"The clangor of the swords had died away, the shouting of the slaughter was hushed; silence lay on the red-stained snow. The bleak pale sun that glittered so blindingly from the ice-fields and the snow-covered plains struck sheens of silver from rent corselet and broken blade, where the dead lay as they had fallen. The nerveless hand yet gripped the broken hilt; helmeted heads, back-drawn in the death throes, tilted red beards and golden beards grimly upward, as if in last invocation to Ymir the frost-giant, god of a warrior race." -- Robert E. Howard: "The Frost Giant's Daughter"
Asgard, a far-northern mountainous nation which is permanently glaciated, is home to the blond-haired, blue-eyed Aesir, a virile and rough hewn race of hunters and axe-wielding warriors who fight by day and carouse by night.
The Aesir live in tribal units with its own king, who preside in timber-roofed Great Halls.
All Aesir worship Ymir, the Frost Giant. They are the blood enemies of the Vanir, the red-haired barbarians of Vanaheim. Eons of feuding ensure that there will never be an easy peace between these two peoples.
At the close of each winter, the Aesir begin their yearly raids, riding south on horseback to pillage townships of their cattle, wealth, and women. Men who surrender to Aesir warriors are usually spared. Those who resist are slain in a gruesome fashion. Aesir rarely burn a village they plunder, preferring to leave their targets fairly intact to allow the survivors to rebuild and provide another lucrative target in the future.
In battle, Aesir prefer the broadsword or battleaxe. Additionally, they rely upon their chain-mailed shirts, horned helmets, and wooden shields to protect them from the weapons of their enemies. Many Aesir learn to use the throwing axe, but most will refuse to learn the spear or bow, weapons they think are cowardly.
Only by dying in battle, with sword or axe in hand and courage in the heart, can an Aesir find his way to Valhalla, the after-life paradise sought by all Norsemen.
The Aesir live by conquest. When two Aesir fight, the winner takes his choice of the loserís women, children, and animals. Aesir men will have only one wife at a time. When they tire of their present wife they either kill or sell her, and obtain a new female more to their liking. If a woman is unfaithful to her Aesir husband, she is most often killed by a ritual called "the Wheel of Axes", where all who disbelieve her hurl axes at her bound body. Any man caught in adultery is stripped of his belongings, and forced to cross the snow plains naked. In this way he freezes to death and never gains his chance to reside in the Halls of Valhalla. Only a legitimate wife can commit adultery, and thus an Aesir man can be frivolous with as many unmarried women as he wishes.
Asgard was one of the few nations never subdued during the wars of the latter Hyborian Age. The creeping glaciers ultimately forced its people out.