Realms of Mythrais
The Daerkur of Aerk
Many think of an orc or a primitive beast when they think of a Daerkur; a fact that has this race labeled as “Beastmen” in many lands. The Daerkur, sometimes called Half-Orcs, are far from beasts however. They are cunning and powerful warriors with ancient history and traditions, which date back to a time before humans even marched out of barbarism, when the Daerkur were supposedly a race of super-soldiers bred from orc and human in the service of the Aerkay.
In those times they were the warlords of the Aerkay who took the strength of a defeated orcish race as their own; although the orcs continued to serve the Aerkay. Thurse, or ogres, and other large races were their shock troops, and Daerkur generals were greatly feared for their powerful magical weapons and armor. The Daerkur were known as explorers and conquerors as recorded in the records of the Dwur; but they were fierce enemies of that race as well. In ancient times the Daerkur Warlords sought to conquer the Dwur Kings and take their riches; but they failed because of superior Dwur soldiers who wielded the first Adamantine Weapons and wore Adamantine Armor which the simple iron weapons of the Daerkur and their vassals could not match.
After the Daerkur also failed to protect the Aerkay from the Fhey assault, their race fell into swift decline. Where once their soldiers were outfitted with magic from their Aerkay masters, the Aerkay abandoned them and left them to their own devices. Many fell into the service of Draconic Masters or were scattered by Fhey and Dwur hosts who took advantage of their new weakness. Some Daerkur attempted to found their own petty kingdoms; but all such attempts failed due to infighting or external pressures by more advanced races. The Daerkur had no technology of their own having had relied since their beginning upon the Aerkay.
Over time, most Daerkur Clans ceased to exist, and many began to simply refer to them as half-orcs. Most were destroyed in war, while others simply died out as they slowly broke apart into smaller roving bands. Many began to pass as barbaric humans in various places of the world and have to this day remained as barbarians in the corners of the world or become absorbed wholly back into barbaric orcish tribes.
Daerkur are universally admired for their physical power, and this has caused many to serve as either mercenaries or as slaves against their will. Their warriors are feared for their savagery and near total fearlessness in battle; and many have risen to great power in varying places of the world. All through Aerk a traveler will find Daerkur in varying places in society. All races know they are hot tempered and violent, but they are the most nearly human race found in Aerk. They don’t have the pitch black alien eyes of the Fhraen, the arrogance of the Aerkay, the truly bestial appearance of the Minotaurs, the aloofness of the Fhey, or even the secretive nature of the insular Dwur. Daerkur, even in lands where they are known as Beastmen, are more readily accepted into the human dominated world than any other race because they are eager to be part of the human race and because they are part human. The only true thing that sets a Daerkur apart from humans is his rougher appearance; but many Daerkur have a human parent and so even this limit is often unknown to individual Daerkur.
Personality: Daerkur are short-tempered and sullen. They would rather act than ponder and would rather fight than argue. Those who are successful, however, are those with enough self-control to live in a civilized land; not the barbaric ones most often encountered in the wilds bent on slaying foes like a common orc. Daerkur love simple pleasures such as feasting, drinking, boasting, singing, wrestling, gambling, and whoring. Most Daerkur have little patience for such things as book learning or activities where they can’t employ their strength or cunning.
Physical Description: Daerkur are taller than a human on average; most being just at 6 feet in height and 200 pounds on average, with females nearly the same size. A Daerkur is often set apart from humans however by his grayish skin, sloping forehead, powerful jaw, sharper canines, and heavy hair covering his body. Many Daerkur who are part of a clan will often wear ritual scars as well as proudly bearing any battle scars as tokens of power. Their method of dress will be very functional, although displays of wealth are often seen as a sign of power since a weak Daerkur dies when others take his wealth. Daerkur age a bit faster than humans, with most considered as adults by the time they are only twelve; however their lives are shorter as well and very few live to see an age much beyond 75 years old. That only if they manage to survive past an average of 40 years old having survived all their battles. Daerkur soldiers will commonly wear the best armor they can scrounge or buy; while they favor the most damaging weapons made: greatswords, greataxes (bardiche) and heavy crossbow. Daerkur that are barbarians will still wield heavy weapons, but rely more on lighter armor and will use shortbows or short spears for missile weapons.
Relations: Daerkur have their closest relations to human barbarian cultures, and in fact many thrive in these environments. The Rhul Clans actually number some Daerkur clans among them; although most mixing between barbaric Daerkur and barbaric humans takes place in the savage Jotunlands. In other human dominated lands the Daerkur usually live on the fringes of civilized society or as predatory bandits, brigands, or thieves. The Dwur do not have any tolerance for Daerkur and avoid them if possible, but do not truly have a hatred of them. Their prejudices of the ancient past are the strongest of modern races however, and so they keep the Daerkur at a distance. Many Fhraen often form bonds with lone Daerkur since both races are somewhat outcast; but such relationships rarely form outside civilized lands. The Minotaurs do not like the Daerkur at all. While both races are very strong, the Daerkur are too savage to fit easily into the more ordered ways of the Minotaurs. Fhey see the Daerkur as Aerkay spawned abominations and have no good feelings toward them, while the Daerkur have something akin to racial hatred for the Fhey and equally despise the Goblins they brought to Aerk. While the Daerkur were once powerful marshals of the Aerkay, both races now have little respect for the other since the Aerkay see the Daerkur as simpletons and the Daerkur think of the Aerkay as a weak shadow of their former power; both physically and otherwise.
Alignment: Most Daerkur are usually unable to live within a lawful society; their aggressive nature also nurtures a very strong wish for total independence. Because of their might makes right attitude, most also tend toward an evil disposition; neutral at the very best. Few Daerkur have enough control to break this inherent way of thinking, and so the race as a whole is considered a Chaotic Neutral race with strong evil tendencies. It is not unknown, however, to hear of Daerkur Paladins in lands such as the Kingdom of Mahn.
Daerkur Lands: Those Daerkur considered “civilized” hold no lands as their own. For the most part they serve in human nations or live as barbaric tribes on the fringes of human lands. Even within the Rhul Clans, the Daerkur Clans are small and insignificant; even pushed to the edges of viable living. Barbaric Daerkur can thrive in the most adverse climates however, and some range even into the White Wastes during the summer for hunting and in the winter return to their tribal lands within the Howling Plains within the Kur Tribes. Less advanced than even their human barbarian neighbors; Daerkur tribal lands usually support only small, but well fortified, wood structure villages. Very rarely in the Kur Tribes a powerful tribe will gain strength enough to gather other tribes under it and found a short lived “Kingdom” there; but such things usually disintegrate upon the death of the King as his offspring war against each other for control.
Language: The usual language of the Daerkur is the native human language of the humans nearest to the tribe as well as orcish. There is a Daerkur language, but it has fractured into many dialects and is only found in its original form among the earth covered tombs of ancient Daerkur warlords. Ironically, the only people who usually know this ancient language in its written form are very rare Human or Aerkay scholars.
Names: The one thing that is most important to every Daerkur is his name. Their names are the most complicated words they will ever speak, for they are the complete genealogy of their family. A Daerkur may know few things in the world, but he will always know his ancestry for decades and even centuries back in time; a Daerkur who doesn’t is called a Half-Orc. The rarest will have a family heirloom which has the name of every generation for hundreds of years written crudely upon it. In day to day use, however, a Daerkur will have a very simple and short name that he uses. Such names are strong and masculine sounding (even among females) and meant to impart on the hearer the power of the individual Daerkur who has chosen it.
Religion: The Daerkur rarely hold any faith in enough awe to consider following a religion. They do however realize the practical nature of the Druidic Faith and most of their shamans are of this belief when the clan is near a nation that holds many Druids within it such as the Kingdom of Mahn. Very rarely in human lands a Daerkur will embrace a religion which espouses Strength and War as the primary attributes of its faith; such as those espoused within the Theocracy of Hesh and Karnite Empire where many Daerkur serve as soldiers.
The Daerkur within the Kingdom of Mahn
(As told by the Lore-Master of the White King)
There is scarcely little to write concerning the Beastmen within the White King’s domain. The vast majority of the “civilized” groups live within the Vannulvir held lands of the southern coastal Thanedoms as mercenaries; and like the Vannulvir settlers they have sworn fealty to the Lords of the land they live upon. The few that live within civilized lands were the unfortunate result of raids by barbaric orcs and other Beastmen which breed with any woman they can capture. Most of these individuals migrate into the south to find acceptance, although some few have managed to fit in quite nicely in the less cultured areas of society.
The only Daerkur of note is a war marshal that serves the White King. He is in charge of the King’s attempts to either bring civilization to the Kur Tribes or wipe them out as he pushes the border of the Kingdom south. Recently given Knighthood by the King, Sir Ohmbak is indeed an impressive battle-field commander; but rarely if ever fails to offend someone or challenge a fellow knight for some imagined breach of his honor. Sir Ohmbak’s forces are composed almost solely of bondsmen working toward their freedom, mercenary Vannulvir, or other Daerkur who follow him zealously.
Of special note however are the numerous Daerkur burial mounds found within the central forests of the Kingdom. I suspect some petty kingdom was formed there by them after they were abandoned by my race for their failure to defeat the Fhey; but it was most likely destroyed in war against the Dwur Clans living to the immediate west. The Druids seem to know a great deal concerning these mounds, but all are within lands claimed by the Great Druid of Drudach and are guarded by Daerkur Druids. My attempts to investigate these places have been severely curtailed by the Great Druid and the White King. I know that many of the Druidic Daerkur have claimed these lands as inviolate tribal burial grounds; and in the absence of any other theory I will respect their rights and leave them alone. It does, however, raise interest in what treasures from the days of Daerkur Warlords serving the Aerkay may lay within these tombs.
Concerning the Druidic Daerkur, they are a special exception to otherwise seemingly normal habits of Daerkur within the White Kingdom. They are emerging as a militant arm of the Great Druid and are rightly respected by neighboring rulers with any shred of common sense who have eyes on Drudach. Early in the invasions and migrations of the Vannulvir into the southern duchies, the Druids easily rebuffed all advances into their forest kingdom by use of the furious savagery of their Daerkur warriors. Many Daerkur who attacked the Lowland Fiefs, during the time the Wolf Raiders came, converted to the Druidic Faith after battles against their kin and greatly increased the numbers of the Druid Host of Drudach; and it has actually spread back into the Kur Tribes and even into the lands of Vannulvheim. For this religious reason, many Daerkur seek service in the lands of the Great Druid in hopes of finding acceptance and a better life among their kin in the Kingdom of Mahn.
The Racial Abilities of the Daerkur are: