Flags of the World (Penguin Books: London, 2012)
Royal Standard for use in Ireland
In 1922 King George V was preparing for the first royal visit to Ireland following both the Great War, and the implementation of Home Rule. At the time there was still dissatisfaction in parts of Ireland, such as Ulster, with the new settlement-and security concerns following the Dublin Post Office Siege. The Irish Flag debate [see pg. 26] was in full swing at the time, and there was considerable debate in the Home and National Parliaments about which flags should be flown for the visit. An informal contact from the palace to the Irish Premier about the use of a new version of the Royal Standard for use in Ireland was enthusiastically received. The national government greenlit the idea as well, as the new standard was adopted by order in council. It was flown for the first time in Ireland on 15 July 1922, when the king stepped off the light cruiser HMS Dublin, which had carried him to the ship’s namesake. The royal standard for use in Ireland is similar to that in use in Scotland, and England and Wales. It however places the Irish harp in the place of greatest honour, at the top-nearest the fly. The Irish harp is also repeated in the bottom-right corner. The flag is still used to represent HM the Queen in right of Ireland, as well as forming the basis for the Royal Arms for use in Ireland [see Heraldry (Penguin Books: London, 2004)].
A fantasy world needs orcs. That, since Tolkien, has been an immutable law of the genre. However, fitting orcs into Outlandish Tales was rather tricky. Generally when making a fantasy race for my setting, *I go back to the original myth, and then extrapolate from there. For example, Dwarfs in my setting are vermiform, since in Norse mythology they were originally spawned from the maggots in the flesh of the Ice Giant Ymir at the beginning of time. The problem was that orcs, despite a few etymological hints in things like Beowulf, were created by Tolkien. There were some intriguing suggestions that orcs were originally conceived as an aquatic monster, but I already had the sirens in that role. In the end I decided to make orcs literally Neanderthals, which neatly makes half-orcs a thing as well.
Rvbomally suggested that the Orcs could be the only faction in this setting with the traditional fantasy feudal government, and I have developed to take this a little further. The Orcs are the Low Fantasy faction. This neatly still keeps the orcs as a ‘primitive’ faction, if not as primitive as the actual barbarians. Orcs have no aptitude for magic and are rather unimaginative (not stupid, just a lot less creative than the other young races). As such they have carried on trucking with feudalism long after everyone else has developed more complicated forms of government. This has not ended well for them. Orcish society is not an accurate depiction of medieval social organisation, but is the crapsacky exaggeration popularised by things like ASOIAF. They also of course tend to paint their faces with green *wood before battle, for maximum braveheart.
The flag had to be pretty feudal, but also incorporating the traditional orc colours of green and red. I went for a quartered flag, meant to be similar to the flag of Angevin England. The symbology of the flag is pretty simple, the crenulations on the quarters, and the castle, of course represent good ol’ feudalism and baronial rule. The six-pointed mullet represents the six Chained Gods, who the orcs worship as a pantheon.