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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Doves of Merrimont

The white doves of Merrimont have been part of the city since its inception, a hundred years after the Chaos War.  Even the templar Lyndon noted that the doves there were extraordinary, as they communicated to him through telepathic powers.  Many see the doves as the city’s eternal guardians, but no one has been able to decipher what exactly they’re protecting.  It is thought, by the humans, that the doves are protecting riches beyond imagining.  However, the doves rarely communicate to humans, preferring the elves who moved into the Merrimont region in 460 ACW.  

Telepathic powers are found in some animals but not exclusively in particular species.  In other words, not all doves have telepathy but the doves in Merrimont do.  The doves seem to congregate around the city’s main and largest archway, the Dovial Arch.  Superstition over the Arch circulate from bird droppings landing on citizens passing under the archway.  It has been noted that anyone who is pooped on is doomed to die within a year’s time. Because of these deaths, many in Merrimont are fearful of the doves and believe they may have powers beyond telepathy.  In 721 ACW, an elven mason was utterly convinced the doves were evil and needed to be killed.  The stone mason managed to shoot down seven doves before he was arrested and later executed for bearing weapons and using deadly force within the city (elves were not allowed to have or use weapons within Merrimont until the Farm and Riot Act of 772 ACW).

During many of the wars, such as the 10th War of Damir where Merrimont was put in siege by the orcs led by the warlord Phumbaas, the doves served as scouts and messengers for the elves.  The doves only seem to speak to a select number of elves, including certain elven nobles.  Many elves try to tap into the secrets of the doves by feeding them or cooing at them, but typically the doves fly away when such obvious bribery is offered.  It is rumored that the doves were friends with Kalliste, the blind seer, and that it was they who gave her the prophecy about the Slayer.  Kalliste never mentions the doves at all in any of her works, but the rumors continue to circulate.

In elven lore, doves were the favorite animal of Troix, the Angel of Valor.  It has been passed down from legend that Troix had a special relationship with doves, and they would speak to her and no other.  In her battles, Troix used the doves to spy on enemy outposts and armies, relaying the size and readiness of the opposing army.  When Troix was killed in battle, abandoned by her allies, it is said the doves dispersed and were never heard of again.

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.

Orcs part 3

The Trials for male orcs involve a grueling set of tests designed to place the orc correctly in orc society.  It is here that the Sheshua try to determine if the orcling has any special abilities or gifts.  If the child appears to have gifts he is set aside to undergo the Gift Trials, for orcs who might be candidates to become members of the Orc High Council.  Orcs who are born with no magical tendencies or special abilities undergo the Blood Trials, the passage to become a warrior and perhaps a Tron later on.  Orcs who fall in between or it is uncertain where to be placed but appear to be useful are trained to be Sheshua.

Orcs who are larger and much stronger and intelligent are considered candidates for becoming a Tron (a superior orc) who answers only to the warlord.  Trons help the warlord with strategy, organizing legions, arming and prepping their warriors and controlling the clan in general during times of war.  The majority of Trons are above seven feet and are athletically built for intense warfare against a variety of opponents.  To become a Tron an orcling must first pass the Blood Trials.  Depending on how he scores, a warrior can be given Tron status, but this is the exception to the rule; most become standard warriors.  Trons are exceptional warriors who are candidates for becoming the future warlord of their clan.  Becoming a Tron automatically means annual breeding rights with the females.

Orcs are taught not to fear death but to welcome it.  Suicide, however, is thought to be a coward’s end, while death in battle is considered glorious.  Orcs who have been badly wounded or have become too old are honorably put to death.  Orcs believe that when a warrior dies honorably he goes to the Great Mountain, which is the gateway to the Spirit Realm.  The Spirit Realm is the collection of the greatest warrior souls, where they serve as ancestral guides to the living.

The orcs of Oringard are one clan of the Orc High Council of Nubrince.  It is not unheard of for clans to go rogue and break off from a High Council, such as was the case with the orcs of Kasmoon, who conquered the upper half of the divided ancient kingdom of Paia, then appointed a king and fashioned an entirely different orc society separate from the High Council.  The Nation of Oringard is among the much larger and more successful clans who adhere to the Orc High Council of Nubrince.  The orcs were triumphant in their invasion of Oringard, driving out the elves in 460 ACW.  However, early on in their history, the orcs of Oringard began to squabble over what land to conquer next.  Most wanted to press west into Damir, where the ground could be cultivated, yet a segment of their people saw the Golden Mountains as a place to take refuge and launch attacks from higher ground.  This division caused a civil war within Oringard, one that lasted nearly forty years and decimated the clan.

The orc civil war within Oringard ended with the losing clan wishing to drive north to go rogue, defying the High Council, which ruled in favor of the orcs staying in Oringard and eventually conquering Damir.  Heading north, this rogue orc clan stumbled upon the dwarven fortress of Gilstad in 525 ACW and attacked it, launching the 7th War of Damir.  But the war was brief and the orcs were badly defeated.  Forced to retreat, their shattered army went north into the Golden Mountains and were never heard from again.  The orcs that stayed behind in Oringard spent the next seventy years forced to re-populate and rebuild defensive structures that had been totaled during the civil war.

The orcs did not make headway against Damir until the warlord Phumbaas, who organized the first ever massive orc invasion to cross the Paia and marched west toward Merrimont, the city of the elves, in 601 ACW.  The 10th War of Damir changed the land and gave the orcs tremendous confidence that they would eventually take Damir, despite the loss.  Even with Phumbaas’ defeat, the orcs had made their point: they were to be a thorn in Damir’s side for years to come.

Mal Orah-

The warlord and/or his Trons issue battle commands through the beats of orc drums.  The Mal Orah, which means “Death Charge”, is a command given to attack with maximum effort.  Typically, the Mal Orah is sounded for a full verse before the orcs actually charge, as a means of intimidating their enemies prior to assault.  The Mal Orah consists of slow beats that gradually get faster and louder until they are done in rapid succession.  The Death Charge is described as deafening, as the orcs usually use an abundance of drums, which beat together at once.  The Mal Orah is also used as a form of distraction, the noise making it difficult for their enemies to communicate.

Shogue Language-

The native tongue of orcs everywhere is the Shogue language.  The orcs refused to adopt the Druish language, yet it was still learned in some circles and is still taught among orcs of high positions such as Trons.  Considered the language of the Juhas, orcs only speak Druish rarely or for reconnaissance purposes.  Shogue is a slow language, as it is more important to pronounce the word than to speak it quickly.  Partly due to their militaristic society, orcs want to ensure that their words are heard and understood.  Because Shogue is relatively simple and slow it is among the easiest languages for other races to eventually master.

Orcs in Age of Thunder:

  • Kazul
  • Gozma
  • Noxima
  • Crohl
  • Mogabi
  • Mutawa
  • Morgon

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.