For all antiquity, the northwestern territories of the continent were ruled by elves who had migrated from the Isle of Fae. They lived in tribes that were governed by a council of elders, and an elected magistrate. Though most conflict was with dwarves, giants, and humans, there was scarce political unity between the tribes. At the dawn of the Common Era, the Old Antum Empire emerged from a collection of unified human tribes.
The Empire tactfully exploited the fractured nature of elvish society on the mainland and swiftly conquered the continent. Using military force and assimilation tactics, they had near full control of Eryndel within three generations. But the Old Antum Empire eventually collapsed under the weight of its ambitions and the remaining human tribes established the Floren kingdom during the destabilization. Its territories underwent frequent re-divisions, resulting in rivalries that kept the region embroiled in conflict for years. Eventually, King Muric "the Small" managed to seize control. His descendants still rule the kingdom to this day.
Meanwhile, the north coasts fell prey to the vikings, seafaring dwarves who sacked coastal monasteries and ports in search of glory and gold. Soon they came every summer, spending winters in their homelands. To counter the raids, King Muric ceded the Cormorin Peninsula to the neighboring elven duchy of Brynthal in exchange for aid. Within fifty years, the raids shifted from a seasonal occurrence to a constant stream.
In late 717 CE, an ambitious viking named Rolf, led a fleet unlike any the north had ever seen. The dwarven longships barrelled into the heart of the country and made demands directly from the throne. When Rolf attempted to flee from the Floren cavalry, he was unable to board his ships and made a defensive wall by slaughtering his army's livestock. The enemy charge halted as their horses were terrified by the sight and smell of the corpses. Stuck in a stalemate, the Florens decided to negotiate with the dwarves. In exchange for peace, the Floren King Cyrian ceded the lands from Roann to the northern coast. Rolf was crowned as the duke and was given the name “Lionheart” for his bravery.
Rolf's grandson Duke Harek “the Admired” is the current ruler of the duchy. Despite a history of turmoil and private wars, Harek has been able to maintain favor with the Floren crown; he once sheltered Prince Hugo from the Queen when she favored her younger son to rule. When Hugo was crowned King of Floren, he solidified his alliance with Harek in the Floren Defensive Compact of 901. But scandal soon followed Harek as he later fathered an illegitimate child by an unknown lover. Waldron “the Bastard” remains his sole heir.
The Northern Sovereignty Accords (718) established Nyrheim as a dwarven duchy. At the time, the realm was composed of Roann, Arkhold, Figane, and Feldune.
Common Law: A developing system of justice, judges interpret and resolve legal disputes with decisions serving as precedents for future cases.
Power and authority are held by a hierarchy of lords who owe allegiance to a higher lord, all the way up to the duke who is the head of the duchy.
The duke answers only to their nation’s king, in this case, King Hugo of Floren.
The Duke holds significant powers such as managing the duchy's resources, appointing officials, and commanding the military. The position is usually hereditary.
A council of advisors supports the duke in broad governance of the realm:
Steward: Responsible for the day-to-day administration of the duchy's lands and resources, the Steward keeps the duchy's infrastructure running smoothly.
Duke of Nyrheim
Count of Roann
Count of Figane
Count of Feldune
Count of Thaldur
Count of Arkhold
Count of Bandur
Count of Kjarn
Count of Vinmoss
Count of Maroth
Count of Alagard
Counts are appointed to govern territories known as counties and are responsible for maintaining order within their domains. They are expected to provide both military and financial support to the Duke in times of war.
Barons are appointed to manage smaller villages and may be appointed by the Duke or a Count depending on circumstance.
A local ruler may appoint officers to assist with the day-to-day operations of the realm.
Reeve: As chief administrator, the reeve handles financial obligations and presides over local councils. Though powerful, the position lacks popularity. The role is often held by the citizen with the most land.
Members: The ruling house and overwhelming majority officers. In some cases, landed gentry or rich merchants may be considered nobility, or at the very least, granted the same social privileges.
Members: Individuals who hold positions within a house of worship. The clergy's power and privileges varies depending on their specific roles, with priests enjoying greater influence and wealth than their acolytes.
Members: Skilled artisans, merchants, and other freeholders. This burgeoning class is subject to fewer laws than the common class and holds a few legal privileges. They hold land in exchange for barter, cash, or military service.
Members: Unfree tenants who exchange labor for land. They hold few rights and require their lord's permission to leave their lands or marry. They are entitled to protection and have the right to certain fields for their sustenance.
Families often live together in large, multi-generational households. Marriage is seen as a way to unite families and secure alliances. Arranged marriages are common, especially among the nobility. Divorce is possible but uncommon, and adultery is considered a serious offense, with severe penalties for both parties involved.
Music, dance and theater are popular forms of entertainment in Nyrheim. Folk music is played on lyres, lutes, and flutes. Traveling bards entertain crowds with songs of chivalry and love. Traditional dances often involve circles of dancers and are performed at weddings, celebrations, and other gatherings. Traveling theatre troupes perform plays in town squares and marketplaces. They often have religious or moral themes, providing people with insight into their faith and place in the world.
Sports are also a popular form of entertainment, with archery, wrestling, and jousting being popular pastimes. Tournaments are held where knights can compete against each other in feats of skill and strength, drawing large crowds of spectators.