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THE WHITE ORCS OF THE NORTH
Location: Continent of Brun, Hyborean Steppes, north of the Zuyevan Empire and the Midlands. WB
Area: 6,000 sq. mi. (15,540 sq. km.)
Population: 155,000 white orcs with a number of other monsters including a particularly nasty ice demon (Kazukarzash). The white orcs are also allied with local dire wolves, which they train as hunting companions. There are perhaps 50,000 dire wolves in white orc territory. Roughly 50,000 humans live in white orc territory in a besieged river valley known as Azganizband. These Azganiz people are descendants of an offshoot of the great Yevo Antalian migration of the second millennium BC.
Languages: Orcish (Graktur dialect).
Coinage: None. Barter is the norm.
Taxes: None, presumably. Whatever the ashakturs exact in tribute from their vassals would probably count as taxation of a sort.
Government Type: There are six principal clans, each led by a war leader called an ashaktur.
Industries: Iron mining, basic crop farming, warfare and weapons production.
Important Figures: Each clan is led by an ashaktur (war chieftain). Occasionally, if the white orcs feel it necessary to band together to face a major threat, or if they just want to engage in widespread destruction and looting of human settlements, they will meet at Furkash to elect an angrashaktur (supreme war chieftain) to lead the armies.
Flora and Fauna: In the southern steppes, tall, hardy grasses predominate, which, in the short summer months, provide the white orcs with marginal croplands (primarily wheat and barley). As one progresses northwards, or towards the foothills of the Endworld Line, the plains give way to hilly country, dotted with stunted shrubs and coniferous trees. Here, blueberries and raspberries manage to grow during the brief summer. Towards the east of the white orc territories, forests begin to predominate, though these are still conifers.
In terms of animal life, this region is home to several herds of elk and deer, as well as caribou towards the north. In the eastern woodlands, the occasional moose can be found. On the open steppes, many varieties of hare, lemming, and fox make their home, as well as ptarmigans. In addition to dire wolves, larger forms of animal life include polar bears (in the far north of this region), grizzly and black bears (in the eastern forests), and lynxes. More exotic animals include white dragons in the far north, and atop the higher peaks of the Endworld Line in this region, and small herds of woolly mammoths, again in the far north.
Further Reading: None.
Description by an unknown author.
[The information contained herein was provided anonymously to the editorial staff of the almanac, contained in a battered leather scroll case. It is not known at this time whether the author of this report is still alive, or how he or she managed to obtain such detailed information. Ed.]
The lower Hyborean Steppes, which are home to the confederation of white orcs, is an inhospitable place. Snowfalls are regular for the coldest half of the year and only the most rudimentary crops can be farmed by the orcs to supplement their diet. Most of their diet is however provided by hunting-mainly of deer and elk, which are common, but also of humans from the Midlands or Zuyevo.
The white orcs have adapted to the harshness of the icy frozen wastes of the Hyborean Steppes. They live primarily in fortified tribal settlements, owing allegiance to a central clan authority. The only real permanent settlement is the partly subterranean town of Furkash (pop. 6,000) comprised mainly of White Death Clan orcs. This is the meeting place of the supreme orcish war council.
The white orcs are divided into six principal tribes:
Blizzard Clan (28,000 members): This clan is the westernmost of the clans, with their tribal territory comprising the foothills of the Endworld Chain. The Blizzard Clan members are excellent climbers and cavers and also make good slingers for the white orc armies. They possess few dire wolf cavalry, although they have trained some black and polar bears for combat.
Black Storm Clan (18,000 members): This clan is located just east of the Blizzard Clan territories and is the smallest of the six clans. It is a relatively new grouping, having broken away from the Endless Winter Clan a century ago. This clan is however one of the most powerful. It has a high proportion of orc wokani and shamans who specialise in reanimation, darkness, and ice magics.
Endless Winter Clan (25,000 members): This clan is located in the southern central part of the Hyborean Steppes. Thus, they have the most contact with the humans of the Midlands, and as a result they are an extremely warlike clan and have large contingents of heavily armoured dire wolf cavalry. They are extremely hostile to humans and will kill them on sight rather than take them prisoner.
North Wind Clan (22,000 members): This clan occupies the northern central part of the lower Hyborean Steppes. Much of the tribe lives underground to ward against the more hostile environment in this part of the steppes. They are the principal miners of the confederation, and extract considerable quantities of iron ore that they manufacture into weapons and armour to equip the white orc armies.
White Death Clan (35,000 members): This clan occupies the area directly to the east of that occupied by the Endless Winter and North Wind clans. This area is largely formed of wooded steppes and so these orcs have become expert woodsorcs and bowmen. This is the largest of all the clans-principally because of the iron discipline enforced by successive White Death ashakturs.
Ice Fist Clan (24,000 members): This clan occupies the easternmost stretches of white orc territory. They are the most decentralised of the clans, with some tribal outposts situated as far southeast as the Borean River. Raiding parties from this clan pose a considerable threat to travellers in the northeastern Midlands and northern Adri Varma Plateau areas.
There is another denizen of white orc territory that is worth mentioning, Kazukarzash as he is known to the white orcs. Kazukarzash is an extraordinarily powerful ice demon who lives in the mountains to the north of the lower Hyborean Steppes. This demon is responsible for the harsher than normal weather conditions that prevail in the white orcs' domain. The demon is possessed of great powers, with mastery over all types of weather magic, and is worshipped by the orcs as a god. They often bring tribute to the demon (although no orc has ever actually seen him), which pleases the demon considerably. He particularly likes human sacrifices.
The white orcs grew from the remnants of the great hordes of the north that chose not to accompany Wogar on his epic journey of destruction in BC 1270. Since that time, with the flourishing of human civilisations in the Yalu River valley and the Midlands, as well as human migrations from the east (particularly the Talmav and Yevo), the orcs were forced northwards. Around BC 100, however, an evil presence moved into the northern mountains of the lower Hyborean Steppes. This was the ice demon Kazukarzash. Soon the weather took a turn for the worse and this allowed the white orcs, who by now had adapted to the extreme cold of the northern Hyborean Steppes, to multiply and move southwards. In AC 175 the resurgence of their civilisation was complete when Kazukarzash engineered an extreme blizzard that lasted for a whole month. This allowed the white orcs to splinter the burgeoning Yevo civilisation that was growing north of the Tunguska Forest and destroy many other human settlements including those of the Douzbaks and Talmavs. The weather of the steppes grew increasingly inhospitable and soon all humans were driven east or south. Since that time, the white orcs have thrived on raiding human settlements in winter and mining, farming and hunting in the short summer period.
Recently, in AC 1009, the white orcs have discovered an isolated outpost of the Yevo civilisation that they had thought they had destroyed some 800 years previously. Located in a mountainous canyon region on the Borean River, the small civilisation is known as Azganizband. Comprising some 50,000 people, the Azganiz people have been put under siege for eight years now by 30,000 warriors from the Ice Fist and White Death clans. The entrance to the Azganiz River valley is along a single steep mountain pass (the Jainur Pass) that the Azganiz have heavily fortified (the cataracts on the Borean River make the river impassable). However, as each year goes by, the Azganiz lose some more of their fighting troops and slowly this unique civilisation (which dates back to BC 1150 as an offshoot of the Yevo Antalian migration from Norwold to present day Zuyevo) is being bled to death. The Azganiz have tried on numerous occasions to send riders for help to the Midlands but without any success, the white orcs always seem to capture them and return their heads on pikes to line the white orc-held section of Jainur Pass.