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Orsimer (aka Orcs) are a playable race featured in the Elder Scrolls series. They are a race of elves.
In the middle of the Merethic Era, a group of Altmer and their leader Trinimac attempted to halt the movement of the prophet Veloth and the Chimer. The Daedric Prince Boethiah ate Trinimac, corrupting his body and spirit, and he emerged as the Daedric Prince Malacath. As a result, his followers, later known as the Orsimer, or "Pariah Folk", were also changed, becoming Orcs. The early Orcish people followed a tribal and independent lifestyle. Instead of claiming one area, they would instead settle in multiple provinces that suited their lives and needs, forming small, tightly knit villages. Many of these provinces were located in modern Skyrim and High Rock.
Eventually, the Orc chieftain Torug gro-Igron founded Orsinium. At first, it was merely a small collection of huts, but as word spread to the other Orcs of Tamriel about this rising civilization high in the Wrothgarian Mountains, it soon grew to house more permanent structures. In its early stages, the other races of Tamriel deemed it a place ruled by savage law which raided its neighbors along the Bjoulsae River. It was thought by the Bretons to be little more than a desolate mountain region where the Orcs scratched out a meager living off of the rocks and secretly coveted the lands and the settled livelihood of their valley-bound neighbors. Orcish historians, however, claim that this is simply Breton superstition and exaggeration. They claim Orsinium was always a peaceful land whose inhabitants made their way by simple agriculture and commerce.
After the Siege of Orsinium in 1E 980, the Orsimer became little more than pests and monsters in the view of the average Tamrielic citizen, as they had no province to call their own. Many Orcs attempted to set-up new city provinces, but with no luck. These dwellings were always destroyed before they could be properly established.
However, in 3E 399, an Orc visionary named Gortwog gro-Nagorm acquired the site of the former civilization of Orsinium and began reconstructing a new city for the Orsimer of Tamriel. As it grew, many believed it would succumb to the same fate as its predecessors. Gortwog, though, proved to be a superb politician and diplomat and managed to make negotiations with Orsinium's neighbors, which saw Orsinium prosper. He negotiated with Uriel Septim VII in trade and social negotiations and, for the first time, the Orcs were serious political players among the other races.
The Orcs have a strong, yet scarcely mentioned, tie with the Aldmeri Dominion. The Orsimer also have relatively strong historical ties with the Bretons of High Rock. The reasons for this are unclear, yet the relationship most likely originated because the races are cohabiting the same region.
With skin tones ranging from light green to dark brown, a heavily muscular frame, and considerable stature the Orsimer stand apart amongst Mer and Men. They also are the only race to display tusks and protruding bone ridges. Born without the magical affinity of their Mer cousins, and following in the footsteps of their revered Trinimac, the Orcs have developed a strong warrior culture that makes them highly valuable in hand-to-hand combat. They often excel as adventurers and legionnaires in the Imperial Legion. This is not to say that they cannot wield magic, however. Certain Orsimer, such as Urag gro-Shub, have gone on to be successful mages, finding employment at such places as the College of Winterhold.
Most Orsimer hold Malacath as their chief deity, as he is believed to be involved in the creation of the race. As such, most orcs uphold the "Code of Malacath", which is a religious doctrine as well as a code of law used in the orc strongholds.
However, there is, or was, a religious conflict brewing which showed signs of becoming a major problem. The Orsimer have always worshipped the Daedra lord Malacath as their main deity. Orsinium's leader, Gortwog, however, has controversially claimed that Malacath is, in fact, a fake and has set up a priesthood dedicated to the worship of the ancient Aedric hero, Trinimac. This has caused controversy, as Trinimac was said to have been devoured by Boethiah, afterwards becoming Malacath. Gortwog's belief that Trinimac still lives and that Malacath is a mere demon is currently the official view taken by the majority of the leading priests in Orsinium. A handful of Orcs within and the vast majority of Orcs outside of Orsinium view Gortwog's beliefs as heresy.
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