Thursday, January 31, 2019

A (Very) Brief History of the Skidafolk

Alnwich has a long and rich history deeply marked by the subjugation of the local people by the Kingdom of Usk. This history is widely believed to extend to the time before the Starfall, but just as with so much from those forgotten days, the ravages of that apocalypse and ensuing dark age have taken their toll any knowledge of the local antiquity. Today, all that is known of the pre-fall lands about the Trollenmere is what is sung in the songs of the Skidafolk.

As far back as any Alnwich locals can recollect, the Skidafolk lived on the southern slopes of Kalwinberg, along the margins of the Silverketh, and from the eastern banks of the Trollenmere eastward for several days’ walk in Spring. They are a strong, hardy people accustomed to the hardships of such a northern existence, and their defiance of Kore’s call has made them proud. Quick to laugh and quick to fight, the Skidafolk always defended their own as they farmed what would grow in such harsh climes; husbanded sheep, goats, and reindeer; and gathered fruits and berries from the forest’s edge.

And while the Skidafolk may have fought the winter, they also fought their neighbors. Like so many of the northern peoples, the Skidafolk were most at home when at war. Their men and boys would don hides and linen for armor and march to war with axe and spear in hand, while their women would stay behind and defend the homeland with spears and polearms. Never did they yield territory, and always did they succeed in such gruesome ventures for generations upon generations. But then the King of Usk turned his northward.

Several generations ago, Usk was hemmed in on the south by Arnath, in the east by Carantania, and in the west were the unexplored Wilderlands that so fervently resisted any civilizing efforts. Despite these barriers, the king wanted to expand, so he looked to the one border that had yet to be truly tested. He gathered his armies and marched north into what is now Northmarch. The tribes of the North fought valiantly, but their hide armor was no match for the Uskings’ mounted charges, and their axes seemed to bounce off of Usking mail. The knights of Usk quickly defeated all resistance set forth, and the Skidafolk, among others, were subjugated.

This conquering took a mental toll on the psyche of the Skidafolk. They resented their new overlords, but even more, they were ashamed of their defeat. To this day, they still hold out hope of reclaiming their freedom in an orgy of blood and gore, but with each passing season, more Uskings move north, the Skidafolk culture diminishes, and that hope fades. The Skidafolk are becoming Usking, and they hate it.

This is why the Skidafolk of Alnwich are all too happy to take the money of Uskings for such silly things as furs and pelts. This is why the Skidafolk support crime and banditry as long as it targets Usking caravans and soldiers. This is why the aldermen quietly try to subvert the rule of the Baron and the Earl. This is why the Eklunds and Holts so fervently hate the Dahlgaards. This is why the Fiskers are so terribly proud of their lineage. This is why Skidisk is continues to be spoken. This is why the Earl is so lenient.

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