The Ulfen came with no serf caste of their own – for them, every adult was a warrior, and they lived off the work of foreigners. Although there were nobles among the Ulfen, these were acknowledged primi inter pares who were particularly successful at collecting booty or adjudicating disputes and established patronage networks on that basis – no one was bound to their jarl except by money and personal affection, which successful ones managed to get a lot of.
When this warrior nation took over, they split into two groups – the new nobility (with their retainers) and the independents. The new nobility, consisting mostly of the most successful jarls, married into noble Tlecaxana families, blending Ulfen and Tlecaxana methods of rule and economic extraction, sometimes very awkwardly; those who stayed as their retainers merged to some extent with the native warrior class. The independents cashed out, collecting grants in land and slaves from their jarls, and set themselves up as petty freeholders. Between this conquest and the Chelaxians’, a number of additional Ulfen came from Avistan to settle along the independents’ lines, but other than this, there was very little economic or demographic development. Accepting the analogy of farming folk as hives of honey, the land’s new masters were bears, not beekeepers, and spent most of the surplus they got feuding with one another. They also consolidated their rule, and further hobbled the economy and effective governance, with extensive purges of the clerical caste, aided by ambitious young priests looking for openings and a population that was rightly terrified of demonolatry.