The Kingdom of the Orcal,
where "Orcal" represents the title of the
Orcristh Godking, is also often referred to simply as the "Kingdom of
Orcal". It is a highly advanced orcish kingdom,
located at the southwestern corner of the Nybelmarian
continent, in the great canyon of the fertile Uiyujappa River. Inhabited by
the Orcristh orcs, the kingdom has
developed to a highly sophisticated society with the "Orcal" as the absolute
ruler of the lands. More legend than fact to the
human nations in the east of Nybelmar the "black
Orcs" are said to possess the power to burn the whole world. If that's true is
open to debate, nevertheless it must be considered the major power in the west
that lasted for eons.
Description. Orcal is located at the southwestern part of the Nybelmarian continent. All the power is concentrated on the Orcal, the Godking of the realm who is seen as the living image of the Gods as well as the soul of the lands. His wellbeing and doing determines the fate of the kingdom and thus floods, droughts and illness are associated with the actions of the Orcal, in this fertile corner of Nybelmar that is completely surrounded by desert.
The canyons alongside the Uiyujappa river are valleys of extremely fertile ground encased by high rock formations and the dealy desert beyond. In this desolate place the Orcal Kingdom has flourished only because of this fortunate specialty of the lands. The river is the life vein of the kingdom that gives all its inhabitants food and water. That's why the river is a central part of society, e.g. the calendar of the Orcristh consists of the Time of Renewal (the time of the flood that comes each year), the Time of First, Second and Third Harvest and the Time of Fire (the time in summer when the river remains the only water source and in hot seasons dwindles to a small stream). Having such importance every Orcristh's town has his own local river god in order to pray for enough water to survive the year.
Location. The Kingdom of Orcal lies in the great canyon alongside the Uiyujappa River. There are no formal borders, but mainly “spheres of influence”. The Orcal Kingdom is surpringly peaceful at times, yet, they keep strict control of what they see as their sphere of influence, and they deem it their right to plunder and loot within these lands to their liking.
Especially the Doimo, a tribe of bushmen located east, in the desert of Naezshan Zhunith suffer from constant Orcristh attacks who often hunt them for sports as they see them as vermin occupying their land. There was no great conflict until 1431 a.S., when a hunting party of priests were ambushed and killed by the Doimo. Since then, the regular plundering of the Doimo became more brutal and fervent. The Orcristh soon resumed more urgent matters, but the Doimo are still quite wary of the "black demons" west of them. To the north of Orcal is the desert of Naezshan Kaerath, which is nothing but a burned wasteland. To the southwest is a mountain ridge that serves as an informal border between Orcal and the Krathians.
Coat of Arms/Sign.
The symbol of Orcal is that of 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 loyality
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 in the way of the symbol making up for a vast
variety in shield forms.
People. The Orcristh, the orcish inhabitants of Orcal, mostly live in houses made of bricks and clad by straw. The bricks are created by mixing clay and the straw from the grain harvest, and then drying them in the sun. The sun turns the initially brown coloured clay into a strong red. Often the houses are painted white to better protect the inhabitants against the heat of the burning sun. Most of the towns and houses are built at the southern hillside of the cliffs to be in the cooling shadow of the rocks while at the northern hillside only poorer Orcristh and shepherd huts can be found. The cities are built in several levels against the canyon walls, some of the bigger ones even reaching up to the clifftops where they're crowned by fortress-like structures that encase a fire shrine. Other towns are sometimes built into the vast caves of the grand canyons, forming magnificent shelter in times of war. The only buildings not made with bricks and straw are the temples and in the same sense the Godking's palaces, as they are built with other materials that often have to be transported for miles over miles down the river. This is mainly sandstone for the facade, but for portals and the interior black or red marble as well as black obsidian is favoured contrasting sharply to the earthern colours of the brick houses and sandstone outside. Together with gold the marble is often inlaid into mosaics despicting flameencircled myths and prophecies about the gods.
While generally rather peaceful for orcs the Orcristh are nevertheless known for being fierce desert warriors, defending their interests in western Nybelmar with cunning and aggressiveness. While this strange enough mostly happens on a diplomatic stage esspecially droughts and floods often caused military campaigns by the Orcristh to make up for the supply shortages arising from these incidents. The control over the oases of the deserts is heavily contested not only by human and orcish traders and noblemen but also between orcish noblemen as well which often lead to small, private wars for a small patch of vegetation in an ocean of sand.
Government. The kingdom of Orcal has a strict cast system and a well-established government at whose top the Godking, the Orcal, rules undisputed over lands and people. The topmost cast is the family of the Orcal - the Godking even ranging far beyond them, followed by the priesthood who take care of many administrative offices as well as religious and cultic business. Ruling the land and following the gods is seen as a necessity among the Orcristh for the lands to thrive. Below the priests rank the nobility. these are usually people of the upper class measured in land area and cattle numbers and rule either a town's district or a village as representative of the Orcal. Below them one finds the craftsmen and free farmers who own a shop or work on their own fields.The lowest cast consists of labourers and slaves where little difference is made between the two, only the labourer gets paid for working on someone's fields while the slave gets nothing and the labourer is protected by the law of the Godking whereas the slaves can be punished and even killed by their owners.
These casts are followed strictly, mostly by exact codes how a lesser cast has to behave to a higher one. It is difficult to rise from one cast to another, it are only the priests and the Orcal himself who hold the privilege to elevate someone into higher rank and responsibility.
The Orcal government system is hierarchical organized. The king has superior power in the kingdom, rules the lands and distributes the various districts to the nobles. He is also the highest priest in the kingdom and thus the absolute ruler of the priesthood. The nobles act as representatives of the Godking and act at his behalf in judical and executive matters as well as leaders of war. Each noble controls one legal district in which he is to impose the Godking's will, assist the priests and do everything to ensure the wellbeing of his subjects as well as the peace. The priests serve as advisors of the Godking and care for many administrative duties concerning economy - this means mostly collecting the taxes, calculating the harvest, organizing that enough food is stored in the corn chambers to live over one year till the next harvest etc.
To keep control of this vast amount of officals the Godking has middlemen in the bigger cities, these are appointed local nobles and priests that keep control over the nobles and priests in the town. They're called the "Chama".
Above them are the provincial leaders, usually the "Chama" of the biggest settlement in the province, the "Thical". These report directly to the Orcal. The Godking keeps control over the provincal leaders through a network of couriers and spies, the "Hamech". These officals are either priests or noblemen and it is not unusual for the Orcal to investigate secret affairs by sending a "Hamech" to only speak to the counterpart of his hierarchy, either the priest or the nobleman.
The priesthood collects the taxes and delivers them to the "Chama" who can spend a certain amount on local projects and pay the rest as tribute to their "Thical". The "Thical" spends much of this tribute to maintain a predetermined amount of warriors and war equipment and delivers as well the rest as tribute to the Godking.
The priesthood of Orcal serves as the high court, if the noble is incapable to resolve a dispute. The pleading before the high court is like a plead to the gods to find a solution. The decision of the priesthood is absolute. Only a direct intervention by the Orcal can lift it. Also it is the priesthood who carries out execution for capital crimes which are: high treason, murder, heresy, polution of wells and arson. The later two being persecuted without mercy in a land with no rain and only limited water supplied for a big population.
Climate. As Orcal is a desert kingdom it rains only once or twice in a lifetime. The only source for water is the great Uiyujappa River. The river flows over its banks each year, leaving a highly nutritious mud on the surrounding soil. This mud is used for growing crops, which - along with fish and sheep - is the main food source of Orcal. However, as even the desert can be made fertile, and as the cliffs of the great canyons give shadow, 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 to harvest crops three times a year.
Flora. Because of the dry climate the Orcristh mostly grow a subform of the rizjo plant in artifically irrigated fields. This plant is less nutritious than the rizjo plant in the more fertile regions of the human kingdoms but is still the main ingredient for many meals.
Another special plant is a tree from whose resin a drug can be won with healing and relaxing abilities and which is often used in temples for meditation and celebrations.
Fauna. Even outnumbering the Orcristh in their valley are their cattle and sheep herds supplementing their vegetarial meals with for orcs much needed meat.
The river itsself is inhabited by fish and some cunning predators hiding in the slick. But further information is unknown.
Resources. The riverbanks are rich with clay, used for building purposes, as well as for making pottery and the upper Uiyujappa river has deposits of sandstone and obsidian also mined for building purposes. Various metals are gained from the nearby mountains or through trade, among others copper, as well as gold and small silver supplies. Copper and gold is available in plenty amounts and is used for everything from tools to jewellry, while silver is so rare that it is only used as currency for state affairs. In the mountains one can also find marble of different colours and types that is used for temples and palaces. Also obsidian is mined in deep tunnels within the rocks.
There is no regular coinage system in Orcal. Thus, one’s wealth is determined by the amounts of cattle one possesses. However, silver and gemstones are highly valued and has to be deposited in the treasury of the temples. In exchange one gets an obsidian plaque with a certain symbol inscribed on it standing for a certain value of silver. These plaques are sometimes used as substitute currency.
The Orcristh are actually an export nation and while most goods reach eastern Nybelmar only through dwarven and human mediators their tradenetwork extends far to the east and north with oases controlled by them to impose taxes and tolls on anyone using their tradelanes. Though in Eastern Nybelmar hardly anyone recognizes the influence the Orcristh have on Zhunite trade a good amount of goods reach the Korweynite and Santerran shores.
Religion/Beliefs. According to the Orcal myth of creation, the gods Gocal and Mor created the world from nothing. Mor was the world and Gocal the Fire and the Desert. And under Mor the world flourished and he created many different things, among them the Orcristh and Gocal came everyday and burnt the lands so Mor's creation would not suffocate under its own weight. This had happened many times but when the Orcristh were born Gocal saw Mor's creation and saw she'd created beings of great perfection and so he spared them. Blessed by Gocal Mor created a fertile valley cornered by high walls as their new home to protect them against Gocal's Fire when he once again burnt the Earth. And thus the Orcristh were created, touched by the God of Fire and they worshipped him as they understood that new life can only be born from death. And so the dead are burnt so new life may come from their ashes. This relates to the Orcristh tradition to burn the dead and drop the ash into the river.
The Orcal population is highly religious, believing in the gods Gocal and Mor. The priesthood enjoys great respect among the population but above all stands the Orcal. The Godking is seen as a son of Gocal and Mor himself, descending in direct line from Gocal and Mor to rule over the Orcristh. He stands for the unity of the kingdom and his decisions and orders are of divine origin.
Aside from the Gods Gocal and Mor, the orcs worship also number of other, local deities, often resembling the daily needs in the local town. Most of these “deities” are related with the Uiyujappa River, as it is the source of life in Orcal, as well as "trivial" matters such as love, luck, etc.
Information provided by Koldar Mondrakken