Situated to the far north of Phasis, Frosfjell is a mountainous peninsula of almost constant winter, with a temperate and rainy, albeit brief, summer. Although home to numerous terrible creatures that include giants and frost worms, the peninsula’s most famous inhabitants are the Orcs. According to legend, the Orcs migrated from the furthest east steppes of Volga (home to even worse creatures than Frosfjell and eventually settled among the fjords and coastlines to become at turns a mountain-dwelling and sea-faring people.
Considered largely inhospitable to human habitation, the hardy (some would say mad) Orcs have over the centuries carved out a comfortable existence for themselves, subsisting mainly on hunting and fishing with their diet supplemented by herding aurox and farming wheat, barely, and oats in the few more temperate regions along the Frossee.
The region was targeted only once for invasion by the Ilostrian Empire during the reign of Emperor Gaius Mortos I. After several small raids into northern Kernlaendern and Lumeria by a group of orcs recently settled on the Goetland peninsula, Gaius Mortos I vowed to end orcish raids forever and summoned his legions to the Frossee. Though he was wise enough to wait until summer, his troops were ill-prepared for the swampy conditions of Frosfjell in summer. Landfall was slow going and orcish warbands were able to butcher the legions with impunity. Even after achieving firmer ground near the mountains, the orcs stil had a vast territorial advantage. Ten thousand dead legionnaires later, Gaius Mortos I signed a treaty with an association of orc chieftans, opening Imperial trade markets to Frosfjell and mutually agreeing to cease raiding and warfare with one another.
Though Gaius Mortos I’s reputation never truly recovered, the move was ultimately beneficial to both parties, with the Orcs benefiting from imported food and goods, while the Imperials were able to establish mining colonies in the orcs’ territory and extract gold, silver, and numerous other precious stones and metals.
Though their ferocity had been proven sufficiently to the Empire, the steadfastness of Frosfjell came again during the invasion of the Golden Horde. Unbidden by any of the southern races of Phasis, a vast host of fifty thousand orcs arrived in Transoxania from across the Black Sea in a surprise attack that possibly saved Blackraven Spire during a particularly brutal offensive by the Golden Horde. Over the course of the remainder of the war, these orcs never left, some growing old on the front lines, marrying, and raising orcish and half-orcish children who would fight and die in the war themselves. Never asking for any special treatment or compensation for their assistance, it was during this time that legends of the orcs’ savage ferocity and heroism spread across the Empire.
Frosfjell today is largely unchanged. Despite over a hundred thousand of their sons and daughters disappearing over the horizon and into the jaws of the Golden Horde several hundred years ago, orcish society seems reduced, but not diminished. Now, however, something is driving the orcs out of their home. Harsher winters, fewer fish, dying animals, failing crops, and tales of even more horrible monsters than ever seen before all contribute to the droves of orcs, young and old, setting sail for more favorable climes.
While orcish warriors are welcomed wherever there is warfare and strife, their presence is seen as destabilizing in the more peaceful regions. Meanwhile, some of the Dukes of northern Kernlaendern have begun making trouble for orcish settlements along the coast of the Frossee, attempting to assert some foolish notion of their right to rule.