- "As long as the fire of the Great Temple lasts, Middenheim and Middenland will never fall."
- —Graf Boris Todbringer.[1a]
The Grand Duchies of Middenland and Middenheim is a major and founding Imperial Province that lies at the heart of the northern Empire. Towering above the gloomy canopies of the Drakwald Forest is a sheer-sided pinnacle of white rock atop which sits the fortress-city of Middenheim, capital of Middenland and the holy City of the White Wolf. The White Wolf is the holy symbol of Ulric, the Imperial God of War, Winter and Wolves.[2a]
He is the patron Warrior God of the northern Empire, the Cult of Ulric being centred around the region and the impressive Temple of Ulric is a wonder of the city that attracts pilgrims of many nations. A powerful army clothed in the city-state colours of blue and white, nigh-impregnable walls and tirelessly patrolled by armies along the roads leading into the Ulricsberg.[2a]
- "I’ve heard the backwoods nobles near Laurelorn have strange dealings with the Elves. First Arkee... What’s-his name, and now this! It’s treason I tell ya!"
- —Delberz merchant.[1a]
Founded by the ancient Teutogens, perhaps the fiercest tribe in Sigmar’s confederacy, the Grand Duchy of Middenheim and Middenland, commonly referred to simply as Middenland is the powerhouse of the northern Empire. Through military and economic power, it dominates its neighbours to the east and north, Hochland, Ostland, and Nordland. Its influence rivals Reikland and Talabecland, and its great city of Middenheim considers itself the equal of Nuln or Altdorf. Middenland has provided Emperors in the past and looks to do so in the future. When regional crises threaten the Empire, Middenland is considered by themselves as the voice of the North.[1a]
Middenland comprises a vast swath of territory stretching from the River Reik and the Great Northern Road of the Wasteland in the west and southwest, and Hochland and the Middle Mountains to the east. South beyond the Talabec River is Talabecland, Middenland’s sometime rival for leadership of the Cult of Ulric. To the north are her ally Nordland and the Laurelorn Forest, home of the mysterious and occasionally hostile Wood Elves. That the Elves are hostile because of Middenland’s longstanding claims to the Laurelorn is immaterial, since these claims were inherited from the Drakwald Emperors of long ago. The Drakwald itself is a vast, ancient forest running from the edge of the Wasteland to the far end of Hochland.[1a]
While Mankind has made settlements there, some deep within it, the forest holds many secrets, and it does not give them up graciously. Dragons terrorised the ancient tribes and early Empire from there, until an Emperor killed the last of their kind. Still, foolhardy treasure hunters brave the depths of the Drakwald to seek the riches of a lost dragon’s lair, or perhaps their eggs, which are said to remain fertile forever and only need great heat to hatch.[1a]
Deep under the forest eaves also lurk Beastmen, descendants of raiders from long ago, who breed and wait, occasionally attacking the lone farm or small group of travellers, until the time comes for Chaos to claim the north. The nobles and burghers of the province occasionally mount expeditions to root them out, but survivors always flee deeper into the forests, to wait again and regrow their numbers. In the far west of the province are the Midden Moors, a vast, infertile tract of hills and wetlands that are the source of several tributaries of the Reik. The vast pools of its interiors are said to be still as glass, even when the wind blows—so still they perfectly reflect the night skies. Nobles and the wealthy sometimes come here on fishing expeditions, for the trout are reputed to be the sweetest in the Empire. But the moors are reputed to be haunted, too. Strange lights are seen in its mists at night, and the Ghosts of Drakwald soldiers killed long ago are said to haunt its farther reaches.[1a]
At the far southeast are the Howling Hills, where the winds among the badlands keen like spirits of the dead. The castle of Middenstag guards the Delberz-Hergig Road from the outlaws who hide among hills and canyons. To the north, near Middenheim, the ground sinks into a swampy morass called the “Schadensumpf.” Little of worth is found here, though some small villages make a good living harvesting bog iron. The Schadensumpf also provides refuge for criminals fleeing the Graf’s justice. Of note is the vast population of black cranes that migrate each autumn from the Schadensumpf to the warm climes of Tilea, before returning in late spring. The crests of the birds have become quite fashionable in hats, leading the Graf last year to impose a tax on each bird taken. This, in turn, has lead to a rise in poaching and smuggling.[1a]
- "Don’t worry lad, it’s not you. Middenheimers are always rude like that. It makes them feel good. I think they need more greens in their diet."
- —Mootlander trader.[1a]
Middenlanders are descendants of the warlike Teutogen tribe. Fierce and unrelenting in their ways, they quickly carved out a kingdom from the harsh lands of the Howling Hills, driving the native Jutone tribe into the fog-shrouded depths of the Wasteland. When Sigmar came to them, he found a tribe with an unbending will, and strong sense of honour. Though other tribes had joined under his banner, the Teutogens refused to submit to the future God. Eventually Sigmar was forced to kill their tribal chieftain, Artur, in single combat to prove his strength and worth to the Teutogen peoples.[1a]
Like all Northerners, Middenlanders are famed for their stubborn ways. This, their Teutogen blood and their “firebrand” tempers has given them a reputation as uncontrollable traditionalists. They hate change of all types, and defend what they see as “tradition” at all cost. They are the last to admit that they are wrong, and the first to challenge an unworthy leader. Whilst those of southern Middenland are less strident than their Drakwald cousins, even they are considered coarse, arrogant, and controlling by the rest of the Empire. At their best, Middenlanders are staunch defenders of pride, property and traditions. Should an unjust tax be levied, Middenlanders will march in protest, torches flaming and pitchforks raised. They can sometimes rally behind a single person’s case, particularly those of destitute war widows, orphans and put upon guild members.[1a]
This has caused Middenland politics to have a crude, rabble-rousing element that does not exist so much in other provinces. At their worst, Middenlanders are a fractious, intolerant group of individuals. Not only are they quick to mock those they see as foppish, dandified folk, they are also exceedingly suspicious of foreign influence upon their province. They refuse to use the occasional Bretonnian, Tilean, or Estalian words that have been absorbed into Reikspiel. Ordering a Bretonnian brandy in a Middenland Tavern will cause a yawning silence as all the folk look round at the fool who has just signed his own death warrant.[1a]
Middenlanders are divided along what were once boundaries of ancient Teutogen Clans, but have now been divided into geographical prejudices. At one time the Drakwald region had a distinct identity from the rest of Middenland, producing a line of notoriously corrupt Emperors. With the collapse of their dynasty and the devastation of the Great Plague of 1111 IC, the power of the Drakwald was decimated. It ceased to exist as a separate entity when the Emperor Mandred gave it to Middenheim, creating the province as it stands today. Its people are still known as mean-spirited and grasping but seem to be softening over time and incorporated into the Middenlander people.[1a]
Location of Interest
- Carroburg - A large Imperial city that lies at the southern borders of Middenland. It was once the former seat of power of the Drakwald province.[1a]