Heohlond was known as the land of the Mountain and also commonly referred to as the highlands. The structure of its society set it apart from the other realms, making it very unique in that regard. Heohlond was divided into clans, each of them nearly autonomous within its own region. While each clan did have leadership, and typically many branches with its own leaders, there was nominally no differences in birth; each person born into a clan was considered equal within that clan. Any person from outside the clan was viewed with extreme suspicion, however, and marriage between the clans was very rare; it almost only ever happened when some form of alliance or agreement was to be cemented. The dislike between the clans was only outdone by their disdain for people of the other realms.
The clans were nearly autonomous within their regions, but they did have a king whom they owed allegiance. Originally, this king was supposed to be elected at a meeting of the clans, but this custom was only observed sporadically; often, the high kings of Adalrik intervened to ensure their candidate was placed on the throne. This bred resentment among many of the clans, despite or perhaps especially because the highlanders were instrumental in allowing Arn of Old to create the Alliance of Adalmearc. Others of the clans were very satisfied with this order of affairs, however, such as Clan Cameron; their lands bordered the jarldom of Theodstan in Adalrik and they enjoyed close relations with Adalrik.
An example of the division was shown by the fact that Heohlond as such had no banner of its own; each clan had its own colours. The few times they banded together to march in unison against a common foe, they did so being lead by their own banner. Typically, the colours of the clan, to whom the current king belonged, was used as a form of insignia for the entire realm; but this was an unofficial practice which the other clans would protest against.
Heohlond was not a rich country, and it had little wealth of trade. Its only resource were its mountains; there were many quarries supplying stone and marble to the other realms. The impregnable walls of Middanhal were built with stone from Heohlond, and the Temple was decorated with marble from there as well, for instance. Most of the quarries and the trade were the domain of Clan Cameron, which was why they were the spokesmen for remaining in the Alliance; it was often the more outlying clans that refused to acknowledge the dominion of Adalrik.
The War of the Dragon
Heohlond was often embroiled in the wars of Adalmearc, at times instigating them and at other times acting as an ally of Adalrik; there are two conflicts of particular note. The first is the War of the Dragon, in which Arn of Old first re-claimed kingship of Adalrik from the usurping jarl of Vale and then continued to subdue all of Saelnar, creating Adalmearc. As mentioned on the entry concerning the early history of the realms, this was only possible due to aid from the highlanders. As the third son, not much was expected from Arn, and he was sent to Heohlond for uncertain reasons, most likely on a task intent rather to occupy him than fulfil any specific purpose.
However, in the manner of a year, Saelnar erupted in strife with war between the South Cities and Thusund, into which Ealond was eventually involved. Meanwhile, Arn’s father and oldest brother were killed while marching to aid Thusund; the circumstances are still uncertain as to how. The jarl of Vale seized Middanhal and killed Arn’s second brother, usurping the throne. Trapped away from home and with no aid, Arn somehow convinced the highlanders to support him with an army. Returning to Adalrik, Arn retook his father’s throne and then continued, defeating the South Cities and forcing the realms into his new Alliance of Adalmearc. The fact that the highlanders gave Arn the army to place him on the throne was never forgotten in Heohlond.
The Heohlond Campaign
Many years later came the war ordinarily called the Heohlond Campaign. In the year 1087, Prince Sigmar, the heir to the realms, was slain when travelling through the lands of Clan Boyd. This ignited a general uprising against Adalmearc, and the prince’s father, High King Sighelm, sent the Order forces to quell the rebellion. It quickly went poorly; the Order army was ambushed repeatedly and all but annihilated. More armies were sent under the direct command of the lord marshal and suffered the same fate; in retaliation, the Order began razing villages and towns aiding the rebels.
A protracted war ensued with heavy casualties on both sides. Tactics of scorched earth were used increasingly, and gruesome tales of atrocities committed were common. Almost throughout the year 1088, it seemed as if the clans might succeed in becoming independent; despite the terrible costs, more and more clans joined the rebellion until only Clan Cameron remained unswervingly loyal to Adalrik.
Two things determined or changed the outcome of the war. The first was the highlanders probably assumed the other realms might join the insurrection; both Ealond and Vidrevi were old rivals of Adalrik that might be enticed by the possibility of independence. This never happened, however; although growing old and increasingly paranoid, Sighelm’s grip on power remained firm until the day of his death. With the rest of the Seven Realms in support of Adalrik, it seems highly unlikely the clans would have been able to carry on the war for as long as the Order could.
In the end whether the highlands could have endured will remain a speculation for scholars as the war took an unexpected turn. The second thing that happened to determine the outcome was a small battle east of Clan Cameron’s major city of Cairn Donn towards the end of 1088. After the staggering number of setbacks for the Order, Cairn Donn was the sole remaining city in the highlands that they controlled; it was vital to their ability to launch any campaigns further into Heohlond. If lost, it would be a heavy blow to the Order; it would mean that all of Heohlond was on rebel hands and it would be much more difficult to stage new campaigns without having Cairn Donn as a forward base.
Unfortunately for the Order, the city was virtually undefended. The remaining Order army had marched east, apparently to conduct some form of surprise assault during winter; most likely the Order commanders underestimated the ferocity of winter in the highlands and it turned gravely ill for them. For days as they attempted to retreat, the Order soldiers were harassed, and the highlanders understood the importance of preventing their return to Cairn Donn.
Eventually it came to battle on a site a few days east of the city; the few thousand Order soldiers that remained were forced to stand their ground. Odds were heavily against them; the highlanders were numerically superior, used to fighting in the mountains, most of the Order commanders were dead, many of the Order soldiers had deserted, and the rest were demoralised.
What happened next was due to a young knight named Athelstan of Isarn, younger brother to the jarl of Isarn. This was his first major campaign, but he had already exhibited a talent for leadership, and he now assumed command of the Order forces that were still left. They positioned themselves against the Weolcan Mountains, and Athelstan gave the impression that one of his flanks was weakened, enticing the highlanders to concentrate their attack on that point. In reality, the cliffs created a bottleneck that made it difficult to attack, and Athelstan’s men were able to cut down the highlanders with relative ease while holding them off on the other fronts.
In the end, what seemed like certain defeat was turned into victory, and Athelstan was swiftly given command of the overall campaign. With reinforcements from Adalrik, he repeated his victory numerous times, displaying a brilliant understanding of terrain that was necessary to conduct war in the highlands. When the year 1089 came to a close, the highlanders had to abandon meeting the Order in open battle and resume their tactics of ambushes and harassment.
The Heohlond Campaign continued for several years, though without Athelstan’s leadership; he was recalled to Middanhal in 1090. Although the end of the war saw a return to Heohlond's former state as a realm in the Alliance of Adalmearc, it did have some effect. The brutality of the war bred resentment among the highlanders not easily dispelled, while it forced the Order to retain heavy garrisons in Cairn Donn and other highland cities.