The Orc race was a gift from Lenamo to his brother Garathanax at the beginning of the world. When Velnashar appeared over Velmaneth, they fled to the dark corners of the world, and therefore remain uncontaminated by Chaos. They now make their home in the canyons of Noore I’Meles and in their sacred city of Manawa, the latter of which may only be entered by those of pure Orcish blood.
Noble and honourable, detesting Chaos and all it brings, the orcs protect the world from Chaos and destruction. Steadfast allies of the Rodera, they feel strongly protective of this allied race, to an equal extent that they feel no desire whatsoever to look after or protect their smaller cousins the Goblins.
Culture and Social Structure
The oldest living Orc, understood to be one of the first created, and a seasoned adventurer. In times of hardship he has been known as General, though in recent years he has grown into a more civil and less military role. He leads and guides the Orc peoples in their day to day occurrences, and is the primary diplomat in dealing with other races.
Orcs do not have biological family units, instead it falls to any of an older generation to teach, raise and protect those of younger generations, with your elders referred to as Mother or Father, peers as Brother and Sister, and the more youthful as Child. It is believed that this creates a stronger sense of family and loyalty among them, and to protect the weaker members of the family is considered the greatest honour. Orcs strive to live a life worthy of becoming a respectable ancestor to future generations.
Worship, Magic and the Ancestors
Chapters have a vague ranking system, based almost entirely on age and relevant experience. There is no vetting process, if you wish to undertake the duties of a Chapterperson then you may do so. Most Orcs do not belong to a specific Chapter but follow the teachings of the Way as a whole.
'Honour the Blood'
The Chapter of Blood embodies the flesh and spirit of the Orcs. Blood pumps through the hearts of all men, and is what binds the Orc peoples in Kine. Family, Harmony from Chaos. Thus, it is expected of all to consider Blood sacred, and keep theirs pure from chaos and corruption. For an Orc to lend blood in a ritual is done so with the utmost trust, and to receive the blood of a different race into an Orc body is to accept chaos into your heart. When an Orc dies, their blood is returned to the earth before their flesh and bone to feed the earth as it once fed them.
Those devoted to the Chapter of Blood are healers of the body and soul, rousers of spirit in times of adversity, passionate celebrators in times of joy, and counsellors in death. They represent the Ancestors' spiritual connection to the People, the unity of the Tribe.
'Revere the Earth'
Where the Chapter of Blood teaches the value of Spirit and Family, The Chapter of Earth tends to matters Body and Hearth. The Orcish creation story teaches that the Orcs were made from the union of The Earth (the body of the world) and mortal man by Lenamo. The Chapter of Earth upholds the sentiment that this connection extends to the everyday life of the Orc, that the notion of 'Home' begins with the Orcs themselves. Though they dwell literally underground in the earth's embrace, wherever they move, they bring Hearth with them. Many believe this is why the Orc body is able to withstand more physical punishment than most other mortal races. The body is the home for the Spirit and the Mind, as the Earth is the home for the People of Velmaneth.
With this in mind, Orcs who choose devotion to the Chapter of Earth are prone to taking on the roles of Guardians and Caretakers. They are expected to take these charges very seriously, and to protect the Hearth and Family as they would their own body. They represent the Ancestors protection and strength of presence in the material world and the elements.
'Carry the Light'
Light represents the containment of Velnashar and Chaos at its core, and should be upheld. This is done by sharing knowledge and being transparent about one's actions. This, combined with Orcish politeness and desire to be good is what often leads them to perceived as honourable, and gave rise to worship of Mehktar by many Warriors of the Orcish people.
Those who devote their lives to the Chapter of Light are seekers and teachers of knowledge, and thus often take on the roles of advisors and diplomats. They represent the Ancestors' experience and willingness to teach the People from the Halls of the Spiral.
'Extinguish the Flame'
The Chapter of Ember is still very young, having been founded only recently, and represents the Heart as orderer of the other tenets. The Oneness of all elements of self and kin sustains the Ember of the Heart, just as these are warmed to harmony and sustained by it. It is the stand against the consuming chaos of Velnashar’s fire while recognising the need for warmth and purpose. With each breath one draws, one fans the Ember or withdraws from full fire: one must always maintain the Heart just so.
To tend to the Ember is to maintain the glow at the Heart of orcish life and community, but never to burst into flame. To be measured in all things. To live as Ember is to find freedom of self in recognising the order one is born of.
The spirit walkers of the Chapter of Ember also protect the Dreaming from the corrupting influence of chaos.
Burial - The Trials of the Ancestors.
When an Orc dies they are buried in 3 separate stages. The Blood, Bones, and finally the Brain are buried separately to represent the process of becoming an ancestor. The Spirit must find the Body, which then must fight to reclaim the Mind. Together they must present all they have learned before the Ancestors, to be accepted into the Dreaming and the Halls of the Spiral.
The Dreaming, or Spiral, is viewed by the Orcs as the binding energy between all things, and between all realms of existence. It is the perspective from which everything is One, and it manifests as a realm for those who have learned the complex art of the spirit walker, something that takes years of training by Orcish elders. The Dreaming is effectively genetically coded as a place by impression and experience (though other elements/entities may be hypostases of other worlds): information for structuring places in the spirit realm is given by strong lingering impressions and myriads weaker ones from various points in time. The mind of the visitor can alter the presentation and intent of the place.
This spirit realm pervades and exists between all worlds. It is immediately composed of the experiences of the living things in those worlds, and itself possesses a form of sentience. There are spirits that tarry or reside there, either generated by the realm itself, or those of beings on their way to the Hopewastes or beyond. It is ever changing. There are places in the world where the barrier between the realities are thin, and entities that exist simultaneously on the material and spiritual plane. Such entities might be the Blood Oaks and Spirit Vines of the Sighing Mire, where they syphon the life force of those who come too near and attempt to consume those who approach spiritually.The Singing Groves of Noore are also such a place, though they are more benign.
War is a last resort. To spill Orcish blood is grievous and will be judged by the Ancestors as to whether it was just. Some younger Orcs (although they would be a bit older now) have only ever known conflict (Roderan/Avian war, Elf/Human War, Quarin War, and as such doubt the old ways. This came to a head when a small group of Separatists devoted to Larweyella Tried to incite war against the Humans. Believing this behavior to be chaotic, Gungrol banished them and Outlawed worship of Larweyella.