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Shar Dundred

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HUMANS OF ARKAIN

Nation of Zyainor
Zyainor was the first realm of mankind to be recorded in the annals of history by the Humans of Arkain. Being surrounded by hostile races of all kinds and under constant attack by the Demons of the east, the leaders of one human realm made a pact with the Black Dragons: Their power in exchange for a religion dedicated to them, and only them. The leaders of this realm, to be known as the first Ca'laer and Ca'lea, first conquered the lands of what would later become the Kingdom of Pyrru with the sheer power of the dragons and put the other human realms and tribes before a choice: Join willingly or be crushed. Those who joined them willingly were rewarded, the rest were put into subjugation.
In the end, all of mankind served the rulers Zyainor. The feral Gnoll tribes of Arkain were enslaved by the Zyaise and even tamed as time went by. The Elves remained neutral, but the Dwarves, who had fought the dragons long before they had even first met a Human, fought both the Black Dragons and the Humans of Zyainor. This conflict went on until the fall of Zyainor as neither side could destroy the other. The Dwarves were severely outnumbered and Zyainor had to deal with Demon and other invasions, therefore it could not fully focus on the war with the Dwarves and left them mostly alone, only preventing the Dwarves from launching their own attacks.
It is not recorded how exactly it all started, but the Black Dragons suddenly left Zyainor after many generations of cooperation and this allowed those who no longer wished to serve Zyainor to rise against their masters. Zyainor fell, all black dragons that were found were attacked and slain, the survivors of the race disappeared. The history of Arkain remembers Zyainor as nothing more but a hated nation of oppressors and tyrants and the Kingdoms of Arkain were born.

Kingdoms of Arkain
Following the fall of Zyainor, the Seven Kingdoms were born. Tensions between the different nations were high as everyone expected the others to try and invade them. However, they still were united in their hunt of those who were loyal to the fallen Zyainor and in their war against outside threats. When the Kingdoms were under attack by the many monsters who had been hunted and oppressed by Zyainor for so long, they stood united against this tide and forged alliances with the Elves and Dwarves, leaving the past behind them, especially when Demon raiding parties endangered their lands.
However, the Kingdoms have remained independent and still eyed each other, playing political games and intrigues whenever war was not near - or sometimes even when it was at their very doorsteps. Some believe that this was one of the reasons why the Humans were finally overrun by the Demons and at the brink of extinction when the Empire arrived. While the Imperials were strangers to them, they were human like the Humans of Arkain and so the Kingdoms stood before a choice: Join the Empire and be saved or face annihilation alone. While they didn't like it, facing defeat after defeat while still negotiating with each other and the Imperials, the Kings of Arkain had no other choice and accepted. They waited for the arrival of the great fleet and when the Empire arrived, the people of Arkain witnessed with sheer disbelief and joy how thousands upon thousands of ships sailed towards their shores. With these massive forces, the Humans retook their lost lands, but were unable to attack the Demons as they were betrayed by one of their generals. Still, the Empire put an end to the invasion and ended the First Voidwar, even if they were unable to retake the Kingdom of Isalmur for any longer than a few hours. Now, the Kingdoms of Arkain remain part of the Empire even if some, like King Dorten of Kerrel, consider the Imperials as new conquerors rather than saviours.
The Kingdoms are: Lor, Kerrel, Toran, Pyrru, Rengar, Salria and Isalmur.

Empire of Rodan
The Empire of Rodan (named after the continent), also known as Empire of Mankind and Human Empire, has been founded at about the same time as Zyainor - unlike the nation of black dragons, the Empire endured however, despite its origins being through warfare, like the Zyaise realm. However, unlike the Ca'lea and Ca'laer with their black dragons, the power of the Empire was based on its massive, well-organized and disciplined armies and technology.
The continent of Rodan was rich and could have been a paradise if it weren't for its monsters in the jungles and the Demons who lived at the southern edge of the continent. These Demons, who had been stranded on this continent after the death of the Demon God, terrorized the Empire for many centuries, though they never were as dangerous and numerous as the ones on Arkain and the Empire had an easier time with them as most Demon forces were still on Arkain. It was the Golden Guard under the command of High Lord Inquisitor Renald van Durce who fully drove the Demons off their lands, killing them all and destroying all portals.
Following this victory, the Imperials learned of the continent of Arkain and it being the origin of the Demons and sent their fleets over the Great Sea to destroy the Demons. There, they saved the Kingdoms from destruction after them becoming part of the Empire and allied with the Dwarves and Elves like the Kingdoms had before them. However, they couldn't completely defeat the Demons and so the war continued.

Wolf Regiment
Legends say that an Imperial general of the well-renowned Wolf Regiment was once bitten by a mysterious dark wolf. Despite all efforts of the army's most prestigeous magicians, the bite did not heal. The general lost consciousness. When he awoke, a week later, he was half-human and half-wolf. A werewolf, a monster that needed to be put down. But he had retained his humanity and continued to serve the Empire, having become an even better fighter than ever before and gaining the ability to tame wild wolves.
The truth is, however, that the Werewolves are a result of Imperial research - a well-documented research. In an attempt to create better soldiers, Imperial scientists and magicians mastered lycantrophy and turned human soldiers or even peasants into fierce beasts - however, the Werewolves were by no means mindless beasts. They lost all memory of who they had been before having been turned into their new forms, but their memory was quickly replaced with unwavering loyalty towards the Empire. The Wolf Regiment had already tamed wolves to be their dogs before, so some assume that the Werewolves were tamed just the same way. In some backrooms there is rumor that criminals are often given this treatment to put them to use for the Empire. Since they lost their memory in the process, the Werewolves never know who or what they were before being turned into their new form - and they don't really care.
Despite all rumors, the Wolf Regiment is a fierce, strong and reliable force to be reckoned with. Despite their beastial appearance, the other regiments of the Imperial Army had little to no issues working with them - because whenever the wolves were unleashed, the enemies of the Empire should better shake in fear.
Unlike the main part of its infantry, the elite of the Wolf Regiment and its leader, General Zoia, were still human. However, one should not underestimate them only because they lacked the beastial appearance of their brothers in arms - only those who were strong both in will and arms were able to climb the ladder and the black knights of the Wolf Regiment are among the most powerful (and most humorless) knights of the entire Empire.

Bull Regiment
The Bull Regiment is one of those curious relics that should have been retired long ago but still retains service. Despite fielding soldiers wearing modern plate armor, the Bull Regiment is still also making use of rather ancient armor and weapons that would be more at home in museums and ancient arenas. Still, the Bull Regiment continues to use both with surprising efficiency. Then again, one should never underestimate a soldier at the peak of human ability.
The soldiers of the Bull Regiment has proven time and again that their brute force alone is more than enough to further the goals of the Empire - though who would openly speak out against someone strong enough to crush a skull with bare hands? Unlike the Wolf Regiment with its werewolves, the Dragon Regiment with its beasts, the Falcon Regiment with its tamed animals or the Phoenix Regiment with its summoned creatures, the Bull Regiment relies solely on pure human force alone. While some believe that they use spells or magic potions to increase their strength beyond what a human is normally capable of, the soldiers of the Bull Regiment speak only of hard, daily training and workouts. It matters little where their strength comes from, the brute force of this regiment cannot be denied.
It is said that when the Bull Regiment was first deployed to deal with rebelling lords within the Empire, who first laughed at the sight of such barbaric-looking warriors but as soon as they had started killing rebel soldiers with a brutality that made being captured and tortured alive look like a relief in comparison, they stopped laughing. It should be mentioned that the Bull Regiment treated its prisoners hardly any better than any enemies they met on the open field. The Bull Regiment was not about taking captives, it was about being unleashed to destroy anything that stood in its way, leaving nothing behind to be rebuilt.
While many of them still wear their traditional armors, the best among them wear an armor so heavy that regular soldiers would not be able to wear it. Even if an enemy was able to resist the first wave of lightly armored, savage warriors, the second wave consisting of the heavily-armored elite of the Bull Regiment would be their doom.

Dragon Regiment
According to legend, the founders of the founders of the Dragon Regiment rode on the backs of dragons whose scales were pure silver and gold. The founders of the Dragon Regiment somehow managed to gain the trust of these powerful beasts and, similar to the realm of Zyainor (despite not being aware of its existance), they joined forces to create a nation. Unlike the Black Dragons of Zyainor, however, the proud dragons of Rodan wanted no veneration, they wanted cooperation. These gold and silver dragons and the Humans of Rodan were said to have fought side by side against their enemies to create a great realm for the most advanced and civilized races - themselves. However, over the centuries, for reasons unknown, the proud races of these silver and golden dragons declined. One by one, they died out, leaving nothing but memories to be mourned - and the Dragon Regiment.
It is unclear how much of this legend is actually true. It is true that there once were dragons on the continent of Rodan, but whether or not they were actually allies of the Imperials that even worked with them or not is debatable. In fact, only the soldiers of the Dragon Regiment seem to think that the dragons were once their allies - or pets, depending on who was asked, the opinions regarding the exact details of their relationship are being discussed even inside the Dragon Regiment itself. Regarding the decline of these dragons, scholars agree that the dragons probably were unable to sustain their breeding grounds in the growing civilisation of the Empire - and if the dragons' scales were made out of silver and gold, as the legend claims, then it would come to little surprise that they may also have been hunted down for these valuable metals. The truth of the myth may only be found in the archives of the Dragon Regiment - but they would not let anyone, not even most of their own, enter these places. Either way, the Dragon Regiment has made desperate attempts to once again have dragons at their disposal - though not as "ally" but as a weapon to be unleashed. Many leaders of the regiment have tried to find a replacement over many centuries - with some sort of success, to their credit, though it is hard to actually call most of their beasts "dragons". First, the Dragon Regiment had tamed some lizards by stealing eggs and raising them like any other domesticated animal.
On the coastlines of Rodan and on small islands surrounding the continent, they found sea drakes - though belonging to the "dragon family", they were more ferocious and bloodthirsty than the dragons of the then-unknown continent of Arkain. These wild beings were forced into submission and tamed - and then, along with the lizards, used for magic experiments in an attempt to create new "dragons". While the creatures of the Dragon Regiment are by no means dragons (with the exception of the ferocious sea drakes maybe), it cannot be denied that these creatures are extremely powerful - and woe falls upon those who stand in their way.

Phoenix Regiment
While there are no "legends" about the past of the Phoenix Regiment, its natural choice of summoned creatures or how they had originally mastered the summoning of phoenixes to a point that had allowed them to call upon entire swarms of the creatures, the regiment has had an interesting tale of rise and fall in the Imperial history books.
Many times, it had been said that the Phoenix Regiment had completely fallen in battle and was done for after having been sent into a battle they had no chance of winning. But then they would rise again and again - just like a phoenix from the ashes. Some whisper that the archmagi of the Phoenix Regiment had found a special method that would allow them to actually rise from the ashes after their death - like the phoenixes they summoned. If this was true, the Phoenix Regiment would not share this secret with anyone else, discarding it as nonsense and insisting that their skills - and, as they are willing to admit, nothing but sheer luck - is what kept them alive. Yet the rumors stayed.
The phoenixes deployed by the Phoenix Regiment are not actual animals like some believe. They are all summoned creatures made of the purest essence of fire. Alongside its ordinary military force, the Phoenix Regiment possesses a large number of summoners who summon the beings far from the frontlines and then send them out to support their soldiers in battle. Interestingly enough, many of these summoners have never participated in a battle themselves which is a reason why they are kept far away from the frontlines, serving a similar purpose as engineers or other workers instead. Some are however powerful wizards who accompany their soldiers into battle - though their number is rather low, mostly due to the unwillingness of the Phoenix Regiment to endanger its valuable summoners that easily. Their power of their phoenixes, however, is unquestionable.

Falcon Regiment
Many centuries ago, there had once been an Emperor who had grown weary of his responsibilities as ruler of an entire continent, having to deal with wars, rebellions, politics, economy and other things that he did not care about the slighest bit. He had never wanted his crown, he was born into a family that just happened to be in charge of the Empire - and what kind of son would just have thrown that away? As soon as he had an heir who was young, but old enough to take his place, he made his choice.
Abstaining all claims to the throne and making this young son emperor in his stead, he left the court - despite heavy protests from advisors, family and nobles alike. He left for the wilderness, leaving everything behind him. However, after a few years, some were quite unhappy with their new ruler - and they also saw this as an opportunity: The former Emperor was out in the wilderness - unprotected, unguarded and alone. If they got a hold of him and put him back in charge, they could control him - or if he refused to be put back in charge, they could control his son and current emperor to do their bidding instead. So they sent several headhunters to get the Emperor back - putting a VERY large bounty on his head.
The hunters searched the wilderness but they could not find the former emperor. He was able to avoid them, he had tamed the birds of the forest to warn him of any intruders so that he could avoid them. Several weeks passed and some of the hunters, realizing how their target kept avoiding them, started to hunt the birds. This was of course unacceptable, and so the former emperor decided to show himself - after having called upon a number of more... dangerous animals. He confronted the hunters on a clearing. As soon as he had shown himself, his animals surrounded the hunters. He demanded that they stopped killing his animals and returned to whence they came. To his surprise, they did not try to fight or run.
They threw their weapons on the ground and knelt before him, declaring that they had never had any interest to kill him. Instead, they had only wished to protect him - their one and only true emperor - from the intrigant courtists who were seeking his downfall. He explained that he was no longer their emperor - but that he had spent too much time too far from court. Together with his animal pets and his former hunters, he returned to the court, where the group of intrigant and powerhungry nobles that had wanted to kill him, had already taken control. They were put in prison and later executed for their treason - presumably killed by the very animals that had protected and been fed by the man they wanted to kill. While he did not retake his throne and left his son in charge, the former emperor decided to form an army to protect his son - his first recruits were the headhunters. The Falcon Regiment was born. Skilled hunters and animal tamers, the Falcon Regiment consists of many skilled falconers that summon the favored animals of the regiment to their aid. They are said to share a mythical connection with their falcons, being able to see whatever they saw.
While maybe not seeming as impressive as the other regiments, the Falcon Regiment has proven its strength many times - and one should never underestimate an animal that protects its master. Or the other way around.

Elven Kingdom
Their exact origins unknown to even themselves, the Elves have been content with staying within the borders of the forest that formed their kingdom, being isolated from everything outside their forest, fighting only the feral beasts of the forest and enjoying their long lives. There has always been a queen or a king (more often queen than king) who led them all, supported by a number of nobles, and the Elves had a good life so no one even considered changing anything about that.
When they first met the Humans, they kept their distance, completely uninterested in having any form of friendship, but also uninterested in a conflict with them. So the rise of Zyainor left them mostly untouched since the realm had no interest in the forest apart from a war that took place between the two when a ruler of Zyainor wanted to enforce his rule on all of Arkain, but that war ended with his death since Zyainor's next ruler had no such interest and the Elves had no interest in continuing the conflict.
As Zyainor began to fall apart, the Elves too were under attack by the Demons. Never having possessed a huge army, they had their problems with only their magic saving them from total extinction. They were forced to all with the Humans and Dwarves to survive and became close allies as time went by. Still, the Elves never contributed much to the war as their rulers never felt themselves able (or willing) to reform their realm in the ways their allies suggested several times.
So most of them were relieved when the Empire arrived and offered them a chance to have another ally to fight. However, the other races have begun being annoyed by the Elves' continued defiance and have, as consequence to the Elves not contributing their fill of soldiers to the war, withdrawn their forces from the Elven Kingdom. Only a few Elves, mostly the ones who are actually part of their armies and are in a position high enough to make a difference, attempt to convince their people to finally change their mind.

Dwarven Realms
Deep underneath the lands of the Humans and Elves, the Dwarven clans built their homes and formed their kingdoms. Unlike the Humans who were united by force, the Dwarven kings united (mostly) peacefully, agreeing that they would always choose one of them to be their high king. The High King would rule the Dwarves until his death so it was a choice to be made with care, but there was no Dwarf who would want to harm his kin as family was the most important thing for them and many dwarven families were related over several edges. Still, rumors tell that there are records hidden deep inside the vaults of the Dwarves telling of dark times when dwarven kings would wage war on each other to take the place as high king by force. While the Dwarves are not fond of this topic and the history will never be explained further upon, it is confirmed that there were such kings and that their descendants now, like many Humans, have tried to join the Demons to gain the upper hand and were therefore banished by their kin and enslaved by their demonic masters. Apart from this instance, however, the Dwarves stand together and the only Dwarves who serve the Demons are direct descendants of the traitors of old, no modern day Dwarf would allow a Demon to control him.
They needed their union as they were under constant attack by dragons whenever the flying beasts dared to enter the underground. They developed a wealthy underground realm and further expanded into the mountains, hunting the dragons who lived there to put an end to the flying menace and of course to take their land for themselves. When they first met the Humans, the latter were still living in tribes and smaller realms. The two races traded with each other and became friends, but when the dragon-worshipping Zyainor took over, the friendship ended as the Dwarves hated the dragons and their followers.
When Zyainor fell, the Dwarves were careful but they were willing to give the newly founded Human Kingdoms a fair chance to make up for past mistakes and was happy to help them hunting black dragons and their worshippers, renewing the friendship between the two races. Later, the Dwarves and Humans also came to ally with the Elves against the demonic threat in the east. However, as time passed, many Dwarves grew weary of the Humans constant intriguing against each other. The arrival of the Imperials filled the Dwarves with new hope as they had finally met courageous, honest, honorable and strong Humans and some believe that the Dwarves prefer the Humans of Rodan over the ones of Arkain.
 
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Shar Dundred

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ORCS OF ARKAIN

Orc Clans
While not native to Arkain, the Orcs have been living on the continent for many years, originally hailing from a continent called Grumush which the warrior race had to leave for reasons unknown to most of them. Only few of them know where they came from and even fewer of them care. They arrived on Arkain on ships, initially landing on the islands next to Pyrru and Toran, the so-called "Pirate Baronies", home to the human pirates that had created their own little realms there after the fall of Zyainor, and took them for themselves, throwing the pirates off their islands. Afterwards, they invaded the Kingdoms of Arkain.
United by the two most powerful clans, the Orcs were like a tide, crushing everything that stood in their way, attacking everything and everyone on sight. This proved to be their downfall as they not only enraged the Humans but also the Demons and the latter then decided to deal with the invaders and utterly defeated the Orcs, completely destroying half of the clans in the progress. Following this crushing defeat, the Orcs had another problem on their western front: A group of knights led by Theoderic of Kome had organized a counter attack and began hunting the Orcs, slowly retaking the lost territories.
The war was lost and concluded when Theoderic of Kome slew the leader of the united Orc clans in single combat. This deed put an end to the union of the Orcs and they fell back into the state of fighting each other, resulting in them losing all territories they held outside of the Pirate Baronies that were renamed to the Orc Islands.
Ever since, the Orc clans have been a thorn in the side of the Humans, taking the place of the human pirates, becoming pillagers and pirates themselves due to the islands they now called their home lacking resources, only working with other clans if they agreed to cooperate in raids.

Deathbreeze Clan
With the Orcs having arrived on the shores of Arkain on ships, them living on islands and them being pillagers by nature, it comes to no surprise that many of them have become pirates. Still, no other clan has become as famous by raiding as the Deathbreeze Clan.
When the Orcs first arrived and launched their first invasion of Arkain, the Deathbreeze Clan had not even existed yet. The clan was founded after the invasion was put to an end by the races of Arkain. This makes the Deathbreeze Clan one of the few clans that had been founded on Arkain - another one being the Cliffhunter Clan - rather than already having existed before.
While the Elves have a hard time telling the difference between the different Orc clans and most of the human nations not caring to know, the Kingdoms of Pyrru and Toran quickly had to learn a harsh lesson: When the Goldaxe Clan attacked, you could give them gold and they'd leave. The Darkmind Clan would launch a proper charge into the heartlands of your realms, allowing you to fight them on the open field. But when the Deathbreeze Clan attacked, you were in for a guerilla strike.
The Deathbreeze Clan mostly focused on raiding villages and castles along the coastline while also being a threat to any unprepared fleet. They were quick to strike and just as quick to return to their ships to leave.
Mobilizing an army on land against their ordinary raids was pretty much a waste of time. In order to stop their raids, the Humans had to face them on sea - and going into a sea battle against the rising might of the Deathbreeze Clan and its dangerous ships without proper preparations was just asking for trouble.

Darkmind Clan
Ever since the days of the first arrival of the Orcs, the Darkmind Clan had always been one of the most numerous. Great in number and naturally gifted with the skill to fight on the backs of animals, its warriors were born to be raiders and riders, riding the animals they had brought with them from their old home and the ones they found and tamed on Arkain.
The warriors of the Darkmind Clan were the first to land on the shores of Arkain, charging into the lines of the pirate barons on back of their wolves. Later, they would also tame and ride on the horses used by the humans of Arkain. However, when they, along with the other clans, left the island baronies and landed on the shores of Arkain, they suffered a severe defeat at the hands of an army of Salrian Elite Pikemen who had arrived from the south, not being used to fighting against spearwalls previously.
This taught the clan the lesson that brute strength, even when on back of a wolf or horse, was not enough. Therefore they began to deploy more infantry forces and warlocks as the war continued - and continued to do so long after the invasion had failed. Still, the Darkmind Clan remained consistent in relying heavily on its experienced riders.
Like the Bloodhand Clan, the warriors of the Darkmind Clan prefer an open battle against their enemies. Due to them prefering to fight on the backs of their mounts, they are not too fond of fighting on the sea or the coastlines.

Goldaxe Clan
In comparison to other Orc clans, the Goldaxe Clan could almost be called the clan that is the least unfriendly towards non-orcs.
Despite xenophobia being common among Orcs, most members of the Goldaxe Clan do not appear to outright "hate" other races. Often, rather than simply raiding a village, they'd demand tribute and, if satisfied with that tribute, leave the village alone to return at some later point for more.
The Goldaxe Clan cares for one thing more than any other: Gold. Wealth is an important aspect in their clan society. The chieftain of their clan is not the strongest warrior or the most powerful wizard but rather the one who was smart enough to obtain the greatest wealth.
There's some claims that the Goldaxe Clan would even let itself be outright bought by Humans to fight against their human rivals - or against other Orc clans. While these claims cannot be proven, they DID let themselves be hired for gold by other clans to fight by their side.
They are considered something like mercenaries by other clans. While they only care about gold, many of their warriors also considered themselves proud and honorable warriors. Dogran, the right hand of the chieftain, is one of them.
Being the wealthiest of the clans, the equipment of the Goldaxe Clan tends to be the most expensive and highest quality, making them all the more dangerous in battle. However, their weapons also tend to be used less.

Ironthunder Clan
The Ironthunder Clan is very shamanistic and it is said that they even feel connected to nature. At least that is what other clans believe, the Ironthunder Clan remains rather secretive when it comes to their focus on shamanism, keeping such things to themselves.
They are however by no means peaceful caretakers of nature. They respect nature like a wolfrider respects his mount - and use it similarly. The Ironthunder Clan has always prefered cooperation over confrontation and is therefore willing to work together with other clans to fight against common foes or reach common goals.
At the same time, many members of the clan are highly independent, unwilling to bend the knee. The clan has only once bent the knee - and that was when the Orcs first arrived on Arkain.

Bloodhand Clan
When human parents and grandparents tell their children scary tales of green monsters that come for them if they are behaving badly, they often refer to the brutish Bloodhand Clan. While the clan does not care at all about how Humans behave, it really does look back on a proud history bringing fear into the hearts of their enemies.
Brutal and bloodthirsty, the numerous warriors of the Bloodhand Clan prefer simply charging at their enemy and utterly destroying them rather than relying on tactics, strategy or magic. They are not without cunning, however, and will not hesitate to use any tool that is at their disposal.
Still, strength is the most important attribute to the Bloodhand Clan members. They would often leave the Orc Islands to travel deep into the lands of the Humans, setting up their camps to raid surrounding villages. Legends claim that they even had set up one of their camps on the border to the land of the Demons prior to the creation of the Void.
The arrival of the Empire however put an end to many camps, destroying them easily while pushing back the Demons, the Bloodhand Clan was little more than a group of insects to them. Still, the Bloodhand Clan holds much power both on the Orc Islands and in the Kingdoms. They were quick to retake their lost camps after the First Voidwar.

Ravaging Fire Clan
While the Ironthunder Clan is completely shamanistic, the Ravaging Fire Clan embraces the dark arts of necromancy and sorcery. Many great warlocks and necrolytes of the Orc race are said to originally hail from this clan.
Some Humans even think that the clan is using demonology and actually consists of secret slaves of the Demons. This is of course far from the truth, the Ravaging Fire Clan has never bothered to try demonology and they, like all Orcs, are by no means willing to ally themselves with the Demons.
If it wasn't for the former hermit Zairmak however, the Ravaging Fire Clan would have ceased to exist a few decades ago. Despite its power, the clan had been waning. Poor leadership, internal struggles and wars against other clans had taken their toll. The clan had even begun to forsake their ancient mastery of magic in favor of training more warriors.
Zairmak established his power and became chieftain, removing the Ravaging Fire Clan from all conflicts with other clans and staying out of future conflicts, preparing for the future war that Zairmak expected to come sooner or later.

Skullblade Clan
The warriors of the Skullblade Clan boast that, unlike the other Orcs, their ancestors came to Arkain on flying beasts rather than than sailing on ships. While it is true that the clan is in control of many flying beasts, it is unlikely that they really travelled on the backs of these beasts all the way from the original home of the Orcs to Arkain.
Still, since the Orcs have no historical records and do not even know where they came from, the Skullblade Clan stays to this version of the story. Many believe that the Skullblade Clan did not even have any beasts when arriving on the future Orc Islands but instead found and tamed the beasts there.
Either way, there is one thing that all Orcs can agree on: While the clan also has strong ground forces, thirsting for battle, the aerial might of the Skullblade is not to be underestimated.

Bearmen Tribes
The Bearmen are a rather small race, living in the Forest of Rendor in the Kingdom of Lor, in harmony with the nature. While peaceful, their race also had great respect for skilled fighters. Once every year the tribes would meet in the center of the forest and their greatest fighters would battle each other, to prove themselves as fighters in the great gladiator fight. However, these battles were fought by volunteers only and no one had to fight to death, each and every warrior would be treated by the herbalists of his tribe afterwards - and if the tribe lacked a herbalist, one of the others would heal him instead. The tribes had their chieftains, but remained independent from each other, living together peacefully, never developing a proper realm or nation. However, recently, the Forest of Rendor seemed to have been poisoned and most of its inhabitants, bearmen and others, feel that they are slowly losing their mind...

Tribal Dominion
The Tribal Dominion, sometimes also simply referred to as "The Dominion", was founded by Amari, daughter of Rangul and chieftain of the Cliffhunter Clan, during the Second Voidwar. Due to the fatal losses the Orcs had to suffer by the hands of the Demons during the Second Voidwar, Rangul was running out of soldiers. Additionally, they were being hunted by both an army of Imperials and mercenaries led by Commander Daric on the order of Sir Lerrig Goldheart and the crusaders of Duke Redfist.
While the clans of the Orcs were either on the run or fighting for their lives, Amari had forged alliances with the Dark Troll Union and the Goblin Federation and had been in contact with several other factions such as the Centaurs of Salria. She convinced her father that the Orcs needed allies to survive this war and therefore laid the foundation for the Dominion. The Orcs and their new allies invaded the human Kingdom of Salria and made many new allies during their conquest, including the Centaurs, the Bearmen, the Ogres, the Red Dragons, the Gnolls and the Harpies. After Rangul's death, Amari took his place as military leader of all these races and named their alliance the Tribal Dominion. After the defeat of Duke Redfist and Commander Daric, the Kingdom of Salria was fully under the control of the Tribal Dominion.
After the Second Voidwar, the leaders of the different races decided to make Amari the Empress of the Dominion, their overall ruler. The Gnolls kept a part of their independence and their own sovereignty, but they too accepted Amari as their Empress as long as she respected that Gnoll Island would remain Gnoll only territory.
Under Amari's rule, the races of the Dominion began to rebuild Salria as their own realm. In addition, other races were invited to join them - even the Humans of Salria were free to either join the Dominion or leave peacefully and most of them decided to stay. The Dominion began to grow in number and power alike after the Second Voidwar.

The Blackthorn
After the Second Voidwar, an age of prosperity and peace had begun in Salria. The Tribal Dominion was relatively safe, the Dwarves had decided to bolster their defenses after the return of Zyainor and the creation of the Dominion, the Demons were driven off and the Humans, like the races of the Dominion, were busy with rebuilding their nations. However, since the war was over and the dangers seemed far away, some of the people in the Dominion, most of them were Orcs, were unsure how to deal with this situation as they had known nothing but war and pillage for their entire lives. The longer the peace lasted, the more numerous they became. Before the situation could escalate, the leaders of the Tribal Dominion decided to let them create their own mercenary group that could be hired both inside and outside the Dominion. They were restricted by swearing to never ever work against the allies or members of the Dominion, however. So they formed the Blackthorn, a mercenary group that would later became one of the largest and most wealthy organisation within the Dominion.
The Blackthorn didn't care much for who they worked or against who they fought, they always fulfilled their contracts and stayed loyal as long as their employers weren't trying to trick them. While most of its members were Orcs, there was no racism among them, all races were allowed to join, and ironically many Humans, mostly former soldiers, were found in their ranks.
At the same time, despite their reputation as a professional mercenary company, the Blackthorn were rumored to also be pillagers to even further increase their profits. It is unknown if the Blackthorn is still living by the old pillager standards of the Orcs or if some of their contracts simply included that they were supposed to pillage.
While the Blackthorn, just like the Tribal Dominion, are considered unofficial by their human neighbours, it is rumored that some nobles or even officials of the other nations secretly hire the Blackthorn from time to time since the Orcs of this mercenary company managed to gain a better reputation than most other mercenaries when it comes to effectiveness and discretion. Since a lot of its members were veterans of the Second Voidwar, some of the Humans even having lived through the First Voidwar, the Blackthorn grew into an organisation of strong, brutal and disciplined warriors, a force to be reckoned with.
 
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Shar Dundred

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UNDEAD OF ARKAIN

Undead Nexus
Unbeknownst to most, the art of necromancy was created by the Avatar of Death himself long before the races that control Arkain now were born. Bringing the dead back as his servants, they were nothing but slaves of the will of their creator, bound to his will. Yet, while they were supposed to be loyal servants, their creator wanted to see them develop their own sort of personality of sorts and therefore created the nexus that were capable of developing without losing loyalty and bound the Undead to them. The sheer existence of some sort of personality is something that differs them from undead created by mortal necromancers.
The Undead Nexus have remained in the shadows for a long time, only rarely directly involving themselves in mortal affairs outside their home, the Dead Mountain. Using an enormous underground tunnel system, they are however capable of appearing anywhere on Arkain at any moment should their master desire it. They have spent much time collecting corpses and experimenting to create more powerful Undead while their master used their eyes to watch the mortals and manipulating them when necessary. Only when manipulations alone are not enough to preserve the balance that the Watcher wishes to maintain, the Nexus are unleashed upon the living. The fact that they hardly directly intervened allowed the Undead to stay concealed from mortal eyes, hence most didn't even know they existed prior to the Second Voidwar.

Ejara Nexus
When the Ejara Nexus came to (un)life, it was the smallest in number in comparison to the other nexus. However, it had strong warriors and magic at its disposal - and both were immediatly put to good use. The enforcers of the Ejara Nexus entered the caves of the Dead Mountain and waged war against the Nerbuians, intelligent creatures that had evolved out of the spiders inhabiting the place. The Nerubians were numerous, but the Ejara Nexus used brute force to slay them - and dark magic to raise them. The mere sight of this caused many nerubians to surrender after each battle as the Ejara Nexus had decided to keep them - temporarily at first, to decide what to do with them. It did not take long for them to realize that living Nerubians were much more useful than their dead. The war was soon decided, the Nerubians were either dead or captured by the powerful Ejara warriors and the spider creatures had lost much more than their lives: Their freedom. The Ejara turned the creatures into their cattle: The living laid eggs, the Ejara Nexus took the eggs out of the cages and let the dead Nerubians hatch them. The Ejara Nexus were now the ones in charge of the Nerubian breeding grounds - and the ones who built them in the first place. The Nerubians became the slaves and the Ejara the masters, protecting their breeding grounds from outside harm. The Ejara Nexus was now far from being the smallest in number, its numbers rising like an insect swarm.
It is their solemn belief that all creatures exist only to serve the will of the Watcher - and they prefer taking a rather "direct" interpretation of this doctrine. They believe that the living shall either live to serve - or die. The Nerubians have been the first to be put under the rule of the Ejara - but they will not be the last. Their directive to keep living alive to breed more brings them at odds with the Scarec Nexus, who believe that all flesh - and life - must be extinguished and the Rohir Nexus who prefer more secretive methods. They share interests with the Ardoz Nexus, however, who are highly interested in purchasing some of the living "cattle" for themselves.

Zirr Nexus
The Zirr Nexus' original goal was to simply gather all knowledge in the world. The race of the Rasi, which laid the foundation of this nexus, was created for the sole purpose of recording all history and knowledge wherever they could find it in the world of the mortals and immortals alike. The Rasi wandered the world, using their special powers to remain hidden from the eyes of the living, writing down any knowledge they could find to be sent back to the Dead Mountain, to be studied by the other members of the nexus, recorded and kept safe to be accessible by nobody but the Watcher of Arkain.
As time progressed, the amount of knowledge grew immensely and, as arcane knowledge was collected as well as the most mundane of secrets, the Zirr Nexus began to not simply gather informations but to also put their immense arcane knowledge to good use. Not only did they wish to serve the Watcher and put their powers at his disposal, they also wanted to be prepared. For, if any living ever managed to get only a glimpse of their knowledge, they'd be obsessed with getting more - more than their simple and greedy minds were ready or even made for. Such was to be prevented at all costs. The Zirr Nexus may not be the most numerous nexus, but the power of their sheer endless arcane potential and their best kept secrets should never be underestimated. Some knowledge should be left to be forgotten in their archives. The promise of this knowledge may turn even the most arrogant demon into a husk of his former self, willing to do anything to get only a glimpse of it. However, no doors are opened, no archives glimpsed upon and no promises made. The Zirr Nexus has enough arcane power to pulverize any foolish enough to dare step a foot into their halls uninvited.

Rohir Nexus
The Rohir Nexus originally consisted of nothing but spritis, possessing the bodies of dead, sometimes even bodies that once belonged to these spirits - to feel flesh once more. Possessed bodies not only did not decay as quickly as they should, the members of the nexus were even able to disguise themselves to make these bodies seem just as alive as they had once been. This allowed the Rohir Nexus to infiltrate the ranks of the living and do their master's bidding as well as following the goals they called their own: The Living were fools to them, blinded by their greed, their lust for power, their desire to make their own decisions rather than submit to the vision and will of the Watcher of Arkain. They infiltrated the ranks of the living ever since they were "born", using their appearance to wander among mortals to "turn them" to join them.
In order to do so, the Rohir Nexus did whatever was required. If their persuasive skills weren't enough, brute force would do. The eyes of the Rohir Nexus are everywhere, looking for both recruits and all kinds of information. While the members of the Zirr Nexus collected knowledge and lore of old, the members of the Rohir Nexus brought the most recent information and whatever else their spymanship caught a hold of in the name of their eternal master. The numbers of the Rohir are evergrowing for even among the living there are those that dream of a better future - a future promised to them by those who have no life as well as those who have not embraced the kiss of death yet. If the mortals ever learned the true extend of the Rohir Nexus behind the unliving corpses they fought on the open field, there was no telling how much paranoia would spread among their ranks, knowing that any they consider their close friends, could secretly be a spy of the unliving. The idelogies of the Rohir Nexus clash with those of the Scarec Nexus who despise all kinds of "flesh", the Ardoz Nexus who prefer to torture the living rather than "turn" them and the Ejara Nexus who sought to enslave all life instead.

Splecir Nexus
While all nexus embraced different personalities, the Splecir Nexus has never changed, never ever straying from its path to become anything else but the loyal servants of the Watcher, despite having gained some form of "independence". They simply used this new found freedom to choose to stay the way they had been before. They remained the loyal servants of the Watcher, developing no doctrines or quirks to set them apart, only serving his direct will. However, underestimating them due to this "lack of personality" would be a most grave mistake. The members of the Splecir Nexus are the champions of the Watcher, the enforcers of his will, the best of the best... And the purest of the pure.
No morality or ideology dictates their progress. Only the voice of the Watcher could command and guide them. Among them are the most sacred chosen of Aridon, the Ethereals, such as the powerful Spirit Legionnaires, mortals who willingly sought out the Watcher of Arkain and even went so far as to give their lives to serve him in death, understanding the truth behind his words and deeds even if it meant turning against those they loved in life. It is said that the master of the living dead is interested in bolstering the ranks of the Splecir Nexus with new devoted members - such a decision is not made lightly however, as the Watcher of Arkain has high expectations of his personal elite. The undead of the Splecir Nexus do not fight with zeal or the goal of capturing as many enemies as possible alive. They fight with ice cold determination and once they have been unleashed, they do not stand down until they are told to.

Ardoz Nexus
The Ardoz Nexus remained in a relatively dormant state for a long time, unable to really develop after being given the chance to do so due to lacking a proper course. Only when they first encountered intelligent life in the form of the Nerubians who had been captured by the Ejara Nexus, did they begin to actually evolve. They experimented on the captives, using dark magic and other tools of torment, slowly driving their prisoners insane while also crippling them.
The pain that they inflicted upon their victims, the Ardoz Nexus believed, made the target more powerful when raised in undeath - or when the flesh or spirit were used to create one of their monstrosities or other devices. This also resulted in granting the torturers of the Ardoz Nexus enormous insight into the physiology of many different species. A living being may prefer death to being captured by them as the members of the Ardoz Nexus know how to make ANY living being beg for the sweet release of death. They are then using this knowledge to put their victims back together - in whatever way they consider the most effective - which certainly is not always the most visual appealing most of the time. They are driven by the desire to "improve", to cut and reshape. The Ardoz Nexus did not only create horrific abominations with their questionable "science", they also developed effective devices to be deployed both during the torture process and on the battlefield. These mechanical creations are the most technologically advanced weapons of the undead, brought to unholy unlife by dark magic and by binding tormented spirits to the vehicles. The behaviour of the Ardoz Nexus is considered barbaric by the Rohir Nexus who believe that the mortals should be put to good use instead of torn apart. They share interests with the Ejara Nexus who are able to provide "specimen" for any tests and the Scarec Nexus who have no quarrel with the machines of the Ardoz Nexus and appreciate that one of the practices of the Ardoz Nexus includes tearing the skin and flesh off of the bodies they are experimenting on.

Scarec Nexus
The Scarec Nexus was the first nexus to develop its very own, very specific mindset. It is this mindset that they have remained loyal to up to this day, their religious doctrine and their solemn belief. For them, flesh in itself is an undesirable plague and must be disposed of. The mortals whose lives depend on the condition of their flesh are considered aberrations of whom the entire world must be purged eventually. Undead who refuse to have their flesh removed and rely on the purity of bone are unable to see the truth behind these words.
While they are not considered enemies of the zealous believers, they still have the hint of impurity on them in the eyes of the Scarec Nexus whose members are nothing but bones. The Skeleton Legion of the Scarec Nexus have no doubt that the day will come when their time has finally come, the day when they will start their own unholy crusade to rid the entirety of Arkain of all that is flesh until nothing but bones remains. After all, have the living themselves not proven their own unworthiness by their actions? Wars, intrigues, desolations, greed, backstabbing, corruption... Those are all just examples of their impurity. The Scarec Nexus has no doubt that the world can only be in a perfect state when the fire of life has been forever extinguished. If it wasn't for the fact that they knew the master of all undead, Aridon the Watcher, would not approve of their crusade, the Scarec Nexus would have left hiding to begin its purge as soon as they had developed their mindset. They wait patiently for the day when he calls upon them to do what they do best: Liberate the world of living impurity. In their famed Cathedrals of Bones, they pray for the day to come up to this day. Unsuprisingly, the Scarec Necus' ideology is at odds with the Ejara Nexus who want to enslave the living rather than kill them all, the Rohir Nexus who cling to mortal bodies and use infiltration over zealous force of arms and the new Lenira Nexus simply for it having living members. They have shared interests with the Ardoz Nexus due to the latter having quite effective if painful methods to completely remove the flesh of their victims while also using many mechanical creations that consist of no flesh. The members of the Scarec Nexus also highly respect the neutral Splecir Nexus for consisting of the powerful - and, not unimportantly, fleshless - ethereal servants of the Watcher as well as being above adopting ideologies that would lead to prolonging the lives of the living.

Kezzar Nexus
Following the defeat of the Blooddrinker Legion and its leader, Ornasion the Destroyer, enormous amounts of Demon bodies have been collected by the Undead and brought to the Dead Mountain. The rebirth of the dreadlord was the beginning of the Kezzar Nexus, the first of the new nexus and also the nexus to hold the most undead Demons. Unlike the mortal races of Arkain, the leaders of the Demon Legions were all too well aware of the existence of the Undead on the Dead Mountain. Therefore they also knew the price of leaving corpses behind - which has led them to burn their dead, especially when leaving their homelands. While there have been cases of undead Demons before, the defeat of the Blooddinker Legion provided so many intact corpses that they could be formed into an army. Before this event, undead Demons had been rather uncommon in the ranks of the Undead with only few exceptions.
The Kezzar Nexus consists mostly of undead Demons and their former slaves. While the former slaves technically no longer are the slaves of the Demons but they all serve Aridon, the Demons are the ones calling the shots in the Kezzar Nexus while the slaves are relegated to the lower ranks - though it should be mentioned that the Demons of the Kezzar Nexus also tend to be more powerful than their former slaves. The Demons of the Kezzar Nexus are the Demons that have been betrayed and left behind. It is their urge for vengeance and revenge that defines them. While they look down on living mortals like they did in life, it is their former kin that they hate with a burning passion. If it wasn't for their loyalty towards Aridon who would not tolerate such behaviour, the Demons of the Kezzar Nexus would do anything to invade their former home to completely destroy their former race - the very race they sacrificed everything for. Instead the same ambition that has controlled them in life still controls them in death and they want to prove their loyalty and usefulness to their master at any given chance.

Lenira Nexus
The Lenira Nexus is quite the odditity in comparison to the other nexus - both in its roots, its members and doctrines. It is named after the Lenira Family of the Dark Elves, the family under the command of Pentiss who has taken the place of Quiraness. The Lenira Family still exists as the ruling body of the dark elven society but many of its warriors and members are now also members of the Lenira Nexus - while still being alive which sets them apart from the Undead as a whole to begin with since the Dark Elves of the Lenira Nexus are by no means unliving creatures. They still breathe.
Despite the name, however, one should not believe that only the Lenira Family is providing forces to the nexus. Pentiss herself chooses who can enter the services of "her" nexus - in the name of the Divine One of course. For the religious, ambitious and fanatical Dark Elves there can be no higher honor than serve in the ranks of his unliving armies - meaning that this is a powerful political tool in Pentiss' hands. It can also be used, of course, to pull internal enemies away from their allies and family. And if said enemies were to suddenly die a mysterious death... Well, these things do happen in war.
While there are of course also Undead in the ranks of the Lenira Nexus, it is mostly comprised of its living members - and the Undead have adapted the mindset of their living leaders quite quickly - which is not a surprise since some of them were living Dark Elves before their death. The members of the Lenira Nexus are fanatical zealots who believe that all should kneel in the dirt before their creator and by extent them - only to then be enslaved or slaughtered. They would rather see the entirety of Arkain burn than have it not serve the will of their Divine One. At the same time, they share the Splecir Nexus' determination to follow only the wishes of the master, which is also why they have not launched a full scale invasion against the surface. Yet.

Daviliad Nexus
The Daviliad Nexus has been founded with permission of the Watcher when Queen Keera, the fallen elven queen, took control of the eastern part of the Elven Kingdom. This part of the realm had been heavily damaged by the battle between the Demons, Elves, Golden Guard and finally Undead. Most members of the Daviliad Nexus were Elves who had fallen under the control of the Demons - either by force, magic, promises or other twisted means. The entirety of the eastern forest had fallen under the influence of the Souleater Legion - without anyone taking notice until the signal had been given. To their surprise, the Golden Guard was able to withstand them despite not having foreseen a betrayal of this size - being attacked even by civilians and children. In the end, both factions were completely wiped out by the Undead. Queen Keera, still mourning over her own failures and the state of her realm, wondered if she could save it by turning it into an undead kingdom so that she could be the monarch her people had needed - even if it was in death. As she was given the chance to create this new nexus, she intended to try doing so, taking the region which was now known as "Dead Forest" for herself.
Many members of the Daviliad Nexus are reflective of the state of their creator Keera: Their minds are filled with regret and the desire for redemption - which they find in their servitude. At the same time, they all are caught in a twisted state of mind which makes them both pity and adore their undead queen. They are broken spirits that look for a redemption that may be beneath their grasp - not because their deeds were indeed too horrific to be forgiven but because they cannot forgive themselves for their own actions which are sometimes even just of imaginative nature. An undead member of the Daviliad Nexus may blame themselves for killing a family member even if the latter had died of illness or by the hands of another with them never having been in a position to do anything about it. Despite their lethargy and self-pity however, they are able to push themselves into a frenzy when called upon. It is their ultimate goal to find absolution - by any means necessary. The burdens the put on themselves do not weaken their resolve one bit. When their master calls, the Daviliad Nexus is ready to fight anything and anyone - even if it means destroying what is left of their living kind. Also, while they cannot disguise themselves like the agents of the Rohir Nexus, some members of the nexus are trained to wander unseen through the realms - always ready to strike.
 
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