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Preface: History of the Orcs "Betrayed! Betrayed and abandoned because we foresaw the doom? Betrayed though we suffered the most at the hands of Iblees... This... They would turn and run in the face of our adversity? Cowards. We will bring it to them. Yes, we will show them our suffering!" - Agzal the Titan The fires crackled around Krug’s ivory throne as he sat there slouched, his hair black as the sky above and his form bulky and strong, a stark contrast to the man before him. “Your Brothers have all accepted my gift.” He said with a visage of confusion, addressing Krug. The man had a kind face, and nothing about his person seemed threatening, yet Krug looked upon him with a sense of caution, apparent through his slow gaze. The man opened out his arms in question. “Why do you turn me down?” He asked with a raised tone. The formidable Father of Orc kind let out a slow sigh, sitting himself up within his chair. “I have never trusted you.” He said, his tone deep and rumbling. “Power does not come without a cost.” He added, before rising to his feet, his focus more energised as he looked down upon the man with scorn. “You would not want wealth or power, more than you could ever dream?” He snarled, his aura suddenly changing as he bore his teeth in anger. “I offer you the world, and you think yourself above your brothers?” He added, yelling with fervent anger. And so did the man reveal his true form, for he was in fact Iblees, that great and terrible Daemon that had fallen to the Mortal Realm. He roared in frustration as fangs and horns grew from his head, a swathe of emerald fire swirling around his form as his wings of devastation sprung forth. Without a moment to think, Krug launched into action. Unarmed and unprepared, he barged into the Daemon, his skin scorching and bubbling under the corrupted flames as he knocked Iblees off his feet for the last time. Chapter 1 - The Birth of Spirits During the War, decimation had swept through the lands of Krug, and as he fought, he lost many loved ones, only to see them brought back from death to fight alongside his enemy. Meanwhile, the Daemon, Apohet looked at the ongoing fight between Iblees and Krug, marveling at how the creature could hold his own against the powerful Daemon. He envied the power that had been shown in the descendant, and turned away. He went into a small area of the Seven Skies, hoping to keep his machinations away from the prying eyes of others. There, he poured a large amount of his divinely-granted power into one creation: what would later be called the Spirit Realm. It was quite separate from anything else; Apohet had made sure of that, not even being subject to time, as the Creator's world was. However, it was devoid of inhabitants, and he soon grew bored of manipulating a world that would never be seen. And so, he resumed his work. Apohet smiled as his second marvel awoke, or marvels. Again, his handiwork was slightly crude in appearance compared to the Creator's, but they were conscious. They were partners, intertwined in almost every aspect of each of them. Spirits, he called them, one able to manipulate space to an extent, the other having limited control of the temporal. Their appearances were both serpentine, space blue, and time red. Together, they birthed several children, each also able to control a certain aspect of the world, many coming in contrasting pairs, others more independent. The second generation was birthed from the less powerful elementals, and so they themselves were less powerful, finding that they were only able to control much more minor parts of the world, such as specific biomes, or things such as emotions or concepts. Feeling that these other creatures were somewhat unworthy to associate with them, the first generation beseeched Apohet, asking that they be allowed to separate. Apohet eventually agreed, and so created two separate planes, one for the first generation, and another for the second. Apohet almost cheered in glee as his world was slowly filled with his own denizens. But they too soon grew bored of the world's relative blankness, and Apohet had grown bored of watching them do very little. And so, he did something rather risky, and he made a small connection between his realm and the world, so that his creations could play. And play they did, using their power to make slight alterations to the world, all that their power allowed them. But soon, that risk had some repercussions. The dead that had perished in the battle against Iblees were flooding into the spirit realm. Apohet knew that the Creator would be perturbed, at the very least, at this development, and so he made sure that all dead passed through, so hastily that they barely even noticed where they were. He made sure this happened for the rest of time, and even now Apohet makes sure that the dead pass swiftly through his realm, to their respective afterlives. Chapter 2 - Transformation He who had not been swayed watched as Iblees roared for the last time, before the Daemon was banished to the Void for eternity. Krug stood burnt and bloodied, his skin seared beyond recognition, for the corruption of the Daemon had wrought a terrible transformation upon his form. The influence of Iblees had caused him to grow enormous tusks, altering the way in which he and his people would speak for thousands of years to come, and his skin cried in constant agony, corrupted to a hue of dark green. “And you Krug, the most hated of The Descendants, you shall always have the lust of war. You are strong? Well the strength shall be used against your brothers, used to pillage and murder! Your lust for battle shall be unsatiated and your descendants shall grow ugly and heartless.” - Iblees Although the fighting had ended, Krug’s heavy breathing continued as he looked around to his brothers. He saw not friends whom he had fought with, but targets through which to vent the deep rage that coursed through his veins, for not even the blessing of Honour was enough to quell his fury. His eyes glazed over in crimson as his voice shook the land, and his muscles pulsated with a newfound energy as he grasped his axe with intent. His Brothers watched in disbelief and fear as he began to slaughter those nearby, and in him they saw not their Brother, nor any deviation from the Daemon they had just fought. In acknowledging his overwhelming strength, they evacuated the scarred land with haste, abandoning Krug and his people to the torrent of bloodshed that was soon to come. Chapter 3 - Pilgrimage Many a year had passed since the curse of Iblees sunk into the heart’s of Krug and his people, and after genocide upon genocide felled the Orc population, their bloodlust began to satiate. Finally, and with an iron fist, Krug had subjugated all who had opposed him, and once again claimed the title of Rex of all Orcish people. Yet the looming return of bloodlust ate at the minds of the Orcs as they attempted to live their daily lives. As a result, the Orcish people adapted a strong work ethic in order to vent their energies and distract themselves, and a period of wondrous progression swept through the lands of Mor’Ghuun. Many wondrous designs were set around the world, such as the Gatzug, the enormous Arena of Champions, and the vast forests of the West were cultivated into the ultimate hunting grounds, Duulgador. As the Orcs built and fought for progression of their people, Krug fought an inner-turmoil that urged him to take action. One day, he gave in, standing suddenly from his throne and wandering off into the wilderness, alone. The thought that he had been unable to kill Iblees pestered him endlessly. He felt he had allowed this curse to burn within his people. He felt responsible; Ashamed, even. He was determined to find a solution, scouring Mor’Ghuun for many years in search of respite. Chapter 4 - A Voice Beckons Krug gritted his teeth in irritation as he arrived at the coast. He looked out to the ebb and flow of the ocean, and foresaw only tides of blood, the endless push and pull of the bloodlust that would trouble his people until the end of days. He roared with an awesome fury, the rage of his nation flowing through his voice. It swathed across the land, rumbling like an earthquake upon the dusty plains that surrounded him. The world fell silent, save for the crashing of the waves. Until suddenly, a voice spoke out within Krug’s mind. It was the Spiritual Element of Air, who had taken notice of Krugs profound bellowing. Apohet took note too, yet decided not to interfere on the interaction, watching with profound intrigue. Krug spoke out to the voice, challenging it out of caution and curiosity. In this moment, however unwittingly, he had connected with the realm of the Spirits, and fell unconscious. Soon he awoke, within a realm of clouds and sky, and before him, the Spirit of Air presented itself. They spoke for a time, and Krug developed a fondness for the Spirit, for the wisdom and power it came to represent. Krug’s intuition was strong, after all, it had revealed Iblees himself. He trusted in it even now to determine friend from foe, and acknowledged the Spirit. The Spirit itself was enamoured by Krug, and the concept of assisting him, and from this interaction was birthed the first pact between Mortal and Spirit. Apohet watched in astonishment as the Spirit conjured an impressive sandstorm for Krug on Mor’Ghuun, yet remained ever silent in observation. The Daemon wondered still where the power of this being ended, if he could not only contact his realm, but also utilise his children. And from this cooperation, Shamanism was born. Chapter 5 - The Cycle Meanwhile, decades had passed since Krug took on the tutelage of the Spirits. Without a guiding figure within Mor’Ghuun, the Orcs quickly degenerated once again into civil warfare. Many a mixed view was shared among the Orcish populace, and indeed the inevitability of conflict arose from these squabbles. Many of the direct children of Krug, those with the most inherent power, stood to represent their own ideologies and desires for the Orcish people, and followers began to flock to each of them as they watched in marvel of their confidence and sheer power. These children were named and identified by their talents and demeanor: Agzal the Titan, famed for sharing his Father’s strength. He came to birth a nation of complete Warfare, those who would raid and steal their food and material needs, believing that those of supreme strength were deserving of the world. They chose to succumb to their curse, and embraced it as a strengthening process. Dlimbok the Wise, famed for his insight in matters of internal conflict, of which a countless number arose. He in many ways came to mimic his Father at the time, splitting from the others in an attempt to find some semblance of peace from the Warfare. Saranak the Silent, famed for her unparalleled ability to hunt and overpower the enormous creatures that threatened the livelihood of all Orcs. Her’s was a nation of monster hunters, those who could assist smaller settlements and ultimately believed the great beasts of Mor’Ghuun were there for them to vent their blood rage. Balzug the Brave, an explorer with a vast nomadic tribe, who explored the lands to occupy their minds, believing that settling in one place would bring forth their bloodlust as they stirred in inactivity. After many years of internal conflict, the siblings broke off from one another, scattering from their original homes and settling across the land, accompanied by their respective followers. They came to establish formidable nations along Mor’Ghuun, having failed to co-operate as one united people. It would seem that the Bloodlust that ravaged their minds had once again destroyed their bonds. At best these nations would trade among one another and employ their services, but often times this semblance of peace was disturbed by the continuous force that ate at their state of mind. The Nations of Mor'Ghuun These Empires established great names, and came to represent each their own core values: The Empire of Zetzug, lead by Agzal, would come to be feared as the strongest nation of all, famed for their aptitude for combat; even among Orcs. Their pursuit for power was so great that they began to selectively breed the strongest of their people. However, this came at a severe cost. For when a creature must grow to such tremendous power, their energy becomes lacking elsewhere. From these Orcs were born the Ologs, those of challenged intellect, yet unrivaled ferocity. The Empire of Balgrak, lead by Dlimbok, would be renowned for their studious nature, and would construct a citadel of such architectural complexity and beauty that it would rival even the Dwarven people. These Orcs grew slightly weaker in their disinterest for combat, challenging one another intellectually, which nevertheless resulted in broken limbs. The Goorzag, Lands of Unending Hunt, lead by Saranak, would be famed for their hunting prowess and ability to cultivate the land and form impressive forests for hunting. They later became exceptional breeders, and formed an impressive trade company that was free to roam the lands, dealing in rare furs and exotic beasts of might and terror. The Tribe of Keztag, lead by Balzug, would discover much in their travels, developing impressive immunities, as well as medicines and narcotic arts. Additionally, they came to uncover many relics that would later alter their lives forever. Krug's Return Yet as the Empires continued to fight among themselves, a figure emerged at each gate, hulking and monstrous in form. It was the first and greatest Shaman, Krug. In each city he rose his staff into the air, and declared his iron grip once again on his people as an enormous wind swept through each city, and all bore witness, reminded of his unquestionable strength. He, the most powerful mortal in all the realms had grown to an unprecedented stature, and all were helpless to look on in awe, respect and servitude. His children would quibble in silence, but were smart enough to understand their inferiority. Still, his physical strength alone was too mighty to conquer, and so, with an iron rule, the first Rex of the united Empires instructed them all to make waves of war ships in preparation for their vengeance. The many Empires would soon assemble their own fleets, and would meet along the shore with Krug himself, who had promised them a sight to behold. And before long he delivered on his promise, for as the Empires boarded their vessels, an enormous wind swept in and forced the ships forward, onward to the lands of Men at rapid speed. Chapter 6 - The Death of Horen An enormous fleet arrived at the shores of the Human isles, heralding doom for all that would witness their arrival. Krug would be the first to step foot on the land, the fleets arriving too quickly for Horen to prepare his vast armies for defence. And so, the united Orc Empires swept through the land, razing entire villages and slaughtering the armies that had scrambled to defend their homes. Until at last they arrived on the lush fields around the city Horen called home. It stood tall and proud, blanketed on all sides by swathes of men adorned in armour, an amalgamation of soldiers and weaponry on standby for the War that would end the Orcish conquest, one way or another. Suddenly, Krug threw his arms into the air. As his eyes rolled to the back of his head, chanting of Old Speech began to escape from his tusken mouth as looming clouds of ashen colour began to blanket the sky, enveloping the city in total darkness. The sun had been blotted from the sky, and nowt remained to pierce the darkness but the hundreds of glimmering torches that adorned the city. Yet soon, a wailing sound began to pervade the ears of all present as the armies fell into silence, observing the terrifying display. A wind began to sweep through the land, and soon the lights that adorned the city were put to rest, signifying the hope in the hearts of all men, that had diminished in the face of such adversity. And the wind continued to wail within the sky, forming into an enormous hurricane of chilled, cutting wind. Both Orc and Men alike watched in total astonishment as it continued to grow, and the creator of this awesome display continued to chant, his tone fueled by the seething hatred at his core. Krug threw down his hands, pointing them to the city as his focus came back to the Mortal realm. With this gesture, the swirling winds crashed into the city, stirring up an amalgamation of men, buildings and earth. The rubble would stain with the blood of a thousand soldiers as the hurricane continued to swirl, turning a crimson red under the ashen sky. Within mere moments the city has been reduced to dust and stone, and a tremendous amount of casualties had suffered at the hands of that single Mortal known as Krug. The Orcs roared with delight as the dark sky began to break, allowing light to once again shine on the fields, exposing the destruction that had been wrought upon the land by their Rex. In their bloodlust they rushed forth into the city as a wave of iron, killing any that were left within the rubble; as far and few between as they were. Yet as the winds dispersed and the clouds opened up the heavens fully, the Palace was revealed within the rubble, stalwart and defiant as ever. Krug trudged forth with axe in hand, the same weapon he had used to strike against Iblees in his final moments. He stood at the entrance of the palace, looking toward his distraught brother, who looked onward in a steady terror. Krug let out a mild chuckle of astonishment, noting the fortitude of Horen to stand despite the destruction all around him. It was the will of his soul and his children's that had impressed Krug all those decades ago, and was the reason he loved Horen above all of his other brothers. Yet as Krug continued to look onward to Horen, his memories of the past quickly took him to the moment Horen had abandoned him in his fury, and soon that same feeling began to encapsulate his mind. He threw up his arm, and a gust of wind propelled Horen into the air, holding him against the wall as Krug marched forth, his heavy breathing much as it was on the day of his curse. He stood face to face before Horen, raising him on the wall so that he could match his own great height. Horen's eyes explored Krug's own as he writhed in discomfort, yet in him he saw not the warm gaze he had once witnessed. “Y-you are not the man I once knew… brother.” He said, assessing the deep scars that ran along the burnt and corrupted flesh of the Orc, now more reminiscent of the Demon they had once fought together against, than the man he had once loved as his own kin. “No, I was abandoned.” Krug responded, a pain unlike anything he had ever felt eating at his core as he used the power of the Spirits to bring Horen back to the floor, standing amidst the rubble beneath the hulking Shaman. “You will die as lonely as you left me.” He added finally, gritting his teeth as the Spirit of the Wind drew all air from Horen’s lungs, causing him to collapse on the floor as he struggled to breath. Krug watched in silence as the fear of death finally broke Horen’s will, his hands clasping at his throat as he attempted desperately to breathe. Yet as he squirmed, he brought sooner the end of his life, and within moments he fell to the floor, his body lifeless. Without hesitation Krug turned from the scene, leaving his brother dead on the ground as he turned to his people. The War had ended, and he instructed that no more Men be killed. They would be given the chance to recover, to enhance their strength. For despite having been betrayed, Krug continued to admire their unwavering Spirit. In them he saw his own people, and in them he left a rage that would fuel their people’s progression, just as they had done to him. Apohet cackled from within the confines of his realm. The city was destroyed by his creation’s power, and he found himself smiling. Impressed deeply by Krug, he made a decision, a rather brash one. Seeing that the descendants could indeed do great acts of Spirituality and Honour, he looked back to the passageway of the afterlife, and for the last time, tampered with his realm. He created what some would describe as a filter; allowing those with souls of Honour, Spirituality and Virtue to enter his realm. Knowing that his other creations may soon grow angry at the intrusion of mortal souls, he made the plane they went to entirely separate from the ones inhabited by the others. Chapter 7 - The Nation of Krugmar And so did the Orcs, the united Empires under Krug, return to the lands of Mor’Ghuun, where they would continue to battle with their bloodlust, and where they would work tirelessly to understand the realms of the Spirits. Krug has passed on his knowledge to his children, so that they would always have a guide in life, even with his own passing. Yet the wisdom of the Spirits was not enough to quell their unwavering frustration, and soon they began to prepare, for there were others who had betrayed them, and they too would suffer the fate of Horen and his people. All Empires were instructed to bring together their greatest Soldiers, Shamans, Hunters and Explorers, who would come to create a vast fleet of their own, tasked with the quest to traverse the lands around them, both in search of progression and also the domains of Dwarf and Elf alike. This array of Orcs would later come to refer to themselves as the Nation of Krugmar, and would face many a challenge in their pursuit of progress and destruction, a cycle they too would suffer, for such was the curse of Iblees. Yet as the fleets sailed over the horizon, a celestial object of tenebrous aura crashed into the West of the lands, stirring the forests of Saranak.