The Heigmnir are a fierce humanoid race from the continent, who have historically been aggressive raiders and pillagers of surrounding lands. First appearing in texts as an unknown menace from the north, the Heigmnir rose to prominence as coastal raiders able to strike deep inland with their light warships and longboats. No single Heigmnir land was recognized until the advent of Thane Lodmund the Black, who eradicated the elven city of Hanenas and built Heigm on its ruins. From then, the Heigmnir were centered around that city and waged war on all neighbors, near and far. While constantly waging war and winning battles, the Heigmnir never occupied other regions, instead pillaging and returning to Heigm with their plunder. Heigm grew to massive wealth and prosperity on blood and death.
Yet the Heigmnir were not total savages and evil humanoids. They had a limited autocracy, with the High Thane at the top, the thanes under him, the jarls under them, the hersirs under them, and the common folk at the bottom. Advancement depended on deeds in battle, craftsmanship, or innovation, with a jarl having hersirs from all walks of life. While contemptuous of outsider nations in general, Heigmir were surprisingly tolerant of other cultures and even inclusive of outsiders who immigrated to Heigm and made a life there. Many tales describe sworn enemies being captured, made slaves for a set number of years before being set free, and opting to stay and becoming thanes themselves. Even the legend of Reaena Belanore includes her time as a slave, becoming a jarl and then founding Alfheim.
The Heigmnir even practiced gender equality in a time when other cultures considered it blasphemy. Heigmnir raiders could be men or women, with the expectation that if injured or pregnant the individual would then take charge of the home while their spouse continued the fighting. This system insured that a jarl always had a standing army at any given time to fend off attackers and raid neighbors. Child-rearing was done until age 5, when a child was expected to learn how to hunt and fight, educated by the town elders and priests, and taught shipbuilding, and often times participating in their first battle by age 12.
In current times, Heigm is no longer the old city-state it was. A succession of High Thanes who got involved in court schemes from other nations weakened the old ways, leading to many Heigmnir taking up a mercenary life and selling their blades for the highest bidder. World renowned for their skills, many nations have hired entire battalions of Heigmnir and incorporated their military traditions. Many Heigmnir have even carved out their own fiefdoms, practicing the old ways in foreign parts of the world and turning themselves into regional warlords in regions unaccustomed to their presence.
Currently, Heigmnir pay lip service to High Thane Bothvar Ufisson, even if they are critical of his reign. The general idea is that if a Heigmnir supports the High Thane, they send back some of their plunder to Heigm, and if not they withhold it and simply wait for the next High Thane.
Known Heigmnir Warlords
Bothvar Ufisson - High Thane of Heigm. Bothvar is the current High Thane of Heigm, and considered to be one of the "Unbloodied Thanes," or hereditary holders of the title who did not follow the old ways to rise to their position. He is considered to be ineffectual, weak, and emblematic of the dismissal of the old ways.
Ernmund Karisson - Thane of Vigun. Holder of the land of Vigun, Ernmund serves as an ally of Alfheim and foe of the dark elves.
Folkmar Grimolfsson – Thane of Skor. The disfigured and leprous Thane, Folkmar is a dark presence in Skor, believed to be a vampire or wraith who has taken up his new territory of Skor in the regions south of Sulrakas. Folkmar holds his lands with an iron fist, but stays loyal to the High Thane.
Vikar Kætilfastsson – Jarl of Kosber. Jarl holding the lands around the city of Heigm, Vikar is a protector of the city and it's High Thane, regardless of who it is.
Northri Isisson - Thane of Phaeryx - A foreign-sworn Thane, loyal to the Sulrakas Empire, he holds the land between Heigm and Sulrakas, and serves as an intermediary between the two, with a more practical purpose being the hiring and tempting of Heigmnir to work for Sulrakas.
Valgerd Fornidottir - Thane of Magna. Fought the fire giants when they emerged from the eruption of Mount Frivord and enslaved the dwarves within it. Valgerd took over the base of the mountain and established her own nation dedicated to taking back the mountain for the dwarves, who have been migrating under her banner to take back their homeland.
Dalla Hælæifdottir - Thane of Caerwyn. Technically not a thane but an earl in Cedoria, Dalla is considered to be a foreign-sworn thane, loyal to the crown of Cedoria in a fief largely populated by Heigmnir. In the War of Upheaval, she sided with Osric and was included in his treaty for peace. Since then, she and her people have been loyalists of the crown having been rewarded for not pillaging as much as they could have during the war.
Siv Knutdottir - Jarl of Nortgurd. The so-called "Daughter of the Bear," Siv is the great defender of Heigm from Rime, the northern city-state under the rule of Lord Grief and his huntsmen.
Odinkar Vekelsson - Hersir of Magna. Serves under Thane Valgerd, fighting the fire giants of Mount Frivord to liberate the dwarves. Odinkar is one of her many lovers, scarred by his many burns from the environment and the fire giants.
Hosvir Ulsson - Son of Jarl Uls Thunderung, taking over for his father after his death in battle. Renounced any claim to the throne of Cedoria and took his troops back to Heigm for the first time in thirty years.
Uls Thunderung - mercenary warlord who participated in several large wars, finally slain in the Battle of Southern Shore in the War of Upheaval in Cedoria. Infamous for cruelty and ruthlessness. A (very) distant claimant to the Cedorian throne.