At frequent and regular intervals, a given orc clan will hold a breeding rite in order to conceive a new generation of orcs. These rites are referred to The Seeding operate under the supervision of the clan's witch and require the designation of a Breeding Mound, so called as the orcs leave a mound with all of the seeds sown into it behind once finished. Orcs who wish not to participate rigorously hold guard of the ritual site until it is completed. Any humanoid can also choose to participate and orcs welcome them, seeing it as a chance to increase the amount of offspring which is always good for orcish kind. These rituals take place whatever the religion of the clan may be if the clan follows one.
This has been a tradition since time immemorial for orcs, allowing them to survive as a species in the darklands even as individual orcs regularly fell to the dangers of the darklands. They have continued the tradition after surfacing even though the new environment was ill suited to it, orcs decided to make do. In places of relative stability, the Seeding is less required for survival of the species and take on a more casual and pleasurable turn but remain just as frequently performed.
The Clan Witch designates a location as the Breeding Mound to be. Following that the orcs of the clan will work for a total of a day to ensure that the space can suit the needs of the participants. This includes setting up a temporary camp surrounding the designated area to provide protection and privacy, digging up the soil to make it easier to bury the shells into later on and whatever else might suit the particular participants' needs. The next day is spent dedicated on hunting large game or otherwise gathering and cooking vast amounts of food to prepare a for a feast. Rudimentary palisades are erected around the area and orcs carefully guard it to leave it undisturbed. Finally on the third day, at whatever time of the day or night the Clan Witch designates as appropriate, a large feast is held, celebratory fires are lit around the camp and much dancing and celebrating occurs. This all ultimately culminates in the orcs and humanoids who have chosen to participate to the Seeding entering the Breeding Mound where the Clan Witch will pass shells imbued of special magic which will combine the genetic material of consenting partners and then be sown into the soil while the Clan Witch mutters incantations throughout until there are no one left contributing. At which point the witch will pronounce final incantations and declare the Seeding's end.
Components and tools
The ritual's only essential components are the Shells provided by the Clan Witch. However, orcs have widely taken to organising a feast on the same day to raise morale and scented spices to burn in and around the Breeding Mound to "set the mood" though the choices of spices in question changes with location and the culture of a specific clan. Additionally, individual clans may add or discard components other than the Shells, as part of their particular iteration of this rite.
The Clan Witch offices the Seeding. In particularly large clans, where the witch may have apprentices to assist them, these orcs can also be found in the Breeding Mound ensuring that everything go as planned. Non-participants, be they orc or otherwise guard the Breeding Mound and the Camp for the entire duration of the Seeding. If numbers allow, they will also labour to make preparations for people coming out of the Mound, by ensuring their essential needs can be met following their contributions in the form of food, water and/or a place to relax.
The Seeding is a spontaneous event, meaning it follows no set schedule and only a witch can call it by designating a Breeding Mound. It is however not at the whim of the witch but moreso when they deem certain factors to align in favour. These factors may include but not be limited to population size, morale, stability of the clan and imminent threats or lack thereof. Due to both the nature of orcs and the tight lipped secrecy with which Clan Witches hold on to their knowledge, little is known as to how much they consider before calling a Seeding. That said, for clans that to observe this custom it's usually occurs at least once per month.