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

Advertisements

Church of Divine Patronage

Now the only church remaining within Whitehood, the Church of Divine Patronage is the last remnant of the human religion that was at one time dominant in the city.  There are still ample churches throughout Damir, but they would be found in Proudhill and Belvadore.  The Church of Divine Patronage is massive, and is one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to 262 ACW, only a dozen years after Whitehood was established.

For a time, the church served as a dwelling for council members to meet and discuss state of affairs, back when Whitehood was governed by a human council.  It is the site where Bandrian married Laurette, where Lord Valimond was coroneted, and where Lady Elayne gave her vows to Chancellor Valan.  Although few go to the Church of Divine Patronage, it is an iconic symbol to old Whitehood and nobody has the gall to suggest tearing it down.

There was a time in Damir history that painted the Church of Divine Patronage in terrible light.  King Valimond II admonished the church because it criticized the borderline worship of the colossus made in his father’s image.  He banished the Archbishop of Belvadore, which angered the priests and priestesses of the church.  Afterwards, it is rumored that members of the Church of Divine Patronage got together and plotted revenge against the king.  But when the king died, they decided to take it out on his heir, King Viktor I.  Viktor was no saint.  He was a womanizer and a hedonist.  The church despised him and his rule.  Some argue that it was the church that was behind the assassinations of King Viktor and Queen Noelle. 

Although it’s never been proven that there was any link to the assassinations and the church, evidence does suggest that some of the women that Viktor had affairs and conceived offspring with came to the Church of Divine Patronage for protection.  They feared Viktor would kill them or their children.  The Church offered succor to them and would use funds to send them into hiding.  Whether or not the king’s death was related in any way to these women or their children remains unknown, but the church’s aid to them is not in question.

Nursing Academy

The Nursing Academy is located in the center of the city of Whitehood.  Only women are sent to be trained nurses.  Men wishing to be doctors or surgeons are usually sent to Belvadore for intense study.  Recently the nursing academy began to accept applicants from women of all walks of life.  Due to the increase in orc incursions (three in one century) the demand for nurses has never been higher. 

The academy is run by a Matron, who delegates to several head nurses who carry out her orders.  The academy is funded by the military, which gets its funding from the royal treasury.  Because it is funded by the military, the academy is forced to follow any orders given to it by any high ranking officer.  Once enrolled, a nurse is forced into service for no fewer than five years.  A nurse can stay on in the academy indefinitely, however, as long as her record remains clean.  The academy can admit any patient whose condition merits constant supervision.

A classic yarn shared among the nurses who enlist in the academy is the tale of “Nurse kiss, nurse saw.”  Long ago, a beautiful but simple-minded nurse treated a wounded knight at the academy.  The knight had been stabbed, hacked, chopped, sliced, bashed, and bloodied but still alive.  The nurse, unsure how to treat him, asked the knight what he would like her to do for him.  The knight told her that each of his limbs were rendered useless and needed to be amputated.  Feeling sad for the knight, the nurse kissed each limb before removal.  Enjoying the touch of her lips, the knight requested she kiss his head and face next.  Needless to say, the nurse had a lot of explaining to do when the Matron discovered the headless knight some time afterward.

During times of peace, nurses are scattered throughout Damir from Gilstad to Belvadore.  Some eventually form their own practice or team up with a local doctor and leave the Nursing Academy.  Other nurses are hired by wealthy patrons, such as the royal family or Damir’s nobility, to be in-house nurses.  Of course, a nurse must pass all exams and finish her five year requirement in order to leave the academy.

Rossi Heights

The Rossi Heights have been a big part of the community at Whitehood since its inception.  Its name comes from the Du Rossi family: high nobles who were nearly exterminated by Ulric in 700 ACW.  Before given its now famous name, they were simply called the Southern Foothills, because they were on the road south to Merrimont.  The road that connects Merrimont to Whitehood runs through the Rossi Heights.  The Rossi Heights serve as a vanguard for Whitehood as they form a protective shield from the east and south.  The Rossi Heights have their own community, but it is mostly an outpost controlled by the military.  It has been the host of two major wars: the 6th War when the elves invaded from Merrimont in the south, and the 11th War, when Hathar the orc warlord made a run toward Whitehood.  In both cases, the humans won the war.  The orcs of Oringard often send small war parties across the Mourning River to terrorize the Rossi Heights but the hills are very well guarded.

Count Peter Du Rossi (570 – 621 ACW) was a very suave and very direct noble, who was exceptionally picky and confrontational.  He enjoyed swordplay and spent many hours of his youth learning the art of sword fighting.  As a young man, Count Du Rossi looked for every excuse imaginable to test out his skills on Damir’s best and most boastful fighters.  As a young boy he loved running through the flowery hills of the southern foothills to play, and that childhood memory inspired him to hold duels there.  It is unclear how many duels Du Rossi fought, but he claimed in his journal that he slew a hundred men there.  However, estimates from other records suggest the number is closer to fifty.  Whatever the number, Du Rossi was undefeated, and he settled disputes through these duels.  Now-a-days, duels must be approved by a magistrate to prevent any escalation or unnecessary confrontations.

The majority of duels are now fought on one of the hills of the Rossi Heights.  It is considered an ideal setting for a match because the ground is firm but not rocky, soft but not muddy.  It also allows spectators to gather and form a gallery, as the fighters duel high up where they can be seen clearly. 

Mt. Whitehood

The highest point in Damir (14,200 ft.), Mt. Whitehood was appropriately named by Lyndon himself.  The snow-capped head of the mountain is visible for well over fifty leagues; even the elves of Merrimont and the dwarves of Chance Rock can see it.  The mountain provides a high ground advantage for the city that would be built at the peak’s base.  In 440 ACW, the attacking dwarves of Duinmire were forced to take a wide angle of approach because of the steepness of the mountain.

The mountain has been mined thoroughly for its salt by the humans who settled under it, and then later, by immigrant goblins.  Some gold deposits have been found, but the mountain’s resources have been partly depleted after four hundred years of continual mining.  It was believed by critics for the unification of the human settlements (which became the kingdom of Damir) that the only reason Whitehood wanted to unite was because their resources were dwindling.  It is said Whitehood needed resources and the rest of Damir needed leadership.

There is a legend of the mountain which states that at Whitehood’s highest point is a cave, where a great mountain dragon slumbers.  The dragon was once believed to be the first ruler of the land, claiming Whitehood as its lair.  It would terrorize the indigenous cultures of primeval Damir, including the cyclopsians, but mysteriously ceased its devastating attacks just before Lyndon arrived in 106 ACW.  The legend was first told to the templars by the native humans, who Lyndon believed were trying to frighten him off from settling in Damir.  However, Lyndon did concede that Mt. Whitehood made him feel “uncertain” and wanted to move on from it. 

Argault the Builder, responsible for constructing the great fortress Gilstad, was commissioned by King Valimond in 564 ACW to make blueprints for a majestic castle built up against Mt. Whitehood.  Argault, having heard rumors, made a point not to build too far up the mountainside in fear of “waking the fabled dragon.”  In 675 ACW, a famed adventurer named Knippler made a daring climb to the summit of Whitehood.  Upon his return, Knippler claimed he came face to face with a sleeping dragon and provided some of its scales as proof.  But two years later, it was revealed that Knippler never found the cave and instead purchased some scales from a traveling merchant prior to the trek.  Knippler was proven a fraud and lynched by an angry crowd.

 

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.

Merrimont part 1

Located strategically between the Blue and the Paia, two of three main rivers in Damir, is the elven city of Merrimont.  The name “Merrimont” is not elven, but human.  In 102 ACW, a massive party of immigrating human pilgrims, led by the great templar Lyndon, passed through the flower fields and grassy knolls of southern Damir.  Because of the flower fields and the small hills, it was named “Merrymont,” later spelled as “Merrimont.”

Flanked by the two rivers, the soil and ground seemed to be prime farmland that could be cultivated.  A large group of Lyndon’s followers broke off and decided to remain behind to farm and establish a human township in the fields.  Lyndon himself admired the ground but wanted access to the sea so he pressed ahead. 

Early on, it appeared the humans had found the perfect place to settle.  The fruit orchards provided plenty of food, and the humid climate added to the growth of their crops.  However, human irrigation technology was lost in the Chaos War.  Knowledge of cultivation was low, and the people were forced to learn anew.  Among the lost knowledge was how to properly dam a river.  After about ten years, the Blue River flooded the settlement and most of the outlying farms.  Five years after that, the Paia did the same.  The floods were catastrophic: dozens of people died at a time, houses and crops washed away, livestock killed. 

Feeble attempts to dam the rivers failed miserably, as the flooding continued to wreak havoc on every new settlement the humans built.  Still, for over a hundred years the humans in Merrimont gutted it out and kept rebuilding after each flood.  Then in 221 ACW, both the Paia and the Blue flooded simultaneously, wiping out the township completely, killing hundreds, destroying farms, crops and livestock; the people there were reduced to nothing.  The humans were fed up.  Every time they harvested a good crop it would flood.  Every time their livestock began to bear young it flooded.  Every time. 

By 240 ACW, virtually every human left the Merrimont region, convinced that the area could not be properly settled because of the rivers.  They went north, many settling near Mt. Whitehood and establishing a human outpost there.  Others went to Proudhill in the west.  But the fields of Merrimont were deserted.  Only a handful of human farmers tried to stick it out. 

Around that time the elves had successfully entered Oringard from the south and pushed the dwarves out.  The war between the elves and dwarves was technically the 2nd War of Damir.  It started when the elves, in search of a homeland, were given permission by the dwarves to pass through Oringard on their way north.  However, the forest proved to be just what the elven wanderers were in search for and they decided to stay and settle.  The dwarves took exception and began hostilities.  Eventually the dwarves, who had been mining up north, decided to retreat there and give up the forestland.

But in 461 ACW, over two hundred years later, the elves got a taste of their own medicine when the orcs of Nubrince entered Oringard and attacked.  The elves were too spread out and unprepared for an attack coming from their eastern border and scattered.  Iteph, their royal prince, did not escape and he and his family were massacred.  The elves that did manage to escape found themselves following the Paia west to the flowery fields of Merrimont.  In 469 ACW, the elves learned through the few human farmers that lived in the area that the land was called Merrimont and the elves decided to establish themselves there. 

The new elven township sent shockwaves across all of Damir.  Due to their location, the elves were now southern neighbors to the humans, who had established Whitehood as their primary domain.  Under their new king Bandrian I, the humans saw the elves as potential threats and fortified the hills (later called the Rossi Heights) above Merrimont.  However, many humans did not initially feel threatened by the elves, knowing they had settled in a region prone to flooding and would soon be wiped out.

However, this did not happen.  The elves knew of ways to dam the rivers, create waterways and proper irrigation, and minimize the flooding damage.  As a people, elves  often have a natural knack when it comes to cultivation and agriculture.  Within twenty years of establishing a township, the elves blossomed in agriculture and farmland.  Although the rivers still flooded, the preventative measures the elves took kept the damage manageable.