Karros the Red

Karros the Red - student project
  • Type of character (protagonist, antagonist, sidekick, etc.): Protagonist

 

  • Character’s name: Karros
    • Orcs do not have family names, because in orc society birth parents are irrelevant and most positions are gained or lost through martial prowess.

 

  • Goal: To pass the Rite of Passage, which he believes will make the other orcs stop looking down on him.

 

  • Flaw: Naïve and immature. Has a very black and white outlook, either you think as he does, or you must be some form of evil.

 

  • Age: 16
    • The average age of an adolescent ready to embark upon the Rite of Passage.

 

  • Sex: Male

 

  • Height: 6ft 4in
    • Orcs are typically taller than the standard human. This would be the lower side of average height.

 

  • Weight: 16st 6lbs
    • To orcs, both male and female, muscles are a highly desirable trait when looking for a mate and gives a certain level of celebrity.

 

  • Race: Orc
    • More Warcraft and Warhammer Orcs than LOTR orcs. Predominantly green skinned with dark shades of hair, tusks and tattoos.

 

  • Hair colour: Dark brown
  • Eyes: Golden
  • Skin Colour: Red
    • I know that skin colour was one I added, but its important to note that Karros is the only orc with red skin and gold eyes. This makes the other orcs very wary of him, and mostly treat him negatively, from verbal and physical assaults to just plain ignoring.

 

  • Grooming: Rather rough and ready
    • As a blacksmiths apprentice in a society that only values hygiene as a means of disease prevention, he very rarely bothers to groom himself.

 

  • Clothing: Workers slacks and clothes with a dirty brown blacksmiths apron.
    • When on the Rite itself he has a padded gambeson with mail and breastplate.

 

  • Health issues: When cut, a dark manifestation often takes over, pushing his bodies to the absolute limit. This increases his combat proficiency, at a trade of all his conscientious thoughts and morals.
  • Physical abilities: Solid warrior trained in a variety of weapons, though he prefers a weapon with reach, like a halberd or spear.
    • It should be noted that all orcs are capable warriors and excellent athletes. The purpose of the Rite is to weed out the weak.

 

  • Speech (accent): Orcish
  • Parents: Unknown, Ward: Gordal, a master blacksmith and very respected.
    • Most orcs never meet their parents but are instead taken in as wards by one who thinks that they show some quality that might make them a good apprentice to their profession. The warden of an orc is called ‘Pasha’ by their ward.

 

  • Siblings: None

 

  • Friends: None (at the start of the book at least)
    • Later he befriends another orc on the rite with him called Verixe. He makes acquaintances with most of the others, but never does it become true friendship

 

  • Best friend (or person closest to): Gordal
    • His Pasha is one of only a few orcs that give Karros any sort of positivity. Although stern and strict, Gordal drives his ward to be the best that he can be. Gordal also bestowed upon Karros his upstanding (although unorthodox for an orc) morals in the importance of the collective, and every life has something to offer.

 

  • Least favourite people: Morokai, the chief shaman
    • The chief shaman of the orcs, and Warlord Ungol’s left hand, Morokai has taken an almost obsessive interest in Karros. Though young even Karros can see that any visit from the shaman is not about his well-being or education. Something malicious lingers behind the cold steely eyes.

 

  • Enemies: Argor and Braygan.
    • Argor is his half-brother through the blood of their father. He is unique like Karros, in that his skin-color is a deep, pitch black. He too was born with red skin, but underwent a ritual, like all their half-siblings (of which there are dozens) that turned it black. Argor belongs to a separate faction of the orcs (called Pretoics) and has a very high position among them. He offers Karros a place to belong, where he will be respected and feared in equal measure, however the Pretoics are merciless and cruel and go against Karros’ moral upbringing.

 

  • On the other hand Braygan is everything Karros originally wished he could be. A very well respected, powerful warrior raised as a ward to Granden Lammock, the Warchiefs right-hand. He seems to want for nothing, but as Karros witness his selfishness, callousness and sheer brutality first hand, he realizes that this is not who he wants to be.

 

 

  • Pets: Might consider a small injured lizard that he takes care of in Act 1, a creature ostracised by the animal kingdom that is a metaphor for Karros’ own situation.
  • Residence: Gordals smithy.

 

  • Neighbourhood: Iron district, home to those highest of craftsmen, the armour and weaponsmiths. It is overseen by Granden Lammock and has a large military presence.

 

  • Cultural background: Korargen orcish.
    • Whilst most of the other races would consider the orcs as one culture, there are in fact two main cultures, Korargen and Pretoic then a melting pot of smaller ones I will simply call ‘The tribes’.
      • Korargen orcs a more pragmatic then their other counterparts, having discarded family names as a way of striking against the weakness of nepotism. Everything in this society is based on physical might and martial prowess (intelligent fighters always get further then muscle bound brutes). Examples of this might include their lack of stairs, instead using metal ladders everywhere, or the way in which the doors to higher ranking officials are thicker and heavier, so those not strong enough to open the door are not worthy of entering.
      • Fights are common place in the city of Korargr and are often an acceptable way to settle a dispute, so long as they don’t damage goods or buildings in doing so. The grand arena of Jorgunha sits in the centre of the city and serves as the orcs primary means of entertainment. Most fights are not to the death.
      • The currency used is in fact unrefined metal bars, and they are dealt in by weight. The more practical a metal, the more value it has, so Steel and Bronze (alloys are allowed) are the highest in value, whereas the precious metals of gold, silver and platinum are in fact worth very little.

 

  • Religion (and attitudes about religion): Orcish pantheon
    • Very inspired by Norse and Greek religions, the Orcs have a primarily familial pantheon of gods, of which I will list a quick few.
      • Kaek, the father god, god of the land and the mountains. From his sweat and blood and skin were the first of the orcs born. He lives in his moving fortress of Kollitrox deep within the Earth. Whenever it moves, the Earth rumbles and rents in agony.
      • Orak, god of death, lord of Orakna and the endless fields of Nakrand. The youngest brother of Kaek, Orak is deformed, born with the head of a vulture on an orcish body. When an orc dies, his messengers (vultures) are sent to peel away the constrictive flesh and free the soul.
      • Noslak, god of battle and honourable combat, Lord of Goadenhal. For orcs who perish, all wish to be invited into the halls of Goadenhal, where they will stand beside the greatest of orcish heroes, and get to fight them in a never-ending tournament. It is said that any who can beat Noslak will claim his title, though none have ever come close. He is Oraks eldest son.
      • Preto, God of Corruption and Destruction. Not related to any of the other gods, Preto fell from the sky and destroyed all he laid eyes upon, with acidic sweat and baleful breath. He is not venerated by Korargen orcs, but they know and fear his name.

 

  • Memberships: None

 

  • Schooling: Orcs don’t have a schooling system, but an apprentice based one. Combat training is the most proficient of studies. Even literacy is thrown by the wayside, as Orcish history is told rather than read.

 

  • Attitude toward school: Karros enjoyed the time he was schooled by Gordal more than any other.

 

  • Popularity: Large but negative. Most orcs know who he is, but don’t treat him kindly because of it.

 

  • Mentors: Gordal

 

  • Heroes: Karuug and Jorgen are both highly venerated within the Korargen community, and by Karros himself.
    • Karuug was a legendary orc who used his immense 9ft stature (overly mythologized) and war-hammer ‘Earthrend’ to bring the other Northern tribes to heel, creating the city of Korargr and the Korargen way of life as it is known today.
    • Jorgen is a mythical orc who helped Kaek and his middle, lesser known brother Makalak, fight against the interloper Preto when he fell from the sky. Although Jorgen died of his wounds, Kaek used his bones and his spirit to construct the mighty Blackwall, that separates the lands of the Pretoics from the rest of the orcs.

 

  • Favourite sports: None
  • Work experience: Blacksmithing
  • Hobbies: Cooking
  • Fears: Never being accepted by the community around him, and by extension never finding peace after death.
  • Dreams: To become a master blacksmith like his pasha Gordal
  • Life goals (in 5, 10, 30 years):
    • In five years, he would hope to have been granted his own smithy at the bottom end of the iron district (the better you are, the further up the district your store can be found).
    • In ten years he would like to be able to apply for the rank of master.
    • In thirty years he would love to have his own wards working under him, and to be considered a truly great smith, if maybe not the best.
  • Nervous habits: Sharpens his weapon, so he has an excuse not to meet someone else’s gaze.
  • Foibles: Inability to take a compliment.

Backstory

I know that there is already a monstrous amount of words on this document, but I feel that some context might be in order. Now most of this is what in fact has happened to Karros before the start of the book, and although I may explore this in a sequel (if it gets that far), for the first book, I may just hint at pieces and let the reader make of it what they will.

Karros is the son of the Pretoic Warchief (whose name I haven’t yet named because he is only named in this book and never actually appears.) and a tribal woman whom he kidnapped whilst on a raid then raped. This is not an uncommon practice for him, as he has many, many children and most of their mothers were equally unwilling.

On the night Karros was born, a senior shaman Morokai, sensing that he had fallen out of favour with the Warchief and was soon to be killed, stole into the night with the child and his apprentice Trovak.

They snuck through the Pretoic lands, and under the mountains that act as a natural border to their lands. Morokai only cared about Karros’ safety so they could use him to bargain their way into Korargr. Trovak thought he meant trading the baby for their safety, but Morokai’s plan was to in fact take the child before the Warchief and sacrifice it, to show his true change from a Pretoic orc to a Korargen. disgusted by this, Trovak slew his master as he slept, and carried on with the baby Karros alone. To Trovak the baby could possess much untapped power that could later be siphoned.

At the gates to the city, Trovak, knowing that his name would not be recognized, instead identified himself as Morokai. As a high ranking shaman, the Warchief and the other high ranking officials of Korargr had indeed heard the name, and he was invited inside.

Morokai (as he never used the name Trovak again), wanted to keep Karros with him, but Warchief Magrum would not allow it. After all, how could he trust the enemy shaman so openly. Instead Morokai was allowed to remain in the city as a shaman, but the care of Karros passed to one who was willing, Gordal.

Gordal raised the red skinned orc as he would have any other, but the rest of the society were not so kind and shunned the ‘freak’ for it. This shunning became outright resentment and fear a few years later.

The Orcinallia is a tournament for the wards of Korargr to show how they have progressed with their combat techniques. Gordal was reluctant to let Karros participate, but the red orc was obstinate. With some help from Morokai (who had risen through the ranks to High shaman by this point), told Warchief Ungol (the new warchief), that it would be good to see this strange orcs abilities. Ungols curiosity got the better of him, and they threw Karros into the Orcinallia.

The tournament was essentially a massive battle royale and at least a dozen other wards were there. Not wanting to share any spotlight with the red-skinned freak, and determined to put him in his place, the other contestants made a pact. They would only fight after the red-one was eliminated.

Karros was immediately overwhelmed by such numbers, and sadly for him, his fathers blood curse (though he would consider it a gift) manifested for the first time. With enhanced strength, speed and skin thickened to rhino hide proportions, Karros destroyed the other wards. They died brutally and screaming, a sea of blood filled the arena.

Morokai used a spell to incapacitate the young orc and was going to take him away but Gordal intervened. A lot of angry pashas had just lost their years of investing in their wards and wanted violent retribution. Neither Gordal or Morokai would allow this (though for different reasons) and Ungol forbade the harming of the child (on Morokais’ insistence). Ungol commanded the child be returned to Gordal, as soon as they were sure this was an isolated incident.

Due to witnesses, Morokai had to conclude that Karros had no memory of the episode, and assumed he simply blacked out from the beating. He was returned to Gordal’s care, but noticed increased hostility from the other orcs from that moment on.

Russell Hawkins
Working on my Writing