"There are three easy roads to Borrell. Unfortunately,
no one knows where they are."
- Nathan Malle, Rukemian Freetrader.
|Ruler||His Ever Ferocious Majesty, Lord of the North Lands, Lord Krodose of the Snow Drifter Clan, Relentless Horror of the Crimson Snow|
|Population Density||2 people per square kilometer
(4 people per square mile)
|Demographics||Borrellian 87%, Human 5%, Ogre 3%, Orc 2%, Dwarven 1%, Elven 1%, Grum 1%|
|Languages||Borrellish 50%, Northern 50%|
|Capital City||Ice Gate (Population: 12,200)|
|Currency||Trade and barter|
|Natural Resources and Manufactured Goods||Lumber, wood and bone carvings, medicinal herbs, furs, leather, meat, whale blubber, oil, fish, walrus ivory, seal meat, copper, moose|
|Government Stability||Unstable - frequent clan skirmishes|
|Enemies||Rukemia, Carrikos, Vorrik, Normidia, Arkalia|
|Technology Level||Dark Ages|
|Primary Religion||Grythga and Uthalgrim|
|Other Religions||Kolo, Erylon, Semorjon, The Three Fates, Farzak, Kael|
|Total Land Area||657,000 square kilometers
(253,670 square miles)
|Terrain||Mountains, forested hills|
Borrell is an isolated wasteland, far removed from the civilized world. It is a harsh land, with very few traces of outside culture. It's capitol, Ice Gate, is the Borrellian link to the South. It is the only place where Borrellians and southerners mix freely. It is more of a trading post than a capitol. A sparse collection of inns, taverns and shops.
Borrell is almost entirely arctic. It is bordered on all sides by the sea. Inland, it is a mix of snow-capped mountains, frozen hills and icy plains. The roughest lands lie to the west where the mountains reach through the clouds. The mountains give way gradually to hills in the east which eventually meet the Sea of Storms. To the north, Borrell is an icy wasteland with flat, featureless plains stretching away to the horizon. In winter, when the seas freeze over, these ice fields go on forever.
Icy Borrell boasts a plethora of arctic creatures herds of elk and caribou, packs of wolves, moose, northern mule deer, polar bears, seals and six variety of penguins can all be found here. Some of the more unique creatures include the mighty behemoth (a massive herd grazer), the iressi (a strange creature that skates on icy fields in the extreme north), the Polar Drake, also known as the northern draconis, the Polar Worm (enormous worms that drill through solid glaciers), the Snow Drifter (a six-legged polar horse that is domesticated and widely used by the borrellians) and the Vuriken (a polar wolf which has also been domesticated).
Several of the clans are avid whalers and obtain blubber, oil, leather and other useful commodities from the great beasts.
Pine trees, scrub bushes and all manner of mosses and lichens grow in southern Borrell but only the hardiest plants grow in the northern wastes. One of the most important plants to Borrell is fire moss.
The frozen wastes of the far north eastern peninsula were uninhabited for most of Ithrian history. When the Sundering and World Storm sparked the great war, homeless refugees became a common plight. Many groups, small and large, packed up their meager belongings and left decimated homes behind them, seeking solace in a new place. One of the largest of these wanderings was the great migration led by the Borrellians... a trek that has become legend.
As the Great War dragged on, armies and bandits roamed the land. It was a dangerous time for all people. In the last autumn days of 131 CY, a bandit group known as the Ash Horde descended upon the Thullian town of Borrelius, a small town of the Thullian Empire. The Ash Horde was named so for razing towns and villages with fire. The townsfolk fought, but were routed. Some three hundred survivors, mostly women and children, fled into the woods as their homes burned and their fallen militia men bled the ground red. After three days of raping, pillaging and feasting, the marauders burned the rest of the town to the ground. The leader of the Horde, a dark marauder by the name of Atok the Defiler, ordered his horde to pursue the townsfolk that had escaped. They followed the tracks of the fleeing people and soon came upon the pathetic encampment of the surviving villages. The men stood their ground as the horde casually rode up to them. The greatest warrior of the Horde, a giant named Kalshka, strode up to the leader of the encampment... an old grizzled veteran of the town watch. The giant raised his great axe to deliver a killing blow. Before the axe fell though, a single black arrow flew from the trees and struck the giant in the eye, killing him instantly. Atok roared in fury and ordered the horde to find the culprit. The bandits charged into the forest, beating the bushes, but found nothing. As they searched, another black arrow found its mark, dropping another of the bandits' biggest thugs. Then another and another. After two dozen of his men lay dead on the ground, Atok, blind with rage, ordered the horde to ride back and wipe out the remaining town survivors. Every man, woman and child that could swing a sword stood ready to fight. The horde charged and battle was joined. But in the midst of the battle, more black arrows flew into the fight. Again and again, the bandits fell. The unseen archer dropped three score bandits before finally emerging from the trees. He was a huge man dressed in leather and green cloak, with a mane of blonde hair down his back. He dropped the bow, picked up giant's axe and joined the fight. Dozens fell before his might swings. Within minutes, the bandits had lost all of their greatest warriors and all of their leaders save Atok. The blonde woodsmen, axe in hand, charged Atok and with a single stroke, took off his head. At this, the remaining bandits fled.
Only two hundred of the Borrelius townsfolk had survived the fight. The blonde man was known to them. He was a hunter and woosdman named Brentarr. They buried their dead, gathered what meager weapons and food they had and travelled north. Each day they travelled and each night they made camp. Around their campfires each night, the townfolks huddled for warmth, mourned their dead and argued about what to do. It was at these campfire debates that Brentarr declared he would lead any who chose to follow him to a place far away where they would be safe. Some balked at him, but many declared their undying loyalty to the one that had saved them. And so, that very night, the great trek of the Borrellians began.
It started slowly, but gained momentum. Each day's hunt brought down game. Meat and hides were used to feed and clothe the people. They gathered what they needed from the forest as they travelled. They fashioned leather armor, boots, cloaks, bows and arrows. Refugees from other towns joined them. Bandits attacked the group and failed. The group acquired horses and wagons and more refugees joined them. With each day, their ranks swelled and they travelled further north. So too did the tales of Brentarr spread. It was a slow trek through the snowy hills. They made camp often, sometimes staying put in one spot for as much as a week, but never resting too long.
Noble lords ordered Brentarr and his people to stop their northerly trek, but such demands were ignored. Soldiers sent to stop them saw the size of the migration and turned away. On more than one occasion, mercenary soldiers, runaway slaves and leaderless bandits would simply sheath their weapons and join the march. Former enemies would trudge along, side by side.
Weeks stretched into months. Soon their numbers could not easily be counted and the Borrellians (for now they all called themselves by that name) stretched out across the snowy hills. After more than a year of travel, some left, thinking they had ventured far enough, but most continued on. The rest continued on, loyal to Brentarr.
After nearly two years of travel, they had marched into the deep of the great northern Icerock mountains. The Borrellians came upon a great river emptying an immense mountain valley. Here Brentar turned the group northwest, venturing into the valley and heading further inland.
In the early days of 134 CY, Brentarr halted the great trek upon the slopes of a great mountain overlooking the head waters of the mighty river. Here they built a permanent encampment and named it Thraem which means "journey's end" in Thullian.
That is how the legend goes, although there are many different versions of the tale. Most versions agree that Brentarr took a wife (or three) and sired many blonde children. It is also said that toward the end of his life, he left Ice Gate, continuing the great northern trek alone. Some tried to follow him. Some still do.
The people of the north maintained cultural isolation for many centuries. The people would have elected Brentarr king, but he would have none of it. He had no wish to rule. While others formed councils and such, Brentar wandered the mountains. He eventually left the town continuing his own trek north alone and was not seen again. Some wandered into the north to follow him. Others left Thraem to claim their own land or settle by the shore or to explore the peaks.
By the fourth century, Thraem had became a bustling little town ruled over by a council of ministers. It prospered and grew for three centuries. Throughout those years, affiliations brought with the people from the earliest days began to form into distinct clans. In the sixth century, tensions between these clans began emerge. By 700 CY, the schism of the town into these distinct factions was profound. The clans began to take on totem animals and elaborate standards. In 777 CY, tension between the clans turned to open hostility and several battles were fought, both in the town of Thraem and in the surrounding villages. In 782 CY, civil war erupted between the Winter Wolf clan and the Ice Troll clan. Many clans began to withdraw from Thraem until only the Snowdrifter clan remained.
The clans pulled away from each other, some travelling deep into the mountainous wilderness. The clans began inhabiting cluster of villages in different farflung territories. In 812 CY, three united clans, the Ice Trolls, the Stonehammers and the Silver Blades, descended on to the town of Thraem. After a fierce battle, the town was sacked and the Snowdrifter clan was driven into the mountains. The town was destroyed and thereafter abandoned. For several hundred years after, it was left to the weeds, a place that all the clans avoided.
Like the other cultures of the world, the poisoned light of the fractured sun changed the Borrellians. Over the long centuries, they evolved into a hardy breed of tall, blonde barbarians and eventually became the Borrellians known today. By 1000 CY, the people of the north were noticeably different than visitors from the south. The borrellians were tall, broad shoulder, blonde and muscled. Their eyes were now coated with the white membrane that makes them so recognizable. And tales of their great strength were known in the south.
For a thousand years, the peninsula of the Ice Rock Mountains was home to dozens of Borrellian clans. The relationships between the various clans was an evershifting network of alliances and blood feuds. Every summer, the Borrellian clans would take to the sea and raid the northern coastliness from Vorrik to Rukemia. They came to be known as fierce warriors and daring mariners. The clans fought with each other as often as with the peoples of the south.
In 2207 CY, a Kitaran noble, Baron Kellad, serving as ambassador for the King, came north with an entourage of seventy men. They made peaceful contact with several clans of the Borrellians. Languages were learned, gifts were exchanged and trade was conducted. The baron and his men stayed in the north for almost two years. Upon returning to Kitar, the Baron reported to his king. In 2224 CY, Baron Kellad and his two sons, along with 140 men, made another trip.
The Snowdrifter clan, with the help of Baron Kellad and his men, spent more than three years rebuilding the ruins of the town of Thraem. In 2228 CY, the rebuilt town was renamed Ice Gate. For the last four centuries, this town has been the gateway to the north. It is now a major center of trade and neutral territory for Borrellians and visitors from the south to come together. In 2229 CY, Kitaran ambassadors and the chieftain of the snowdrifter clan signed a peace pact and trade agreement. While little more than a token of mutual respect, it is a step toward civilizing this wild and barbaric region.
While the Borrellian clans recognize no central government and bend knee to no king, the Snowdrifter clan and the trade center of Ice Gate have become something of a capital city for the far north.
Borrell is provincial monarchy ruled by eight territorial clans. Each clan is led by a warrior of the true bloodline, in essence, a king. Each clan takes its name from its totem animal. The clans are, in order of strength : Snow Dragon, Snowdrifter, Winter Wolf, Polar Bear, Polar Worm, Ice Devil, Kraken and Polar Drake. Each clan claims a large territory in the Borrellian peninsula. The amount of territory is roughly equivalent to that clans size and strength. The average clan is about 24,000 strong.
Ice Gate is operated primarily by the Snowdrifter clan, but no single clan rules Borrell. The Snowdrifter Clan controls the city of Borrell and the valley in which it resides. Ice Gate is run by the chieftains eldest son, a warrior named Krodose, in an autocratic role. Control of Ice Gate is passed down through the Snowdrifter chieftain's bloodline and in this way, it greatly resembles a monarchy.
Legal systems vary from clan to clan. Ice Gate tends to lead by example. Due to the autocractic nature of the government, rules are subject to change. There is a set legal system which is fairly lenient, but all crimes are judged by the Ice Gate ruler. His decision is final and is usually quite arbitrary.
No single military force exists. Clans defend their own territories fiercely. A standing force of fifty Borrellian warriors (snowdrifter clan) maintain peace in Ice Gate. Each of these warriors has a snowdrifter and often patrols from horseback in and out of the city. This city is walled and the gates are monitored.
A strong trade in lumber, oils, herbs and northern flora/fauna exists. Limited supplies of metal weapons and armour are available. This is also true for food, magic and magical materials.
The borrellians are an aggressive race and they routinely raid other lands for wealth and valuable resources. They typically will raid Kitar, Duthelm, Arcanum and Rukemia to the east. To the west, they raid as far as the Captured Sea, striking at Normidia and Vorrik fishing villages. Such raids are limited to the southern months as the northern seas, especially the Crystal Deep, are ice-locked during the winter. Icebergs and severe storms in the northern seas make sea travel very difficult during the winter.
In Ice Gate, there is a cultural blend of Borrellian traditions and southern customs. Borrell is almost entirely Borrellian. Ice Gate is the only true city. The rest of the Borrellian civilization lives in tiny villages in the northern wastes, too numerous to count. Borrellians inhabit large circular huts with central fire pits. Chieftains dwell in great halls. Often, tribes will migrate between summer and winter homes depending on the season. Borrellian life is filled with hunting and fishing, drinking and feasting and endless competition - for the best food, the best horses, the best women.
When entering another man's home, it is tradition to bring a gift of firewood. An arm full is courteous. Any more than that is an insult as it implies that the host can not keep his family warm.
Hatraddi, the borrellian shamans, are the only sorcerers in northern Borrell. They are greatly feared and respected among the Borrellian people. Hatraddi magic is passed down from master to apprentice. Hence, there are no magic schools in Borrell.
The Great Race of Mount Brutar
Once each year on, the borrellian clans come together at the foot of Mount Brutar, which is in the heart of Borrell. The great chieftain, Rulesh, who rules over the Snow Dragon clan, holds a great competition which involves a race up the south face of Mount Brutar to retrieve a flag placed there. Hundreds of borrellians, individually and in teams, compete. The only rule is that magic is forbidden. Beyond that, anything is allowed. Traps, deception and outright combat are allowed. Further complicating the sport is the fact that at the top of Mount Brutar lives the giant known as Udek the Ugly. Udek does not take kindly to intruders on HIS mountain and delights in hunting borrellians. It is widely known that chieftain Rulesh chose this mountain because Udek makes the race that much more dangerous. Every year, borrellians die in this competition. Some are claimed by Udek. Others by winter storms. The victor who returns with the flag is rewarded a great prize. The prize is different each year, but it's always enough to attract a large number of competitors.
This website was last updated March 31, 2019. Copyright 1990-2019 David M. Roomes.