Welcome back stalwart fans and scholars of the World of Greyhawk to the return of GREYHAWKERY. In this post and others to come, I vow by the quill of Delleb and the staff of Boccob that I shall endeavor to continue developing and documenting all things related to the disreputable land of Ull. To start us off, I present the third installment of Rulers of Ull a series where I educate you civilized folk on the history and exploits of Ull's mighty Orakhans. Before you continue on however, be sure to read about Ull's two greatest heroes, Kuchakar the Dragon Slayer and Ulzhak the Golden. Once you are caught up, sit back by the campfire and ponder the ancestral origin of Ull from over 900 years ago: The Rise of Ulaghai Ora Khan.
Ulaghai Ora Khan "the Conqueror"
Orakhan of Ull from 2310 to 2340 BH (-350 to -320 CY)
(CN male human barbarian 15)
When discussing the remote land of Ull and its vague history, any respectable lore-keeper will start at the very beginning, over nine hundred years ago with one man, Ulaghai Ora Khan. Stories told about his adventures and accomplishments will wildly vary. This is one sages' account.
Shaped by DestinyWith the ancient Baklunish Empire shattered by the Invoked Devastation, the horse nomads of the plains were unbound and free to roam into the newly created Dry Steppes for plunder, while other tribes fought against each other working as mercenaries for the burgeoning realms of the Dramidj coast. Over several decades, one warlike tribe named the Uli had grown rather large and powerful by virtue of their equally abundant horses. The Uli were led by the ambitious warlord Ulaghai Khan, a ferocious warrior who could trace his lineage to before the Great War. As a young man, Ulaghai had been taught well by his father, and the new khan carried on his ancestors' battles; settling feuds with opposing tribes, vanquishing humanoid raiders, and by example of his strength and bravery attracted many disaffected nomad families to his banner. By the time the Uli were nearly dominant on the plains, Ulaghai Khan had even caught the attention of the shining realm, Ekbir to the north. Ten times did Ulaghai rebuff gifts and invitations to Ekbir so he could swear fealty to the caliph. When the overtures stopped, the ever-wary warlord became certain that new enemies would someday rise up against the Uli. Indeed, vicious rumors had spread to the khan's ear that the Satraps of Ghayar and Ekbir both had designs on the Uli. While the battle tested Ulaghai welcomed a new challenge, the young warrior's wisdom had surpassed his forebears. He knew something had to change for his people to survive in the long run.
As the size of the tribe increased, so did their need for more water and grazing lands. In -350 CY Ulaghai turned his gaze to the grasslands between the Ulsprue Range and the Barrier Peaks. These lands, unaffected by the Invoked Devastation, were now ripe to conquer since the massive exodus of Oeridian tribes during the Great War had left little except the determined Yorodhi to defend their villages and flocks. Diverting suddenly from their normal nomadic pattern, the Uli horde led by the resplendently armored Ulaghai descended upon the Yorodhi, razing a handful of villages to the ground. Within a few weeks, the invading nomads occupied the fertile northern territory with very little resistance. Faced with a massacre, the greater part of the Yorodhi had fled south, while the Oerids who stayed behind were instead subjugated and put to work. Ulaghai the Conqueror took the title Ora Khan over several large Uli families now with their own loyal khans. Thus, Ulaghai founded the land of Ull.
At first, the Uli were content returning to their nomadic ways, assured by their strong ruler that they at least had the encircling mountains to protect their families. Ulaghai Ora Khan was not content, however. As time passed, the Conqueror expanded Ull further southward, this time absorbing entire villages intact. Despite this, the Yorodhi fought the occupiers at every turn. The Orakhan was so impressed by the Oeridians' use of polearms to repel his riders that these long weapons are still employed in southern Ull to this day. Eventually, Ulaghai's forces pushed the remaining Yorodhi into the foothills as their last refuge. The experienced warlord had no intention to bring his riders into those craggy highlands though. With the Yorodhi contained, Ulaghai ended his campaign at the ruins of Old Kester, the largest of Oeridian settlements from the age before the Twin Cataclysms. Looking down the wind-swept escarpment and toward the Dry Steppes on the horizon, he knew that Ull was finally secure.
Time passed by swiftly for the first Orakhan. The warlords of Ull settled into a semi-nomadic lifestyle and their numbers grew. Rival Paynim tribes that once competed for resources, now gave Ull a wide berth. The Conqueror had no more enemies to fight. In fact, the Baklunish states to the north had all but forgotten the Uli and would not try to have dealings with them for many years to come. Now well past his prime, the aging Orakhan looked ahead to passing on his rulership and desired to create rather than destroy. Following the example of the Yorodhi, the Conqueror rebuilt Kester from the bones of the Oeridian foundation in -323 CY. Still a warrior at heart, his vision was for the town to be a walled outpost to defend against hostile tribes from the Dry Steppes. As his health rapidly declined, Ulaghai made sure to pass on his knowledge of war, diplomacy and also nation building to his eldest son and heir, Khuzhun who would go on to be named "the Builder". A few years later on the open prairie, as the sun set behind the Ulsprue Range, Ulaghai Ora Khan joined his ancestors and went into legend.