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USV Factions: The Wolves

Last week, I wrote about the Ravens, one of the three main factions of Norse America. Today, I will focus on the Wolves.

While the Ravens were led by Eskil the Founder for decades, the Wolves were born of and shaped by multiple leaders over the same time. Consequently, the faction has many moods.

Their first leader was Thrain, a stern man of stubborn strength. His focus was to gather and hold power and, by doing so, secure his hall. Upon arrival in Markland, he murderously claimed thralls from amongst the Valefolk, but his power was brittle. People followed him in fear, not through earned loyalty, admiration, or love.

When Raven and Wolf first met, Thrain was initially pleased but soon saw the subtle changes in the Ravens forced on Eskil's people by circumstance. Himself, he refused to similarly adapt, instead stubbornly clutching to the ways he knew. Thrain defensively doubled down, insulting Gudrid and Eskil. After challenging the leader of the Ravens in a fight for supremacy amongst the Markland Norse, he lost his life.

Following on from Thrain, his son Thoromr took control of the Wolves settlement of Lakeland. While young and more flexible than his father, Thoromr was still focused on building power, something he was aided in after meeting Faraldr the Greenlander. Faraldr opened the flow of new settlers from Iceland to Markland for both Raven and Wolf. In time, Thorormr One Eye mellowed, unlike his father.

Thoromr would learn and slowly change. During the bloodshed of the Red Winter, he began to understand how the heavy-handed ways of the Wolves had placed a knife at his own people's heart. While he did not adopt some of the more radical changes the Ravens had adopted, after years of prosperity, changes did come with an increased sense of openness. The bloody cruelty that had marked the early days of Lakeland under Thrain also faded but did not altogether leave. Regardless, after years of softening, Thoromr One Eye's Wolves were then rocked by the combined events of Loki's Rage and Trion and Ineke's grab for power. Loki's Rage represented, if anything, a slide back towards the bloody days of Red Winter. The bloodshed of that era only ended with Thoromr's death and the scattering of Trion and Ineke. That left Afridr, daughter of Thoromr, to rule the surviving people of Lakeland. In time, as order returned, she would marry Ulfarr, son of Eskil, and the two of them would set the Wolves on a more moderate path. That path, though, compared to the more curious and open-minded Ravens, was still about strength and securing themselves before anything else, such as venturing further afield. The Wolves began to learn wisdom under Thorormr, and continued to do so with Afridr and Ulfarr. They are now considered to be wise but slow in acting. Regardless, in time, the Wolves spread, even if they expanded much more gradually and slowly than their rivals.

Within them, often living on their frontiers or sometimes hidden amongst them, surviving fragments of their internal factions, such as followers of Trion, linger. The Wolves, always marked by red combined with white, grey or black, are many things, but especially strong, proud and stubborn.

The Wolves Are:

All Norse American factions, Raven, Wolf or Bear, are fractured, with their own currents of dischord, but few factions have such insular, frustrated, and explosive anger smoldering at their heart as the Wolves. Yet, for all their failings, the Wolves are what the rest of the Norse call upon when swords and shields are needed more than wisdom or words of calm. The Wolves can always be counted on for their strength. They are stubborn when they have set a goal. They will focus on the basics of land, food and hall before considering anything else, so often seem lost to duties at home, but when they are called upon in times of trouble, when peace will only come after the spilling of blood, they will be there if it is in the interest of their own people.

The Wolves call the Greater Lakelands home, as well as the river-lined plains to the south and west. Over time, they have done much with their land and built many cities, including their towering capital Vindrstrond. They have great pride in themselves as a faction yet are often split internally amongst their own intrigues.


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