The Orcs / Orsumlier: They That Know Respect

In the Beginning, servants of the Southerner’s Dark God of Murder made us. They crafted us, twisted us, in misshapen caricatures of the Ven. A mockery. They taught us war. They burnt into our consciousness how to kill, how to raid, and how to pillage. We were made into a tide of war and blood that would spread fir and blood across the Realm.

But what they also made were creatures of conscience. We had ideals, however primitive and raw they were. And they trained us well. We killed our makers and used their bones for shields and tanned their hides for armor.

And then we went south. And the southerners knew what it meant to be Orc. When we retreated, we left behind blood. A testimony to our strength…and a mark on our soul.

orcs-borderAsk any Historian how important context is in their line of work, they’ll feverishly respond that it is vitally important to understand the context of any historical event. When asked about the Orcs they will just as feverishly damn the Orcs as spawns of the Dark Gods and perpetrators of all the evil and wickedness in the world; they are base monster, creatures devoid of hope or grace. They deserve nothing but the sword.

However that is all determined from a single event: the Rape of the First Republic, when the Wizard King was brought low and Humanity first felt the taste of despair. Orcs had never amassed such a force south of the Frost Ranges ever since, and for the most divided themselves from the rest of the realm.

And still Humanity fears. Perhaps for good reason, as the Orc Lord Vrolock is summoning the Orcs for a second war against those south of them. It took tens of thousands of years, but the fears were realized.

But the truths as they saw it was anything but. It is easy to say that the Orcs are monsters, beasts, more of a force of nature than a culture that is difficult to understand. It is easy to damn a threat. The truth is that the Orcs are as complicated as any of the races that populate the realm. And that is the most terrifying part about the Orcs.

Stories say that the Orcs came from a sludgelike element of the earth, twisted and created into the desires of Valheus Mora’s disciples. They wanted a weapon, and that is what they got. But they also molded a people, surely unintentionally so, and that was their greatest achievement and failure.

After they desecrated the corpses of their designers, and after they razed the First Republic, they returned to the crawling mountains that birthed them. And they made it into their home. The Frost Ranges is a hard climate, cold and treacherous. It made the Orcs into a hard people.

In their hard life the Orcs had a name for value: gherka. Respect. You begin with nothing but the love of your mother and father. Everything else must be earned, through blood, sweat and tears. You must fight, you must struggle, and if the Fates are pleased, then you will win. That is how the Orcs earn their lives; through the blessings of their actions. His actions defines and Orc; the reasons for his actions, the manner in which he accomplished it, and how he acted in the aftermath. All of these will influence just what kind of gherka he will accumulate, if any at all.

Even the Orcs have limits. There are things that no Orc must ever do. They are unspoken because every Orc is born with that intimate knowledge. No need to say what is already known.

Like the tribes of the Valamari, the Orcs live in a region crowded with spirits. But these not the graceful spirits of the Wild Wood…these are the spirits of wrath, injustice and brutality. These are harsh, uncompromising representatives of the earth. And the Orcs answer in kind. They do not revere the spirits – they respect them with the teeth of their axe. Shamans are born amongst the Orsumlier – the Orcs’ name for themselves – and they are formally known as “Ullisor”. “Those That Speak With Teeth”. They are so named because they often do not communicate in a language easily understood; their language is a weird dichotomy of growls, hisses and shouts. Most of them do learn how to speak the Orcish tongue, but takes them much longer to do so and even then their speech is…harsh. Slurred. Difficult to decipher.

The Orcs are split into a dozen tribes, each of which is so named after the Disciple that engineered them. Each tribe is led by a chieftain, but in a way that mirrors the Dragon Empire one does not become a chieftain by being the child of one. One does so by earning the most respect amongst the tribe. If you deserve it then you will be it.

It is no surprise that at one point the Orcs fought amongst themselves to such a degree that they almost caused their own extinction. After the last and worst of these wars they knew enough was enough. They elected to make the valley of Kurash their capitol, and it would be led by a King. The lhork, the Orc who has earned the most respect amongst them all. The one Orsumlier that everyone would follow and obey.

But not even that system is perfect. A weak lhork can cause the tribes to break apart. This is what happened with Ogrim. A good chieftain, a good orc, a poor lhork. He did not know how to respect those from the other tribes, ad so they fought. They argues, they grew bitter. They were splitting apart under his rule. And no lhork can ever step down from his position. It is a position for life.

Until your cousin rips his axe from your chest, tears flowing down his cheek.