The entire realm of Haerland is located within the forest Greatwold, just south of Keatland. The Haerlanders immigrated from the north and are mostly akin to the Keats. They left the plains of Keatland in search of freedom from the noble's rules. The Haerlanders are secretive and cunning. Silent sentinels keep watch on the borders of Greatwold, suffering no enemies to enter into their domain. Haerland is mostly self sustaining, though they have to import ores and stone from up north. They trade timber for livestock from Hofland.
The geography of Haerland is comprised almost entirely of woodlands. Firs, beech, cottonwoods, ash, elms, oaks, and spruce are the most common trees found in Haerland. On the outskirts of the forest the trees are sparse and thin with very little undergrowth or foliage. A few small villages dot the border, but act more as garrisons than trading towns. Towards the southeast there is a small, forested mountain range known as the Goldencrest--nestled atop a flat cliff is the capital city of Haerland, simply named Goldcastel.
A map depicting the borders of Haerland in the year 675.
Basic Values and Prejudices
Haerlanders hold their ancestors in high regard, often referring to them in normal conversation. It's not uncommon for males to be named after former heroes, especially those that helped break from Keatland. Haerlanders believe that kith and kin are most important and should be protected at all costs. Communities are often small, and made up of mostly family. The eldest in the family--male or female--is consulted regularly on issues that concern the community, but usually the most capable male of the family is regarded as the leader. Laws usually vary from community to community, but are very similar to Keatish law. The elders have final say on decrees of justice and punishment, but unless the crime is especially heinous, punishment is in the form of service or repayment. Violence is usually not a means of punishment--which is the main difference between the Keatish laws and the Haerlish laws.
Haerlands are reclusive by nature and are slow to trust anyone, though especially Keats. Haerland is close allies with Hofland, so naturally they befriend them easier. They distrust the warring people of Nor and rarely come in contact with Stromlanders and Lindens. Because the Velians are allies of the Keats, they tend to distrust them as well.
Males in Haerland are bought up with the forest as their playground. They are taught that nature can provide everything one needs to survive. They are taught how to hunt and fish and forage, along with other survival skills such as: using rope, building fires safely, and animal-lore. Each male child is expected to learn which animals and berries are safe to eat and which are not. They are also taught not to waste what nature provides. They do not hunt if they are not hungry or cold, they do not steal the birds' berries if they already have stores of food.
Females in Haerland are taught similarly about nature and what it can provide. They are taught how to skin pelts, properly dress wounds, and forage. Aside from these things, females are instructed in the art of herb-lore and leechcraft, and are considered quite good healers. They can distinguish from an early age, which plants can be used for cooking and which plants have medicinal properties. Unlike most cultures, Haerland women are trained in warfare--though, perhaps not in the brutality of melee combat. They learn the bow and arrow, not only how to fire them, but how to craft them from nature's bounty.
Haerlanders are simple folk who band together with family and close friends. Their laws are common-sense rules that are prudently enforced by the community elders. Violence is rarely used as a means of punishment; instead, when one commits a brutal crime, he or she is cast out of the community and banished from their homeland. The clan structure is often enforced by a band of men who are selected by the elders. They are tasked with guarding the community, enforcing common laws, and assisting those less fortunate. Often these sentinels will be sent away in times of war, but usually they stand watch in and around the community.
Although there is no royal bloodline to speak of, Haerlanders have continued to choose a presiding lord (also known as hearra), based on the lineage of ancient heroes. The haerra dwells in the capital city of Goldcastle and is responsible for making country-wide decisions in matters of trade, war, and justice. Unlike Keatland, the haerra does not rule solely, instead he choose a small group of people that sit on a council. The haerra and the council work together for the good of the people. They are usually trusted and respected by most, a sort of role-model.
Young-adult males in Haerland work in small packs to accomplish their work. Whether hunting, fishing, foraging, construction, or defense, the males work together. The groups can be arranged by family and close friends, or they can be predetermined by the town elders. Males who are not chosen for these groups usually make up the artisans: carpenters, blacksmiths, tanners, etc.
Women in Haerland are entrusted with raising the family, though some who are especially talented with the bow may be chosen to join the local watch. Older women are accounted wise and are often consulted in tough matters of wedlock, child rearing, and specific trades.
None at this time.