Tolak is a land of steep, glacial cliffs, winding fjords and rolling, fertile plains. Even lthough much of the land is covered in snow, in spring, the southern flatland becomes awash in rich minerals carried by melting snow and ice. This makes for a short growing season but a very abundant fall harvest. The northern third of the country never fully thaws. Glaciers cut deep valleys and change the landscape slowly but dramatically. Old mountain passes are eventually destroyed by the movement of these huge sheets of ice as new pathways are built. There are 3 creatures particular to this part of the world, the domesticated Tolaki tiger, famed for its use in battle, the sturdy yarrok, and the newly adapted arctic windlord.
In the northeastern corner of Nordia lies the kingdom of Tolak. A land with a culture as brutal and cold as its winters, Tolak is a place of surprising beauty and gentleness amongst savagery. It is a nation grown out of adversity, clinging tenaciously to the arctic land and fighting for its own survival against brutal and savage enemies.
Before the time of Mortisse d’Nor’krindor, Tolak was not a cohesive state at all. Bands of all races roamed the land, following herds from north to south. The land was strewn with small, walled villages and encampments, holding those who were willing to grow what little food they could and raise yarrok, hardy cattle and sheep. These places served as trading posts to the nomadic tribes and sanctuaries for weary travelers and merchants. The land was divided into smaller clan territories, usually presided over by a warlord, chief or shaman.
The rise of Mortisse changed the lay of this land. Many of the orc and goblin tribes either joined her army of chaos or were subjugated as slaves to help her rule the world. Her minions of chaos spread over Nordia, attempting to break the wills of potential new citizens, raiding and pillaging across the continent.
In the area now known as Tolak, elf, faerie, dwarf and human clans had already built a peaceful and stable culture. The threat of Mortisse forced them to unite under a solid leader. Achron Maggar, an elven clan chief, was considered the most powerful and capable of leaders,and the other clans swore fealty to her, ready to help repel the Dark Queen’s servants.
Pitched battles were fought alongside the armies of Corvel, and eventually Thorne Witchkiller destroyed Mortisse. One of Thorne’s first acts as king was to recognize Tolak as a country and Queen Achron its rightful ruler. The death of their leader did not stop the chaos races from continuing their siege on the more peaceful tribes and nations. Many years were spent cleansing the land and driving out large, warlike bands, which continued to raid villages and clanholds. They changed the ruling title from Warlord to Queen and began the process of rebuilding the fledgling nation.
Sigridis Stormchild was crowned Queen of Tolak in 697 Post. King Stephen I of Corvel did not attend the ceremonies, ignoring the invitation sent by a human diplomat. With his revisionist version of history, Tolak did not exist as a nation, and any land east of the Cursed Wood was only speculation. Diplomatic relations between Tolak and Corvel have often been strained, and the western empire’s defeat of the Ra’althuuk Nation brought waves of ice goblin raiders to the east. However, the Tolaki people are hardy and used to adversity, enduring their lives as they do in this cold, bitter land.
The Tolaki iceboat is a necessity for most traders. Rigged with long blades of bone, steel or quartz, and designed to cut across snow and ice as well as through the water, these sailed vessels can traverse the varied terrain of Tolak with ease. Mules, horses, tigers and yarrok are the common beasts of burden, and the furred arctic windlords are gaining in popularity with the wealthy as mounts, but iceboats are the favored way to transport goods down frozen or riverbeds and fjords in quantity.
When Tolak unites under one flag, the clans remain mostly autonomous, each keeping and maintaining their former territory. The clan chief’s word is law within the territories and these laws may only be countermanded by the royal family. The majority of clans are matriarchal and family lines follow the mother’s lineage by tradition.
Each clan sends one ambassador to the capital city of Ata’ar to serve as council to the Queen. They are hand-picked by the clan chief for their loyalty to the family. Clan chiefs meet in the capital once every three years to personally iron out any problems that arise and need their personal attention. Clans can be as small as a few dozen to as big as several thousand members. Some are still nomadic and roam their territories freely while others have formed into well-established city-states. No matter the size or race, each clan holds equal social status and has an equal voice on the royal council.
The constant threat of ice goblin raids have made the tribes much more battle-ready, and every clan must be ever vigilant. Soldiers and guards are expected to be ready to fight at any time to protect the clan and home, and other citizens are rarely far from their weapons.
Social Customs & Lifestyle
Honor plays an important part in the life of a Tolaki citizen. Those who show cowardice, lie, or mistreat a worthy opponent may be punished or even cast out of their clan. Sometimes, death is preferable to exile, and some have chosen to sacrifice their lives rather than dishonor their family.
Many of the larger clans are led by elf families but remain multi-cultural. Dwarf clans are typically more homogenous, stationary, and smaller in size, growing no larger than a few hundred. There are a few large mixed clans of human and orc, though there has never been an orc clan chief. The faeries have no wish to send council members to the capital city or create their own territories and usually ally with a strong elf family for protection and leadership.
Religion & Magic
The most common faith in Tolak is that of Dalah Nyeh, followed closely by the Elementalist Church. The cults of RaiMun, Hausha and Zoen the most widespread. The Cult of Aghali is small and barely tolerated by the elf regime. The Heralds of Ellipol are welcome throughout the nation, since the Bringer of Winter is said to spare her favored from the harshest colds. Alliances with Bachra have introduced the Church of Rellian, and the faith is growing in adherents.
Mages are apprenticed and mentored by masters. The most common theories are Primal, Combat, Healing and Divination. Chaos magic is not tolerated in any form, but Tolak’s political structure and lack of coherent magic universities makes it difficult to enforce arcane doctrines of any kind.
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