Yjord is an area in the northwestern quadrant of Appogia’s largest continent. The high treacherous mountains that line its eastern board create a natural barrier between it and the rest of the continent. To its north is the planet’s polar cap and to the south across a wide expanse of water is Aburr.
Parts of Yjord enjoys mild climate in the summer, but severe winters. Climate is categorized as maritime in the east and continental in the west. Eastern Yjord is very mountainous which causes a rain shadow, giving it very dry climate compared to Yjord’s wet coastline. Along with mountains, Yjord has large forested areas and bogs, making overland travel difficult, and makes farmland scarce. Most farmland is found along the southern lands and coast of Yjord.
Since overland travel is difficult or impossible, the Skylds looked to the sea as a source of food, travel, trade, and communication. Populations are almost exclusively concentrated along the coast or near a waterway that is linked to the ocean. This is the reason sailing was the preferred method of travel and the Skylds are masters in shipbuilding and navigating.
Yjord is a country in constant turmoil shown first at its most northern point where the country abuts the creeping cold Ice Wrath at the top of the world. There hard granite rocks begin fighting their way up out of the thick, white ice in their march southward to become the great chain of dark, jagged mountains called The Krags.
Below them the rolling hills and valleys of Yjord are blanketed in vast forests and woods, some green, some still peppered with the white of the reaching snow. Some of these bumps and cuts undulate all the way down to the great Sea of Amari, while others slowly give themselves away to broader lowland valleys of tough winter-loving grasses.
And it was here, for a thousand years, men staked their claims in the grudging turf. Pounding it into farmlands, wresting fish into their longboats from the midst of the icy raging sea in defiant effort to steal and store enough of nature’s bounty to feed their families and survive again just one more merciless winter season. And through this continual endless struggle against the elements, against the Gods and against each other, the Warring Clans of the Skyldings were born.
Possession of the land, land with access to the sea, a plot of ground big enough for a man to survive and feed his family, was everything. And over time men learned that if they bonded together, their land holdings would be larger, their harvests more bountiful and their families safer and stronger. The bonding of men became almost as important as the land. And oaths became the glue of bonds sealing men together through blood, family and honor.
The Five Clans are comprised of the old noble families of hereditary founding origin, and the lesser honorary noble families pledged to them, and the common bondsmen and peasant families who were glad for anything given to them and proudly served all nobility, and then the slaves who got what was left. Clans Dreah and Aethal made their beds in the far northern shadows of the ice-death. Clans Rahal and Muthgum in the central lands and Clan Tenk at the southern most point.
The Clan Lords rule their kingdoms independently. They are fierce in their efforts to protect what they hold while constantly looking for ways to increase their holdings by any method possible including treachery, the Dark Arts or war. There was no High Lord of Yjord who ruled them all although many had tried and failed, but that did not stop them from continuing to try. For there was honor in the effort and death was a path to the Golden Halls of the Gods. A better life without struggle.
Religion of the Skylds