The Empire of the Henn
The lands of the North, hold many secrets. The wind-blown drifts of snow pile high in places covering whole villages in the night. In other places, gales threaten to uncover lost ruins deep in the tundra and waken beasts long forgotten. The endless evergreen sea of pines stretches for miles on end. There is a deathly quiet there. From time to time the silence is pierced by the soft sound of a rodent pawing through snow, or the deep shrill bellow of a bull elk. That sounds shivers bones. That sound alone has been the villain of children’s bedtime stories.
Still, not everything in the North is so secret. In the past thousand years, the barbarous tribes of men began to band together, forming small states and warring in greater effect against one another. The roaming herds of Goliaths didn’t take long to notice the breaks in the vastness of the evergreen sea. The herds clashed with a cacophonous roar when men placed their towns in migratory thoroughfares. Yet, these clashes only served to strengthen the bonds of men. Together, their reach grew vast. Many goliath herds were wiped out entirely, others were internalized in the new north. The remainder of the goliath herds were pressed to the fringes of the growing states of men. They were pushed deeper and deeper into the territories of Frost giants and Dwarves. Many herds tried to fight back. Some held momentary victories before the weight of the growing states beat them back. It was not until a Goliath by the name of Henn the Conqueror of the Aok Tikaani tribe, forged an alliance with the frost giants of the Giant’s Bowl and ravaged the realms of men that the states were brought to heel.
The Hoard of Henn thundered along the countryside. One by one men fell or bent the knee. It wasn’t until the Battle of Dunnen and the Frozen Lake, that Henn was stopped. The dwarves of the region would have none of the goliath’s wars and broke the ice as Henn’s Hoard crossed the Frozen Lake. Henn himself fell beneath the ice, unable to resurface. That was 200 years ago.
At the loss of their leader, Henn’s Hoard quickly lost morale. The realm threatened to fall into chaos once more. It is said that there was a great melee in the Giant’s bowl to determine the succession of leadership. Rather than fall back into all out and endless war, men, giant and goliath all sent their greatest champions to fight to the death. It was Henn’s own mate, Atannuaq the Wise who rose from the field as victor. It is said that as she took the field, her skin melded to stone. The very earth trembled at her feet. Five-hundred dead at the bowl. The giant’s didn’t take too kindly to defeat and drove the rest from their lands, but Atannuaq managed to hold on to the control of the rest of Henn’s conquests.
It is because of those events, that today, the great Empire of Henn reigns as the largest on the continent. A long line descendants of Empresses Atannuaq have held the Thawed Thrown at Henn’s capital city, Henn.
Today men and goliath live their lives in relative harmony, farming in the spring and summer thaw and hunting throughout the year. A great fur trade has developed with the neighbors to the south in Mertensia, Anaea and Costa Leone, and the Dwarvish ale of Durdain flows through the Hennish empire to reach every corner of the continent.
Once per year, at the summer solstice, the Henns, the Frost Giants, the Dwarves and even some Minotaur attend a great tournament of might in the Giant’s Bowl.