Oringard part 2

In 460 ACW, the elves of Oringard were thoroughly dismantled by a large orc incursion from the neighboring land of Nubrince in the east.  The invasion came as a sudden surprise.  The orcs hit the elves on multiple fronts, destroying their defenses easily.  The orcs were battle tested, numerous, and absolutely ruthless in their attacks.  The elves, over the course of a couple of years of futile resistance, finally yielded Oringard to them and fled west into the fields of Merrimont.  The orcs then became the primary inhabitants of Oringard and have remained such for over three and a half centuries. 

For the next one hundred years, the orcs built up Oringard into their domain, spreading to as many areas as possible within the forestland, populating and conquering whatever stood in their way, like the gryphons.  They cut down large sections of trees, mined coal, built large training arenas and fortifications.  They mapped out Oringard, learning the secrets of the forest, locating good hideouts and lookout points.  As their population swelled, so did their confidence.  The orcs stayed quiet in Oringard for over a century, until the time of Phumbaas.

To protect herself and her community of immortals, Hovaia cursed a large section of forestland that would later be called the Bleak Woods.  Making a petrified forest, the wood there became lethal to touch.  White Bark is a common dryad trap, designed to petrify intruders.  This prevented the orcs from entering her small section in northern Oringard, which would later be dubbed Hovaia’s Cradle. 

Since Phumbaas, the orcs have begun to call their clan the “Nation of Oringard”, establishing it as separate from the rest of Damir.  Because of the thick woods and its internal maze-like structures, Oringard is almost impregnable by any army.  Even so, elven merchants will occasionally venture into Oringard to seek out rare herbs that the forest is known to grow.  Some adventurers continue to search for Hovaia and other hidden treasures.  Many do not return from these expeditions, but it doesn’t keep others from trying.  The kingdom of Damir sends scouts into Oringard year round, trying to decipher what the orcs are planning and when they might invade next.  Because Oringard is so dense and long, the orcs can strike from any point along the tree line.  It is standard orc procedure to deceive the enemy as to where they will strike next.  To do this, the orcs use the trees as cover while they shuffle legions from north to south, confusing enemy scouts, and leaving Damir’s military command holding their breaths.

Oringard is viewable as far west as Whitehood, and from Merrimont’s Peach Orchards the forestland looks like an endless ocean of trees and forested hills that goes on beyond what the eye can see.  It is an ominous looking domain to anyone who comprehends the danger and threat that lies beyond its forested curtain.

Notable creatures that can be found in Oringard (aside from orcs):

1. Shunjilas

2. Black-spade Bears

3. Gryphons

4. Owl Raptors

5. Saw-tooth Beavers

6. Red-eyed Condors

7. Mud Frogs

8. Shadow Squirrels

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The Peach Orchards

Up on a northeastern hill outside of Merrimont are the vast Peach Orchards, which were at one time owned by a very wealthy elven noble.  The noble and his family were killed during the 10th War of Damir, during the orcs invasion of the Merrimont region, and the orchards have since become community property.  It is fitting that it is also the resting place of Phumbaas, the orc warlord who nearly destroyed all of Merrimont and  attempted to annihilate the elves

Because of how massive Phumbaas was (eight feet tall and five hundred pounds) they did not bother to move him to the burning pile of the other dead orc warriors.  The elves decided to bury his remains, and not cremate him where he lay for risk of torching the prized peach orchards.  His grave was unmarked, however, and every so often a skull hunter tries to find it to dig up his remains.  But so far nobody has.

As a result of Merrimont’s biggest offender being buried in the Peach Orchards, the grounds are considered tormented and hallow.  Ghost stories of the infamous warlord walking amongst the trees have circulated for over two centuries, but many scoff at this, calling it superstitious nonsense.  However, not even critics can deny that something ominous does occur there during full moons.  Every full moon, a peach tree dies.  Its fruit rots and the soil goes bad, making the spot unacceptable for planting.  No one has an explanation for this, other than the superstition that Phumbaas’s tormented soul is spoiling the orchards.

Despite the haunting, the great Peach Festival is held every summer in Merrimont at the orchards.  It is the largest elven gala in Damir where the social elite and common elves gather on neutral ground.  It is a favorite place for weddings, wedding announcements, and courtships to take place.  The common saying among elven gents associated with the Peach Orchards is: “Take a peach, find a peach, get a peach at the Orchards!”

Merrimont part 2

As the years and decades passed, the kingdom of Damir became intensely jealous of the elves and their ability to farm the land and dam the rivers without going through the hardships their ancestors suffered.  With control of Merrimont and the southern farmlands below the city, the elves were enjoying a cultural renaissance in Damir, and they would not recognize King Bandrian or any human king as their ruler.

In 485 ACW, the elves of Merrimont were feeling a bit brave from having occupied the fields and farmlands so successfully that they decided to try and settle on the hills north of Merrimont, on the way to Whitehood.  The Rossi Heights (or so they would be named at a later date) guarded Whitehood from the south and east.  Upon hearing that elves had moved into the area, Bandrian sent his army out to shoo them off.  The shooing resulted in bloodshed and Bandrian’s army pursued the elves by driving south, almost to the gates of Merrimont where they had a short but inconsequential battle with the elven army.  The confrontation became the 5th War of Damir, but it was closer to a skirmish, and later standoff-than a war.

Bandrian had made his point, however, and did not want open warfare (the king was growing old and weak).  He summoned his troops back to the Rossi Heights and made a declaration that the hills belonged to the kingdom of Damir and that any further encroachment by the elves would mean war.  While the elves celebrated Bandrian’s retreat they knew that his army was more than capable of destroying theirs and agreed to his demands.  A truce was called and the humans of Whitehood and the elves of Merrimont had peace.

This truce would be broken when Bandrian’s grandson, Bandrian III, thought it a good idea to attack Merrimont with the full force of the royal army.  In 557 ACW, Bandrian III was beside himself in anger over hearing about the elven prophecy: that a king would spring from their own and likely compete against a human king.  He used the prophecy as propaganda to garner enough initial support to attack the elves, but went overboard.  Instead of demonstrating a show of force against the outlying farms north of Merrimont, he took it a full step further and marched on Merrimont.  But this 7th War of Damir was brief.  Once the elven scouts learned of the human army’s intentions to invade Merrimont, they broke the northern dams of the Paia and Blue Rivers, flooding the land and wiping out the invasion force.  It would take years for the elves to rebuild the farmlands north of Merrimont, but at least their city and people had been spared.  Unfortunately, the elves had no idea what was next to come around the corner.

In early 601 ACW, several elven provinces east of Merrimont were destroyed one by one by an invasion of over 10,000 orc warriors led by the warlord, Phumbaas.  Elves everywhere fled to the confines and safety of Merrimont, hoping the city would protect them from the orcs.  The elven army tried to slow Phumbaas down from reaching the city, attacking him in small clusters, killing off the frontline soldiers, but the warlord always seemed to have plenty of warriors to replenish his losses.  The elven army dwindled, chipped away by these small battles.  They made their final stand just outside of Merrimont, near the Peach Orchards, and slugged it out with Phumbaas.  But the warlord was too strong and the elven lines broke.  The army slaughtered, Merrimont prepared itself for a siege.

Desperate for relief, and surrounded by orcs, the elves managed to send an envoy of emissaries to Whitehood to plead for help from the human king, Valimond.  The purpose of the emissary was for Damir to enter the war on Merrimont’s behalf, and save the elven people from being annihilated.  But King Valimond wanted more than just a war-time alliance against the orcs of Oringard.  He wanted a treaty with the elves and the annexation of Merrimont into the kingdom of Damir.  He wanted recognition from the elven people that they were subjects to a human king and would pledge their loyalty as citizens of Damir.  To ensure this, he stipulated that elves would have to give up their rights to land, dissolve their caucus and reduce their merchant trade.  These demands were unacceptable, but under the grave circumstances Merrimont was experiencing, they rushed through negotiations and agreed to Valimond’s demands.

Armed with the might of Damir’s massive royal army, Valimond relieved Merrimont of its siege just in time.  The ramparts of the city had fallen, half of Merrimont was left in ruin, and Phumbaas had already extinguished thousands upon thousands of elves in his wake.  Phumbaas did not anticipate the arrival of the Damish army and was flanked.  The warlord attempted to thwart their efforts to save Merrimont by dividing his army in two and leading his own side against Valimond’s.  But Phumbaas was cut down in the battle and the orcs were pushed back.  The war was over and Merrimont was spared.

Merrimont was a shell of its old self, and less than half the elven population remained.  Forced to rebuild under the stern laws set forth by the Treaty of Merrimont, the elven city would go through a century of darkness: riots and plagues would become the city’s legacy.  However, during King Valan II’s reign, the elves gained more control of their society and Merrimont began to turn around circa 700 ACW.  Their temple was reconstructed, roads re-built, fountains and archways were erected to mark the return of elven pride and cultural rejuvenation.