The Record of the North
Humans in the Shattered Lands are much like the humans of the real world in their variety of appearances and cultures. The two most important human cultures in the North are the Florans and the Northmanu, described here. Within the old boundaries of the Floran empire, these two peoples are largely intermingled, and their customs have blended.
The Florans The Florans were a conquering people who civilized the North, uniting the Northmanu kings and establishing the Floran Empire. The noun “Flueran” and adjective “Fluerisian” are archaic forms found in some of the in-character information, but have been replaced in most out-of-character text with the standard modern noun and adjective “Floran.” The only exception to this modernizing is when referring to the language of the Florans, which has continued to be called Fleurisian. Here is a fragment on the Florans from Tertulian’s Histories:
It is often said of the Florans that they conquered both through force of arms and nobility of will. King Clovis’ actions at Aescon can hardly be said to be anything but both forceful and noble. Listen on, then, if you will, for I was one who was there when Clovis claimed that sacred ground though I was but a child.
I was born in Lavaas, in the districts of its greatest city, Puimur (Ed: currently the capital of Lavaas). When I was five I was sent with a train of Tygánian priests (Ed: an extinct Fleurisian religion) to meet the great king Clovis as he crossed the golden lands of Arbell (Ed: This seems to be an archaic reference to Arbellor, lit. Land of Golden Trees). The other youths and I made obeisance to the conqueror and his people. Their Flamen Cantor blessed us all and we followed him in train to the land of the Wellsprings (Ed: Weland?).
When we arrived, however, the peoples whom Clovis had conquered in the north had decided they would not honor his word. These were my peoples, the natives of the North. Clovis was a foreigner, but I could see in him the nobility that none of my people had. The Fleurisians built cities in Rutland that were unlike any I have ever seen. Stone walkways and drainage, no mere wattle-and-daub and mud. Glorious places.
The foolish kinsmen of mine that raised conflict against the Fleurisian armies were taught their woes. For three days the Fleurans maneuvered against them, trapping their men against their own camp. On the third day, Clovis himself led the charge into their ranks, his golden banners fluttering out behind him. The Wellings never stood a chance.
When the fighting had ended Clovis did not exterminate them or reduce them to slaves as the other peoples of the North might have done or, as I know is done commonly in the southerly climes like Keprit (Ed: Khepri, it seems) or Argot (Sargoth?). Rather, he listened to their elders and erected a shrine celebrating the union of Nyx and Mallearn – and thus declaring his own goddess, the warlike Pallea, their daughter. In this way he encouraged both his own followers and the Wellings to worship at this place.
Then, as if that were not enough, he named the holy site Aescon, the mound of Ashes, and had his ancestral remains buried there for all eternity. This would be the place in which Clovis would raise the walls of his kingdom and from which Floresan would prosper.
The Northmanu are the oldest known human people west of the Wastes. Their history is here described by Tomas, of the Brotherhood of the Book:
You want to know where the Northmanu came from? Well, they are a mixed race, much like the Midlanders and Plainlanders, I must be honest. Almost all likely have a bit of Floran in them; many also have Plainlander or Midlander blood. I suppose it would further your education.
I’ve studied the Northmanu ruins, what little they have. Their arrival predates all others—the Sargothine colonies came next, followed by the tentative Midlander settlements and the elven migrations from across the Wastes. It wasn’t until fairly late that Clovis the Floran appeared on the scene to give them some semblance of unity.
Northman-script is difficult to read as it has mostly died out as a method of written expression. It was superceded with Sargoth-accented Floran, for reasons of ease. Even trained priests in their religion, it seems, were not all fluent with it. The little of it that I have seen has been used to mark improtant grave-sites and places of great spiritual eminence. The all but forgotten warrior-god Tyrus seemed to be of primary importance to the Northmanu religion as many of the carvings depict him.
Anyhow, the Northmanu tribes came down from Riggsland where, somehow or other, they had been living. Northmanu strains can be seen throughout the North Kingdoms in light blonde hair of a fair number of inhabitants. It is my personal speculation (though some others will contest me) that the Northmanu were fleeing a number of things, primarily northern trolls, when they migrated this far south.
They established some rudimentary kingdoms and picked up several important cultural customs from the elves—Jarls or Earls, who were once quite kin to the elvish notion of a Headman, for one. However they never perfected a method of organized warfare and thus were easy prey to the Floran armies when they landed in Rutland and began to make their way south.
Out of all the North Kingdoms, Lavaas is the most in touch with its Northmanu roots. From the Northmanu phrase a’vaal (the People), Lavaas even retains its ancient name. While other provinces of Floresan have named like Arbellor and Welland (both descended from Fleurisian words) Lavaas has merely been Fleuranised in spelling and style. There are even a few hunters or trappers who live in the backwoods reaches of that kingdom that speak derivative strains of the old Northmanu language.
You can see the old Northmanu customs though, in every kingdom, if you look. They live side by side with Floran ones. For example, throughout the north kingdoms are divided into “hides” of land, a Northmanu measure. Well, anyway, I think that’s enough for today don’t you?