Beyond the northern boundary of the lands of the Gwerin, the Valtava cling to a precarious and punishing existence on the taiga. Clans of this strong, harsh people roam across The Great North, farming small patches of ground, hunting the strange animals of the deep tundra, and trading with those bolder Sjøbarn who brave the stormy northern seas. Deeply religious, Valtava all spend much of their lives obeying the whims of their tribes’ demon patrons.
Valtava are tall and broad, even more so than Sjøbarn. The shoulders of a male 6’ tall might come to 3.5’ or 4’. The skin of a Valtava is usually nut-brown, seamed by lines of weather and anger, frequently warty, and typically marked by tattoos and ritual scars. Valtava ears are pointed, often ragged-edged, and laid close to the head, while their icy blue or white eyes are sunk deep in their skulls. Horns, too, appear amongst the Valtava, but are rare, rarely well-formed, and rarely even matched to one another. Bull-necked, heavily muscled, and often pot-bellied, Valtava are usually found repulsive by the other peoples, and even one another. Some few Valtava, however, present a rare and remarkable beauty. Called “Ihana” by their people, these eerily alluring Valtava are considered great assets to their families, and an Ihana birth is taken by the tribe as a sign of favor from the tribal patron.
The Valtava are built for the northern cold, and they know their own land more intimately than any other people. Each variant of plant and animal has a name, its lore is shared by all, and it is put to every possible use. Most terrain in Valtava territory is high scrubland: broad taiga, heathered highlands, craggy hills and rocky plains dotted with huge standing stones. Swaths of boreal coniferous forest mark meeting grounds and scavenging points, which are always jealously guarded. Further north, the land chills into tundra, crisscrossed by the trails of the great caribou herds and tiny fields of rare ice-white flowers. Those few Valtava who come to trade with Gwerin northmen refer to a great cliff above which stretch the great endless fields of snow, while the Skycrown Peaks climb ever upward in the distance. But even these Valtava do not claim ever to have seen such a place, only hearing of it from the ravings of a rival tribesman in the throes of torture. Such tales usually end in a vicious grin from the Valtava and an unusually low offer from the Gwerin merchant.