Orcs, also called Orsimer or "Pariah Folk" by followers of Trinimac and in ancient times, and Ornim in their native tongue, are the elves of the Wrothgarian Mountains, Dragontail Mountains, Valenwood, Skyrim and Orsinium (literally translated as "Orc-Town"). They are noted for their unshakable courage in war and their unflinching endurance of hardships. Orcs have elven blood, but are usually considered to be both Beastfolk and Goblin-ken.
In the past, Orcs were widely feared and hated by the other nations and races of Tamriel and were seen as nothing more than uncivilized beasts, savage barbarians. The Orcs are as civilized as any of the other races, having worked hard to be seen as actual people. They have slowly won acceptance in the Empire, in particular for their distinguished service in the Emperor's Legions. Many Orcs in the Third Era have actually received an Imperial education as a benefit of serving the Imperial Legion. Orc armorers are prized for their craftsmanship, and Orc warriors in heavy armor are among the finest front-line troops in the Empire, and are fearsome when using their berserker rage.
Orcs have a lifespan similar to that of humans, possibly because according to the Nords, Shor passed a curse Orkey had placed on the Nords onto the Orcs.[UOL 1] While many Imperial citizens regard Orc society as rough and cruel, the Orcs consider themselves to be stern, fair, and just. The Orcs of the Iliac Bay region have developed their own language, known as Orcish, and have often had their own kingdom, Orsinium.
According to most accounts, the Orcish race was created when their patron god Trinimac was transformed by Boethiah. He became Malacath and his faithful became the cursed folk, or 'Orsimer', and were henceforth known as Orcs.
The Orcs say that Trinimac was enraged by Veloth and his cult trespassing on Tamriel during their exodus, and challenged his patron Boethiah to a duel. Just as Trinimac was about to succeed, a second Prince, Mephala, interfered and stabbed Trinimac in the back. Boethiah used the opportunity to curse Trinimac, transforming both him and his followers as well as casting him into a place of choking air and ash. There, Trinimac was reborn in his blood and rage and became Malacath, the God of Curses. The Dunmeri account of events begins much the same, but Boethiah instead triumphs over Trinimac alone and devours him whole. He proceeds to take Trinimacs form and speak with his voice, and together with Mephala showed the Chimer the rules of the Psijic Endeavor. Once he finished, he relieved himself of Trinimac there on the spot. That excrement became Malacath, and his followers became the Orcs. A disguised Malacath, when told one of these accounts, derided the story as being too "literal-minded".
There are several unexplained inconsistencies in these accounts. While some stories claim that Trinimac's duel with Boethiah occurred in the Dawn Era, Saint Veloth's exodus to Morrowind, which preempted it, was safely within the Merethic Era. Several accounts also exist that seem to imply certain tribes of orcs were present in Tamriel before Aldmeri explorers ever set foot on the province, and thus before the Orcs' supposed creation. Orcs claim they have lived in Skyrim since before the Nords came, and that Malacath blessed the lands solely for them.
While there is speculation that the 'Orcs' discovered by Topal the Pilot may have been a wholly different kind of Cursed Folk, oral traditions within both the Wrothgarian Orcs and Wood Orc societies claim that they have lived in that land since the Dawn Era, long before the Altmer or Bosmer settled there. Whether or not they were always there, they have eternally felt compelled to return "home" to the Wrothgarian Mountains.[UOL 2] Some Orcs have even gone so far as to claim that Malacath has been lying to them and that Trinimac still lives, including notable figures like Gortwog who very briefly made this the official doctrine of Third Orsinium. The conflicting nature of these stories, alongside the diaspora of Orcish culture, has made finding a single agreed-upon origin for the Orsimer an exceedingly difficult task.
The Orcish people were ostracized and persecuted for much of their early history. Many ancient Orcish champions fiercely defended whatever borders they could carve out, such as Gromma the Hairless and Emmeg Gro-Kayra, the son of Malacath who defended the clan of Normar Heights, near present-day Northpoint. Another tribe of Orcs were known to have lived around Lake Halcyon before being displaced by Ayleid refugees from Nenalata between 1E 375 and 1E 452. Many other tribes chose to remain in, or even underneath, the Wrothgarian mountains of High Rock, such as Clan Morkul. After the rulers of the Summerset Isles set free the enslaved betmer at the turn of the First Era, many Orcs and other goblin-ken fled north to High Rock after being allowed to settle north of Valenwood. This sudden influx of clans and people led directly to the founding of the first Kingdom of Orsinium in the Wrothgarian Mountains. Many other orcs chose to settle elsewhere. For example, the Wood Orcs chose to remain within Valenwood, while Orcish raiding parties had settled as far east as Morrowind and as far as the northern wastes near Saarthal of Skyrim, where they clashed with Chimer and Atmorans. No matter what, Orcs had no province of their own and were thus viewed as a constant threat to the other races, especially once the Ra Gada would arrive and further displaced many Orcish clans of Hammerfell.
Sometime between 1E 668 and 1E 700, High King Wulfharth, made peace with the Orcs, who centuries before counted among his enemies, and forged an alliance between the two races in order to bolster his forces. The combined Nordic and Orcish army would clash against the Dwemeri armies at the Battle of Red Mountain.
In 1E 874, when Warlord Thulgeg's army of Orcs and Goblins was driven from Hammerfell by the Redguards, the Bretons denied them passage through Bangkorai Pass and forced them to flee northeast, trudging all the way through the Dragontail Mountains before they finally reached Orsinium. Tensions would only continue to fray as Orcish raids on human settlements increased in frequency, despite Orsinium's subversive actions angering Malacath. In the tenth century of the First Era, King Golkarr of the Orcs amassed an army and was determined to seize control of the Bjoulsae River, upon which the nomadic Breton Bjoulsae River Tribes lived. They intended to force Wayrest to pay to regularly to use the river for travel and trade.
In 1E 948, King Joile of Daggerfall used the extremely antagonistic actions of the Orcs to his advantage, forming an alliance with the Order of Diagna and Sentinel. Their combined might laid waste to the first Kingdom of Orsinium, which had long since lost the favor of Malacath. This event became known as the very first Siege of Orsinium, though the Direnni claim to have actually been the first to sack the city. After driving the Orcs out of High Rock, Joile would go on to betray his allies and attempt to invade Hammerfell.
The concept of Orsinium still endured in Orcish society, however, and a second Orsinium was later accepted as a territory of the Second Empire during the reign of the Akaviri Potentate Savirien-Chorak. This only lasted until the assassination of Savirien-Chorak in 2E 430, after which Orsinium lost its status and protection as an Imperial territory. This resulted in another sacking of the city in 2E 431, an assault which was spearheaded by the Bretons of Shornhelm.
The Bretons once again seized control of the land and scattered the Orcs across northern Tamriel. Some Orcs chose to retreat to their strongholds in northern Wrothgar, while others set out to reassert ancient territorial claims in Skyrim. Chief Yashnag gro-Yazgu in particular succeeded in carving out a chiefdom in western Falkreath that persisted until 2E 467, when Yashnag and his champions were slain by Hakkvild Yashnag-Slayer, the Jarl of Falkreath, in a ritual of single-combat.
In the mid-Second Era, Orsinium was controlled by the Daggerfall Covenant, and was given to Kurog gro-Bagrakh's clan as a reward for helping King Emeric defeat Ranser, the king of Shornhelm. Kurog would end up becoming the king of Orsinium, which subsequently joined the Second Daggerfall Covenant.  The Orcs aiding King Emeric would push Ranser over the edge, and he ordered his Spymaster round up many Orcs in Rivenspire and had them interrogated and executed. The Spymaster would end up murdering hundreds of innocent Orcs during the course of Ranser's War as a result.  Race relations between the Bretons and Orcs improved during the Covenant's existence, despite the persistence of anti-Orc sentiment. King Kurog himself was brought down by internal Orcish politics - largely of the making of his own mother, playing off the religious extremist factions of Trinimac and Malacath and culminating in an attempt to massacre other Orcish chieftains and frame Kurog's former friend turned critic, Bazrag gro-Fharun: the latter in fact was entirely innocent of any plotting, and was chosen by the surviving Orcish chieftains as King of Orsinium to replace the fallen Kurog. Despite his own distaste for city life and preference for the traditions of independent strongholds with no central ruler, Bazrag accepted the title, kept to Kurog's international agreements and remained part of the Daggerfall Covenant.
Another incarnation, sometimes called Nova Orsinium, was created by Gortwog gro-Nagorm in 3E 399. He gathered enough power to force Emperor Uriel Septim VII to formally recognize Orsinium as an equal of the other lesser kingdoms of the Iliac Bay region. During the Warp in the West, Orsinium was one of the four kingdoms to gain control of the Numidium, conquering the surrounding kingdoms and baronies before swearing loyalty to the Emperor.
Early in the Fourth Era, Orsinium was once again sacked by the Redguards and Bretons. The Imperial Legion, surprisingly, sided with the Orsimer in this conflict and would go on to save and transplant many Orcish refugees into other Imperial territories, like Skyrim. Orsinium was later rebuilt in the mountains between Hammerfell and Skyrim. By the time of the Great War, Orcs were fully integrated into Cyrodiilic society. Orcs were able to rule as vassals under the Empire, such as the gro-Batul dynasty of the Bloodfall Kingdom.
Even though Orsinium is considered the home of the Orcs, they are known to have settlements all around Tamriel. At the time of Kurog's rule, the whole of Wrothgar was dotted with Orc strongholds. The isle of Betony was inhabited by the Seamount Orcs in the mid-Second Era. The Orcs often settled in Skyrim, founding strongholds like Dushnikh Yal, Largashbur, Narzulbur, Mor Khazgur, Cradlecrush and Grezogbur. The height of Orcish power in Skyrim came in the mid-Second Era when Yashnag gro-Yazgu established an entire chiefdom in Falkreath before he was killed. Many tribes inhabit Valenwood, known collectively as the Wood Orcs, whereas Iron Orcs inhabit the Dragontail Mountains, particularly the region known as Upper Craglorn. In the northern hills of Morrowind, there are the Malahk-Orcs.[UOL 3]
The Orcs have considered themselves outcasts like their deity Malacath, and this is reflected in much of their culture. For instance, unlike other races, the Orc tradition is to have weddings take place at midnight. Traditional Orcish society is centered around stronghold settlements, each one striving for complete independence in all matters. Orc society is based on polygyny—a stronghold's tribe is controlled by a chieftain, who is the literal alpha male: no other males are permitted to take wives or father children. The chieftain is replaced by whichever one of his sons grows strong enough to challenge and kill him. The strength of a tribe (and the favor granted to it by Malacath) depends heavily on the personal strength of the chieftain.
The law of the Orcs is based on the Code of Malacath, an unwritten law. The Code prohibits things such as theft and unwarranted violence, but also places heavy emphasis on honor and personal strength in resolving conflicts. Orcs do not use imprisonment as punishment: those who violate the code must either pay material compensation or pay a "blood price", which entails allowing the one they offended to spill their blood until the price has been satisfied. Some Orcs use a scale for weighing out blood price amounts, with different gold weights labeled "Chief", "Wife", and "Warrior". In other cases, some Orcs keep detailed a record of all of the grievances and insults their family has suffered, with dates, specifics, and planned responses.
Orc women are expected to contribute to the strength of the stronghold just as men, as warriors, hunters, or herbalists. Traditionally, the Orcish art of smithing is done by the women, and a chieftain's second wife is called the forgewife for this reason. The chieftain’s first wife is known as the huntswife and is responsible for patrolling the stronghold and providing the stronghold with game. Other roles for wives include the hearthwife, responsible for more domestic duties in the stronghold and shieldwives, who can serve more as bodyguards to the chieftain. A wise woman handles a tribe's spiritual matters and healing needs. Some clans, such as the Kalmur, physically represent the bonds and memories of their stronghold as a "totem spirit". This spirit is protected by the clan wise woman, who will in turn commune with it for advice when necessary. However, Orcish society is still very patriarchal. All stronghold women are either the wives or daughters of chieftains, with the exception of the wise women, who are typically the mothers of chieftains. Daughters of the chieftain are usually traded to other strongholds to marry other chieftains.
However, many Orcs seek to escape traditional life in the strongholds. Orc women may want to escape being "just another wife" to the chieftain. They leave to join the Imperial Legion, see the world, or otherwise seek their fortune; some eventually return to the strongholds, but many do not. Orcs who do not live in strongholds are derisively called "city Orcs" by those that do, and are considered soft outsiders just like non-Orcs. Given their history of provincial homelessness, frequent military service, and the demand for their craftsmanship, it's not surprising that Orcs have traveled all around Tamriel and are now a commonplace sight in cities throughout. Still, Orcs who live in the cities with other races are likely to face prejudice. Their appearance makes interbreeding with other races of Tamriel so rare that it is commonly thought impossible.
Vosh Ball, also know as "Courage" Ball, is a traditional sport played by the Orcs where two teams of six are armed with three balls each and throw them at each other until only one side is still standing. Early iterations of the sport used a metal or wooden ball, but they have since been replaced by leather ones. In addition to games, Orcs have their own holidays and traditions that they celebrate as well, such as Malacath's Vengeance Day and the annual New Life celebration thrown by the Seamount Clan, the Stonetooth Bash.
Other Orcish VarietiesEdit
The Wood Orcs are Orcs that live in the province of Valenwood, rather than the ridged mountains across the north. Much like their cousins, the Wood Orcs value strength and honor, but like their neighbors, the Bosmer, they also strive to improve their agility and mobility in the tricky environment. Beyond their geographical differences and personal goals, the Wood Orcs are Orcs through and through, stubborn, blunt, and brutish. They are known to worship Malacath, the Daedric Prince of Oaths, or in this case, Mauloch, the God of Curses.
Iron Orcs, also known as the Osh Ornim, are an isolated Orcish civilization native to the Dragontail Mountains of Craglorn. They are known for their stone worship and their savage brutality, and are based in the Nordic ruins of the Valley of Scars. They tame Welwas, Wamasu and Trolls as war beasts, and primarily use iron arms and armor. They were also adept at alchemy and usage of nirncrux. They are culturally separate from other Orcs, and tend to cleave to the old words more than most other Orcish cultures.
Malahk-Orcs were an isolated Orcish civilization known to inhabit the northern hills of Morrowind. Little is known about them, but they were described as tougher in comparison to the Orcs of the Orsinium. They were active as of Third Era and occasionally entered conflicts with the House Dunmer.[UOL 3]
According to The True Nature of Orcs, the early Orcs warred against the Nords and Chimer. During the War of the First Council, during the First Era, both the Dwemer and members of the House Dagoth invited Orc and Nord clans as allies and held northwest Morrowind, an area where Malahk-Orcs were known to live.[UOL 3] In 2E 582, the King of Orsinium, Kurog gro-Bagrakh absolved the Oathbound Clan of their crimes and leased them Malak's Maw, a mountain valley in the Valus Mountains and west of Narsis for one year.
Several Daedric Ruins in Vvardenfell, such as Ashurnibibi or Zergonipal were inhabited by Orcs as of 3E 427. Ashurnibibi also had Orc presence in 2E 582. Whether or not those orcs were Malahk-Orcs is unknown.
Warfare and conflict is a common theme among the Orcs and is deeply ingrained into their culture. According to some, an Orc is more likely to strike first than start up a conversation, and that strike is always meant to maim or kill. Outsiders have observed that Orcs demonstrate unshakeable courage in battle and uncompromising endurance in hardships that would overwhelm anyone of another race. Fierce and strong, the Orcs ability to wage war cannot be underestimated and their physical size and prowess make them gravitate toward two-handed weapons. Orcish battle preparations are said to be a fearsome sight, especially for those used to the strictly-regimented organization of traditional armies. Drinking, clashing weapons on shields, burning of offerings to Mauloch and guttural, violent war-chants whip them into a blood-crazed frenzy.
In war, tribal Wood Orcs wear red face paint that is made from sacrificial blood, wet clay and ground herbs. The very act of creating this paint is ritualistic and prayer-like, and is an honor granted to only a handful of the chieftain's daughters. Other Wood Orcs of Malabal Tor revered an ancient red-water spring they discovered deep underground. called the "Blood of Mauloch". These Orcs built the settlement of Abamath around the spring, believing Mauloch gave his blood to empower them. While the original settlement was destroyed, many Wood Orcs who trace their ancestry back to Abamath paint their faces red, hoping to cleanse their shame with displays of renewed ferocity.
Though widely despised and feared, Orcs have nevertheless slowly won acceptance across the Empire and a fierce loyalty runs deeply through their culture. By the late-Third Era, many Orcs leave their strongholds and use their talents to serve in the Imperial Legion, who welcome their skill in battle and smithing.
Some parts of Orcish society believe they aren't suited to practice magic, and Orcish mages are generally less common compared to the warriors class. Despite this, their study of magic is quite distinct from the magic that is learned in traditional elven schools. It is said to come from the "meat and bones" of the physical world, bordering on Blood Magic. All wise women in Orcish strongholds learn to use blood in their craft, believing it the best source to fuel their healing spells after engaging in combat.
Orcish is the language of the Orcs, and evolved from Old Orcish. While it is unknown precisely when the transition from Old Orcish to modern Orcish took place, it could not have occurred any later than 3E 417, by which time modern Orcish was well established in the Orcs of High Rock and Hammerfell. However, there is also evidence suggesting the Old Orcish language was largely forgotten by 2E 582.
- Main Article: Orc Cuisine
Because of their tight-knit tribal communities, the Orcs cook many communal meals where a large central dish is shared among many individuals.  The Echatere serve as the primary lifestock for the Orcs, living in the Wrothgarian Mountains, not only do the Echatere provide meat and fur to feed and keep the Orcish people warm, they also provide milk, and serve as their primary beasts of burden.
Echatere cheese, along with spiced ale, play a role in Orcish marriage proposals. An Orc chief who wants to woo a wife must first gather these and present them to the maiden as a present as part of the courting process.
Architecture and ArtEdit
Orcish architecture is pragmatic given their history of frequently being attacked by their neighbours. While Redguard and Breton architecture features engravings, gold highlights and domes to create beautiful buildings, Orcs cannot afford such luxury. Instead, Orcs place much greater value on building quickly and building strong.
Orcish towns and strongholds tend to be built next to natural resources, and may vary depending on the region or location. Several Orcish cities and strongholds in High Rock are made out of stone, while other strongholds, especially those in Skyrim, are made out of wood. Orcish buildings and walls are built to withstand siege, making it extremely difficult to root out strongholds as they can only defeated with the strongest martial forces. Nordic jarls have been known to die in vain trying to destroy them, and when they succeed they are often rebuilt a few generations later unless a fort is maintained nearby. The upkeep of forts makes it hard for the Nords to prevent the strongholds from returning, and thus Orcish strongholds have been known to persist for thousands of years.
The stronghold at Cradlecrush was unable to be conquered by Nordic armies, even after the natural resources of the stronghold's mine dried up. King Kurog's Orsinium during the second Era was a impressive feat of architecture: the city itself contained plumbing, bath houses, a water wheel, many businesses, and guild halls for the Mages Guild and Fighters Guild. There were additional plans of adding buttressing to the aqueducts, improving roads, and expanding public housing.
While they are renowned for their smithing skills, Orcs are also skilled artisans and craftsmen in other areas. Many of their crafts are themed around their rugged outlook, and reflect their unique lifestyle and hardships. Orcish craftsmen are known for their ability to create delicate and beautiful artwork and tapestries, which tend to depict ancient Orcish heroes, battles, and hunts. Statues of Orcish figures are made out of bronze or stone, and take artisans hundreds of hours to build. They are known to carve heavy, roughly hewn effigies of bears and mammoths but their significance is unknown. Orcs announce great events by erecting symbolic totems. These totems have various purposes, such as marking territory, heralding war or foretelling battle.
During the mid-Second Era, much of their architecture and craft was inspired by the Tilted Square philosophy. This abstract doctrine, based around sacred geometric shapes, synthesized the teachings of Malacath into their work. Proverbs such as "Betrayal is inevitable", "Orcs must be constantly looking askance", or "Our enemies speak fair before they act foul" heavily inspire their approach. Chevrons were considered the symbol of deflection, while the Tilted Square itself was seen as the symbol of instability. These maxims resulted in curious outcomes. For example, axes are used to fell objects, so Orcs naturally inscribe them with symbols of instability. Conversely, boots are required to keep them stable, so they are adorned with the chevron: upright for stability, or inverted for grip. Using three-stanza epitaphs, was a common practice when it came to Orcish monuments and memorials; many of the monuments found on Sorrow mountain contained these stanza epitaphs.
Orc clothing come in a variety of styles. Modern orcs tend to use a bias-cut-placket clothing, or wear clothing befitting their role in society. Forge-wives may look to wear clothing made out of non-flammable gray scathecraw fibers that protects from forge embers or molten metal while performing their tasks. To cover a suit of chainmail, orcs may opt to use robes. For the wealthy, these robes would be made out of silk or other fabrics, which are then accented with steel or gold to convey the wearer's wealth and power.
Armor and WeaponsEdit
Orcs are famed for their skill in smithing, particularly with the metal Orichalcum, which they use to forge armor and weapons. The resulting armaments are heavy and require great endurance to wield, but offer peerless strength and durability. They also work with ebony and have a unique skill in tooling leather for exceptional flexibility and toughness. Orcs are fond of shields, so much so that they have many traditions sayings dedicated to wielding them.
Do not kill your kin.
Do not attack without cause.
Those who break these rules must pay the Blood Price.
Mainstream Orcish religion is fairly unique to Tamriel in that it is monolatrous. Most Orcs revere Malacath, the Daedric Prince of Curses. The orthodox belief among Wrothgarian and Wood Orcs is that Malacath is a broken Trinimac, transformed by Boethiah after he in some way stole the former Champion of Auriel's form. There is debate among Orcs on whether he is Malacath, the Daedric outcast of Oblivion, or Mauloch, the Aedric outcast of Aetherius. Some even believe that he is both and has fittingly been cast out by both groups of divines.
Regardless, after being reborn in his ashy prison, the newly-transformed Malacath cursed Boethiah and created the Code of Malacath, a central tenet to Orcish religion. While exact interpretations vary between clans, his main commandments are as follows.
According to some priests, praying to Malacath for strength is futile because he cannot grant it. Instead, Malacath issues the challenge to claim strength from themselves.
Upon death, followers of Malacath (or Mauloch) believe they will end up in Malacath's realm of the Ashpit. Here, Orcs are promised rewards of immortality, abundant food and drink, and constant battle deep within the Ashen Forge. Lending to the ambiguity of Mauloch's Aedric status, it is said that the Ashpit extends into Aetherius, allowing worthy Orsimer to freely transition into a more traditional afterlife.
Some fringe members of Orsimer society choose to instead worship Trinimac. Some believe that Trinimac was the one that absorbed power from Boethiah, improving the Orsimer in the process, while other worshippers think that Malacath and Trinimac are actually wholly separate entities, and that Malacath lies to keep them as pariahs under his thumb. The latter belief has briefly risen to prevalence on numerous occasions, typically under newly-crowned kings of Orsinium who sought to form friendly relations with their neighbors, as was the case with King Kurog of Second Orsinium and King Gortwog gro-Nagorm of Nova Orsinium. In both of these cases, the transition to Trinimac worship was brief and controversial, with Orcs reverting back to Malacath worship after their deaths.
The followers of Trinimac believe that when they die, they ascend directly to Aetherius to join with their ancestors. The afterlife of Trinimac's faithful also consists of endless war and celebrations, but with a greater emphasis on once again spending time with family members who came before them.
In Orcish shamanism, a spirit called Gar-shutan (Sacred Beast) comes to the world in search of nobility. When it does, it appears in a vision to the Abbas (Seeker), the bravest warriors, through whispers, and has been seen in dreams hovering in the clouds. Complimentary to the Abbas is the Abasseen (Seeker's Companion), who may appear in these visions alongside the Abbas. When Gar-shutan appears, it does so always in a different form to test the clarity of the Abbas's vision. When called upon, it is customary for the Abbas to seek out the Abasseen and go to together on a holy quest to slay Gar-shutan. In combat, Gar-shutan tests the Abbas and thereby tests his people. The sacrifice of blood, theirs or beast's, is said to bring prosperity and joy to the Abbas's people. If neglected for too long, Gar-shutan may get tired of waiting, and may, inferably, remove the opportunity of letting the duo face the it in battle.[UOL 4]
Religious Orders and CultsEdit
The Orcs have a few religious orders and cults dedicated to the worship of Malacath and Trinimac.
Agra Crun: a religious order dedicated to protecting the sacred word of Malacath, which translates to Blood Shield in the common tongue, the group operates in secretly, but for the few that know of them, they are seen as a beacon of Light. 
Malacath's Brutal Breed: were a group of fanatical Malacath followers that existed during the First Era, their main purpose was to wipe out and murder Bretons and Redguards for every real and imagined slight perpetrated by them against the Orcs. Legends about the Cult say the group sacrificed an entire Breton village to the Ashpit.
Vosh Rakh: are a group of fanatics dedicated to the worship of Trinimac, their goal is to bring the Orcs back to their Aldmeri Roots. Vosh Rakh in Orcish translates to Blade of Courage which directly refers to Trinimac's legendary weapon, Penitent. They see themselves as the Sword made manifest, and their goal is to rid of the traditions that held the Orcs back for many years. 
When an Orc dies, his or her remains will be burned down to ashes, which can be handled by their kin. Ashes from chiefs, kings and elders are usually forged into swords and shields, or any other item that their relatives or successors may want to remember the departed ones. This practice is called the "beshkar-nor," the death-forge; it is traditionally reserved for Orcs of great stature, such as a leader, elder or hero. The blood is either drained from the body, or the body is reduced to ash and then saved for the processing of forging tools, weapons and armor.
The ashes of the Orcish dead are customarily placed under a cairn, out in the field, under the open sky. Their arms and armor are placed over this cairn, and their relatives would then come to honor their ancestors. Burial is not a practice among the Orcs, although they respect other races' traditions. A few hours after a family repays their respects, the bodies of the dead who are not cremated and are left where they fell, despite popular lore to the contrary, are removed from the area, this is done to prevent the dangers of decay and disease; what happens to the bodies afterwards is a secret the Orcs are not willing to tell outsiders.
The mountain of Sorrow, in Wrothgar, is an ancient burial site for Orcs. Grand tombs, cairns, and wedge tombs, were often placed on the mountain by the Orcs, at the expense of many lives due to the many dangers of the mountain. Only the strongest Orcs were able to survive the challenges of the mountain. The corpses of those who died on the mountain were left behind. Legends state that seven Orcish clans were wiped out, in the process of building the tomb of King Torug. Eventually the Orcs stopped using Sorrow as a place of burial.
Another famous burial site is the catacombs of Honor's Rest, in southern Wrothgar. This extensive mausoleum was built by Orc, Breton, and Redguard masons after the destruction of the first Orsinium. The corpses of Bretons and Redguards and the ashes of the Orcs who died in the long siege were placed here, including those of the heroes and rivals Baloth Bloodtusk and Gaiden Shinji. The ruins were hidden and remained undiscovered until the reign of King Kurog in the Second Era.
- → For more detailed information see: Orc Death Beliefs
The Helm of Oreyn Bearclaw, also known as the Helm of Kharag gro-Khar, is a prized artifact with a history of conflicted attribution. The helm itself is an engraved skull, which is enchanted to improve the wearer's agility and endurance.
Those that claim it is a Bosmeri artifact know it by the former name, and attribute it to the legendary Dunmer hunter of Valenwood, Oreyn Bearclaw. Legends claim that Bearclaw singlehandedly killed Glenhwyfaunva, the witch-serpent of Elven wood, and thus brought peace to his clan. He would bring the helm and his name further reverence by performing many more great deeds, until he lost his life to the Knahaten Flu. After Bearclaw's demise, his helm stood as a monument of his stature, although it was eventually lost after his clan split.
Those that call the helm by its latter name believe that Oreyn was falsely credited, and that the feats were actually performed by his Orc friend, Kharag gro-Khar, hero of the Shatul Clan. Thus they consider it an Orcish artifact, and the relic has been claimed by Malacath himself. Those that believe the former story however, state that Kharag stole both Oreyn's helm and reputation, and thus both camps have tried to claim it.
Though not of cultural relevance to the Orcs, the origins for the Mace of Molag Bal can be traced back to when Molag Bal deceived an Orcish blacksmith and enslaved him in pits of Coldharbour. The blacksmith was turned into a Soul Shriven and forced to forge the mace.[UOL 5]
- For Orc names, see here.
- For a list of notable Orcs, see here.
- For game-specific information, see the Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, ESO, Legends, and Blades articles.
- Civility and Etiquette: Wood Orcs I by Coristir, Sage Sojourner — An Altmer guidebook outlining the correct social protocols when dealing with the Wood Orcs
- The Code of Mauloch — A description of the unwritten rules of the Orcs
- In the Company of Wood Orcs by Sisarion — Extract from a Bosmer's journal recounting his experience with Wood Orcs
- Crafting Motif 8: Orc Style by Doctor Alfidia Lupus — Being notes by Doctor Alfidia Lupus for a series of pamphlets on the major cultural styles of Tamriel
- From a Breton travel journal — An observer's notes on Orcish battle preparation
- How Orsinium Passed to the Orcs by Menyna Gsost — The story of how Gortwog won the land to the north of Wayrest
- An Orc's Guide to Tamriel by Luruk gro-Bozgor — A guidebook for Orcish travelers to Tamriel
- Orcs: Monsters or Misunderstood? by Taleon Mythmaker — A brief essay on the creation and virtues of the Orcish race
- Orcs? Could Be Worse — A Breton's thoughts on the benefits of having Orcish allies
- Orcs of Skyrim by Thora Far-Wanderer — A history of the Orcish settlers and strongholds of Skyrim
- Orcs of Tamriel, Volume 3 by Grassius Vilco — A treatise on the Iron Orcs of Craglorn
- The Pig Children by Tyston Bane — Discusses the history of the Orcish threat in the Iliac Bay
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: The Wild Regions — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Orsinium — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- The Red Paint — How Orcs make their war paint
- Return to Orsinium by Immigration-Wife Uulitag gra-Orsinium — A rallying pamphlet urging Orcs to return to Orsinium
- Sayings of the Wise — Orcish proverbs
- The True Nature of Orcs — Book detailing the Orsimer race and their origin
- Varieties of Faith: The Orcs by Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College — A summary of the religion of Orcs
- Vorgrosh Rot-Tusk's Guide to Dirty Fighting by Vorgrosh Rot-Tusk — An Orcish guide to combat
- The True Nature of Orcs
- Torug at the Summit, Complete Translation
- Lashburr Tooth-Breaker's dialogue in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: The Wild Regions — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Discerning the Transmundane quest in Skyrim
- Thendaramur Death-Blossom Answers Your Questions — Thendaramur Death-Blossom
- The Pig Children — Tyston Bane
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Orsinium — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Five Songs of King Wulfharth
- Generic dialogue in Morrowind
- Orc description in Skyrim
- Varieties of Faith: The Nords — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Father Of The Niben — Florin Jaliil
- Mauloch, Orc-Father — Ramurbak gro-Abamath
- The Changed Ones
- Varieties of Faith: The Orcs — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Lord of Souls — Greg Keyes
- The Anticipations — Anonymous
- Veloth the Pilgrim — Cascius the Proud
- Before the Ages of Man — Aicantar of
- Dra'bul loading screen in ESO
- Orc Strongholds Generic Dialogue in Skyrim
- Map of Clans
- 16 Accords of Madness, v. XII
- The War of the First Council — Agrippa Fundilius
- A Life of Strife and Struggle — King Laloriaran Dynar
- Morkul Descent loading screen in ESO: Orsinium
- The Real Nerevar
- Bangkorai, Shield of High Rock — King Eamond
- Malacath's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- The Great Siege of Orsinium
- The Mirror — Berdier Wreans
- Wayrest, Jewel of the Bay — Sathyr Longleat
- Once — Beredalmo the Signifier
- From The Memory Stone of Makela Leki — Makela Leki
- Events of ESO
- Crafting Motif 8: Orc Style — Doctor Alfidia Lupus
- High King Emeric Answers Your Questions — High King Emeric
- The Royal House of King Eamond — Seneschal Derric Andras of Castle Evermore
- The Fury of King Ranser — Wafimeles Masteret (Lorekeeper)
- Guide to the Daggerfall Covenant
- Orcs of Skyrim — Thora Far-Wanderer Cite error: Invalid
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- Marisette's dialogue in ESO
- Gerard Althen's dialogue in ESO
- Orcs? Could Be Worse
- Orcs: The Vermin Among Us — Absolon Sorick
- How Orsinium Passed to the Orcs — Menyna Gsost
- The Warp in the West — Ulvius Tero
- Rumors in Oblivion
- Loading screen in Skyrim
- Events of Blades
- Hunt-Master Bulozog's dialogue in ESO: Imperial City
- Events of Skyrim
- The Wraith's Wedding Dowry — Voltha gra-Yamwort, translated by Apthorne
- The Code of Malacath — Amanda Alleia, Mercenary
- Judicial Blood Price Gold Scale item description in ESO
- Orcish Ledger of Significant Grudges item description in ESO
- Khazasha's dialogue in ESO: The Deadlands
- Guide to Cheydinhal — Alessia Ottus
- Guide to Bravil — Alessia Ottus
- Guide to Skingrad — Alessia Ottus
- A Dance in Fire, Chapter 2 — Waughin Jarth
- Notes on Racial Phylogeny — the Council of Healers, Imperial University
- Journal of the Lord Lovidicus — Lord Lovidicus
- The Sport of Clans
- Vengeance Day Dress costume description in ESO
- Breda's dialogue in ESO
- Crafting Motif 22: Trinimac Style — the Venerable Uugus, Priest of Trinimac
- King Kurog's Promise — Kurog gro-Orsinium
- Ashurnibibi in Morrowind
- Zergonipal in Morrowind
- Ashurnibibi in ESO: Morrowind
- Fleeing the Past quest in ESO: Morrowind
- Curator Umutha's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Orcs: Monsters or Misunderstood? — Taleon Mythmaker
- From a Breton travel journal
- The Red Paint
- Arithiel's dialogue in ESO
- The Taking of Abamath
- Ghorbash the Iron Hand's dialogue in Skyrim
- Oshgura's Destruction Journal — Oshgura
- Orcish skill in Daggerfall
- Kharsthun's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook — Chelsea Monroe-Cassel
- All About Echatere — Stugbrulz gro-Shatul
- Rulfala's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Grudash gro-Shugharz, Orcish stonemason — Grudash gro-Shugharz
- City Solicitor's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Orsinium Pink Zinfandel Decanter item description in ESO
- Orcish Furnishings in ESO
- King Kurog's dialogue during The Anger of a King in ESO: Orsinium
- Orcish War Totem description in ESO
- Crafting Motif 23: Malacath Style — Forge-Wife Gurzbog gra-Gulog
- "Eternity" Tunic with Pants costume description in ESO
- Forge-Wife's Impervious Frock costume description in ESO
- Lady Eloisse Answers Your Questions — Lady Eloisse, Fifth Countess Manteau
- "Brilliance" Brocade Robes costume description in ESO
- Summit Lord's Silken Robes costume description in ESO
- The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Northern Bangkorai and the Mountains — Flaccus Terentius, 2E 581
- The House of Troubles
- Shrine of Mauloch loading screen in ESO
- Thazeg's dialogue in ESO
- On Orcs and the Afterlife — Erisa Moorcroft, Scholar, Comparative Religious Studies
- Villager dialogue during The Heretic quest in Blades
- Events of ESO
- Orc Shaman in Daggerfall
- Dialogue during An Unexpected Journey Part II quest in Daggerfall
- Olpac Trailslag's dialogue during Trailslag's Goods quest in Shadowkey
- Azrath's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Malacath's Band of Brutality Antiquity Codex entries in ESO: Greymoor
- Vosh Rakh — Ugdorga, the King's Scribe
- Flames of Forge and Fallen quest in ESO: Orsinium
- Priest Uugus' dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Chief Bazrag's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Strange Rituals of the Orsimer — Chaplain Jorden, Priest of Arkay
- Brulak's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Rozag gro-Khazun's dialogue in ESO
- The Ashes of Our Fathers quest in ESO: Orsinium
- Lozruth's dialogue in ESO: Orsinium
- Crafting Motif 14: Daedric Style — Seif-ij Hidja
- The Cursed Weapon quest in Daggerfall
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.