|Country||The Archduchy of Nixium|
|Founded||July 18, 2021|
|• Type||Feudal Jarldom|
|• Total||3 men, numerous villagers, some iron golems|
Isvik is a viking village in The Archduchy of Nixium located on the Olarian Peninsula on the continent of Prospit. It is located on the western shore of the Roldafjord, the frozen mouth of the River Rolda, which flows from the Pond of Tears until The Sea of Scars, opposite of the Garden of Eden.
The culture of Isvik is primarily of viking stock and a person from Isvik is referred to as Isviking. The architecture is characterised by the extensive use of wood for longhouses and decorations such as roof-dragons, and several open fireplaces for warmth and cooking. Isvik is home to the first sauna in all of Alathra, which is utilised as a place for resting, socialising and discussing business.
The people enjoy a diet based on a few crops, fish, meat and alcohol, especially wine made from wild berries, since the surrounding areas are vast frozen plains and beaches, only supporting synthetic forestry and limited agriculture. Nevertheless, Isvikings celebrate various festivals, such as the Hollow-een, and cater an abundance of food for those occasions.
Generally the population of Isvik is not adherent to any organised religion, however it is superstitious society that practices divination, sacrifices and rituals devoted to various spirits, mythical and semi-mythical ancestors such as Gammeljarl and places of natural beauty such as very old trees, caves and volcanoes. Another revered figure is the Ice Dragon, sometimes called Isdrake (lit. Ice Dragon) or Drakfader (lit. Dragon Father). The Isdrake is the primary symbol for Isvik and is depicted on the town banner and coat of arms, and it is said in Isviking legends that Alathra's icy northern sea belt was created by the Isdrake crashing into the land and leaving as scarred trail of a frozen sea full with treacherous icebergs. Some have theorised that the belief in this dragon could be related to The Pantheon of the Dragon worshipped in Redna, however it must be noted that other nord and viking cultures across Alathra also feature mythical or religious dragon-like figures.
Writing has been practiced by Isvik's ancestors for a long time, but was mainly limited to runes and symbols for good luck or spiritual significance. Nevertheless, the Isvikings through trade came to adopt ink and paper, allowing writing to develop further and much of Isvik's identity can be found in writing in the form of Skalds and Sagas.
Skalds are poetic writings in books that usually involve alliteration, rhythm and sometimes even singing and laughing, rather than rhyming. Skalds carry stories of Isvik's myths. Some examples include: Skald 2: Findrsång which is about the Isvikings' journey, fleeing their ancestral homeland to their current stead, including the below excerpt with translation into Common in brackets:
Fara til eastern riges, (Fare to eastern realms,)
Far þru sæ of scars. (far through the Sea of Scars.)
Lænd on de fourþ mearc, (Land on the fourth continent,)
Lif nytt, ye begetan. (A new life you will beget.)
The saga are chronicles that record more detailed stories to serve as record keeping, historiography and propaganda. The main difference between skalds and sagas are that the former is often written in the ancestral tongue, while the sagas are written in the common tongue.
Despite the few resources at hand, Isvik produces many fine tapestries, banners, cloaks and mats, made available to them by trading with foreigners for dyes and by raising sheep for wool. This extends to making book covers and shield decorations, which are both for practical use and for embellishments for various purposes. This practice may have evolved as a pass-time, however it has always had a strong spiritual connection too and there are occasional stories behind certain art pieces.
Little is known of Isvik and the presence of ancient, abandoned mine-shafts deep underneath indicate that this site has been inhabited much earlier than previously believed.
The Isvikings originally came from a place called Urheim (approx. meaning "original home"). A semi-mythical figure known as Gammeljarl (meaning "the old jarl") lead the people on a voyage to Alathra and Isvik following a call from the Drakfader. Just after Gammeljarl founded Isvik, he passed away, and the remains are currently in the catacombs under the Isvik stave church.
In its current incarnation, it was settled by a trading, seafaring people who referred to the settlement as Isvik in mid-July 2021. At this stage, Isvikwas nothing more but a wind shelter and a wall built by snow to protect the people from wild monsters and the surrounding barren icy beaches. A collection of Skalds are the primary sources for contemporary historiography and detail how Isvik came to pass and grow into the fortified village it is today. It refers to the first settlers as vikings and Isvik translates to ice-bay in their language.
Attracting attention for its peculiar location and newfound security, a wandering people who worshipped the moon led by ClanofWada found the village one day when it was empty and believed it to be abandoned, and claimed it as their own and named it Jericho. The two peoples though, tolerated each other and lived side by side until the guest people eventually emigrated. This developed into a pattern and Isvik's population swell and shrunk in different stages. At its lowest point it was narrowed down to two individuals and a dozen enslaved villagers. However, in the subsequent months Jarl Pzychosocial made the villagers free men and with the help of Huskarl Potipoti Isvik was expanded and returned to a moderately prosperous settlement. Things took off further once the warrior Antonlovetuva joined and Isvik became a bustling town.
During the Prospitian Revolutionary War, Isvik covertly sided with the rebellion against Acquendavia and pledged resources and one warrior. Fortunately however, the conflict was over before the village was drawn in. After the war Isvik entered into the AIA, the Prospitian Provisional Union and formed The Nixium Oath together with Archivia. During this time Isvik expanded further with the improvement of farming techniques, the completion of a stave church and a wharf used to build longships. As a result gradually became more woven into the international community and imported many ideas and innovations.