The World of Aethis
Very little is known about the Orcish people. Unfortunately they do not maintain any written histories about themselves and any oral histories that do exist seem to omit their creation, although most scholars agree that they are likely to have been created by Xnaqu’y’raken. The first oral histories tell of warfare between different Orcish clans, each of which had a different colour skin. These oral histories are about the only account of the Orcish people as the Elves, Dwarves, and Dragons found the Orcs detestable, and the Giants and Humans never had real contact with them until long after these histories take place.
The names of the leaders of these clans are not spoken, instead they are referred to by the colour of their skin. The leaders were the Chiefs Brown-skin, Green-skin, Grey-skin and Blue-Skin. The first stories tell of great wars which happened in a barren wasteland. In this time the Orcs are said to have been cannibals, feeding off of their fallen foes. Although many scholars insist they they must have eaten other things in order to sustain their numbers, the histories do not give mention of this.
No one is quite sure how long the wars lasted but the histories do give the reason for the uniting of the clans. After many many generations of warfare, a Black-Skin Chief emerged from the wastes, dominated the other Orcish people and forced them to swear fealty to him. Any Orcish band that resisted was utterly destroyed by Black-skins and in time the Orcish clans were united under the fearsome rule of their brutal cousins.
Conflicts were still natural within the clans; deadly combats and feats of strength were norms of justice and arbitration. Yet the Orcs no longer waged full scale wars against each other. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this also meant they no longer had a food source. And so instead they began raiding other peoples.
The Dwarves were the closest geographically to the Orcs and so became their first enemy. The two races fought often and in brutal and bloody battles. The Orcs often raided mining camps and outposts, and on a few occasions even tried to gain access to Dwarven mountain halls. The Dwarves always had the advantage while defending but had a very difficult time retaliating. The Orcs, although not gifted with great intelligence, do have a knack for warfare tactics. The orcs are naturally nomadic people and used this to their advantage against the Dwarves, always in constant movement throughout the land. The Dwarves, who like to organize great war marches, could never keep up with an army that could run for days without tiring. Even if the Dwarves happened to stumble upon an Orcish camp, the Orcs could scatter in all directions leaving the Dwarves unable to pursue without fear of ambush. Although the Orcs were long ago pushed out of the lands adjacent to Dwarven territories by Humans, the two races still dislike each other to this day.
The Orcs are characterized by the strength and number of their enemies, not least of which were the Elves. Although the Elves were geographically closer to the Orcs than the Humans, Elves proved to be a very challenging enemy and so Humans were more often the target of Orcish raids. This isn’t to say that the Orcs and Elves never fought. On the contrary, the Orcs attempted large scale invasions against the Wood and Wild Elves on a few occasions. Orcs specifically found Elven flesh to be quite enjoyable and coveted the many jewels and crafts of the Elven people. Although the Orcs had a few successes against the Elves, they were always eventually driven back. The two races still bear a deep rooted hatred for each other.
The most frequent and still actively current enemy of the Orcs is the Humans. Although the Humans like to separate themselves from each other and create many Kingdoms, there are very few which haven’t had to deal with Orcs at some point. Most notably are Geftulbadd and Zenoi. These two nations were once one nation named Onslovannia. The people of Onslovannia warred constanly against the Orcs for the lands that are now held by Geftulbadd and Zenoi. Although not as strong as the Dwarves and not as skilled as the Elves, the Humans were more adept at the guerrilla warfare tactics used by the Orcs. Over time the Orcs were eventually pushed out of the area and forced back into the barren wastelands from whence they had come.
Over time the Black-skin Orcs disappeared. There are many theories to why. Some suggest that they interbred and eventually were bred out of existence, others say that as the Orcs lost favour with Xnaqu’y’raken he revoked the gift of black skin. There are whispers that there was a Black-skin Orc in the Golden Shields of Aethis, although most people call this idea complete folly.
Currently the largest concentration of Orcs on Aethis is in Dragh Aanug, the first permanent Orcish stronghold and country. These Orcs are lead by King Morboc Iron-Eye and wish to be recognized and respected as a nation. Their claim is not helped by the fact that the Orcs are still all considered to be one people. In other lands Orcish clans still operate like the Orcs of old, raiding other settlements, consuming the flesh of other humanoids, and taking part in archaic and barbaric rituals.