Galek was raised in a world of violence. His father, Artak, espoused a campaign of revanchism against the Banner Lords of Kaerok. His mission was to reclaim, with blood and war, all the lands the Humans had stolen from the Orcs during the Red Crusade, many centuries in the past. Artak’s quest dominated every aspect of the clan’s life, and the young were praised only for their aggression and prowess in battle.
Galek grew up as a quiet and introspective youth, and many mistook his silence for shyness. He rarely partook in revelry or raucous celebration, instead favouring books at home or listening to the tales of the clan’s Cantadella – a song-keeper tasked with remembering the histories of the Orcs and the Gaellen Pact. On this steady diet of knowledge and history, Galek had difficulty navigating the politics of his clan. His mother, Arax, only made it harder.
Arax was the Cantadella of an Orc clan from the northern realm of Frostheim – the Humans of that mountainous kingdom had far friendlier relations with the Orc clans living on their lands. The revanchism that had so poisoned Artak and his allies could find no grip in the Orcs of Frostheim, nor in Arax. She had married Artak to cement an alliance, though there were whispers she had been sent to try to temper Artak’s rage. She did not succeed with her husband, but her son proved more pliable. From her, Galek learned the value of life, patience, and perspective, and he sought to avoid partaking in war. Galek’s peers found his values repulsive. As firstborn of the clan’s warlord, skill in battle was expected of him, and they punished him for any lapses. Fortunately, Galek bore incredible strength in his blood, and learned quickly from the brutal attacks from his ‘friends’. It did not take long for Galek to grow into the finest warrior in the clan, second only to his father.
Then Galek’s mother passed on, and there was no one left to protect him from the cycle of war he had tried to avoid all his life. Artak was quick to draw Galek onto the battlefield, but with every step, Galek felt his true self slipping away. Fortunately for him, there were higher powers at play, and dreams of a golden woman with hair as red as his own changed his life forever.”