The Half-Orcs / Halsimor: The Defenders of the World

Know this, Imperial. I am not an Orc. I am not one of the Orsumlier. I am not their better, nor am I there failing. I am of them and without. I am the last line. That is who we Halsimor are. The last straw.

– The Unknown Half-Orc

halforc-borderThe first Half-Orc appeared during the period of time between the 1st and 2nd Age, referred to as the “Years of Discovery”. It was so named because Humanity discovered two things – how to react in a world without the foundations it had relied upon for centuries, and the Half-Orcs. As far as the rest of the world is aware, there was never just a single Half-Orc. The first known encounter with them was when a band of Half-Orcs raided an Orcish caravan. There had not been any reports of a Half-Orc being born amongst any Human couples, despite their name and their slight resemblance. The Half-Orcs are a mystery that will not allow it to be solved. Half-Orcs go out of their way to make others not ask or inquire into their origins, sometimes to the point of violence.

The Half-Orc society is a warrior one. To the Halsimor, to do battle for Honor is something that every Half-Orc should aspire to. And there is nothing more Honorable than to cut down one of the Orsumlier south of the Northern Colossus. It is argued if the Halsimor were created in retaliation against the Orcs, but if so than they are damn good at the task. Half-Orcs are taught since birth that any Orc south of the Colossus is an enemy, and an enemy must always be struck down lest he rises again to sew more chaos.

Half-Orcs do not negatively to being accused of coming from the Orcs. To a Halsimor it would be just like saying a Man came from an Elf. They even have more of a physical resemblance than the Halsimor and Orsumlier! And yet the questions continue, as does the confusion between the races. As a rule the Halsimor do not blame others for the confusion. They are just comfortable.

In Halsimor society, there are two states: “Comfort” and “Strife”. To be in Comfort is to be dull. It is to be lax, undisciplined, unprepared, and just asking for trouble to screw you in the ass. Whereas to be at Strife is the same thing as to be in trouble. Bad things are happening to you, or you know bad things are going to happen and you are training like hell to prepare. But to be at Strife also means you have the potential for greatness. Bad, exciting things will happen around or to you, and that means the bards will sing of you.

The Half-Orc word for bard is “sulu”, and they are the closest thing to a priest that the Halsimor possess. The sulu guides the collective, which is a very different thing from leading. To lead is to give orders and demand respect; to guide is to show the truth and respect is a very secondary thing. The sulu knows all of the stories of the Halsimor – including that of their heritage. And they tell these stories to inspire their brothers and sisters to the virtues that the Half-Orcs see as important.

Stories are important. They are all valuable. They are integral to a good life. They can make you laugh, cry, weep, and change your life. The reason for this is that all stories are true. Even the false ones.

Especially the false ones.

Now the Half-Orcs, if they do not live in the cities and are “changed” by their ways, live in what is called a “Hold”. One would think that this “Hold” is a great fortress, and it is! But it’s a fortress of flesh, of wills, of virtues, not of rock and mortar. Every Hold claims about a hundred Halsimor souls, and each of them add to the Hold’s might in some way. Some may help hunt, others may tell stories, others deal with war, and others act as midwives. And they are all equal.

Except for one – he that leads. The Veriskoh. He is the accumulation of all these things – he doesn’t have his hand in many pies. He has his hands in all of them. When he – or she – was a child he was chosen by the previous Veriskoh to be his successor. And from that day on he was no longer whoever his parents named him. The Veriskoh took him in and named his Tor-Veriskoh, or “One Who Will Lead”. And he is taught to hunt, to weave a story, to forge weapons, to do all the things that a Hold needs. Because he will lead it one day, so he needs to become aware of everything within it.

But there is one thing that the Veriskoh does that no other Halsimor can do. He commands. Only the Veriskoh can demand another Half-Orc to do something. Others may request or advise, but never command. And no Half-Orc will ever deny a Veriskoh’s demand. To do otherwise is to invite death.