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    The Imperial House of Bleeding Stone

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    Steinnheimr

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    Of all the realms, Steinnheimr remains unchanged and unchanging from the time it first came into being. Its origin lay with the ancient moon Rukkōną and a catastrophic collision between it and its parent planet Maakera. It would remain intact because it was formed from materials that were almost indestructible. Becoming molten, it would survive in this form as the core of a new world drawn within the Abode of Gods where it existed only for the briefest of time. Drawn into the dark firmament of this subdimension, it would solidify once again until the time of the Awakening.

    The arrival of the Dark One would result in its being brought forth as part of a new world fashioned by the processes unleashed to create it. Having stood upon its solid surface during this time of resurrection and rebirth, Rukkōną would now become a craton and the oldest land mass of what became known as the world of Frøstsfyre. While the realms surrounding it would be more geologically active and unstable, Steinnheimr would remain as it was with only its surface being somewhat flattened by the Dark One. Beneath its surface, it possesses a wealth of diamonds and other precious minerals created from enormous pressure and heat.

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    Steinnheimr creates its own environment so that even as the rest of Frøstsfyre shifts and changes, it remains the same. It has an annually temporate, subtropical climate whose most prominent feature is that it is mostly a place of rock and stone. Across its surface exists a pattern of ley lines each converging on a single location like a magnetic pole for supernatural power. It would be to this location that the first peoples would be drawn and the earliest megalithic structures were built during the formative stages following the Awakening!

    It would not go unnoticed by a god-warrior calling himself Arnbjørn who had taken part in the war against the Great Beast Surt. He had become a wanderer searching for a promised land for he and his peoples to build a kingdom to call their own. Within Steinnheimr, he would locate a mound where previous peoples had erected layer after layer of rock and ruin in their passing. Beginning as a stone fortress, the Imperial House of Arnbjørn would evolve as it built around the mound and finally capped its top with a magnificent castle Skalliborg looming above it all.

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    Surrounding Skalliborg would be Marglóð, a golden paradise ruled over by the wealthiest, and most powerful, elite. In the creation of Marglóð, a massive exterior wall called Blakkrgarðr would be built separating it from the outside world. Peasants and lesser nobles had created this wall even as they would create the next and the next one after that. With each wall, a new class of ruling nobility (Jarldómrs) gained power and the region between the walls became nations unto themselves each different from the next. Where one nation might experience day, the next might be under starry night skies, where one is clear the next experiences storms.

    Controlling travel between the walls would prove to be the secret to prosperity and the ruling families control this travel via massive gates. Trying to cross over, under or through the walls will result in trespassers being transported to the outer realms, by supernatural means, far beyond the Imperial House. Both sides of the gate are open with traffic traveling one way through each side. One side of the gate allows travel to the next nation closer to the Imperial House while the other leads to the next nation further away. There are a minimum of at least two gates per nation allowing entry and exit between neighboring nations.



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    The total land area between each wall is approximately the same. The nations closest to the Imperial House possess walls so distant from one another that one might travel days or weeks to reach a gate without ever seeing the opposing wall. The nations furthest away, however, may possess walls so close one can stand on a wall and see the not so distant wall facing them. Yet, in the outer nations, the gates may be so far away from one another that it will take days to weeks to reach them traveling the circumference of each nation. It is for these reasons that most who travel through the gates do so for trade, employment or recreation and travel from outside the walls is much more rare an occasion.

    To aid in such journeys, most pay guides known as Wīsōną who know the way best as these paths are ever changing. The Wīsōną receive fees for which they are taxed and if their leaders order travel restrictions or a ban on travel, the Wīsōną obey. However, there are secret passages from nation to nation which are sometimes found or even created by illegal means. Finding Wīsōną willing to take travelers to these locations can be difficult and there exist others willing to lead travelers to these places if they are willing to take the inherent risks involved.

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    All of the nations beyond the Imperial House are both subject to and part of it. All of the Jarldómrs are controlled by families descended from previous Imperial Magistrates and royals from Marglóð who lost favor but managed to retain a measure of power. Not every Jarldómr is unified under a single Royal House. Some are disputed and there may be more than one "Lesser" House each vying for the title of Jarl (Earl) of each nation which is the highest rank they are allowed to possess. Attaining higher rank means residing in Marglóð where their wealth is increased along with status, but they lose the autonomous power held within a Jarldómr.

    It is for this reason that few among the Jarls actively seek higher rank unless it is to gain access to becoming a member of the Imperial Council. Each of the realms beyond the Imperial House is represented by a Riksrådet (Council of the Realm) either appointed by its monarch or by the Ættir (clans) within each land to serve as their representation. Members of the Imperial Council are required to marry a member of the Riksrådet through which a nation within the Imperial House is bound, through royal blood, to one of the Realms of Frøstsfyre.

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    Age of Blood

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    There are many reasons for why the complicated system of rule developed within Frøstsfyre and its Imperial House. Trade is one of the more important reasons as each nation within the Imperial House is bound by trade a treaty to one of the outer realms. An even greater reason originates from the period following the death of Arnbjørn when it seemed as if all of Frøstsfyre fell into a perpetual state of anarchy and war. The war of Arnbjørns descendants was responsible for this and so much blood was spilled to claim the title of Lord Magistrate that the Imperial House itself became known as Blóðugursteinn (Bleeding Stone).

    The Imperial House of Bleeding Stone sent forth explorers, envoys, colonists and conquering armies which further spread the bloodline of Arnbjørn as well as diluting it. It was only the arrival of the god Hrafnaguð (the reincarnation of Arnbjørn) to sire a child with the Norn Queen; Kolgrimmr. Naming her son Kulą, she would raise him to become Lord Magistrate by his own hand where he would be better known as Kull. It would be from his line that the Age of Blood would be brought more or less under control and his system of rule that achieved it.

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    Kull

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    Kulls marriage to the Valkyrie Bersa gave birth to the Góðrkyrja (Choosers of the Good / Worthy). Like their mother, the Góðrkyrja possessed the wings of the Valkyrie and the ability to become a powerful she-bear when gripped by berserkr rage. They would be seen as the living embodiment of the Arnbjørn, the legendary winged-bear created created to represent the first Imperial Magistrate and the Imperial House he had founded. As changelings, they would secretly dwell among the populations of Frøstsfyre seeking out those who have lived benevolent, constructive lives to dwell in Marglóð as a reward for lives well-lived.

    Upon reaching adulthood, their sons were required to leave the Imperial House and to seek out their destiny elsewhere on Frøstsfyre. Living by the sword, the sons of Kull were essentially banished to learn their way in the world and would be aided in this by their sisters. While choosing the worthy, changeling Góðrkyrja might also be called upon to banish those who have lived wastefully or betrayed their position as residents of Marglóð. Similarly, they helped choose the most worthy among their brothers as heir to their fathers' position as Lord Magistrate... or, the occasional warrior sister who had rejected their ways.

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    As with most of the Imperial Houses, the Imperial House of Bleeding Stone possesses a Great Library as a repository of knowledge for the World of Frøstsfyre. Unlike the rest, it has existed in the same place from its formation deep beneath Skalliborg within a complex of caves and caverns. While not the largest of libraries, it possesses many mysteries and artifacts overseen by the Völva. These are beings who act both as seers and as librarians aiding those seeking knowledge or to trade in items the Völva might be interested in or willing to provide.

    Although it has long been known as the Imperial House of Bleeding Stone, it is also known as the House of Arnbjørn because a single bloodline has always controlled it. Although Kolgrimmr was Queen of the Norns of Frøstsfyre, she was also a child of the Arnbjørn, being the Grand-daughter of an Imperial Magistrate. The Imperial Standard of the Imperial House of Bleeding Stone is the Arnbjørn, a creature of magick created to honor the first Imperial Magistrate representing him as a winged bear. Its visage would be placed upon the royal crest and banners placed at the furthest corners of this world.



    Last edited by Armorbeast; April 17th, 2018 at 07:31 AM.


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