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Alysse the Likely
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« on: 17 April 2005, 02:34:00 »

Coren--you're right, they are different from Sarvonian orcs.

However, there are some issues I could develop for you, dealing with such things as:

What is the relationship between males/females?  Is it a relationship of equals or more like that of Sarvonian orcs (i.e., females belong to whatever male can claim and keep them)

Can a female be Orcal? Or high priest(ess)?  

This society seems highly complex; are these orcs less aggressive than most? (therefore having more time to develop art/culture/religious ceremonies/economic principles etc.)  

What makes them orcish?  They seem so totally different from Sarvonian orcs, how do we know they are orcs and not some totally new race never encountered before?

I could work on some of these things for you, if you like.

EDIT:

I decided to put this up at the front of this link so that it can be found
more easily.



Overview
The Orcristh live in the canyons along the Uiyujappa River, located west of the Zhunith deserth and south of the Kaerath desert, in the western part of the continent of Nybelmar. Hidden in the shadows of the sharp cliffs, they inhabit the kingdom of Orcal and dominate the few secure roads through the desert.

Appearance
The most notable feature of the Orcristh is their raven-black skin which is different from any other orc tribe known on Caelereth. They are tall and comparatively slenderly built (in relationship to other orcs). Their black hair is plaited in heavy braids falling down on muscular shoulders. Their eye colors ranges from the typical yellow to an intense purple. Their sharp teeth are like those of most orc races but often contrast even more due to their whiteness against the dark skin. The raven-black skin and the strong build of the Orcristh make them appear also noble to other races and graceful in their behaviour and movements.  Orcristh orcs dress mainly in more or less simply madeup loincloths, made from animal hides.  However, many rings, bracelets and amulets decorate their bodies. The priesthood is known for making fire-red tattoos with which they cast defensive or healing spells on themselves or on warriors.

Coat of Arms/Sign

The royal guards wear the Orcristh symbol on their shields, the symbol of their godking, the Orcal, who is the center of the Orcristh religion. This symbol resembles an inverted S-shape. It stands for the river upon which the destiny of the kingdom depends and thus it is also the Godking's rune. With this sign the Orcristh mark anything that is possessed by the Orcal himself, from border stones, to documents about state affairs to the shields of his personal warrior guard. This symbol is seen as lifespending, blessed and divine and thus also often incorporated into jewellry, for one because of these magical powers but also as a sign of loyalty to the Orcal. The various towns and cities of Orcal also use a single, magical sign on the shields of their warriors to distinguish heritage. Instead of painting those signs on their shields, however their shields are shaped like the symbol, creating a vast variety in shield colour and shape.

Territory
The realm of the Orcristh lies in the deep valleys carved into the sand and rock by a mighty stream, the Uiyujappa river, the lifesource of the kingdom of Orcal.   The kingdom spreads over several hundred leagues, northwest of the Zhunith desert and the city-states of Zhun. There on the fertile shores and in the cooling shadows of the cliffs the Orcristh live and worship their gods and build their houses and temples.

People
Unlike most orcs, the Orcristh that have developed a society that is not based on clan and family structures—instead, it has evolved into a monarchy by which a godking, figure, the Orcal, rules the Orcristh nation. The Orcristh soldiers are well organized and well-adopted to the hot and arid conditions around them.
The priests/attendants of Orcal were sophisticated enough to create their own alphabet and build libraries that record most of the Orcristh history and myths.  The most important writings are usually preserved by being carved in stone, while others are printed on hides, using an ink compounded of water and pigmented rocks to make various colours.  The Orcristh alphabet is mainly pictorial and one of these printed hides would appear at first glance to be a stunning work of art.
Also the mages and priests of Orcal are said to excel in magic use in a way not expected by the orcish race and their power in the art of fire magic became legendary.  It is unknown how this may have occured, but there are several theories.  A favorite among Santharian scholars suggests that the orcs intermarried with Shadow elves and thus inherited their black skin, slender build, and propensity for magic.  Some scholars have suggested that interbreeding occured with the Volkek-Oshra orcs, the orcish fire mages of Ximax.  Another theory suggests that they absorbed so much sun radiance that they became black and developed an affinity for magic relating to fire/heat. A fourth. less popular one, holds that they are not actually orcs, but dark elves which became warped by magic in a ferocious battle with other elves and, losing, were exiled to Nybelmar.
To the surrounding realms and races this prospering empire in the middle of nowhere has often a frightening effect, though the Orcristh remained for the most part - compared to the bloodlust of other orc tribes - relatively peaceful, though raids and skirmishes in what they claim as their sphere of influence are the rule, not an exception.  Some of their religious ceremonies can be very violent and bloody - for instance, forcing captives/criminals to fight each other, or wild animals, to the death as a public spectacle which presumably glorifies their gods. Refusal to fight means a much slower, painful death, where the unfortunate victim is dismembered alive before the crowds.

Housing
The Orcristh live mainly in clay or brick houses that are often built at the hillside of the cliffs into small villages and hamlets. The main cities are known to be so big that they grow up to the clifftops. Other towns were built into vast caves of the great canyons. Only palaces and temples are built with other sorts of stone that has to be transported over miles along the river to their destination. This is mainly sandstone but black or red marble is often used for portals or as a roof.

Clothing
All Orcristh wear some kind of loincloth, however usually fixed by a belt which is decorated with aurium, claws, semi-precious stones or other things. The loincloth itself is usually made from animal skins, often dyed, cut into small pieces and sewn * together in intricate patterns of colour. Bracelets, armlegs and necklets are also often worn and made of painted brass, silver or aurium. Women usually don't wear much more, although their clothes are longer and even more colorful. Married orc females wear a brass collar-like necklet, which indicates their marital status (and thus lack of availability to other orc males)  Their status as childbearers is indicated by items set into the collar—one piece of obsidian for each male child and one piece of polished rose quartz for each female child, once the children have reached one year of age. The warriors wear usually aurium-plated steel breastplates, anklets and kneelets which are separately bound around the arms and legs, only with a small fur as padding between the steel and the skin.  The priesthood generally wear a black loincloth with a belt made of links of aurium.  They do not usually wear other jewelry except for ceremonial purposes.

b]*[/b]  Since the orcs have no materials from which to make cloth, they use skins.  For sewing, they use their own hair as thread, since it is thick, long, and tough.


Diet
As Orcal is a desert kingdom it rains very rarely. The only source for water is the great Uiyujappa River. The river flows over its banks each year, leaving a rich black mud on the surrounding soil. This mud is used for growing crops, which - along with fish and sheep - are the main food sources of Orcal.  The Orcristh orcs also grow various fruits, to add food diversity. The ground is made fertile by constructing irrigation ditches, to transport the water to where it is needed. This irrigation system allows them to harvest crops three times a year.  Flesh is mainly taken from goats and sheep and the wild Nybelmar quagga.  Cattle is rare and precious, reserved for the Orcal and the priesthood.

Weapons
The Orcristh use mainly a "sickle-like" blade that has a hilt of leather and cloth wrapped around one end. In some variants these blades can be thrown at their foes. In general they make up formidable slashing weapons in a terrain where only few races would dare to wear full armor. Also, heavy scimitars are very common. The Orcristh's second weapon is mostly a dagger or long knife.

Occupations
The leading caste of this community is the priesthood, who help the Orcal rule the mighty kingdom. At their side is the warrior caste which consists of those wealthy enough to afford decent weaponry. Below them is the vast number of workers and craftsmen who are the main labor force of the kingdom.

Government. Orcal is a monarchy led by a king, the so-called Orcal who has godlike status among the blade and is seen as the mortal child of the Orcristh gods, Gra’khron and Mruk’cha. He reigns with absolute power over the  kingdom.
Most things are regulated by the priesthood, by rituals and traditions. The priesthood collects the taxes and punishes the guilty, it blesses and heals the citizens or bans and curses them.  They are also responsible for the education of the young higher caste children. The only other caste with influence is the warrior caste that makes up the Orcristh army. They represent the noble society among the Orcristh and only they can become priests or leaders. Female orcs may not take on any of these roles.  Their main purpose, as in most orc cultures, is that of reproduction.  The one exception to this is the biological mother of the current Orcal.  She fulfils the role of trusted advisor to the throne and her status in society overranks any male not of the priesthood or warrior caste.  She is called the Orcal’cha.

Production/Trade
In the canyons of Orcal the Orcristh mainly produce their things for everyday life. But they also have great knowledge about herbs and spices and so they export many of these precious goods to other places. They are also capable of making glass from some special sands found in the deserts and slice crystals found into jewelry.
Natural Resources. The only resources the Orcristh have in vast numbers is sand, obsidian, and some resources of auriummined from deep within the earth. Besides that only the growing of spice and their sources of meat are of any real value in their kingdom.

Myth/Lore

The Orcristh take great pride in their black skin, since the colour black is sacred to them.  They have an interesting story about how they became black.  According to the legend, they were once like other inferior races, paler in colour.  But when they settled in what is now Orcal, they were plagued brutally by desert flies.  For relief, they covered themselves in the black mud from the river, and eventually this stained their skin permanently black.  Since black is a sacred colour, only the priesthood may wear black items of clothing, aside from obsidian gems as decorative articles.


Origin
The origin of the black orcs is not known.  However, there are several schools of thought on this issue.  Most Sarvonian scholars believe that the black orcs originated when a Shadow elf impregnated a female orc and their descendants, though intermarrying with other orcs (which are normally darker skinned than most people to begin with) retained the black skin colouring, slimmer build, and propensity for magic of their elven ancestor.
However, others say that the dark skin developed as a survival trait in the desert, where lighter skinned individuals would burn in the heat.  Some think it is due to the kinds of foods they eat, while still others insist that they are not actually orcs, but another kind of being altogether, although these scholars are fewer in number.  The bone structure and teeth of the black orcs is nearly identical to that of Sarvonian orcs—few people can tell the difference.
 

.

Alysse the Likely

Edited by: Alysse theLikely at: 5/15/05 2:08
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