Lord of Altera
And lo! Praise a hundred times is heard of Anh Huld!
Blood of kings those Westron men,
Against the foe pike and horse ten thousand over
Whose lord crucified strides through the God’s Gate
And in that’s last drawn breath said it was,
“Put out are my eyes, yet I see the light of the Sun!”
The Anhalder are a race of humans descending from a far western blood line as old as Arcturus, who have forced themselves to the forefront of the world stage. They are the embodiment of man's desire for imperialism and conquest- a warrior race who know that they are greatest among mortals and destined for victory. Their lives are regimented, harsh, and defined by industry and politics. It is the belief of the Anhalder that by their good grace alone do the lesser races of the mortal plane share the world, for the power of the Empire is absolute.
Height - Males range from 5’10" to 6’4". Females range from 5’7" to 6’1".
Weight - Males range from 160lbs to 220lbs. Females range from 120lbs to 170lbs. These weights could increase or decrease from the average based on muscle mass, diet, health, and/or height.
Build - Although Anhalder builds can be as varied as any human, they are on average lithe compared to stockier Common humans. Anhalder are also taller but have thinner frames. Their facial structure is sharp and could be considered well-defined or even hawklike.
Eyes - Blue, green. Colours of the sea.
Skin - The Anhalder race tends to pale, clearer skin. The distinction between a Common human and an Anhalder is blurred by class, as peasants are less fair of skin.
Hair - Black, brown, infrequently dark blond. Men wear their hair and beards cropped, women wear their hair up.
The birth of Anhald is chronicled in the poetic Sonnensaga, a creation myth regarding the life and death of the first lord of Anhald. The story chronicles the nameless master of the Anh Huld people, and their war against the Anh Geat- commonly referred to in contemporary time as the Angoths, though they are now extinct or never existed. The validity of the story is debated, but is generally considered to be a tale of good morals rather than a historical account.
Most commonly recounted of the verses of the Sonnensaga are the final ten, telling the story of the final Pyrrhic victory against the Anh Geat by the host of the lord of Anh Huld. On an open field in driving rain, the Anh Huld host fears certain defeat. Captured by his enemies, the lord is crucified and tortured, calling out to the Sun rather than break. In his act of martyrdom the Sun appears, breaking through the clouds to inspire the faithful of Ignis Synnove to victory. Finding their martyred lord, his eyes destroyed by torture, his retainers hear in his last words that he could still see the light of the Sun.
The Anhalder were born in the western reaches of the Northern Kingdoms, and by chance find their home in the west again upon the continent they name Gottland. Though Anhalder can be found as spread throughout the realm as common humans, the vast majority are located in a mountain-ringed basin known as the Maritte River Valley, or the Marien Valley. This location is not a true valley, nor does it encompass the entire Anhalder race- they may be found as far south as to border the lowland forests beyond Heldenmut.
Anhalder settlements are primarily found along rivers or the sea, which provide a secure means of travel for merchants. In these settlements, fishing, whaling, and shipbuilding are common occupations for Anhalder peasants. Further inland, lords of the realm may choose to place keeps at the bases of mountains or in their foothills. These natural fortifications provide a good means of defense for a lord’s estate, but very few can grow to true cities. The economies of these inland settlements are often based around grain farming or taxation of trade routes that must pass through the area.
To outsiders, the Anhalder are often thought of as cold and unwelcoming. Their nature is not hostile, but rather wary. The people of Anhald are above anything else tactical and regimented. This society can be seen as off putting, but amongst those they trust the Anhalder are equally as capable of showing love, compassion, and celebration.
Foreigners who earn their place in an Anhalder’s trusted company may find that though they eventually become welcomed, they will always be the outsider. Blood and tradition are sacred to the Anhalder, who become xenophobic and defensively nationalist when their culture is threatened. Ideas of loyalty and duty to family, extending to the whole race, are instilled in the Anhalder populace. Peasants are more prone to this than nobleman, as they will often never leave the place they were born in. Those who find themselves travelling are often more inclusive and accepting of outsiders.
The Anhalder are the tallest and fairest race of humans, occasionally prompting the suggestion (false as it is) that their lines contain Silver Elven blood. On average, both men and women in Anhald are between three and five inches taller than other humans. Anhalder women in particular are notable for being almost as tall as their husbands, which some find intimidating or perhaps alluring. This height is most noticeable in the upper classes, who receive a better nutrition than their lower class counterparts. Weights and builds of Anhalder are often lighter and more slender in comparison to common humans, excepting those who earn their living through harsh physical labour or live gluttonously.
Physically, Anhalders appear more well defined than other humans, with prominent facial features and long, sharp noses. Jawlines, cheek bones, and other notable features of a person’s face are quite well defined. The appearance may be considered hawklike, or in the especially light, gaunt and hollow. From living in the northern quarters of first the Northern Kingdoms and now Gottland, their skin has grown paler. Despite this, a genetic quirk within their bloodline causes their race to feature darker hair. It is often black or brown, with the lighter tones being a dirty blond or sandy brown. Light blond and ginger hair are very rare. The eyes of the race are generally darker shades of blue, with some falling into green. Dark haired men and women with sea-blue eyes are considered the ideal Anhalder.
A peculiarity of a society that worships a God that damns the lowest castes of society is that Anhald has no serf class. Every single peasant in Anhald is a freeman, who may travel throughout the realm with no law binding them in servitude to their master. It is this way that it is ensured every Anhalder has a chance at ascending to the perfect realm of the God, should they live holy lives.
Above the peasants are the nobility, who within their own ranks have various tiers of power and authority. This may range from the lowest freiritter to the Kaiser himself, Emperor of all Anhald. The nobility are, with the exception of free knights (known as freiritter), landowners who inherit their position from their predecessors. Noble families, or houses, are largely a stagnant entity that does not change. The status quo of Anhald is almost always tied to the same names it has been for hundreds of years. New noblemen may only be made when a peasant is knighted, thus bringing their line into the upper echelon. Here they may ascend and descend through the intricacies of the noble ranking.
Despite the convoluted network of changing loyalties and authorities that is the noble class, all people of the realm swear their fealty to the Kaiser. This title, from the Arcturian Caesar, means Ruler. This position is patriarchal, with women only finding their way to the throne when the entire male line of the imperial family is extinguished. Should that light go out entirely, a council (known as a diet) of the nobility elects from their own ranks a new family to the throne. This election may be nothing but a farce, organized to ensure a conspiracy succeeds to take the throne. It may not occur at all, should the lords of the realm refuse to cooperate, in which place the throne falls to the last man alive after the terrible and inevitable civil wars.