About orcs – part IV

Leisure activities

listening to musicEntertainment means alcohol-induced crude singing or extensive story-telling, while drinking.
Games to show off dexterity and strength are considered as exercise for battling, rolling dice to maximise profits.
Orcs that have been ripped of all their belongings and forced into slavery are not regarded as dishonoured. As soon as they gained new property in a battle they return to their former range in society.
Whenever two tribes meet this does not necessarily end in hostility. Fellow tribes usually celebrate their meeting with some competitive fighting, called the Glorious Games. Competitions might vary in form but the following is an often observed version:

1. Carry the family
This is to be taken literally. The whole family has to be carried over a set distance. Whether all members cling to the strongest at once or the fastest member carries each one separately is up to the families participating. Important is, that only one member is allowed to do the carrying, no part of any other body must touch the ground. Childless monogamists are disqualified by rule and tribal honour. The number of family members is not as important as the overall weight of the whole bunch, so three really fat children count as much as six skinny ones, for example.
If I may be allowed a personal note here: The last time I entered into this special competition, I carried two of my wives on my back, the youngest child clung to my leg, and another tried to balance on my head. Unfortunately it covered my eyes with its arms and I stumbled into a river instead of reaching the finishing line, being not only disqualified but also very humiliated.

2. Toss the dwarf
This is a rarer category because it requires a certain amount of dwarves. As they usually do not volunteer for such usage of their bodies, a preliminary battle is necessary. Consequently, in areas with dwarf-shortage this competition is usually abstained from or alternated by using gnomes. You toss them as far as you can, it’s as simple as that.

3. Last orc standing
This is a competition that takes place almost every night around every camp fire, but as a part of the Glorious Games it becomes high-performance sport. Drinking till one drops normally is the final competition of the Games as all participants need some time to recover from it. It can last over a period of several days and has occasionally ended with complete extinction, because the whole tribe was incapable of dealing with any sort of enemy while utterly drunk.

4. Clubbing
This is not a fight one-on-one, but anyone with a proper club can participate. A proper club is defined by length and thickness, it must be half as long as the participant and as thick as his or her arm. Once you dropped the club, you’re out. Hitting anything else than other orc’s clubs results in immediate disqualification.

5. Hold the Bridge
There are two versions of this competition:
a) one orc challenges a certain number of others and stands on a bridge (a suspension bridge is regarded more challenging and therefore more fun), the others try to get across. No weapons are allowed other than those natural to an orc, like tusks, claws, breath.
b) more interesting but rarely done these days is the version of literally holding the bridge. A wooden bridge is taken off the river, the orc that has been challenged holds it up between two quickly raised ramps, and the whole tribe has to run across it. ‘Crushed or Crowned’ is the motto of this one.

6. Three orcs in a boat
A river or lake is required, as well as a boat, floss or any similar means of transport. No weapons or any form of paddles are allowed. Three orcs get into the boat, only one is to step onto the bank on other side. This can be very tricky in regards to strong currents in the water and most orcs’ disability to swim. It is up to the three orcs in the boat whether they try to get rid of each other as soon as the boat left the shore but then might find it difficult to get across the water alone. Or they cooperate for most part of the distance to get the boat across and only moments before the opposite banks are reached the fighting begins. This is the most cunning of all contests in the Glorious Games.

7. Catch the meal
For many generations this was normally the second to last contest before the great drinking competition. It meant that every contestant would go on a monster hunt and afterwords eat it. The bigger the monster the better but not a single bone was to be left undigested. So the hunter had not only to consider the danger of the monster in order to get it but also whether he could eventually stomach it, literally. Many a strong warrior had been beaten by much smaller womenfolk with an enormous talent for feasting. In some areas this contest has been abolished due to the disagreement about what defines as a monster.

Orcish law

There is none. The basic rule says, principles only go as far as someone else’s stronger arguments. Borrowing is entirely unknown. It is considered as stupid (or human) to give something back without being forced to. To deal with the consequences is part of the fun.

The Dead

Burying the dead does not follow any particular ritual, but precautions are taken to ensure that the body remains unscathed once it is dead. It is considered as unforgivable to desecrate a corpse, which is why orcs so often do this to their enemies, thus provoking further battles.
Burning the dead has become a common form, mainly in order to prevent desecration by others, as long as the fire is a part of the ritual and not a side-effect of the pillaging.
Personalities of high regard occasionally get memorials, independent of where the corpse actually is. For example, the well-respected warrior Rammbollo the Potent had been ritually burned and his family has been carrying the ashes in a little sack with them ever since. And yet, the tribe erected a memorial that is beyond comparison. Several human stonemasons needed to be captured and enslaved to create a sculpture that shows this remarkable orc’s manhood. Till today Rammbollo’s Ravishing Dong is seen from afar over the Blood-red Midge-fields east of the Crooked Hag’s Teeth, a highly dangerous mountain range, mainly inhabited by a group of hags and their troll-slaves. On the Blood-red Midge-fields Rammbollo was killed by said trolls in a battle forever remembered as the Battle of Many Armies, when several tribes of different races showed an unwelcome interest in that mountain range. Some of those armies obviously had taken their time for a second – sober – debate, but not so Rammbollo. Might the gods look down on his dong with pleasure.

Adaptability

adapting to chivesThe above stated facts are basically concerning all orcish tribes. But there are a few very particular forms of development, depending on the surroundings, i.e. geography and climate, that need to be shown as well.
During the reign of the Farting Giant (whose life lasted more decades than an orc can usually count) orcs had developed a form of civilization which is rejected by many contemporaries as too human, but which provided them with the only way to survive the reign of said giant, by learning how to use technologies they had no way of understanding. (Personal note of the author: I find myself in a similar situation, therefore I learned to type and to use electronic devices that are undoubtedly made by demons in the Nine Hells. This proved to be the only way to keep a minimum of sanity, given the fact that I jump between worlds like other orcs between their wives.) So, orcs not only learned to live like other races they also provided the community with mayors and judges – most remarkably – without establishing lynch justice.

Another variety of orc is the sea-faring sea-orc. He haunts the coasts and has perfected life at sea. Legend has it that he is soon also adapting to life in the sea. Rumours state that at the Coast of the Cut-off Legs fish-orcs have been sighted, looking rather like sea cows with greenish hides and longer tusks.

The matted white-furred orcs of the Ass-cold Peaks are living proof for the orcish ability to adapt perfectly to any climatic conditions. The toughest among them shave their arse before going into battle and baring it towards their enemies in order to jeer at them. It has become so well known that it gave the mountain its name.

There are more examples of orcish adaptability.
Swamp-orcs from around the area of the Mightily Huge Sludge (by some regarded as the one and only primeval sludge of orcish origin) have grown overly huge dish-like feet, while the desert-orc – inhabitant of the region Damn-Dry-Around-Here – is capable of absorbing any kind of liquid via its skin and thus fermenting it inside its stomach, in combination with a certain insect, called the burp-bug, in order to get its necessary quantity of alcohol.

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