The Ice Fangs
A land of ancient tribes practicing necromancy, occupied by Skyria
|Population||~55 000 people|
|Racial breakdown||61% humans (13% Skyrians, 48% Sarkath), 9% half-orcs, 8% orcs, 5% dwarves, 5% elves, 5% reptilions, 4% changelings, 3% other races,|
|Emblem||None (various tribes)|
|Ruler||Dragvas (Skyrian governor), the Ghost Councils (the tribes),|
|Religion||The Way of the Blood Hand and followers of the Lich Lords (Skyrian occupation), Ancestor Worship (Sarkath tribes),|
|Imports||metal, weapons, wine, gems,|
|Exports||fish, whale meat and fat, wood, stone, wheat and slaves (to Skyria), furs,|
|Military power||Skyrian occupation forces: ~6000 Skyrian warriors, ~3000 undead; Sarkath resistance: ~9000 guerillas,|
The snow- and ice-covered rocks that rise from the southern coast of the Hynyran sea gave this strip of coastline the name of ‘Ice Fangs’. Perilous to sail through, for long they have protected this area from raiders and pirates, allowing the fishermen who knew this area to go past them. As the knowledge of the sea increased, the rocks could no longer hold back the raiders of Skyria who kept harassing the Sarkath towns and villages and finally conquered them.
Now the Ice Fangs, while nominally a province of Skyria is a battlefield where the Sarkath guerilla forces, aided and advised by their Ghost Council, fight against the Skyrian occupants. The use of necromancy by both sides, amplified by the effects of the Death Shroud is slowly cursing this terrain, attracting more and more undead. At the moment no side has the power to completely destroy the other – the weakened Skyrians are unable to root out the leadership of the resistance but are far from being driven away from this land. The Skyrians claim to have conquered the land by capturing the main towns and keeping strong garrisons there, but the numerous fishing villages and township don’t recognize their rule and the hit-and-run tactics of the Sarkath keep the Skyrians from venturing too far into their land.
The Ice Fangs have always been dominated by humans and since the Skyrian occupation the policies towards non-humans became even harsher. Still, the Sarkath are a tolerant folk, accepting everyone who can live according to their rules – which resulted in this area being inhabited by members of virtually every Young Race.
Sarkath legends say that because their tribe has always worshipped their ancestors, they were taught the secrets of necromancy by Virash himself. Whether he just wanted to share them with those who, as he believed, would appreciate and use it or if he wanted to corrupt them remains a subject for debate. It is known however that the Sarkath were not corrupted by the magic power they received – in fact they refrained from rising undead, seeing them as abominations. Instead, they used their powers to allow the ghosts of their most beloved and respected ancestors to continue advising them in death – forming the first Ghost Councils.
There were some wars among the different Councils, as the tribal antipathies still ran strong, but when faced with the destruction of their Councils and venerated ancestors, the Sarkath managed to stop fighting. While the tribes still didn’t unite, the Ghost Councils were merged, creating one to advise every tribe. With such aid they managed to conquer a large area up to the Border Wall Mountains, until they were defeated by the Empire of Erhliss. Since then the Sarkath were content living simple lives, fighting against Skyrian raiders – but their role in the history has not ended yet.
The Sarkath elders were approached by Khegar. The goblin noble convinced – or coerced – them to teach him the secrets of necromancy. He used this knowledge to become the first Lich, went on to take over Skyria and launched an invasion against the goblin empire. The Sarkath were the first to fall and even when he eventually was defeated, the fate of the Sarkath did not improve by much. Persecuted for their beliefs by the Kirigan Empire and the Church of the Tribunal, conquered by Skyrians, liberated and then conquered again. While under occupation the Sarkath usually remained obedient, the Skyrian Lich Lords made the terrible mistake of trying to find and absorb the Skyrian Ghost Council. That triggered a rebellion that has been going on for years now – with no end in sight.
The Ice Fangs themselves never had any central government. Each tribe was ruled by a council of elders, who in turn were advised by a single Ghost Council. The Skyrian invasion changed everything. The day-to-day management of the occupied province is done by Dragvas, the Skyrian-appointed governor residing in the “capital” of Nagarin. His main concerns are: rooting the Skyrian resistance and keeping an eye on the actions of both the Tribes of Harethi Plains and the necromancers from Cannaran. He is assisted – or controlled – by Neseo Darach, an aspiring necromancer from Skyria.
The Sarkath tribes on the other hand are still ruled by elders. The Ghost Council still exists, actively sought by Neseo and the Lich Lords. However, now there is more than one Ghost Council. When one of the Lich Lords tried to absorb the council, before she was destroyed, she managed to cause enough damage to that being to divide it into three separate Councils, which have been unable – or unwilling – to merge again.
Some Sarkath guerilla fighters, being fed up with both the Skyrian and Sarkath necromancy, have denounced their Councils and listen to no one but their rebel commanders, adding a third party in this conflict.
Religion has never been the most important part of life in the Ice Fangs. Life here always has been hard enough that people rarely had the time to think about spiritual matters, with only faint shamanistic tradition. Still ancestor worship seemed natural for them, especially after they accepted the rule of the Ghost Council and agreed only to let the most worthy join the spirits.
While the Sarkath were invaded by the Skyrians many times, the occupants never did seem to bother much to enforce their own religion. On the other hand most of the Lich Lords were actively seeking to destroy the Ghost Councils, the last attempt leading into the fragmentation of the ruling council.
At present, while some Sarkath still follow the guidelines of the fragmented Ghost Councils, other try to create a fully secular society, free of the influence of the dead. Still, why this works perfectly into Lich Lords’ plan – most of these ‘heretics’ are against their Skyrian occupants. In other location new faiths are beginning to take root, with shamanistic cults revering the land itself being most popular – but there are reports of missionaries of the Tribunal being more than welcome is some places.
- The Ghost Councils: not a individual, but a conglomerate of ancestor spirits, guiding the Sarkath tribes.
- Dragvas: the Skyrian governor of the occupied province of The Ice Fangs.
- Neseo Darach: an aspiring Skyrian necromancer, sent on behalf of the Lich Lords.
- Saem: one of the most famous (or infamous) leaders of the Skyrian resistance.
- Dewara: a respected Sarkath elder leading one of the more conciliatory tribes
Nagarin (~15 000 people): the Sarkath tribes have never had a true capital, but the port city of Nagarin was chosen by the Skyrians to be the main seat of their power. Although the city has suffered much destruction during the fighting, the new position as a capital and the main trade hub of goods brought or stolen by Skyrians allowed the city of develop. The majority of the Skyrians in the Ice Fangs live here, as do most traders – both from the Sarkath and other nations. Nagarin lies at the estuary of the Karini River but as once it brought fish, now it brings only trouble as the waters corrupted by the influence of the Death Shroud cause drowned man here and in Hynyran Sea to rise as undead.
The Watcher of Nagarin: a castle, barracks and prison built by the Skyrians after the invasion watches over the city of Nagarin. This fortress houses the bulk of Skyrian infantry in the province.
Saemlo (~5 000 people): while Nagarin has always been the largest of the Sarkath towns, Saemlo may have been the most important. While not an actual capital, this sacred city built inside a great circle of obelisks was the place where various councils of elders met, Sarkath from all over the province came to trade and where the Ghost Council was said to be summoned. Since the Skyrian occupation the Ghost Council has disappeared from here and the place is constantly controlled by a substantial Skyrian garrison – still it remains the spiritual heart for the Sarkath.
Famlu (~6 000 people): a small town on the north-eastern part of the Ice Fangs. The majority of the Sarkath rebels’ attacks against the Skyrians are concentrated around this area. It is said however that the rebels here have renounced the Ghost Council and fight not only to drive the Skyrians away and to create a society free of the influence of the Ghost Council.
Vadarush (~7 000 people): a city surrounded by an area of relatively fertile ground, producing the majority of grain in the Ice Fangs. Most of it is being taken by the Skyrians and shipped to their barren islands. Varadush also stands in a strategic location between the Ice Fangs and the lands of Cannaran and the Hirathi Plains.
The Rashari Coast: the south-west part of Ice Fangs, full of caves in the cliffs. For many years it has been a haven for smugglers, now it is taken mainly by the rebels. It is said that even the Ghost Council may be there.
- Kraken’s Bay (~700 people): this area in the Rashari Coast is known for a titanic battle against a kraken that long was threatening the Sarkath ships. A small township of the same name was erected at this location. As it is located in the western part of the Ice Fangs it has some contact with both people from Teneren, including the missionaries of the Sentinel, and the clansmen from the White Bridge.
The Black Bridge: a majestic bridge over the Karini River, built in the heyday of the Sarkath nation. Now controlled by Skyrians, who keep watchful eyes on every one crossing it – as the other side of the river belongs to Cannaran.