Religion of the Forged
Since the exodus over the sea there has been the emergence – and indeed faction – of orcs who have carried on the worship Varar and Bǽlri. This suits the Forged way of life better than the old style of nature and spirit worship, and was encouraged by Balar because of this. Though the two are regarded as gods, the Forged are by no means either ignorant or in denial about the magic they channel being divine in the traditional sense. They know that the magics of blood and fire are what the world regards as traditionally arcane, but a peculiarity of the orcish mindset means that they approach religion in a different way; it is considered both rude and weak to implore a god for help. Worship therefore of elemental entities and other spirits suits them better; such power comes from the world around them and does not have to be begged for.
Vitality mages are called Bloodpriests, and head most war councils as well as the Circle of Blood society. Out of respect for the legacy of Balar most take the time to become proficient in at least one weapon, though it is understood that their magic must come first. Most Bloodpriests are male, though not exclusively so.
Among the Forged most Fire mages are female, and occupy a special place in Forged society. Called Hearthsingers, they are devotees of Bǽlri who epitomise the goddess’ duel emphasis on both making and defending a home for orcish kind. Among the Forged an ideal Hearthsinger is one who has mastered all aspects of fire and fire magic. This is to provide a light in the darkness, to warm a cold orc, to cook a good meal and cleanse impurity from a wound – and, when needed, to raise the hearth up to defend its home. Many an enemy has come across a supposedly undefended Forged village, then been burned to cinders by its Hearthsingers.
While there is no organised hierarchy or church there is still a certain amount of co-operation between priests, facilitated by the Circle of Blood Society. The Hearthsingers currently lack a circle, though inroads have been made to facilitate this in recent years and it is possible a new one will emerge to partner the Circle of Blood.
There are no “traditional” gods worshiped by the orcs. Some elven missionaries have made attempts at converting Forged to the worship of Aurvandil, but not very successfully. Those they approach are polite but also utterly uninterested in elven or indeed other forms of worship.