The Uordeq race has always been shrouded in secrecy and never fully understood by the other races of Orn. They are dark-eyed and almost nocturnal creatures who are treated with hostility, mistrust, and fear wherever they go, even by their own kind. They have gained a reputation as being slavers, thieves, necromancers, and warlocks. And although there are good reasons for this, only one thing can be said with certainty: The Uordeq dwell in the shadows and do whatever it takes to survive. Survival is everything to an Uordeq.
Uordeqs have dark, owl-like circles around their eyes. Some rare Uordeq have also been known to display other nocturnal adaptations, such as bat-like ears, additional spider eyes and limbs, or supernatural traits. Some scholars speculate that these are not random qualities but rather the progressive evolution of the race. Others say these are mutations.
Uordeq characters must wear black face paint or eye shadow in large circles over their eyes. Many Uordeq wear dark clothing and armor.
Etterachs must wear four additional prosthetic limbs and eyes.
Chirova must wear pointed bat-like ears.
Clinging to the shadows, poisoning, killing without being seen, Uordeq tend to favor silent murder to overt killing. Though not always, they lean toward the evil side of the spectrum because of their covert ways.
Uordeq prefer pragmatism over loyalty. Passing up an opportunity is considered weakness and friendships are momentary matters of convenience.
Because of their paranoid nature, Uordeqs will only drink out of a container they have filled themselves, for fear of poison.
The Uordeq are said to have been created shortly after the Shattering through the experiments of a powerful vampire coven in upper Tarkalsys. As the spans began to form, the Uordeq ventured out across Orn, using their natural stealth to avoid prying eyes. As they spread, they constantly sought a land to call their own, until at last they stumbled upon a mostly uninhabited shard of Sirison. They dubbed this place the Shadelands, a barren desert wasteland dominated by the western edge of the Starreach Mountains, where the inhospitable terrain, predatory wildlife, and an ample network of underground caves gave them a suitable place to build a nation. Uordeq nomads will wander the Sirison desert as a way to practice their dark ways without being hindered.
A legend common among the disparate Uordeq clans is that of Drake Luminesti, sometimes called Drake Half-Shadow. Once an ordinary human monk who traveled with Cassandra du Soleil, Drake was captured, tortured, and corrupted by the minions of Etejeril. His ordeals turned him into a shade, more stealthy and deadly than any assassin to come after him. He would go on to aid Cassandra in defeating the avatar of Etejeril at the Battle of the Fenal Tower, but chose to keep the darkness within him to better serve the Lightbringers. When Cassandra joined with Istensia, it is said she rewarded Drake with agelessness, so he could forever dwell in the shadows and keep watch for the Radiant Maiden. Some say he travels Orn still, little more than a fleeting shadow or a passing whisper, maintaining a constant vigil in service to his mistress. Others claim that it was his blood that was used to create the first Uordeq.
There are three known subspecies of Uordeq. The most common are the dusklings, who are distinguished from humans by the darkness surrounding their eyes.
Chirova have distinctly batlike features and have excellent hearing because of this.
Etterach are the most distinctively recognized, as they have multiple spider-like eyes and eight limbs.
Within the Shadelands and in small enclaves elsewhere across Orn, the Uordeq form clan-based hierarchies. Higher-ranking clans maintain dominance over their kin through cruel and malicious tactics until they are eventually defrocked in equally underhanded ways. Uordeq society as a whole, then, is a seemingly endless string of espionage, assassination, and subterfuge, with the most cutthroat clans rising to power and the weaker clans being subjugated, exiled, or killed off. Other races are largely unaware of these activities because Uordeq enclaves are notoriously difficult to so much as locate, let alone penetrate.
- Initiation Rites - Although the details vary, the Uordeq have been known to practice special initiation rites on those who rise to clan leadership. These rites are designed to be intentionally harsh and obscene, so as to mentally and physically break anyone unworthy of the title. Some clans have been known to employ lesser rites for other purposes, such as initiation into adulthood or even marriage.
- Sublety - To the Uordeq, stealth is not merely an affinity; it is a point of pride. Uordeq enclaves that are discovered by outsiders are disgraced. Being caught by legal authorities is considered a mark of shame. Even many childhood games are little more than contests of stealth, so much so that Uordeq have been known to quip about playing, "Hide and Go Hide."
- Superiority - Uordeq are raised to feel no emotion toward those deemed inferior. This most often includes other races as well as lower-ranking members of their own race. A common method of engendering this outlook is by forcing Uordeq children to witness, and sometimes even participate in, the torture of prisoners and slaves. An equally disturbing practice involves the culling on young Uordeq who are deemed inferior, so as to promote the ascendancy of the race as a whole.
- Survival - If the Uordeq have a redeeming character trait, it is that most of what they do is motivated by survival rather than simple maliciousness. Since their creation, they have been reviled and hunted by the light-dwelling races of Orn, and even their homeland is a harsh, inhospitable wasteland. These conditions have engendered a culture that values survival at all costs, where cunning, tenacity, and ruthlessness are held in high esteem.
- The Dark Arts - Perhaps unsurprisingly, practitioners of the dark arts are held in high regard among the Uordeq. In fact, many Uordeq clans have been known to rise to power through generational blood pacts, and some enclaves are said to feature schools dedicated to necromancy, diablerie, and even blood magic.
- Birthdays - Curiously, Uordeq consider it good luck to kill someone on their birthday. For this reason, birthdays are a closely guarded secret in Uordeq society. Close family tend to be regarded as especially dangerous because of their knowledge of each other's birthdays. Siblings are always especially wary of one another for this reason.
The emnity between Uordeqs and Dwarves is legendary. At best they avoid each other, at worst they will openly attack each other. Uordeqs are mistrustful and paranoid by nature, especially towards others of their own kind. Elves, with their connection to nature, disapprove of Uordeqs use of dark magic.
As a race of infamous thieves, assassins, and warlocks, the Uordeq are known to revere a variety of dark immortals.
- Etejeril - As the lord of all shadows, the Great Shade is a dominant figure in Uordeq culture. Many Uordeq think of themselves as his children, and regard their innate abilities as his dark gifts. They will wear the crescent moon on their clothing with pride.
- Hexadus - Particularly among Uordeq enclaves that traffic in slavery, the Queen of Chains is quite popular. They will decorate themselves with chain motifs or even wear chains themselves to signify their allegiance.
- Secronus - Although he apparently vanished before the Uordeq came into existence, a significant number of enclaves have been said to start following the Master of Shrouds in recent years. And while secrecy and forbidden knowledge hold an obvious appeal for the Uordeq, why any would choose to revere an apparently absent immortal, particularly so long after his apparent demise, remains a mystery.
- Tenaebrus - Much like Etejeril, the Lord of Larceny is a popular patron, especially among Uordeq thieves and assassins. Unlike more traditional followers, however, Uordeq rarely revere his predecessor Thirsife, who perished during the Shattering and so predates their race.
Uordeqs who take up adventuring often utilize their natural stealth to overcome obstacles. Many Uordeq are called to be rouges. They also make use of their dark heritage and will just as often become warlocks and dark mages.
"Happy Birthday"- A clear death threat. Really any mention of a birthday is a sure way to get on an uordeqs bad side.
"Flasker"-Someone foolish enough to take a drink from a container offered by someone else.
"Easier than stealing a baby"- Something said after completing a task without much effort.
"Seasoning"- Euphemism for poison.