The Pale Dominion is a strange entity that is very misunderstood from the outside, often seen as a place of horrors, inhabited by monsters and the living dead. What is not understood about them as outsiders never tread there, not because there is an innate hostility there but out of fear of the unknown. So what is missed is the rich Culture of the peoples of the dominion, the art, food, lifestyle, and ideals of this hardy and proud people. First however let us take a look at the history of its founding.
The Pale Dominion, its Forests and mountains unnamed, were not always a place feared but instead it was an empty local, with no residents of note besides the occasional fur trapper. This was not to be so forever as in distant Kingdoms a people would be displaced, a culture hated for its Necromancy, as it violated many laws, and was plainly reviled. These people were the Pale Orcs, they were of a fairer complexion, skin white like a corpse, eyes black and pupils of varying hues. The Pale Orcs were nomadic for centuries, and never congregated in great numbers for they were hated so much.
There came a time when maybe not remember where these Pale Orcs were to be hunted down and slain, to rid them and their dark practices from the world. They Retaliated and eventually came under a single banner, as they came from various city states and kingdoms, driven away by their occupants. One Orc among them Arose, Errukai the First Warlock, he tapped into his peoples religion and practices to a deeper extent than any before him, taking darkness and death into himself like none before. His people rallied behind him, calling for the death of those that hated him, but he was a Priest for his people and he did not want to give his enemies fuel for their anger, to justify their unjust treatment of his people, and so his people came to reside in what would be known as the Pale Dominion, and from their he rose an Army of Undead so massive that its would become a legend to haunt the ages. It was said to be uncountable in number, and the bones of monster ancient and unknown were among its number. Fear was the result, one that cause the Armies of these surrounding nations to cower, and retreat in fear, with nary a casualty besides those who were trampled by their own kinsmen as they ran.
That day though faded into memory, and from memory to legend, and from legend to a bedtime story of why to never venture into the Pale Dominion, lest they seek the wrath of untold horrors. Errukai had accomplished a great victory, and his people became isolationists and prospered for a while. He taught his people peace, but he also kept to his people’s culture, and the search for perfection in life, either in the arts or in combat. Their Anger faded in time as they grew in number, and they took in Ogre Refugees as well and soon the ogres became an equal in their society as well. Errukai became a legend, in showing perfection in power, and perfection in restraint and his bones are Relics to his culture, held in honorable display in their Central Death Temple.
There are no known recordings of their Culture and Religion outside out the Dominion, and so there is little understanding besides the fear that they are all great and terrible Necromancers. This is only partially true, as Necromancy thrives as it is key to their Religion, but it is only used in War as an expression to honor the dead, giving those who fought in life a chance to fight in death. The Religion can be explained as thus, They worship Death as a Deity, not one to fear but to honor and find comfort in, an all powerful deity represented by a natural force that all natural creatures are subjected to, an inevitable death. They find comfort and community in this fact, and so Life is a gift and Death is a respite. In their view the body is temporary and so to perfect oneself in some facet is key, as the Soul moves on after death to its reward in the After Life.
Through the Practice of Necromancy, consultation with the dead can be sought, and to seek the wisdom of ancestors. In combat it was applied as it was the naturally apparent next step, as they value perfection in honorable combat, and to give use to the bones of the deceased was to give their memory a chance to fight again, and so honor the spirit of a great warrior or to give a chance for one who may have not been a warrior to do so in death, as not all can pursue combat for the society to thrive. To this effect the most basic expectation of any in The Pale Dominion is to be active and healthy, so as to have a worthy vessel to live in and leave a worthy vessel to serve your people in death.
The Arts, like Combat, are also appreciated and honored as highly. Music, carvings, beads and weaving, Tattooing, painting, architecture and the like are all prized and reflect the people’s sentiments. Life and Death are always depicted as beautiful things and not something to mourn too long. These facts of their lives are ones that have never been seen by foreigners, even though the borders have been open for quite some time, people avoid it entirely if they can, not knowing the people within no longer hold a resentment towards the world outside.
Trade is a precarious thing for The Pale Orcs and Ogres, they have abundant Metals, Coal, and Lumber to trade as well as furs and game meat. They have managed to only to establish trade with people’s ignorant of the legends of the areas, and so have created faux establishments manned by Troops in places away from their homeland and on good roads in isolated places. They bring in their goods and trade it from there with passerby as well as frequent trade contacts. Their trade is mostly land based and they trade for cloths, food stuffs, spices, fruit, as well as trading for precious materials not found in their region.
Through these disguised establishments another frequent trade is for mercenaries, Death March Troopers, Either Orc or Ogre, and Silent One Crossbowmen. They Serve whoever pays well, and serve honorably, with they only true requirements of their service being they will no act dishonorably and that if they perish their body must be returned to where they were hired from, other than that they speak little and the Silent Ones understandably less. This is to avoid discussing where they come from for fear of discrimination or to attract negative attention for their people. Time will tell if they are accepted into the larger community or reviled, who will befriend them or despise them and those who care not either way, may find an army that can be bought for the right price.