The Tribes of the Sarai Wastes
The largest land area in Cisterra is coincidentally home to her largest military force. Spanning the expanse between The Dhugdzur Mountains and the waters of the eastern ocean, the Sarai Wastes are a tangle of forest, tundra, glacier and jutting hills and crevasses. Hemmed in by mineral-rich mountains to the north, an endless sea to the east, a vast wood to the south and a grave desert to the west, Sarai is relatively isolated from the rest of Cisterra. This fact has kept Cisterrans safe for years, because the only natives to this area are the violent and innumerable Orcs, one of the only congregations of near-bestial creatures on this plane.
The Orcish Tribes of Sarai are known world-wide as expert horsemen, or beastmen for that matter-they ride wild dogs, boars, or any other form of animal that allows a ferocious, 300 lb. warrior on its back. The Orcs wander the wastes, and frequently raid any settlement or source of food or valuables they find. Their leadership has been very informal for the majority of their existence; most riders follow generals in groups of 100-500. Recently, however, rumors of new, charismatic Orcish leaders have brought fear to territories bordering the wastes.
Orcish culture is simple: fight to take what you want, and fight until the end. This spartan way of life has worked for the Orcish tribes for hundreds of years, and though simple rules like “don’t kill women and children” or “don’t betray your general” catch on from time to time, they seldom last longer than the general that coined them. Orcs do not prefer agriculture, mining, or manufacture, yet own many farms, mines, and workshops. Luckily, Orcs are never short on slaves of different races, and frequent visits to these slave camps by Orcish riding parties ensures the slaves do their work diligently.
Few non-Orcs know of Orcish religious practices, and some even wonder if these savages even believe in anything other than wanton destruction and banditry. On many occasions, Orc mages have been seen practicing various occult magics. From druids to witches, Orc magicians all use seemingly evil means to work their magic. Of particular note are the rarely-seen diabolist. These evil Orcs attempt to harness the incredible powers of Cisterra’s ancient evils. None except the Orcs, and maybe not even they, understand the purpose of the unholy pacts these priests have made.
In a very strict sense, the Orcs have more military power than any other force in Cisterra. In sheer number, the Orcish mounted bowmen and barbarians likely outnumber the forces of Lindel and Chusei combined. Orcish witches bewilder foes to become easier targets for the riders, and Orcish druids and nature wardens use the barely-controllable beasts native to the Sarai Wastes for support in battle. Orcish warlords and generals have brought rumors of organization to the savage raids, and are supposed to be indomitable warriors, mounted or on foot.