Culture and Government
Ismirean (properly Ysmirean) polity relies on tribes, ruled by a jarl – the wealthiest, the eldest or the bravest clan member. They settled in free duchies in Nordheim. As Ismirs are forged by war, they turned blacksmithing and armorsmithing into an art and the prices of Ismirean steel, so highly valued are considered the highest.
Just like the Midlanders, Ismirs pray to the Greatfather, however they consider their form “pure” – for it rejects all Pontiffs and lectors’ dogmas.
They do not praise Geliand, but considering him a prophet. They do, however, believe that their gods – the Forefather, the Foremother, their countless scions and other heavenly home-dwellers are similar to Ismirs.
In the Ismirean culture a great role is taken by chants – not only they serve entertainment, but also allow brave warriors to be completely focused on combat. Ismirs also use them to keep stories of past times and great heroes alive.
Ismirs are a race of great brawn and colossal appearance – they even overtower Midlanders, with their height reaching over six feet. This feature let them survive in the harsh, ungrateful tundra of Nordheim. All men have long, bushy beards, often braided. Almost all of Ismirs have fair or red hair.
Tough terrains give birth to tough men – and that is what Ismirs are, with their faces worn by cold. They love to fight and live off of dispatching plundering sorties. They treat brave warriors and skilled smiths with great respect, they also glory in scars earned in battles. There is no place for philosophical talk in the land of eternal winter – all that matters is strength of arms and courage of the heart.
It is impossible to call Ismirs dishonorable. Word given is worth more than life, however they do not harbour a grudge against anyone – an Ismir drinking himself into a stupor with someone he recently beaten up after an argument is pretty common.
It is also a nation famous for its hospitality. A tired traveler can always expect a place to rest his head at night, a warm broth to gain strength and a jug of beer to brighten his mind.
Amongst Ismirs there are great sailors, excellent smiths and brave sellswords, fearless of death either in combat or in the sea.
Due to their posture, it is easy for Ismirs to handle two-handed weapons. Their enormous axes brutally break through enemy shields and colossal swords of theirs easily rip enemies in half. Before battle, Ismirs put on perfectly crafted pieces of armor and helmets. They also often war-paint their faces. Ismirean warhost is mostly consisted of infantry, thus they consider bravery and strength as the most important values. It is hard to talk about tactics and elaborate formations when it comes to Ismirs, however these northern warriors can efficiently defend themselves behind a solid wall of shields. But they are more likely to attack suddenly, engaging the enemy with a chant on their lips. It is the worst thing to stand against an opponent who would go for the kill rather than staying alive.
For countless years, Midlandic sailors would pray to Geliand to keep him alive whenever they noticed horrifying dragonboats under the Ismirean flag. Such situation came to a happy end when both sides signed peace, with Ismirs claiming northern coasts, where they formed the dukedom of Styrborg, with capital in Styrhala, formally dependent from Logres. But, in fact the dukedom maintains particularly free, choosing one or the other side of the barricade in countless arguments and affairs.
Ismirs are famous for their fearless hearts – and that is why the Logresian royal guard consists only of Ismirean mercenaries. They serve kings, took part in many crusades against Azebs where they earned their name of unbent and unstoppable. Well-known are songs of guards so honorable that they would rather die than let the enemy reach royal chambers. Tales of warriors without fear, with their will so relentless that they spit in the face of Death itself, even with their axes broken and standing knee deep in their own blood.
Ismirs’ homeland – Nordheim, is a frigid land far in the north. There, among monstrous landslides, unfriendly mountains and savage blizzards live the nation of northern warriors. After signing peace in Nerval, the dukedom of Styrborg belongs to them, which lies in the northern coasts of Midland.