OOC note - this legend takes place in an alternate timeline, well seperated from our own, and as such, other historical fictional nations have been included.
Legend says that all Birtish people are descended from 1 man, Birt.
According to legend, Birt was born on Sverdrup Island, at a time when the magnetic pole was directly beneath it. When he was only 11, the community where he lived was attacked. With no training, Birt took up a sword taken from a dead enemy, and battled against the invader. Despite his valiance, the village was destroyed by the raiders. However, having recognised his supreme talent with a blade, the raiders took him as a slave to serve in the army of the Kingdom of Labrador.
After training for 3 years, Labrador was invaded by the barbarian forces from the south coast of Hudson Bay. A massive battle was fought, which Labrador lost. Birt, however, distinguished himself, bringing his battalion safely home, despite loosing all officers in the fighting. In this way, he won favour in the royal house of Labrador, and was given a command way beyond his years and experience. In the defence of the Labrador capital, he again distinguished himself, defeating the Hudson army against the overwhelming odds. He was therefore awarded an even higher command chasing the Hudson's back to their own lands. Unfortunately, due to an error of judgment by his superior, the Labrador army was ambushed and once more sent fleeing back. Birt and the regiment under his command got seperated from the rest of the army during the rout. He led them safely back to Labrador, but by this time the kingdom had been destoyed by the Hudson's.
Birt's regiment was forced to flee again, as enemy forces were sent against them. Birt therefore unilaterally took it upon himself to clear the slave army of any obligation to Labrador, hence freeing them. Many chose to flee south, but Birt wanted to return to the northern lands of his birth. Some of the men decided to follow him northwards, either because their own homes lay that way, or because they felt a great loyalty or friendship towards the young, charismatic man. Therefore Birt, and 100 other men set out northwards, eventually reaching Ungava Bay. There they managed to acquire a ship to take them round Baffin Island and back to Sverdrup Island. However, as they were sailing around Baffin Island, the ship was caught up in a great storm, and was swept wildly off course. It was eventually wrecked at Cape Farewell, Greenland. All of the 100 crew survived the wreck, but were now stranded miles from civilization.
At this time, southern Greenland was occupied by a race of vicious savages. The 100 men were surrounded, and fought against numbers far in excess of their own. Surrounded on the beach, they fought, and slowly died, believing that eventually all of them would die. However, fortune smiled upon them, and the few remaining were rescued by Icelandic fishermen. Only 15 of the 100 had survived the battle with the savages. They were taken back to the Kingdom of North Iceland, where Birt's great skill with a sword meant that he was once again pressed into service in the kingdoms army.
An ancient war was taking place between North and South Iceland, and Birt and his companions were sent straight to the front line of the war. Birt was still only 15. At the frontline he once again won himself great repute as a mighty warrior, eventually helping to destroy the Southern kingdom, uniting Iceland under the reign of the Northern house. Now 18, he was released from service, and married his first wife, Marjn, a member of the defeated Southern house. A year later, she bore him a son. Despite this, Birt was soon travelling again.
Leaving his new wife 4 months pregnant with a daughter, Birt set out from west, once again aiming for his homeland. His intention was to bring his new wife there later. However, once again fate intervened, and he was captured pirates, along with 7 friends who had chosen to accompany him from Iceland. The pirates took him southwards to their base in Ireland. After 4 months as a captive of the pirates, 1 of Birt's companions was dead. However the other 7 men managed to escape from the pirates lair, fleeing across Ireland southwards. The pirates gave chase, and 3 more of the men were killed, before they succeeded in reaching the coast, and escaping in a small boat. They aimed southwards for Spain, but due to a severe lack of geographical knowledge of the area, they ended up sailing too far west. They then headed eastwards through the Straights of Gibraltor, eventually landing at modern Tunis (then a mere village). Birt still dreamed of heading northwards, and drawn by the tales of the locals, he headed eastwards with his 3 friends to search for the route to the land north of the sea.
As they travelled along the north African coast, they gathered a small group of fugitives like themselves. When they numbered 100, they were attacked by bandits. The group of men easily defeated the bandits. As they travelled this happened many times, and so their reputation grew, and many more men were drawn to the charismatic 21 year old. Eventually, they reached the mighty Nile. By this time, Birts commanded 500 men. In exchange for passage across the Nile, the Egyptians demanded that the men serve briefly in the army. Whilst there, civil war broke out. Birt, his command talent recognised, commanded 1500 men for the side that would win the war. The new Pharoah therefore bestowed great honours upon the young man, including one of his own daughters, Tabrn to be his secnd wife. For a while, he was happy, but then tragedy struck.
Birt's greatest friend, who had followed him from the slave army's of Labrador died of malaria. Although offered a high ranking position in the Pharoah's army, Birt chose to leave Egypt, running from the grief of his lost friend. The pharoah therefore ordered a boat to take Birt north to Greece. His 2 other friends from Labrador chose to stay, accepting the positions in the Egyptian army. Birt therefore travelled on into Greece, alone now. Once in Greece, Birt became a mercenary, fighting in the many wars across Greece for the next 5 years, until he was 26. At this time, Birt chose to leave Greece, travelling still further eastwards across Asia. He fought for many different countries. He appears under many slightly different names in a great many legends of countries in the area during this time.
Perhaps most prominant of these were the Mongol's. Birt arrived among them at the age of 30, and spent many years with them, marrying two women whilst there - Aanllyn and Xhas. Birt felt a great affinity towards the homeless nomadic warriors in a way that he never did for the others he fought for, and indeed, was admitted into their tribes during his time there.
However, he didn't stay forever, and at the age of 40, he reached the Bering Straight, and ever with the sense of adventure, he crossed.Travelling swiftly eastwards, but unaware of where he was heading, he would reach Sverdrup Island 3 years later. Yet when he got there he discovered it to still be ruined, no humans had returned. The memories proved to be too painful, and he left, sailing for Iceland. Fortune was kinder at this time, and he reached Iceland without incident. Here he collected his first wife, and children, now fully grown, and left, saying "My home is now a desolate place, so I shall go forth to another desolate place and bring life there."
And so, he eventually made his home in Svalbard, never before populated. He summoned his other five wives, all of whom were still among their own people, Tabrn with the Egyptians, Nwrt with the Uzbeki's, Tllnwa with the Persians and Aanllyn and Xhas with the Mongols. From each of his six wives would the six great tribes of the Birtish people arise: Marjn, Tabrn, Nwrt, Xhas, Aanllyn, and Tllnwa. Birt eventually died, and was buried in the far north of Svalbard, and his Spirit went to join the other Spirits of the aurora. He is now the greatest of the Spirits that are so important in the Birtish shamanism. To this day, pilgrims still go to visit Birt's grave from all over Birtish lands. Marjn would be burnt, and her ashes are still kept by the Chieftan of the Marjn Tribe (now Great Khan). The whereabouts of the remains of the other wives are, unfortunately, unknown, but it is believed that some returned to their homelands after Birt's death.
Whilst the ultimate fantasy of all archaeologists who have studied the tale of Birt is to excavate his 'grave', the Shaman's have never permitted this. As such, we cannot be absolutely sure what, if anything, lies underneath the monument. However, the monument itself has been dated to 17th century, when the stone structure replaced the traditional wooden one.
Despite this regrettable situation, digs have been able to take place on Sverdrup Island, and these have uncovered the remains of a village, thought to be Birts home village. It is, however, impossible to be absolutely certain.
The gene makeup of the Birtish people has been extensively studied, and has often mystified researchers. Whilst the Birtish identify as one race, the disparities in genes between individuals is greater than perhaps any other such 'race'.
There can be no doubt that the Birtish people's closest relatives are inuits from North America. This at least confirms some parts of the legend, as it seems certain that the people did originate from that area, although how they crossed the ocean cannot be assertained by this.
The similarities between the Birtish and Mongols has always been noted, particularly with the closeness of the tribal structures. Again, DNA backs this up, with the Birtish having close links with the Mongols, with this association being particularly pronounced within the Aanllyn and Xhas tribes.
Following from this, Icelandic, Egyptian and Uzbeki genes can be found throughout the Birtish people. Again, these are more pronounced in the tribes who claim to be descended from the relevant wife of Birt. On top of these, much smaller amounts of Kyrgyz, Khazak, Arabic, Siberian Inuit and Greek genes have been found (for more details on Greek genes, see the Xzast Tribe). However, intermarraige between tribes throughout the ages ensures that there is a mix of all of the genes in all Birtish people. However, geneaological research has conclusively failed to prove descent from one single point, or possible father of the people.
Based on evidence gathered, it seems likely that the structure of the Legend of Birt holds true, that the Birtish are indeed descended from North American Inuits, with a huge variety of different additional sources. However, it seems unlikely that this comes from one single man, and indeed, it is thought instead that 'Birt' is actually a group of mercenary warriors, who either left their home, or were forced out, and who then wandered the route in the Legend. For some reason, unknown now, they settled eventually at the end of their lives as mercenaries in Svalbard. It seems likely that the tribes, rather than being descended from one women, come from a factionalising of their children into groups depending on their maternal ethnicity - so the Uzbekis, the Icelanders, the Egyptians, the Persians and two sets of Mongols divided into groups. The other genes found (Kyrgyz etc), can probably be traced to a single point, meaning that one of the warriors took a single wife from among these people, as opposed to many wives among the group for the more pronounced genes found in the Birtish people.