Last month I was either too busy or too tired, and hence I only updated the blog three times. Let's hope that in November I can get some more quality free time and go back to updating weekly.
For today you have a third (and last) post about the lands inhabited by demi-human races, in this case by orcs.
· ISLES OF THE BROKEN SPINE: These islands are located at the south end of the Inner Sea, east of Masiwn and west of Sur-Gorlend. None of them is overly large, but neither are they small (like the ones from Rintolle). They are located in a line, and there was a time when they served as "step stones" to travel from Sur-Gorlend to Masiwn. But since orc tribes colonized the isles, that kind of travel has been interrumped. This archipelago is the closest thing to a kingdom that orcs have ever had, and they are fiercely territorial about it, not allowing anyone else to enter their domains. They don't even like ships traveling near their shores, and random acts of pirate mayhem discourage such routes, forcing ships to sail deeper in the Inner Sea. Internally, orcs have no single government uniting them. Despite that and their warring temperament, they somehow manage to avoid falling in continuous civil wars; orcs work hard to always remember they must save their energies to crush their true enemies: elves, dwarves and humans. The biggest political formation is the tribe, with quite a good bunch of them populating every isle. Also, all orcs feel a weird pride for their own isle, even though their only true affiliation is to the tribe. The island nationalism is usually exposed when orcs group together for "games", such as wrestling, running, weight lifting... Said isles, being big enough, provide almost everything orcs need to live; orcs practice agriculture and farming (they are not that savage), apart from hunting. There's ore too, but orcs never build proper mines like the ones of dwarves (or men), so they deal with little quantities of metal for their very crude blacksmithing; and use quite a lot of wood, that they promptly chop from the woods, that they don't overwork. All in all, orcs live in a much more civilized manner that what most people expect.
The name needs no explanation, as it's in common language. If anything, it shows the lack of subtlety of orcish thinking.
· NHORBAR: This is the big island that lies north of Nor-Gorlend, a place of eternal snow and gelid winds. This is the only other place in Ajsalium where orcs live freely and predominantly. Yet, unlike in the Isles of the Broken Spine where orcs live alone and "pure", Nhorbar is shared with humans. And, truth to be told, after millennia of living together, all humans have some orc blood, and viceversa; effectively, everyone in Nhorbar can be considered a half-orc. The ones that call themselves orcs, are slightly smaller than their southern relatives, and their skin coloration lends more toward grey tones than olive ones. The extreme climate makes agriculture impossible, and farming a very time demanding and difficult task, so hunting is the main activity. All this has prevented nhorbarian orcs from evolving culturally, and live rather primitively (like their "human" neighbours); thus, they compensate their lack of racial purity with a more strict adherence to the orcish traditional way of living. And that means machism, use of violence as the primary way to solve problems, and constant fights against human tribes.
The word Nhorbar is wrongly assumed to be a contraction of north + barbarian. The north part is true, but not the other. "Bar" was an ancient term for coldness, and thus Nhorbar means "the cold from the north". Later, the term "barbarian" was coined from the root "bar", referring to the people that lived in that cold place.