to power until their collapse just a few short years later.
This began a small civil conflict within Valdarr itself, as the two major family tribes fought for power in the chaos. Buildings were burnt, bodies were buried, friends turned against each other, and much blood was spilt. After five bloody years, Arne Varkan managed to corner his rival, Tollak Einar, inside the corner of a local tavern. This bloody fight became legendary amongst the northerners, and solidified Arne’s leadership inside of Valdarr. Arne of tribe Varkan spent most of his years crushing the dissent and rebelliousness within the city, and by his death, his young grandson Brandr began to take his mantle of stability and expanded it to the surrounding countryside.
His son Torgier Varkan found the last vestiges of the northern tribes of the melting lands. He struck at the north, and cornered them in the Battle of Broken Wills. For two months the sides struck at each others supplies until many of their men had deserted. By the end, Torgier had invited the tribe to join him, and became their leader. Torgier and his band of warriors charged the enemy but came to the realization the enemy was greatly outnumbered. Seeing this and adhering to the Northern code refused to kill them and instead invited them to join him. Now not only was Torgier seen as a fierce warrior but a great diplomat as well.
One Falls, Another Rises.Upon his return to Valdarr, Torgier looked to the relatively peaceful city and decided to proclaim himself king, beginning the period of the Three Northern Kingdoms. As King of Valdarr, he knew he needed a proper family name. He would be known as King Torgier Harkon, the first of his name. The Great Hall of Valdarr was expanded again. This would help with the coming chaos of the next few years. The other kingdoms rose in Norvaskr and Wargor. The three found themselves at each others throats often, and within the city of Valdarr, several tribes wished to crawl to the position that the Harkon’s had.
The Kingdom of Valdarr would change hands a few times in these years due to the mounting problems. The snapworm plague nearly wiped out the Harkon tribe, and gave its sister tribe, clan Bjornsk, the opportunity to assert itself. The first Bjornsk elder, Halfval Bjornsk, became the warden of the north and established order in the region. With the death of Torgier’s great grandson Rumildr Harkon, two sister tribes could vie for the throne. The Bjornsk tribe and the Hajork Tribe were at each other’s throats for only a short time before the Bjornks established order. Halfval had firmly established himself as warden, and the army followed his orders. His son Harolf saw the strife upon his father’s death, and sought to solidify his family’s rule. He solidified and reformed the tribes of Valdarr into the clans that still reign over it. Nearly all the clans, even the Bjork clan, formed from the Hajork tribe, became subservient to the king.
This would not last long, as the stresses outside the kingdom, the other kings namely, raided the city of Valdarr. One of these raids ended with the death of the young heir of Harolf. Harolf fell into a state of grief and dread, and could not raise himself. He died just a week after his son. Their sister clan, the Bjork clan, became the rulers of the north. With the reign of the Bjork clan, new progress could begin to enter into a golden era of prosperity for the city of Valdarr, one that would begin with blood.
Golden BloodThe northern golden age, more bloody than most give it credit. But there was one obstacle before the Bjork’s were solidified in the north. Haraldr Bjork had ambition to conquer the other kingdoms. Using his power base and what remained of the iron mines of Harrin, he lashed at Norvaskr and Wargor, and tore them from their very foundations. Each kingdom completely collapsed as Haraldr the Brute killed each of the major clan leaders. What remained was a lawless land where the tribes fought against Haraldr’s rule. His son, Leif the wise, knew that it was best to use the opportunity to build up the city of Valdarr instead of wasting resources in lands afar.
The city of Sin Kath had been destroyed. Its ancient northern roots removed from the soil. The king of Valdarr and the Melting lands, Petty king Eindride Bjork launched his campaign using the wealth of the city that had grown prosperous under Leif to drive the Yaelk out. A great feast was held that night, the first with any Drahl, from Moriva.
Eindrede’s son Rollo helped the clan’s of the fields build themselves up into proper kingdoms once again, often just by casual trading of goods, due to the small decline of natural resources in Valdarr itself. Even Rollo’s son Njord the Mild became friends with the son of the king of Norvaskr Ardyn. Upon Njord’s ascension, he switched the direction of his father, and swore subservience to Ardyn, whom he believed to be the most worthy man of leading the north to glory again. Valdarr was once again in the heart of a northern empire, a Northern Union. He also helped reform the religion of the northerner’s, specifically contributing Valdarr’s spirits of the mountain, and Smori’s watchful gaze.
Valdarr was on a decline. Although the Bjork clan still ruled as Jarls, the mines had run mostly dry, and the farms were not as fertile. Most trade was being run through the new Dunsgate or through Norvaskr, and its position of power and glory was shaky. While the north prospered, Valdarr stagnated. The city failed to benefit and grow. Clans migrated to the new defacto capital of Novaskr, and even the great hall stood emptier than before. A century of peace and quiet in the city after a series of weak leaders led to an ambitious Jarl named Alvar Bjork taking to Erdios of Norvaskr and pleading for a new war. Valdarr mustered its men to the war. Alvar’s son Magni the Mighty finished the conquest, helping Erdios establish the Golden Empire.
Something Within the RuinThe city of Valdarr was on the rise again! With new wealth brought in from south Oseria and the Bjork clan being acknowledged as good warriors, Valdarr had a great warrior’s hall made. The city became renowned for its spiritual roots and how the spirits could imbue a warrior with their strength. The seers even began to study the world and question the Five. When the great blizzard Throrgar hit Valdarr, the entire city was destroyed. The great hall collapsed, burnt down. The warriors hall was completely demolished by the hefty snows. The smaller homes could not withstand the winds. The spirits had been angry at the people of Valdarr for disregarding the prosperity they had been given.
The last Bjork, Þorir Bjork barely survived the collapse of the great hall with his wife. They left, and first tried to reestablish themselves until seeing the bandits roaming everywhere, taking advantage of the chaos. Þorir realized to survive he would have to change his name to Finton, and began the first line of Fintons. They managed to make a name of the Fintons as fierce warriors, but once they had become too notorious, the Finton’s had to disappear. They nearly vanished. What is known is that the ruins of Valdarr would sleep for many years. These were the ghost years of the city, where naught but scavengers would pick over the ruins.
Ketil Lunehold was but a child when Throrgar destroyed Valdarr, but he dreamed of rebuilding his home. Ketil the Wright built a small settlement with wooden walls that could stand on its own once more. Valdarr was but a shell of what it once was, but it was breathing at the least. The Amund family breathed new life into Valdarr, building roads and the Lunebug apiary nearby. This of course was shortly followed by the Luneholm meadery. Fueled by the new slave trade with the clans along the shattered coast, the new construction was easier than before. All these would be the life blood of the new Valdarr! But, it didn’t last. Brynjar Lunehold had planned to ask the high king of Norvaskr for protection, but with the new Oserian king having marched into their halls, Brynjar decided to become a wall for his people. The Oserian’s wandered into the small huts of Valdarr and butchered the Lunehold clan, and stole the Valdarr Jewels.
A Cry for Freedom!For years, people cried for northern freedom in the disparate town of Valdarr. Although the city was naught but a shadow of its former self, the people who lived within had a deep connection with the five, and cared deeply for each other. Valdarr became a hotpoint of insurgent activity against the Oserian Empire. Only small clans would drift through the small huts and ruined halls of the town. The Oserian nobles of course always attempted to crack down, but since the official ruler of Valdarr at this time was an Oserian, there was not too much more they could do. Tensions of course gradually subsided as the Oserian rulers adapted to their new surroundings, and became more northern, even forming a sort of clan, the Osfall clan. With the Osfall rulers, Valdarr was effectively dominated and subjugated, until a major clan uprising.
It wasn’t until the signing of a peace treaty between Korsia and Oseria that the domination came to a strange hault. Laws put into effect meant that the Osfalls had to loosen their grips, allowing the Folke clan, led by Olaf the Spear, to stage a coup. It took many years, but they struck through the Osfall clan with a decisive blow, and proclaimed themselves Jarls in the Melting Lands. Through brutal wars with the other clans, the Folke were imbibed into the northern rule of Balor of Yardar. Valdarr had little to offer during these wars other than the small amount of men that still lived within.
Led by High King Balor, Jarl Gundriks led the defense of the capital city of Oseria, Dunsgate. During the chaos, Gundriks found the ancient northern Crown of Valdarr. He took it back to the ancient city, where it would lie in his secret possession, and would be passed down, for if it had been known, it would be a serious danger to his clan. For the meantime though, Gundriks gave a great name to Valdarr with his defense of Dunsgate, and his part in Northern Independence. He would also begin the rebuilding process of Valdarr, which still lay in relative tatters compared to its former glory.
Rebuilding the RuinsThe clans within valdarr, still living in tattered huts and ruined halls, began to build the city once more. With trade beginning with the New Korsian’s to the south, they had newfound wealth selling their wood and solid stone and iron. In exchange, Valdarr would gain access to gold, jewelry, and more intricate southern cloths. This influx of gold funded the new construction of Valdarr. New houses were raised up, and construction began on a new great hall. Even a new temple to the five began construction within Mount Grelth nearby.
Valdarr itself became an important stop for the Religious seers of the north, especially when High Seer Yar of Norvaskr reformed the way of the five. The current temple construction was true to the old ways of the five, being as close to Mount Grelth as any other northern temple. Valdarr was a stepping stone in this journey, and became a spiritual gateway to the entire north. You could commune with Smori, Feynir, or any of the other Five. Here, in this ancient temple, the seers debated on the ancient rites of the gods of the North. They collected ancient texts and exchanged them within the growing huts in Valdarr.
Of course, after some time, the Jarl of Valdarr raised the great hall of Valdarr to the sky once again. Jarl Ragna Folke oversaw this construction, and struck a deal with the King of Norvaskr to keep the Ancient Crown. They would keep all that was in their possession, including their lands, in exchange, the North would unify and once again follow a worthy High King. Advancing technology in armor and smithing made Ragna dive deep into the mountains once again, searching for iron. It was there, but in much lesser quantities.
Spirit WarriorsA new form of warrior rose up with the reforms of Darril of Stagr. From Valdarr, the most formidable warriors were known as Berserkers. They channeled their anger and tempered their rage with the spirits of their ancestors and Vintas. They used animal like instincts and pure rage, unable to fear when powered by their gods. They charged into battle without remorse and without feeling any sort of pain. The low amount of iron, combined with the connection to their surroundings these warriors had led them to wearing very light to no armor, only adding to their legend. These warriors played an instrumental piece in fighting the Krelkans in the next one hundred years, only surpassed by the Marauders.
Just as these spiritual warriors began to come to fruition, the Krelkans attacked Norvaskr, and Flintswood caught the Valdarr residents off guard. They took the city with little casualties and declared themselves High Jarls of the Melting Lands. The Folke family is deposed for a short time, and only those who bent the knee were spared. Luckily, the King of Norvaskr struck back and won a decisive victory, removing the Flintswood occupiers from Valdarr. A new line of Jarls, related to the old, the Galdr clan, came into power. They continued to rule the north as the Krelkans were conquered, and even beyond.
The KrelkanThe Galdr clan ruled relatively peacefully, bringing in labor from Krelkar into Valdarr to assist with the construction of the walls of the city. Valdarr was built into a city much like it is today, only whole and complete. The hall of the Berserkers was built shortly after the completion of the second great hall. Great forests nearby, as well as the apiary and meadery of the city all drew their industry into one of the best in the land. With the new labor brought into the city, resentment was rising. Elsewhere, the Krelkans were all easily suppressed, but in Valdarr, the lack of Iron and the plenty of tools they were given strengthened the Krelkans. They staged a small rebellion under
Kopeyki the Poker, a brutal Krelkan who tortured and burned any who got in his way. Kopeyki managed to break into the great hall and poke out the tongue of the Jarl. Jarl Baldyr Galdr was a man with many wives but had only a few sons. Upon his death, his son from his third wife, Ragnvaldr Galdr was declared king of the land.
Ragnvaldr cared little for his father's ways and changed his clan name to take on the name of his mother, Vins. He became Ragnvaldr Vinsgaldr. He set about to release the Krelkans from their labors in Valdarr. Little did he know how much this helped the poorer of Valdarr as well, as they could now take up the labor positions that were once occupied. He became known as a very good king, Ragnvaldr 'The Just'. Of his three sons, Garlun Visngaldr became the next Jarl in the year 905.
The Last JarlGarlun's reign was not very long, lasting only ten years. He managed to rebuild most of the damage to the town that had been done at the start of his father's reign but hadn't done much beyond that. The other thing he had done was to start conscription to fight against the Krelkan rebellion to the west. Garlun had no direct heirs, but instead, his brother, Jarl Tori Galdr, who had changed his clan back to the Galdr clan, became the Jarl. Valdarr became very prosperous in his time, and he took many wives and had many daughters and sons. Jarl Tori ruled only a short time, and kept the conscription policies of his brother. After only five years, he passed on his Jarldom to his son, Jarl Thorson Galdr.
Thorson was a good king for the first years of his reign. He built up the walls of the city, and was kind to its citizen. As he aged, he became worse and worse. He reinstated the forced conscription, even in peacetime. He became fat for his overeating, and he began to have violent outbursts. It is believed his relationship with High king Longwinter was turning south before he isolated himself. When the plague hit, Thorson shut his roads down from the capital and was not heard from for ages. It was not until the people of Esna resettled Valdarr that he was known to the world again. Valdarr became a ruin, picked over by small bandit groups, and burned over in time.
The New Valdarr
Valdarr was rediscovered in the year 1001 A.T. Since then, the city has begun to grow again. Where it will go from here, we will see.