|“||A sea of endless green, a maze of foliage with half-hidden cities growing like blooms from a flower, the home of the Bosmer is Tamriel's garden.||”|
— Description of the Province
Valenwood, originally known as Tar Nagaia to the Aldmer (meaning Deadly Woodland in Aldmeris), is the southwestern most province of the mainland continent of Tamriel. It is a region of dense forests and lush jungles. It is bordered by Cyrodiil to the north and Elsweyr to the east. To the northwest of the province is the Abacean Sea, to the west is the Blue Divide and to the south is the Southern Sea. Across the Blue Divide are the islands of Alinor and Auridon. Somewhere across the southern sea is the island of Pyandonea.
During the timeless era, the province of Valenwood was home to the Et'Ada and the Ehlnofey. It was the Et'Ada known as Y'ffre who created much of the region's flora and fauna. It was his transformation into one of the Earth Bones that brought life to the region as his lifeforce merged with the land itself. He formed the frame upon which nature was woven, loomed through with his own song-echoes and sight-perception for mortals to interpret through study of the Green Sea's mystery, but seeing and hearing nothing himself. Out of the primordial Ooze, he first brought forth the Green, consisting of all plant life in the forests of Valenwood, from mosses to the mighty graht-oaks, teaching the birds to sing and the waves to lap against the beach and gaining sight-perception of all that occurs within the sight of birds and the reflection of waters.
Y'ffre aided in the stabilization of Mundus with the creation of the mightiest of the graht-oaks, the walking tree of Falinesti. Grown from the Perchance Acorn and the first of the Elden Trees. Along with the other Towers built around Nirn, the Green-Sap tower, as it became known, brought forth the Merethic Era.
Before the first elven explorers came to Valenwood it was home to numerous creatures and strange civilizations. The Ehlnofey that had remained on the province following the stabilization of time turned into the centaurs, hippogriffs, satyrs, minotaurs, giants, basilisks, fairy folk, hydra, and intelligent apes that all flourished in the forests and jungles of the province called Imga. Y'ffre watched over them and maintained the balance of nature. Most infamous of these races were the Changelings, an immortal race of shapeshifters created by Y'ffre from the Ooze.
The Aldmeri first learned of the province through the efforts of Topal the Pilot, the famous explorer who sailed the Southern Sea in the Middle Merethic Era. Before then, elven vessels had refrained from sailing too far away from the shores of their isles, being content with their summerset home. It's close proximity to the island of Auridon, which was right across the Blue Divide from the shores of Valenwood, made it an ideal place to begin the elven colonization of the mainland. As soon as ME 1400, the elves were setting up colonies on the province. The thick tree cover made it difficult, however, to find good spots for colonies and the elves were barely able to set up costal villages. Their efforts of venturing deeper into the forests proved fruitless and any colony they tried to set up deeper quickly died off as the forest itself seemed to want to reclaim the land. This was the work of Y'ffre and his creations, who tried to stop any disruption to the balance of nature in the province.
One such famous case was of the failed expedition of Ostion, a young and powerful mage who was sent to bend the will of the forest to the Aldmeri's will. Ostion commanded the land to move for him, but Y'ffre was angry and resisted his demands. Ostion and Y'ffre fought with each other, with Ostion commanding the land again and again to move, and Y'ffre refusing again and again. In their struggle they forgot everything else; Ostion forgot the builders who had been sent with him and Y'ffre forgot the peoples that lived in its midst. Ostion remembered his purpose and brought forth the body of Sumiril, a builder who had once been kind to him, and asked the land to help raise him from the dead. Y'ffre obliged for the first time, creating the Hollow, and Y'ffre turned Ostion into the Wilderking.
The only colonies that survived this early period was Haven on the shores of southern Valenwood, Ilayas on the northwestern shores and Arenthia up the Strid River. Arenthia was the most successful of the three, having been founded by the first leader of the colonies, Arenthro. Arenthro was the leader of a large movement in Alinor who rejected the stiff, formal traditions of Aldmeri high culture, preferring a more romantic, simple existence in harmony with the land and its wild beauty and creatures. He led his followers to the promised lands of Valenwood and set up his community in the location where Arenthia would one day stand, named after him.
The prosperity of Arenthia led to the death of Ilayas, which was abandoned and later settled by the Ayleids of the Heartlands. Haven meanwhile, had remained a minor port until the expansion of the elven colonies in the Heartlands and in particular the construction of the Citadel at the heart of the continent. As the Ayleid cities grew, more and more trade came through Haven and transformed it into a prospering port city, a rival to Arenthia in the north. Both cities became targets for raiders, in particular the nearby Khajiiti Prides that roamed the lands to the east of them.
Around ME 1100, another group settled on Valenwood. The cursed children of the Aldmer, the Orsimer. They were followers of the God Trinimac, who was eaten and warped by the Daedric Prince Boethiah into the Daedric Prince Malacath. When Trinimac became Malacath, his followers were also transformed into the Orsimer, becoming pariahs and shunned by Aldmeri society. Some of these Orsimer made their way into Valenwood and created strongholds deep into the woods. The hash lands of Valenwood were no issue for the hardened pariah folk, who thrived in their own way. The Orsimer living in Valenwood became known as the Wood Orsimer - known as Wood Orcs to the humans.
Due to the harsh conditions of life on Valenwood, which initially led the Aldmer of calling the province Tar Nagaia (Deadly Woodlands), the Aldmer began to use the province as a penal colony. The criminals that they couldn't kill and yet could not live in the civilized society of the Summerset Isles were shipped to die in the deadly woods. Some of these criminals, however, did not die and in fact procreated and lived on in the province. The most famous case was the Red Prince (known as Caman-Ran in Aldmeris), a member of the Aldmeri royal family who attempted to usurp his brother the King. The revolt was ended and the Red Prince imprisoned and sent into exile in Valenwood. The fact that he did not die and instead spawned offspring greatly angered the Aldmeri royal family.
A couple of childless pilgrims came upon the Eldest, an ancient strangler blessed by Y'ffre himself. They took the plant as their offspring and started a tribal community near a graht-wood in the region of Malabal Tor. Numerous other clans flocked to the couple. As the community grew, the man of the couple became a religious figure to his community. He was called the Silvenar and his wife, the Green Lady. Their religious movement preached balance with nature and the forest and reverence of Y'ffre. The tree which was his home became known by his name, Silvenar. Silvenar grew into one of the largest tribal settlements in Valenwood, rivaling the Wilderking's Greenheart. The grove which was the original home of the Green Lady, Deepwoods, developed a close relationship with Silvenar.
The Aldmer inhabitants of Valenwood had to adapt to the harsh conditions of the province. They had to develop a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and their culture devolved into a tribal society. The drastic change of diet led to the colonists to, after many centuries, become much shorter and their golden features became duller and darker. By the end of the Merethic Era they were considered a separate race of elves completely different from the Aldmer. This new race was known as the Bosmer, the Wood Elves.
As the Ayleids grew in power and influence, they began to settle the lands north of Valenwood. With time they even attempted to settle the forests themselves. They began with taking the ruined city of Ilayas and then founded their own settlements on the Crescent River: Aettus and Thormar. While never as prosperous as Arenthia, these cities grew to some of the largest population centers on the province due to the Bosmer living in relatively small tribal settlements - aside from Haven and Arenthia which were much more urban and civilized.
Valenwood is the wildest and most overgrown of the provinces, denser than even the marshes of Argonia. Its landscape consists mainly of rolling hills and light blue rivers, predominantly covered in rainforest and woodland. It does not snow in Valenwood, even in winter the province is covered in a sea of green foliage. Due to the thick tree covers, most of the large settlements are confined to the coasts of the province, with those further in being little more than small tribal villages. The province has some of the most diverse and plentiful wildlife in all of Tamriel, many of which are sentinel like the intelligent ape-like Imga which roam in bands and the tribes of giants and centaurs that live in the many groves. The mythical Faerie are most abundant in Valenwood out of all of Tamriel, where in the other provinces they have been hunted to near extinction by other races.
The province is separated in four geographic regions: Grahtwood, Greenshade, Malabal Tor, and Reaper's March. A chain of large islands are also present in the southwest of the mainland near the region of Greenshade. While a smaller archipelago called the shrouded islands are located off the coast of Malabal Tor.
Grahtwood is a large region which forms southeastern Valenwood. Much of it is covered in impenetrable jungle. It can be subdivided into three areas: Green Hall, the Long Coast and Tarlain Heights. Green Hall is a forest region situated in the northeast of the region of Grahtwood where the Elden Tree is located. The Long Coast is the southernmost region of the grand region of Grahtwood. The Long Coast is the closest to sea-level from the rest of Grahtwood, and it consists of the lower basin, along with the coast in the region. The city of Haven is located on the Long Coast. Tarlain Heights is a forest region situated in the northwest of the region of Grahtwood. It is the the least-populated, when compared to the rest of Grahtwood. During the winter the walking tree of Falinesti would station itself in the there. Many Wood Orsimer live in the area.
Greenshade is a large region which forms southwestern Valenwood. Many rivers course through the land, and life abounds under its canopy. It can be subdivided into three areas: the Drowned Coast, Green's Marrow and the Wilderking's Court. The Drowned Coast is the westernmost region of the greater Greenshade region. The northern area is mountainous while the southern area is riddled with swamps. Green's Marrow is the northernmost region of the greater Greenshade region and is the largest region of the other two, housing a wide variety of tribal settlements. One of the largest is the village of Vullain. The Heart of Valenwood, the single thing that gives life the vast forest of the province, is located here. The Court of the Wilderking is a smaller area in the region of Greenshade, which consists of southeastern Valenwood. Most notable about the region is the city of Greenheart where the Wilderking resides. The Wilderking is worshiped across the land, and his will is enforced through the Hollow, stone constructs that live in the land. The walking tree Falinesti has been known to spend the spring around the center of the region. Greenshade is home to many tribal Bosmer.
Malabal Tor is a region deep in the Green of northwestern Valenwood. The area is populated by hoarvors and stranglers. Little light reaches the forest floor; those who wish to see the moons and stars must climb the highest bluffs to get a good glimpse of the night sky. It is subdivided into three regions: the Broken Coast, Silvenar Vale and the Xylo River Basin. The Broken Coast is the westernmost region of the Malabal Tor, consisting of the outer coast of the Abecean Sea. It is home to the Ayleids of Ilayas and Wood Orsimer tribes. Silvenar Vale is the northernmost region of the Malabal Tor region, closer inland to the Colovian West than the rest of Malabal Tor. Most Bosmeri settlements exist in the area. The region is long, beginning towards the Strid River, all the way to the Xylo River Basin. The Basin is the central most region of the Malabal Tor region and gets its name from the river that runs through it. It is home to both Bosmer and Wood Orsimer. The shrouded islands off the coast of Malabal Tor are both beautiful and treacherous. Falinesti jouries to Malabal Tor in the summer.
Reaper's March is a region of jungles in northeastern Valenwood. The Strid River forms its northern border, separating it from western Cyrodiil. It is home to the cities of Arenthia and Ayleid cities like Aettus and Thormar. It borders the deserts and badlands of Elsweyr. It can be seperated into two regions: the Northern Woods and the Jodewood. The Jodewood is the southernmost region of the greater Reaper's March. It was in this area, the Crescent River ends from the northern end of the March. The Northern Woods, also called Arenthia Vale, is the westernmost region of the greater Reaper's March. The Crescent River starts here and descends south towards the rest of Reaper's March. The walking city Falinesti has been known to spend the autumn in the Northern Woods. The region has a bloody history, as conflict between the Bosmer and Khajiit is very common.
Kingdom of Valenwood
The Kingdom of Valenwood is the predominant nation in the province of the same name. It has control of most of the 4 regions of valenwood, with the exception of a few territories in the north and the inner forests. The original Colonies of Valenwood were founded by King Arenthro in ME 1400 and were officially vassal states of the Kingdom of Alinor, but became independent when the kingdom of Valenwood was founded by Eplear Camoran at the end of the Merethic Era through the signing of the Green Pact with the God of the Forest, Y'ffre.
Centuries after the Aldmer first arrived on the shores of the Summerset Isles, Aldmeri society on the islands had reached their peak. This period, called the High Aldmeri era was categorized by strict traditions, rigid formal customs and overbearing dogma. Numerous movements that opposed this sort of society began to act out against the upper echelons of high Aldmeri society. One of these groups was led by an individual named Arenthro. A singer by trade, Arenthro preached a simpler lifestyle, one of harmony with nature and its creatures. His romanticized view of the world drew many dissidents to his side and they decided to leave behind life in the civilized isles and move to the frontier, which at the time was the Tamrielic mainland. Arenthro led his flock through the Blue Divide and up the Strid River, finally settling on the crossroads between the Strid and the Crescent Rivers. He is considered by many as the First King of the Bosmer, though his movement was only a few thousands strong and he only laid claim to a small area in Reaper's March which would become known as Arenthia Vale, where the city of Arenthia would be built.
On the opposite side of Valenwood, Aldmeri traders had set up their own colony on the mainland of Tamriel. The port town of Haven which served as a major trading hub between the elves and the Khajiiti merchants of Elsweyr. The town would remain quite small until the colonization of the Heartlands by the elves that would one day be known as the Ayleids. The trade brought in from the Citadel and the other Ayleid city-states caused Haven to have a large boom in wealth and population, growing to a sizable city. It became the largest city in Valenwood and would keep that title for many centuries.
Trade and the promise of resources deep in the impenetrable forests of Valenwood brought more and more colonists to the province. Many settlements were founded, but of those few survived. For the forest itself was against their efforts of civilizing the land and every time the elves built something, the land would reject it. Natural disasters, angry spirits and other such events caused the downfall of many colonies. Among these angry spirits were the Changelings, the so called heirs of Y'ffre. These immortal beings claimed to be the masters of the forest and they hunted the mortals that tried to bring civilization to it.
One such effort to civilize the forest was led by the young Psijic mage Ostion, who had been sent to Valenwood to bend the will of the forest to the Aldmeri's will. While the mage had been powerful, the forest resisted his efforts to shape it. Y'ffre had fused his soul with that of Valenwood so the forest had a will of its own. Ostion and Valenwood fought with each other, with Ostion commanding the land again and again to move, and it refusing again and again. In their struggle they forgot everything else; Ostion forgot the builders who had been sent with him and Valenwood forgot the peoples that lived in its midst. Ostion remembered his purpose and brought forth the body of Sumiril, a builder who had once been kind to him, and asked the land to help raise him from the dead. Y'ffre obliged for the first time, creating the first Hollow. Ostion then merged with the soul of the forest and became the Wilderking, an avatar of Y'ffre. The Wilderking abandoned Ostion's project and instead built a large spiral tower called the Greenheart. From atop his tower he led the remaining builders to live among the land instead of trying to tear it down.
Thus the Aldmeri settlements were left on the coasts, with only pilgrims that followed a similar lifestyle to Arenthro and the Wilderking's surviving in the inner forests. Over the centuries, these pilgrims devolved from civilized Aldmer into a tribal society that through generations looked less and less like their golden relatives from the Isles. These tribal elves became known as the Bosmer, the Wood Elves. Their villages were quite small, only reaching around a hundred people. The largest of these was Arenthia, which grew large enough to be considered a city. Though Arenthia was built on the edge of the northern forests and thus suffered few attacks from nature trying to reclaim its lands. What it had to deal with were raids from its eastern neighbours, the Khajiiti Prides that roamed the deserts and badlands of northern Elsweyr.
A pilgrim couple from the grove of Deepwoods was cursed without children. They ventured out into the forest seeking some kind of sign from the gods. What they found was the Eldest, an ancient strangler blessed by Y'ffre himself. They took the plant as their offspring and began to dedicate their lives to serving Y'ffre. They preached a similar message to Arenthro, one of harmony with nature. They stopped any harm to the forest's plant life and only hunted for food, making sure the animal did not suffer during the hunt. For this they were blessed by the God of the Forest. Their message reached others, who began to flock to the couple's side. They saw them as a set of prophets and took them as their leaders. The man, known as the Silvenar, was their religious head, and the woman, known as the Green Lady, was their military head. Their tribal community settled near a graht-wood in the region of Malabal Tor. The tree which was his home became known by his name, Silvenar. Silvenar grew into one of the largest tribal settlements in Valenwood, rivaling the Wilderking's Greenheart.
While Arenthia was founded according to King Arenthro's ideals, it's advantagious location made it grow into more of a merchant hub, connecting the desert caravans of Elsweyr and the Ayleid city-states of Cyrodiil with the province of Valenwood. This attracted Aldmeri, Ayleid and Khajiiti imigrants to settle in the city and it became a melting pot of these distinct cultures along with the original Bosmeri population.
The Green Pact
Valenwood has an undeniable dichotomy when it comes to its culture. It is embodied in the two distinct areas of habitation: the coast and the forest. Since the early colonization periods, the coast was the only area where civilization thrived. As such it is the only place where cities were able to grow and prosper, leading to the coastal regions to have a much more urban and merchantile culture. These cities are home to large ports and markets. Most of the coastal inhabitants were Aldmer as opposed to the Bosmer. Thus their society and religion is much the same as the elven homeland of Alinor. The shores of the rivers of the province are the only areas of farmland in Valenwood and these regions share similar culture to the coast.
In opposition to this, the forest is home primarily to the Bosmer tribals and their smaller and more familial communities. The tribals are hunter-gatherers, taking only what they need from the land and its creatures. As such these communities do not utilize and currency when trading, resulting to a bartering system where the value of an object depends on how much each party needs it. As opposed to the gold-based currency of the costal cities. The Bosmer worship the nature dieties of Y'ffre, God of the Forest, and Ius, God of Animals. Other more reclusive communities may worship other spirits like the Faerie or beings like the Woodland Man. Some still worship the original Aldmeri dieties like Auri-El and Xarxes. Interactions with the Khajiit brought the communities closes to Elsweyr the worship of dieties like Baan Dar and the moons gods: Jode and Jone. These tribals are considered uncivilized by the coastal elves, who they consider to be intruders and outsiders.
Being a frontier land, Valenwood has few guilds and other such organizations, especially in the inner forests. Though there are groups of note in the province. The city of Silvenar is home to the elite archer order known as the Jaqspur, who act as the Silvenar's personal bodyguards and agents. The coastal cities the presence of Aldmeri guilds and factions remains, like the Aldmeri Church.
- Arborfell: A Bosmer village located near the Long Coast of Grahtwood.
- Arenthia: A cosmopolitan Bosmer city on the intersection of the Crescent and Strid Rivers in the Northern Woods of Reaper's March. It has a large population of Khajiit, Ayleids and Aldmer.
- Deepwoods: A Bosmer village located near the Broken Coast of Malabar Tor. It has a close relationship with the city of Silvenar.
- Driladan: A Bosmer village located in the Green's Marrow region of Greenshade.
- Falinesti: The capital of Valenwood. The walking city of the Camorans constantly migrates around Valenwood and only stops briefly in sites in each of the four seasons. First inhabited by King Eplear Camoran at the turn of the era.
- Fierabek: An Aldmer town located on the largest island south of Greenshade. Like Haven it has few Bosmer inhabitants and closer ties to Alinor.
- Greenheart: A Bosmer town located in the Court of the Wilderking and the site of the Wilderking's tower. The inhabitants worship the Wilderking and pay homage to him. Nearby are the Aldmeri ruins of Ostion's failed city.
- Haven: An Aldmer city located in the Long Coast of Grahtwood. Few Bosmer call the city home and it has a heavy cultural influence from the Aldmeri population.
- Jodewood Village: A Bosmer village located in the southern parts of the Jodewood, bordering the Crescent River.
- Rootwater Grove: A Bosmer village located near the Drowned Coast. It hides the secrets of the Wooded Eye, a cult that worships the Woodland Man.
- Silvenar: A Bosmer town. It is the religious and spiritual capital of Valenwood and the home of the Silvenar and the Green Lady.
- Vullain: A Bosmer village located in the Green's Marrow region of Greenshade. The inhabitants of the village worship the Nereids, a type of water Faerie.
The Ayleid Marches of Valenwood are one of the frontier lands of the greater Ayleid Imperium, a dominant power of Tamriel since the Late Merethic Era. The Ayleid Imperium's central government is the Council of Princes, the heirs of the various Kings of the Ayleid city-states that make up the Imperium. The cities of the Marches pay homage to the Council, but they have a great autonomy in ruling themselves, like every other city-state within the Imperium.
The Ayleids, much like the Bosmer, were once ordinary Aldmer colonists. They moved to the Heartlands of Tamriel after it was discovered by Topal the Pilot in ME 1200. At first merely a colony of the Aldmer Kingdom, the colonists began to grow in power after their enslavement of the native Nedes. With the Nedes fueling their economy, the colonists prospered and expanded, far outreaching their original colonies on the shores of the Niben River. Originally called the Heartland Elves, or Cyromer.
It was in the Late Merethic that the Cyromer cut all ties to the Aldmer Kingdom and set up their own nation. They had been building to this goal for centuries and only enacted their plot after the construction of their greatest creation, the White-Gold Tower in the center of their Citadel. With the power of the White-Gold Tower, the Cyromer showed their true intentions and became the Ayleids. With this act they became the largest nation on Tamriel and the rival power to the Aldmeri Kingdom. War never broke out between the two nations, though the animosity between them was great.
Though the Ayleid Imperium was not a monolithic entity. Each city-state was ruled by its own King. In an attempt to form a cohesive government, they assembled the Council of Princes in the Citadel's White-Gold Tower. The Council was made up of the various princely heirs to the city-states and ruled with as much authority as their parent monarch. The Council of Princes made any overarching decisions and policy changes that influenced the whole Imperium, but there were still city-states that resisted the Council's power. The very nature of the Ayleids was to hide their intentions and to pragmatically seek out more power for themselves. The states bickered and fought among themselves, while others made secret alliances. This political instability within the Imperium came to a head when the Narfinsel, Ayleid Kings who began to bargain with the Daedric Princes, were declared public enemies by the Barsaebics, Ayleids who worshiped the Aedra. This started the Narfinsel Schism, a centuries long war between the two powers over control of the Imperium.
The Ayleids first began expanding into Valenwood around ME 800, with the taking of the ruined Aldmer city of Ilayas. Afterwards they attempted to found other cities to exploit the forest's resources, but only those hugging the shores of the Crescent River remained. Ayleids still make expeditions into the forest to try to claim its wealth of resources, but to varying degrees of success.
Ayleid society is one of individuality. While it began with the focus of individual betterment, it devolved into selfishness and abuse. Like most elves, they seek ascension. While the Falmer seek it through piety, the Aldmer through perfection, the Dwemer through knowledge, the Ayleids seek it through power. How an Ayleid obtains this power is varied. Some seek it through years of training through magic, others through political rank or merchantile wealth, some make bargains with Daedra. The end result is the same. This sort of society breeds competition and strife, which culminated in the Narfinsel Schism and the gradual decline of the once mighty Ayleid Imperium.
Much of Ayleid society revolves around the exploitation of others, particularly in the form of slavery. It began with the Bird-men of the Eight Islands, who were driven to extinction to build the wonderous Citadel, then the Nedic humans and the other beastfolk of the continent. In Ayleid society, elven superiority is paramount and other races are treated with such inferiority that they are no better than animals.
The Ayleids believed in religious freedom. As descendants of the Aldmer, they initially worshiped the Aedra. Though their pantheon of gods was different than the standard Aldmeri dogma. They collection of Aedra they worshiped was known as the Ten Ancestors: Auri-El, Trinimac, Magnus, Syrabane, Y'ffre, Xarxes, Mara, Stendarr, Lorkhan and Phynaster. The inclusion of what were seen by the Aldmer as enemy gods (Stendarr and Lorkhan particularly) was seen as heretical and led to Ayleid persecution in the Summerset Isles. Though to the Ayleids this was the traditionalist religion. The less orthodox Ayleids began to worship the Daedra in the hopes of bargaining and obtaining power from them. Unlike the Chimer, who were also Daedra worshipers, the Ayleids made no distinction between good and evil Daedra. This led to the worship of dieties like: Meridia, Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon and Hermaeus Mora. Though every Daedric Prince had a cult somewhere within the Ayleid Imperium.
- Aettus: An Ayleid city located on the shores of the Crescent River in Reaper's March. Ruled by one of the Narfinsel Kings. Currently at war with Thormar.
- Ilayas: An Ayleid city located on the Broken Coast of Malabar Tor. It used to be an Aldmer city before it fell to ruin and was rebuilt by the Ayleids. Ruled by one of the Barsaebics Kings.
- Thormar: An Ayleid city located on the shores of the Crescent River in Reaper's March. Ruled by one of the Barsaebics Kings. Currently at war with Aettus.
Wood Orsimer Tribes
The Wood Orcish Tribes are a collection of tribal strongholds and nomadic bands located in the forests across Valenwood. Each tribe has a relatively small population compared to the settlements of the other races, since the Orcs' patriarchal society is very competitive. Wood Orcs there live according to the Code of Malacath and the rule of their chieftains. Unlike the Iron Orcs of northern Tamriel, the Wood Orcs are not masterful smiths and survive mainly through raiding.
The Orsimer were original Aldmer, members of the Chantry of Trinimac. Trinimac was the Warrior-God of the Aldmer, the hero that killed the treacherous Lorkhan by ripping out his heart. He was one of the three hero-gods of the Aldmer as Trinimac the Warrior, the other two being: Phynaster the Thief and Syrabane the Mage.
In the Middle Merethic Era, roughly 1000 years before the 1st Era, Trinimac and his followers attempted to halt the movement of the prophet Veloth and the Chimer, elves who began to worship the Daedric Princes: Azura, Boethiah and Mephala. Boethiah intercepted Trinimac and managed to trick him. She devoured Trinimac, corrupting his body and spirit, and he emerged from his own remains as the Daedric Prince Malacath. As a result, his followers were transformed as well. Their golden skin turned green, their teeth grew into tusks and horns protruded from their heads. These changed Aldmer became known as the Pariah Folk, the Orsimer. Unable to accept their transformed cousins into their society, the Aldmer cast them out into the wilderness. The early Orcish people migrated across Tamriel, taking up residence in the woods and mountains of the continent. They developed 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.
The Orcs first arrived in Valenwood around ME 1000. They settled in strongholds deep in the forest, closer to the rocky hills. Unlike the other elves of the forest, the Orcs were physically built enough to fight off the perrils that tried to stop them. The Wood Orcs became one of the dangers of the forest as they began to raid the Bosmer and Aldmer settlements in order to survive. This raider focused lifestyle led to some of the tribes becoming nomadic and continuing to venture through Valenwood on the hunt for new targets.
Strongholds are governed by a rigid class system. Every Orc has a specific job and is obligated to perform it. Every man, woman, and child in the fort is also trained from birth to defend it. The Strongholds are led by a chief, who killed the previous chief to prove his strength. Only the chiefs are allowed to have wives, and due to this, they often have several. This method is to ensure that the strongest Orc becomes chief, contributing his genes to the next generation of Orcs who, in theory, should be stronger than the last. Orcs in strongholds follow their own law called the Code of Malacath. The will of Malacath is clarified by the stronghold's resident wise woman. The rules of the Code are simple: do not steal, do not kill, do not attack without reason, fight with honor, and protect your tribe. They do not have jails; instead, offenders are forced to pay a "blood price," in which the criminal bleeds until the victim is satisfied. In cases where the victim was murdered, the chief is consulted to convey an appropriate sentence.
Individuals that aren't Orcs are normally viewed as untrustworthy and are turned away from the strongholds. However, it is possible for an outsider to gain entrance by becoming 'blood kin'. This is done by performing a specific task to gain the trust of the Stronghold. This task is normally very dangerous.
Unlike the Iron Orcs, the Wood Orcs were unable to use the vast resources of their province. They could not create vast mines and thus were unable to make large amounts of armor and weapons. They didn't develop their smithing skills like the Iron Orcs and what little ore they could mine from the mountains was turned into weapons. Most of their armor was made from leather and fur instead of the heavy Orichalcum armor.
- Drunujit: A Wood Orc stronghold in the forests of southern Malabar Tor.
- Lavozagh: A Wood Orc stronghold near the hills of the Grahtwood.
- Wood Orc Nomads:
- Balorat Tribe: A Wood Orc nomad tribe currently venturing through eastern Valenwood.
- Pulgoruz Tribe: A Wood Orc nomad tribe currently venturing through Greenshade.