Ashes of Asgard
Kettilrick - The Cauldron
“Son, a man of the Cauldron walks, eats, and shits where ever he damn well pleases. Dare anyone to tell ye different!”
Region: The Cauldron would seem like an idyllic place to make a home – rolling pastures, roaming buffalo, wide steady streams, and trade routes to every other region in the horn. There’s just one tiny problem: everybody wants it. They say that he who controls the Cauldron controls the Horn, but no one who sits its throne does so with ease. He must fight for every inch of borderline between his kingdom and territories of the Myrkvold, the Suttermark, and Valcanisp, while still keeping enough favor with them to prevent all-out war.
Sometimes the Cauldron simmers – with warlords engaging in “polite skirmishes” between villages that must then be publicly apologized for, with promises to respect the border in the future. Warring bands from both sides try to get away with as much as they can, without provoking full retaliation (an act which may likely destroy both sides). But once in a while, an unforgivable act stirs the pot a little too much, and the Cauldron boils over.
Kettilrick is rarely held by anyone who isn’t ruthless enough to inspire fear in his enemies. At the same time, it is rarely taken by a complete outsider – that is, for generations, the rulers of the Cauldron have historically come to power not from foreign invasions, but from internal uprisings and coups – sometimes funded and supplied covertly by powerful figures from the other territories. Anyone who spends enough time as ruler of the Cauldron is prone to descend into paranoia and jealousy.
Capital City: The Ashen Citadel – A fortified city built inside the walls of a crater at the very center of the Cauldron. The history of the Ashen Citadel is inextricably tied to the patron deity whose statue stands at the center of it, Ingvar Bloodfire. Bloodfire grants his favor, battlefury, and protection to those who prove themselves most capable of holding the citadel and protecting his temple in turn. And though many have marched upon the Ashen Citadel with the intention of destroying the mad god’s temple, upon taking it, the temptation to use the Bloodfire’s power for themselves has overcome.
The Ashen Citadel seems a grim, grey place from the outside. From the inside, it is worse – a city run by thugs, scoundrels, and short-tempered drunkards – and that’s just the city guard. No one takes the Citadel without some respect for the philosophy that Might Makes Right, so it is unrealistic to expect any different from those who occupy it. They say those who grow up in the Citadel are tough enough to make it anywhere, and being able to claim so commands at least a grudging sense of respect, if not fear, in other cultures.
Ruler: Hells-eye Hrogaar – Without a doubt, Hells-eye is the most feared Named Man in the Horn. Known as the Godsmasher for having shattered the patron deity of the Suttermark, and the Betrayer of Cedarhelm, he came to possess the Citadel by allying his clan with a Myrkish force who aimed to destroy the Temple of the Bloodfire. When Cedarhelm and Hrogaar entered the temple, beleaguered after nearly a year of battle, Hrogaar put an axe through the Jarl of Myrkvold’s skull, claiming the power of the Bloodfire for himself.
Hrogaar is unnaturally strong, merciless, and pragmatic. He does not hold back from enjoying the spoils of victory. He owns a number of concubines, and encourages his loyal Carls to take as many women as they please – willing or unwilling. He has, since his takeover, built a gladiatorial arena just below the Temple of the Bloodfire, and the tourneys he hosts there have become increasingly deadly over the years. Hells-eye is not to be understimated, even when in his cups. Some go as far as to say that he is at his most lucid when he has had a bit of drink.
Clan Name: Clan Broken Fist
Banner Colors: Red, charcoal
Insignia: A black fist on a red background, crooked along the middle.
Governing Body: Within the Citadel, most decisions of importance come down to either Hells-eye himself, his Carls, or their lieutenants in the city guard. The land of the Cauldron is divided among the Carls, who may rule their clan’s territories as they see fit, so long as they remain loyal to Hells-eye, and maintain his policy of mandatory draft, by sending young men to train at the Citadel when they come of age.
Patrons: The Bloodfire Pact, The Eternal Keg, The Rune Totem, The Oleander Coterie, The Lady of Storms
Skevania: Enemies – Ideologically opposed
Myrkvold: Tense – The Myrkish are allies of Skevania, The Oleander Coterie is against the Bloodfire Pact, and Rustle means to avenge his brother. Now it’s a matter of whether the Coterie is more scared of the Empire, or Kettelrick.
Valcanisp: Tense – Bloodfire Pact scares Valcanisp, but Maltirian Empire is scarier, and Hrogaar may be able to get Valcanisp to side with them against Maltiria.
Suttermark: Tense – Hrogaar is not fond of the Empire’s arrival, but the threat may not be big enough to act on yet. He may have to deal with Skevania first. At the same time, the Suttermarkers are itching for a fight after Hrogaar shattered the goddess Hortense.