Online:Crafting Motif 88: Ancestral Orc Style
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The Orcs are a proud people, a race supposedly birthed from the strongest of the Elven Divines after he was corrupted by the Daedric Prince, Boethiah. Feared outcasts for most of their history, Orcs—and their mark upon Tamriel—is one that we ignore at our peril! We cannot discuss their history without observing the evolution of Orsinium throughout time. The first iteration came in the First Era when it became a refuge for Orcs under the chieftain Torug gro-Igron. A civilization flourished, and the master smiths of this new nation outfitted their warriors in armor worthy of their strength.
The Orcs were in a land rich with mining opportunities, which afforded them access to sturdy, workable metals. Their blacksmiths fashioned heavy axes with bits carved into a point rather than a curve—a true indicator of Orcish smith's bloody intentions.
Made of tough leather and reinforced metal, the Orcs' armor acted as both support and abdominal protection. The waistband extended upward as far as the ribs and encircled the wearer in rigid material. A furious Orc's visage made up the buckle, skillfully and fiercely carved into the metal.
The Orcs of old made boots from overlapping plates of thick metal. Orcish smiths sharpened the toes of the boots until they were as cutting and lethal as blades. Thick fur lined the inside of the boots to keep the metal from biting into flesh.
The early Orcs coated even their quiver with metal, making them heavier to carry, but near impenetrable as a tradeoff. The visage of Torug adorned the metal at the base of the quiver and the design extended to the limbs of the bows themselves. Pointed metal embellishments protruded from the ends of the bow, not unlike tusks.
Shimmering bronze metal featured heavily in Orcish breastplates. Thin plates of metal laid against the wearer's chest, tight to the body and tapered. A menacing depiction of Turog gro-Igron glowered on the front, striking fear into the heart of any who dared oppose the wearer.
A snarling face roars with Orcish fury at the hilt of even the smallest daggers. The blade curves at a menacing angle, making it an efficient weapon for cleaving through enemies. Subtlety did not factor into these weapons. The Orcs of old had no need for such practices. They sheathed these daggers proudly at the waist as a challenge to friend and foe alike.
Ancient Nedic artwork indicates that the earliest Orcs reveled in cruelty and lived by savage law. Whether that's entirely true, we know from their plated metal gloves that they placed great emphasis on brutal efficiency. An Orc without a weapon still made quite the formidable opponent with gloves like these. One punch from a metal-clad fist could crush someone's face.
Few elements of the Orcish panoply match the distinctive aesthetic of these early warriors' helms. Carved with impressive attention to detail, the Orcs depicted callous faces in the metalwork. Pointed bronze tusks served no practical purpose other than to remind enemies who exactly they were dealing with. An army of dark, seething faces surely inspired a great deal of fear.
These early Orcish warriors continued to use their skill as blacksmiths and metalworkers when it came to the legs of their armor. Finely linked chainmail protected their flesh from even the sharpest blades. On any other race, such heavy greaves would slow a warrior to the point of absurdity. But an Orcish soldier does not need to be swift to be deadly.
A ruggedly-etched depiction of Turog gro-Igron featured on the broad faces of the warrior's maces as well. The sheer heft of these bludgeons speaks to the natural strength of an Orcish warrior. The pointed metal made for a catastrophic impact, no matter the target. These were bone-breakers for certain.
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring display of Orcish metalcraft exists in their shields. For all those who say these Orcs were savage and barbaric, they clearly have never seen the fine carving work they were capable of. A strong Orc helm, complete with a pair of striking horns, features on the face of the shield itself.
As most of us know, Orcs are a formidable people. They stand taller and wider than most races in Tamriel. Even so, it seems this was not enough for these warriors. Orcish smiths wrought their shoulder pauldrons out of gleaming metal and angled them upward to give the impression of being larger than they were. For an already prodigious race, this effect must have shaken their enemies to the core.
It makes this researcher chuckle to know that the staves of the Orcs looked suspiciously close to their maces. Though not quite as deadly, the most commonly used staff still had a hefty metal block at its apex. Much design work went into the carving of the Orcish face at the base of this block, and though it was small, I imagine it must have been quite terrifying to see one towering above a group and finding you in its silvery gaze.
The Orcs of old seemed to wield far larger swords than average at that time in history. Whether it was because they were strong enough to wield longer, thicker weapons or that they simply enjoyed the look and feel is a matter of vigorous debate. What we know for sure, however, is that Turog gro-Igron's face featured on the hilt as well—a symbol of how the strong Orc people rose to power despite all the odds.