The Winter Crusade
Orcs of the Young Kingdoms
The orcs are a people who kill their gods.
To the orc, gods serve only two purposes: reward the powerful and punish the weak. They hold no value in stories of creation of the world, or the evolution of their people. The orc exists for the “now.” Their spiritual practices reflect their disdain and distaste for reliance or reflection upon the past or the future. There are very few orc soothsayers; if one is discovered, they are considered mad, and usually imprisoned in a pit or put to slave-work until one of their prophecies provides value to the tribe. Tribal religious leaders are expected to bless raiders and marauders before they go out on their campaigns. They are also expected to provide appropriate sacrifices for the adventure. If the raid does not bear fruit, the shaman is expected to take an appropriate blame and punishment.
Orcs do not pray for guidance or petition their gods with prayer. They are ruled by their own will, their own desire and willingness to take what they need.
In the early days of the orc, the were ruled over by the mountain-god Heinart, lord of stone and hunger. The orcs were always on the move, perpetually hungry, never finding rest. When the One-Eye rose to rule his tribe, he sought out Heinar in his mountain palace and slew him with the Axe of Bone and Misery. The orcs were released from their endless hunger, though they were cursed to never have rest as long as the One-Eye roamed the world. Legends say One-Eye still roams the mountains, and his rage fuels the will of orcs throughout the world.
The One-Eye only offers blessings when sacrifices are offered to him. However, he is fickle, and what pleases him one day may not please him the next.
Orcs do not build homes or raise crops. They seize the homes and livestock of their victims. It isn’t unheard of for orc tribes to capture a fortress or fortified town and occupy it for as long as they desire.
Besides the One-Eye, there are few other gods the orcs acknowledge. They appear to be perversions or variations of other cultures’ gods. For example, one is known to the orcs as the Night Hunting Blade, and his iconography resembles that of an ancient dwarven god of martial prowess.
Orcs of the Northlands found a common ground with tribes of human barbarians, discovering that their gods were remarkably similar, and shared some religious practices. Those barbarian tribes and orcish clans merged into a single fierce tribe.
The orcs’ hatred for the elves did not come from the wounding of the One-Eye as the elves claim. Rather, it is due to a natural predator/prey relationship between the two. To the orcs, elves are natural prey. It is merely the nature of the orc to hunt the elf.