Mercania

(Book 6, DWR)

Not exactly a nation, Mercania is a cold, windswept part of the northern mainland. Its people are tribal and fiercely independent, clinging to their dour crags and snowy fjords as much as their restlessness drives them to the sea.

History

Mercanian LongboatBeginning as various tribes unaffiliated with each other, and after numerous wars with each other, the Mercanian tribes turned their attentions to seafaring and the plunder available, in particular, across the Mergeld Sea* in Ellesland*. There, as their shipcraft and seafaring improved, they were able to plunder beyond the Albish* eastern shores of Ellesland* over to the northern and island shores of Thuland* and even the western shores of Cornumbria* and Ereworn*. Raids across the Gouge* to Chaubrette* were not altogether unheard of either. Legendary raids include southern mainland ports and even as far south as the Mungoda Continent*.

Due perhaps to some distant kinship or dislike for tundra wastes, Mercanians have by and large not bothered the inland peoples of Krarth* around which their 'nation' surrounds to Krarth's* north and west.

The general sea-raiding activity (or in Earth terms, Viking-like behaviour) of the Mercanians has diminished in more recent years as they have settled amongst the nations they have assailed, or made treaty with rulers of the nations involved. Centuries of raiding, taking female hostages and the like has seen considerable inter-breeding between Mercanians and Elleslanders*, in particular the northern peoples. The southern Albish* accordingly consider themselves 'pure blood' Albiomen* when, in truth, they themselves arose from the mainland peoples now comprising Chaubrette* and Kurland*.

It should be noted that there are two Mercanian settlements in Ellesland, being Torston* and Sigurdingham* in north-western Albion* (Book 6, page 30).

The Mercanian influence on Ellesland* is best illustrated by the Elleslandic* calendar, in which the days of the week still carry the names of the old Mercanian gods - Halig*, Syf*, Tyr*, Wotan*, Tor*, Freya* and Boldur*.

Capital

Having no central government or any other manner of centralisation, it is inaccurate to expect or describe Mercania as having a capital. Each tribe has its own strongholds to which it rallies in the cold winters and from which the cheiftains order their fearless men to war.

The nearest thing to a capital-structure on land or governance is the Thing to Decide on Joint Ventures and Matters of Mutual Interest, frequently so described but to scholars outside and the elderly referred to as simply the Althing*. This 5-yearly council rarely occurs due to infighting but is, in theory, a gathering at one place for Althing*.


Government

Each tribe is ruled by a cheiftain or Jarl*, sometimes by birthright but at other times through alliances, deals or conquest. Among Mercanian peasants the Jarl's* word is law, and is obeyed to the letter. Inter-tribal relations involve ad hoc delegations to discuss border issues or mutual concerns, such as the desirability of allying to fight a common intra-national or international enemy.

Religion

Mercanians largely hold to the ancestor-worship and spirit worship approximate to the Nordic pantheon in Earth culture, including the readily transferrable Mercanian gods Halig*, Syf*, Tyr*, Wotan*, Tor*, Freya* and Boldur* approximating to Norse gods like Thor, Woden, Frig and Balder.

Mercanians have to some small extent - and at times by chieftains for strategic value - adopted the True Faith*. Of course, at the peasant level, adherence to adopted faiths ranges from syncretism to outright continuation of pagan practices. For this reason Elementalists*, Mystics* and Shamans have a higher chance of emerging from Mercania due to continued links to the ancestal spirits.

Language

The common language throughout the Mercanian lands is called Latter Mercanian* and is one of the simplest languages to learn. In their days abandoning raiding for trading, it is a common trade tongue and has been simplified for that purpose, importing in particular terms common to the Elleslandic* language. Latter Mercanian* can be recorded in the Nikkar Runic* script.

The former version, Old Mercanian*, is more complex and idiosyncratic, spoken only by the very aged and for rare ceremonial purposes such as the calling together and opening of the Althing*. Old Mercanian* is also recorded using the Nikkar Runic* script common to Thuland* and Mercania* on manuscripts and items of ancient lore.

Climate

Dave Morris records in Book 6 that like inland Krarth*, Mercania can record overnight lows in winter as low as -30 degrees Celsius and only ever summer highs of 15 degrees Celsius in midsummer. However, the coastal nature of Mercania moderates these a little as opposed to the chill winds that gather cold though the Flint Knives* rushing down on the Krarthian unfortunates.

Geographical Features (not including Places of Interest)

Like Albion*, Mercania is rich in iron and has a thriving fishing industry.

East
Border with inland Krarth*

North
The Flint Knives* - A cold, inhospitable jagged rocky mountain range forming a natural border against inland Krarth*.
Rymchaeld Sea*

West
Mergeld Sea*

South
The Gouge*

Cities, Towns and Villages

East
TBA

Northeast
TBA

North
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Northwest
TBA

West
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Southwest
TBA

South
TBA

Southeast
TBA

Places of Interest

East
TBA

North
TBA

West
TBA

South
TBA

Approximation

As discussed in the introduction, Mercania is best approximated in Earth-terms to the concept of Scandinavia, rather than a particular nation. Thuland* bears elements of, say, Danish culture whilst Krarth* also has some Nordic elements. However, the tribes of Mercania are probably best approximated to the precursors to what have today become Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland - and perhaps even Latvia.

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