The Pilgrimage from the North

Tavish Chronicler's note: The following is written from an oral account told to me by a Tavish Elder-Cleric. His reference to "the White Beasts" is a traditional colloquialism for the Snow Orcs, the physically twisted ice folk of the north, who are now known to be ancient migrant relatives of the Matran elves of the far South, and who made a pilgrimage under the instruction of their demon lord, Yolkan. For more information on Snow Orcs, I recommend a volume entitled "Pale Elves, Corrupted: On Snow Orcs and Their Origin" at the Vohdish University library.

In the days before our lord, Tavi, granted us his wisdom of the Runes, men would speak histories aloud to one another. This is one such tale, and it tells the story of the Jarl Thorgil Beard-Axe and his journey from the old North.

Long ago, before the sons of Tavi stood upon these lands, they lived far across the Northern Sea, in a land of ice. The land was cold and harsh. It bore few grains or fruits, and men survived only on the meat and furs and blood of great beasts, and by the knowledge of fire, which Tavi had given to his wisest children to teach to others. In this time, all men were free, and each man worked his own land and protected his own family, as there was then no Jarl. Disputes were settled by the collective wisdom of all Tavish men, who assembled in a great hall to decide on matters which required mediation, such as land disagreements, or matters of justice.

It was during one of these assemblies when Jarl Thorgil Beard-Axe, then called Thorgil Wolf-son, first spoke of sailing southward to find new lands. Many of the assembled dismissed his claims that there were lands to be found and settled to the south, but Thorgil insisted that all able bodied folk should travel to find a new land, which would be warmer and easier to work, and that the menace of the White Beasts could not reach them there.

The White Beasts, then thought to be other Tavi who were cursed by an ancient dark wizard of ice and cold, lived beneath the land, in the darkness and frozen cold of the caves. Often they would resurface to hunt with crude stone weapons, staying close to their dwellings when they did, but on occasion a group of young male Orcs would attack a Tavish homestead, likely as a part of some backward rite of passage their bestial kind took part in, or perhaps out of desperation in times of scarcity. Many honorable folk were lost in these coordinated, unpredictable attacks. Thorgil was an honorable man, and many of his folk respected him. As such, he convinced the assembled men of the truth in his story: that he had heard the voice of our ancestor-god, Tavi, and that he was instructed to lead his folk southward, across the sea, to new lands.

The journey was long and arduous, of course, and when the Jarl's ships arrived upon the shore, our folk were met by Vohdish forces, who held greedily onto the land, as though it belonged only to them. It is said that, when the Tavish settlers refused to leave and would not pay the tax of the occupiers, and when their legions assembled before Jarl Beard-Axe and his men, that the Jarl stood at the front lines bearing his great axe in one hand, and rose the other hand to a pointing gesture. He pointed directly at the commander of the opposing force, who sat mounted on his horse, and did not move from that position for several hours--some say a full day--until the Vohdish legion receded. No blood was spilled on that day, and none since, between the children of Vohd and the children of Tavi.

It is in this way that the children of Tavi came upon the lands of the North.