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The lands of the North are long sheltered from much of the grand sweep of history since the oceans drank Atlantis. The mountains were spared that deluge, their uppermost peaks a refuge for the scraps of humankind that remained, fleeing the oncoming watery Cataclysm. The millennia that followed the Cataclysm saw their debasement and descent into savagery, until they resembled little more than apes, barely possessing the rudiments of speech and tool use. Slowly, these tribes crawled back from the brink of this state, eventually regaining tribalism, language, and rising once more into something akin to humankind, though scarcely above the level of barbarism.

They migrated northwards to avoid the crushing forces of change that threatened them. In the North, these barbarians encountered a race of snowy apes, who they battled for survival, eventually driving the apes forth to beyond the Arctic Circle. These barbarians then went to the south and to the east. The wandering tribes of Atlanteans settled in this land, thinking the snow apes would soon be extinct, so far into the inhospitable regions at the northernmost place in the world.

Nearby, the Cataclysm had destroyed Atlantis, but not its people. The Atlanteans stubbornly clung to existence, refusing to submit, and the waters eventually receded from their islands and gave them a homeland, a place where they could flourish — though their existence was threatened by their ancient enemies, the Picts, miraculously spared the worst of the floods and earthquakes that reshaped the world. The Pict-Atlantean wars lasted hundreds of years, a conflict that settled into the very bloodlines of each people.

Appearances[]

  • Cimmerians are tall and broad-shouldered, and with dark skin, as if well-tanned. Their hair is usually raven-black or dark brown, and their eyes are usually blue or gray. They appear very much as their Atlantean ancestors did, despite the intervening eons.
  • Hyperboreans are the tallest of the northern and Hyborian races, only equaled in stature by some groups within the Black Kingdoms. They are gaunt and have dirty blonde hair, and their features are generally rough. Eyes are usually gray. However, the admixture of alien blood from slaves — particularly Brythunian, Zamorian, Æsir, Hyrkanian, and even Cimmerian — has given them a wider range of appearances than those from other countries.
  • Nordheimer are also tall and strong of build, the Vanir being slightly broader than the Æsir. Their skin is pale, almost white, and eyes are bright blue and bright green. Vanir are red-haired and -bearded, and Æsir have hair of gold.

The Coming of The Barbarians[]

From beyond the Arctic Circle came a new tribe of blonde- haired, blue-eyed barbarians, freshly-descended from the snowy-furred apes that had been driven North by the ancestors of the Hybori, but now returned in force. The influx of these fair-haired and light-eyed invaders pushed the former Atlanteans southward, coming to an eventual halt in a country surrounded by mountain ranges... a place they would later call Cimmeria, perhaps after the ancient northern land of Commoria, drowned in the Cataclysm.

These newly-named Cimmerians, born of Atlantean blood, settled into their bleak, fog-shrouded land of hills and bluffs, and rebuffed the invaders from the north, who dubbed themselves Nordheimer, “the people of the North lands”. To the west they discovered their ancestral enemies, the Picts, in full force, their primeval forests seemingly untouched by the depredations of time and tide. Conflict reignited and the two peoples were once more at war, a conflict that seems likely to outlast all the world itself. Despite this stalemate, the land they inhabited was enough for sustenance — rough comfort to be certain — but enough to survive. They farmed the grassy moors and herded on hillsides, and mined the rocky lowlands for copper, tin, silver, and eventually iron.

Eventually, the tribes of Bor founded the nation to the east called Hyperborea, and went south to nations such as Acheron, Koth, and Ophir. Calling themselves the Hyborians, they would settle in the lands south of Cimmeria, forming many kingdoms of their own — Gunderland, Aquilonia, Nemedia, Brythunia, and the strife-torn Border Kingdom.

Though they were more than capable against the Hyborians, the Cimmerians were too unruly, lacking any unity, and they were more than content to remain where they were, with enemies to the east in the form of the Picts, and unwelcome Hyborians as their southern neighbors.

Similarly, the Nordheimer found themselves in a difficult—yet hospitable—homeland, with enough space to spread out to the shore to the west and to the East as far as a mountain range. On the other side of that range, the Nordheimer encountered a primitive people, near-savage nomads dwelling in horse-hide tents as they did when they dwelt north of the Arctic Circle. These folks — Hyperboreans, they called themselves — were pale-haired and light eyed, but there was a sullen roughness to their cast, and a violent nature that rebuffed the Nordheimer at every entreaty.

The folk the Nordheimer encountered, who bore the name Hyperboreans, were not in fact the first to bear that name. The many tribes of horse nomads inhabiting the land had overrun a far older race whose appearance and customs are long since lost to history and memory. Only their name remained, taken by the Hyborian invaders who took their lands and hunted them almost to extinction, casting them into slavery to their last member, eventually absorbing their bloodline into their own.

"They were of Vanaheim and I was of Asgard, the natural division of Nordheim, that shadowy, semi-mythical homeland of all proto-Aryans. In Hengibar’s day the bulk of the Nordheimer still dwelt there, in their horse-hide tents among the snows; golden-haired Æsir and red-haired Vanir, warring among themselves, from time to time sending forth drifts of tribes that wandered around the world and left their traces in strange far places."
―Akram the Mysterious

However, these original Hyperboreans left behind a few stone forts and habitations that their slayers originally shunned but eventually inhabited. Eventually, the new Hyperboreans shifted their entire culture from a nomadic one to that of builders, creating primitive and later sophisticated bulwarks to defend themselves against the Nordheimer, the other Hyborian tribes to the south, and the dark-haired steppe nomads out of the land that would eventually become Turan.

At no time in prior human history did a people shift so radically as did the new Hyperboreans, switching from an entirely nomadic nature to one exclusively inhabiting stone forts, walled towns, and eventually to great walled fortresses and smallish cities. Much of this work was made possible by the “old” Hyperboreans, their techniques used to build these great stone-works and their back-breaking labor taken from them through cruel enslavement.

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