Asengiir history is divided into two periods, BH and AH. Horthoth is, for all practical purposes, the capital city for the Asengiir. Prior to its founding, the Asengiir were essentially a subsistence culture, just barely surviving. Horthoth was the first major settlement and it is after its founding that the Asengiir truly began to thrive.
Humans first came to the region in around 800 BH. They came across from the Urk-Thaal region, which at the time was the site of a great conflict between an orcish empire and a coalition of giants, dragons and creatures of the deep. The humans were pushed further and further north as the conflict went on and soon found themselves forced to journey to the east on tenuous fall ice bridges into an unknown land.
What they found wasn’t much warmer than where they’d fled, but there was more to eat than lichen and the mountains weren’t running with chokers, ropers and worse. Still, many of the early settlers, who called themselves the Fylgja at the time1, died that winter and spring was a long time coming. At this time, the entire world was experiencing a sort of miniature ice age.
When spring came, they journeyed south, stopping in the area now known as North Sunderland, and attempted to set up a new settlement. The area was warm but, unbeknownst to them, at the edge of lizardfolk territory. When the thaw finished, they found that not only was the area full of hostile creatures, but it was also too marshy to build any sort of settlement they were familiar with, and so they picked up camp again and journeyed back north, settling down in a warren of caves near Harthsvald Pass.
This was to be their home for several centuries. Life there was hard, and the colony barely had any room to expand, but they made do, learning a great deal about how to eke out a living in a relatively barren area. They even set up trade with the lizardfolk, a trade that continues to thrive and flourish to this day.
In around 500 BH, a small tribe of orcs from Urk-Thaal came into the region, in this case travelling up through the Sunderlands seeking an ancient treasure their people had buried in the region.
Of course, the artifact was buried in Harthsvald Pass. The Fylgja attempted to parlay with the orcs but they weren’t really interested, being just as happy to slaughter the humans wholesale, and soon the humans found themselves under siege and without allies.
In 487 BH, the dwarves of Greyhome heard about the orcs that had invaded “their” mountains and sent out a squadron to dispose of the problem. The orcs outnumbered the dwarves three to one, but the vastly superior weaponry and armaments of the dwarves, along with their advanced war tactics, made quick work of the barbaric orcs, and with minimal casualties.
Curious about these humans who had kept the orcs at bay for more than a decade, the dwarves sent emissaries to the humans. They found them cold, starving and backward, but agreed to help them a bit, moving them out from Harthsvald Pass to a series of stone huts.
These structures might have worked well for the hardy dwarves, but the Fylgja spent several winters of misery in these cold homes before renovating and making the place their own. This small cluster of huts, now with walls made of stone with thick layers of peat moss and wood on the outside, and with the floors cut into the ground to keep the heat in, served the humans well for some time, until the winter of 369 BH.
Throughout the world, this is recorded as one of the coldest winters ever. The stone of their walls cracked as it froze and what few animals were found on the hunt were iced over, many of them literally frozen in their tracks and birds turned to ice on the wing. In their suffering, the people cried out for help to the dwarves, to the lizardfolk, to any who would hear, but everywhere was suffering.
The next bit will be hashed out more in the religion section, but what is known is that Thiw and Ver, the high god and goddess of the Aesin, walked among the humans that winter and saved each and every person. In that season, known to all and sundry as the Winter of Frozen Death, not a single human life was lost. What’s more, when spring came, the village saw an unprecedented early thaw and a fruitful harvest. Thiw and Ver were never seen again in person, but they spoke directly to the people through the priests and shaman of the people.
The Asengiir were born and the name Fylgja became a thing of the past, for the most part. They learned the art of forging iron, made inroads with the dwarves that stand to this day and even held off a second orc invasion with very limited assistance. Two other villages sprang up, and then two more. And then in 142 BH, the gnolls attacked. They came as a horde, four hundred of them, ravening and insane. The village was razed to the ground and the people retreated far to the north, coming on a premonitory of rock that made an ideal defense and had no runnels from which the orcs could attack.
They did not make a personal appearance, but when the village’s jarl, Theugar, declared this to be the permanent and lasting settlement of the people, Thiw and Ver appeared in astral form and blessed this decision and their daughter Vaya named the village Horthoth.
It’s been six hundred years now. The Asengiir’s alliance with the dwarves has seen times of trial. In 111 AH, there was nearly war between the two races when a quartet of heroes drawn from the houses of the humans accidentally slew the son of the king of the dwarves, but it was later revealed that the entire thing affair was elaborate scheme executed by the orcs in an effort to divide the two races.
In 231 AH, another peaceful race came to the area – a group of elves. There were early conflicts between the Asengiir and the elves – who called themselves the Esenrii – but they barely raised their swords against one another before making their peace, although the long-term effects of this pact have had effects on Asengiir that are still working their way through the fabric of both societies.
The planet has warmed considerably, and every year there are more orcs, goblins, gnolls and other enemies of the Asengiir, but they themselves grow stronger with the passing of time and now have a dozen towns scattered across the land, each brimming with trade and promise.