Baltarok is one of the oldest civilized countries in Olegaia, though. just what consitutes civilized is up for debate. It is the ancestral home of the greenskins, a multitude of races all encompassed under the same, sometimes derogatory term. It is a barren wasteland, with few natural resources, and the fight for both them and for land has shaped a history filled with bloodshed for orcs and their kin. Squabbling tribes and clans used to roam Baltarok freely, but were united briefly for the Orcish Invasion . When the invasion failed, four main clans came into power, forming, for once, a government of sorts of the orcs.
For as long as history's been recorded, orcish tribes ruled Baltarok. They had adapted to violence; enslavement by the humans of the High Kingdoms was common, and without any resources for them to exploit, raiding and plundering was the only way for anyone to survive any length of time in Baltarok. The oldest city, Vim-Lhzar, used to have a significant shipyard and a large port, playing host to the nord vikings of Värtland for a long while. They and the orcs of Vim-Lhzar, the tribe calling themselves Clan Irlaz , would often sail out into the Helvetian Sea, pillaging ships, or delve into Baltarok itself, destroying entire tribes with their combined might. Clan Irlaz was and is recognized as one of the largest and oldest clans in Baltarok. No matter how many times Vim-Lhzar was plundered or attacked by disgruntled rivals, it would be rebuilt time and time again.
Main Article: Orcish Invasion
Nearly three hundred years ago, one of many orcish slaves was born in a small village near the edge of the High Kingdoms. Decades passed as he toiled among his kin for the human masters he had been born to serve. When he looked around him, however, he did not see fellow slaves. He saw sleeping warriors. The orc attempted to rally his kin, but was discovered, and made an example in front of the entire village. He did not falter and did not flinch, despite the long hours he was tormented. The rest of the slaves saw unmoving strength in him. With him as their symbol, they banded together, freeing him, killing nearly everyone in the village, and fleeing to Baltarok. He maintained that his strength was only made manifest by the will of Tarok , and so his fellows named him Tarokai, the son of their patron god.Tarokai lead his people all the way into Baltarok. The clans and tribes stopped their warring when they saw these tortured former slaves on their journey across the homeland they'd never seen. When they shared the tales of their imprisonment, all of Baltarok became united in their ferocity. Tarokai saw the trapped madness in the tribes, learned of the centuries of pointless war that had brought them to the point of being animals. If they were to reclaim their glory, they had to break free of their prison, take back their enslaved kin, earn their place in the world. He rallied many clan leaders in the building known as the Taaln in the city of Imaestym. Only Clan Musalnav, who ruled Imaestym, decided to remain behind. The rest he led into the High Kingdoms, and to war.
The attack was swift and completely unanticipated. Tarokai and his army tore through the High Kingdoms without mercy, cutting a bloody swath through the countryside, freeing their kin and inflicting vengeance a thousandfold on entire kingdoms. Many that were destroyed never recovered. One was Ennon, the largest and greatest of the High Kingdoms. What transpired there was never entirely clear. What is known is that the orcish army annihilated Ennon, freed countless slaves, and Tarokai killed King Augustus on the shores of the river dividing the two lands when he marched to defend the Kingdoms.
After the assassination of Tarokai by the six people to be later known as the original Veterans of Heroica, the orcish army was scattered, fleeing back to Baltarok in droves. The surviving High Kingdoms took notice of the vulnerable state of the orcs, slaughtering thousands during their retreat, taking hundreds more prisoner. By the time the survivors reached Baltarok, the orcs were in an even worse state than before. Only Clan Musalnav was mostly intact, having not taken place in the invasion. Tarokai's eldest son, Tar-Valstyr, rallied a militia in Imaestym to push back the High Kingdom soldiers that he rightly expected to try and wipe out Baltarok. Retribution reached even farther, however, and a small High Kingdoms navy swept in, sacking Vim-Lhzar and burning the shipyards to the ground. Clan Musalnav quickly secured its border, as did Clan Irlaz. The fragile peace gave way to a period of rapid reconstruction.
Many orcs that sought to serve Baltarok with their lives even after the invasion went to help Tar-Valstyr rebuild. They later formed the group to be known as Clan Tarokin. In the south, where losses were the heaviest, the scattered tribes divided into two. Some fled to the southwest, took up the old ways once again, and are today known as the Broken Tribes. The others banded together to form Clan Aj-Kahr. These four clans, over the next hundred years, consolidated their power, pushing smaller, unruly tribes into the southwest with the others. Even after the invasion failed, it gave the orcs a symbol to rally around. Tarokai became a martyr, a hero. And his influence would continue to hold Baltarok together, until roughly two and a half centuries after the invasion.
The Four ClansEdit
After the failed invasion, four major clans came into power. Several times a hero, Imaestym's Taaln plays host to the Clanmeet. The clan chiefs and their closest allies come to discuss any ongoing issues and ensure Baltarok runs smoothly. Each clan technically has equal power, but each one often has more power than others in certain fields.
Clan Musalnav is the second oldest clan. It was relatively small and recent during the time of Tarokai, but its capital, Imaestym, was the closest city to the Navaosh, the river forming the natural border between Baltarok and the High Kingdoms. Thus, it was where Tarokai rallied the orcish clans and planned the invasion. Clan Musalnav itself, however, elected not to particpate, remaining behind in Baltarok rather than help invade. This led to Musalnav being the largest clan after the extreme losses the others incurred following the defeat of Tarokai and the retreat back to Baltarok, and was one of the most significant forces behind stablizing Baltarok after the war.
Today, Clan Musalnav continues to push diplomacy and culture over vengeance and war. Its leaders maintain that peace should be the way forward for Baltarok. The most recent clan chief, Karstaal, has also made a push to embrace human culture and art, attempting to kickstart a new era of culture for Baltarok. This has made him relatively unpopular with the other clans, but within Musalnav he is regarded as an excellent leader and diplomat. Imaestym was recently pillaged once more, but Karstaal has sworn that its second reconstruction will be an ambitious, and ultimately rewarding endeavor, even as he leads the negotiations with the High Kingdoms in bringing as many orcish slaves back to Baltarok as possible.
Karstaal (Clan chief)
Olmstyr (Military advisor)
Jaret (Crimson Crown ambassador)
Bastala (Magical advisor, former clan chief of Irlaz)
Clan Irlaz is the oldest of the four clans, and was always succesful, but quickly adapted to Baltarok changing around it. It abandoned its raiding and pillaging ways to become a center for trade in the country, maintaining the only port in the ancient capital of Vim-Lhzar, but lacking any real ships of its own. It is a clan steeped in history and tradition, but is open to both change and outsiders - at least, moreso than the other clans. It once hosted a large number of nord vikings, but they quickly and violently lost touch after the invasion. Irlaz is famed for its aepyornis cavalry, and Vim-Lhzar for its miniscule, but measurable human population.
Clan Irlaz has had its fair share of political scandals as of late. Its current leader, Grishnod, is a stalwart defender of tradition. His daughter, Bastala, however, is scrutinized closely, suspected as being only half-orc and possessing significant magical ability for one of the race. Around the time of the recent debacle surrounding the Augustus Bridge, Grishnod lost power briefly. Bastala took control for a matter of months, causing significant damage to Irlaz's reputation, but Grishnod was later restored and now works to reestablish his dominance. Bastala left the clan, and now serves Musalnav.
Grishnod (Clan chief)
Garohn Ironshin (Chief's bodyguard)
Clan Aj-Kahr once existed as a single, bloodthirsty warband whose name struck fear into their enemies - but following the invasion, the tribe was a shell of what it was, suffering an enormous number of casualties. Its numbers depleted, it absorbed other, similarly broken clans. It borders Goblonia, and has a higher number of goblins and hobgoblins than all the other clans combined, especially in the capital, Un-Nal-Gov. Aj-Kahr's existence has been harsh and difficult, the warriors that once brought it glory rendered useless in the era of reconstruction that followed the Orcish Invasion.
Its former leader, Marga Pointed-Crown, restored the almost fanatical worship of Tarok, and religion helped unite to struggling, disparate people of Aj-Kahr. Her obsessive adherence to ancient traditions, however, cost her dearly: when a group of heroes skirmished with her best forces in a test of faith and loyalty, they refused to execute the army's leader, General Gor the Fevered. Enraged at this insult to tradition, Marga denied the heroes her support in uniting the Four Clans to deal with the Augustus Bridge. General Gor, however, having seen the error of his ways, swore his support in her place. This led to a schism between the followers of Tarok and the military of Clan Aj-Kahr: Gor ultimately proved victorious in a surprisingly rather bloodless coup, taking command of and coordinating with the other clans to get Aj-Kahr back on its feet.
Marga took her most loyal devotees and went into exile in the territory of the Broken Tribes, and has not been heard from since.
Gor the Repentant (Clan chief, former general)
Clan Tarokin is the heart, soul, and fist of the orcish people, according to most of Baltarok's inhabitants, although it is also the youngest. Following the extinction of countless tribes after the Invasion, many orcs were left without a place in their homeland. The clan and its capital, Tarahg, were founded by Tar-Valstyr, the eldest son of Orc King Tarokai, who inspired a zeal in his people worthy of his father, repelling retaliatory attacks by the High Kingdoms and helping to restore his fallen country. All orcs realize the important of Tarokai's line, and it is this line that rules Clan Tarokin, the voice of Baltarok.
When Imaestym was attacked by the High Kingdoms, Clan Tarokin was the first to respond, and respond they did. Not a single survivor escaped the ruins of the city, and within hours after this accomplishment, its leader, Tarvalk, thanks to the efforts of several heroes of Heroica, was able to unite the armies of all Four Clans, and with Clan Tarokin at its head, they marched to war over the Augustus Bridge. The intervention of Heroica, however, prevented what could've been a massacre-turned-invasion, and with Baltarok now more receptive to the politics of the world, Clan Tarokin remains of the face of the orcish people, serving as a beacon of hope for the future - but also a frightening reminder of the past.
Tarvalk (Clan chief)
Tra-Serral (Chief's enforcer)
Baltarok was in ancient times fertile and lush. The lands suffered as much as its rulers, as the bickering orc clans slew one another and took advantage of their native land, burning through its resources in a matter of decades. In time it became the harsh and barren wasteland it is today.
In ancient times, the denizens of Baltarok spoke Baltar. It was a complex language - it could not be readily translated into other languages, and each clan had differing dialects. Many orcish slaves had never even heard of Baltar when they came to Baltarok, including Tarokai himself. They did, however, have a ready grasp on Common. After the invasion of Ennon, Baltar was in danger of dying out as an actively-used language. During the reconstruction of Baltarok, a new language was adopted, using many old Baltar words but using many of the factors that make Common such a simple language. It could be easily learned and translated, and it's spread like wildfire in both Baltarok and Goblonia. The language is called Modern Orcish, but it is known to most as simply Orcish .