THE HEATHS OF EPH'DENN

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - CLIMATE - FLORA
FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE - HISTORY

The wide region of flat grasslands that lie north of the Themed'lon Forests and south of the orcen village of Hell'wrung in southeastern Caael'heroth are known as the Heaths of Eph'denn. These shrublands are so named because of the colony that is situated on the southern border of the heath, the Kaaer’dár’shín settlement of Eph'denn. The heaths once knew times of peace and many varieties of small grasses and shrubs thrived there. Since the Third Sarvonian War, the heaths have become a battleground with much of the soil steeped in blood and violence. The heath is presently under various states of "ownership" with the Kaaer’dár’shín half-orcs fighting to maintain hunting ground with their brutal Osther-Oc cousins from the far north.

The Heaths of Ephdenn
View picture in full size Image description. The wide grasslands of Eph'denn located on the southeastern leg of the Peninsula of Caael'heroth in Northern Sarvonia. Picture drawn by Seeker.

Description. The heaths begin as one travels north leaving the verdant borders of the Themed'lon Forests. The half-orc Colony of Eph'denn is situated between the forest's northern border just as the tall tulmine trees fall away into smaller and smaller dense bushes before they stop growing altogether to reveal flat shrubland. Where the Kharim river forks marks the approximate southern border of the heaths. The Fields of Oun'tran'phu, in the Cartash region, mark the heath's northern border.

Flowing north, the Kharim river runs along the center of the heath as far as the Caaehl Mountains. The river narrows considerably as it leaves the mountains and runs along flat ground before it forks off. The heaths are cool and dry and do not sustain large growth of flora. For many miles distant, the heath is flat ground with an occasional small hill or barrow bumping up from the land.

Two significant colonies exist within the heaths, the Kaaer’dár’shín's Colony of Eph'denn and the Osther-Oc's village of Hell'wrung. Both are significant in that they are the only settled regions within the wide expanse of plains.

Eph'denn sits on the southern border of the heath and has become the second largest colony for the half-orcs second only to their main home, Torik, in the Themed'lon Forests. The colony was initially a war outpost during the Third Sarvonian War until it was abandoned and the half-orcs built a colony from the remains.

Hell'wrung is a relatively new fortified village that sprung up along the far northern border of the heath in 1468 a.S. An ambitious Osther-Oc warlord named Grok'krek abandoned his clan's nomadic lifestyle and convinced his followers to build the village. He fortified it and built an army to raid and conquer his nomadic brethren. He failed, of course, and for the last 200 years, the village has seen constant war as the clans battle for control of it. Return to the top


Location. The Heaths of Eph'denn are flat, wide grasslands located on the southeastern leg of the Peninsula of Caael'heroth in Northern Sarvonia. To the south of the heath are the Themed'lon Forests. Separating the forests from the heaths is the Kharim river fork that splits into two rivers flowing southeast and southwest. The Kaaer’dár’shín settlement of Eph'denn is situated on the far southern border of the heath at the fork of the river. The heath's east border runs along the Shadow Coast while the west border runs along the west gulf. Return to the top

People. A nomadic clan of the Osther-Oc orcs roam the Heaths of Eph'denn and compete for hunting ground with the Kaaer’dár’shín half-orcs who dwell in the Themed'lon Forests. The two races encounter each other frequently in the heath and the meetings often result in a bloody skirmish. The Osther-Oc orcs, for their part, have called the heaths their home for centuries and have deeply resented that their related half-orc cousins have intruded upon their nomadic grounds. The Kaaer’dár’shín, however, have to survive for themselves as the heaths contain abundant fauna from which they hunt.

The enmity between the Osther-Oc and the Kaaer’dár’shín runs deep. The two tribes do not trust each other and have been at odds since the Third Sarvonian War. The Osther-Oc would have the half-orcs either assimilated into slavery or destroyed but the tenacity and adaptability of the half-orcs have made that task seemingly impossible. The Kaaer’dár’shín have determined that their orcen cousins will never again conquer their home in the Themed'lon and the half-orcs keep a large area of the heaths north of their colony patrolled and watched at all times. The Kaaer’dár’shín have always feared that the remnants of the dark elves in the far north of Caaehl'heroth will someday gather and organize another war and attempt to sweep down upon the Themed'lon to conquer the half-orcs, and possibly beyond further south.

Not all of the Osther-Oc tribe call the heaths their home. There are a handful of clans who roam the flat grasslands, moving every so often as the herds of wison migrate. Return to the top

Climate. The climate on the heaths during the winter season is cold and dry. Chill winds blow across the land bridge from the east gulf, often at below freezing temperatures. Snow covers the entire region during the months between Passing Clouds and Changing Winds. The spring and summer months bring milder warm weather, with no snow, but dry breezes and much sunlight. Return to the top

Flora. The flat shrubland of the heaths contains very little flora to speak of. Alth'ho grass covers the entire heath making the region a sufficient grazeland for the fauna that dwells there. The grass is tall, up to a quarter of a ped in height, and sways in the breeze creating a wondrous rippling effect.

The eastern side of the heath grows the wison's favoured food, hrugchuk grass. Approximately six to eight strals of blue coloured field indicate where the grass is growing. Small herds of the wison cattle can be found among the fields.

Small shrubs grow in sparse groups in the heath as well, as they are not large due to the low temperatures and short growth seasons. The juk'lan bush and the waterberry bush have homes in the heaths and grow primarily along the Kharim river that flows through the region. Both the Kaaer’dár’shín and the orcs make use of the juk'lan leaves and waterberries for various medicinal purposes, primarily to treat the symptoms of ghun'tlor disease, a sometimes debilitating disease that can affect those of orcen bloodlines.

Lythien moss is a commonly found ground cover in areas where the alth'ho grass doesn't grow. Most open patches of soil are covered with the moss, some patches are many peds in size creating a soft mossy bed.

The Kaaer’dár’shín half-orcs have a non-meat staple food in the form of the althz'onn bean plant that grows along the southern and eastern sides of the heaths. The bean is a favourite not only for decorative purposes when dried, but the bean can be boiled and mashed into a pasty substance and served with meat. Small herds of the ulgaroth beast are not an uncommon sight as the beans are a favourite food of the creature. Return to the top

Fauna. The heaths are inhabited by a few varieties of grazing animals. The spring and summer annual migration of the Landesh pony from the Wilderon area makes for a festive hunt for the half-orcs. The pony feeds on the thick alth'ho grass and lythien moss that grow there. The Kaaer’dár’shín hunters can often be seen riding amidst the herds rounding up new breeding stock for their warriors. The half-orc riders chase the galloping ponies and rope them into a group to be taken back to the colonies for taming and breeding.

The alth'zonn bean plant brings a herd of ulgaroth beasts to the heaths every year. The beasts in Caaehl'heroth migrate primarily along the southern edge of the peninsula from Aden to the Eph'denn Heaths. The beasts are primarily used as steeds by the Ash'mari barbarians to the southeast of the half-orc homelands, but the Kaaer’dár’shín never found them to be useful as riding animals. Although the ulgaroth beast is a very strong animal, the half-orcs found them to be too slow for their preferred swift hit and run battles. Occasionally, an ulgaroth will be caught and served as a meal instead, or their thick and shaggy hides have served as more than adequate clothing during the colder seasons.

A very small number of the thunderfoot beasts roam the far northern reaches of the heaths. The number of thunderfoot beasts are increasing and the Kaaer’dár’shín speak of rumours that the orcs of the Icelands of Aeh’Os’th’er’Oc are driving them south. When a thunderfoot is sighted, there is great excitement in the half-orc tribe as a single animal carries enough hide and meat to feed and clothe many people. When a thunderfoot is slain, the tribe will hold a celebration feast in honour of the hunters who killed it.

The wison cattle can be found roaming in small herds mostly along the eastern side of the heaths. Their favourite food, hrugchuk grass, grows in abundance there. The herd makes frequent migrations to the the Kharim river to drink. The wison in that area is often hunted by both the Kaaer’dár’shín and the nomadic orcs.

A favourite hunt among the half-orcs is the very rarely sighted caracal wild cat. This magnificent animal is both revered and honoured as both a capable hunter and an elusive prey by the Kaaer’dár’shín. The cat is seen a few times a year in small packs hunting the Landesh pony, the thunderfoot or the ulgaroth beast. When a half-orc party sights a caracal, they immediately form up and begin stalking the beast. An potential hunt is never postponed and a party of hunters will often go for days at a time with the sole goal of bringing back a caracal. The animal is large, and quite dangerous, with many tales of a hunter being slain by a single cat in battle.

Of the smaller animal varieties found on the heaths, the greycat, the leveret rabbit and the snow rat are common sights. Each of these creatures have burrows that can be found all over the plains where they feed on the abundance of grasses, mosses and shrubs that grow there. Each of these little beasts are sometimes caught and kept as pets by Kaaer’dár’shín children or their small hides provide decoration for the t'lark war bucklers, or the bromer dwellings.

The high rodent population attracts one of the rabbit's and greycat's chief predators to this region: the snobyrr hawk. The hawks nest in the Themed'lon Forests, high in the deciduous trees along the northern border. Their beautiful snow white forms can be seen flying high over the heaths hunting for prey along the ground. When prey is sighted, the hawk swoops down and snatches the rodent and flies away again back to their nests. When a Kaaer’dár’shín war party sights a snobyrr hawk overhead, they see it as a sign of good fortune that the sky siblings are watching and protecting them. Return to the top

Resources. The heaths provide resources in the form of the beasts that dwell there. Of the natural land itself, the heaths provide little in the way of minerals and precious metals. Neither the half-orcs, nor the orcs themselves, are miners and digging into the ground is not a typical occupation. The half-orcs believe that the spirit of the earth, or the Gynturg, provides their needs naturally. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. In the Kaaer’dár’shín tradition, the Heaths of Eph'denn are home to the Gynturg, or the spirit Earth Brother. The Durgho provides the beasts of the field for the Kaaer’dár’shín to hunt, eat and make use of. The plains are sacred and provide much in the way of resources for the tribe, which is why there is so much conflict with the orcs. The orcs, as well, see the plains animals as a source of food and clothing. While both tribes will probably never truly co-exist as a whole, they both recognize the value of the heaths for their peoples. Return to the top

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THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
ca. 400 b.S. Nomadic Osther-Oc Are Recruited
For centuries, several clans of Osther-Oc orcs have migrated across the Heaths of Eph'denn in a nomadic lifestyle, hunting beasts and living in relative peace. As the dark armies stemming forth from the Deep Winds Portal of Osthemangar increase, so does the plans of the war's planners in making use of the orcs. Many nomadic clans of Osther-Oc are forced to give up their lifestyle and become one with the slowly building army about to invade the south.
  

298 b.S.
to 288 b.S.
The Subjugation of the Kuglimz by the Osther-Oc and the Birth of the Kaaer'dás'shín
Coming from north Caeel'heroth, a wave of orcs descend from the plains during the initial years of the Third Sarvonian War. The orcs, surprised at having encountered humans within Caeel'heroth, fight several skirmishes with the Kuglimz exiles over a period of several months during the year 290 b.S. The dark elven masters of the Osther-Oc order the full destruction of the Kuglimz outcasts and the orcs comply. However, they are unprepared for the ferocious defense from the Kuglimz and are repelled.

The Osther-Oc are not finished. They know that they have the advantage of numbers and sweep south again, this time defeating the exiles in battle and subjugating the humans once and for all. Rather than destroy the remaining Kuglimz, the orcs instead force them into labour camps and are made to produce food and weapons for the dark armies during the war.

Despite the subjugation, the humans still thrive, and the group grows, but intermarriage does not always occur among the humans alone. The orcs force themselves on many of the human women and a large group of half-orc children begin to be born. These children, rejected by the orcs, are instead raised by their human mothers. This interbreeding continues regularly for ten years until the general orc retreat in 288 b.S.
298 b.S. The Third Sarvonian War Brings the Orcs
The beginning of the Third Sarvonian War brings the orc hordes from the far north of Caaehl'heroth sweeping down through the heaths of Eph'denn and into Southern Sarvonia. The plains witness armies of orcs, drow and other beasts as they begin their invasion of the humans to the south.
  

291 b.S. The Great Slaughter at the Heath of Eph'denn
During the war, a vast number of natural wildlife is slaughtered to feed, house and maintain the orc armies. Huge numbers of Landesh ponies, ulgeroth beasts and thunderfeet are killed and many of their carcasses are laid to waste. Often, the beasts are hunted for the joy of killing as the orcs leave the rotting meat to waste.
  

288 b.S.
to 1.000
The Development of the Half-Orcen Culture of the Kaeer'dár'shín
During the time of the orcen occupation, many of the Kuglimz traditions are lost among the exiles that are now known as the Kaeer'dár'shín. The humans, bitter at having first been exiled by their people and then being subjugated under the orcs, abandon the gods Lier’tyan ("All-Mother") and Sur’tyan ("All-Father") and fall into the corrupt worship of the orcen god, even mixing the two religions in a perverted amalgamation of human and orcen faiths.

As the inter-breeding continues between the two races, the number of pure-blooded humans soon dwindles as the majority of the tribe members are now humans with orcen blood. These half-orcs intermarry with the remaining human pure-bloods and thus the orcen bloodline among the exiles continues to be passed down through the generations. Occasional inter-breeding still continues with the orcs, as sometimes a sympathetic Kaaer'dár'shín will take in an orcen exile and mate with them resulting in a child. Over the next three hundred years, the group grows large enough to form a tribe but are still yoked to the Osther-Oc having never truly been independent.

THE ERA OF THE SOUTHERN WARS
(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
ca. 1.000
to 1.055
The Beginning of the Fight for Kaaer'dár'shín Independence: Temejin Tartar
Temejin Tartar, a Kaaer'dar'shin revolutionary, introduces the concept of quick, stealthy warfare against the orcs and devises methods of ambush and sneak attacks against their larger, brutish cousins. By using Landesh ponies for speed along the Hearths and the cover of the Themed'lon for ambushes, the orcs are faced with a new formidable people of their own creation fighting for independence.
  

ca. 1.050 The Landesh Pony is Tamed
About this time, the Kaaer’dár’shín at the Heath of Eph'denn make extensive use of the Landesh pony, whose herds were drastically reduced due to the war. The half-orcs find that the pony is suitable for their warfare and begin capturing them and breeding them into greater numbers.
  

ca. 1.060
to 1.100
Eph'denn Expands
The fort grounds become a training ground for Kaaer'dár'shín warriors and constant patrols are maintained to safeguard against further encroachments by the orcs. Landesh pony stables are built to house the wild ponies caught, bred and tamed.

THE AGE OF DISCOVERY
(YEARS 1.144 A.S. - 1.440 A.S.)
1.334
to 1.352
Second Osther-Oc Invasion in Eph'denn
Eph'denn is occupied by a large war party of Osther-Oc warriors hired by a rogue dark elf warlord named Valsha Ironblood. The orcs occupy the colony for a period of 18 years before being driven off by a Kaaer'dár'shín rebel group and, legends tell, of some angry Pendrowe.
  

1.352 Eph'denn grows into the Second Largest Colony
After the second orc invasion is over, the Eph'denn colony expands considerably. Many families dedicate their lives to rebuild Eph'denn once more and soon the settlement becomes the second largest colony of the tribe.

THE AGE OF HAVOC
(YEARS 1.440 A.S. - 1.540 A.S.)
1.468 The Osther-Oc Village of Hell'Wrung is Founded
A clan of Osther-Oc forgo their nomadic ways and found a village along the far northern borders of the heaths called Hell'Wrung. The village is ruled by a warlord who fortifies the area and begins to build an army to conquer his smaller, nomadic brethren. The village becomes a battle ground for many years to come as warring clans vie for control of the village.

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 Date of last edit 12th Fallen Leaf 1668 a.S.

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