On the eastern fringe of Damir is the vast forestland of Oringard. Named by the dwarven immigrants who fled the kingdom of Paia, it means “Natural Fortress.” Although it lies within Damir’s borders, it is a realm all to itself. It is almost two hundred leagues long and just shy of a hundred leagues deep. It stops up against the Golden Mountains in the north, and trails off into the barren land of Basmah in the southeast. Oringard touches five different lands: Damir, Gronde, Kasmoon, Nubrince, and Basmah. Running through the forest is the curvy Paia River in the south, and the much shorter Mourning River in the north.
Legend has it that the forest is the creation of Hovaia, a dryad queen, who planted the many trees and shrubbery to shield the land from mortal invaders. Despite her best laid plans, the forest was inhabited for several hundred years by the wood elves, a nomadic people who built tree houses and lived off the forest. It is rumored the wood elves knew Hovaia and worked with the dryad queen to keep other mortals out.
Of course this did not work. After the kingdom of Paia (a dwarven kingdom) collapsed during the Chaos War, thousands of dwarves ventured north to discover the vast forestland which they would so aptly name. They began to settle the forest, burrowing into the hillsides, chopping trees down to lay foundations for small communities. The dwarves had a network of villages spread about Oringard but they did not occupy all of it. They left Hovaia and the wood elves to their own realm and interests.
For two hundred years the dwarves controlled much of Oringard, dedicating most of their time to mapping the forestland. The maze-like paths of the forestland can be deadly to any person who isn’t familiar with them or doesn’t have a map. The trees are thick and some areas look similar to the next. Getting lost in Oringard is easy and a common occurrence; trails become overgrown with foliage, creeks dry up, trees fall over and block paths.
There are plenty of creatures in the woods, but a lot of the big predators have been driven out or killed by the orcs. Bears, wolves, and wild cats are still common, but the forest used to feature sasquatch and hippogryphs. It was also home to a nest of gryphons. The gryphons kept to themselves for several hundred years, even after the high elves invaded the forestland and drove out the dwarves and wood elves. It wasn’t until the orcs took over Oringard that the gryphons were forced to leave their nests and go elsewhere.
The high elves infiltrated Oringard around 350 ACW, defeating the dwarves in the 2nd War of Damir and forcing them out of Oringard. The high elves took over much of southern Oringard, built large townships and began to blaze trails all over the forestland. Believing the dwarves would one day return and try to take Oringard back, the high elves set up a series of booby traps along several false trails that led to their town centers. The wood elves either assimilated with their High Elven brethren or left Oringard all together.
Descendants of the fallen elven empire at Jeriko embraced the rule of their leader, Prince Iteph, who was a very distant cousin of the royal bloodline, but the only known survivor who could be linked to the elven monarchy. In their time in Oringard, Iteph had children who went on to establish a royal line. But because of the massive orc invasion that would come a hundred years later, most of the records concerning the descendants of Iteph were lost. When Kalliste gave her prophecy that an elven king would be born amongst them, many figured it would come from Iteph’s lost lineage.