Formerly known as “Den Lange Vinteren”. Why the name change? Because I have a spectacularly helpful friend in Norway who’s been a great cultural sounding board. Take another bow, Torfinn! Where the name comes from is this linkypoo.
The singularly most important event of the history of Akiniwazi!
…and the map.
- Light Green: mixed forest
- Medium Green: Deep Forest
- Dark Green: Swamps,
- Light Brown: Hills
- Dark Brown: Mountains
- White: Icefloes and impassible ocean
1266-1269AD – “Fimbulvetr” and the Isolation Era.
The war against the Skaerslinger progressed very well with over 15 million people calling Akiniwazi home. With their prosperity, the dangers of the Skaerslinger became mere nuisances. Heavy logging had begun deeper in the forest as they started cutting into the hardest, thickest hearts of the Pinery. Massive amounts of timber were chopped and sent down rivers to mills and towns to be converted. Rich seams of iron, copper, tin and gold began to be mined. As the forest thinned in areas, farms began to take hold in areas never before open to the sky. Wheat was planted for the first time ever, and Peat cutting was becoming popular for fuel. Profits from shipping had never been greater as the wonders of the land were shipped back over the ocean.
On the day following the Autumnal Equinox in 1266, the ground shook faintly shortly after noon. It was just enough to cause all kyrkja bells to ring and the carillons to jangle incoherently. People began having a feeling of unease that would not diminish all over the land. At Nonae, a peal of thunder that lasted what seemed a half an hour occurred. It was as if the world rumbled like a heavy cart on cobblestones in mid winter. The Kyrkja and all its wisdom were unable to formulate an answer, but knew with dread something horrible was coming.
A few days later, ships coming from Europe gave stories of a massive wave that swept the ports facing the Atlantic Ocean killing tens of thousands. Peals of thunder so loud that it shook fine glass and an earthquake powerful enough to crack stone walls had occurred in the Reykjavik. Several volcanoes in Iceland erupted in sympathy, blotting out the sun in the northern seas with ash and smoke. Ships coming in for their last trip of the season said they were already battling floes of black ice in the ocean, and that clouds so dark they turned day into night and rained ash over half the ocean. For a thousand miles, fish lay dead in the open water, like it was poisoned. No mariner had ever seen such an event before.
Reports from the Pinery kept returning that Skaerslinger war parties and hunters were being spotted hunting far heavier than they ever had before, and even going so far as to rob grain bins on some farms, but never attacking the settlers.
By November, icebergs, never seen before in the Kisiina Sea began to be seen by the farthest lighthouses and clog the known shipping routes. The sunsets had been incredible in their beauty all fall, but were always colder than in past years. Frost came early as well. The autumn storms on the lakes were much stronger, and seemed as if the intelligent force behind them had returned, waiting to pounce on the shipping on the lakes with incredible ferocity. Shipping ceased earlier than it had ever done before, and Lake Ishkode, which was normally ice free all year long began to freeze over on its calm bays.
Winter set in that year in one massive storm. The prevailing easterly winds had grown hot over a week. Then, as if they could no longer fight off the coming winter, they changed. Winter winds blown over the cold seas, generating powerful storms were charged even stronger by the lakes. The killer storm raged for 3 days straight of intense snow. Snow drifted to depths taller than 10 men standing on shoulders. Entire cities were buried, and all the lakes, froze completely over. Most of those who lived in the wilderness perished, trapped, suffocated or crushed in their homes under many yards of snow. All of Akiniwazi became a frozen wasteland.
The snow did not seem to want to stop for a month. It hit with constant regularity, often filling in what had been dug out the day before. Men were exhausted from digging for survival throughout the entire month of November and beyond. But as the Winter Solstice hit, the snow dissipated, and the bitter cold set in. A cold worse than any ever felt before in the land. Tens of thousands more froze to death. Those who did not die from suffocation or freezing faced the grim specter of starvation. Often men braved the cold and snow and went hunting. The hunters were disturbed with the rarity of game and the new tracks in the snow that they had never seen before, giant skeletal human feet set in ice. A new evil was stalking the land.
As starvation began to set in late winter and early spring, the makers of the mysterious tracks were seen. They were giant men of skeletal stature that were like walking dead with feat that sometimes burned or smoked. They attacked the homesteads, killing and eating all inside. Hunters found entire native villages wiped out as well. No one was safe. Word started to circulate that even the natives were afraid of these creatures and called them Wendigo. They could run at incredible speeds through the pinery and leap so far people it was commonly believed they flew.
The terror of the Wendigo continued as the snow slowly melted but finally abated when the frosthold left the ground. After this, the trees and plants refused to bloom and grow. The world had turned brown and gray, refusing to live again. The nights remained cold enough to freeze into mid-summer, and the Northern Kisiina Sea, remained clogged with ice. Very few ships made it through, and the captains complained that the sea was only getting worse. Many began to flee what they saw as certain death coming to them all. People turned to their priests for answers, and were unsatisfied with the answer to their prayers:
The world as you knew it will now pass away.
Save for His Grace upon you, you will soon be alone,
In July, plants began to bloom, and the forest tried to make up for lost time. But the farmer’s troubles only increased. The wheat crops failed, corn did not produce, and other field crops were ruined by the colder wet weather. No plant brought from the Old World seemed to take root or grow well while native plants flourished by comparison. The Pinery produced more or less as usual, but competition for food was fierce. The natives knew somehow it was going to be a horrendous winter, and were trying to make sure that the Forsamling had little to eat. They hunted and gathered deliberately around the cities, stripping them as bare as possible. They burned grain silos and stole from food stores as much as possible. Everyone seemed to know that the winter was coming early and would be just as harsh as the last year.
That September, the last boats arrived, quickly unloaded their cargos and the few remaining immigrants and fled between the thickening ice flows. They were never seen again. Winter struck as it had before, with icy vengeance and storms only a few days after the last ship left. The one bright point in that horrible hard winter was that the Forsamling had prepared and prepared well. It seemed to be enough.
When spring returned early in March, everyone was surprised. It was as if God knew that their supplies were running out. Sadly, the retreating snows and ice revealed a world much changed. It is estimated by the best historians that nearly half of all Forsamling had died during the winter because of cold, suffocation, starvation or Wendigo that had ravaged the countryside. Madness had taken more as it drove them into the wilderness after months of being trapped. No one was sure what happened to them.
The most ominous sign that the world was changed for good was that the Kisiina Sea never thawed. Ice shoves had destroyed seaside towns, ports and structures. Only the sturdiest stone buildings and breakwaters had survived ice the size of hills pushing onto shore. The Pinery took on its former character, and proffered food again in abundance, but the fields had vanished into new growth forest.
Ships never returned from the Old World, and Forsamling built ships could not escape the treacherous ice floes. They were cut off.
Visekonge Mikko Sveinnson sent forth small bands of the heartiest explorers to try and find access to open sea and to travel into the Ondeandkurv Mountains that surrounded the land. None of the explorers found a way to open sea in any direction, and most who tried were killed or never returned from their mission.
All years following 1266ad are also called by the new calendar Ad Segregationem, or “After Isolation”.
1267AD (1 AS) – The Order of Anjar, or Anjars are formed by Saint Anjar.
1268AD (2 AS) – The Taitian Order is founded by Saint Tait.
Coming up next the Aettirkrigen!