Before humans and orcs landed on these shores, Hell County - like most of Fredonia - was inhabited by nameless primeval beings, the mythical Old Ones, which must not be spoken about after sunset; and after they left, talking animals merrily hopped over the grassy plains for centuries. Nothing of these populations remains today. The Old Ones disappeared without a trace, and all the animals left are a few kilotons of pooh-pooh on the banks of the river Wet, which was eventually compressed to peat and is still mined for heating purposes in a few old houses of Hell, but with decreasing economic significance.

Even after the arrival of Fredgar the Conqueror, who established the modern Fredonian Pez kingdom, the area of Hell remained neglected and just sparsely settled by a few shepherds and their flocks. This changed in the late 5th century when rich veins of a black, lumpy substance were discovered everywhere near the Wet. The lumps turned out to be the remnants of a large number of balrogs who, for reasons unknown, were "un-bodied" in this area. Perhaps a strife between balrogs had occurred here before the settlers arrived; but today historians tend to the less romantic theory that County Hell was a nudist balrog holiday resort, and occasionally some of these beings - who are, essentially, spiritual Maiar - just forgot to put their bodies back on when they went home.

Whatever the reason was, these lumps could be mined. And as even the tiniest bit radiated an astonishing amount of heat, they could be used as an energy source of incredible efficiency. So diggers and adventurers from all over Fredonia rushed there and established Dough City, some sort of ultra-capitalist wild-west settlement. They were soon joined by orcs who had run away from their Rogsylvanian masters and were looking for a place to build a new life. Because of their extraordinarily high rate of reproduction, the majority of the population soon consisted of orcs or half-orcs. For some time, while the mines flourished, they enjoyed the benefits of capitalism in its upturn phase - at least those who did not die from malnutrition and rickets, from pneumonia in the winter because their puny wages did not allow them to buy the rog-briquets they had mined themselves, or in preventable mining accidents. Meanwhile, their overjoyed bosses renamed the place Helluvaprofit, a name which has been shortened to Hell subsequently.

In the monarchy of Fredonia, Helluvaprofit had a nominal feudalist government. The Count of Helluvaprofit reigned from the city itself over the industrialized areas south of the Wet, while the Margrave of Wetland - first from Tasthy, later from a marvellous château at Ebbing-Email - ruled over the farmlands north of the river. In reality, however, the capitalist bosses controlled everything, and when the aristocrats had one of their frequent squabbles over minor strips of land, they just rolled their eyes and let them play.



In the second half of the 6th century, the colony encountered its first problems. To relieve Helluvaprofit's narrow, constipated streets, a bold monorail system was introduced to link the city's suburbs with each other and the rest of Fredonia. However, the system turned out to be completely overdimensioned and overpriced, plagued by errors and corruption both in the planning bureaus and on the construction sites. On February 6, 574, the Monorail encountered a massive county-wide technical breakdown. For days, thousands of workers could not reach their workplaces, which triggered a deep crisis of the economy. The sadness of these days still echoes in Fredonia's great epic poem, the Fredoniad, in stanzas 741-744. (All scans from: The Fredoniad. Annotated Student Edition. Pezopolis 713.)

For some time before the crisis, communist ideas had been widespread in these population layers which felt excluded from the boom, but now they gained much more popularity. Communist organizations sprung up like the mushrooms in the orcs' cold, damp living rooms. The Bolshevork Party at first was not the biggest or most influential one, but its militancy and centralist structure allowed it to survive the ensuing repression, as well as the following ebb in class struggle when the economy slowly recovered.

For two decades the bosses thought the worst was over. But even as, in the first place, balrogs were the foundation of their wealth, so also they were their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and found a vein of mithril. The sudden overabundance of that rare metal caused a bubble on Fredonia's stock market which eventually collapsed on October 29, 596, on what is known as Green Tuesday (after the facial hue of the brokers who looked at this day's charts). A long depression ensued, and finally the Bolshevork Party, which had grown to a mass organization, overthrew the ailing government in late November 607. Its ruthless but quite cute leader, Bluh from Handkerchierrowdelf, established itself as First Commissar of Hell, an office it has clung to ever since.

Though one of the most important political events of the late 6th / early 7th century, the Hell Revolution is barely glossed over in one stanza, a sharp contrast to the otherwise elegiac and pompous style of the Fredoniad; compare, for example, the fourteen stanzas 512-525 spent to describe just the shimmering roofs of Feuergarten. One can only assume that the legendary poet Hoomir, accustomed to a life in feudalism, felt a deep unease about these world-shaking events.


Modern times

Soon after the Communist system was established, Hell opened its gates for a new wave of immigrants. Fangirls, a human sub-species notorious for immature behaviour, were universally despised at this time. The fall of Qyool, their ancient homeland, had uprooted large numbers of them, and they roamed Fredonia as fugitives in utter poverty, sometimes not even having enough electricity to tend their Myspace sites. The orcs, who remembered their own oppression at the hands of their bosses, welcomed the fangirls and -bois with open arms. A strategy they soon reconsidered, as these fanyouths continued to do what they were disliked for, running through the streets day and night, hugging, shrieking and blogging.

Enervated and sleep-deprived, the orcs concluded that the only ones who know how to handle humans are humans. So they enlisted a substantial number of human guards to police the fangirls. Luckily, a group of Prussian officers had recently arrived through the Ponds, and policing was the one thing they excelled in. Dealing with the Fangirls, they used questionable methods to enforce discipline, but the important point was, the methods worked. So the orcs held their noses and let the Prussians do their jobs. Their leader, Bartholomäus Fürchtegott Confomromitz, was promoted to the rank of General and put on a high position outside the official hierarchy, so that he enjoyed a maximum of autonomy.

Today Hell enjoys relatively quiet times. The Flying Castle, a mysterious fortress which according to rumours is ruled by a surviving Primeval Being named Matthlu, occasionally ventures through the sky over Hell and bombs clusters of fangirls, but the orcs do not care much, and the Prussians are not unhappy when someone else saves them some work. Smurrows multiply in the ruins of the mis-planned town Empthy, but they are kept at bay by the Wall. Raving lunatics and psychophants, attracted by state-subsidized and relatively affordable booze, drift over from Port Important now and then, but they never stay for long. So Hell today presents itself as a peaceful county with a rich history and culture - a perfect place for a visit!