Founding of Miklagard
The Founding of Miklagard is a grand old tale, passed down since time immemorial among the humans of the kingdom. The triumph of humanity over the Woods is celebrated once each lunar year in a grand festival.
In a distant age, the realms were few and far between, and no one had yet spoken the word “kingdom”. Sigurd was born in this time, the strongest of a clan in a small and cold land. He quickly rose to become chief, and provided for his clan as best he could. Yet still, the winters were long and dark, and the clan suffered. But they took their suffering and bore it, for this land was all they knew.
Until, one day, Aslaug Seidhrskjold appeared. A vision had come to her, perhaps sent by the gods themselves. It was a vision of a warm, rich, and bountiful place, a land that was covered in forests, with fruit and game enough to feed every member of the clan twenty times over. This land lay to the south, across the great sea. Sigurd decided to brave the ocean and seek out this new land, with Aslaug by his side, and his clan readily joined behind them.
The voyage was a hard one, but Aslaug’s magic and Sigurd’s leadership sustained the clan, and they finally arrived on the southern shores. There, they found that Aslaug’s vision had been true: the land could provide for all. But the land was already inhabited — by monsters, foul beasts, orcs, and more. The monsters attacked and forced the clan back, away from the plentiful forests.
Then the Borderlanders appeared. Sigurd was out foraging when he encountered the first, a man who knew the native land so well, he could pull fruit from the barren earth. Sigurd spoke with this man and befriended him, and he arranged a meeting between him and the native leader. The Borderlanders took Sigurd’s clan under their wing, and gave them food, shelter, and arms against the monsters of the Woods. Together, they fought many battles against monsters and orcs alike.
Aslaug had another vision. By seizing the heart of the Woods, Sigurd would establish dominion over this land, dominion that the orcs and monsters could not refute. The Borderlanders knew this as a great hill in the center of the land, which rose above the Woods around it. Sigurd and Aslaug rallied their troops to march on this mound, even as the orcs and worse massed for a final attack.
The battle that followed was legendary in size and scale. For weeks, the fighting raged, as Sigurd’s allied soldiers fought back hordes of orcs and monsters. Aslaug’s magic wreaked terrible havoc on the battlefield, carving swaths out of the enemy and clearing areas for Sigurd’s troops to seize. Sigurd himself led the charge, cleaving through twenty orcs with ever swing of his sword.
The orc chieftain was huge and terrifying on his perch atop the hill, but Sigurd and Aslaug boldly faced him down. He raised his club to smite them, but Aslaug struck with her magic — turning orc and club alike into an enormous tree. Sigurd felled that tree with one stroke, and the battle was theirs. Bereft of their leader, the orcs scattered into the Woods, waiting to one day have their revenge.
On the spot where he had slain the orc chieftain, Sigurd planted his sword and declared his victory. “This land, hereafter, shall be known as Miklagard, the land of brave warriors and great harvest!” Aslaug fashioned him a crown of bark and seeds, and Sigurd became the first King of this new land. The Borderlanders and his old clan bowed in reverence, and pledged to serve him and his descendants until the world’s end. And they have done so ever since.
Historical Record and Controversies
Sages, such as those at Seidhrskjold Wizards’ College, have devoted much time and effort to studying the origins of Miklagard. Chief among these is an effort to determine exactly when it was founded. In Sigurd and Aslaug’s time, most people tracked time by the passing of the sun and not the moons, making it difficult to reconcile oral histories with the lunar calendar. Aslaug herself is reputed to have studied the moons, and is quoted referring to their patterns in the sky, but her descriptions do not appear to easily correlate with observed lunar cycles.
Another area of interest is the actual land that originated Sigurd and Aslaug. All records indicate that they came from the wastes north of the Dwarven Kingdom. However, much of this area is under the control of a rival kingdom, which does not take kindly to incursions into its territory. As such, athe location of Sigurd’s homeland remains unknown.
Perhaps the most enigmatic part of the mythos is Aslaug Seidhrskjold herself. The tales are extremely vague about the type of magic she wielded; some stories say she had studied under the Fair Folk, others that she taught herself how to control the world around her, and still others say she was a servant of the gods themselves. One thing is certain: her feats of magic, should they be true, were enormous accomplishments that dwarf the prowess of modern spells. This suggests to many sages that accounts of Aslaug’s powers are greatly exaggerated.
The tale conveniently leaves out the complex internal politics of the Borderlanders, and the Great Schism they experienced concurrently. Sigurd’s and Aslaug’s arrival expedited a split between rival factions of Borderlanders; those who sided against Sigurd and Aslaug were defeated and exiled to the Southern Swamp. They have even been stricken from the tales, instead lumped in with orcs and monsters as enemies of the crown.
Studies of orc populations, which have been few and far between, suggest that the enormous orc chieftain in the story is a fabrication. First, most orc tribes are matriarchal, and follow a female leader. Second, the orcs have no folklore or tales relating to an orc of this size, and did not recognize accounts of such a character when told. Some tribes of orcs took great offense to the telling of this tale, and the sages involved barely escaped with their lives.
The last burning mystery sages seek to answer is the whereabouts of Sigurd’s weapons and armor. Legend says that he planted his sword where Sigurdsholm was founded, but no statue or courtyard is present in the castle grounds to commemorate the occasion. Furthermore, the descriptions of Sigurd’s crown (and, in some tellings, shield) in the tales are inconsistent with the actual regalia of the Royal Family: a golden crown with an emerald-tipped scepter. The Royal Family has decreed that the tales are incorrect, and their regalia are the actual relics of Sigurd. It would be heresy to doubt the word of the crown… but that has not stopped sages from doing so.
Mysteries abound. Truly, this is perhaps the most exciting and entertaining tale in Miklagard’s history, perhaps because it says the least about what actually happened. If you discover any further evidence, whether through expeditions or divination spells, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office or my sending address.
Signed, Geoffrey Monmouth, Department of History, Seidhrskjold Wizards’ College.