As I promised, here are some of the resources that help me flesh out the world of Akiniwazi. This is such a complex place to put out on paper, I have a hard time expressing my thoughts about it to people. Some day I hope to get it down to one or two sentences without stammering and stumbling. Wishes and horses… wishes and horses.
NOTE! These are rough notes. Not scrubbed, edited or anything. They’re designed for my own sanity, so expect it to be rough at times. Fair warning, now don’t get any slivers.
The Era of Discovery
800AD – The first Viking discovers Akiniwazi by the Viking Olie Pilquist.
945AD – The first Viking settlement, Mannvoenlandnaam, is founded on the shores of the Kisiina Sea, by Kivi Lykkedahl. It was founded as a small whaling community and considered to be part of King Eric Haaldsson’s holdings.
960AD – The first encounter with the natives of Akiniwazi: They are dubbed “The Skaerslinger” by the new inhabitants. Contact cannot be made or maintained with the feral acting people. They act as wild animals and never attempt to communicate. None of the explorers are sure why. Several attempts meet with disaster. During this period, an allegiance of the Captains began to form between them and King Harald Bluetooth who recognized the benefit this new settlement could be towards his power.
995AD – The treasures of ivory, silver, amethyst as well as fur and fish begin to flow back to Europe. King Svienn Forkbeard begins restricting who is allowed to travel to the lands of Akiniwazi as the desire to partake of the profits of this new colony dramatically increase among the clans. To solidify his power, the King grants a special charter and copy of the navigational rutters bequeathing them to certain loyal Kapteins and Kjentmenn who swear fealty to the king which then greatly empowers those clans.
1008AD: The first evidence that the land of Akiniwazi is brought back from the explorers in Akinwazi. They talk about the Skaerslinger using demonic power to cause the forests and animals to attack them as well as hide them from the growing Viking presence. At first it is scoffed at as nothing more than sea tales and soga-making. More and more sober records from priests come back who also have experienced supernatural experiences through them. Many claim to have seen angels and demons, as well as have been given gifts of great spiritual power. King Olaf II orders the records of these discoveries sealed to prevent the Church from making demands on him about the nature of his new colonies.
1011AD: The Aethrfljotdal (First River Valley) is fully explored from Mannvoenlandnaam.
Attempts to explore The Great Cataract in the Eastern Peninsula of the new continent are met with disasters as the currents and weather are so unpredictable no Kaptein will dare risk it. Only the outermost islands are explored and are found to be teaming with demonic creatures that no one had ever seen before. These islands are dubbed the Uhyreoeyane or Monster Archipelago.
The Immigration Era
1076AD: The demand to emigrate to Akiniwazi grew very powerful among the Scandinavian lands, and rumors persisted and had been finding itself into the myths of Europe of the strange and magical land. Not only that, some of the few remaining pagan Jarls wanted to emigrate to the land and partake in the riches. King Olaf III’s advisers from the Church strongly opposed it, claiming he could create a land free of paganism and a new holy land for God which would surely give him favor with God. Angry with the meddling the Church had in the court, he decided to allow them to be involved in making sure the new colonies of Akiniwazi remained Christian, as long as they stayed out of his court. His focus was more on defending Norway and his holdings, and turned over much of the decisions about the colonies to a monastic council as a slap in the face to the Archbishopric of Bremen, with whom he quarreled. A council of four major monastic orders came to control the majority of decisions about people emigrating between the Old and New Worlds out of the Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican and Cistercian monastic orders.
1115AD – Thanks to stories from sailors who had plied the trade between Akiniwazi and Viking lands, the rumor that the Garden of Eden has been found in Akiniwazi spreads throughout the medieval church. During the Norwegian Crusade, this rumor catches fire with the men returning from the Holy Land. Instead of returning home, many wish to cross the ocean with the Vikings. Several of their allies who came back to Viking lands of other nationalities not of Norse blood want to go too. In a surprising move, King Sigurd the Crusader and his allied Jarls continued support the emigration policy of previous Kings. Akiniwazi increases significantly despite the restrictions as returning crusaders also bring their families to relocate despite many crusaders being refused.
1120AD – The population of Akiniwazi is believed to pass 250,000 people.
1131AD – Koenraadian Sect founded by Saint Koenraad. As the different monastic orders control and set up housekeeping in Akiniwazi to establish the Church, the amplified Gifts of the Spirit begin to exert an unexpected influence over their decisions. The first major break from the Roman Catholic Church and the Old World’s monastic orders is the renaming of the Church in Akiniwazi as the Kyrkja, and begins to form around the teachings of Koenraad, a monk blessed with extremely pervasive wisdom and guidance. It is through his revelations that the beginning of the Kyrkja begins to form, and the first Sect, based off of the gift of Wisdom and Discernment comes to be.
1135AD – Havarian Order founded by Saint Havar of Bergen. The order was a response to the need to preserve and disseminate knowledge as well as find a refuge for those men who wished to devote their lives to God in search of it.
1153AD – The first Monastery of the Havarian Order was founded outside of Mannvoenlandnaam on a small island on the Kisiina. Its relative closeness to the city allowed it access to the growing intelligentsia of the capital and courtiers and facilitating the importation of books of knowledge and other great works of the church and nobility for preservation.
A group of Jarls began to be concerned at the theft or destruction at the hands of Skaerslinger and demand that Havar take on a military force to protect the wealth there. Havar refused seeing the danger of the wealth and knowledge being politicized, but saw the need for defenses before crisis happened. He began falling back on his experience as a soldier during the second crusade to begin training Monks in combat. Havar was assisted in his efforts by a former soldier turned monk, Brother Ole Verndahl in creating a school of combat in which did not require weapons, but could use nearly anything as a weapon if necessary. It was named “Manu Dei Ducitur”, or also called “Manu Dei” for the amazing providence the art seemed to always exhibit in defeating foes. Although it is mostly used for non lethal defense, it can be quite deadly when the need arises. It serves first to incapacitate, rendering an opponent unable to fight by a variety of methods focused on locks and dislocations of joints or chokes. It does not focus on any weapons for it assumes the practitioner has been caught unarmed and surprised and therefore uses what is available to defend oneself this level of improvisation leads to very creative conflict resolution
1157AD: Koenraad dies and becomes the first canonized Saint for the Kyrkja.
1160AD – Native born children start outstripping the rate of emigration for the firs time. This shift allows the power of the Kyrkja grow. The Norse Monarchy, now in civil war, squabbled over the real claim over who was in control of the colonies of Akiniwazi. Many claimants to the throne believe this will help their cause.
Because of the great distance, most of this struggle was irrelevant to those colonials who also were adopting a more pious name of “The Forsamling” thanks to the influence of the Kyrkja. Some of the settlements forming on the shore of the Kiisina Sea started choosing which king they would follow during that time, unable to decide who was the real monarch they owed loyalty to, this often led to short lived skirmishes between towns and farmholds.
1180AD – The Skaerslinger begin open war upon the people of Akiniwazi. Previously, the Skaerslinger had taken a hostile avoidance attitude where they avoided the Forsamling and vice versa as much as possible. Conflicts previously were only due to unavoidable contact, or infringement on their sacred sites or nomadic paths, but now attacks were being made outright. With the settling of the Kiisina Sea becoming more complete, they attacked anyone who dares try to settle inland along rivers and lakes. The reaction varied greatly by settlement and Hirdman in charge. The Church calls up crusaders to go drive back the enemy and claim the land for Christ. This is immediately, but ineffectively resisted by the fractured Viking nobility. For the first time, a few non-Scandinavian bloodlines make it to Akiniwazi, but due to the Kyrkja’s effort on the other side, all passage become one-way limiting the knowledge of Akiniwazi outside of Viking lands.
1182AD – The Order of the Ragnarites is founded by Saint Ragnar. Their order is quickly bolstered by recruiting Crusader forces. They embrace the new found gift of miracles that assist them in spiritual warfare. It becomes an uncommon but not unheard of occurrence to have angels manifest in battle with Skaerslinger who manifest demons. Slowly, the Ragnarites begin forcing back the Skaerslinger south of the Athrfljot after discovery of a long portage to another river system.
1183AD – The Ankarite Order is founded by Saint Ankar. An order of gifted preachers and orators around the gifts of exhortation, teaching and evangelism.
1187AD – The Battle of Skyveportvatn. A very large encampment of Skaerslinger holding a summer council is discovered around a set of lakes by a small army of Ragnarite Crusaders after weeks of raids by the Jarl of Mannvoenlandnaam’s huskarls that plied deep south on a river that had been recently discovered. They discovered a very large gathering of Skaerslinger as they were coming to a tribal gathering to ready for an even more powerful campaign to kill off the encroaching outsiders. The large force of Huskarls and Ragnarite Crusaders were reinforced by an angelic host as they caught the Skaerslinger off guard. Crusaders and raiders slaughtered the encampment by the thousand, scattering the remnants of the disorganized Skaerslinger. In the days after the battle, scouts discovered a series of small lakes that lead to the shores of a massive fresh water lake as big as any sea known before! This lake became known as Lake Ishkode (taking the name from the corrupted words “Lake of Fire” in the Skaerslinger’s tongue) This began a new era of exploration deep into the interior of Akiniwazi.
1188AD – 1190AD – Explorers quickly began sailing longboats across the interconnected waters and discovered all seven of the major lakes of Akiniwazi. The victory at Skyveportvatn has only served to rally and unify the Skaerslinger tribes who warn of their revenge and desire to kill every foreigner in their land. Fortunately for the Forsamling, they did not have the ability to bring enough force to bear to drive them out of their occupied gathering grounds. As a further incitement, a new heavily fortified settlement began in the rich valley of the Skyveportvatn. The Kyrkja order that the first Cathedral of Akiniwazi be built on this site and consecrate the ground as to form a permanent spiritual beachhead against the satanic forces that ruled the land. Some minor ruins are discovered showing that the Skaerslinger at one time might have conquered a more advanced civilization or be its savage descendants of a fallen empire of old.
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.
1274-1302AD (6AS – 34AS) : Aettirkrigen (War of the Families)
The Isolation was finally being accepted as fact by the Forsamling and caused a societal breakdown on what had become known as the “Old Nobility” because their attachment to the power of the Old World, which had held some in check, suppressing their desires to seize control. The old lines of control were now threatened or completely fell apart.
Originally, the Forsamling were governed by the Union of Nine. These were the 9 families or “Aettir” who had the power, backed by the old world. Four came from kings, called the Gamleverdenaettir, traced their lineage to the vassals of Sveinn Forkbeard and Knut the Great, and 4 were of the families of the sea captains who had been given control of all travel to and from the old world. With the inability to travel across the ocean the Kapteinaettir waned in power, while the Gamleverdenaettir suffered less of a decline. With the decline of real power and control, new aettir rose to power and became strong enough to rival the Visekonge’s Sveinnaettir, or Royal Dynasty as it was called.
A power struggle began when Visekonge Mikko Sveinnson became ill from an unknown disease and his eldest son died. Although Visekonge Mikko survived, his power to control others was weakened, and his only surviving son, Halmar was considered not strong enough to lead and rally the Aettir to his crown. With the talk of rebellion and open war now spoken openly in the streets, Mikko devised a strategy.
On March of 1280ad (10AS), he abdicated his throne to his eldest remaining son, Halmar Mikkosson. This was unheard of and many claimed he could not do this, for his shadow would be cast over his son’s reign as long as he was alive. He went into hiding. By the summer of that year, it was declared he was dead of the disease that had laid him low the year previous and Halmar’s reign was no longer in question. Yet Mikko remained close to Halmar and advised him constantly from secret.
Sensing the end of the Sviennaettir dynasty, Halmar became a lightning rod, drawing many enemies out into the open hoping to kill him and seize power. They did not think of the hidden threat of his father, who acted as his Chamberlain in disguise and rose up in secret against those enemies. Halmar was gifted at drawing in the power hungry self made nobles, while Mikko guided his military forces to crush the militarily inexperienced “new Jarls”.
The risky gamble worked. With many of the individual rabblerousers dead, many of the “New Jarldoms” were easy to subvert and bring to Halmar’s side. The Gamleverdenaettir were not so easily brought to heel as they saw their opportunity to supplant the Sviennaetta’s control grow when the careless were struck down. This helped them concentrate the discontent into their camp.
Mikko and Halmar now worked more as co-equals as he learned under his father’s tutelage. They used their rising power to divest the formerly loyalist Royal Aettir. Without the backing of the former royal houses of the old world, the Gamleverdenaettir were also weakening. For years they had relied more on tradition than merit to keep control over their holdings. With deft manipulations these weaknesses were exposed and exploited. Mikko rolled out his most cunning plan yet. With power passed from father to eldest surviving son or daughter, the Sviennaettir began a campaign that captured and executed the offspring of those families. Mikko saw it as fitting revenge for those who had hoped to do the same to him.
With the death of their lineage, the heads of the remaining rebellious Gamleverdenaettir sought a diplomatic resolution to the war. They were forced to fall back into line with Halmar. The Aettirkriegen ended displaying that he was both ruthless and now popular with the New Jarldom’s Aettir.
To address the problem of the rising power of what became known as the Nyrjarlaettir, or “New Jarl Clans”, Visekonge Halmar Mikkosson gave four of them the same rights and peerage as the Gamleverdenaettir and Kapteinaettir.
Mikko, who had been in poor health lingered till 1306ad till he finally passed and was given a secret burial and his death was not announced until after the last of the Aettir came under fealty to the now well established Visekonge Halmar Mikkosson.