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Red Blade Culture

Started by Kozgugore, November 09, 2017, 01:45:49 AM

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  ¤  Orcish Lore  ¤  Orcish Timeline  ¤  Red Blade History  ¤  Great Spirits  ¤  Red Blade Ranks  ¤  FAQ  ¤ 

The history and culture of the Red Blade clan is as vast as it is old. Tradition plays a great part in staying true to their ancestors' roots, even to this very day. In this entry, you will find all of the lore and culture specific to the Red Blade clan. While not always entirely similar to, or even reminiscent of, common orcish culture or lore, orcs who call themselves Red Blade are expected to know and live by these customs.

The Clan
The Red Blade clan in its present-day form is a descendent of the Red Blade clan of old before the founding of the Horde, also known as Clan Redblade at the time. Although assimilated into the war machine of the Horde, the Red Blade would eventually return under the leadership of its last known descendent of the last Chieftain following the founding of Durotar, Akesha Redblade. Though many secrets of the old clan were thought gone, ensuing events ensured that the traditions of Clan Redblade resurfaced once more. Now, many of the old traditions - even beliefs - of the old clan have returned to prominence, its customs and religion actively practiced by those following the tenets of the guardian spirit of the clan, the Great Wolf Akashok. It comes as no surprise, then, that even to this very day, the Red Blade clan places great stock in tradition and faith.

Because of the old clan's martial origins, rooted in the Red Blade warband of Githya Redblade, the clan has always known orcs of many different colors and lineage. Outsiders were regularly embraced into the clan when they proved their worth and loyalty, and ties to old clans were even allowed to be retained so long as these did not conflict with the laws or beliefs of the Red Blade's own. This dogma exists to this very day, allowing orcs of many different clans and origins to swear their fealty to the Red Blade and its guardian spirit so long as they are willing to remain true to the Red Blade's creed. As a result, the Red Blade's culture serves as the cement by which orcs of many different qualities may be bound together.

The Red Blade Oath of Blood
When New Blood have completed their trials and have been selected to take the clan's Oath of Blood, the following words are to be recited:

'Akashok, Great Wolf and Father of the Pack, witness me now! From this day until the day I embrace my death, I swear that I will honor my people through blood and toil. I will live by the Code of Honor decreed by my Pack. I will obey my Wolfking and trust in his authority. I will not rest until the pelts of my enemies lie at your feet. My fangs and loyalty belong to my Pack and its brothers and sisters. May dishonor fall upon me on the day that I break these words. From this day forward, I submit myself to the Path of Strength/Wisdom/Cunning. My name is ... and I give my blood willingly to bind this oath.'

The hunt is a central theme to every orc's life. For generations, orcs have pursued a nomadic lifestyle and lived off the land. As a result, almost every orc knows at least the basics of hunting. Due to this strong reliance on what nature has to offer, however, there is great responsibility for the hunter. Red Blades are taught only to harvest and kill that which they require. Proper respect needs to be given to the beasts that are slain, traditionally done by thanking it for its sacrifice or reciting a small prayer. To idly slaughter an animal and not using all of its gifts - the meat, fur, bones, even organs - is to commit a serious crime.

The Reddening of a Blade
Among the Red Blades, to draw one's blade as a threat is no idle gesture. This is something that should only be done when one is willing to back up their words with action in the form of a challenge. As such, it is heavily frowned upon to carelessly unsheathe a blade or weapon of any kind out of combat if it is not for either practical purposes or for guard duty. It has become tradition that a blade has to 'taste blood' any time that it is drawn from its sheath. This rule serves to ensure that no baseless threats are issued by any of its orcs, save for when they are truly serious. If a weapon is drawn and its wielder is not willing to enforce the threat or has done so carelessly, the weapon shall carry its own wielder's blood.

Blood Bonds
Though the forging of personal bonds between two orcs within the clan is a strictly private affair and does not involve any official ceremonies with the rest of the clan, the most commonly adhered rite to forge blood bond between brothers or sisters is the one passed down through generations: when two orcs wish to seal a permanent bond between one another that will consider themselves equals to one another as if they were blood kin, they come together in a private setting. Then, they each draw blood from one another's palms. Both palms are clasped together as they link arms around one another, then words of commitment are vowed to each other.
To be a blood brother or sister is no idle task, however. It is a lifelong bond in which the two committed orcs protect one another until death takes either one of them. To betray a blood brother or sister according to the Code of Honor is to commit a serious crime in the face of the spirits. As such, it is wise to consider one's blood siblings carefully, in order to ensure the best synergy.

When two orcs are courting one another in a pursuit of a romantic interest, it is Red Blade custom to signify a more serious interest in the other party by offering them a necklace with a rune of their own name on it. This token is an unspoken vow of committal, foretelling his or her desire to spend the rest of their lives together. If the the other accepts, they venture out into the wilderness together, in complete solitude from the rest of civilization. They may only return to the clan once they have hunted down a great prey together, harvesting all of its spoils and fashioning gifts for one another out of it. The traditional gift is to fashion a bonding necklace out of several bones of the prey, added to the necklace that was initially offered to them. Upon their return to the clan, a ceremony will be held for them led by one of its shaman. Gathered in front of a fire, they each present a bone of their hunted prey, inscribed upon which are their own names and several details of their past lives. Upon the instruction of the shaman, they each cast the bones to the fire and recite a prayer to the Great Spirits and their own ancestors, signifying the abandonment of their old lives in favor of their newfound mate. The two then face one another, taking hold of each other's hands above the heat of the fire's flames when the shaman ritually cleanses their joined hands with fresh water, purifying them both of foregone loves and deeds. With the spirits' blessings, they are then declared mates.

Funerary Rites
When orcs pass on from life, their spirit lingers in the Shadowlands, the realm between the living and the dead. In order to guide their way into the ancestors' embrace, their mortal remains must be ritually cleansed and finally placed upon a funerary pyre. It is customary to include important personal belongings of the orc on this pyre if present. In the presence of the rest of the clan, a pyremaster recites a prayer to the Great Spirits and the ancestors to turn their attention to the journey of this orc. When the pyre is lit, the orcs gathered then cry out to the heavens at the top of the lungs, calling to the spirits in order to guide them to the deceased orc's location so they may welcome the orc to the lands of the ancestors, where they are reunited with old loved ones and the great heroes of old to hunt, feast and share tales with.

Orcs who have lost their way or have committed serious crimes to the clan are exiled by the will of the Wolfking. They will not longer be welcomed as friend to the clan, and any tattoos or markings relating to the clan and its traditions will be ritually burnt away, the orc no longer found worthy to bear the Great Spirits' favors. They are then abandoned to the wilds, left to the spirits' judgement. If they manage to survive the ordeal and ever return to show themselves to the clan again, they are expected to be treated as a pariah.

Wolf Masks
Wolf mantles and masks are a common sight in the Red Blade clan. They serve to symbolize the pack mentality that the clan's orcs have with one another, showing their unity not only through the donning of the clan's colors, but also by adhering the clan's theme that is centered around the wolf. How these masks are obtained, is always left to the orcs' personal experience. Some may wear the skin of a companion or mount that has passed away. Others don the skin of a mighty lupine foe that they have vanquished. Either way, traditional Red Blade garbs are often accompanied by wolf skins and masks, causing Red Blade orcs to be an easily distinguishable sight.

The Code of Honor / The Code of Akashok
Rather than a set of codified laws, the Red Blade knows only the Code of Honor. After all, what better law is there for an orc to live by, than honor itself? The Code of Honor, also known as the Code of Akashok, is the creed which every Red Blade is expected to live by. The Code was once taught to Reggar Redblade by Akashok, and has been central to the Red Blade clan and how they live their life ever since. To break the Code, is to betray the very clan itself. As such, it is expected of every Red Blade to uphold the Code, and to correct fellow clan members if ever they threaten to break it. Upon repeated offenses to the Code, orcs may be punished or even exiled from the clan.

The Code of Akashok dictates that the children of the Red Blade will:

  • Be loyal to their Chief, be it Warchief or Chieftain, at all times, unless this Chief has shown signs of dishonor. Mercenary contractors do not count as Chiefs.
  • Respect their alliances.
  • Only judge others by their honor.
  • Ignore an alliance if dishonorable.
  • Slay a dishonorable foe, even if that foe is helpless.
  • Slay an honorable foe who is not helpless.
  • Be hospitable and generous to those in need.
  • Respect the hospitality shown to them.
  • Free any orcish slaves, unless branded as peons.
  • Avenge any intended insult.
  • Avenge any physical harm done to them in a manner fitting their sense of balance and justice.
  • Fight their enemies to the very end.

The Code of Akashok dictates that the children of the Red Blade will not:

  • Anger the spirits or elements by any means.
  • Betray any person they have sworn an oath in blood towards.
  • Judge others by matters unassociated to their honor.
  • Force themselves upon the helpless, unless dishonorable.
  • Slay an opponent in a duel of honor.
  • Slay a wild animal or any other creature needlessly, unless for revenge, to harvest food or other resources, or to slay a sworn enemy.
  • Slay or steal from one who has shown them hospitality.
  • Take fellow orcs as slaves.
  • Steal the soul of neither friend nor foe.
  • Cannibalize the remains of neither friend nor foe.
  • Worship demons or submit themselves to them or their magics and practices.
  • Trade, bond or make alliances with those branded as traitors or outlaws to the clan or the Horde.
In addition, any warlocks in the clan are expected to adhere to the clan's Code on Warlockry and the Fel.

Clan Gatherings
Clan Gatherings are special occasions when the entirety of the clan is summoned by the Wolfking to discuss various matters of import. Each Gathering is preceded by a short blessing from a Thur'ruk or Gosh'kar, ceremoniously marking the sanctity of the occasion as it takes place under the lawful gaze of the Great Spirit Akashok. Members from each Path gather on either side of the Wolfking, forming a half-circle - in the center of which the speaker or the subject of the discussion will stand. New Blood and any other outsiders of the clan shall stand on the outside of the circle, behind the core members of clan.

Gatherings are used both by the Wolfking to announce the clan's next destination, plans or decrees, as well as an opportunity for the rest of the clan to make announcements, issue statements and earn promotions. Moreover, it is a place to settle personal affairs, from declaring a bond to disputing another's honor.

Rites and Challenges
Challenge of the Wyvern
Various kinds of challenges dedicated to the legend of the great wyvern Sharpwing. The challenges are made up by an orc of the clan, to be completed by competing teams of orcs in an allotted amount of time. These are usually challenges of wits and skill, requiring participating orcs to work and think together in order to gain the upper hand.

When two orcs are at an impasse during a dispute and it cannot be resolved by mere argument, the Wolfking will call for a duel of will between the two parties to let honor decide the just party. The first to surrender, will be declared the loser of the dispute. Failure to accept the outcome of the duel will result in severe punishment given the sanctity of the custom.

Traditionally a rite of adulthood in the orcish clans, it is first and foremost a naming ceremony in the Red Blade clan. Participating orcs will venture out into the wilderness with naught but rags and a simple weapon of their choosing and are expected to return within the demanded time with a prey of their own choosing that is worthy of their honor.

Rite of Cleansing
The Rite of Cleaning is a ritual to be undertaken by orcs who have previously committed a serious crime or have been exiled and found forgiven through great time and effort. It is also mandatory for warlocks and death knights to undertake in order to be tolerated as a Red Blade, should they have proven themselves trustworthy and deserving enough through the Wolfking's approval.

War Cries
An appeal to the head of the Great Spirits, Akashok, to witness the orc's battle and bless him or her with his boon.

An appeal to the Great Spirit of War, Vrull, to witness the orc's battle. Though Vrull is not commonly known to bestow blessings upon his worshippers, he may be impressed with the display.

A shout, Red Blade dialect for "blood", to express desire for the enemy's blood. Commonly shouted in unison with many other orcs present as a chant before rushing into battle.

For the Blood of Redblade!
Previously uttered as "For the Blood of the Tribe," the most common battle cry for Red Blades. Since the Red Blades no longer exist in the entity of a tribe but rather a clan, the word "tribe" is either replaced with "clan" or the name of Redblade is used. Its roots go back to the founding father of the Red Blade war band and its subsequent clan, Reggar Redblade. The blood of Redblade is considered to be all those descending from his family, followers or any newcomers to his clan and its tenets.

Rrosh'ka Valokh!
Red Blade dialect for "Blood for our blades!" This is a reference to the tradition that was first called into existence by the founding father of the Red Blade war band, Reggar Redblade. The war band became renowned for coating their blades in blood each time that they were drawn, following the legend of Reggar and the vengeance he inflicted upon the ogres that raided his childhood village. Now, the war cry has become a threatening shout to the Red Blade's adversaries on the field, calling out for their blood to be shed upon their blades.

Kosh'mahar Ravash!
Red Blade dialect for "Take what they owe!" Another reference to the Red Blade's namesake tradition of coating their blades with the blood of their enemies. The war cry is directed to their enemies, demanding they shed their blood on their blades, as that is what they owe them for unsheathing their blades upon the battlefield.

Shok, Arash, Vrashaa!
Red Blade dialect for "Free, strong, proud!" A war cry that Red Blades may be found shouting in unity, as it has grown in popularity since the end of the Third War. It was in this war that the orcs regained their freedom from the shackles of the Burning Legion, having previously served as slaves to their will to hunt down the Draenei and take over Azeroth. With orcish pride and freedom having returned after the Third War, these three words alone have become a rallying cry to remind the orcs what arduous road they have walked down, and what will keep them strong and united in the face of adversity to come. Never again to be enslaved by demons, humans or otherwise.

Date: March
Description: The first Kosh'harg of the new year, taking place on the day of the Spring equinox. Traditionally a chance for all clans of the Old World to come together in the shadow of the sacred mountain Oshu'gun, where they met with old friends and enemies alike. This is a time to settle rivalries, upsets and debts. As such, violence here is forbidden, instead making place for celebrations, rituals and competitive games.

Date: May
Description: Wor'aggar, or the Festival of the Wolf, signifies the coming of Spring and the time to celebrate the renewal of life. Traditionally, this would have been the time for the clan to migrate to new lands and ask the spirits for good tidings. Offerings are made to both Akala to pray for a fertile season and to Kavara for a bountiful hunt. This is a cheerful occasion all around, involving dance, drink, stories and songs.

The Great Midsummer Hunt
Date: June
Description: The height of Summer and the time for orcs to celebrate the best time of year when the days are longest, the lands are thriving and the bounty is plentiful. In honor of Kavara the Huntress and Mo'lak the Prey, the legend is re-enacted through song and ritual, before the orcs themselves are sent out in small hunting parties to chase the finest, most prestigious prey. A feast will be held from all the assembled food and trophies may be presented, to either be kept or offered to the Great Spirit.

Date: August
Description: Translated to Summer Games, Kra-Mavor is exactly that: competitors from all places of society came together to compete as equals in a series of games, including but not limited to archery, wrestling and wolf racing. Offerings will be made to the Great Wolf Akashok, to which the games are dedicated to.

Date: September
Description: The second Kosh'harg of the year, taking place on the day of the Autumnal equinox. Traditionally a chance for all clans of the Old World to come together in the shadow of the sacred mountain Oshu'gun, where they met with old friends and enemies alike. This is a time to settle rivalries, upsets and debts. As such, violence here is forbidden, instead making place for celebrations, rituals and competitive games.

Day of the Ancestor
Date: November
Description: Hunting season ends, and so the time comes for the nomadic clans to migrate to better harbor once more. Rather than affording a grand feast, instead ensuring enough foods are stored for the coming Winter, it is a sober occasion when the dead of the past year, but also prior years, are honored. The orcs visit shrines dedicated to the dead to pay tribute for their sacrifice. When the ceremony concludes, they warm themselves by great bonfires to share the grand tales of the honored ancestors.

The Long Night
Date: December
Description: This is a time of cleansing, as orcs prepare to enter the longest night of the year at the Winter solstice. Akala the Den Mother is appeased to guide the mating of animals for a fertile upcoming year. Next, the orcs are ritually cleansed of any ill fortune that befell them from the last year, preparing them for a new year to come. A feast ends the occasion, particularly rich with drink, as the majority will have fermented by this time of year. Celebrations traditionally last until the last light of the Pale Lady fades from the horizon, which is not until the late morning.
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade