Orcs are humanoid beast-like race created in 330 YSD by the Wizards of the Seven Cities intented for use against the demons but later enslaved. In 467 YSD they started a rebellion against their masters, that lasted until 504 YSD and it even reached the borders of the Holy Falcon Empire. In the year 512 YSD, the Wizards created new races of beastmen, including minotaurs, centaurs, harpies, lamasus and wanizames, as substitutes. However like their predecessors, they rebelled and joined the Orcs for freedom.
Creation of the OrcsEdit
In 330 YSD the races of Ashan bore witness to the first lunar eclipse, which started the first demon invasion and the War of the Blood Moon broke out. A total lunar eclipse provokes a massive rupture of the Demon Prison, created by Sar-Elam's sacrifice, as such this weak link allowed the Demon Lords to force their way out and wreak havoc across the lands. Armies from all kingdoms rally to meet them, but, caught by surprise, they were rapidly overwhelmed. The Demons were finally defeated but at a most terrible cost. The Demon Lords were brought low, and the surviving demons banished back to their hellish prison of Sheogh.
Called upon for assistance, the wizards of the Seven Cities send their forces into battle. They experimented with demon blood, which they inoculated into human slaves and criminals. The monstrous Orcs were created as a result. Bolstered by the Orc shock troops, the nations of Ashan defeated the Demons and banished them back to their prison world. In the wake of this second demon war, Orcs were re-settled in the Falcon Empire as well as the Seven Cities. Unfortunately for the Orcs, they were not granted freedom, but instead they served as indentured troops or as workers in the mines.
The Orc CrusadesEdit
- Main article: The Orc Crusades
In 467 YSD, tired and angry at their enslavement, the Orcish rebellions broke out in the Seven Cities, which soon spread to the Holy Falcon Empire. Rejecting their wizard masters and the Dragon Gods, the Orcs declared themselves free, unwilling to submit to obedience or worship. In the Falcon Empire, Crusades were declared against the Orcs – attempts to subjugate them and convert them back to dragon worship. The fighting was brutal, and the Orcs were relentlessly driven back. Eventually, the unrepentant survivors fled wherever they could, including: the Steppes of Ranaar (north-east), the Desert of Sahaar (south-west) and the Pao Islands (south-east), forming various tribes.
In 504 YSD, a massive armada was made to follow the orcs and crush them, led by the Empress Morwena herself. However, a great storm sunk the Haven fleet that was prepared to follow the Orcs to their island refuge. The new Falcon Emperor, Conner III, declared this a sign from the Dragons, and formally ends the Orc Crusades. Many orcs, however, believe that their legendary hero, Kunyak, created the storm with the Cup of Thunder, allowing the orcs to escape and find a place where they could be free of slavery.
Creation of Beast-menEdit
In 512 YSD, the Crimson Wizards created the Beast-men (minotaurs, centaurs, harpies, lamasus, wanizames…) as replacements but ended up as servants, playthings, and guards in the Seven Cities. However, only a few years later, being treated the same way as the orcs were, the Beastmen rebelled and made their own exodus from their wizard masters. Now most of them formed their own tribes with the orcs or scattered across the face of Ashan, seeking space, dignity, and freedom. Others became part of other nations: the Lamasus became part of the necromancer nation of Heresh, the Minotaurs became part of the Dark Elf nation of Ygg-Chall, and the Sharkmen became guards to the underwater palaces of the Naga's. The feline beast-men, Rakshasas, were the only ones that stayed with their wizard masters, mainly because they have more privileges, as well as being widely feared and respected.
The second rebellion of their creations caused great unrest within the Seven Cities, the Crimson Wizards of House Chimera lost tremendous influence among the other House's of magic and the growing favor-ability of House Materia's constructs made the situation for the Crimson Wizards worse. It would only be until the founding of the Silver Cities that the Crimson Wizards and their remaining beast-men servants left in self-exile. Since their rejection in favor of the Constructs, they settled west, and found the free city of Karthal, claiming it as their own territory from the Holy Falcon Empire.
Society and Culture Edit
The main belief for the Orcs and their beast-men allies is freedom, little else. Maintaining it and never again be slaves to anyone, whether they are the wizards or the Dragon-Gods.
Today the Orcs don't have a nation they can call their own but they live as tribal nomads in the some of the most inhospitable regions of Ashan, like the Sahaar Desert, the Pao Islands, or the Dragon's Causeway. In each tribe they are led by a Chieftain, which are normally the strongest and wisest of their tribe. They normally lead their tribes on great migrations, lead them during raids or negotiate (which is rare among them). The Beastmen serve as allies and friends to the Orcs, some become part of their tribes.
In times of conflict, the Orcs are feared for the ruthless yet reckless brutality. As the Orcs were created as shock-troops to fight Demons, their tactics reflect this. Orc warriors are mobile, lightly armored and heavily armed. They usually rush straight at the enemy, counting on their numbers, speed, ferocity and toughness to break the lines of the opposing army without suffering too many casualties. Steppe and Desert Orcs are nomad warriors, born in the saddle, and they train their mounts (aurochs, dire wolves, giant hyenas…) for battle. Some can even ride more exotic creatures, like Manticores or Wyverns.
By the same token, it’s hard to make the Orcs stand and fight. With no cities to defend, they can retreat endlessly into their native steppes, deserts or jungles, and wait for the right moment to counter-attack. Their mobility makes them hard to pin down, and their ability to live off the land makes it impossible to cut off their supply lines.
Orcs fight to win but they have developed a “code of honor” that they use when they face a “respectable” enemy (Demons or Wizards are automatically excluded from this category for obvious reasons).
Pronouns are not used by Orcs, who instead speak in the third person, referring to themselves by name. This is in accordance to the teachings of Malathua, defying the Wizards' impersonal and possessive use as "my/our/your/their slaves."
In terms of religion, the Orcs have no god and the Orcs need no god. This being said, their Shamans pay homage to Mother Earth and Father Sky, two powerful spirits they meet when they travel into the “Dream World”. Sages of other kingdoms have compared these spirits to Ylath and Sylanna (the Dragon Gods of Air and Earth), or to various aspects of Asha. Orc Shamans are the religious leaders of each tribe and are considered are a strange breed. They act as mediums between the material world and the spirit world, which they refer to as the “Dream World”. To enter this realm, they undergo deep trance rituals, the nature of which is specific to each Shaman. From their journeys into the “Dream World”, the Shamans bring insights that help them draw magical powers from their own demon blood.
As they were created then enslaved by the Wizards, Orcs generally hate the magic of the Dragon-Gods. But they are not stupid, they know that magic is real, and that there are many connections between the visible, material world and the invisible spirit world. Because they are a created race, Orcs don’t belong to Asha’s natural order and have no connection to the Dragon Gods whatsoever, even if they were once Human. As a result their magic is not a form of worship of the Dragons and their spirit servants, nor is it a mental discipline based on study and practice, like the Wizards’ arcane path. Rather, it is their Demon blood that grants them access to a limited form of Chaos Magic. Instead of using one of the Dragon-Gods magic, they call upon “blood magic”, chaotic in nature, and shamanistic spells, powered by their link to their ancestors.
Orc Shamans use bloodletting rituals, and to conjure the more powerful spells they will require other Orcs or Goblins to join them. Sometimes they don’t ask approval from the participants, and sometimes, they need so much blood that they have to bleed their co-ritualist's dry…
The only form of magic they use that the other nations recognize is Air and Earth Magic, possibly due to the orcs' reverence for the great spirits, Father Sky and Mother Earth.
It is possible for an Orc to access their dormant Demon Blood and gain access to powerful spells of Chaos and actually summon Demons from Sheogh but in turn, they become Demon's themselves and are sent to Sheogh if they die as they basically sold their souls to Urgash. Most of the orcs of Ashan believe this to be the ultimate betrayal of their ways and their ancestors and have therefore declared it forbidden. The prime example of this is Toghrul, an Orc Shaman consumed with grief and rage over the slaughter of his clan at the hands of Pavel Griffin.
Though the orcs have no nation to make a relation with, they have made connections with the other nations of Ashan as a people.
The orcs understandably despise the Wizards of the Seven Cities (later the Silver Cities), seeing them as little more than slavers and arrogant, honor-less knowledge-seekers. It was the Wizard's poor treatment of the orcs that motivated the Orcs and later the Beastmen to rebel and seek freedom. Now orcs openly show hostility and rage towards their "creators". The Wizards show a similar ill view as they see the orcs as their servants and they have no other purpose than to be as such. Now they see them as primitive barbarians with no future. The Crimson Wizards of House Chimera are particularly upset about these events as it was because of the rebellions that they lost the influence and respect they once had eventually forcing them to into self-exile in the city of Karthal. To the other nations, the orcs are considered the Wizard's greatest hubris.
The orcs' most unique relation is with the Holy Empire, most likely since they are "related" in some way, as the Orcs were once human. Though the empire launched the crusades when the orcs refused to worship the Dragon-Gods, there were some who were welcomed into the empire and proved themselves, gaining respect. Most orcs view the Humans as "babyteeth" and some tribes of marauders wouldn't hesitate to raid their villages and caravans. Other Orc tribes have made friends with the Humans of the empire, most famously the Griffin Duchy and the Whitespear tribe, who were allowed to live in the mountains of the Duchy. Their leaders, Duke Slava and Chieftain Kraal became great friends and allies, which centuries later would be similar to their descendants Duke Ivan and Chieftain Kente.
The orcs' relations to the other nations are either non-existent or hostile as most of the orc tribes raid and maraud any village or merchant caravans they can find.