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Once the rumors of the Elf-Human truce reached the Orc kingdoms, however, the orcs began renewed forays into the world. At first, these parties were sporadic and unprofitable. The orcs who ventured east never returned home, being either killed or captured and enslaved by humans. (Orcs, being tough, strong, and unintelligent, were considered to be excellent brute slave labor by humans.)

Within a few decades, however, a few orcs managed to escape their slavery and return to the western orc lands, where the news of their enslavement brought a fierce cry for a war of liberation to be waged against the humans. (One interesting note is that it is apparently the knowledge of orc enslavement which created the impetus for greater civil rights to be granted to goblins by the orcs. Goblins became second-class citizens at this time, and were also admitted into orc fighting forces.)

Records of the earliest orc wars have apparently been lost, as they were kept in the library of Nepeth Castle which was burned in approximately 350 HE. However, we do know from records found at Fort Vaughn, the major Fort guarding the central passage west through the Claw Mountains, that the Elven Guard, elite fighters from Duendar, were stationed there as late as 214 HE, and were already inured to frequent orc attacks. This fort, which is now located in a desolate area frequented by brigands and dwarven rogues, was once the main defense for a thriving region which included the now vanished villages of Kasico and Danil, which was even further west. A combination of orcish ravaging and a terrible plague decimated this region in 214, ushering in an apparent Dark Age which lasted until 386 HE.

It is in this year that Bardoz returned and helped to establish the Trueheart line and rule. He persuaded Athura, a scion of the line of Rogan, to establish the city of Nepeth around the Castle, and helped advise him as he formed a unified realm out of several separate kingdoms. These former duchies, still ruled at times by titular kings, comprised the 12 noble families of the realm, whose banners can still be seen hanging in the audience hall in Nepeth Castle. (Of the original twelve families, three are extinct and one has since fallen into disgrace. See addendum for details.)

Once humans united their disparate kingdoms under the banner of Trueheart, they rapidly took control of much of the region that had been terrorized by orc patrols and raiding parties, and periods of relative peace ensued. Population burgeoned during the peacetimes, which resulted in increasing immigration into northern areas. This brought humans into direct conflict with the race of Frost Giants, who had formerly remained removed from much of the fighting taking place along the southern and western frontiers. Frost Giants, although relatively peaceable, were already under pressure due to changing climactic conditions, took up arms to actively resist the encroachment of humans upon their territory. The War of the Frost Giants (416-435 HE) ensued, with the Giants' being defeated by the greater organization and tactics which the humans were able to develop as they united under Arutha's son Ywin (who had assumed the throne in 414 HE). There is also some evidence that humans were assisted in their battles by a type of fire weapon apparently developed for Ywin by Bardoz, but the exact elements of this "Lethiferous Fire" have yet to be recovered. Following the removal of the Frost Giants to more northerly realms, both the towns of Neville and Hobbitat were established.



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