Of Orcs and Empire

For thousands of summers we have fought each other and laid our souls under the feet of others.  When they first set on us, we had no War Leader and we died.  For a hundred summers we’ve died.  Now – now you’ve chosen me as your War Leader and we live!  We rip our own gold out of our hills!  We forge our own steel with which to slay!  Our bards sing songs of glory and of learning now!  Our builders have learned the art of stone and our cities prosper!  You have chosen me as I have chosen you and we will never more lay under the feet of another race!  We will forge our empire with our steel, build our cities with our own gold and become a mighty, mighty race!  A race who fears no enemy, living or dead!

Transcription – Clan Moot at Highpass, 97 AA, War Leader Garak in a speech to the gathered clans.  Transcribed by Tuena Olchi (deceased).

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Since their introduction to Aruneus, the Orcs have congregated in the tundras and northern reaches of the world.  A once great kingdom which stretched most of the span of Aruneus’ northern continent, the Orcs were beaten by the League of the Ring and their empire collapsed into a series of small city states and clan holdings.  Over time even these city states faded, unable to support a larger, stable population and the Orcs became a semi-nomadic, clannish race.

They persisted in this state with multiple clans occasionally joining behind a War Leader to fight other clans in land grabs or launch semi-organized raids into Human, Dwarven or Elven territories.

One hundred years ago when the dead rose, the Orcs found themselves in a unique position.  Living in cold, arid areas – sometimes sub-arctic, they experienced six to ten months of relative freedom from human zombies, which freeze solid after prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.  The Orcs still suffered massive casualties during the first decades of the zombie apocalypse but their semi-nomadic lifestyle, small population centers and their abilities to thrive in cold, hostile environments gave them immediate advantages.  Of all the sentient races, they were the first to recover.

Sometime between 30 and 50 AA smaller clans began banding together under regional War Leaders who instituted a new tradition – the Clan Moot.  Once every other year these War Leaders and a few chosen warriors and priests and bards would meet at a previously determined location which was declared a sacred space.  The ground was consecrated in a great right and all present were bound under sacred law to directly or indirectly cause harm to another Orc while within the sacred space.  Lasting several weeks, the Clan Moot gave the Orcs several valuable political tools.  For the first time in several thousand years, they had a meeting of their leaders in circumstances where war and killing were strictly taboo.

Ideas began to be exchanged, alliances formed and the Orcish political machine was born.  Bards, who are held more sacred than even priests and sacrosanct from violence began congregating at Clan Moots in great numbers.  War Leaders found themselves as political figures using bards as a method of communicating policies and programs throughout their race.  Good policies and new ideas easily crossed clan boundaries thanks to the bards, while poor ideas were not.

In 89 AA at the largest Clan Moot held, a particularly savvy War Leader called Garak was chosen to lead the entirety of the Orcish peoples.  He immediately set forth a number of mandates with the aim to abolish blood feuds, spread new knowledge to all Orcs and formalize the political system that had become the Clan Moot.

Garak was not only politically savvy but shrewdly intelligent.  He realized the forming a new empire with the goal of conquest over the other races, as decimated as they were at this time, would only give the other races an excuse to begin a second campaign of extermination.  Rather than launch a war, he cajoled, bargained and threatened the clan War Leaders below him until raids into the other races territories were ceased.  After several years without raids, he then dispatched a select few bards, acting as diplomats, to the surviving moderately sized Human, Dwarven and Elven cities in the north, where he establish embassies and began the delicate process of challenging almost 3000 years of bad press.

While establishing embassies and offering real help in the form of gold, steel and trade, the Orcs under Garak’s direction also quietly began expanding into the now empty border lands between the frozen north and the lower continent of Aruneus.  It has only recently been acknowledge that the Orcs have managed to increase their territory by almost 10% in size while the other races were simply struggling for survival.

[tags]orcs, role playing games, rpg, aruneus[/tags]

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