- "A great toothed comet came, It grew closer by the day, Fire roared the Sky, killed the night and drove the beast mad, The Maw was born from the fire, The earth shook as its coming, the flames ate many tribes, to the mountains some fled."
- —The Saga of the Ogres.
The Great Maw is the primary and sole deity of the religion of the Ogre races. Their relationship with this entity is not just one of devotion, but also one of fear, for the Great Maw was once responsible for the near-destruction of the entire Ogre race at an earlier point of time. From what Scholars could get from Ogre folktale and stories, the Great Maw was a deity recorded long before the rise of Men, in the land just north of present-day Cathay. From information gathered by Ogre witnesses during that time, the Great Maw is described as a gaping mouth of razor-sharp teeth, where an endless chasm lay at the very centre of the pit where some say he has burrowed deep into the core of the earth, continuously eating until it finally reached the other side of the world.
Scholars however believed that the Great Maw was not a deity at all, but just a simple meteorite of great size that hit the Ogres original homeland. It is theorised by scholars that due to the Ogre's small brain, and extreme tendency to over-exaggerate things, the Ogre's believed the comet was a vengeful god-like being who ate the Ogre race and their lands as punishment for their sins. Scholars also theorised that when it hit, the force of the impact was so devastating that the crater itself was miles long, and the impacting force made many rock formations to spike out in the outer rim of the crater, creating the illusion of a massive gaping maw. It is also speculated however that due to the Ogres constant worship of this deity, this god has manifested within the Warp itself, as evident for the Ogres unique use of "Gut Magic". Now it is the main deity being worshipped in the Mountains of Mourn.
Many thousands of years ago, the Ogres lived far to the east of the Mountains of Mourn, in the great sweeping plains on the borders of far Cathay. Their homelands were fertile and rolling grasslands spread from horizon to horizon, with grazing gnubeast and lumbering yak providing an ever-replenishing supply of fresh meat. With no natural barriers to divide the two kingdoms, the majority of the Ogre Tribes lived as nomads, trading almost as often as fighting. The great secret of fire was passed to them by the Cathayan neighbours, who in return begun to recruit the more intelligent Ogres into the Grand Imperial Army. Tribe upon tribe prowled the rolling steppes as their numbers grew. However Ogre raids soon begun to stray too close into Cathay itself, preying on the simple peasants working in rice fields. Before long many Ogres had acquired a taste for Cathayan flesh. This was something which His Most Excellent Majesty Xen Huong, Celestial Dragon Emperor of the Imperial Palace of Grand Cathay took a very dim view of indeed.
Whether Xen Huong's coven of ancient astromancers had anything to do with the catastrophe that befell the Ogres remains speculated, but not too long after the children of the land began to go missing and bloodied bones littered the paddy fields, a great burning light appeared in the sky. It increased in brightness and size with every passing day until it eclipsed even the great spheres of Morrslieb and Mannslieb. Over the weeks, it grew to be a baleful, glowering orb that crackled and spat above the plains, turning night into day and driving the wildlife of the steppes, mad with fear... for they should be. A corona of sickly green light came into focus around the comet as it grew ever closer, and fanciful observers even claimed that this new celestial body had a face or more accurately a mouth.
One sweltering night, the comet slammed into the heart of the Ogre homeland with such force and magnitude that it was felt on the other side of the world. All life around it boiled away in an instant; two-thirds of the Ogre population were annihilated as the steppes liquefied under the hammer-blow of an angry god. The raging, blinding firestorms that followed the comet's fall incinerated everything for miles around. Had there been any survivors left to peer into the massive crater left by the comet's descent, they would seen that the comet had not stopped on contact but instead burrowed deep into the heart of the world. For the devastated tribes of Ogres, the worst was yet to come. Their verdant homelands had been reduced to a searing desert of howling sandstorms and baleful eldritch energies that stripped the skin from their bones. Other than the remnants of the Ogre population, only a few species of insects had the resilience to survive the disaster, and starvation quickly set in. The surviving tribes degenerated into cannibalism, falling upon each-other in fear and hunger as the drought and lack of food gnawed away at their once-full bellies. To the Ogre's it seemed that a vengeful god had fallen upon them, consuming all before it; a great and terrible maw that existed purely to feed. Thus the insatiable and merciless god of the Ogres was born.
The strongest and hardiest of the Ogres even after having eaten their weaker brethren, found that the gnawing hunger visited upon them at the time of the Great Maw's arrival would not leave. No longer able to cross into Cathay due to the poisonous desolation left in the gods wake, the majority of the survivors migrated into the mountain ranges to the west in search of a new homeland and respite from the great drought. However, one of the oldest Ogre legends tells of Groth Onefinger, who led his tribe further into the deadly desert with the intention of offering sacrifices to this new and powerful god. What he found has since been depicted on a thousand gut-plates and banners, and is forever etched into the legends of their race. Before the Ogres lies a massive and gigantic gaping crater the size of which stretched for miles, filled with ridges upon ridges of jagged teeth and rippling, convulsing muscle that stretched down and down into nothingness; a gullet so huge it could swallow a race like the Ogres and still hunger for more. It exists there even now; a vile, pulsing god visited upon the face of the world by the vengeful heavens.
- It was later revealed during the Age of Sigmar that the Great Maw had merely been an aspect of the twin gods, Gork and Mork.
- 1: Warhammer: Ogre Kingdoms pg 8 - 9