The Volkek-Oshra orcs (also simply called the "Ximaxian Orcs") are a tribe of orcs who live in the Mage City of Ximax, and one of the tribes that doesn't have a truly evil intent. Though they definitely work toward their own means, they are not as open and savage about it as some other orcish races and tribes. They are more, as the Ximaxians say, "sophisticated" than other orcs. Volkek-Oshra Orcs lived in Ximax since the founding of Ximan Xuran's School of Magic in 2017 b.S. Before that they formed the secretive Society of Enlightenment. Now they are very well respected and interesting citizens of Ximax.

A Volkek-Oshra Mage

View picture in full size Image description. A Volkek-Oshra mage in his study located in the catacombs below the Magical City of Ximax. Picture drawn by Quellion.

Appearance. Though the Volkek-Oshra are most apparently not human, they are approximately about 2 peds high like humans, and this is usually accounted to breeding between the orcs and humans. Their skins are a dark brown color, and while it is thicker than a human's, it is not as thick as the skin of some other orcs. Though the Volkek-Oshra do not have much body hair, the female orcs have long hair on their heads, but no hair anywhere else. The male orcs usually grow thick beards but are bald everywhere else, but no one has given any reason why this is the case. Some speculate that this is caused by magical change, but most don't care. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. The Coat of Arms for the Volkek-Oshra is a black 'X' in front of a flame. The 'X' standing for Ximax, of course, and the flame to symbolize that they are orcs, the race which sprung from the Element of Fire.
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Territory. The territory of the Volkek-Oshra is, simply, the city of Ximax. Though some go to the surrounding mountains at times to meditate, they never venture far. The orcs are not very outgoing and don't see much for them outside of Ximax, though some have gone forth to try and make a living as a mage. Those are usually half-orcs, however, or orcs who don't think they'll be much use to the Red Tower and its orc magi.
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People. The Volkek-Oshra is believed to be the only orc tribe where the members are strictly mages. While every few generations there will be a non-mage among them, that one shall be sent out into the wilderness to die or live as a warrior. They are also very much like humans in the ways they act in public, eat, dress, and do many things, even come out regularly in the day. The Volkek-Oshra orcs are even capable of speaking the Tharian, the common tongue in Santharia, in public. Though once they retire to their catacombs or are only around orcs, or even if they don't want someone to understand what they say, they only use the orcish grunting language. The Volkek-Oshra are also the best trained orc mages in Sarvonia, as they receive direct training from the magi of Ximax once they reach the age of 15.

Volkek-Oshra orcs also live longer than other orcs, mostly due to the fact that they do not fight as much and live in a city where they don't have to hunt or scavenge for their food. The typical lifespan for the Volkek-Oshra is around 70 or 80 years, and the oldest among them, Gral The Powerful, lived 120 long years and was the first orcish Archmage of Ximax.

Similar only to the Osther-Oc, the Volkek-Oshras allow females equal rights and privileges with males. They regard the other orc tribesí behaviour with great contempt for their treatment of females and find it largely inconceivable that a tribe would not want to treat all members depending on their individual abilities rather than their gender.
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Housing. These orcs live in catacombs under Ximax, mainly under the Red Tower. Though they do often journey above ground, during both day and night. They enjoy the large stone halls they've carved out, with the help of some of the dwarves. There are some small square-shaped well-like structures with grates over them, at regular intervals in alleys and other out of the way places, which usually have smoke coming out of them from the living and gathering places of the orcs.
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Clothing. The male Volkek-Oshra usually wear dark-red hooded robes, while the females wear the same but in a brighter red color. The females also wear headbands which are covered with an intricate pattern of beads on one side to resemble fire to keep their hair pulled back. Both usually wear gold medallions around their necks which have a flame etched skillfully on both sides. Most also carry daggers for self-protection unless some orc-hater decides to try something and they aren't ready to cast a spell.
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Diet. Volkek-Oshra do not hunt for their food, but instead usually eat normal Ximaxian foods. They also keep great quantities of salted and jerked meats in cellars in their underground homes, as well as stocks of other foods. Though sometimes they will have a celebration where they release animals into a large underground arena, which is the center of their entertainment. The orcs then "hunt" the animals with spears, swords, and axes, then cook them over a great bonfire and eat them.
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Weapons. With the exception of the dagger which most carry on their person in a concealed place usually at wrist or ankle, the Volkek-Oshra fight with magic. Whether magical items or spells they know themselves, it is their primary weapon. A few rare orcs, who are called the Elite Guard, carry magically imbued swords which burn without harming themselves or the wielder, shoot flame, or some other little trick. The group of orcs who guard the others, called the Fire Daughters, usually carry very powerful magic staves.
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Occupations. Volkek-Oshra orcs in general can have the following professions:

Government. There is not much of a hierarchy, but the small ladder they have is as follows: Apprentice, Novice, Mage, Magus, Fire Daughter, Elite Guard, Archmage. Aside from this Volkek-Oshra orcs are very laid back, but respect is very important, and no matter of what standing one is they always show respect to a friend, guest, superior, or inferior. The only ones who don't get much respect are the children, though they don't expect it nor do they particularly care until they reach 15 and become an apprentice so they can begin to learn magic. Return to the top

Production/Trade. The Volkek-Oshra are very well respected for their skill of making magical amulets and medallions, which is why they wear theirs in public. These items are usually very powerful and beautiful, but also very costly. It is a matter of great honor to them, as they don't really have much else to offer to anyone in the way of products.
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Natural Resources. There are not many natural resources in the City of Mages, with the exception of magic. All sorts of magical items, scrolls, tomes, reagents and similar things can be found there, as well as the Eleven Towers and the best known magic school on all of Sarvonia. So the only real resource they have is the magic which they love so dearly, as it sets them apart from most other orcs.
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Festivals. On the 10th of the Month of the Burning Heavens the Volkek-Oshra hold the Festival of Hunting. On this day they release wild animals into an underground arena, which is at the end of a short tunnel of taverns, food stores, and sitting rooms in the catacombs of the orcs. After the release of these animals at one end, a number of orcs chase them down with spears, kill them, and drag them back. This is repeated every half-hour, as that's usually how long it takes, until all of them have gone through the ritual. Afterwards they build a large bonfire in the arena's center and all roast their kills, then the ale and wine flow freely and there is a great feast. This festival lasts 3 days, though the first lasts 6 entire days.
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The Volkek-Oshra Orcs

View picture in full size Picture description. A Volkek-Oshra Fire Mage. Pic drawn by Isilhir.

History. The Volkek-Oshra were originally a cabal of orcish mages. Coming from various tribes under their leader, Karak the Learned, they formed the Society of Elightenment. Embracing other cultures, knowledge, and especially the one thing they all had in common: Magic. Meeting in secret for many years, they were disliked by other orcs. Many were killed because of this hatred, but not as many as could have been. This is because they kept their meeting place a secret, a secret which has yet to be revealed to this day, though many believe it is carved into tablets somewhere in the halls of the Volkek-Oshra.

Some years after their founding they received a message from one Ximan Xuran, a human who had become a friend to the Society and was shown their secret place. It came tied to the leg of a magical bird, a creation of Xuran, which vanished once the message was taken. It summoned the Society to come to a certain place, where he was building a city. It was a city where mages could be revered, not hated, no matter what race they were.

So the Society left for the future site of Ximax. Upon arrival they helped to raise the city, secretly carving out the catacombs where they would take up residence later. Slowly they were accepted as normal parts of its culture, learning manners and such so as not to offend anyone.

Later, when the Eleven Towers were built, the orcs changed their name to the Volkek-Oshra, which they said meant Magic Orcs, though no one knows from which language thin fact derives. The Volkek-Oshra were then accepted so that even the first Archmage of Fire was an orc, named Gral the Powerful, who lived 120 years. That was when they knew they truly were equal citizens of Ximax.

There has always been one thing about the Volkek-Oshra which has raised questions: How were they able to pass down their magical abilities if orcish mages are so rare and not very liked? This question was addressed by one researcher in his paper on selective breeding:

On the Selective Breeding of the Volkek-Oshra Orcs. "In the tribe of orcs who live in Ximax, called the Volkek-Oshra, we see a perfect example of the benefits of selective breeding. In the northern lands, where orcs are common, mages are rare and distrusted by most other orcs. However, in 1967 b.S. several orc mages were able to band together. In an isolated location, away from other orcs, they founded the Society of Enlightenment. The Volkek-Oshra found other orc mages and brought them into their secret society. The fact that the majority of the orc mages were being persecuted by other orcs made them more ready to join.

Through the years, which totalled 190, these orcs would breed only with each other, and if a child was born without magical abilities they were cast out. Of course this created a tradition of magic among them. Eventually they were invited by one Ximan Xuran, founder of Ximax and a special friend of the Society of Enlightenment, to help build and live in a city of mages. They readily accepted and moved to the site where Ximax was to be built, changing their name to Volkek-Oshra when they arrived. Now they live in their halls under Ximax and interact peacefully with the other inhabitants of Ximax. Though, to date, there have been, or at least speculated to have been, times when there were half-orcs, but are, or supposedly are, accepted by the Volkek-Oshra.

Still, though, they do not accept non-mage children, and they are cast out once they can take care of themselves. This sort of selective breeding, where they bred only with other Volkek-Oshra, or at least other mages, has made them a tribe of powerful magic users. Today they is a pillar of the Ximaxian community and have a very organized society in which they all lived happily. Mostly thanks to selective breeding."

- "A Study On Selective Breeding", Jared Malor, date unknown.
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(YEARS 3.400 B.S. - 1.655 B.S.)
2207 b.S. Founding of the Orcish Society of Enlightenment
Though the orcs of Southern Sarvonia are despised they are mostly left alone, mostly because of their magical abilities, and the fact that they keep the location of their meeting place very well hidden. They believe in the spreading of information and learning, and teach any who will listen, especially human mages who are brave enough to journey northward in search of the Society.

2017 b.S. The Orcish Society of Enlightenment moves to Ximax
The Volkek-Oshra Orcs
The Orcish Society of Enlightenment moves to the future site of Ximax on invitation of Ximan Xuran. They are hired to help construct the shield dome, and begin to build what would eventually become the City of Ximax. It is a rocky start, as many who had experiences with orcs or orcish species do not think of those times fondly and constantly are worried about what might happen. However, the orcs are well liked for the muscle and magic they help to lend in the city's building.

2015 b.S.
to 2009 b.S.
Construction of the Twelve Towers of Ximax
The Circle of Magic, the Orcish Society of Enlightenment, a small clan of dwarven Kavoninn Yabarrah ("Travelling Bachelors"), and a number of hired hands work on constructing the twelve towers, six inner towers and six outer towers, that would eventually become the Magical Academy. As the school forms, so do the rudiments of a settlement. As workmen move, they transport their family, the members of whom practice their trade and open shops while her husband, son, brother, etc. work to construct the Academy.

As the school grows, leaders and patrons come to visit to see what their money has built. To accommodate these travelers, some local entrepreneurs start up inns and eateries. As more students come to the school, reagent and wand shops spring up to cater to their needs. While the Academy's twelve towers only require four years to construct, the Inner City around it forms over a much longer span of time.

2012 b.S. Official Birth of the Volkek-Oshra
The orcs of the Society of Enlightenment give themselves the name Volkek-Oshra and move into the catacombs beneath the Academy, which they secretly constructed while building the school. These catacombs grow in depth and breadth, pullulating beneath the forming city. Many of the other Ximaxians are very relieved to see the orcs out of site, though many have become more accustomed to living with the orcs. Some are suspicious about these secret catacombs, but most suspicions are dismissed after nothing sinister comes out of them.

2004 b.S. Finishing of the Ximax Underground Area
The Volkek-Oshra finish the carving out and construction of the great underground arena which they use for entertainment. At first they fight animals, perform short plays, and some not-so-short plays. They also have contests to see who can create the most amazing and crowd-pleasing spells; though after an incident where several watchers are seriously wounded and the caster killed, this is ended.

2000 b.S. Start of the Volkek-Oshra Festival of Hunting
The Festival of Hunting starts. Several orcs voice that they are afraid of losing touch totally with their roots and come up with this solution. The festival is a great success, and the first one lasts six days. After this the orcs come to the decision it should be shortened. It is finally decided that a length of three days would be appropriate.

(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1650 b.S. Ximax provides Aid after the Dragonstorm
Because of its location, the Academy and City avoid the damage suffered by the northern villages when dragons from the Tandalas rain destruction down on the inhabitants. When the Dragonstorm begins, Ximax is called to protect the northern cities from the great beasts. However, the wizards of Ximax cannot travel quickly enough, and much of the north Centoraurian villages are destroyed. The mages help to rebuild the villages, but can do little else. They are immensely grateful for the aid of the Volkek-Oshra and dwarven clan of Unghur, who aid them in the construction of a set of catacombs beneath the city. Afterwards, the catacombs are filled in to avoid any future problems.

Ximax bares the Year of Darkness that follows, and many of the residents of Ximax die of starvation; however, its ample magical resources help to mitigate the problems somewhat, leading to fewer deaths than might otherwise have been the case. Some mages are also sent abroad to provide what help they could, winning the city much goodwill in the process.

(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
773 b.S.
to 621 b.S.
Decay of Ximax
Ximax, abandoned by all but the Volkek-Oshra, becomes derelict and decayed. The Orb of Ximax slowly begins to break free of most of its magical bonds, posing renewed threat to the peninsula.

621 b.S. Reopening of the Magical Academy
The Archmage Xarl Bluestride
The Archmage Xarl Bluestride
The human mage Xarl Bluestride, his student Khaelvan I., the Volkek-Oshra elder Narmatuk, and the Zirghurim dwarves officially reopen the Magical Academy after a century of ruin. Together they rebuild the school, and the six Archmagi send out letters to various authorities of Caelum, Naios and Milkengrad requesting donations and asking for their assistance in sending magically-inclined youngsters to Ximax.

In the fall, the First Class of the Ximaxian Institute of Magic, numbering fifty-seven, arrives at the renovated Academy, and Xarl delivers the speech at their initiation.

Ximax returns to life; with the arrival of new students, current and new denizens of Ximax open shops and grow the city.

615 b.S. The Volkek-Oshra elder Narmatuk warns Xarl
The Volkek-Oshra elder Narmatuk attempts to convince Xarl that his (now admitted) cause, that of rebuilding the city of Ximax, is hopeless.

(YEARS 825 A.S. - 1.062 A.S.)
856 Summer of Fire
An oppressive heat settles over the whole of the disk, including upon Santharia. While the north experiences major melting and flooding, the south, including Ximax, suffer a wave of heat. Crops shrivel in the beating sun, and rivers turn dry. For the first time in known history, the Wavewand River running near the City of Ximax turns dry, and the denizens of the city suffer dehydration. Not even the mages of Ximax can ward off the heat.

The Volkek-Oshra, in a gesture of kindness, open their catacombs beneath Ximax for citizens to escape the heat during the hottest hours.


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