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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Occupations. Volkek-Oshra orcs in general can have the following professions:
This is the usual occupation chosen by a Volkek-Oshra, though some go beyond. Male/Female.
A step beyond Mage, these are the more powerful and scholarly of the Volkek-Oshra. Male/Female.
The rare status achieved by very few, an Archmage of Ximax. Male/Female.
The rare few who show proficiency with weapons but can also work rudimentary magic. They carry magically imbued swords and are the personal guard of the head of the Red Tower. Male only.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Picture description. A Volkek-Oshra Fire Mage. Pic drawn by Isilhir.
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,
are common, mages are rare and distrusted by most other
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
mages and brought them into their secret
society. The fact that the majority of the
mages were being persecuted by
made them more ready to join.
Information provided by Tarquet Galbar