Bone March by the end of 563 CY.
By the end of 563 CY, the whole of the Bone March had settled into a new normal, one of humanoid dominance. All the human settlements had been conquered except for the County of Knurl, which was loosely allied with Breka and the Vile Rune Orcs. Those that could escape had already done so streaming into Ratik, Nyrond, and the Northern Province. Knurl itself saw its population more than double, with a sizable number of those feeling there being men at arms that Countess Salvie quickly Recruited into the county's army.
The speed and ferocity of the Cursed Invasion caught all the March's neighbors by surprise. Ratik eventually tried to take advantage of later orcish infighting but wasn't mobilized to lend immediate assistance. The North Province of the Great Kingdom, under the leadership of Herzog Grenell, had higher ambitions and had no desire to assist. It's even been said that Grenell and Breka had worked out an understanding before the invasion. Nyrond had the troop strength to intervene and make a difference, but if they had done so, it would have given the Great Kingdom an excuse to start another war with them. Because of this, Nyrond's troops were never rallied to help, and the March was left to deal with the invasion on their own.
While the invasion was quick, it was initially centered around two major hubs for the March, Spinecastle, and Johnsport. The bulk of the invading humanoids were in the area for over a month as they defeated the Bone March's standing army in the field and then besieged the cities. This time spent attacking these two cities was vital in allowing so many people to escape the fate that befell the citizens of those Spinecastle and Johnsport. Small groups were able to make it to the Great Kingdom, Ratik, and Nyrond, but the bulk of the refugees settled in Knurl or were rounded up by the druids of the Circle of the March. Those refugees collected by the druids were turned into roving nomads trying to stay one step ahead of the orcs and other humanoids. The druids would revert these refugees to a way of living common in the past as hunter-gatherers.
As the year 563 CY drew to a close, the Bone March was divided into 6 distinct and separate power groups. Despite the invasion of the Bone March having been led by an army of combined orcish tribes. Despite the dominance of the humanoids, two human-based groups still exist. The first is Knurl. Knurl's long history of working with the orc hill tribes helped them avoid the fate of Spinecatle and Johnsport as the forces led by Breka opted to ally themselves with them.
The Next group of humans is actually five separate groups of human refugees that were forged into nomadic clans by the druids of the Circle of the March. The druids shepherded them and kept them on the move away from the forces of humanoids, which was made much easier once the orcs began infighting. These groups are located in the western half of the Bone March, where the orcish presence is not as strong.
The Bone March has never been a bastion for demi-humans excluding the dwarves, who were primarily in the Raker Mountains, but did have small settlements for trade in the March. But the gnomes still live and dominate the Blemu Hills. Their contact with others outside of their honeycombed network of tunnels and underground halls is almost non-existent. A few attempts to find and conquer the gnomes were launched by smaller orc tribes, but they were easily confused by the gnomish illusions as soon abandoned.
The fourth and fifth power groups are the orcish tribes of Breka and the Vile Rune tribe, and Gorsh, and the Death Moon tribe of orcs. Their alliance was one of mutual convenience, and both intended to betray the other eventually. Their war would have started sooner than it did if it wasn't for the sixth and final power group in the Bone March, Degtra with her ogres and gnolls turning against Gorsh.
Things Fall Apart
As Gorsh and Gergash started their conquest of Knurl, the ogre mage Degtra along with her gnolls and ogres attacked Johnsport. Some say this was in retaliation for Gergahs abandoning her to face the forces of Spinecastles standing army early in the invasion, but most believe that this was the ogre mages plan all along.
Gorsh and Gergash skirmished with Degtra outside of Johnsport. Who then fell back into the Loftwood, hoping that the orcs would follow to their home territory where Degtra already had ambushes and traps waiting for them. They would inevitably have followed if Gorsh hadn't stopped them.
With the conquest of the Bone March complete and the only possible enemy to fight were the Death Moon orcs and Gorsh, who were fighting Degtra, Breka made some radical changes. First, he began open talks with Herzog Grenell of the North Province of the Great Kingdom. Breka knew that the orc hill tribes within his horde would not sit idly waiting for combat and loot, so he began sending them across the Tessar Torrent to Grenell to aid the Herzog's plans for independence.
While Breka sent his orcs away, he was actively replenishing them with bandits and evil warriors from Knurl, who now had an overabundance. Eventually, many others answered Breka's call for warriors coming from the Great Kingdom, Nyrond, and even barbarians from the north. Breka retained the services of Kekvar and his hobgoblins, making them an intricate part of the defense of Spinecastle. Slowly Breka's horde was changing into a regular army. Chief among his recruitment remained half-orcs. His Iron Fangs continue to grow in number and, outside of his Council of Spinecastle, have become the city's leaders.
Gorsh has found himself caught in a tight position. The Shaman of Gruumsh desires to win the favor of Herzog Grenell to help him aid him in conquering the rest of the Bone March, but he can't spare the troops, he wants. With Degtra in the Loftwood, which his orcs are constantly skirmishing against, he can't mount a large enough force to dislodge Breka. So, Gorsh is forced to sit and watch as the half-orc grows in power. Taking another lead from Breka, Gorsh has begun beating the drum of orcish superiority to rally his troops around.
As a last resort, Gorsh has taken to experimenting on the orcs of the Death Moon tribe with his magics. The results of these experiments being terribly savage orcish monstrosities. Gergash, through Gorsh's guidance, has also become an Eye of Gruumsh, giving the orcs another reason for blind loyalty. Gergash has taken to singing the praises of orcish purity and denouncing all half-orcs as rotten fruit and executing them. Gorsh knows that a battle will be joined soon that will determine who will become the sole ruler of the Bone March.
This concludes the final chapters of the Cursed Invasion from the perspective of the humanoid invaders. Where the story goes from here is up to you and your gaming group.
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