Yes, I think the orcs as real a creation as anything in 'realistic' fiction: your vigorous words well describe the tribe; only in real life they are on both sides, of course [....]In real (exterior) life men are on both sides: which means a motley alliance of orcs, beasts, demons, plain naturally honest men, and angels.

Makes me think that maybe orcs could actually just be an elf word for enemy, and that there is no race of orcs. All the orcs are actually just a different societies or cultures of elves and men and dwarves that happen to be hostile to the dominant society or culture. Of course, for a "true" elf most humans and dwarves are almost orcs anyway, and no "true" elf would go against the traditions of "true" elfdom, so calling those other elves "elves" doesn't make sense. After a few generations, it wouldn't be surprising for these so-called orcs to have a reputation for being ugly and evil and having vile customs. And I kind of like the idea that half-orcs and half-elves are the same thing. They're just raised differently and have different concepts of what is good and beautiful and useful.

Hmm, maybe I will use this idea and have orc mean enemy or foreigner or barbarian in "true" elf. Something like that anyway.