Bone Stories Language in The 5 Shudake | World Anvil

Bone Stories

While the orcs may not be good at record-keeping on paper, they sure do know how to make sure their stories live on...
— a Tublian historian
  For the longest time, people thought all Orcish and calgerian history was lost due to their apparent inability to write anything down. For centuries outside historians tried to learn their cultures if only to write it down, tried to listen to the elder's stories and children's tales for some semblance of what happened in the area on to come out with contradicting tales and the vague words of reassurance that they shouldn't worry, their lives are remembered in their bones. All hope was lost until a calgerian grave was exhumed.  

Bones apparently do remember

During the first calgerian grave exhumation, the foreign historians were met with a surprise: each and every bone was engraved with tiny runes and symbols that seemed to tell story upon story. They were later told the markings were an old version of Calgerian adapted into a pictorial form for the ease of carving.  

How does one carve a bone

The most horrifying part of this process is most of the carvings are done during the persons' life. I'll say it again in case you didn't understand: The carvings are done while the person is alive, breathing, and supposedly still covered in flesh. This inspired many questions most of which didn't get answered.   It was clear that the calgerians do, infact, go to an elder when possible to get their bone stories, and they are a record of what accomplishments they achieved in their lifetime.

Sand Worm Tooth

Many suspect a version of the Sand Worm Tooth is used to carve the designs, just smaller and more detail-oriented. This has not been confirmed by any who actually know how to properly carve the bone but it does make the most sense to outsiders.


Some suspect that needles are pushed into the skin much like one would inject a tattoo, but they go further through the muscle until the bone is reached. From there the carvings are made over a period of time by a carver. While the most unlikely, this is what most historians hope for.

Battle Wounds

Unfortunately, the most likely option is also the more horrific. When an Orc receives a battle wound of some sort, they would strip the flesh enough to see the bone and carve into it what has happened before using a combination of healing magic and necromancy to put the flesh back where it belongs.
  What each version has in common is that they are insanely painful. This is a testament to an Orcs strength. If one can not bear to hold their own history then they do not deserve to be remembered.  

What deserves to be Remembered

After further inspection, it has been discovered that almost all Bone Stories are of either battle exploits or familial accomplishments. These skeletons are a document to every battle won and lost, every station in life they have helped, every place they moved, every person they have loved, hated, and killed. The amount they have written also speaks to their strength, being able to bear the pain of a carving over and over again.
Root Languages
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"I have been asking for ages! I help them with everything they do from medicine to magic- I even learned Necromany for them. Necromancy! And still, they refuse to teach me how to carve a Bone Story. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it...but imagine, being the first outsider to learn Bone Stories.
— a young, ambitious, Tublian historian

The best kept secret

Reading-and ultimately carving- Bone Stories is the best kept secret of the Calgerians. This is their most common form of documenting their stories and it is deeply personal. Even now, an elder must read aloud the carvings that outsiders are allowed to hear about. Any attempt at learning the art of Bone Stories is swiftly rejected.   Even their among their own the art is closely guarded. Those with little battle prowess but a steady hand are often chosen as the next carvers, simply because they have the best chance of living to teach another.  

The exception

The only time a story is told without the help of a carver is in battle. All Calgerians are taught the rune for a kill. This helps them keep a record if anything goes wrong before the tale can be fleshed out officially.


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Luca Poddighe
19 Jul, 2021 19:54

Interesting article. It seems so painful though!

20 Jul, 2021 14:39

Thanks, and oh yes, it is very painful!

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Luca Poddighe
20 Jul, 2021 14:45

Imagine that One of the reasons I won't get tattoos Is pain and you can understand if I would go ahead with something like that.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
2 Sep, 2021 16:52

painful indeed, but i reallllly like this idea. I love it when orcs and other races often deemed as unintelligent get their time in the limelight. so few really look at their culture. this was awesome!

3 Sep, 2021 00:03

Thanks! Fleshing out material and cultures that don't usually get a lot of attention is really fun since usually there are little to no "rules" so to speak besides very surface-level assumptions. It's like a huge cultural sandbox and I get to decide what's hidden :D

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.