the Trials of Mogak the Orc Heroine

The Trials of Mogak are one of many legends explaining the existance of giant reindeer. This is not the only such legend, merely the most popular one with most tundra dwelling orcs.


Long ago, the first orcs looked at the snowy lands they were given to live in and rejoiced at the possibilities their new lives offered them.   They saw there were other races in the world before them but this did not bother the first orcs. They looked and saw the humans had servile beasts, goats, chickens, pigs, and above all horses.   These animals were tasty enough but the orcs yearned for their own servile beasts.   The orcs cried out to Mother Nami.   "We need to compete with the humans! We need servile beasts capable of surviving in the frozen north. We don't need a menagerie, just give us something horses!"   But either the orcs were not specific enough or Nami was in a trickster mood (when She is not?).   The orcs were given reindeer. Beasts that were strong and swift, but rather small. Far too small to carry riders in a matter of horses.   The orcs made due. They ate reindeer flesh and drank reindeer milk. They had reindeer carry their loads and pull sleds. They even learned to craft antlers into deadly weapons, but they had nothing to compete with the humans' horses.   Mogak, a young priestess of Nami, prayed and beg to the Lady of Winds to send her people a steed worth of them. A wind spirit came down to her and told her that Nami would grant her this boon if Mogak were to compete three great deeds which Mogak agreed.   Mogak had to sneak past a dragon and steal a sentimental trinket from his hoard undetected.   Mogak had to slay an evil family of a dozen wendigo who were keeping a sister tribe of orcs under their icy clawed thumbs.   Mogak had to climb the highest mountain carrying a young reindeer buck on her back, then make it down an improvised sled never letting the reindeer put all four hooves on the ground. Mogak named this reindeer Torgan after her late grandfather.   At the end of this third task, nothing seemed to happen. Mogak was disappointed but did not give up her faith. She continued ot look after Torgan for sentimental reasons having bonded to the creature on her journey up and down the mountain.   When the Torgan the reindeer grew to adulthood, he kept growing and became the first giant reindeer. All modern giant reindeer are genetic legacies of Torgan.

Historical Basis

There is a clear spiritual tie between the goddess Nami and the orc race as a whole.   On the whole, orcs are more likely to keep domesticated reindeer more than other races and their reindeer herds have the most giant reindeer among them.   Beyond this, there is nothing to back the veracity of this story.

Variations & Mutation

Some stories feature the god Maylar, in place of the goddess Nami or in addition to her.   A lot of the stories change the heroine's name and/or make it a male orc. Some of the stories describe the three great deeds differently.   Just about every reindeer keeping orc tribe claims this hero as their direct ancestor.

Cultural Reception

Pretty no one who is not an orc believes a word of this legend.   Zegdelian gnomes and taiga elves both regularly keep or hunt reindeer and they view them as a gift from the god Korus, having nothing to do with Maylar, Nami, or orcs.

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Cover image: The car by Juan Encalada


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