VANAHEIM

VANAHEIM (Medium Kingdom) -- The red haired Vanir are isolated in the northwest and their mailed swordsmen perforce must vent their warlike natures on their Asgardian kin to the east, the savage Picts to the south, or less often upon grim Cimmeria to the southeast. Many a hero of the Hyborian Age was of the Vanir and warriors of Vanaheim are known to be utterly fearless in combat.

NATIONAL HISTORY

Listen, young warrior, son of countless kings. Listen to thy heritage, to the story of thy people, of Vanaheim!

Once, long, long ago, thy people inhabited a land far to the north. It was the land of the gods, where days were counted in weeks and nights would last a month or more. Our people had no name for themselves then, and lived in peace, hunting and fishing for their livelihood. Then the great Snow Apes came upon us from the north, mad, hungry, raging animals. Great was the battle, and when it was done the snow lay red for a year! Greatness grew from such an event, and we were never to be the same.

Within a generation we were invaded yet again, this time by Hyborian warrior tribes from the south. Great men of war, they seemed as gods in battle! We fought them too, and in time overcame them. And from their survivors we heard tales. They were tales of strange lands to the south, of war and glory; they stirred our blood. We could not stay!

Our people began the long trek south, where they met more Hyborians. At first their bright swords and axes drove us back in great slaughter, but in time we too learned to wield sword and axe. They came to call us the Nordheim, and having none for ourselves we accepted the name. For a thousand years we warred with the Hybori, and we honor their heroes among our own. At last they were betrayed by their own kin, the Hyperboreans, who fell upon them even as we struck from the north yet again. The  northern Hyborians were driven south, in time driving their southern neighbors even farther, thus beginning the great southern migrations of the proud Hyborian people.

But we are not Hybori. We are the Vanir. And thou must know of thy cousins, for it was at this time that the Nordheim split, and became the Aesir and the Vanir. The blond-haired Aesir ruled in Asgard, while we Vanir of the red manes fought our way westward, slaying all before us, to stop only when we reached the western ocean.

It is a hardy land which fortune has granted us, worthy of our people. We hunt the cold reaches and fish the icy western ocean. And of course, we war. We war to the south, on the bear Picts, and farther still we war beyond the Eiglophian Mountains on the Cimmerian northern clans. Such battle, fit to lift the heart of any man of war! But most of all we war with the Aesir, our cousins. Where else can we better test our steel and cleanse our souls in battle than with our own blond-haired kinfolk?

Know, great warrior, that our prophets tell us a great age comes to this world, an age of empire and red raging war! Further know it is said that we will one day rule a great nation and be kings of a foreign people, or we will die, amid the rending of glaciers and the cold silence of the northern world. Our fate, as always, rests with the strongest arm in the tribe. Rule well, young warrior and father of kings! Now listen well to the unfolding of thy new kingdom.

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