Clanleader: Halvar Steinjottun
High Priestess: Ingrid Hawkrite
Warleader: Hillevi Steinjottun
Clan Steinjotunn is a Clan located in the northeastern part of Mardrun, between Clans Axhound and Squallborn. Within their relatively small territory lies a rich and honored history, which the Ulven who inhabit it hold dear.
The Steinjotunn are a clan steeped in the lore and study of the forest and the wilds, primarily because they live in close proximity to the Great Forest. As such, many of their people are hunters, trappers, herbalists, and wood-based craftspeople, using the Great Forest as their livelihoods while still respecting its ancient groves and sacred places, some of which are carefully tended to by Ulven sent by other Clans.
The lands of Clan Steinjottun are harsh to say the least, they start with the thick, overgrown edges of The Great Forest, move through the rocky, aggressive crags of their central lands, and terminate in stark and defiant bluffs and fjords that stand in direct opposition to the forces of the ocean that seek to wear them down. To the outside eye all of the lands present within Steinjottun territory seem to be nearly impassible, if not completely uninhabitable. It is on these lands, which seem to be almost the pure personification of rough living, that Steinjottun has not only grown, but found a niche within they can prosper.
Faced with overcoming the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of simply living in their native lands, the packs and families of Clan Steinjottun have grown up strong, not necessarily in a martial sense, but surely in their clever and cunning ability to survive in hostile conditions. Throughout nearly all of their territories, Steinjottun packs found that the ground they live upon is far too rocky to be worked into viable and lasting farmlands and when they tried to clear out space in the fertile lands of The Great Forest they found they spent an inordinate amount of energy in simply trying to hold back the quick return of the Forest as it spilled back into any fresh clearings. Knowing that large scale farming would never be in their future, the early members of Clan Steinjottun turned to hunting and tracking what food they needed. Mostly small game persisted throughout the Steinjottun lands, but due to a lack of larger predators, numerous herds of stout and mountainous goats found a home throughout the lands, subsisting primarily on tufts of thick hedge grasses that spring insubordinately from between the rocky crags of the landscape. Over the generations the packs of Clan Steinjottun have grown adept at tracking these herds across their vast lands, turning them quickly into the most skilled trackers in all of Mardrun, none more so than Pack Fleetfoot who carved their living out of the rockiest and most inhospitable areas of the Steinjottun territories.
HUNTERS, TRACKERS, & ARCHERS
Pack Fleetfoot has a saying that seems on it’s surface to be boastful, but in actuality carries a deep truth that has allowed them to survive in their harsh native lands, “If someone says that feet don’t leave prints on rocks, they aren’t looking close enough.” The tracking methods of Pack Fleetfoot are their most closely guarded secret and not a lot is known of how they train their scouts and hunters, but one thing is known; From the time they can walk, the pups of Pack Fleetfoot are taught two things: First, when you walk, make no sound and leave no trace and second, with every step you take, you keep your eyes and ears open. It is from this mentality that Pack Fleetfoot is able to earn their namesake and through their generations of training they have carved themselves a niche as the pinnacle of all Trackers. While Steinjottun as a whole prides itself on the merits of its scouts and trackers, everyone is aware that if you want the best, Pack Fleetfoot is the only way to go. If you want to know the direction an adversary moved their forces, you hire a scout. If you want to know which direction an adversary moved their forces, how many stand within their ranks, and how many of their soldiers are wearing armor you hire a Steinjottun Tracker. If you want to know all of the above as well as the quality and state of repair of your adversary’s armor, exactly between which hours they sleep, when they change their guard, and how dark they like their bean brew, then you hire a Fleetfoot Tracker. If there is information to gather, a Fleetfoot Tracker will find it and they will leave no trace of their presence.
Clan Steinjotunn is famous for its crack archers, said by some to be the best Ulven archers on Mardrun. They maintain a military force dissimilar from other Clans, using those archers to their fullest with warriors in a defensive support role alongside them. In the Civil War, however, though allied with the Coalition they have been relatively inactive, participating in only small attacks against Clan Squallborn and the raids on Clan Whiteoak earlier in the year 264.
STAPLES OF TRADE
In addition to the prowess of their hunters and trackers, Steinjottun is known for their hearty, salted jerkies. It did not take long for Steinjottun hunters to understand the need to cure their meats so they could be kept as rations to last through the more harsh winter months. Several packs along the coastal bluffs found their livelihood in the collection of salt from the sea and the mists it casts high into the air as it collides with their cliff sides. Acquiring salt and using it in the near artisanal curing of meats became the way of life of many Steinjottun Ulven and through the generations the word of the craft goat jerkies of Clan Steinjottun began to spill beyond their borders, eventually finding its way to the ears of the Ulven of Clan Goldenfield. Steinjottun jerkies quickly became a hot commodity among Clan Goldenfield and within a short period of time, bustling and lasting trade routes appeared between the two clans, meats began moving south to Goldenfield, while grains and vegetables moved north to the hearty, salted Steinjottun Ulven.
Arguably the greatest achievement accomplished by Clan Steinjotunn during its long history has been the development of incredible degrees of animal breeding, exemplified in their training of messenger hawks, said by all to be the fastest and most intelligent on the whole of the continent. Hawk breeders and trainers are highly respected and oftentimes well-to-do individuals within their communities. The occupations are often passed down through a family from parent to offspring.
One day there was a simple event that changed the direction of not only one, but several Steinjottun packs that lived along the top of the tall bluffs. A young salt catcher was looking out over the ocean and he saw a small sea hawk unlatch itself from the cliff side and plummet with sure purpose toward the rocky, tumultuous waters below. The salt catcher gasped as the hawk hit the water with surprising force and watched as he rose back into the air after a few moments with a large fish between his talons. This sight taught the salt catcher two things: one, these waters held a bounty that they previously thought unable to survive in their shallow, rocky areas, and two, the cliff dwelling sea hawks could prove to be a very useful tool. Over the next generations several Steinjottun packs became well known for their keen ability to raise and train hawks. Initially all hawks were used as an extension of a fisherman’s arm which lead not only to a new food source for Steinjottun, but also to a bond between Ulven and hawk that had not yet been seen on Mardrun, nor has been rivalled since.
Over the years the hawks came to be used for other tasks and it didn’t take long for hawk masters to realize the incredible messaging tool they had been cultivating. As use of Steinjottun hawks became more widespread things reached the point where the name Steinjottun quickly became synonymous with secure hawk messengers throughout all of Mardrun. Their hawks have flown messages across vast battlefields that have turned the tide of wars. They have carried messages across the continent to mourn the loss of Clan Leaders. They have carried warnings of impending Mordok attacks. When one has a message to send they can rely on two things: Steinjottun will send any message for an agreeable and fair price with no questions asked and you can rest easy with the guarantee that in the end the only people with your information will be yourself and your intended recipients. The security of their messaging service is of the utmost importance to a Steinjottun Hawk Master and they will, without hesitation, put their name and their honor on the line to guarantee that security.
Deep within the craggy center of Clan Steinjottun lives one Pack that has always taken their hawk mastery to new heights. In a village known as Hawk’s Basin, Pack Bloodhawk has throughout the generations pushed new innovations in the world of hawk training. Originally Pack Bloodhawk began as a collection of highly skilled and incredibly talented hawk messengers. For a long period of time they were held in high regard as the only true option if one wanted to send a message across Mardrun. Eventually, as the years progressed, other clans and packs began to train their own hawks and though they were never as secure and effective as Bloodhawk messengers, it was significantly cheaper and didn’t require in depth negotiation for a clan to use their own hawks.
Demand for Bloodhawk Messengers declined and it’s not known if it was anger from hurt pride, or simply pragmatism that lead to the training of the first Hunting Bloodhawk, but it would be an understatement to say that they have had anything short of a large impact on flighted messengers ever since. Under strictly negotiated contracts, The Hunting Bloodhawks of Clan Steinjottun have been employed to hunt, kill, and retrieve hawk messengers sent by adversaries for many years. Little is known of Hunting Bloodhawks other than their small size, incredible speed, and the razor sharp blades that their trainers and handlers strap to their legs. The methods utilized by Bloodhawk trainers is one of the most closely guarded secrets of Pack Bloodhawk and Clan Steinjottun as a whole.
There is one main area in which Steinjottun as a whole differs from much of the Ulven population of Mardrun. When a male Steinjottun pup is seen to have a connection and an affinity for the mana stream he is not treated as an oddity; he is not pushed to repress what he has been given. Though Steinjottun as a whole does not have a strong interest in the machinations of the arcane or divine energies, they do not deny the benefit of the gifts that affinities to these powers brings. Any blessing, regardless of how small is something to be cultivated and utilized to help the individual and the clan survive and flourish. More so than probably any other Clan, Steinjottun is seen as pragmatic in its views of the use of magic. It is more of a tool to be used instead of a gift reserved solely for the Daughters of Gaia.
As a whole, Clan Steinjottun is a group of hearty Ulven who make use of whatever tools, cunning, and gifts they are given to help them survive and flourish within their tough homeland. Where one Ulven may miss a broken twig or a bent piece of grass, a Fleetfoot Tracker sees an arrow pointing toward dinner. Where one man may see a seabird, a Bloodhawk Hawk Master sees an invaluable tool that can be molded and shaped into whatever niche they may need to fill. Unlike almost any other Ulven, when a male Steinjottun connects to the mana stream and expresses an affinity for magic, they are seen as being given the gift of a leg up. A pragmatic desire to flourish where they can has lead to a robust and varied culture within the borders of Clan Steinjottun.
COLORS & MARKINGS
The Steinjotunn prefer to wear browns, blacks, and greens, in order to effectively camouflage themselves in forestland. In deep winter, some of their number have been known to wear white and brown, changing the colors to fit the season. Their facial paint markings are generally green, and any hawk breeder or trainer is entitled to three black streaks, in an approximation of a wing, to show their occupation and high status.
Appearing to most to be an ally mostly in word, Clan Steinjottun’s involvement in the war has often gone overlooked by those unfamiliar with the small clan. The presence of Steinjottun scouts in the Great Forest has been felt more than it has been seen, keeping tabs on the Mordok population present within and helping to disseminate that information as quickly as possible. The highly trained messenger hawks provided by Clan Steinjottun have likely saved a number of lives as well, facilitating communications throughout the war and allowing troops to more effectively be moved to where they are needed. Despite their smaller presence in the actual battles, Steinjottun is excited about the end of the war, hoping that the treaty will herald in times of peace that will allow them to return in force to their duties within the Great Forest.
With the treaty signed, Clan Steinjottun lets out a collective sigh of relief and prepares to return to life as they once knew it. Scouts, small warpacks, Blood hawk trainers, and couriers arrive slowly back to the rugged and rough land that they called home, and are given a hero’s welcome when they arrive at their villages. While some never hear back from loved ones, they do hear of the stories and bravery they showed in their final hours, often saving many others with their endurance and tenacity against Clan Grimward and its allies.
Many return to their normal routines, training hawks, hunting in the crags and the Great Forest, spear fishing, and tanning hides. With such a return to a simple life, many are content to stay to themselves, enjoying the peace today.
The beginning of the year starts out just as harsh as always, however when summer finally roles around and Clan Riverhead falls, many in the clan begin preparations. Many start hunting large game to stock up on preserved meats, others harvest fish and other seaside food, but Warleader Hillevi Steinjottun begins training his most powerful warriors and scouts. Some Pack Leaders question what the old weathered Warleader does this but speaks only these words of wisdom that silence those in doubt, “I have lived through many years, many storms, and many battles… My bones and gut tell me a storm like we have never seen is coming to the Ulven as a whole… I see no reason to ignore that.”
Soon the orders for stocking lumber, preserved foods, wild game, and more comes from the Clanleader, and many flood the surrounding hillsides and Great Forest to meet the demand. Even though the Mordok presence within the Great Forest was overwhelming, thanks to the efforts of Pack Fleetfoot and other scouts the amount of raids and damage done by marauding Mordok bands were negated to a minimum.
The Grand Moot decided to move forward and not only drive back the Mordok from the Great Forest and back into the Dirge Swamp, but bring the war to them. Hearing that decision, Warleader Hillevi Steinjottun is said to have laughed loudly at his prediction coming true. When the combined forces of all the Ulven Clans and its allies came forward, they were extremely surprised to see elite hunters, archers, and scouts already laying ambushes and couriers either carrying or delivering Mordok or allied troop movements to Warpack Leaders. Many clans began to see the rough and seclusive clan in a new light, some more so than others at their effective ability to almost seemingly disappearing into the woods just as soon as they had appeared.
Thanks to Warleader Hillevi’s foresight, Clan Steinjottun was more than prepared for the building of the outposts. Even more shocking was the cunning old Ulven’s decision to have sent his scouts and hunters well ahead of the invading forces, plotting out enemy movements, number, and threat level. Sadly, those efforts fell flat when the Mordok released their own type of commanders that led their forces with almost a fanatical fervor. Halting the advance of the Ulven front. With great effort and loss of life of some of the best trackers and scouts, Clan Steinjottun was able to get the necessary information to help coordinate a tactical retreat back to the Shield of Mardrun.
After the failed attempt to press into the swamp and attack the Mordok in their own territory, the clan left the shield, except for it’s promised garrison at the outpost, and returned home to once again lick their wounds and burn their honored dead. However, what they did not expect was to see their neighbor, Clan Squallborn, so close to falling apart. Without wasting much time, Clanleader Halvar Steingjottun sent a group of diplomats to try and convince some of the neighboring packs of Clan Squallborn to join with Clan Steinjottun.
After the Attenjav in October, the efforts put forward to claim a bordering pack was met with the success of Pack Tallpine joining under the umbrella of Clan Steinjottun. While the prickly Pack Tallpine took time to adapt and adjust to their new leadership, they soon came to appreciate the clan’s leadership not for their martial strength, but for their cunning.