The Orc Occupation had various effects one could hardly foretell. When these parts of the Kingdom were overrun, a few spots maintained freedom. Some say the price was too big.
The Valley is relatively isolated from the rest of the world. The passes connecting it to the wide world are ill-suited for large caravans, but there is a constant (if little) business done. The soil is of mediocre quality, allowing people to grow enough food, but not much surplus. The weather is relatively fine, although the winter can get a bit longer, and rain is always welcome. A nice spot between the mighty mountains.
The Valley was never extraordinary, life was slow and boring here. With the Orcs coming, and the government collapsing, the Valley of Sleepers found itself suddenly independent. The first small Orcish troops were easily defeated, but a larger force soon arrived. All would be lost, if Zelveer did not intervene.
Zelveer was a skilled Necromancer, and found this sleepy place ideal for his job. The practice of his magic was officially outlawed in the old kingdom, and followers of more than one god were after all undead and their creators. But the tradition here was to not care in the matters of others. A good place for a little secret school, and some research. Zelveer was not an evil man, as one would expect, he even became some kind of patriot. Seeing the defeat of their defense coming, he revealed his Art and sent the corpses of both attackers and defenders back into the fight, ending the first battle.
Many disputes arose, many voices argued, but in the end the pragmatic solution was chosen: Undead were a usefull addition to the small troops. And later… who knows.
The Orcish Occupation took more than three hundred years.
The Academia of Necromantic Magics stands in the capitol town. Undead are extensively used for every possible purpose. After extensive research in necroalchemy, special collars or amulets attuned to the owner control the Undead so you don’t need a Necromancer to command them all the time. Most of the households do have a few, and a life-time guarantee for your undead servant is currently the hit. Life has become comfortable, because most easy and hard tasks are taken care of. People slowly enjoy the comfort they have, but have become lethargic and passive. They are probably more accustomed to magic than any other folk.
The Academy of Necromantic Magics
The students, along with their duties of cleaning the labs, and conserving the bodies, study as normal, concentrating on Anatomy and Necromancy. The more advanced students are allowed to repair undead, and later sent on journeys as repairmen. If they are deemed ready, they are taught the Animation formulas and became Animators. Some manage to end their career as Imprinters. The last few principals of the Academy were Imprinters, by the way.
But its life is more than about Animating; there is a large Research Faculty, talented Necromancers search here for new ways, and often merge their powers with Alchemy. The latest hit of necroalchemy are special collars or amulets attuned to the owner, so one doesn’t need a skilled Necromancer to precisely command Undead.
The Faculty of Higher Medicine is the pride and image-improver of the whole Academy. Knowledge gained from studying the dead and living bodies is put to good use here, as doctors are trained to use Necromancy for healing. Note that these are too common magic-users, and no clerics. While they lack the power to actually return health, they are able to close wounds, thus stopping bleeding, and are very good at repairing fractures (which, in turn, clerics have often problems with).
Standing in shadow of these parts of the school, is a small contingent of guards, without an official name. With many in the Research, and others dispersed around the Valley, they take care of any Undead out of control, and sometimes hush up possible scandals. Well-trained and armed against Undead, they can take out most lesser types quickly and are not without means against the more powerful ones.
Unknown to most, the Academy has control over the bones of a dragon, used for special missions, carrying spies or sensitive goods. While certainly a shocking sight, it is not to be compared to a real dragon, and could be easily killed by mortals. For these reasons (and the need for permanent presence of a skilled Necromancer) it has seen little use yet.
Government and Laws:
The Council of Four rules the Valley, one for The City, two for the villages and little towns, east and west, and one for The School.
The laws of old kingdom were expanded in some parts, particularly those dealing with Undead. (The “Slay them!” part was removed.) There are numerous precise rules that must be followed, from procuring the corpse, through its Raising, to the guarantee and what happens if something goes wrong.
Another part of laws deals with citizen rights. All citizens learn basic reading and writing, are protected during childhood, etc. Other rights are guaranteed too, BUT can be sold. Yes, sold for hard cash. If you are out of money, you may exchange higher education, the right for eternal rest, and the right to vote and be voted.