The Orc’s Teeth (Hos Schénthed Aurog in the orcish tongue) are an archipelago of islands in the south of the great sea. They are situated closely together to a degree that a strong humanoid can swim between them at the narrowest points on a still day. The land is unforgiving and savage, as are the people. Orcs and humans exist here in roughly equal numbers.
The islands consist of a pair of large islands with numerous smaller isles between them. According to ancient orcish tradition, the larger islands of Sarthorn (called Sáregris by the orcs) and Meruk (called Berogris by the orcs) are the “jaws” of the region. The largest peninsulas of each of these islands are Sarfang and Merukfang (called Sáreschenth and Beroschenth by the orcs), respectively. These peninsulas, along with the smaller islands—called the Middle Teeth (Ódhreschénth) and the Little Teeth (Schenthíth)—are collectively the Teeth.
The islands of the Orc's Teeth divide the Great Ocean to the north from the West Echer Sea and the East Echer Sea to the southwest and southeast, respectively. The Mazavi Sea is situated east of Sarthorn separating that island from the continent of Karalon. Meruk is separated from the Athalish Empire by a wide channel that marks the division of the West Echer Sea from the Great Ocean. The inner waters of the archipelago are called the Orcbite Sea, or sometimes the Catbite Sea (Risoegh Roesigrauth).
The Islands of the Orc's Teeth range from warm to temperate in climate, though somewhat colder in the North. Indeed, until MR 8222, the waters of the Great Ocean just to the north of the archipelago were frozen into an impenetrable ice sheet known as the Stygian Floes. Remnants of the ice sheet and icebergs still float off the north coast of Sarthorn.
The Middle Teeth are subject to wet winds that blow for most of the year, only partially abating midsummer.
The West Echer Sea is extremely stormy, particularly in late summer through the fall until winter, making sea travel north of Meruk preferable to sailing south of Meruk any time of the year. Sailing the West Echer sea in fall is widely considered suicidal, and none are known to have navigated its waters during that season and lived to tell the tale.
Settlements and Territory
Given the large population of the island, over half a million souls by many estimates, permanent settlements are few and far between. The largest city, Dachoen, on the eastern coast of Sáregris, is home to a mere fourteen thousand orcs. Most of the tribes of the Orc’s Teeth are strictly nomadic. In the past there have been ambitious designs by popular war heroes to form empires and kingdoms, but when they ultimately collapse, the orcs turn back to their nomadic ways. Conflicts are a regular occurrence in the region, and most often stem from territorial disputes. The Teeth have forty-seven tribes of over five thousand orcs, and many more smaller tribes. Tribal lands are often very ill-defined, and it’s not uncommon for two or more tribes to simultaneously claim a given portion of land. The smaller tribes, particularly, are especially nomadic on account of their being driven out of the territory of the larger tribes often. Perhaps the only thing that keeps the islanders from eradicating each other entirely is that the tribes can’t possibly occupy the entirety of their perceived territory at one time, and thus a large peaceable overlap in territorial claims is possible by means of simple ignorance.
Racial heritage takes a distant second consideration here to tribal allegiance in the culture of the Orc’s Teeth; thus, a tribe of humans may war with an orcish tribe in bitter hatred, while orcs and humans belonging to one of the mixed tribes may be very close. Interbreeding between humans and orcs, while seen in other realms in a very dim light, is commonplace in the Orc’s Teeth. Most half-orcs of the islands are immensely proud of their parentage, and rightfully so; the warriors of the islands are renowned throughout the world for their strength and determination in battle.
The language of the orcs is the most common language in the archipelago, followed by that of the native humans, Thausic (A language distantly related to Lonic; sages believe the tribal humans of the teeth to have originated in Mazavi).
However, in many of the permanent settlements, Athalish is also common. Cormuk and Nilport are chief among these, as these colonies are lead by Athalish-speaking folk from Karalon and Echer respectively. Dachoen has a thriving community of Athalish-speaking humans due to its colonial past and present trade with Karalon, and many of the orcs there have learned Athalish as well. Port towns, such as Oreon, Kothreon, and Darkon also have many Athalish speakers due to sea trade at these settlements. Stillwater as well has many Athalish speakers, particularly among its upper classes and nobility due to reasons of trade and diplomacy.
Dwarven is, of course, spoken in the Dwarven colony of Duronil, as well as nearby Nilport.
The climate of the Orc’s Teeth is temperate and has numerous forests of cedar trees. The islands, beyond their natural beauty, are possessed of incredible natural resources. Iron, diamonds, and coal are all in ample supply. Additionally, over the course of the last century, the rise of the Volcano Gáril off the coast of Dhroschenth (Longfang) has produced large quantities of onyx, which has brought many necromancers and amoral profiteers to these shores in search of this potent necromantic component.
The tribes of the Orc’s Teeth are also well known for their incredible skill at crafting works of art, mostly consisting of intricate whale bone carvings.
The region has no written history of its own but has many lines of rich oral history.
Arrival of Orcs
According to legend, the orcs of the Teeth were once inhabitants of a distant land to the south called “Hos Dlaesed Bor Groedh” (“The Far Shore’s Lands”), or more commonly these days, Bogroedh. The orcs were left on Gol Lor, but quickly spread to the neighbouring Islands of Orág and Dhroschenth.
Early on in its history, legend has it that two exemplary warrior brothers tried to unify the tribes. These were Beragh and Sáragh of Chathroen. Their empire lasted less than a season before their greed for power resulted in a civil war, and the empire cracked along tribal lines. Of the Chathroen orcs, many of the followers of Sáragh left for Sáregris and formed a new tribe there, whereas the followers of Beragh left for Berogris. Many of the present tribes on Sáregris are splinters of Sáragh’s tribe. Upon arrival, Beragh attempted to recreate his imperial regime by founding the fort of Beroroen. A generation after his death, the tribe returned to its nomadic ways and deserted the fort. The human town of Oreon is now situated at its site. The Berohordh tribe itself lasted for many generations until it was annihilated by the dwarves who founded Duronil. A second attempt to rule the Orc’s Teeth from Chathroen was successful for a few generations in ruling over all of Lor, Orág, Dhroschenth and Sáreschenth.
Arrival of Humans
The first humans in the Orc’s Teeth likely came by small sea boats from Mazavi. They first populated Fartooth, and then Neartooth, unnoticed by the orcs until they encountered each other on Sarfang, around the time of the collapse of the second Chathroenae Empire. Since that time, the nomadic natures of both the orc and human tribes have resulted in a thorough mixing of both populations throughout the islands.
The first permanent human settlement was formed when the Shadowhunter tribe camped on the shores of Stillwater Lake in the Galatha Valley. Ragorth was a human settlement founded shortly thereafter in southeastern Sarthorn. After many generations it grew into a prosperous city like that of Stillwater, but some time ago it was destroyed by the predecessor of the Glisthag and Ochagrisith hudh. Its location was lost and is presently a mystery. Around that time, a human tribe that had migrated to Highfang there founded the town of Lurand. Humans now occupy both Kothreon (Chathroen) and Oreon. More recently, an unaccustomed peace has spread through the Galatha Valley of Meruk, as the influence of Stillwater has grown to the point where Baron Rinayel now tentatively controls an expansive barony that covers much of central Meruk.
The port of Tayoun was founded by traders from Karalon in a deep sound on the eastern coast of Sarthorn. In MR 8215 it was taken over by orcs and renamed Dachoen. Shortly thereafter, the port of Cormuk was founded on a natural harbour in the Saren Channel as a new colony. Orcs still slightly outweigh the humans by number in the islands as a whole, but since the dwarves of Duronil wiped out two orcish tribes from the Meruk Mountains, that island has seen a majority human population.
Dwarven & Echerian Colonisation
It is predominately the dwarven mythology that contains the details of how the Orc’s Teeth archipelago itself was formed by the drowning of an ancient orc god in the Great Ocean by the dwarven god Odenthor, who then turned the great corpse into earth in his death pose, struggling to take his last breath. The bedrock of the Islands is then supposedly the remains of his jawbone and teeth. When dwarves from Athalin visited the Orc’s Teeth a couple of generations ago (around MR 8060?), they discovered that the Meruk Mountains were rich in diamond-bearing kimberlite, as well as ruby and sapphire-bearing corundum, and marble. The dwarves returned with an army and decimated two orcish tribes in the Meruk Mountains, and founded the mine city of Duronil. Soon enough, trade with humans of Echer prompted the founding of Duronil Port, now Nilport, on the coast (around MR 8140?).
In MR 8221, forces from Mazavi invaded Sarthorn and retook the port of Tayoun in the name of Ludimar. Over the following year, the Ludimarites took control of most of the northern portion of the island as well as some of the islands to the west, but were unsuccessful in their siege of Cormuk. After over a year of occupation the invasion suddenly turned into a retreat, and the tribes and colonists were able to drive the Mazavians from the archipelago.