Ashes of Asgard
Suttermark - The Southern Marches
Region: The Suttermark is without a doubt, the most disparaged region of the Horn. It is a land seemingly without merit or strategic advantage. It is quite literally the red-headed stepchild of the north – as its people are often distinguished by fiery red hair. Its beleaguered villages are easy pickings for raiders, but there is little honor in occupying it. Only twenty years ago, the patron deity of the people of the Suttermark, the fertility goddess Hortense, was shattered by a young Hells-eye Hrogaar – an act that earned the man who now rules the Cauldron the favor of Ingvar Bloodfire. The priests were disconnected from the faith, and now rocky moorlands with acidic soils, overgrown with weeds, fens and marches that spawn hordes of mosquitoes, muddy forests that turn into grey, scraggly frozen tundras in the winter, all characterize the majority of the land in the Suttermark.
The result is a humble people who seem to grow more and more detached from the barbarian culture of bravado and warmongering every year. They still fight, no doubt, but soldiering is seen as a necessity, a duty to the family, not a thing to boast about, or an excuse to go around carousing, wenching, or cracking the heads of anyone who utters an insult at your name. Warriors of the Suttermark care more for the craftsmanship of their armor, rather than their weapon, and no longer march into battle bare-chested as if harboring some kind of deathwish. They are an increasingly practical people, who see the need to grow up and abandon the traditions of their forefathers.
But this transition is not so simple. Many view this change of heart as a result of influence from missionaries and diplomats from the Maltirian Empire to the southeast. It is no secret that the Maltirian Empire has been courting the Jarl of the Suttermark for years, with the intention of making his people into a vassal nation in order to finally get a foothold in the Horn. Thought the Empire’s intentions in the Horn are unknown, the sudden friendship between the two has most of the north on edge, and the people of the Suttermark are received with suspicion. Some accuse them of being in on whatever scheme the coward Empire is planning, others claim they are but rubes and pawns being played, while others yet accuse the Suttermarkers of believing themselves too noble and condescending – pretentious self-hating upstarts who claim to be more civilized than their own blood brothers.
Capital City: Kinsvale – Located on the shore of a wide lake, near a mountain pass to the east, Kinsvale was once a simple village, but since the arrival of the Maltirians, has enjoyed a newfound sense of prosperity and peace. Maltirian masons helped the people learn to build with stone, rather than wood – true buildings and walls meant to stand the test of time and war, not just wooden longhouses or glorified caverns. New forging techniques have allowed Suttermarkers to work with steel rather than iron. (Steel can still be found at Krennak’s forge, but the methods of forging it at prohibitively expensive for most). Kinsvale’s people have not been very religious since the destruction of the temple of Hortense, but missionaries from The Searing Dawn have been given leave to set up a church in town. It seems, however, that the Guild of Maltirian Masons have taken this to mean that they are free to build a full-scale cathedral within the city walls.
Ruler: Duke Finn “Inkfingers” McVarish was never a great warrior. He earned his name as a seafarer, a squid-fisher and traveling merchant from a humble clan. After losing his third ship to Skevani raiders, he decided his business venture was not working out, and tried what no one before him had dared – to sail east to Maltiria. He left with the only trade good the Suttermark was good for, Demonweed, an addictive hallucinatory smoking grass. Returning with a trove of knowledge, exotic goods, and rare animals, he would spend a decade traveling back and forth, amassing a commercial empire in the Suttermark, and soaring to a state of nobility in a nation that had never even known the term. Through shrewd investment, diplomacy, and guile, he earned the title of Jarl, and made his home in Kinsvale, then a simple small village. In the east, his reputation as the Gentle Savage grew as well, and the demand for exotic Demonweed became a craze. Until the Emperor of Maltiria made him an offer.
Inkfingers would become recognized as a land-owning noble in the Maltirian Empire, but would retain sovereignty over his lands, so long as he harmed no Maltirian travelers, and allowed colonists to settle the fens to farm more Demonweed. In exchange, Inkfingers asked for the Emperor’s top masons, forgemasters, and shipwrights to sail to Kinsvale and take the Suttermarkers in as apprentices.
It has been merely five years since Inkfingers left the squid game for good. The tales the Skalds tell of the progress in Kinsvale has many leaders worried that the connection between Inkfingers and the Maltirian emperor needs to be severed before it’s too late.
Clan Name: House MacVarish
Banner Colors: Dark Blue, pink, black
Governing Body: Inkfingers governs from his private keep, and keeps a cadre of trusted advisors on hand. They include Mother Rosalind from the Searing Dawn, Ambassador Sorin of the Maltirian Empire, Stefan the Breaker as his Captain of the Guard, and Mousefeet, a shipmaster and smuggler.
Patrons: The Searing Dawn, The Rune Totem, The Eternal Keg,
Myrkvold: Tense – Unhappy that Myrkvold does nothing to stop their Skevani allies from raiding.
Skevania: Enemies – Skevani have been raiding Suttermark shores for years.
Kettelrick: Tense – Hells-Eye Hrogaar smashed the goddess Hortense, and may be the strongest opposition to Imperial presence in the North. However, Inkfingers might prefer to bide his time and gather more allies/forces.
Valcanisp: Tense – The people of Valcanisp seem to be shunning Suttermark.