ATTENTION: This article belongs to the wiki of Remyth.
The Farmers[edit source]
Only elves and outsiders (humans) call them orcs, a word for ugliness and foulness. And even then to elves, humans often are considered orcs as well. To themselves they are the farmers, the seed sowers, the growers, the land tillers.
Orcs are physically fit, but they are strong and capable the way healthy well fed farmers are, they can make good soldiers but more because they will defend their homes and their future children/grandchildren. They are hierarchical but rarely by more than age, esteem and as a mutual chain of familial love and respect. Orcs tend to grow taller and broader than humans or elves when they reach adulthood.
Any human child (whether by elf, goblin or other) can be raised orcish and grow up to be just as fit and strong and capable as any other orc, usually it's best if they are around age 7 or younger as much older it will be physically taxing to get the needed muscle mass up. But not impossible, adult humans have even immigrated and "gone native" although they usually keep a much slighter build than orcs that have lived their whole lives this way.
All orcs love to cultivate and grow. They dance and sing and make merry in the muddy fields as they plant their crops, they sing about rain, they revel in the smell of pigs rooting up tubers. They sing during harvest, they are jolly and happy and they live every day to the fullest.
To orcs what is best in life is the strong smell of freshly sprouted plants, a sea of pig herds contentedly grunting as they travel across the fields, hundreds of children and grandchildren laughing and playing, and pregnant mothers and grand mothers.
Almost the entirety of orc culture is built around or affiliated with cooking, farming, children and home life. They love to eat, they love to drink, they ferment wines and beers. They make pickled fruits and vegetables, they make delicious multi generation aged cheeses.
Orc nations are ruled by matriarchs, matron teachers and greatgrandmothers.
Orc nations however are also very short lived.
For orcs are made to breed, prosper and multiply. In the lean times between the "great springs" orcs will breed much as humans have since the beginning, they favor having fraternal twins a bit over singles but otherwise it is as expected.
But when times are ripe, the pig herds are plentiful and the land is rich and ready to grow the orcs plant their most important harvest.
They plant orcs.
Take good rich earth full of minerals and worms and other sundry, dig out a bowl about a meter and a half wide and half that deep. Fill with a slurry of water and earth and gooey muck and various recipes of "soup".
Then let two orcs get it on in the soupy muck for most of a day until the goop turns red and grayish. Scoop up the resulting "starter" and split it between a dozen to twenty similarly shaped depressions and then slaughter enough pigs to fill each bowl with blood and viscera.
Now hold a grill party, make jerky, bacon, sausages and settle in to tend the field of new orcs for a year. Speaking boisterously, reciting nursery rhymes and cooing and singing to the fields. Drain out a few pigs every few weeks to replenish the blood and keep the scavengers and parasites at bay.
At the end of the year the amniotic sacks of the new orcs can be torn open and the emerging individuals will be mostly able to speak and fully capable of walking and carrying a light load. They are effectively toddlers/eight year olds with a bit of catching up to do in the development of skills. But fully capable of following instruction and helping on the farm.
If the pigs are plentiful (other animals work as well but pigs are preferred for their population growth rates) this process can be immediately repeated and another dozen-twenty orcs can be sowed in the field.
And so on for another four-six years, at which point the first crop are sexually mature enough to pair off and practice the same thing themselves.
It is mostly elvish slurs that orcs resemble pigs, they don’t particularly share any real traits to pigs, their noses are a bit big with wide nostrils (but rarely more upturned then in humans), their teeth are a bit more prominent and sharper and their jaws are a bit more well developed, but minus their usual clothes and tools and cleaned up and hair cut an orc could pass for a tall and physically fit human. But the fact they breed their children in pools of pig's blood has never been let go and the occasional mutation or weird trait cropping up has led to the stereotype of orcs being very porcine.
When the newly risen orc nations are at their "spring of springs" and before it is time for "harvest" their populations explode. They build cities in decades and cover their territories in farmland to the furthest extents they can reach, they settle everywhere, they cover the land in their pig herds and fields. They cut down forests of fast growth and store the seeds for later. They mill and mulch and burn and churn and till with delighted abandon. They mine everything that requires mining, and they dig up the storehouses of the earlier nations. This however is not the "summer of summers" and is not called the ‘harvest’.
It is when the population apex is on the horizon, and growth is becoming impossible that the "summer harvest" is called. The orcs stop planting orcs, they turn their works to crafting and laying in stores for the future, they burn and fertilize the land, they plant weeds and clovers and beans, they slaughter their pigs almost to the last and make jerky and bacon. They bring their fresh cheeses into the caves and dig deep cellars full of long lasting foods and books and records. They plant the saplings that will be the timbre and firewood of the next nation.
They grind the earth and aerate it, they spread their filth over every acre and pour their sewers and latrines everywhere over every surface, they flatten mountains and dig ditches for new brooks. And then they begin to duel. They hold festival tests and trials of knowledge, of strength, of skill and acumen, they test and try to prove themselves the best mothers, the most fecund and virile, the most skilled. Those that win these contests remain in the old lands, those that fall short are given packs of jerky and perishable foods, and sent out to every corner of the world to try and find more farmlands, to seek a better life, or die trying.
And then the remaining orcs in the now depopulated old lands begin tearing down and burning everything but a few farmsteads, and settling in to live out the next batch of "lean times". Those ill fitted to go adventuring in the wilderness in great expeditions but not able to gain a homestead in the trials tend to the worms and the soil and the muck, but hold no homesteads unless they can endear themselves to a matriarch and earn their place in her household.
However all any outsiders generally know about orcs is they come in great hoards from worthless burnt out swampland every few generations in overwhelming roaming bands trying to take their land, livelihood, women or all of the above (never mind most orcs find un-orcish women rather off putting, what kind of mothers would they be?).