Fereio

Fereio Map

Introduction

The Kingdom of the Bear. That is a name that has power in the north. Bjarki the Good has remained in the minds of historians and commoners the world over as the epitome of a generous and kind skinchanger; one who did not ravage his people, but protected them. But the Bear Kingdom has fallen like all the others, and its lands have changed hands many times. Now, the ancient heart of the kingdom is all that remains, reduced much in size and power.

The once mighty people of the Bear are a shadow of their former selves, living in cold disparate villages, the royal law far away and hard to come by in the wilds. This section of my work deals primarily with them.

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History

The kingdom of Feironos was ruled by the Feiros in the days of Bjarki the Good. From the Barrow River to Wolfsgrove, the Feiros held sway. In VI.388 the tyrant king Magnar was slain by Andronus Swiftsword. His kingdom quickly unraveled after his death, leaving behind unguarded townships and hamlets scattered throughout the wild.

The new kingdom came into being around the same time as its southern neighbor, Lykereio. In response to raids across the Spritewater River in the autumn of X.419, Baron Andron of Olfaróss granted writs of protection to the towns of Arvamas and Kalfar. By X.437 Olfarhóss was the center of a new kingdom under Fereio’s first king, Damor Hóssland. The Hósslands held their power for a single generation; in X.472 the sea-pirate Korina overthrew the Hósslands and took power for herself.

However, in X.484 she married the last Hóssland boy (many years younger than herself) and in X.486 bore him a son. She has much mellowed from her days of piracy and her rule has been even-tempered and marked by the assistance of good advisers; though she has demanded the Hóssland boy (Amarkon) give up his family name and be known as Ot’mora, which means “from the sea.” To this day Amarkon Ot’mora and his wife, Korina Ot’mora, rule Fereio.

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The Fereians

The people of Fereio hardly recall the days of the Bear Kings; but they are a strong and industrious lot, just as their ancestors where. Generally sedentary folk, they are farmers and fur-trappers, not accustomed to wild wanderings. No Fereian wears hose; breeches are universally worn instead, to keep the legs warm. Most Fereians in general would scoff at the customs of the south; the notion of form over function is one that would strike a hard Fereian as ridiculous and dangerous.

The people of Fereio (and the hill dwarves who live there) are more likely to produce children with the proper temperament to become berserks than the other skinchanger lands. These “touched” children are often considered to be blessed by Tallial, the god of war, and generally join the retinue of some noble lord.

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Life in the Kingdom of Bears

Life is hard in this northernmost of kingdoms. Royal authority emanates from Olfarhóss, which is far from many of the furthest settlements. Bandits and raids from wild-men, orcs, or kobolds are common. Farmsteads are normally ringed with a low outwall and the farmhouses themselves made of heavy stone. There is a true frontier spirit here, against the edge of the wide lands.

While there is trade with the wood elves of the Forest of Laughing Trees, it is also considered to be a place of taboo. Wood elves are considered as strange and terrifying as the death-spirits of the barrows known as pyskes.

Eleia has not graced the land here, for it is stony and infertile. The soil is thin and easily plowed, but yields little. Many farmers supplement their diet with trapping or fishing in order to survive. Subsistence is the norm in the outlying reaches of the kingdom for little enough can be produced.

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Nobility

The nobles of Fereio are a very petty lot. They do not resemble the shining bastions of glory and fame of the south, but rather are close to their men and their land. Most nobility outside of the capital help farm their own land (though they often also own a great many serfs who assist in this work). Each town is its own freeholding, with a graf or baron overseeing it. The manorhouses are usually large enough to accommodate the entire populous of the town within its defensive walls in case of attack.

Nobility train to fight off bears, raiders, and orcs using gigantine-styled greatswords or long-hafted battle axes. While they may own horses and have household knights, they do not ride into combat except on the open steppe (and then prefer the long rider’s axe or the pick-backed war hammer when riding against armored foes). Few nobles can read, and many require Seniän clerics to attend to them.

Nobles in Fereio have nearly unfettered control in their own domains. Royal authority is extremely narrow due to the inability of the king or queen to project their power across the mountains. The only time they even attempt to is during a period of inter-baronial feuding or legitimate threats to the entire kingdom. Otherwise, the local noble is, in fact, the law.

Nowhere is this more apparent than amongst the ranks of the Gravs, the highest of nobility. Royal rule only extends so far as Bjargrav; the king may make and promulgate laws from Bear Hill, but they must be heard at Konungsmote, which is held once a season on the shores of the Kingslake. There the Gravs vote for new kings, ratify proclamations, or refuse their king. Konungsmote is a sacred ceremony presided over by the Druidic Order; blood cannot be spilled during the mote on pain of death and curse upon the family.

Throughout the year, the Gravs may fight amongst each other, but when Konungsmote is called they must lay down their arms to listen to their king.

Gravenes of fereio

The Gravs and their Lands

Konug Joridh Bjorr

Two black bears guardant on a field bendy verde and or

The King of Fereio, the Bjorr are a lesser branch of the family of Bjornadh, said to have wrested control of Fereio away from the Skogrs in times long past. In truth, the Bjornadh achieved primacy in Fereio only in the last Age and the Bjorr have been kings for two hundred years.

They rule the Gravdom of Bjargrav as well as leading the Konungsmote. A Bjorr has been elected king upon every mote in the last two hundred years save for Konug Torral Woodcrown of Olfaróss who led the realm in a disastrous war against the Frost Giants in X.359.

Grav Helda Gilbor

Two hawks countercharged azure and sable

The Gilbors were originally the karlings of Gilborg, but in the last eighty years they have risen to take the place of the now-defunct Mithalr family who were wiped out in a blood feud with the Torrols.

Helda is often slighted as a woman, but in Mithgrav her rule is absolute. Perhaps no retainers in Fereio are as loyal as the Mithal Hawks.

Grav Jann Torrol

A fist crushing a serpent on a field argent

The Torrols rule Turolgrav and are known for their extremely violent nature. It has been said that Tallial touched them when the first Torrol built his hall in the Shield Hills. Jann Torrol is a huge brutal man who has been blessed (or perhaps cursed) with the gift of berserk.

Markar Spangr Brell

Two crescent moons (one waxes one wanes) argent on a field sable

The Brells are said to come from a line of skinchangers, though it is unlikely that any of the current Brells have the power in their blood. The Markar-lords have watched the southern marches of Fereio for generations, protecting against predation of Lykerio and the wolves that ravine over the river. Spangr believes that the southern wolves have gotten a taste for manflesh some time in the past hundred years, for he is often fighting them off at farms along the Spritewater.

Grav Leiden Longbeard

Four tankards or on a field gules

Lord Leiden rules Olfarsgrav and has a friendly relationship with the Druidic ORder at Conugsting and the elves in the Forest of Laughing Trees. He is primarily interested in the sea, though the Gravdom spreads southwards along the fold of Bjarki’s Crook.

Gravine-Prince Othr Whitewood

Clan Whitewood heraldry

The Gravdom of Crukgrav is the only Gravdom in all Fereio that is represented by a dwarf. The Prince of Dimvagr traditionally holds this title, and has since the most ancient of days.

Grav Theudlich Balmidh

Three sheaves of grain on a field verde impaled with a trident on a field azure

Ruler of the Haffgrav, Theudlich is the son of a Hafflen mother (from which he inherited his title and the trident) and a Balmidh father, who ruled Balanda as a lesser baron.

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Commoners

The common folk of Fereio generally live as farmers, though they supplement their diets with fish and the occasional forest meat. Due to the tough nature of the land, families tend to be large in Fereio in order to maximize the amount of work that can be done on a field (and so someone can be off fishing in case the harvests are low). Commoners live tough but free lives and are required by ancient laws to build chest high fences around their lands when they live away from towns.

Townsfolk share communal land which is divided into strips: an innovation brought to them by the Mileans of the south. This has, of course, granted the local lords more power than ever before, as the peasants of communal towns must till the entire alloidal land – including that belonging to their lord.

Commoners are free to leave their natural-born townships and go anywhere they please, though in order to settle in a new place they often have to pay a land-fee to the local lord. Justice sits in the town councils for small local offenses (led by elders) though for things which affect the lord, he sits in judgment over them.

Most Fereian peasants know how to defend themselves and have at least some form of weapon in their households in the case of an attack. Fereians tend to die where they live rather than abandoning a village or retreating from overwhelming numbers, making them a tough hardy folk resistant to the influence of outsiders.

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Serfs

Serfs are like commoners in every way save that they owe their lords more work-hours per year and cannot leave a village or town without first acquiring permission from their lord. Serfdom is a recent innovation in Fereio, and many people are against it. There are those who call it land slavery and more than one lord has been killed over it.

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Religion

There are two major religions in Fereio; the Northern Branch of Eleia and the Druidic Order of Seniä. The Druids are often seen as meddlers and outsiders, more aligned with the Forest of Laughing Trees than with the Fereians themselves. Eleians, however, are welcome everywhere as bringers of fertility and good harvest.

Local worship of Dinismayl is not uncommon, considering the harshness of the winters in Fereio. Tallial, too, is not unheard of due to the presence of his chosen, the berserks, in Fereio. These two gods are of course worshiped privately in the home. The priesthood of Dinismayl has a presence, but they dwell in the wilds in half-forgotten places amongst ancient gigantine shrines.

However, prime above all these is the worship of Heimir, the god of hospitality. Every house has at least a small idol of the joyful god. His clerics do not build monasteries in the north, but rather wander from place to place bringing good cheer. Breweries are christened in his name, and in Olfarhóss there is even a large temple dedicated in his honor.

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Economy

There is little economy to speak of in Fereio. It exports very little save for fish and copper from Lykereio and from time to time mercenaries who leave to go fight and earn money in other places. Olfarhóss is the only major city there, and that is supported by the fishing fleets and the few merchants who operate that far north.

Subsistence is a way of life in Fereio.

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Geography

Antrea

Arboer

Arkafell

Arvamas

Au∂r

Balanda

Bear Hill

Berufjord

Bildsfell

Bjornary

Byre

Croft

Digraeness

Dimunarvagr

Eyvínder

Fagraldar

Fagras

Fellskogar

Garthar

Gildborg

Hafnaross

Holmgard

Jadar

Kaldan

Kalfar

Lerwick

Lyssá

Moldat

Molvik

Olafsvell

Olfaróss

Ross

Skalaholt

Thorsa

Topt

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Characters

Fereio has several unique elements in the form of equipment and goods that are rarely found in other places.

Mundane Goods:

Battle Helm (70-120gp): These metal helms are fashioned in the shape of fearsome beasts. In Fereio, this is most often a snarling bear. They are used to frighten enemies on the field of battle, and are most often worn by noble warriors or those in service to them. The use of these helms has fallen out of fashion in the past 500 years.

Gigantine Greatsword (50-100gp): These two-handed swords are made in mimicry of the greatswords of the Frost and Cloud giants. They are decorated with hex-patterns and have an upward-curving hilt that grips the entire base of the blade. The blades themselves are somewhat heavier than other greatswords, as well.

Weight (lb.) Size Type Speed Factor Damage (S-M) (L)
18 L S 11 1d10+1 3d6+1

Heimir’s Handle (3-5sp): These mugs worn on leather thongs are unique to the Heimirans of Fereio. They have hard silver or copper tops that are usually fastened shut and are used to carry a small amount of holy ale.

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Fereio

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius