The Ice Tribes are a
collection of twelve human tribes living a hard
life in the north western edge of the
Sarvonian continent. They usually lead a nomadic life and live in a state
of constant warfare. They have not developed a sense of solidarity for each
other, although the ice tribes have a vestigial sense of their “national”
identity. The natural boundaries that separated have left the field open for
many local variations in their ethics and way of life.
Appearance. The Ice Tribes are usually dark in hair, complexion and eyes. However, there are met among them blonde and red haired people and grey or green eyes. Their height is average (1.8 peds) in human standard for the male, while the female are about 0.15 peds shorter. Their skin is weatherworn from the cold winds and the fight for food and survival in this unforgiving region.
Picture description. A Remusian guard watching over the snow-covered plains of the North. Image drawn by Seeker.
Hairstyle and facial hair are important for the Ice Tribesmen in order to
reveal their social status. The High Tribal Leader is free to choose any
hairstyle and facial hair he wishes. The warlords (minor tribal leaders) have
their face shaved. The senior officers grow a moustache while the junior
officers grow a moustache and a small goatee. The distinguished warriors grow a
beard but they shave their moustache as a sign of honour. The rest of the
warriors grow both beards and moustaches. The young men have their facial hair
unshaved until the day they acquire civil rights by killing an enemy in the
field of battle. Then and as a part of their warrior inauguration ritual they
shave themselves and let their hair grow in order to become warriors when their
hair grows again. Those who fled from battle are not allowed to have any hair
in their heads.
Further social discrimination is possible by the hairstyle. The use of one braid being the most significant followed by two braids and a ponytail. Those who have no rank let their long hair loose.
As for women they have their hair in pigtails when they are not married and after their marriage they are allowed to choose their hairstyle.
Coat of Arms/Sign. Each Ice Tribe has its own coat of arms. No common coat of arms is developed. The Ice Tribes use their facial painting as in their coat of arms as well. Each tribe has its own colour and pattern in order for warriors to distinguish friend and foe in battle. The Ice Tribes have adopted the additional custom to wear talismans unique for each one, because many times during the battle warriors are so much covered in blood that their painting is not recognisable. The colour schemes are as follows:
|Remusians: Blue and White||Inlerin: Brown and Blue|
|Tokarians: Red and White||Faerons: Yellow and Blue|
|Sarmanians: Yellow and Red||Sanartrim: Green and Black|
|Eanians: Black and White||Vertans: Grey and Orange|
|Tarkyns: Green and White||Filmainrim: White and Orange|
|Himiko: No coat of arms||Aeidin: Red and Green|
The Ice Tribes live in the Icelands, located in the north eastern part of the
Sarvonian continent. Their territory
stretches around the bay of Calinth, the peninsula of Iol and the Icelands
Coast. The Gathorn Mountains and the Wastes of Despair are the landmarks that
determine their only land boundary to the south. The rest of their territory is
doused by the Ice Sea.
The climate in the Icelands is cold and harsh. Snow covers their homeland most of the year. That is why most of them lead a nomadic life following animal herds.
The specific locations of the various Ice Tribes are as follows:
Picture description. Schematic representation of the Ice Tribes located at the Icelands Coast of Northern Sarvonia. Map drawn by Artimidor.
The most developed Ice Tribe with
They are in the area north of the Gathorn Mountains.
Remusia has been described as the enigma of the twelve Ice Tribes of Northern Sarvonia. Proud, stubborn and fierce in their defence of their homeland, the Remusians are a people who are in transition. While struggling to hold onto their Ice Tribe heritage, they are desperately trying to embrace the south and its way of life. It is a conflict between tradition and progress; new against old. It makes for a sometimes turbulent people, a sometimes lost people, but a very fascinating people.
The Remusians inhabit a frozen wasteland called the Icelands Coast, on the northeast tip of the Sarvonian continent. Its hostile envionment, exotic flora and fauna, have done more to shape these people than most tribes of the continent. This includes their main cities, and the ingenious way they have of bringing fresh, warm water to the people, to the hot springs, or "Odenbels", where fresh crops are grown during the short summer periods. These people are unique in the way they dress, the foods they eat, and the buildings they live in. They have taken a land with very few natural resources and fashioned a way of life that uses what is available to its maximum, including bones, hides and stone.
As a people, they have been described as hard as the ice they live in; dour, taciturn and moody. Still, if one digs beneath the surface of these people, a full richness of their culture can be discovered. This includes the games they play, the songs and music they listen to, and the beautiful sculptures in ice that they create. The laws that govern the people do live up to their reputation as hard and unyielding, without a doubt, however. It is a brutal land, and their laws reflect this.
The Tokarians. Living in the land around Hargath.
The Sarmanians. The main village is Saeroth, they also have Abergath.
The Eanians. Eanin and Gourdynn.
The Tarkyns. Main village is Tehring, they also have Cordel.
The Inlerin. Only village Inlear.
The Faerons. Two villages Faein and Aelhrong.
The Sanartrim. Main village Sanctum, other villages Naroy and Trilhoth.
The Vertans. Vertico as the main village and Sirnil.
The Filmainrim. Finlmainh only.
The Aeidin. Aeidin only
The Icemen are mainly renowned for their ability as warriors. They live in a
constant warfare among each other, the giants that live in their land and the
elements of nature. They are considered fearless and with excellent endurance,
although warriors from the civilized world consider them to be barbaric
berserkers without a fighting technique. Their social ranking is determined by
their gallantry in battle. Magic in general
is abhorred by them as most of the advances of civilization. Although mages are
not generally welcome, several groups have been spared. However, usage of
magic is punished with capital punishment.
The Ice Tribesmen are warlike people that live more on instinct than logic. They hardly express their emotions and usually they are hard and unforgiving in their everyday lives. They seldom feel compassion or mercy for anyone, which is considered as a sign of weakness, and they are offended if anyone feels that way for them. There is no providence for the weak or disabled who are left to die or slaughtered if they can’t kill themselves with honour. Old people who have no living relatives are left to die, unless they lost their families in war. Sterile males are condemned, because they produce no warriors for the tribe, while sterile females are forced to become prostitutes. The Ice Tribes recognize no human rights for those who can’t bear weapons. Women and children are considered living things and are in the absolute disposal of their Master (usually the father or husband). Among the Ice Tribes there is an old custom that if a female takes arms against the Himiko and kills at least one she achieves the warrior status as long as she is willing to participate in battle. However, females cannot achieve further honours as warriors as they are considered inferior to men.
The Ice Tribes are also notorious for the hardness of their lives. They can suffer the worst tortures without complaining just like they can mercilessly give pain to others. Slavery is an usual state of existence for the ones that can’t bare arms and defend themselves or for the defeated in battle.
A sound exception in the Ice Tribes is the Himiko tribe, who occupy the islands around the Three Islands‘Bay. In contrary to the majority of the other ice tribes on the mainland, they have not only a slightly other appearance, but a very different lifestyle as well. They are friendly and use a form of magic in their everyday life. This is the reason why the rest of the Ice Tribes hate the Himiko. Their hatred is revitalized by the fact that from time to time Himiko raiding parties steal their females, granting them freedom in their islands.
Housing. Concerning the housing of the Ice Tribes you have to distinguish between the nomads and the permanent residents:
The majority of the Ice Tribes leads a nomadic life. They have a variety of non permanent residencies. They carve small ice homes in the snow, called "ruhmir", when they are about to stay in an area for more than a couple of days. These ruhmir have just the necessary space to house the family and sometimes the animals. At times they find caves where the whole tribe shares the room. When the weather is mild they don’t hesitate to lay tents for them. Some other times there are large permanent structures from wood that house the tribe that found them for a winter. These structures are later on abandoned just to be inhabited in the next winter usually not without a fight with another tribe that claims the same privilege.
The vast majority of Icemen homes are made of stone or wood. The common house is a small three room wooden and/or stone-based building with a narrow, fur-covered, wooden roof which is weighted with stones to prevent the strong winds to blow away the shingles. For the same reasons only few houses have more than one floor and no building has more than two. For cultivation most buildings however have a cellar carved into the ground which is perfectly suited for cultivating a sort of edible fungus called murmir. The houses have often only one big oven which is used for cooking as well as heating. The room with the oven is usually kitchen and bedroom in one. In more advanced homes the oven is arranged in the middle of the house into the wall to heat several rooms at a time. Most houses of the peasants house several generations at once.
The poorer citizens prefer dark fur coats and wool jerkins. The richer Icemen
prefer clothes of soft leather or wool. White fur is reserved only for their
Lanruls and shamans and when an Iceman uses white fur he ensures that the
colour is altered with dye or dirt. They wear thick blouses and trousers and,
above, a coat with a hood. On their feet they wear leather boots and they use
fur or leather caskets to protect their heads. However, fabrics are not
underestimated; on the contrary their use is considered a sign of prosperity.
The warriors commonly wear armour made of soft or studded leather. The richer Icemen wear chain mail, if they can afford it or loot it in battle. However, only the greatest of the nobles can afford bronze or steel plate armour. Fur coats are standard clothing as well but they vary from class to class. Peasant women normally dress similar to the men, with the difference that their dress is longer. The noblewomen, however, would look very similar to a noblewoman of a southern tribe and would probably own multiple, premium quality dresses and coats.
Diet. The climate in the Icelands is especially harsh. The severe winter lasts for half a year. Three months is the duration of a milder winter and another three lasts their “summer”, when the ice melts. This “summer” allows them to cultivate some parts of their land with local plants in order to enrich their supplies for the winter. During the winter, they can just dig in the snow and find a kind of grass, called hrugchuck, that lives beneath and which they eat just like they do with the algae from the sea and mosses under the snow. The hrugchuck has its main roots in small regions which are warmer and have an open water source, from there tentacles are growing for strals under the snow in the frozen soil. It has a kind of antifreezing liquid which allows it to tunnel through the lightly frozen ground, can retrieve nutrition from the frozen soil. To flower it has to grow grass like sprouts out of the soil that have a major nutritive value but also healing powers that cause it a valuable trade asset. A hrugchuck variety is believed to be responsible for the ability of local fauna to survive with minimum amounts of food, although it seems to have no such effect on humanoids.
The Icelands are blessed also with hot water springs (gotgavnynn) that provide them with warm water that through a channel network can allow a limited space to be suitable for cultivation. All their villages are built around one significant hot spring. These hot springs or Odenbels, are often the prize of bloody and ferocious battles.
However, the Ice Tribes do not live in a favourable environment. This is the reason that most of their agricultural food is obtained mostly through trade with bold traders from the south, seeking furs, slaves and cheap minerals in exchange of food.
As for hunting: Meat is enjoyed by the Ice Tribe and their diet includes the cuncu sheep, the woolly boar, pinnips, penguins, sea elephants, polar bears, snow foxes, ice rabbits, rheeahs and monh rum, a large amphibious creature that comes out of the oceans in the short Icelands summer and lies in the sun in order to gather heat and energy from it’s weak rays. Monh rum is however a very dangerous animal that is deadly when attacked.
|Image description. A Peat giant sporting a spiked club. Picture from the game Mystical Empire, used with permission. Image drawn by Faugar.|
Another source of food are the ogres and
giants who roam the Icelands springing from the Stone Fields of Peat. Both
men and giants prey on each other and
roast giant is considered a delicacy for the Icemen (just like the Icemen are
the favourite dish for the giants). Cannibalism of dead foes is also practiced
in the Icelands.
Finally, another very important food source for the Ice Tribes is fishing. They break the ice and fish underneath or carry their boats to the end of the ice in order to fish in the deep seas. Whaling is also practiced by the braver sailors.
Weapons. The Ice tribes use every weapon possible, from heavy branches to expensive steel swords they bought, stolen or looted. Their most used weapon is a heavy axe they call headcutter and resembles a combination of axe and sword. The headcutter axe comes in two types. The first one has two sides while the second has a cutting blade on its back side. As for long range weapons the Ice Tribes use throwing axes and javelins instead of bows since, because of the weather conditions, bows cannot be used effectively in the cold north. A popular material for the making of their weapons is the bones of thunderfeet, for these bones are light, yet extremely strong.
Occupations. The Ice Tribesmen are occupied as hunters, farmers, fishermen and weapon smiths. All their other needs are fulfilled within the family or tribe. The icemen have a collective form of economy. Everybody offers their services to the tribe and is rewarded according to their efficiency through a complex distribution system run by the tribal leader. The tasks are appointed primarily according to age and gender.
Men till the age of 15 are prepared for battle and perform several chores helping the adult males, men from 15-30 are used primarily as the main battle force and secondarily helping at the rest occupations, men from 30-45 are crafters, farmers, hunters, fishermen and auxiliary troops, men from the age of 45 and above either continue offering their services as long as they are found fit for it or they become tutors for the young, the rest simply try to survive.
Females till the age of 12 help in the house and are trained for their future lives. Women from 12-30 rear families, take care of the house, prepare clothes and other items, from 30-45 they cultivate the land, gather whatever is edible and continue with the family, women older than 45 try to survive or are sacrificed if their husband is no longer needed by the community and their children cannot feed them.
Picture description. An Ice Tribes warrior of the Tarkyns and his icemuts preparing for the hunt. mage drawn by Bard Judith.
An Ice Tribe is comprised by many minor clans called "Lannes". Most of the Ice
Tribes are governed by a High Tribal Leader called "Lanrul" who rules all of
the minor clans of the main Tribe. The minor clans are governed by warlords.
The Lanrul holds all the judicial, administrative and legislative authority,
while the warlords have executive and judicial duties within their Lannes’
limits. The Lanrul is elected for life by the gathering of the warriors who
select him among the warlords. The warlords are elected by the Lannes warrior
gathering. The only criterion for the election is the gallantry in battle.
Production/Trade. The Icelands have only fish and furs to export. Rheeah furs are highly prized, because this small animal that resembles a mixture of monkey and fox has an all white soft fur during summer and in winter it becomes more yellow tinged. The reason for this is that the rheehah finds its way to small sulfur springs in the winter and spends a lot of time near and in the springs to keep warm. Their fur naturally absorbs some of the sulferous material and is of high demand by mages in Santharia. It is believed that there are valuable minerals in the area but since there is no significant and organised mining it is impossible to determine the quantity and quality of the minerals. However, many Icemen have obtained armours and weapons in exchange of large pieces of gold that are easily found in their region.
Natural Resources. The Icelands is an area rich in fish and livestock. The hardy breeds of the north manage to survive with the short summer and the grass that grows beneath the winter snow. It is also rumoured that the area is rich in minerals but the Icemen do not have the means of mining nor do they let anyone else dig in their lands since they are hostile to strangers.
Religion/Beliefs. The Icemen worship the forces of nature. They think that the world is ruled by 15 gods, who actually have the form of the element they represent, and are in a constant fight with each other allying occasionally for the needs of their war. The supreme gods are Phoblit (the male day god) and Nechya (the female night goddess), Brender (thunder), Asterlin (lightning), Chelinor (snow), Weabor (wind), Reanor (rain), Peierojon (fire), Pargis (ice), Heterniz (water), Zundefor (the land animal spirit, in the form of the great white bear), Aleshnir (the sea animal spirit in the form of a white whale), Necteref (death), Asendin (sea) and Ertemmir (the earth). These gods - according to Icemen mythology- are the breed of Afrasnyr the hermaphrodite chaos god, who - being alone for eternity - decided to fight with his own self and, during the struggle, he split himself to the 15 gods living inside them. The Icemen believe that Zundefor and Aleshnir mated with the other gods and with each other giving birth to mortal life. The humans according to their beliefs are the children of Phoblit and Nechya mating one time before they begin their eternal warfare.
The Icemen do not build temples or practice ceremonies for the major gods other than appeal rituals, when they seem menacing (during a storm for example). The Icemen carve totem poles in ice representing the animal that symbolizes their individual tribe and is tattooed upon them. This way the totems establish a connection between them and the land itself. Their yearly renewal during the summer defines not only the change in seasons, but also the change in everyday life.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The Icemen have many holidays that are connected with the change of seasons, but little is known about them. Their main holidays are the following:
The Parginlnag (Icebreaking), when the Ice totem melts. This is a celebration for the coming of summer that allows fishing, farming and intensified warfare.
Thorenhon when the sun reaches its highest point.
The Chelarrin (Icecoming) when the winter comes. It is an appeal to Chelinor, the Snow God to be merciful upon them.
Helleborne a honorary ceremony when warriors kill a frost dragon or a lesser drake. Hellebornes take place also when a significant victory against ogres, giants, mohnrRums or other tribes is achieved.
The Warrior Chant, in the middle of winter, when boys become warriors.
The Langral Meeting. The Icemen Lanruls once in 12 Parginlnags meet in Langral, a sacred place between Aelhrong and Eanin in order to beg the gods for their benevolence and discuss matters of common interest. During the meeting a cease fire is established among every tribe. The only Ice Tribe that does not participate (but yet respects the cease fire) are the Himiko.
...and several other
Maturity rituals (several for males and one for females when they reach
reproduction age and are given to a man).
Information provided by Curgan