Aritan: The Imperial Age.
The Clans of the Northmarch
The area declared by the Empire as the Northmarch is perhaps one of they’re least apt uses of the term. “Northmarch” is a vast expanse of various terrain types filled with dozens of small nations,some nomadic, some agricultural, almost all warlike. It is perhaps easiest to split it up organizationally into its primary geographical terrain type zones. The western coast across the Snakesback mountains and the mountains themselves, the dry central rocky uplands, and the eastern forests and steppes. Though after a certain latitude, it mostly becomes taiga.
The central plains
The rocky and relatively arid central region of the Northmarch is probably its most expansive one. stretching from the highlands and foothills of the Snakeback Mountains across an expanse of rocky plains that are surprisingly difficult to navigate untrained. These, along with various natural borders, and devastating winters, have kept Valgresian cultural expansion from reaching far into this region.
The majority of people here are nomadic, usually herders of sheep and hardy goats, with some of the smaller more northern groups using hunter gatherer economies.These peoples, who generally organize themselves into clans, such as the BeicwirCefyllau,known for their sturdy highland horses, or the Haborúsellem, but almost without exception these clans are prepared for violence. Many use war and raiding as a common means of augmenting their resources, but even those who primarily focus on their more peaceful sides still either use war and conflict as a standard means of problem solving, or at the very last have a warrior tradition for protecting themselves. Resources are scarce, and populations even more so, so when groups collide there is usually a level of tension as both sides prepare for the possibility that the other will attack them at any moment.
Also notably present in this region are several agricultural societies who have gathered at various places. Usually somewhat farther north then the heartland of the plains, nearer to the taiga. These range in size from small villages who battle constantly to fend off their neighbors, and raiding clansmen, to several towns that have organized enough to just barely be called a city. The largest of these, Tórőd, Brigmynydd, and Fairchnadmawr form the basis of what has become the imperial presence in Northmarch. Before the arrival of the empire, each city was ruled by a petty royal, who claimed position usually by right of conquest, or their parent’s conquest, or some similar act of violence. They held sway over their city, and perhaps its immediate agricultural surroundings. Occasinally, they would exact tribute from local clans in exchange for protection, and for not bringing their organized militias down upon their herds and homes. Since the arrival and victory of the empire nothing much has changed, except that these petty kings and chieftains are now imperial lords, who have the thankless and miserable job of bringing “civilization” to the barbaric northerners. This has gone about as well as could be expected, and these lords tend not to last very long. Nevertheless, these cities do continue to grow in power and population, regardless of their management quality at the moment. They promise to have a strong impact on the future of the region.
The Western mountains and coasts
The peoples of the northern extent of the snakeback mountains, their foothills, and the expanse of coastline that stretches northwards between the Leithinsí and Oileain, and the mountainous border of Brynland are also extremely varied. the northern coastal region is relatively fertile land, and correspondingly it is surprisingly heavily populated, and hotly contested for a region of its latitude. it is not uncommon for clans from the central plains who have been force into hard times, either through food shortages or the loosing of wars, to cross the mountains in search of a fresh start in this region. This usually manifests as war, raiding, violence, as nomadic warriors burn villages to take their food, and villagers flee and become either raiders to take a new home, found new villages are, or flee south in an attempt to carve out a living space in the barren lower mountains and valleys that Brynland calls The Wastes. All while periodic sea raiders from Oileain and fresh migratory groups from the east make their way into the still fertile landscape, creating a near constant cycle of blood, death, and wheat.
Also of note are the herder peoples who live in the higher mountains, usually managing to keep themselves out of the way of the migration across the mountains. They live usually peaceful, if occasionally dangerous, lives of the higher altitudes of the mountain range.
The Eastern Forests and steppes