Kaaer'dár'shín Colony of
Eph'denn is a large half-orc settlement located
north of the Themed'lon Forest in the peninsula of Caael'heroth in
Northern Sarvonia. It once served as a
military settlement and a labour camp long ago during the Third Sarvonian War.
At the beginning of the war, under the direction of the
Osther-Oc mercenaries, the ex-Kuglimz
settlers that had found a home along the Themed'lon Forests were subjugated by
the orcs and drow and made to build the fort.
For the next ten years, the human colony
worked in the fort's labour camp and it was here that those
humans experienced the first stages of
subjugation by the orcs. The general
orc retreat that occur after the dark armies
were defeated during the Third Sarvonian War caused the number of
orcs within Eph'denn to dwindle, but not
completely withdrawal. The
Kaaer'dár'shín revolutionist Temejin Tartar led a violent uprising in 1020
a.S. that finally defeated the orc occupation.
Today, the fort is now the second largest half-orc
settlement, second only to the main colony of Torik itself.
Description. The Eph'den colony began as a single fortification built during the Third Sarvonian War. The Osther-Oc mercenaries built the fort using the ex-Kuglimz settlers as labourers. The fort was a simple affair with a roughly square wall sixty peds in length on all sides and ten peds high. A single gate was constructed facing north. The wood used to build the fort was taken from the Themed'lon. The ex-Kuglimz were talented builders and the orcs were more than impressed with their skill. Over the next ten years of the war, the humans were made to build barracks for the orcen warriors, weapon smithing shops, and tall watchtowers where orc sentries could view the heaths and forest for many strals distant.
In the years after the Kaaer'dár'shín war for independence during 1020 to 1060 a.S., the fort and labour camp saw many changes. At first, the fort was abandoned for many years until 1055 when the labour camp grounds were made into a small colony of Kaaer'dár'shín warriors who used the area as a base for their sentries. The warriors' tent-like homes, called "bromers", soon multiplied. A Landesh pony breeding ground and stables were added. Not long after that, the warriors' families began to move into the settlement. Eph'denn remained a small, specialized warrior living settlement until the year 1352 when a relative peace allowed it to expand into the settlement it is today.
Eph'denn is now a thriving Kaaer'dár'shín colony composed of several hundred family dwellings, merchant hovels, weaponsmith enclaves, warrior training camps and watchtowers. Surrounding the entire settlement is a log wall three peds in height with three gates exiting north, east and west. These walls function as a barrier against the infrequent orc attacks. The Kaaer'dár'shín are worshippers of nature and the savagery of the wilds and their colonies are a testament to this fact. Throughout the settlement can be found idols and totems depicting the various major nature spirits inhabiting all living, and non-living, things. In everything, the Kaaer'dár'shín view nature as a power far beyond understanding and worthy of respect.
Key Locations. Key locations of the Eph'denn Colony can be summarized as follows:
The Warrior and Weaponsmith
Encampments (Northern Section)
The northern section facing the heaths, along with the eastern section, are where the Kaaer'dár'shín maintain the warrior camps and weaponsmith enclaves. Regular violent contact with maurading Osther-Oc orc bands and the occasional dark elven group have forced the Kaaer'dár'shín to keep large areas of their settlements dedicated to war and combat training and readiness.
The Kaaer'dár'shín view the predator beast as an example of the hunt and successful kill. Beasts such as the wolf symbolize endurance and honour. The tsor-shotak lizard represents viciousness and the slow kill. Stealth and silence are represented in the uncil cat. Each of these three beasts are depicted in elaborate wooden totems that are carved with exquisite precision into a single wooden log. One cannot enter the warrior training grounds without first acknowledging that the Kaaer'dár'shín warrior heeds the example of these predatory beasts in movement, strike and kill.
Like silent sentinels watching the warriors prove themselves, the beast totems stand tall among the fields and groups of bromers. Each totem is approximately two peds tall resting in a firm, deep hole in the ground. Each totem represents a beast, usually the head of the animal is carved atop the totem with the body carved downwards in various poses.
The warrior encampment is composed of a large training field where young warriors are drilled in combat maneuvers. The veteran warriors believe that experience is the best teacher so these young men are instructed in basic weapon usage and taken on patrols immediately. The bromers in this area house the warriors where they stay away from their families on the west side in order to train without distraction. Elder warriors train groups of young men (and sometimes women) in the methods of horsemanship, stealth combat, archery and elements of weapons crafting.
Weaponsmith enclaves are kept here to provide tools and weapons for the warriors. These enclaves are mostly open shelters housing a large forge within. Each blacksmith usually works with an apprentice, typically the smith's own child or close relative learning the trade. While each weaponsmith can produce a variety of weapons, some specialize in producing only daggers, spear heads or short swords. The weaponsmith area is frequented by warriors looking to find a good weapon or to repair a broken one. A skilled weaponsmith is revered and respected and is viewed as vital to the warrior's cause.
This northern area is situated where the Kharim river forks and the Kaaer'dár'shín warriors have built several small fortifications along this fork to watch for direct attacks from orcs and sometimes drow. These towers are built with the same thick, rough hewn logs that the surrounding walls are made of. These fortifications are essentially short towers that when occupied, a sentry is over four peds from the ground and is able to see for many strals distant on a clear day.
Logging (Southern Section)
The southern section of the settlement is situated nearest to the Themed'lon Forest and here is where most of the main logging shops are located. Craftsmen and loggers are within easy reach of the forest's borders where they can cut down trees and drag them to their crafts shops where the wood is processed into suitable building materials.
The loggers are typically craftsmen and weaponsmiths who use the forest's wood for making bromer tent poles and log structures. However, cutting down the trees is not something that is done randomly or casually. The half-orcs are sensitive to the destruction caused by logging and are careful to respect the ways of the forest guardians. Each day, before the wood cutters commence working, a shaman blesses and prays before the assembled group of workers. The shaman also prays for guidance and permission to the forest itself for, as they believe, so that the guardian trees can permit their kin to be cut down. Many tales tell of a careless worker who cut down the wrong tree by mistake or cut them down without the blessings of the shaman only to be later found by their comrades brutally beaten, torn apart or hanging from a high branch.
The Themed'lon is excellent hunting ground for the half-orcs. The veteran group of hunters, known as the Beastlord hunters, make forays into the forest to find woolly boar or to fish in the many streams that wind their way through the area. A favourite fishing area are the "rim'bak" or waterfalls. There is one large waterfall within each section of the Themed'lon where many varieties of fish live.
Beastlord hunters must receive the blessings of the shaman before killing any living animal within the forest or face a harsh punishment, not from the tribe, but from the forest guardians itself. The cycle is simple - nature guards itself and only gives to those worthy of its blessings. Before going out, the Beastlord hunters begin their worship and prayer to the Beast, or Predator Spirits, for blessings over the day's hunt. They gather within a small "Wuk", or prayer circle, as the shaman appeases the Beastlord Spirit for success in the hunt. The hunters are then allowed to go out and return later with their kills to be butchered in the butchering tents.
The butchering tents are built quite large, with the biggest the size of three bromers in length. Three log poles are centered and a large hide covering is blanketed over the poles and tied down securely. The animal is laid out upon a raised surface table or hung on a hook. The hunters, and sometimes their wives and children, work to remove the meat, organs and bones. Very little of an animal is left to waste. The Kaaer'dár'shín know a good hunt is essential to the survival of the tribe as well as to supplicate the Beastlord itself.
Family Dwellings (Western
The family dwellings of the Kaaer'dár'shín are in the western section. Each family dwelling usually consists of a bromer, and in the case of larger families, sometimes two to three bromers clustered together. Each family possesses a fire hovel that appears as a small oven. These hovels are made of stones carved and stacked to form a dome enclosed area. A hole is made atop the dome to allow smoke to escape. Wood logs are stacked inside and lit and tended to at all hours. The scent of musky animal hide, burning fires and cooking meat envelop the area along with the sound of the low conversations of the families.
An abundance of activity is always present within the family living area. The fire hovels are always burning with all manner of food being cooked within. Women, young and old, tend daily to the maintenance of the bromers. Each morning, the eldest woman inspects the bromer covering to ensure the hide has no tears or holes that would allow cold air or rain inside. The bromer must be securely tied to stakes in the ground and if one happens to be loose, it is pounded back in with a large heavy club.
A family begins their day very early. The males of the family leave to the hunters' enclaves or the warriors' enclaves to begin their day. Warriors, hunters and weaponsmiths work at all hours of the day and night and those returning from a nighttime hunt or patrol come home to rest during the day. Young children entertain themselves with play or helping with the household duties. Trips to the various other colony sections are made by the women and children to gather food, tend to the family's ponies or visit their warrior mates in training.
The beast totems are present in this area much as in other sections of the settlement. Guardian totems depicting various beasts of the wilds stand in silent guard watching the activity through blank eyes. Through these totems, the families pray and owe reverence. The watchful eyes of the animal guides offer comfort and safety.
Pony Stables (Eastern
One of the most important resources of the Kaaer'dár'shín is the Landesh pony. The tribe's pony breeders and stables are located here. Regular patrols are sent north to obtain fresh stock of the wild pony for breeding and taming. The stables are build of wooden logs and fences. The eastern fork of the Kharim river is within easy walking distance and provide water for the animals.
Each pony area is an enclosed and roughly square shaped pen where three to four ponies are housed. The animals feed on the wild grasses and shrubs native to the heaths while also having ample room to run. Each pen has a long enclosed building where the ponies are herded into during particularly cold weather or rains. Each day, the tribe's pony keepers are charged with maintaining the animal pens and keeping them healthy by grooming them and inspecting them for any signs of sickness. Any sick or old ponies are killed.
Keeping and riding a pony is something that all Kaaer'dár'shín children grow up learning, even if they do not become a warrior. The animal is such a vital part of the tribe's welfare that most, if not all, of the tribe are exposed to the pony in some way from the time they are an infant to the time of their death. The shamans tell many legends of the pony and of how the Spirits led the animals to the tribe long ago for their use in the war against their orc oppressors.
The beast totems of the pony grounds are not of predators, as the ponies are guarded carefully from roaming beasts such as the uncil cat or the Ashmarian wolf. The totems here depict the ponies themselves in glorious battle poses or running swiftly through the heaths. A rider is shown upon the pony wielding a spear or bow in the moments before a strike. All Kaaer'dár'shín respect the spirit of the pony. Swiftness, endurance and strength are represented in the totems and also among the symbols painted on the ponies themselves.
The center of the colony holds special religious significance for the tribe. A log wall forms a circular shape approximately 16 peds across. This arena is called the Wuk (lit. "Circle"). A fire pit is center in the middle of the arena. Surrounding the firepit are the beast totems, each carved of a single log depicting an animal in various poses and motions. Predators such as the uncil cat, eagle, tsor-shotak lizard, snake and the woolly boar are carved intricately upon the logs. The Kaaer'dár'shín believe that the beast spirits reside within these totems and watch over the proceedings during worship.
Animal hides, antlers, tusks, feathers, skulls and bones decorate the interior walls of the Wuk. They stand as trophies and symbolize the fruits of the hunt and represent the beast spirits themselves. Small plants such as the juk'lan bush and teki tree are grown and provide fruits and odours. Not only are the beasts reverenced but also the trees and plants. Paintings depicting the sun and moon surround the walls as well. The sun bearing the representation of life, warmth and light while the moon representing stealth and silence.
During times of worship, some of the warriors come forth and recount their tales of victory in battle. During these religious ceremonies, the bonfire is always tended to and remains lit, sometimes for days at a time. The Wuk is a centerpiece in all Kaaer'dár'shín settlements, from the largest in Torik, to the smallest fishing village of Anef. Each Wuk is different in size depending on the area it is in, but it serves the same purpose: to worship and glorify the Spirits of nature which the tribe reveres.
Location. Eph'denn is located in the Northern Sarvonia, in the south east area of the peninsula of Caael'heroth. It was built along the Kharim River where it forks southeast and southwest along the northern border of the Themed'lon Forest and south of the Fields of Eph'denn from which it gets its name.
Kaaer'dár'shín tribe maintain a
permanent colony here and have since they were forced to build it so long ago.
Initially, the colony was a fort and labour camp but has since grown and thrived
into a fully functioning settlement. Some of the colony's inhabitants believe
that Eph'denn is even more in tune with nature than the main colony of Torik due
to Eph'denn's location along the forest and Kharim river.
The colony is home to families, craftsmen, weaponsmiths, horse breeders and merchants. Eph'denn holds the largest number of shamans in the tribe as its location is ideal to hold worship enclaves along the river, forest or heaths. The inhabitants maintain a contented life here, but constant threat of skirmishes with orcs still give the people fear. Generally, however, the half-orcs are proud of their colony and would give their lives to defend it.
The Colony of Eph'denn, like its sister colony of Torik, is centered around war and combat. The entire colony supports and maintains the Kaaer'dár'shín warriors and shamans. Every citizen knows that the warriors live to defend the home and expand northward in an ever constant battle for territory with their Osther-Oc cousins. Everything from horsebreeding, weapon making, woodworking and hunting is done so that the warrior can make battle with the tribe's physical enemies and the shamans can envision and lead through the spirit world.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Kaaer'dár'shín coat of arms is depicted as a buckler wrapped in the hide of the tsor-shotak with three feathers along the top and two daggers crossed in front of it. This is a typical t’lark, or "Blood Defender", and is a holy and reve shield of great significance among the warriors as each warrior is tasked with making and using one throughout their lives.
Climate. The climate in Eph'denn is slightly colder than in Torik as it is situated more north and most of the colony is out on the open facing the heaths. A cool breeze flows across the heath from the two gulfs situated to the east and west along with a wind from the northern reaches. Summer and spring consists of mild and warm days with cool nights. Autumn is always cool and very windy. Winter holds many days of freezing snow and wind.
Myth/Lore. A common myth concerning Eph'denn is that the colony was built with the assistance from the spirits of the Themed'lon after the tribe won independence from the Osther-Oc. An old tale of the Pafalka (lit. "Wood-like-man") goes something like this:
"The orc-bloods have gone and the people
were left with nothing but a burnt husk of wood and blood. The people were
ashamed and afraid for they had no home and no one to give them aid. Many
tears were shed and the loss was felt deeply.