Saturday, 27 November 2021

On King Ingemar Hartensen

“Stars, hide your fires; 
Let not light see my black and deep desires.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Ingemar Hartensen
When you gaze into darkness, darkness gazes back. So say the berserkers.
Ingemar Hartensen is well acquainted with this wisdom. More than most, I would imagine. He has fought long and hard and has been drenched in the blood of his enemies. Bathed by Kord, he would say.
He was also weaned on tales of Schnai supremacy. The Schnai had always been the strongest of the Rhizians. And Rhizians were the superior to all others, in strength, in spirit, in deeds. So the elders have declared for generations. So too have the skalds sung.
The Frost, Ice and Snow Barbarians are perfect specimens of unmixed Suloise blood; the nearly albinoid Snow Barbarians are the best example. [WoGA – 13]
He had taken those lessons to heart. Had not the inferiority of all others proclaimed the superiority of the Schnai, chosen by Vatun and Kord both?
Are they superior? They are certainly hardened by their terrain and climate.
The king of Schnai rules the land between the eastern Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay. The Spikey Forest separates the territories of the Snow and Frost Barbarians, though the lands on both sides are very similar. The climate of both kingdoms is nearly identical as well, with a relatively temperate southern zone. The landscape of the kingdom of Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii region, however, though not so rough as that of the Cruskii. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruskii. [LGG – 105]

The Cold Tongue: This dialect, also known as Fruz, is primarily Suloise with Flan admixture. It is spoken commonly by the Ice, Snow. and Frost Barbarians. It has no relation to Common, and even speakers of Suloise find it hard to understand. [WoGA – 16]

532 CY
Ingemar Hartensen is born. Conjecture.
He is not Orvung’s son, else he would be named Orvungsen.
I have placed his birth before Hundgred R√§lffson’s (placed by me in 549 CY), as Hundgred is referred to as the “young” king of the Fruztii in thre Living Greyhawk Journal.
Ingmar is noted as a CN male human Bbn16 in the same work, and I would imagine that it should take a number of years to gain that level of experience.

550s CY
Orvung is 60 in 550 CY. Ingemar is 18.
The Fists were flooding into the Fruztii highlands. Orvung, in his wisdom, was sending aid.
Ingemar questioned why he and his fellow shields were scaling the Kelten Pass in defence of Fruztii, the Schnai’s weakest brethren. Can’t they defend their own lands, he wondered? Don’t be stupid, his thane said; it’s no matter why we’re here, he said, we’re here to stay. Ingemar did not understand just then. He was young. Eager. He yearned for battle. And glory. He did not have to wait long. Within the week he had bloodied his sword on orc and ogre and he knew that Kord must be pleased. Ingemar revelled in his victories and painted his face with vanquished blood. Those battles paled compared with his repeated clashes with the Fists. His and their blood painted the high snows. He never felt so alive.
For nearly 30 years, [the Fruztii] have been under the thumb of the Snow Barbarians[.] [FtAA – 25]
The Frost Barbarians are the weakest of the three nations (of Suel peoples) inhabiting the Thillonrian Peninsula, called Rhizia by these peoples. They have never recovered from the Battle of Shamblefield, and have been under the suzerainty of the Schnai for the past two decades - and several times previously as well. [WoGA – 21]

560 CY
The Euroz
Orvung is 70. Ingemar is 28, when [in] 560 CY hordes of humanoids (Euroz, Kell, Eiger, and others) began making forays into the Bone March, and these raids turned into a full scale invasion the next year. [WOGA – 20]
In 560 CY, the raids took a dramatic upturn, and in 561 a full invasion began. [LGG – 36]
The Fruztii called their brethren to arms. The time is ripe take advantage of the Ratikians disadvantage, they urged Orvung in his hall. Ratik busy fending off the orcs, they said. Ingemar agreed. But Orvung refused, much to Ingemar’s chagrin. It was better to wait, Orvung told the Fruztii, sure that the Aerdi and Euroz would destroy one another. Then they would strike, Orvung said. The old fool, Ingemar thought. He’s weak. Hesitant. Scared. Ingemar did not see the Red Robes of Shar whispering to Orvung behing closed doors.
In 560, nonhuman tribes from the Rakers and Blemu Hills struck into Bone March, subjugating the land in 563 and slaying its leaders. [LGG – 91]
In 560 CY, the humanoids of the Rakers began major forays into these lands. Turmoil within the Great Kingdom was so great that opposition to them could not be effectively mustered. Within four years, the ores, gnolls, and ogres of the hills and mountains had swept across the lands in an orgy of pillage and slaughter. [FtAA – 24]

563 CY
The Bone March Falls
Bone March fell to humanoids, but not Ratik.
Orvung was wrong, Ingemar raged! They should have heeded Fruztii’s call to arms, but Orvung had stayed their hand. Indeed, he stayed Fruztii’s hand, as well, when they could have rid the north of the Aerdi once and for all.
In 563 the land fell to these invaders. its lord was slain, and its army slain or enslaved. Humans in the area were likewise enslaved or killed, and the whole territory is now ruled by one or more of the humanoid chiefs. [WoGA – 20]
Ratik was now a haven for the Knights Protector, and thus, would be an even tougher nut to crack than ever.
Most Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom live now in Ratik, refugees from Bone March, where Clement was a powerful member of the order until the province's fall in 563 CY. [LGG – 158]

Worse, the Fruztii had turned to Ratik. How could they do such a thing, Ingemar wondered, when three short years ago they had urged Orvung to set Schnai’s berserkers on them? Could their betrayal be because Orvung had spurned them? Was Orvung to blame, Ingemar wondered?
[Lexnol III of Ratik had] approached the lords of Djekul, who had grown less wary of the proud Aerdi in the intervening years and were even grudgingly respectful. With the Fruztii, Lexnol forged an affiliation called the Northern Alliance. Ratik subsequently became fully independent of the Great Kingdom and had the might to both hammer the orcs and gnolls of Bone March and dissuade an invasion from North Province. [LGG – 91]
Yes, Ingemar blamed Orvung. He should have called upon his clan to set sail, he knew then, but his thane restrained him. Remember your oath to your king, his thane commanded him. Ingemar did; but he should not have.

575 CY
Ingemar Hartensen is 43.
The Ratik-Frutzii alliance had not broken, much to Ingemar’s surprise. Indeed, Fruztii relied more and more on Ratik and less and less on their Rhizian brethren.
The Schnai; the Snow Leopards

We Schnai ought to command the destiny of all Rhizians, Ingemar said; and he was pleased when he discovered that a great many of the others in his clan felt as he did. No sooner did they say so that the old thane “passed away” in his sleep, dishonouring their fjord, Ingemar said. He should have died leading his people into battle, he said, and the clan beat their spears against their shields at his words. Ingmar became thane of his village, to all the shields’ satisfaction.
A recent pact concluded between Fruztii and Ratik saw a joint army wreak havoc in the Bone March, and during the next campaigning season [576] clear the north pass of the "Fists." [WoGA – 21]
A major raid into Stonehold was mounted several years ago by a combined force of Schnai and Cruski, though they were ultimately driven back. [LGG – 106]
Orvung did this, Ingemar reasoned. If the old fool had joined with Fruztii when asked, Ratik would be no more.

576 CY
Kingdom of Schnai (Snow Barbarians): Orvung, F16
[WoGG – 17]

His Bellicose Majesty, King of the Schnai
Capital: Soull (5,400)
Population: 90,000 +
Demi-humans: Some
Humanoids: Many (in mountains)
Resources: copper, gems (L II)
[WoGA – 35]

The Snow Barbarians are the strongest and most numerous of the northern peoples. Several decades ago they captured the west coast below Glot and have managed to hold it since. For a time the Frost Barbarians were under the thumb of the King of the Schnai, but the Fruztii are now free except in pledge. This has not affected general concord with either neighbor, as all three consider the Great Kingdom and the Sea Barons as their most natural source of easy loot and profit. Although fighting invading humanoids has become a national pastime, there are sufficient men left to man the longships when campaigning season in the south is at hand. It is rumored that the Baron of Ratik has sent messages to the King of the Schnai proposing four-way cooperation to take the Hold of Stonefist and the Bone March. Supposedly this proposal offers Glot and Krakenheim as possible gains for the Schnai, while the Fruztii and Cruski would divide the Hold, part of Timberway would be returned to the Frost Barbarians, and Ratik would rule Bone March. The reaction to these proposals can not be guessed, but the Schnai are undoubtedly keeping an eye on the joint Fruztii-Ratik ventures of late. [WoGA – 35]

Ingemar marvelled that not only had the Fruztii alliance with Ratik endured, but it had also flourished.
The alliance between Ratik and the Frost Barbarians against the humanoids of the Bone March has borne fruit over years of cooperation. The forces of Ratik now occupy the Loftwood and are preparing for a major assault on the city of Johnsport, backed by a naval attack along the coast to the east.
The other joint operation of these states has been against the Hold of Stonefist. Fruztii forces have now secured the pass south of the Hraak Forest and control the lands for 20 miles around. [WGS2 Howl from the North – 6]

Rhizian Solidarity
He also marvelled that Orvung had entered that alliance. Orvung told his thanes that he only did so to honour Rhizian solidarity against the south; but hadn’t Ratik always been a part of that south?
The Snow Barbarians have concentrated their attacks on the Great Kingdom and Sea Baron shipping, although some of the Schnai are assisting the Frost Barbarians in the Hold of Stonefist.
Rumors say that the King of the Snow Barbarians was not pleased by a plan for the three barbarian groups to ally with Ratik. Not that he didn’t trust the Baron of Ratik, who proposed the plan, but for simpler reasons. Major invasions in the Bone March would drive tens of thousands of humanoids into the North Province and might precipitate an attack from the Great Kingdom. The King, being wily and crafty, prefers not to attract the Great Kingdom’s full attention just now. [WGS – 6]

Ingemar took his fleet to sea. It was time that the clans remembered that Vatun had decreed that the Schnai were meant to temper their steel in the blood of their enemies.
Of late these raiders have joined with Frost and Snow barbarians in order to counter the growing strength of the coastal defenders of the Great Kingdom and the Sea Barons. [WoGA – 26]
They will raid their cousins to the south, the Snow and Frost barbarians, or raid with them into Ratik or the more tempting Great Kingdom. [WoGA – 26]

577 CY
Ingemar Hartensen is 45.
And so it was that Ingemar took his ships into battle.
Ingemar took his ships into battle...
During the season of 577, much minor activity took place along the coast of North Province and off the northern end of the Island of Asperdi. Some raiders were met and actions were fought; some slipped through, some turned elsewhere. Reportedly a squadron of seven Schnai longships were set upon whilst sinking the hulks of two provincial merchants, the vessels Marntig and Solos. Guided by the smoke and flames, a flotilla of Baronial warships surprised the barbarians. Three of the Schnai were rammed and sunk. In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians’ fleet was captured, but the three remaining longships escaped after jettisoning all of their captured cargo.
The flagship was occupied with the help of prisoners who broke free during the confused fighting and set fire to the vessel’s sail. Jarl Froztilth, leader of the Schnai, many of his men, and the captured ship were all taken to Asperdi. News of this success was said to have greatly heartened the Herzog.
This event notwithstanding, many of the vessels from the cold north did manage to avoid patrolling warships and successfully raid North Province and the Baronial Isles. Captured cargo and undesired weapons are said to find a ready market at Dekspoint (at the easternmost tip of Loftwood Peninsula) or at Marner in Ratik. [Dragon #63 – 16]
Ingemar and his clan escaped. We Schnai have grown weak, he told his shields. Orvung has weakened us. They agreed, They had lain fallow for far too long.

578 CY
Spared defeat, Ingmar’s raids became ever more daring. His fame rose among the Schnai, but news of his exploits were ever overshadowed by Fruztii gains.
The Fruztii sent raiding bands to sea with the Schnai, but due to careful urgings, numbers of mercenary troops also moved southward into Ratik and joined the Baron’s troops there. These Fruztii returned with knowledge of organized warfare and good-quality arms and armor and formed the core of a new standing army organized by King Ralff II in 578. The four companies of foot and one troop of horse actively patrolled and brought most of the realm under order. Chief men and nobles not raiding were prevailed upon to contribute men to patrol their own territories, so that by the end of the year, the frequency of banditry and humanoid raiding bands had been reduced to an all-time low. Even the high country around the head of the Jenelrad River was peaceful, and its Jarl swore an oath of fealty to Ralff. Without actually declaring independence from Schnai overlordship, the King of Fruzti showed that he was again capable of fielding an army capable of either defending his territory or taking another’s. The Schnai conveniently ignored the resurgence, probably hoping that the involvement in Ratik would again reduce the Frost Barbarians to vassal status.
[Dragon #57 – 14]

c. 580 CY
Whispers in the Dark
Lexnol had been working on a treaty with the Schnai to shore up his position against Bone March and its allies in North Kingdom [….]
[LGG – 89]
The Scarlet Brotherhood was not pleased by this development. They had always been pleased that the old king had always viewed the Ratikians with distrust, as his forefathers had before him. The Ratikians were scions of the Great Kingdom, Orvung had always growled, and whatever the fate of its mother country, its true allegiance would always lay with it.
No longer. Orvung began treating with Ratik, potentially undermining Shar’s influence on the peninsula. The old man had to go. They panned for potential gold, and discovered Ingemar Hartensen waiting in the wings. He is old, Shar whispered in Ingemar’s ears. Ancient, they said. Past his time, they said.
He’ll die soon, Ingemar had said, wondering who these red robed emissaries of Shar were, but sure of what they hinted at. He did not trust them at first, thinking them spies of the old tyrant, trying to lure him out and proclaimed a traitor. But their whispers became ever brazen, and to the point.
Not soon enough, Shar coaxed.

580 CY
Ingemar had until then only caught glimpses of the red robed emissaries of Shar. Their whispers worried him. What are they up to, he wondered, when they told him, you should be king.  What should they hope to gain by suggesting what they had all but named?
Ingemar took measures...
In time, Ingemar did not care what their motives might be. He had finally had enough of the old tyrant’s newfound appeasement. Are we Aerdians, he fumed? Are we to shed our blood in the service of these southerners?
The time was ripe that Orvung be put to rest, he declared. Orvung met his fate in the dark depths of night at age 90.
Ingemar Hartensen seized the Schnai throne to great acclaim. He is 48.
Few rejoiced at the old king’s passing. Fewer still protested. Even fewer took measures afterwards. To no avail. Few mourned their passing, either.
[Orvung is king of the Schnai as of 576 CY, as noted in the Greyhawk Boxed Set, and Ingemar Hartensen is king in 584 CY, as noted in the from the ashes Boxed Set. References in the Living Greyhawk Gazetter hint that the Fruztii and Cruski thrones are passed down through the ruling family, and I would assume the Schnai no different. No mention was made of Ingemar’s ancestry, so I took the liberty to add a little drama to the succession.]

582 CY
At 50 years of age Ingemar decreed that the Rhizians should put aside their differences. They would be as one, as they once were. The Schnai were the strongest of the three, he knew, so it was only a matter of time beforethe Schnai would once again gain their rightful place among them. He would bide his time until they were again under heel. But until then, appeasement was a good a lure as any.
By the time of the Greyhawk Wars, the Cruski had regained Ustula, and the Fruztii had nearly regained their independence. [LGG – 106]

Ingemar increased the number of raids on the Great Kingdom. He would have their wealth, and he would have them cower on their shores.
The Snow Barbarians, or Schnai, are the most powerful and populous group, dominating Grendep Bay and the northern Solnor Ocean with their longships. Their marauding armies, along with those of the Ice Barbarians, have made these savages a major force in the land. [WGS2 – 6]

All Rhizians share the same belief as do Ingemar and the Schnai. The believe that one day Vatun will return and that he will lead them to their rightful place in the world.
If there was a way to bind the Rhizians together and subvert them, this would be the way. Iuz did. With ease.
In 582 CY, the god Vatun appeared to his subjects among the barbarian tribes of the Thillonrian Peninsula. Ancient legend predicted that the return of Vatun, who had vanished centuries ago, would signal the birth of a barbarian empire in the north. Unfortunately, this particular "Vatun" was actually Iuz, whipping the northmen into a war frenzy.
The barbarians invaded the Hold of Stonefist, which allied with them after Iuz ensorcelled Sevvord Redbeard, the Master of the Hold The combined host then smashed through the Griffs and into the duchy of Tenh, which was swiftly overwhelmed. [LGG – 15]
But not for long.
[T]he Schnai, [were] drawn in by the false Vatun that briefly deceived them all. When it was revealed that this was a deception of Iuz the Old, the Suel barbarians withdrew from the alliance created between their nations and the Stonehold. [LGG – 106]
The barbarian alliance soon crumbled, but the damage was done; Tenh and Stonefist belonged to the Old One. [LGG – 15]

584 CY
Ruler: His Bellicose Majesty, King Ingemar Hartensen of the Schnai
[FtAA – 37]
Ingemar Hartensen is 52.
Ingemar has chosen to remain in Orvung’s alliance with Ratik, for the time being.
The Snow Barbarians are the strongest and most numerous of the northern Suel peoples. They claim suzerainty over all the barbarian peoples, especially the Cruskii, and are rather patronizing toward them. However, they have allied with their fellows against the Great Kingdom for many decades and have been known to make occasional forays against the Sea Barons.
Their alliance with Ratik is less cemented than that of the Cruskii, but Ingemar seems amenable to continued cooperation after the events of the Wars. He also has great hatred for the Stonefisters, and wishes to mount a joint expedition with the other barbarian races through the Griff Mountains to lay waste to Kelten. Time will tell if this comes to fruition.
The Snow Barbarians share many characteristics with their brethren, but are the palest of all, many being almost albinoid. Platinum-blond hair is not unusual. Their womenfolk have an unearthly beauty and are often found as a trainers (dogs and dog-wolf hybrids), scouts, rangers, druids, or the like, despite the dominant chauvinism of their men. This is a proud and strong race. [FtAA – 37, 38]

The warriors of the Schnai are typical of the Suel barbarians. They usually ply axe or sword in battle, and wear sturdy chainmail coats. All use round shields, including the berserkers, who otherwise go unarmored except for skins. Those berserkers dedicated to Vatun wield shortspears or battleaxes, while the followers of Kord favor the broadsword. The king himself favors Kord and has a company of berserkers among his household. They are usually kept at Knudje, rather than at the king's court in Soull, though the king sometimes sends them to guest at the halls of particularly troublesome jarls. The king's other troops are of a more standard variety, including companies of good archers. He has a few horsemen as well, masters of the long, scything axe. [LGG – 105]

They still assert their supremacy over the Ice and Frost Barbarians, but such claims are now ignored by their neighbors. Trade continues between the three barbarian states as it always has, and they freely mingle together on raiding expeditions to the southern lands. Shipwrights of the Snow Barbarians are still considered to be the most skilled in Rhizia, and Schnai captains are felt to be the luckiest. [LGG – 105]

590 CY
King Ingemar
A major raid into Stonehold was mounted several years ago by a combined force of Schnai and Cruski, though they were ultimately driven back. Since then, the young king of the Frost Barbarians has finally declared his nation's independence from the Schnai, Old King Orvung might have gone to war over such an action, but the current king is more circumspect History, he realizes, often repeats itself. The ambitions of the young king of Fruztii may soon prove too great for his jarls, and Ingemar will be ready to support their disaffection.
[LGG – 106]

An intermittent war smolders with Stonehold. King Ingemar generously feasts and rewards his chaotic jarls to insure their loyalty. Frost Barbarian jarls also being feted to gain their friendship and influence; this is viewed as blatant bribery, but it works. The king receives Scarlet Brotherhood agents at court, but privately says he does not trust them. [LGG – 106]
Nor should he.
Ingemar and his jarls pondered their future.
The Fruztii and Cruski had slipped from their grasp, for the present. But they had before. And likely would again. But the Cruski were few. And the Fruztii brash. Neither could stand without the Schnai for long. They never had. And never will.
The other barbarian nations, once strong allies of the Frost Barbarians, have begun to pull away from their more sophisticated cousins. As the Scarlet Brotherhood and Ratik nobles gain more influence at court, old allies feel less welcome. [WGG3e – 8]
Ingemar watched his southern “kin.” They professed that they were true to the Schnai. But they had been rumoured to have been seen in Djekul. And Krakenheim. Did they whisper those same promises there that they had to him? He also took note that he was not the only jarl in his hall they lingered nearby.
He recalled when they had first approached him. And pondered whether they might be plotting against him even now.
Ingemar Hartensen is 58.

One must always give credit where credit is due. This piece is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable.
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

The Art:

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
9317 WGS1 Five Shall be One, 1991
9337 Howl from the North, 1991
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, 2000
Dragon Magazine 57,63
Oerth Journal #1, as found on Greyhawk Online
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

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