Northmen are those who live in the vast land of Norband. They are uncountable in number, and are grouped into thousands of tribes. They swear allegiance to the House Nording - with The Emperor of Norband at its head - Maramangar XVI. Both sexes are referred to as Northmen. The oldest recorded age of a Northman was that of Maramangar IX's hand - 157 years old, though due to the vastness of Norband and the number of people, it is almost certain that some have lived for longer. Most live to about 100 years old however. Maramangar XVI is 130 years old.
The Northmen use silver steel to forge their swords (there is an abundance of resources in Norband). These swords are single handed, as the Northmen are the true masters of shieldsmithery on the continent. Few blades can pierce the shields they forge - but the way they are made is known only in Norband. The shields vary greatly - every fighter has a different one, though they are generally tall and broad, reaching up to the ribs when rested on the ground.
Apart from their shields, Northmen rarely wear armour (it is a sign of weakness). Instead, they use many thick, strong hides and coats that are made from the beasts that roam Norband. These hides are thick to protect the animals - also useful for the humans that inherit them. The hides are both good for protection from the snows and icy cold of Norband, but also as strong armour. Silver steel blades struggle to pierce the hide, and will have no chance of causing any damage in a swiping move. This means the best way of attacking a Northman is with a thrust of a sharp sword, if you can avoid the shield.
On their heads they will wear the only armour on their body - a helmet. The helmets are designed so that the grandeur of a Northman's hair is still visible, whilst offering protection.
The royals and tribal leaders wear much the same as normal soldiers, but those in positions of importance will always ride a Snowbear, with a steel, spiked collar.
Uniting the Northmen Edit
For thousands of years, the Northmen were a tribal, warring people, and the snows of Norband were always stained red. But it is said that one day, a great king rode out of the North on a Snowbear, with 5 princes behind him. The king's name was Maramangar and he was called Snowfist. His Snowbear was as terrible as a winter storm, and was called Ice. Maramangar I Snowfist proceeded to conquer the whole of Norband, but none of the warring tribes put up a fight - for there had long been tale of a prophecy, that a king would come and unite Norband, and his line would extend until the bounds of time broke apart. The 5 princes were named Vir, Mar, Der, Tur and Gar. They, along with Maramangar started the House Nording.
So, within a few years of appearing, Maramangar I Snowfist had united Norband, and everyone saw him as emperor. His line has indeed lasted an age (781 years), as Maramangar the 16th is now emperor. Interestingly, all emperors die at the age 137 - a number which has become almost holy to the Northmen. A popular saying is that the line of Nording will extend for 137 emperors, at which point the world will end.
A point to make, Maramangar I was a grown man when he arrived, but he died 137 years after arriving. He was never born.
For more on Norband, its politics and wars, go HERE.