During the Age of Darkness, the ancient dwarves finally fulfilled their Quest for Sky, and the stout folk peered forth from their tunnels and gazed upon a surface world that was theirs to claim. Yet in pressing ever upward, they had driven before them their ancient enemies- the orcs. These brutal warmongers were likewise eager to claim this newly discovered world, and for generations their violence stained northern Avistan red. In time, the dwarves pushed the hordes back into the dark corners of the world, particularly into one large, isolated mountain valley, but there they met their match: an ambitious orc warlord named Belkzen. Belkzen met the dwarven army head-on, and in doing so managed to take Koldukar, one of the 10 dwarven fortress-cities known as Sky Citadels. He renamed this ransacked metropolis Urgir, meaning "first home," and made it the center of his new nation. Unwilling to risk further loss, the dwarves retreated. Although Belkzen's fledgling empire long ago collapsed into dozens of squabbling tribes, the region still bears his name.

The Siege of Koldukar

Since that time, the orcs of Belkzen have waxed and waned with the ages, at times growing so numerous that they threatened to spill over into neighboring nations. Yet whenever the orcs grew too numerous, the combination of opposition from without (in the form of neighboring armies) and within (in the form of treachery and infighting) inevitably saw the orc menace decline into obscurity for a few centuries. The two largest orc uprisings in Belkzen coincided with the rise of the Whispering Tyrant in 3203 AR (when the orcs of Belkzen augmented the lich lord's armies of undead in conquering Ustalav) and during the reign of the blue dragon Kazavon beginning in late 4043 AR. Kazavon, a powerful worshiper of Zon-Kuthon, nearly managed to organize the orcs of Belkzen into a single unstoppable army before he was put down at his lair in Scarwall.

The beleaguered kingdom of Lastwall has found its northern border pushed back again and again bu the savage hordes. The first border, a great line of uniform fortresses known as the Sunwall, was established upon Tar-Baphon's defeat in 3827 AR, and stood for hundreds of years. Upon its fall, the great General Harchist dug in on the banks of the River Esk and created a new line of strongholds, complete with a long, low stone wall connecting many of them. This new position held only half as long as the one before it, falling in 4237 AR. The Hordeline, when it was grimly constructed in 4515 AR by demoralized soldiers and desperate farmers, was a sad affair- little more than earthen ramparts and crude wooden palisades. Lastwall's current border, as of yet unnamed , has held well due to an influx of money and troops from the country's southern reaches, but wise officials know that unless something changes, it's only a matter of time before the orcs once again turn their attention south and history repeats itself.

The Horde of Belkzen