Oringard part 1

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.

Elves part 1

In Damir, the elves first arrived in 350 ACW into Oringard, which was inhabited at the time by the dwarves.  The dwarves were too spread out and disorganized to ward off the elven incursion, and fled northwest.  Claiming Oringard as their own, the elves set up villages throughout the forestland in an attempt to solidify a homeland of their own.  They were led by Iteph, the last remaining member of the old royal family from Jeriko.  The elves, who were almost a hundred percent high elf, discovered they were not the only elves in Oringard.  The wood elves pre-date even the dwarves, but stayed to themselves in small communities within the forest.  The arrival of their high elven brethren either assimilated the wood elves into their society or drove them out.

A hundred years later, the elves had multiplied and were prospering in Oringard.  But in 460 ACW, the orcs of Nubrince invaded and ambushed the elves, slaughtering thousands and killing Iteph’s entire family.  Forced to flee, the elves escaped Oringard and ventured west to the fields of Merrimont.  Led by Iteph’s top advisor, Malthus was promoted to steward prince, and with his guidance the elves quickly built up the Merrimont region. 

Damming the rivers was the first order of business, so any township built could be sustained.  The southern hills and plains were perfect for farming, and the elves began to grow and harvest their agriculture.  In a short amount of time, the township of Merrimont had taken off and was booming in population.  Before either the humans or dwarves knew it, the elves had taken control of southern Damir.  Immediately, the human king Bandrian was outraged over the elves settling in the Merrimont region and damming up the rivers, something the humans had failed at spectacularly in the past.  Envy and distrust kept the humans and the elves from getting along, and for over a hundred years the two would be disdainful neighbors to each other. 

With the Malthus line established as the steward prince line, the elves selected their worthiest families to make up the elven nobility and Caucus.  The elven Caucus serves as the center of politics, law enforcement and justice for the people.  Unlike the human king of Damir, a steward prince does not have absolute power, and is politically an equal member of the Caucus.  Being steward prince gives him the privilege to break ties and to represent them in international courts.

In 556 ACW, the human king Bandrian III tried to have Merrimont invaded and conquered, but the elves had prepared for such an assault by demolishing the dams they had built and flooding the area north of Merrimont.  Drowned and defeated by the rivers, the humans did not try again.  However, in 601 ACW the elves were unable to fend off the orc warlord, Phumbaas, and the massive horde he commanded.  Phumbaas routed the elven army, almost annihilating them, and putting Merrimont in a deadly siege.  Unable to hold out against impossible odds, the elves sent an envoy to King Valimond, the human king of Damir.  Desperate for relief, the elves agreed to swear fealty to the crown of Damir, giving up land rights, their merchant trade, and their Caucus just to preserve their future as a people.  The agreement between Valimond and the elves was known as the Treaty of Merrimont.  The treaty was grossly unfair to the elves, as it reduced their status to serf class, and forced to work for human land owners. 

The annexation of Merrimont and the southern farmlands, all at one time controlled by elves, to the kingdom of Damir was a difficult transition.  Elves who owned farm land were now forced to hand over the deeds to their property to human land owners.  These elves were allowed to stay on, but as workers.  The elves saw this as theft, and the humans saw this as justice.  

The elves have since rioted a handful of times in the past hundred and fifty years of having their land stripped.  The Caucus has been reformed and dissolved several times by the human kings that have ruled over them.  The merchant trade has bolstered the economy in Damir, but for forty years the Treaty prohibited elven merchants to sell their goods outside of Merrimont.  In 619 ACW the elves rioted, as the conditions of the Treaty had proven to be too much.  To punish them for their insolence, King Valimond II had five hundred known rioters (some innocent) put to death.  It became known as the 500 Purge, a dark day in Merrimont’s history. 

The Elven Reprieve Act of 643 ACW gave the elves the right to sell their wares outside of Merrimont.  For ten years, the elves began to clean up Merrimont, which had become a city of slums because of the Treaty.  With merchant trade turning high profits, the elves were blossoming, despite being second class citizens.  But in 653 ACW, the new king of Damir, Viktor II, decided to revoke the Reprieve Act, which prompted a bloody revolt in Merrimont.  That caused Viktor to retaliate, and he executed several noble elves who he felt were behind the riots.  The executions were public beheadings and thus earned the title the “Axe Purge.” 

Finally in 772 ACW, Valimond III came to terms with Mortimus, the steward-prince, and passed the Farm and Riot Act.  The policy was an agreement between the elves of Merrimont and the crown.  In short, the elves were to no longer resort to rioting and violence, but to declare their fealty to the crown.  In return, the law in Damir would recognize elven land owners.  The Caucus would also be allowed to govern Merrimont without a human overseer or magistrate.  The elven Caucus would be permitted to sponsor their own laws for their own people, as long as it did not contradict with the laws of the kingdom.