Golarion: 300 ARA
Dale doesn’t talk much about his past – in fact it was a surprise to his allies in the Vampire/Lycan Wars (Macher Kishef, Marisa, Tamuril, and Michael) that he had orc blood at all. He originally joined the hunt for the werewolf because it would be “fun,” and “a change of pace from an unfortunate run in with vampires.”
After being recruited by the vampires, the Geased group met with a lycanthropic alchemist, who was conducting extensive research on a red dragon egg, from which hatched Ikstheriax. In the process of hatching Ikstheriax, and reading what survived of the alchemist’s work, Dale was possessed with a mad idea, and infused himself with with the essence of the red dragon. While far from Michael’s mastery of his Golden bloodline, Dale was nevertheless able to harness a dragon’s claws, bite, toughness, and some resistance to fire.
After the Wars, Dale, with the help of several half-orc agents in the Hold of Belkzan and a declaration of support by Asmodeus, Dale became the Bard King, or just Chief, depending on your preference. The invasion of Lastwall was halted by fiat, and the execution of dissenters was swift. Over the next 15 years, essentially an entire orc generation, the sleepless and ever watchful vampire ruled with an iron fist, imposing order on the orcs.
Over the years, as top down imposition of morality became less tenable, Dale became less active in political spheres. Unlike Bungo, Dale felt “The material plane is the most exciting!” and has refused to leave. Rumor has it every now and then he is elected as a Councilor in disguise, in addition to those times when he runs as himself. He’s spent most of the last 300 years wandering Golarion, learning languages and cultures and alternately helping people in need and playing pranks.
The last reputable sighting of Dale was 79 years ago, appearing human.
Probably apocryphal (in Dale’s opinion this is the best kind of family history) but the story is that there was a tribe of orcs and a village of humans living in near proximity, and these groups naturally mistrusted each other. A tribe of orcs had been forced over the mountains into Ustalav from Belkzan, and occasional hostilities happened between the two groups. The leader of the tribe, Grishnak, was told by his Shaman Zeljka that this was the path to prosperity. With relatively low numbers, Grishnak was loathe to leave the mountains entirely and face utter annihilation should the humans organize themselves or acquire allies. Zeljka was adamant though – the tribe must move from where they were – and closer to the humans, or some great woe would befall them. At the same time, a demon had made its way from the world wound, intending to sow misery and despair among these isolated humans. The demon was aware of the orcs. It killed and replaced one of the villagers, and committed several brutal murders, framing the orcs for the crimes. When the humans attempted to kill the orcs, they were gone from the caves. But Zeljka was watching through the eyes of a bird (some versions claim she was a bird), and saw how the demon controlled the humans.
Knowing the demon to sow destruction without discrimination, Grishnak and Zeljka devised a plan, fleeing from the human warparty. Even a demon cannot persuade most of a village to march indefinitely however, and the orcs stayed ahead out of desperation. Unable to forage for food, or farm, many of the tribe vowed it was better to die in battle than starve. And so it was, but instead of attacking the humans all out, Grishnak commanded that only the demon be attacked, in hope that the humans and orcs might together vanquish it. The orcs marshaled outside the village in full daylight, much to the humans’ confusion. The demon exhorted the village to attack them, and wipe them out if they would make it so easy, but not wanting to be exposed it did so from behind. Grishnak’s bravest had already spent the night hiding on the rooves of the village, in chimneys, wherever they could.
As the villagers made to charge the standing orcs, they attacked the demon, launching arrows and leaping into battle. Enraged, the demon slew many of them, but revealed its true form. Seeing a demon and an orc warband at the very gates of their village, the humans balked, but when the orc band charged the demon as well, they were ashamed, and both peoples let loose a cry of battle. Several orcs burned to death merely holding it down lest it escape, but the demon was slain
Both peoples were more than decimated, and neither had the appetite for more death, even the orcs. It was decided that the orcs would live nearby in the shudderwood, and that at first the humans would share their food in return for killing the demon. Thereafter, there was some amount of trade, as the orcs brought game, furs, and other things.
The orcs needed to remain hidden, for the most part, and the humans never wanted to admit to having orc allies. Orcs and human both vary widely in their physique and predilections, but for whatever reasons, there were half orcs. Eventually, it became sort of an open secret. The pure orcs, with no new blood, became less and less common. In his old age, Grishnak declared that even if their tribe had no full orcs, there would always be orc blood in Ustalav, and that was a victory. Zeljka was sure her tribe was destined for greatness, or someone from it was, but she died having assumed she misinterpreted, and it was simply a blessing to die of old age as an orc. One of Dale’s first cousins was a little more orcish looking, and a favorite pastime was to take someone who had heard the rumors of orcs, or tell them if they hadn’t, and then get ol’ Belgreth to jump at them with a ridiculous ‘RAWR’ face just to see if they would wet their pants. This adventurous spirit, combined with the tribes lingering oppressive need for circumspection is part of why Dale chose to take his adventures far away. The town’s population is pretty stable around 1/3 orc, mixed to various degrees throughout the village.
I lived with my father,
with whom none could compare
though he often said “don’t be a bother,”
So instead I often enjoyed some motherly care
She was full of advice for a life that seemed a throw of the dice
Saying “Practice and learn, you will see
I’m sure you’ll be the best that can be!”
her favorite pastime was to sing
It was as if bells of joy did ring
such a sweet song
was nothing alike a gong
except, perhaps, a motivating tone
a bestirring sort of drone
so I went out, to do my best,
picked up a bow to shoot like the rest
thoughI learned to shoot fast, I learned to shoot straight,
I was sadly too small, to pull a longbow
in the eyes of my father it wasn’t all that great.
All the kids told me “Make like a peasent, and sow!”
Though others would pout, I gave a great shout
and drove them away – how those kids would pay!
I needed something new
perhaps that neither parent could do
I recalled with glee
that while mother’s tricks made the home quite tidy
I’d already mastered these things – I was done being blue
so it was with haughty comport
I set off at a precocious age
to visit the neighborhod sage
but soon, as lads are wont to do, I grew bored with life at this stage
so while I was yet small, and not really so tall,
I once more set off, though farther afield
In taverns and inns I wheeled and dealed
trading songs for lessons
and should you force a confession
twas only some years ‘fore it was women as well
A militia man might say "Now that’s how you hold spear,"
and and elf said “Now listen here, here’s how you hear!”
You see I am quite charming
much better at talking than farming
and at first everyone lent a hand
even if, later, I was kicked off their land.
So it was, I grew long, though my bow stayed short
and this was the state in which I met the criminal sort
bandits of the most nefarious kind
which put my in an unenviable bind
of the most literal variety.
Luck’ly, they weren’t lacking all propriety
I exclaimed “Let’s strike a deal!”
I’m sure everyone can see the weal!
You’re on a bad route,
no one comes down this way,
but the main road is guarded,
all the best ways are charted,
so what do you say,
I’ll go up the road, and sow some doubt
this road is better, the main road is out!"
The leader considered,
in his ear his men twittered,
when finally he clapped and declared
“All right, but I’ll be prepared,
you may be treacherous, so your things I will keep
and the price for failure I’ll make steep!”
Though with nary a stich
my plan lacked even one hitch
I waited for nightfall, when it was darkest of all
crept back into camp
belly down in the damp
and took what was his, and more besides,
a belt of great strength, as much as the tides!
Sadly it was then, the bandits stirred
and having no wish to be interred
with wits not all addled…I skedaddled.
I quickly arrived in a way not at all contrived
to another small town
Really, I’d have taken even a gown,
but they had nothing to spare,
you should forgive them, though, their lack of generosity
one thing they could not afford was complacency
the priest of the temple, at that very moment, attacked
At this turn of events I quite rightly backtracked,
but to leave my new friends seemed quite wrong
and what harm could come from an invisible song?
But things still went poorly
and the thing that should help, surely!
did nothing, for the priest was quite shockingly undead!
That day would have been much better spent in bed.
A pair of pants, that was all I wanted
instead it seemed as if the area was haunted!
Though not haunted, per say,
but plagued in a vampiric sort of way.
In a move with a lot of pluck
a trap was set, and with much luck
a great horde was defeated
(Ok, it was only two.)
Neverthless, with resolve somewhat depleted,
it was time for a break from derring-do.
But if this tale has held your attention
you know I cannot long avoid contention
which brings me back to the present moment
I hope that answers your questions – at least, so I meant.