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Full Version: [WIP] The Confederacy of Norzk Chiefdoms
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Hailing from stone and oak keeps in the farthest reaches of the polar south, the Norzk have for as long as history been recorded one of the foremost Mesalian civilisations. Also called the Armondurr Overlords, the Ice Men and South Seas Raiders, the Confederacy represents the united clans and kingdoms of the frigid island of Armond and surrounding isles. 
As one of the oldest nations in history, they have had a profound influence on Middle Realm affairs, both in its contributions to its neighbours during the Veld War and its willingness to strike down anyone who posed a threat to the Mainland-South’s stability during the Civil War.

The Bow and the Axe
Unlike other nations who have readily embraced more mechanical ranged weapons, the Norzk have a whole culture based around the bow and archery. It is a common saying that a Norzkin who cannot string a bow and fletch by the age of 10 was born on the wrong island. From the time they can walk, Norzkin children will start to train to shoot one of these archaic weapons, and by the age of 10 will likely know most of the nuances of the use and maintenance of the weapon and will be able to hunt game animals.
Bows are somewhat revered in Norzk society, not just as the chosen weapon of the Matron god Sulena, but also as what some refer to as the Third Invention, after fire and the wheel. The concept is older than Norzk society, and without the bow, it likely would never have existed.
Other nations around them shun the use of the bow as a cowardly or unchivalrous weapon, and those who use them are the most despised men and women on the field. In a total reversal of this trend, Norzkin are required by law to own a longbow equal to their own height and to train with them regularly, sometimes two or three hours a day depending on their home region. Known for their great strength, stamina and accuracy, the Norzkin archer is rightly feared. Mercenaries, auxiliaries or commissioned hunters are highly sought after by neighbouring nations, but never come cheap. However, such is the constant demand for more, better bows in Armond that to buy an artisan made, expertly crafted bow can be quite cheap thanks to the sheer number of career fletchers and bowmakers in Armond.
The average male Norzkin’s longbow has a draw weight of just over 68kgs (150lbs) and is around 189cm (6’0) in height with a 32 inch draw. A Norzkin would laugh at any other nation’s bow of choice; Probably the archer using it too.

Axes on the other hand are much more sentimental. While it isn’t necessary for any Norzkin to own one, a great number of families will still have the axes of their ancestors. They’re passed through generations as heirlooms and mark a coming of age or gifted as passing a right of adulthood. Some of the most venerable examples are easily centuries old but still look fresh from the forge thanks to almost reverent care.
The reason for this practice has been lost to time, and is continued solely for the Norzkin propensity for holding strongly onto tradition and identity. However, it is likely that it is a holdover from their early days. As materials would have been scarce and difficult to extract and refine, it was far easier and cheaper to maintain old equipment than to make more.

While the Common Tongue is taught primarily to all Norzkin when they undergo education, the most prominent language is still Norzprech, more commonly just called Norze. While to an observer it can sound like a jumble of vowels, grunts, harsh guttural stops and dragging slurs, in essence it contains all of the same consonants and sentence structure as the Common alphabet, but in a cyrillic form of script and in switched around positions. 

In the simplest way to translate Norze to Common, the Cyrillic characters of Norzprech are first changed in the Common alphabet, then alphabetical order becomes as follows, 

[Image: XTZHu1b.png]

So, for example, Realm becomes ‘Jeakp’ and Mesalian becomes ‘Perakian’. It is translated like a cypher, letter by letter into Common. It can be time consuming, but it is very reliable.

Pronunciation wise, J’s are an additional Y sound and X’s are pronounced like a K or a harsh ch sound if at the end of a word or sentence, V is pronounced like an F and a W becomes a V. Rs are always rolled quite harshly off the tongue. Extremely few words in Norzprech are pronounced like how they are spelt, so interpreting Norzprech without experience can be difficult. Names and place names from outside Armond remain the same.

Unusually though, is the complete absence of a conditional clause in Norzprech, lacking words such as ‘if’. Norzprech is trite and straightforward, leaving little room for misinterpretation.

A Norzkin inexperienced in speaking Common will have a very heavy reliance on speaking noticeably slower, as well as exaggerate vowels and with some remains of different pronunciation of some letters and letter combinations with a heavy accent.

[font=Arial]Male and Female[/font]
Gender means little in Norzk society and there are no gender specific pronouns in Norzprech as there is in Common.

Men and Women are treated equally, but often take different roles. Men usually gravitate toward being clan warriors, soldiers, sailors or manual labourers and craftsmen as well as being responsible for training their sons and/or the son of a relative if their father is, for whatever reason, unable to. 

Women are expected to have a decent martial prowess while being responsible for training their daughters and/or the daughters of a relative if their mother is, for whatever reason, unable to. Like how Norzk men gravitate to certain roles, the task of childcare sees many Norzk women not in a labour job voluntarily become teachers, nurses or caregivers for orphans, the sick and the elderly.

While the family is together, parentage and housekeeping are generally split evenly, if the father is away the safety of the children is the mother’s responsibility. However, if they have no dependents, women without other obligations generally work side by side with men whether that be on a farm or on a ship at sea.

Fittingly for this mentality, desirable Norscan women aren’t pale-skinned and graceful but physically strong and enduring. In fact, among some women, calling them something like ‘delicate’ is quite insulting and carries the very real risk of them beating the crap out of you to defend their honour.

Because of the emphasis on and continued connection to war and raiding in Norzk society, orphans are an inescapable fact and adoption is extremely common. Quite often the average Norzkin family of five or six could have as many as three or four adopted children. Generally, Norzk families without adopted children have one or two children, depending on their work arrangements and generally hope for one boy and one girl, one child for each parent to take under their wing.

Early on in their history of years of raiding and plundering it became a common practice for Norzk to adopt the children of slain enemies. Whether that would have been out of the Norzk sense of community and family, or for more pragmatic purposes, such as maintaining numbers, has been lost to time. Children adopted in this manner are shown all the same rights and care that would come from being born Norzkin. Most choose to believe the former, that even in their earliest days a Norzk could never have chosen to leave children to fend for themselves.

In their early history, resource gathering was difficult on Armond thanks to the rough terrain and temperamental climate. What the Norzkin did have an abundance of though was seaworthy ships and capable crews. With all of their early settlements on the coast it quickly became a lucrative practice to raid the settlements further afield for food, minerals, tools and weapons; and yes, sometimes people.

The trend setters were the Wolf Skin Reivers of Grey Water Bay, who in their first raid stormed a budding cloister and made away with a wealth of raw food and gold with barely any resistance. Inspired by this success, other crews joined together in Grey Water Bay until raids were over a dozen longships strong, and whose targets got larger and larger. Soon enough, other settlements began to follow their example, making their way to other areas of the Mainland’s deep south and returning with all varieties of plunder to help sustain their fledgling nation of city states.

The act of raiding became an integral part of the culture and livelihood of these areas for generations thereafter, with raids of this kind continuing long into the time of the Veld War, wherein the then High Kings forbade their practice as an atrocity against people already suffering in the war. During the Civil War, however, the great raids began again only this time targeted against the Norzkin’s enemies.
Some format issues.

Other than such minor issue, there's some lack of relation to the lore. Sounds good and interesting otherwise. Though maybe I cringe a bit at "Norze" since I'm Swedish, ngl.