Clanleader: Branthur Nightriver
High Priestess: Alvilde Frosttide
Warleader: Holmar Bloodmoon
Of the Ulven clans, Nightriver boasts both the largest population and the most expansive territory. Sharing a northern border with Clans Goldenfield and Riverhead, Clan Nightriver’s territory stretches to the southern tip of the Mardrun mainland, enveloping the eastern Watchwolf settlement as well. To the west, their border with Clan Grimward is fortified by both the Yurnai river and the Wolf’s Hackles Mountains.
Led by Branthur Nightriver, Clan Nightriver has long held a place of respect among the other clans, both for their bold leadership and through their sheer numbers. As diverse a clan as any through the virtue of their massive population and expansive territory, there are times when it seems that little more than pride binds the many packs of Nightriver into a single clan.
This great diversity, however, may have been the saving grace for the colonists from Faedrun. Following the initial fighting, Clan Nightriver was one of the first, alongside Clan Watchwolf to not only tolerate but also welcome their new guests. By Branthur’s hand, sizeable chunks of Nightriver territory were set aside for the colonists to make new homes for themselves. During the Civil War, it was the warpacks of Clan Nightriver who stood as the shield between Clan Grimward and the colonists they sought to exterminate. In the end it was a final charge led by Branthur himself that broke the Grimward lines at the Battle of Pyre Hills and halted Clan Grimward’s momentum, forcing an uneasy peace across Mardrun.
Though large and self-sustaining, Clan Nightriver has long worked to maintain strong ties to a number of various clans for a number of reasons: Goldenfield helps to sustain their population during hard winters; Stormjarl moves trade goods and helps their economy remain strong; Steinjottun provides them with high quality hawks to enhance their political presence; Shattered Spear will often loan warriors to Nightriver during months of little Mordok activity, with the understanding that the favor will be returned when the Mordok re-emerge. Even Clan Grimward long stood as staunch allies of Clan Nightriver, and together the two clans would be nearly unstoppable, though that alliance was ended when a number of colonists gravely insulted Khulgar Graytide and Clan Nightriver did not demand justice.
Their great reach and large number of well-trained and honorable warriors often see them falling into the role of enforcers across the continent, though they do make an effort not to impose their own will in these matters. Branthur may be bold, but he does realize that if he makes the wrong enemies, not even the great size of Nightriver can save his clan.
In an unfortunate revelation, late in the year 264 it was brought to light that Kragen Bloodmoon, the former Warleader of Clan Nightriver, had betrayed the honor of his clan. During the initial fighting against the colonists, he had assumed a false name and identity when challenged to an Honor Duel by the Vandregonian soldier Vanessa Grimm. He doubted her skill and taunted her mercilessly, though she overcame him through her tenacity, winning the day for the colonists. Infuriated, one of Kragen’s warrior leaders ordered his warpack to wait until cover of night, at which point they snuck into the Vandregonian camp and slaughtered the soldiers in their sleep. Instead of bringing this to light, this secret was buried and his warpack threatened with a traitor’s execution should the secret be revealed. When Branthur was finally made aware of the events which had soiled the honor of not just Clan Nightriver, but the Ulven as a whole, he ordered Kragen be executed and his body buried, that the Great Wolf might know of the dishonorable deeds committed by the traitor Kragen Bloodmoon.
Seeing the plea for aid sent out by Clan Stormjarl, Clanleader Branthur Nightriver understands that their presence in this war can no longer be symbolic nor passive. If they wish to stop the unnecessary killing being perpetrated by both sides of the war, the largest clan on Mardrun has to get involved. Using their network of resources, Clan Nightriver begins funding relationships and dealings with smaller groups, allowing them to hold their own in skirmishes against Clan Grimward, and acting as a deterrent against Grimward retaliation. Their troops mobilized quickly, reinforcing their bond with their smaller allies and helping to secure an alliance with Clan Ironmound in April, despite the backlash of the initial reactions to the meeting. As war-torn lands were ravaged by Grimward and Whiteoak warriors villages swelled nearly to bursting with the influx of refugees throughout the year. Scandal struck late in the year as several individuals delved deeper into the truth behind the honor duel which took place nearly a decade before and ended the initial fighting between Ulven and Human. Through their digging, they discovered that Kragen Bloodmoon, Warleader of Clan Nightriver, was not only present for the duel, but had been the Ulven warrior who took part. His shame was revealed when he admitted to losing the fight, but dishonored himself by assassinating the entire human unit who witnessed the duel in their sleep and swearing his warpack to secrecy. He was apprehended, branded, executed, and buried as a criminal and a disgrace to Clan Nightriver. When Haygreth led his blitzkrieg into Nightriver territory as the year drew to a close, hoping to remain a threat in the war at large despite his tenuous position, Branthur himself marched out to meet the Grimward forces in battle, accompanied by nearly every group in the Coalition capable of fielding soldiers in the battle that came to be known as The Battle of Pyre Hills. Though the losses were enormous on both sides, Nightriver and the Coalition eventually emerged victorious. With Grimward repelled and their momentum halted, Branthur was finally in a position to force Haygreth to sign an armistice, effectively ending the war, though Haygreth’s presence (and Branthur’s absence) at the signing led to the treaty being weighted more in favor of Clan Grimward than many in the Coalition wanted to see.
With the Civil War now behind them, and a treaty begrudgingly signed, Clan Leader Branthur Nightriver and the rest of Clan Nightriver look towards putting out political disputes between allies and former enemies, especially from Clan Stormjarl’s attitude and actions after refusing to agree and sign the treaty, and housing the massive amount of honorbound Clan Grimward villagers from the treaty. However, a new threat appears in the form of the Mordok and their creeping corruption. Daughters are sent out to help fight the corruption, often returning sickened by the magical disease itself.
In the middle of all of this, Clan Stormjarl, New Aldoria, and many other individuals strike against Clan Squallborn due to its refusal to sign the peace treaty and pay reparations. Clan Leader Branthor Nightriver and many others in positions of leadership vocally denounced the actions of its neighbors only in the form of disappointment and not much else. They were tired from the war and felt more concerned with the creeping corruption that was starting to plague the land.
During these trying times, Chieftain Holmar Bloodmoon of Pack Bloodmoon speaks out and challenges Clan Leader Branthur Nightriver’s position. Through the rest of the year, this Chieftain continues to drum up support from both within and outside the clan. Many agreed with his more aggressive stances and policies compared to Branthur’s more cautious and slow to action methods.
The beginning of the year comes as a mild shock to some of Mardrun as Clan Nightriver willingly sells its lands to the colonists and their territories. While some other clans, mostly Clan Grimward, view this as dishonorable and foolish, many see it as seeing it as a fair bargain since the lands bought were not cheaply given away. Through this selling though, the Clan makes a move and succeeds in absorbing what remained of the Watchwolf Clan of Sol as a new pack.
What was troubling was the constantly small number of missing honorbound from Clan Grimward in Clan Nightriver’s ranks. Many tell tales of missing the honorbound just vanishing overnight, with only signs of minor struggle or forced entry. This pattern continues throughout the year, eventually leading to Clan Leader Branthur Nightriver himself ordering increased patrols in the honorbound areas. It seems this effort paid off as the disappearances seem to halt.
However, lurking ever in the political background is Chieftain Holmar Bloodmoon and his continuous campaigning to gather support for his cause. Throughout the single year he was able to gain a substantial amount of support from packs within Clan Nightriver, and from other clans who supported his platform. Many in the clan foresaw an honor duel in the near future that could determine what direction the clan would take. However, it seems such an event is put on hold as the Grand Moot demands action to push the Mordok out and back into the Dirge Swamp.
The War with the Mordok is now underway, and all the forces of Clan Nightriver march into the Great Forest. With blade, arrow, and axe, the military might of the clan is able to push the Mordok back to the Dirge Swamp. It is here that the clan begins the monstrous effort of building multiple outposts around the swamp itself, and to do so it calls in favors from allies, organizations, and factions that were owed. Within three months of hard work, battles, and stress Clan Nightriver produces what it promised during the Grand Moot back in December.
The next phase comes in the form of now keeping the Mordok back from the Outposts as supplies lines, troops, and reinforcements arrive. With much effort and loss of life, the combined forces of the Ulven Army are able to prepare for the large push into the Dirge Swamp to bring the fight to the Mordok. However, when it came time to attack, the forces were met with overwhelming Mordok forces, pushing them back rapidly. However, they were able to get a foothold and stop the Mordok advance dead in its tracks. With the fight at a stalemate, the collective forces decide to perform a tactical retreat back behind the Shield of Mardrun.
The year is a quiet one for the clan for the first time in a very long time. Many return home for the first time in years, children who went to war now fully grown veteran warriors return to see loved ones and rest. However, news of Clan Grimward and Clan Ironmound’s “Ironward Alliance” spreads like wildfire throughout the clan. After a few months of shock and awe, the clan leadership begins negotiations with Clan Goldenfield, a long time ally, to form their own political alliance. However, unlike other ulven clans in similar processes, the two clans take their time to establish strong and well agreed upon alliance.
With the Goldenriver Trade Alliance formed, the clan sets to work on improving infrastructure, specifically roadways connecting between the two clans, along with improving their own and creating new roads and highways for caravans to travel upon. Their hope is with these newer roads and access ways, trade will spread further and bring more prosperity.
Near the end of the year a moot was called to settle the aggression between Clans Stormjarl and Grimward or to herald in a formal declaration of war. Clan Nightriver agreed to act as mediators in this moot with the desire to see peace between the Ulven people after the years of bloody conflict. In the end Nightriver was able to broker peace between the clans at the cost of returning the honorbound laborers they’d received from Grimward as reparations from the Civil War. Though a costly concession, the Clan leadership felt it was a small enough price to pay to avoid what could easily turn to another continent dividing war amongst the Ulven.