(Excerpt from lecture given on 11 Sorma, 12th year of King Kelson, by Professor Horence, Universalis Universitatis)
Consider the half-orcs. Only one hundred and twenty two years ago, Jason of Pesh was born of a human mother and a male orcish raider. The details surrounding that coupling are as you’d imagine, and beside the point. The point is that it was the first time that had happeneduntil that day, couplings between the bestial racesorcs, goblins, and so on—and the noble races had always proven infertile. The wombs had never quickened, let alone a stillbirth or miscarriage.
Nanetha was the mother’s name, after the goddess, and she was young, perhaps seventeen or eighteen at the time. She believed that a human had also raped her while she was unconscious and fathered her child. She became worried about her continued safety, and who can blame her? She fled to live alone in the marshes.
One account has a dryad named Feeler acting as midwife, but it hasn’t been confirmed. We do know that the dryads provided care for the young family and enabled the mother, with no farm, to keep her boy fed. She named him Jason, after the hero of antiquity, and they lived in that manner for about thirteen years, at which point they were found by rangers and encouraged to return to civilization.
You almost certainly know of Jason, and how he acted as a lightning rod to others of his kind and founded Pesh. He had no home in the cities of men because they feared his appearance and heritage, despite greats acts of valor and courage. Jason couldn’t live among orcs because he couldn’t understand them. Jason was noble, as the noble races, and the orcs are not.
And so he founded Pesh, and the story of the half-orcs truly began. With his warband The Six Hundred Strong Ones, he cleared out a huge swath of land in the unclaimed marshes, driving out the population of bestial races by the ten thousand, leaving the area virgin and fertile and ready for farming. They called in architects from the world over to lay the cornerstones of walls and buildings, and at great expense the capital city was born.
Half-orcs can be distinguished most easily from orcs in body posture, as they move just like humans do in every way. They do not shamble or scurry like orcs. Half-orc teeth are not all pointed, either, like an orc’s. Some may have extruding canines, but the incisors and molars look just like a man’s. The eyes also look entirely human. They often have thick, pointed toe- and fingernails, but most Half-orcs trim them. Their ears are pointed, but not nearly so long as an orc’s.
Allow me to dispel some falsehoods and rumors you may have heard about Peshites: they are not bestial in character by nature. Many of them are ill-tempered and surly, or prone to fits of anger, but I argue that this is a result of upbringing. Few mothers are willing to raise children of rape, especially rape by orcs, and what do they do? They abandon the children, leaving many young half-orcs to grow up lonely and forlorn as orphans. A half-orc raised outside of Pesh will likely feel an outcast and an outsider his whole life, despite any notable faculties or ability he may have. The bottom line is that Peshite nature and disposition is exactly as varied and unpredictable as human nature.
So what will become of Pesh, recognized as a nation-state only thirty years ago? Will peshites grow and advance and be recognized as the equals of the noble races, over the next thousand years? Or will they be slaughtered by untrusting neighbors, resigned to a footnote in history? You, dear students, may live to know, even if I do not.