THE KAAER'DÁR'SHÍN HALF-ORCS

APPEARANCE - COAT OF ARMS - TERRITORY - PEOPLE - HOUSING - CLOTHING
DIET - WEAPONS - OCCUPATIONS - GOVERNMENT - RELIGION
PRODUCTION/TRADE
-  NATURAL RESOURCES -
FESTIVALS - MYTH/LORE - HISTORY

The half-orcen Kaaer'dár'shín people of the Themed'lon Forests of Northern Sarvonia are a tribe born from the fires of war and conquest. The birth of the Kaaer'dár'shín was witnessed by terror, fear and rebellion during one of the most devastating wars Sarvonia has ever suffered. The tribe today is said to be the descendants of orcen and human offspring that began during the dawn of the Third Sarvonian War of 298 b.S. Sages note the Kaaer'dár'shín peoples' strength, resilience, and strong devotion to nature as the reason that they have survived for as long as they have. In addition, the Kaaer are the subject of many whispered Northern tales involving shapeshifting creatures known as the fylja fur-folk. The tribe exists today divided into three clans: the Stoneblessed (Kaaer "Gyn’orchén"), the Mist Stalkers (Kaaer "Noq’vak'hol") and the Grey Keepers (Kaaer "Suk’rom’da"). They are known to the Kuglimz as savage animal-men and to the Antislar as mysterious forest watchers. To the elves, the Kaaer are known as "Thróg'zoumáth" (Styrásh lit. "Beast Dwellers") and to the orcs, the Kaaer are known as "Traag'hag Suun" (orcen lit. "those who command the darkness and the trees"). The Kaaer'dár'shín are a mysterious tribe in many ways, but one cannot deny that they are tenacious survivors.

A Kaaer'dár'shín Shamut

View picture in full size  Picture description. A Kaaer'dár'shín shamut, wearing the Mask of the Tree Cousin, performs a blessing during the Feast of Horkcha with a warrior woman drumming the beats of the woolly boar's heart. Image drawn by Bard Judith.

Appearance. The Kaaer'dár'shín people think of themselves as the embodiment of nature itself and live comfortably among the harsh northern elements. Kaaer body types are as varied as any human, but given their orcen bloodline, they possess physical attributes of both races. Dark skin tones of brown, grey, black or even green are typical. Their skin is weathered and free of blemish giving them a healthy and well worn appearance.

The Kaaer possess powerfully lean musculature with arms and legs taut with wiry muscle. They are quite athletic and swift runners. Both male and female Kaaer have broad shoulders and are accustomed to heavy lifting. As adults, both sexes average just under two peds in height with females typically shorter than the males. Adults are also estimated to be between one to two pygges in weight giving them the stature of light, swift movers.

The half-orcs' agile bodies are well suited for swift running and stealthy movement. Their physical training begins at an early age and as young children, they already have built hearty bodies capable of tirelessly running or riding long distances. Their lean legs and wide feet are well suited and balanced for agile movement. The Kaaer also possess nimble hands with dexterous fingers. Their grip is strong and they wield their weapons with extraordinary agility.

Each individual Kaaer can possess a wide range of human and orcen-like facial features. Generally, both sexes possess wide and flat faces with a high brow and widely spaced eyes. They have slightly wider noses with larger nostrils than most other human tribes. They have gracefully high cheekbone structure with strong chins and a pronounced jaw line. Their teeth are larger than most other human tribes, and are square and blocked shaped. The ears are wide and Kaaer women enjoy decorating their lobes with shiny fish scales or bone studs. The orcen trait of pointed ears can also be seen among certain individual Kaaer depending on the family lineage.

Hairstyles among the tribal members would be considered plain and ordinary. Most Kaaer'dár'shín men wear their hair long, approximately shoulder length, tied back with leather cords. A scalp with several long braids tied off with cords is another typical hairstyle. Some men prefer to have no hair at all and practice shaving it off with their daggers. Their bald scalp is then painted with black or red paint patterns. Still other men shave part of their hair off around the sides leaving a braided length along the top and back. Women adorn similar hairstyles as the men, including shaved or partly shaved painted scalps. Often, family and clan members appear similar to each other with the same hairstyles being worn by generations of each family.

Clothing made of animal hides constitutes the majority of the tribe's wardrobe. Robes, cloaks, pants and vests made of the hides of the Tsor-Shotak lizard, the uncil cat, the snow wolf, the cuncu sheep and the Cartashian bear are all common. The colder climate of the tribe's homeland means most clothing is heavy furs in the winter and lighter hides in the warmer months. Footwear is typically hide boots or sandals crafted by the women clothiers. During the warmer months, most of the tribe prefers little clothing with the men typically having no shirt on at all or a simple vest and pants. The women also wear midriff pants and wraps around their chests. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. All of the Kaaer clans recognize the traditional coat of arms known as the "To'ava Dro" (Kaaer lit. "Nature mark"). It is depicted as a runic tree with two branches, one on either side. To the tribal shamuts, the tree symbol itself signifies a pendrowe and the Themed'lon, their sacred home. The two branches represent their racial heritage, human and orcen. Behind the tree symbol are two circles depicting Suriot ("Light Father") and Leigor ("Mother Darkness"). The wavy line below the circles represents Gynturg ("Earth Brother") and Bynapryl ("Water Maiden"). Return to the top

Territory. The Kaaer'dár'shín occupy three regions of land within the Northern Sarvonian peninsula of Caaehl'heroth. The Stoneblessed clan make their home in the tribes' traditional colony of Torik (Kuglim-Seitre lit. "Home") and Eph'denn. The colony is situated along the northern borders of the Themed'lon Forests at the fork of the Kharim River. Torik was the tribes' original settlement is the largest one. The Stoneblessed clan function as leaders, traders and advisors to the other clans. They are primarily the clan whom other foreign tribes relate and trade with.

The Themed'lon Forests are home to the Grey Keeper clan who take responsibility for maintaining the balance of the vast forests. The entire forest region is considered sacred and holy to the tribe and the Keeper clan rarely leaves the borders of their forest home. The Themed'lon has been called one of the most beautiful woodland regions in all of Northern Sarvonia by the Injerín ranger Saryas Kelweather. He noted that it compares with even the elven woods which is, coming from an elf, a grand statement.

The Mist Stalker clan are the nomadic group of the tribe and roam the Heaths and lands far to the north of Torik. They are hunters and wildsmen who live off whatever they can find. Over time, many have come to settle an area around the great Mount Osthen near the southwestern edges of the Mists of Osthemangar. Here, the Kaaer have integrated themselves with the smaller Osthen orcen clans. As a result, the Mist Stalkers have far less human bloodline then their southern kin. The Stalkers are the embodiments of Durgho's hunting passion and enjoy challenging themselves against the many dangerous beasts of the Mists.
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People. The Kaaer'dár'shín people are composed of three separate clans with each having certain responsibilities and skills. Given the tribes' complex religious and spiritual needs, it was necessary long ago that the tribe divide themselves in order to best serve the nature spirits that dwelled with them. Each clan is ruled by a chieftain (the Wood Keepers are ruled by a shamut) and together, the three rulers and their families lead the tribe.

A general belief among the Kaaer is that those not of the tribe have little understanding of nature and its ways. Because of this, the Kaaer are generally distrustful of other races and should a stranger cross into their lands, the half-orcs will challenge them directly. Strangers are viewed as something possibly destructive and unclean until proven otherwise. Some elven and dwarven clans have earned the respect of the Kaaer over the years and are welcomed into the Themed'lon (though dwarves visit so rarely given they prefer underground places). The Injerín and Kurakim have learned long ago to shed their biases towards the Kaaers' orcen ancestry and recognized them as unique among orc-bloods.

Kaaer and human interaction has evolved into a far more complex matter. The half-orcs have always found human women to be attractive and suitable as mates. Kaaar clan chiefs often favour human females to breed with and it is common sport for Kaaer hunting parties to raid Kuglimz settlements and "steal" human girls and women. Likely this attraction is inborn having evolved and been maintained since the birth of the tribe between humans and orcs. The Antislar tribe has never been as resistant to sharing their women given that some of their own tribe is also of orcen/human lineage. In fact, the Antislar have at times willingly traded away groups of human girls in exchange for Kaaer ponies, herbs and furs.

Children born to each clan are raised in that particular clans' traditions and practices. Rarely does a child leave the clan for another. Family ties are important to the Kaaer culture and children are seen as vital to carry on the tribes' traditions to the next generation. From the age of 10 years, children are taught the ways of their clan and the tribe. Hunting, tracking, reverence for nature and combat skills are taught to both male and female children. Women are known to take an active role in each clan, but typically they are seen as homemakers and caregivers of the young and elderly. Return to the top

Housing. Two styles of housing are prevalent within Kaaer'dár'shín settlements: the bromer and the stilt-house. Bromer houses resemble tent-like structures built using wooden logs and sticks draped over with stitched together furs. Small fire pits are built on the ground in the center of the bromer for cooking and warmth. The fire smoke escapes from a hole built at the tip of the bromer. Around the firepit, the occupants lay down furs and hides for sleeping and sitting. A single bromer can fit up to four people comfortably. The bromer can be built with two to three tent poles together making for a larger structure. Due to the simplictic structure of the bromer, it can be assembled and disassembled relatively quickly and easily for transport. The nomadic Mist Hunter clan uses the bromer primarily as they tend to move locations to find the best hunts. Kaaer bromer camps can be found as far north as Mount Osthen near the Mists of Osthemangar or along the southern regions of Caaehl'heroth beyond the Wood Forest. During winter when the snows cover the ground, bromers are abandoned in favor of stilt houses.

The stilt house is a structure built atop thick upright standing logs. This home is usually round or rectangular in shape approximately nine peds in length and six peds across. The size can vary depending on the amount of occupants. The stilt house is favored as a year round home that not protects the occupants from the cold ground in winter and the occasional flooding in the spring months. A ladder extends from the ground to the entrance. The inside walls are draped with furs for warmth and a firepit made of stones sits in the center. The two largest Kaaer settlements, Torik and Eph'denn, are comprised primarily of stilt homes. Return to the top

Clothing. The North can be a quite cold with an unforgiving climate. As such, the Kaaer'dár'shín dress for warmth as well as light weight movement. Typical clothing is composed of hides and furs from a variety of animals found in the Northern regions. Hides from the woolly boar, Tsor-Shotak lizard, the wolverine, the uncil cat, the snow wolf, the cuncu sheep, mountain wison or the Cartashian bear are used. These hides can be made into robes, coats, leggings and shoes that provide more than adequate protection from the winds that blow from the north icelands or from the gulfs.

The Tsor-Shotak Lizard

View picture in full size Image description. The Giant Mountain Lizard of the Imlith, Celeste and Prominent Mountains of Northern Sarvonia. Especially its hide is often sought and used for armour by the Kaaer'dár'shín. Picture by Seeker.

Clothing does not vary much between the genders. Warriors and hunters typically wear clothing that allows them maximum range of movement and agility when fighting in hand to hand combat or when riding upon the Landesh pony. The clans favour darker coloured apparel with a dark green or brown mantle and dark-brown leather sole pads for stealth with the hide of the Tsor-Shota as armour for the warriors.

Attire made from the hide of the wolverine is probably the most favoured and most valued. A Kaaer'dár'shín warrior who finds victory in slaying a ferocious wolverine is fortunate to be able to have a cloak or vest made from the soft, durable and water-resistant hide. Generally, the more difficult and ferocious the prey, the more valued the hide. The skin of the oogorim creature of the Caaehl Mountains is highly prized among the Mist Stalkers. Frequent rumours from human traders claim that the ruling Kaaer chieftains wear a dragon hide cloak as a badge of office, but this claim has never been proven.

The Kaaer'dár'shín are a deeply superstitious folk and believe in wearing charms upon their bodies. These charms are known as "to'vatars" to the people and can be made of bone, teeth, wood, stone or metal. Hunters and warriors favor wearing woolly boar tusk, the teeth of the Tsor-Shotak lizard and the bones of fallen enemies as to'vatars. Among healers, water stones are worn and farmers and craftsmen can be seen with stone charms. They believe these charms provide everything from protection in battle, successful hunts, good crops and favourable weather. Return to the top

Diet. The Kaaer'dár'shín are primarily meat eaters. Their main staple diet consists of the dried and cured meat of three beasts native to the Northern lands: the woolly boar, the mountain wison and the Tsor-Shotak lizard. Fish are also a means of meat. The tribe also grows small amounts of crops such as berries and vegetables.

The Kaaer'dár'shín are simple cooks. They believe in using most every part of the animal for food, clothing, shelter and charms. The woolly boar is hunted year round and can be prepared in several ways, depending on the cut of the meat. The boar is favoured during the Feast of Horkcha, when up to fifty boar are caught and roasted over a massive open fire pit. The meat is prepared using fruit juices to give it a tangy flavor and portioned off in large chunks.

The mountain wison is usually cured in the sun and dried before eating. The meat provides a long term food source as it can be stored for long periods or taken on hunting parties and eaten as needed. Wild male wison are important in the Festival of the Pit Horn, where a wild wison is loosed in a fenced off arena and pitted against warriors who attempt to kill the animal with their bare hands. Once the wison is killed, it is slaughtered, cooked for two days over a pit and eaten by the victorious warrior's clan.

The Tsor-Shotak lizard's meat is also cured and used for long term feasting. The animal is revered and is never killed for anything except for food and armour. The meat of the lizard has a stringy and tough consistency, and is usually cut in strips and dried before eating.

Living so close to two main bodies of water provides the tribe with a substantial supply of fish. There is typically no special means of preparing the fish other than stripping off the scales and cooking it over an open fire. Not all of the Kaaer'dár'shín eat fish. Only the clans and families living close to the coastal areas consume fish as a primary food source. The Kaaer'dár'shín living in the plains and mountain areas are boar, wison and lizard eaters.

The tribe has also developed a type of bread-like wafer from the bulbous roots of the maizet plant. The hardy stalks of brown plant grow in abundance along the heaths and the tribe has even cultivated the plant in fields to the east of the Themed'lon. The roots are pulled during the late summer and ground up in a mixture of flavoured dried moss and water producing a sticky paste. The paste is then baked in a domed oven to form flat, flaky bread. The tribe call this starchy food "tor'mata".

Also, the tribe eats another 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 side dish as it can be boiled in water until it becomes soft and then smashed into a pasty substance and served with meat.
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Weapons. Kaaer'dár'shín warriors are adept at light range combat on foot and upon a horse. They are skirmishers, ambushers and primarily use hit and run tactics against their enemies. Light weight, hand held weapons that can be held easily when running or riding are favored among the warriors. The few Kaaer'dár'shín daggers and hand axes that have been seen outside of the tribes borders command respect and awe. The dagger, known as the "ru'noq" (Kaaer lit. "swift blade") is intricately designed with a curved or barbed blade and a handle wrapped with thin strips of Tsor-Shota hide. The blade is light and designed and balanced according to each warrior's hand.

The tribal warriors are experts in the use of the bow and arrow. All males are provided with basic training in the bow as a means of fighting and hunting. Warriors are given additional training to be able to shoot while riding a swiftly moving horse and to hit targets far away. The skill of the bow and arrow cannot be understated as it provides a means of hunting and fighting.

Typical Kaaer'dár'shín bows are made from the trees of the Themed'lon Forest. The bows come in long and short forms, and can be decorated with feathers, paint or strips of animal hide. The tribe's bowyers are a clan to themselves and are revered for their bow making skills.

The spear is another weapon of the Kaaer'dár'shín warrior. The spear can be thrown or used as a hand to hand weapon. The wooden shaft of the spear is made from the forest trees of the Themed'lon. The sharpened tips are carved from bone or stone. A few spears have barbed tips or curved blades, but those are not used for hunting, but more for ritual purposes.

Hand axes and special, smaller daggers are used as ranged weapons for throwing and in hand to hand combat. The axes are also made and balanced accordingly so as to be handled easily when dual wielded or thrown. The tribes warriors are trained to have extraordinary accuracy when throwing the axe and some veteran warriors can hit a moving target over twenty peds away with an axe or a target up to ten peds away with a dagger.

The T'lark War Buckler

View picture in full size Picture description. Two typical war bucklers as used by every Kaaer'dár'shín warrior. Image drawn by Seeker.

The T'lark (lit. "Blood Defender"). Among the most sacred and revered possessions among the Kaaer'dár'shín warriors is the T'lark, or the "Blood Defender". This is a special holy buckler made by a coming of age warrior after his first kill. The buckler is made of heavy hide from the Tsor-Shotak lizard and is an effective defense against sword or mace strikes. Also, the Defender is small and easily carried by a fast moving skirmisher.

A T'lark is often decorated with small symbols or pictures depicting each battle a warrior has won (or lived through) and other kinds of decorations vary depending on the warrior's preferences. Some have boar tusk or hide attached. Some have feathers while others are plain with simple markings. The T'lark is sacred and always carried into battle. A warrior who returns home with a broken or lost buckler is allowed to make a new one, but only if the Defender was lost in battle with an enemy.
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Occupations. The Kaaer'dár'shín fight for survival amongst enemies on all sides, namely the various orc tribes that surround the Kaaer'dár'shín borders. As a result, the tribe's main occupations are centered towards warfare and most family clans understand that their role within the clan is to support the warriors both physically and spiritually.

Government. The Kaaer'dár'shín have a loose system of government where a single leader from each of the three clans ultimately rule. A shamut from the Wood Keeper clan, a warrior from the Stoneblessed clan and a renowned hunter from the Mist Stalker clan are charged with governing the tribe together. Each leader can be male or female. The shamut is responsible for the spiritual welfare of the tribe while the warrior and hunter are responsible for the physical welfare of the tribe. The three elder leaders are responsible for all major decisions that the tribe has to make such as laws, warfare and hunting.

The elder shamut is the spiritual head of the tribe and thus is charged with interpreting all of his visions and others' visions. He leads in prayer and all religious ceremonies and rituals. He blesses all festivals and hunts. He also leads prayer for victory over the war parties. The elder shamut is seen as the embodiment of Durgho's power and is revered, respected and obeyed without question.

The elder warrior is responsible for all leadership in war and craft. He oversees all tactical decisions during warfare and, along with the elder hunter, determines the best method of fighting the tribe's enemies. He is also charged with making sure the warriors have their tools and weapons by governing the craftsmen and weaponsmiths and making sure there are enough workers to function properly.

The elder hunter is responsible for making sure the tribe has adequate food and that the tribe knows where the good hunting grounds are during the year. He leads the nomadic Mist Stalkers in providing food and pelts for the tribe. The elder hunter typically has an impressive record of hunting successes with many of the past hunter leaders trophies including oogorim heads, spinewyrm tails or drake claws.

The elder shamut and elder warrior are chosen from a select few revered and veteran men (or, in the case of the shamut, sometimes a woman has filled this role) and typically voted by on by the all of the heads of the families of the tribe. Each family is led by a man (or, if the man is dead or no longer able to fulfill the role of leader of the house) or a woman. The meet and decide from a group of capable leaders and vote.

To become an elder leader, one must show extraordinary skills in leadership ability. This usually means for the elder warrior, he must be gifted in war and have had many victories in battle and be a proven leader of men. For the elder shamut, the process is similar. Usually a wise and worldly person is chosen for this role. One who is blessed with visions and one who can bestow confidence and courage to the people. The typical elder shamut is someone gifted in speaking, interpreting and decision making.

Each family within the tribe is headed by the male who is responsible for leading his family in the ways of the tribe and is given the order to train his children and to determine his children's gifts. Return to the top

Religion. The Kaaer’dar’shin half-orcen tribe of Northern Sarvonia are a deeply spiritual people who revere both nature and the hunt. Their religion is known as the "To'ava'yarna" (Kaaer lit. "Natural or primal spirit way"). They respect the wilds' savage instincts and believe that the world is nurtured by five primal nature spirits called the "To'ava". These spirits each represent an aspect of nature that encompasses the surrounding living world. Represented are the Tree (or Beast), Earth, Water, Light (sun) and Darkness (moon and death). The To'ava is lead by one "male gendered" spirit considered the oldest and most powerful called Durgho. He is typically represented in the form of a tree or wolf. The Kaaer believe that each member of the tribe is born with the essence of one of these natural aspects. Through meditation, prayer, songs, the use of totems and successful hunts, every Kaaer's natural spiritual essence grows in power and eventually they obtain the gift to perform divine magic by bringing forth their spirits' power.

A Kaaer'dár'shín legend story known as "The Mask Unearthed" tells how a wise shamut named Krull'mor discovered a powerful relic (unknown to them to actually be elven in origin) known as the Mask of the Tree Cousin in 1300 a.S. Krull'mor donned the mask he found and was immediately given gifts of wisdom and foresight. It was then, he later claimed, that the primal spirits of the world spoke to him and instructed him to lead his people in reverence of nature. The Kaaer belief system was born. After living under many generations of harsh orcen and dark elven rule, the Kaaer had finally found a path with which to journey upon their own.

The Primal Self ("Yarna"). The Kaaer believes that each member born of the tribe (regardless of clan) inherits an essence derived from each of the To’ava primal spirits. These spirits (some would say souls) together are called a “Yarna”.

The Nature of the Yarna. Each yarna is identified as an essence of one of the primal spirits. Each spirit of nature represents specific gifts, or areas of power. As children, each Kaaer develops their own walk in life with interests and talents of their own. The Kaaer do not believe that this process is accidental or random; rather they believe that a particular To’ava leads them along their path in life. For example, a sympathetic young girl with a gift for comforting and aiding wounded is believed to be strong with the To’ava Benapryl, or the representation of Water (healing). A boy may be particularly talented with building and crafts and thus is strong with the To’ava Gynturg, or the representation of Earth (craftsman). The following representations are described below:

Production/Trade. The Kaaer'dár'shín are gifted weaponsmiths and the tribe's craftsmen produce some of the finest small hand weapons in the North. The skill of iron working was a skill that the Kaaer brought with them when they broke from the Kuglimz. Most of their iron comes from the fallen weapons of the tribes enemies, the orcs, and the metal is re-processed in weaponsmithy enclaves. Most of the weaponsmiths are located in the main Themed'lon colony of Torik.

The tribe's warriors rely on stealth and speed when they fight and have a need to carry lightweight, smaller weapons. Among the weapons produced by the Kaaer'dár'shín are the dagger, throwing knife, hand axe and short spear. Each weapon is crafted to fit the warrior wielding it and the warrior is charged with keeping his weapon in excellent condition. While fully encouraged to use their weapons against the tribe's enemies, each warrior proudly displays their weapons and usually a weapon is passed down through generations. In the case of the throwing daggers and throwing axes, this is not always the case, nevertheless, each throwing weapon is still a finely crafted piece of work.


Kaaer weapons are uncommon outside of their homeland as the tribe is isolated between two seas and various orc tribal lands so rarely does a Kaaer'dár'shín dagger (ru’noq) or axe appear outside of the North. Even if it did, very few people would know the difference other than weapons of Kaaer make are of excellent craftsmanship.

The Kaaer'dár'shín have a talent for producing exceptional items from animal hides that are sometimes traded with the neighboring Imlith dwarves, Injerin elves or Antislar humans. The skin of the Tsor-Shotak lizard makes an excellent light armour and is highly valued by the few non-Kaaer'dár'shín who have traded for it. The tribe women make warm blankets and clothing from wison and woolly boar hide. In the cold north, having good, warm clothing is paramount to survival
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Natural Resources. The area surrounding the Themed'lon Forest hosts many natural resources used by the tribe. The Themed'lon is a large forest, and with the unique distinction of having the Kaaer'dár'shín as the sole humanoid tribe living in and around it. The tribe uses the forests trees for a host of tools, weapons and items. Bows, tents, homes and shields are all made from the Themed'lon's woods.

The tribe lives between two large gulfs and thus the Themed'lon colony has an abundant supply of fresh fish for food. The tribe does not have any kind of large fishing vessels and fish close to the shore but the seas are abundant with fish of all kinds.

Horses provide a large service to the Kaaer'dár'shín. The tribe catches and breeds the Landesh pony chiefly because this animal is small in relation to the larger horses of the North and strong in build. The Kaaer'dár'shín favour stealth and speed when fighting and the Landesh provides both due to its size and strength. The Kaaer'dár'shín people are shorter than an average man of other tribes and a large horse would prove a disadvantage to them.

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Landesh are caught along the Heaths to the north and south of the Themed'lon. A group of warriors will form a hunting party and catch a group of male and female ponies to bring back to the tribe's breeding stockades for domestication and training. The Kaaer'dár'shín have kept the long tradition and skill of the Kuglimz horse training skills and are also exceptional horse breeders and trainers. Unlike their orcen cousins, the Kaaer'dár'shín do not eat horse meat.
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Festivals. There are three main festivals the Kaaer'dár'shín celebrate:

Myth/Lore. The half-orcs and the mythical fylja fur-folk share a unique connection that is only whispered about among the tribes of the North. The legends among the Kuglimz tell that the fylja are shapeshifters, people gifted (or some say cursed) with the ability to change their bodies to that of a beast. While no one among the Kuglimz knows what became of their lost exiles so long ago after they were banished, some have heard through orc reports that the exiles were lost to the wilds and overcome with bestial urges and ate each other to survive. Others correctly assume that they exiles were subjugated by orcs and turned to slavery. Still, a few rumours have come from brave adventurers through the years that say that the Kuglimz exiles not only survived their exile, and survived their orcen occupation, but actually live as beasts in the Themed'lon Forests. The whispered tales persist that the lost Kuglimz are a race of shapeshifting beasts, capable of changing into wolves, bears and even eagles.

The truth about the half-orcs, perhaps, can never be known. A single testimony survives to this day from an orcen child who lived among the Kaaer’dár’shín since he was an infant. When he was of the age of ten seasons, in approximately Changing Winds, 1400 a.S., he was lost in the woods south of the Themed'lon. He wandered alone, frightened and sick, for many days until he was found by a Kuglimz caravan. The child was brought to the village of Salmador, along the Ulaenoth river. The orcen child told a fantastic story of his life among the Kaaer’dár’shín (as told by a Kuglimz translator).

The story raised even more questions about the mysterious half-orcs. The child spoke of trees in the shape of beasts, swift warriors on ponies wielding deadly spears. Archers who could strike the sky with their arrows and even trees who could walk on their own. He spoke of a man wearing a tree mask who spoke so powerfully that even the very winds ceased in their blowing and the animals sat and listened to his words.

But even more extraordinary, the boy spoke of some in the tribe who ran as fast as the wolves themselves. He described how the shamut with the tree mask would sit in his bromer for hours at a time. Bestial growls and snarling could be heard within the bromer. Then, as the night would come upon the land, the shamut emerged secretly from his home and would race away across the heaths. His form was as a beastman, no longer standing upright, covered in thick fur with paws for hands and a wolf-like face. The shamut would return days later, in the stillness of the night, in his beast form and would not be seen for many more hours when he would then appear as a man again. The boy thought others in the tribe were as beasts, too, yet he only claimed to have witnessed the shamut as a beastman.

The orc boy's tale was quickly spread, but just as quickly, they were dismissed as the silly dreamings of a stupid orc child. Yet, the tale persists to be told among the more scholarly folk of the North. It is surmised that the mythical fylja fur-folk are indeed the Kaaer’dár’shín half-orcs. However, the tribe is so isolated and they are a secretive people who do not readily welcome visitors, so definite proof of a shapeshifter tribe does not exist.

Most of the stories and rumors say that the half-orc shapeshifter is capable of one of several beast forms, each one being a revered animal of the Beastlord. The wolf is a common animal form and the one that is frequently seen and heard in most tales. The uncil cat is another common beast form, as is the woolly boar and the toran eagle. Even the bear is whispered to be a potential beast form, and probably the most dangerous, given the size and strength of a single bear.

Another question arose during Azhira's research into the supposed half-orc's shapeshifting powers: does the shifter's sense of self-awareness and intelligence remain with them as an animal? How potentially powerful a shifter must be if he keeps his human intelligence and knowledge when in animal form! Or, when a shifter changes, does he take on the mere basic instincts of the animal he becomes? Does he have any knowledge of his actions as an animal when in human form? Such questions cannot definitively be answered as no one within the tribe will speak of this secretive power, let alone the shamut, who is rumoured to be a shifter himself. However, the few outsiders who have visited the tribe have sworn that wolves, eagles and the occasional uncil cat and bear can be seen in and around the half-orc settlements, tamed and calm. But could these be shifters amidst their own? Or perhaps they are simply tamed familiars?

None of the legends can explain how a half-orcs shapes himself into the beast forms. With such drastic differences in physical shapes and sizes between a man and animal, it is hard to imagine how horrific, let alone painful, a change must be. Some say dark magic is the source of the shifting while others say a shifter undergoes a painful process where the bones and skin literally reshape themselves in unimaginable ways.

The Northlands researcher, Azhira El'rosse, is known to have made many excursions to the Kaaer’dár’shín lands and she is thought to be on friendly terms with the half-orcs. Whether or not she has proof that the half-orcs are shapeshifters is unknown. She has surmised, however, that given the tribe's deep connection with nature and their devotion to the Beastlord god has given them a unique bond with the animals. It would not be so extraordinary to say that a tribe who claims to be able to speak to trees can also have the touch of the Beastlord himself and can become one like him.
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THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
318 b.S.
to 298 b.S.
The Migration of the Kuglimz Outcasts
The Kaeer’dár’shin are originally Kuglimz men who are exiled from the main tribe twenty years before the Third Sarvonian war of 298 b.S. These exiles are criminals, unlawful people who are sentenced to exile rather than death. Under the careful escort of a group of armed Kuglimz warriors, the exiles are led away from the ten tribes and are made to fend for themselves. They migrate northwest, eventually coming into the southeastern part of Caeel’heroth where they founded a settlement along the eastern edge of the Themed'lon Forest.

The Kuglimz outcasts have been settled for approximately twenty years and have produced many children (approximately a quarter of the exiles were the families of the outcasts, including several women and girls). The exiles still practice the Kuglimz traditions and could have easily become yet another clan of the Kuglimz, yet distant, if the orc invasion had not occurred.
  

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.
  

291 b.S.
to 287 b.S.
The Fortifications of Eph'denn and Anif
Heavy logging is done as the ex-Kuglimz are made to build fortifications and barracks for the orcen armies as they descend further south into Northern Sarvonia. The largest fort is built north of the Themed'lon Forests and is called "Eph'denn". The fort functions as a human slave encampment, orcen training grounds, barracks and watchtowers.

The humans are also made to build a small port fortification on the Shadow Coast called Anif. Some of the human slaves die during the construction of the fort as many of them are beaten or tortured for such simple slights as being too slow, too tired, too old or too young. It is during this interaction that the first half-orc children are conceived.
  

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.
288 b.S. The First Half-Orc Children Are Born
As a result of the orc occupation of Eph'denn, six half-breed children are conceived when some of the orcen warriors rape some of the younger human girls. The children are allowed to live, if only as a way to produce more slaves. The practice of the orcs occasionally violating the human women and conceiving children would continue for some time.
ca. 288 b.S.
to 1.000
The Orcs Retreat and the Kaaer'dar'shin Rebuild
Most of the orcs retreat from the Themed'lon after suffering a crushing defeat by the Sarvonians during the Third Sarvonian War. What is left are the humans and half-orcs, now known as the Kaaer'dár'shín and a war torn forest home. The Kaaer'dár'shín, still under a weakened Osther-Oc subjugation, are allowed to rebuild Torik. The tribe rebuilds the forest's hunting grounds and they come to make the forest their own once more.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF KINGS
(YEARS 172 A.S. - 547 A.S.)
ca. 450 The Birth of the Mist Hunters
Orcen and Kaaer'dár'shín hunters come together to form a band of hunters known as "The Fang". They specialize in the hunt of dangerous beasts and flora within the Mists. They in turn sell the hides of spine wyrms, ancient bones, and even the small white hides of the Ghostling Brownies. They even harvest poison from the savage mushroom for use for their arrows and darts.
THE ERA OF THE SOUTHERN WARS
(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
1.000 The Beginning of the Fight for Kaaer'dár'shín Independence: Temejin Tartar
It isn't until approximately 1000 a.S. that a child is born that will later ignite a revolt against the Osther-Oc and finally win the half-orcs their freedom. Temejin Tartar, a charismatic and resourceful leader, is born in 1000 b.S. to two half-orc parents, both of whom work as weaponsmiths. Temejin is well liked by the group and works as a weaponsmith and hunter for most of his young life until the age of 33 when he begins whisperings of a revolt against their orcen masters. Temejin, already highly respected, ignites the people's hearts for another war and soon commands an large army of willing warriors willing to fight the orcs.

It was Temejin Tartar who introduces the concept of quick, stealthy warfare against the orcs and who devises methods of ambush and sneak attacks against the larger, brutish orcs. 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 indepedence.
  

1.033
to 1.055
The Kaaer'dár'shín Revolution against the Osther-Ocs
The Kaaer'dár'shín revolutionist Temejin Tartar and his band of skirmishers win many victories against the Osther-Oc orcs and he passes his knowledge along to his younger brother, Terran and his son, Toroth. Temejin dies at the age of 55 during a raid on an orcen camp to secure supplies, but his brother and son pickes up the cause and continued the fight.
  

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.
  

1.055 Freedom for the Kaaer'dár'shín
Soon after the Kaaer'dár'shín revolutionist Temejin Tartar, the Osther-oc retreat farther north into the Heaths and the half-orcs have finally won their right to live as they pleased. Although they will continue to battle their orcen cousins for many years to come, the tribe is now free to live for themselves. Although still holding fast to many orcen traditions, some semblance of the old Kuglimz ways remains in practice to this day. Unlike the Ash'mari, the Kaaer'dár'shín are not solely given over to the bloodthirsty ways of the barbarian culture, but in the eyes of the Kuglimz, the Kaaer'dár'shín have fallen a long way and are still considered barbaric and reviled due to their orcen heritage.
  

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.)
ca. 1.200 The Pendrowe Are Discovered
A Kaaer'dar'shin shamut named Kulk'bek claims to have been spoken to by the Earth Brother himself through a group of very old trees within the forest and he proclaims the entire wood sacred. He begins to live exclusively within the forest and soon forsakes the company of his people. Further stories are told of living guardian trees and plants within the forest and the Kaaer'dar'shin regard the Themed'lon as a sacred area and come to believe that the Earth Brother in mortal form lives within the woods.
  

ca. 1.250
to 1.300
The Kaaer'dár'shín Beastlord Worship Falls Away
After the disappearance of the shamut Kulk'bek, the Kaaer'dár'shín fall away from the Beastlord faith and embrace a violent, unstable lifestyle where the Hunt ceases to become important and the worship of the beast guardians is deemed irrelevant. With the revered Kulk'bek gone, the selection of a new shamut is decided through a bitter civil war lasting fifty years.
  

ca. 1.290 Saryas Kelweather Hears the Drasil Tree
Saryas Kelweather is trusted to wield the Mask of the Tree Cousin to find the truth of the Lost Ones according to the drasil memory tree. What he sees is later revealed in a journal and tells the story of the elves and their life after the split from the tribe long ago. Much more is revealed to him, but he refuses to speak of it, promising the Kaaer'dar'shin chieftain not to.
  

ca. 1.300 The Mask of the Earth is Discovered
One hundred years after the disappearance of the Kaeer'dár'shín shamut Kulk'bek, one of his ancestors, a half-orc named Krull'mor, becomes the shamut of his people and ends the civil war by declaring a new beginning for the Beastlord faith. To prove it, he embarks on a journey alone in the Themed'lon to find and bring back his ancestor Kulk'bek's bones as he believes that the people will once again come together if the bones of Kulk'bek can be seen.

Krull'mor finds a hidden grove within the woods and discovers his ancestor's bones beneath a thick, ancient looking tree. He reveals a mask made of bark that covers the skeleton's skull. He calls the mask "A'ng'erg Pafalka" (lit. "Mask of the Tree Cousin"), then buries the skeleton in the grove but keeps the corpse's partially decomposed clothing and bone totem. He stays there for many days. Upon his return, he shows the people his findings and takes several of them into the grove to experience the wonders of the Earth Brother.
Saryas Kelweather Explores the Region
In what has become the first detailed expedition of the Mists region, the famed ranger and explorer Saryas Kelweather discovers the Mists and much of its inhabitants. He joins a group of Kaaer'dár'síin (of whom he is a trusted friend) and hears many tales of the region from the Mist Hunters and accompanies them on their hunts. He alone is one of very few explorers who have documented the Mists and lived to tell about it.
  

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.

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 Date of last edit 4th Passing Clouds 1668 a.S.

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