The Barbarians of the North are a loose alliance of tribes that dwell in the near impenetrable forests of Germania. They are united in their fierce love of freedom and independence from bigger power players such as Rome or Carthage. The tribes share a deep connection to the nature of their homelands which makes them uncompromisingly territorial. Centaurs, Ogres, Trolls, powerful nature spirits and tribes of Wild Men all make up the denizens of the northern reaches. When their freedom is at stake, these peoples set their differences aside and form a powerful military force that has so far braved every attempt at conquest the Roman war machine has thrown at them… Even when tides of battle were not in their favor a sentient force that appeared to inhabit their lands themselves, took up arms against the invaders. A mysterious presence, revered and feared by the North Men, that can animate trees and the ground itself when it becomes irate. The power of the Northern Tribes cannot be overestimated, should they ever find leadership and a common banner, the world will burn and the age of civilization will come crashing down in a storm of ravaging, all-consuming violence.”
There was not a time in recorded history when the Northern Tribes were not at war with one another. Deeply tribalistic and fiercely territorial, violence is their second nature, but there was also a time when even this equilibrium of tribal animosity hung in the balance and forced the separate tribes to confront a common enemy as one. Although occasions such as these are rare they are not unheard of. Before Rome threatened the existence of the North — There was the time of Upheaval, what is remembered as ‘The Age of Valamer’.
Once, many centuries ago, when Rome was still but a whisper, there arose a new power within the North. They came to be known as the Nameless Tribe or the Ancient Enemy, ruthless and cold blooded even when compared to their Barbarian kin. They slaughtered senselessly and cruelly as their territories swelled, and soon they encroached on all the free people of the North. The Nameless were led by a cult of insane druids who empowered their warriors with the chaotic energy of a demonic overlord only known as “The Angular”’. This entity demanded unspeakable transgressions and perversions in return for his blessings. With their indulgence in cannibalistic practices, and unnatural breeding habits that produced monstrous offspring, they quickly became shunned by even their own allies and soon the free people of the North were united against the reckless evil of the Nameless. As for the real name of the Nameless — nobody remembers, for the Elders forbade to invoke the Ancient Enemy in both tongue and thought, to expunge all memory of their accursed name from history. After the free tribes of the North had united, they mercilessly fought the Nameless to the brink of destruction. Seeing their certain doom approach, their highest ranking druids sought to execute one last monstrous act fueled by nothing but sheer hatred and spite. They committed mass ritual suicide, and by channeling their liberated spirits, they collectively pried open a gateway into the Abyss, another plane of existence bursting with ultra-violence and demonic chaos. Their plan was to unleash a never ending torrent of flesh hungry demons onto the material plane. If they could not rule the North – no mortal would.
What they got was more than they had bargained for… Instead of swarms of demons a truly alien entity entered through the gate, into our reality. It was an ‘Outsider’ what some call an Elder God. A being not only foreign to our plane of existence but foreign to the nature of reality itself. An anathema to creation whose very presence dissolved the fabric of the cosmos around it like an ethereal acid. It was a survivor from an older and completely alien multiverse. Foreseeing the dissolution of its own reality, it escaped the destruction of its cosmos by fleeing into our multiverse. Trapped within the Abyss and lost to our laws of space and time it felt nothing but disgust for everything around itself — a reality that rejected it. So it stepped with vengeance and unfathomable alien malice in its heart through the portal, a writhing nightmare of flesh and impossibility. Towering over the trees, it faced the gathered warbands. With each step reality around it was warped into grotesque shapes that mocked life and turned its surroundings into whirling pools of madness. Attacking warriors were turned inside out, archers driven insane and sick by what their minds could not accept, others found themselves inside rocks or regressed in time to screaming deformed infants. The Outsider threatened not only to deny the tribes’ final victory but destroy the entire world. Wave after wave of the bravest warriors were turned into bits of flesh while others were flung into spatially impossible directions. It was at this moment when all hope seemed lost that King Valamer, leader of the coalition of Free Men, raised the holy battle-axe of his forefathers, Skeggox, forged by the giant Gundr, imbued with the power of the storm god Asator, and plunged with a thunderous roar into the Outsider’s unspeakable mass of eyes and death. Darkness enveloped him as he called upon Asator and the Allfather Odin to hear his prayer for victory, not for his own vainglory but for the sake of all life on earth. Asator, pleased by King Valamer’s valorous self-sacrifice in the face of unimaginable horror, forced his divine might into Valamer’s battle-axe, while the Allfather simultaneously shielded the world from what was about to occur. Lightning struck the Elder God and illuminated the land with the blinding light of a million suns. A light of such magnitude that it was witnessed in all the far reaches of the earth. Following the deafening strike came an enormous shockwave that leveled the trees in all directions as far as the eye could see. And when the dust had settled, the Outsider was no more–but neither was King Valamer, and the gate to the Abyss had vanished with them. The surviving warriors cheered in disbelief. The nightmare was slain and the North was free once more.
But it was not the end of the story. The Outsider being completely foreign to our universe had no afterlife to transfer its essence to. Valamer being interlocked with the horror in its final moments merged with its essence and projected, not into the glorious afterlife, but into the land itself. Their souls infused the trees and the ground as the shockwave spread them far and wide over the north. They became one with it. Ever since that day Valamer watches over the lands and its free people… it is only when Valamer sleeps that the essence of the Outsider dominates and reaches out with malicious intent to snatch off the unaware. Rome calls their forests cursed, but the Barbarians know better. It is their most revered warrior king who even in death protects the freedom of the north from all who would dare subjugate it.
To be continued…