|Motto||"Better to fight and fall than to live without cause."|
Clan Skelgard is an ancient Kiffar clan of Kiffex. Skelgards differ from others clans in that the qukuuf - Kiffar facial tattoo - is applied to all members who wish to be part of the clan, following participation in an ancient ritual where they procure a pelt of a beast from the Blood Gorge forest. At the end of the ritual, the blood of the slain beast is marked on the initiate's face before proceeding to celebrate the event at the clan’s manor. The members of the clan have been known to be fierce, independent, and enthusiastic warriors and artisans, and many have become renowned mercenaries and traders all over Kiffex and beyond. Because Skelgards have primarily stayed on Kiffex, and only rarely ventured outside the boundaries of the Azurbani system, they have been mostly unheard of in the galaxy at large and only have been known to Northern Kiffar communities. Able to trace an unbroken Kiffar lineage that extends almost eons back, the clan somewhat prides itself on their history that is passed down to children through their parents. Most Skelgards who live on Kiffex prefer to wear armor that has been made from animal skins and furs that they have personally skinned and acquired. The traditional Skelgard outfit also includes merganrok, a cloak that has been given to a young adult and which has been sewn by his or her parents. To outsiders the cloak is just a piece of clothing, but to the Skelgards it symbolizes a parent’s willingness to let their child go in the world while still maintaining their support and love.
|Zac'ryah Aerathar||Jarhvevia Navar †||Hergod Skelgard †||Thoedesia Ciriana †|
|Rhia Ochoa||Abraxis Aerathar||Myilda Aerathar||Vizimir Sklegard||Aegerath Skelgard||Osiria Tetmund||Marvilia Skelgard||Pevelion Utgen||Ygremor Skelgard|
|Bryjela Ochoa||Solveig Skelgard||Ylvia Skelgard||Hakon Skelgard||Ferling Skelgard||Brenna Skelgard||Asmund Skelgard||Arvid Skelgard||Vertildia Skelgard|
- † Deceased
- — Spouse
Note: This kin tree does not include banished members.
Skelheim Manor is the clan's main household and it is situated in the densely forested foothills in the northern parts of Kiffex. It is a dark and primal place, where the old forest had laid untouched for ten thousand years. The homestead itself looks like an old rustic great hall fashioned from the nearby great oaks, coupled with adjourning smaller buildings and a small mine shaft that extends into the mountainside and to the Skelgard family fortunes that laid below the ground. The ancient crypt of Rockver, where Skelgard dead were buried, is situated not far from the Skelheim Greathall itself.
Skelheim Manor was closed to foreigners and outsiders for thousands of years until recently. Each generation has meticulously repaired and maintained the buildings of Skelheim Manor, which have stood throughout Skelheim history. Very recently, modern architectural technology has found its way to Skelheim Manor, incorporating durasteel structural supports and shield generators within all the buildings. Greatly honoring their heritage, all of these modifications, however, have been hidden and obscured with great care to maintain the historical, aesthetic look of Skelheim Manor.
The forests surrounding Skelheim Manor have been called the "Blood Gorge Forests" by Skelgard Elders, due to the ritualistic tradition within the clan of christening the birth of a child by marking a tree with the child's blood. Skelgards believe that the ritual creates a lifebond between the child and the tree, granting the tree's blessing and nature's divine protection throughout the child's life. In order to repay these blessings, Skelgards regularly sacrifice the blood of their prey and enemies on to their tree, leading to several trees around Skelheim Manor having crimson leaves throughout the year. Very rarely, these trees will mutate and evolve into semi-sentient lifeforms that produce a special crystalline sap called Blood Amber which is highly prized within Clan Skelgard. To Skelgards, Blood Amber symbolizes reaching divine-like hunting prowess and valor.
Clan Retainer Houses
Around the Skelheim Greathall there are various other smaller buildings and houses that act as places for the loyal clan retainers and their families.
Balgreth Great Forge
The forge was build by the great Balgreth Skelgard more than four millennia ago and since then its smelters still burn with the same hot flame as when the forge was first ignited. Thousands of weapons and tools have been made by generations of blacksmith hands.
Clan Barracks and Armoury
Right besides the Skelheim Greathall there is a smaller building that acts as storage area for the weapons and armor that clan retainers and members use during hunting.
While the stretch of alloy laced pavement is a more modern addition to the whole aesthetic of the household, the area nevertheless incorporates some of the old society elements, like logs of timber that adjourn the sides of the pad, as well as clan banners that decorate the sides of the hangar.
Skelheim Mine is famous in the Kiffex North for its mineral wealth that is sourced from its deep and pure ore veins. The mine itself has been used by Skelgards for centuries and because of the small size of the operations it has never been depleted. Here raw ore is mined for making traditional weapons of war as well as tools, that some of the more traditional Kiffars prefer over mass produced ones from factories. The mine is worked by hired miners from nearby settlements and trading communities, but it is not rare to see one of the clan retainers or even close family member wielding a drill and piling the ore in the cart for ingot smelters outside.
Rockver Crypt is the ancestral tomb of the Skelgards, which has been used by the Clan members since they first settled in the region almost a millennia ago. An oak grove lays above the tomb, and some of the trees there have roots that extend deep in the ground encompassing the whole structure. It is believed that some part of the dead lives on in these ancient trees.
Millennia ago the crypt itself was once a Kiffar temple built in the mountainside with deep underground passages. The temple was dedicated to the worship of an ancient local deity whose name or legend has been lost, as no official records have been gathered. Over the following centuries, since Skelgards settled down in the area, the temple was slowly turned into a tomb for the dead and a temple of ancestral worship.
Akir’da Cove is a small trading settlement in the middle of the harsh Kiffu desert. The settlement developed over the centuries, when the passing travelers found a safe haven from the harsh weather inside a cave. The cave itself not only had a mass of bedrock that protected the inhabitants from the wild sand storms and savage marauders, but also deep spring water, something of great value in the middle of the desert. Soon permanent settlers came to live inside the cave; merchants, hunters, and other people of different walks of life brought their families and soon the safe haven turned into a community that grew in size every year. These days, banners of different Kiffar clans and independent traders can be seen on the entrance, but the most prominent of them all is the one with the Raven, the symbol of Clan Skelgard.
Within the Akir'da Cove there is a garrison unit that consists of no less than 200 guards, who not only protect the outpost from various attacks from the desert wildmen, but also can be seen acting as the law enforcement within the community. They are not the usual run of the mill mercenaries, who are hired for simple guard duties (as is usual in similar communities). Each and every one of the Akir'da Cove guardsmen have undergone an intense field training within the harsh Kiffar dune seas. To prove it they are given the sand color cloaks with the symbol of the Raven Sun.
Main article: Volundr’s Vault
Clan Skelgard operates an expansive mine in the deserts of Kiffu, originally found and excavated by an exiled Force-Sensitive member of the Skelgard Clan known only as Volundr.
|Clan Qukuuf pattern.|
The clan symbol is a raven that is usually painted over the war banners or hulls of the clan ships. It also serves as basis for the clan's qukuuf. In ancient clan tales it was said that the Skelgard Raven was believed to forebode death and ill omen to anyone who dared to cross them with negaive intentions. The qukuuf itself was separated into three parts; wings, tail, and the four circles of life.
- The Four Circles of Life applied on the forehead. The pattern represents the steps of fulfilling life: life, happiness, family and strength. The last one means that only with strength of mind and body, one will be able to protect and safeguard the other three things.
- The Wings applied below the eyes. The pattern symbolizes the protection from illness, and disease. In old clan tales it is said that any symbol that was worn besides the eyes induced fear in the enemies, and protected against the abuse of power.
- The Tail applied above the lips and on the chin. The pattern symbolizes resolve in ones dedication to things, and the willpower to go on.
Main article: Skelgard Heirlooms
In the clan's possession are many relics, including Skybringer, the Horn of Kotnar, the Stone of Andrasi, the Wayward Sphere, and the Scrolls of Kesh, among other heirlooms.
Lithward are fresh recruits that are processed through Clan Skelgard’s basic training course, teaching them standard blaster rifle handling, close quarters combat, and basic starship piloting. Most Lithward are proficient in hand-to-hand combat, a type of melee weapon, and have mediocre ability with blaster weapons. There are loose distinctions among Lithward based on the weaponry they are proficient in, with most having blaster proficiency with the standard-issue A295 or Bowcaster in the Clan Army. Other Lithward who are front-line soldiers have weapon proficiency with halberds, although a few will be proficient in vibroblades.
They are defined socially as being freemen who are able to openly carry arms, a practice forbidden to regular civilians and thralls. Not much formal training is given to Lithward as most of Clan Skelgard’s resources, time, and efforts can be better spent training, expanding, and grooming their Huscarls and Drekars. Lithward are mostly levied from minor Kiffar clans to rapidly expand the battle capacity of Clan Skelgard during times of war, and are expected to prove their value to the clan in order to gain resources and access to further education and training. Lithward are given minor assignments to improve their abilities and opportunities to earn the trust of their masters, serving more so as a recruiting pool for the future seedlings of Huscarls and Drekars than as an actual military force. Due to the high status, prestige, and power that comes with being a Huscarl or a Drekar, there is high demand among Kiffars and other sentient beings to become Lithward of kinsmen; therefore, Clan Skelgard can afford to not expend resources on them.
Housecarls are elite, veteran soldiers within the ranks of Clan Skelgard who have proven themselves in battle. Housecarls are hired retainers to a member of Skelgard kin, with the number of Housecarls indicating ones status within Clan Skelgard. They begin their lives hired as Thanes and Lithwards from the lesser Kiffar clans of Kiffu and Kiffex, gaining Bloodmarks - small, crimson tattoos that adorn the chest, arms, and very rarely face that indicate the warrior’s kills and merits in battle - throughout their service to Clan Skelgard. When a Thane or Lithwards gains sufficient Bloodmarks - the requirement determined by recruiting kinsmen and their social standing within the clan - a kinsmen may grant them permanent retainer status as a Huscarl. Individualized assessments and tests are determined by the recruiting kinsmen, but all Housecarls are required by clan laws to swear a blood oath of absolute loyalty to their master and Clan Skelgard. Equipment and weaponry also varies significantly across Housecarls, with some kinsmen having standardized outfits that are ingrained in Skelgard cultures and traditions while other kinsmen have completely modernized their Housecarls to wear the latest battle armour.
Although no exact royalty or feudal systems of power exist within Clan Skelgard, an informal and unofficial measure of one’s political clout and power within the clan is indicated by the number of Housecarls one commands. Housecarls serve as the core of each kinsmen’s army, and thus, have great importance to the clan and kinsmen themselves. Strict limits are imposed by Skelgard elders on the number of Housecarls one can command, leading to an informal power structure within the clan. The Clan Leader has close to a thousand Housecarls on retainer, while the lowest kinsmen of Clan Skelgard only are able to retain less than a dozen.
Swanguard are an order of female Kiffar warriors who have sworn their allegiance to the Clan Skelgard and fight for the honor and renown of the battle. They wear a light armed and mobile battle armor while carrying a blaster and a sword into the battle. While the sword is more of a symbol that each warrior earns during the trials, it still can prove very lethal in close melee combat, something that the warriors specialize in. The order was first formed a couple thousand years ago and it has experienced many rises and setbacks in its fame. The foundation and formation of the order can be tracked back more than four thousand years ago, when a female priestess, Bildriana Skelgard, gathered a band of female Kiffar warriors and helped to rid the nearby communities of the bandits that were plaguing them. With the fame that they gained they looked to protect more and more communities from the threat of banditry.