"In the south lies men and women with the strength of giants. Whose only knowledge of defeat, is to die unhonorable."
-The Nationalities of Seylandor (Book)
Ards are a nationality of men and women from the land of Arnforth. The Ard have a natural resistance to both cold and disease, evolved in the land of Arnforth, in the far south lands of Seylandor. Eager to prove merit in fields both on and off the battlegrounds, Ards are often seen as brilliant warriors, weaponsmiths, and farmers. Ard culture revolves around glory and honor, many Ards see wars and battles as a holy, or grandeous place to prove skill and revel their families honor.
Arnforth is the southernmost landmass of the continent of Seylandor, and is the site of the last civilization founded after the Long March. This fact has assisted it in it's title "The Last Kingdom". These early men arrived on Seylandor before any other race, but also suffered the most losses in the landings wars, and came from their homeland of Atlus-Mor on the continent, and empire, of Ponayassus, which has become a now massive desert lacking any form of life since the Undying Season.
Arnforth has been home to the Ard since their end of the Long March, which lasted a long and toiling sixty years. The Ards, large and hardy men and women who are notorious for their might, strength, and fighting will, have become one of the most welcomed and most feared nationalities on Seylandor. To the north, beyond the Gothelpeiks, Arnforth leads into the green, lush fields of Ossory , the gateway to the Burgess Empire. South of it's shores, lies the isle of Sigmorr.
Arnforth has five regions, each is governed and ruled by a count or countess, who has sworn fealty and trust to their most noble and trusted Viscount. In the event of a unjust or treasonous ruler, the counts may engage in a vote to overthrow, or declare war against him.
The Ards are a race of Men who are typically regarded by fair-skinned, light-haired and imposing builds. They originate from the Province of Atlus-Mor, but do to the lack of records it is hardly remembered by modern Ards. The Ards are on average more muscular and larger in size than other races of Seylandor. Due to their civilization being in the cold, harsh wilderness of Arnforth, they have developed a natural resistance to the cold, and to most all diseases. They have a fierce and uncompromising mindset. Fearing practically nothing, their skills and traits have made naturally strong against the tundra lands and harsh overcasting climate of Arnforth.
First Age, The Age of FoundingEdit
The Ards were first recorded in history during the First Age on the province of Atlus-Mor, on the continent of Ponayassus. It is unknown what climate was held by Atlus-Mor, but those who have passed on it's tale have mentioned "long, lush summers" and "chilling shorelines", although it is unknown how the Ards became such legendary hunter-gathers.
During the early years of the First Age, a monumental climate change began to permanently change the continent of Ponayassus in which the lush fields turned to dust and the rivers dried to smoke and the animals starved to bones. in the midst of this, a young Erjhalli, a revered Ardic Hero, gathered an army of loyal followers claiming that the land was dying from corruption and greed and that a new home must be found. The original following was merely 500 men and women and they sailed, to what is believed East. They landed in what is now known as Ossory and met the natives known as Anpids, large man-sized reptilian creatures who lived in holes in the ground and large cave systems.
In the beginning of the colonization, the Anpids and the early Ards lived in peace and harmony. Eventually other nationalities began to arrive and tensions grew as the human population began to overcome the Anpids. The Anpids, after much consideration, attempted to end the expansion of the humans by any means necessary. This culminated into what is remember as the Battle of Shores, which the Anpids brutally attacked numerous camps on the shorelines where ships arrived. The great Burges General, Tallis Vivipolis lead hundreds of Burges soldiers into battle but was ulitmately killed with his men.
As the battle seemed to become more and more of a loss, the Ards who held a strong peace towards the Anpids began to slaughter them and the original Five Hundred form under Erjhalli.With the might of the Ardic forces and the technology of the Burges, and the Magic of the Ossorians, the battle quickly became a winning war. the Ardic warriors, with such bravery and skill, were able to quickly take care of whole caverns of Anpids, unlike the Burges and Ossorians.
After the horrific Battle of Ends Run, the Anpids surrendered their lands and all lands their opposers come across to them, and Seylandor became a new home for man and all the nationalities. Unfortunately, Erjhalli died shortly after from his wounds and his 10 year old son inherited his responsiblities as leader of the Five Hundred. His name was Jyhal the Tall.
Second Era, The Age of StruggleEdit
With the ending of the landing wars, the nationalities met one final time as a unified force to discuss the future of this new land. Jyhal spoke calmly of a one united continent and, even at his young age, a single empire that would last ages. However, the Burges demanded that they be in charge, criticizing their superiority in diplomacy and democracy. After weeks of arguing, the Ard leader and his remaining following headed south alone to find a new home land.
After a long 45 year march, the brave Ards begin their crossing of the immense Gothelpeiks where they come in contact with beast they have never sseen before, Dragons. After discovering the Dwarves who have been fighting these creatures for over a lifetime, the Ards agree to help and with their assistance, the Ard and the Dwarves reclaim the central city of Nieznafel after five years. Much like with Erjhalli, Jyhal died after this war after sucumbing to his wounds and the leadership was passed down to Hgaar, who after a fifteen year wait, lead his people to the land which he took his first steps on and dubbed it "Arnforth" or, in common tongue "Onward", a common phrase of Jyhal.
But their suffering only just began, as the Forever Winter would slow their progress for many years, over a century, but in this winter, the city of Kyn Portig was founded and the first city of their country grew into a massive port. In 2C 69Y, explorers and settlers left Kyn Portig and the expansion of these new lands began with the founding of three new cities, Bashaheim, by the Great Sea Basha, Kyn's Cross, and Hgaarheim. However, explorers discovered that this land held inhabitants unnative to them. Soleic Elves from Solothorn had begun a colonization campaign on Arnforth.
Third Era, The Age of ThriveEdit
Society and Ardic PantheonEdit
The Ard have a unique culture, compared to other races in many aspects, such as in music, food, art, education, festivals, architecture, and religion.
In religion, many Ards (If not all) hold a spiritual relation between birth and death, believing that children are born "battle-cleaned" and must spend their lives to prove their worthiness to enter the afterworld, or be forced to spend all time trapped on Ethos, unable to fight and thus unable to prove themselves worthy (A fate considered much like Hell). It is because of this that blood-shed and battle-hardened behavior is a vital essence of an Ard. Almost all Ards begin swordtraining at a young age, usually from age 5-7 and continue until maturity. After this, Ardic Men and Women are to recieve the blessing of the father of the house (mother, if the father is deceased or during war time) to begin their lives as they well choose.
Wind and Cold are fundamental to the Ardic, expressions like "May the ice follow you" or "Follow the Icy Gale" are common expression in the Ardic culture. This is because of ancient traditions, as the winds of Arnforth always blow south, which assisted early Ardic people in travel and continue to. Unlike most cultures, the Ard do not have an official navy, but rather a guild of sailors and privateers which are loyal to the Ardic trade.
Much of the Art, created in the Ardic lands is based on wood-carvings colored by paints or inks, unlike most others which involve canvas and paint. Ardic culture seems to be also based heavily on stone carving and ironwork, due to the lack of canvas in the Ardic southlands. However, much Ardic art, even beautiful pieces is considered worthless by other cultures due to it's appearance and weight.
The Ard, unlike all other Seylandoric Races, worship a pantheon of nine gods and goddesses called "Vus Ragnar" or "The After". The gods story of rise begin with the tale of Erjak, who formed the land with his skin and the oceans with his tears. He is comparable to the leader of the other gods. Felha, a female goddess of love and deciept is the wife of Erjak, seducing him into marriage using her beauty and cocieron, Lok and Rolaf are the twin brother gods, formerly men, who are known for trickery and chaos. Lok, the god of Death, Plague, and Graves and his brother Rolaf, the god of Medicine, Good Health, and strangely Ironcasting.
The son of Erjak and Felha, Erhale, is a warrior god trained by his mother and is considered by most Ards to be the God of War, Blood, and Victory. Felha had another son, whom is named Deljo and is the god of Trade, Gold, and Seafarers. Reha, a female rogue, became a god and is often mocked by other gods. She is the goddess of Shadows, Night, Thieves, and Murder. Thorm is considered the ugliest, yet kindest of the gods, and represents the god of Blades, Kindness, and Warriors. The last god, Hedga is the god of the sun, daytime, and punishment.