The Crone of Maltak is a title given to a mystic orc woman who resides in the Vanishing Mountain.

The first Crone seen raised Melna after she was orphaned. Some time later, the Crone attacked Melna, and Melna killed her in self-defense.

The title was inherited by Azazia, who served as the Crone until the Battle of the Last Mountain.

The new Crone has not yet been revealed. It was hinted that Melna, Luna, or Kiya may inherit the postion, but nothing has been confirmed. After the Battle, Reinholdt was bound to the mountain as the protector of the next Crone.

On the Psychotropic Effects of Crone Exposure

by Mewthario

One of the most prominent figures in orcish folklore is an enigmatic female orc called the Crone of Maltak. Second only to Warlord Damaske in prominence, the Crone plays the role of adviser to a large number of mythic heroes, and appears to be roughly on par with Lord Dominus in influence. The recent events in Maltak have given this researcher a large amount of time (some would say too much) to study this Crone. The report on my findings is contained herein:

I believe that the entity known as the Crone is, in fact, some sort of mutagenic parasite that lives inside the Vanishing Mountain. It somehow alters its host's biochemistry to produce its own neurotoxin analogous to the Deegandrug, though with many crucial differences. I will call this the "Maltak Methamphetamine," or "Malteth" for short, for reasons that will become obvious shortly.

While the Deegandrug works as a depressant, weakening the victims' higher thought processes and rendering them pliable to suggestion, Malteth is a powerful stimulant, raising its victims' aggression considerably in response to certain thoughts, allowing the Crone to effectively generate extreme passion and outrage towards whatever it wants destroyed. This, naturally, explains why the orcs are so violent. It also appears that Malteth, perhaps in a slightly different form, is capable of simply generating strong conviction in its victims, causing them to firmly "just know" whatever the Crone wishes them to believe.

More troubling, of course, is the Crone's apparent ability to infest the entire Plains of Maltak with its insidious Malteth. It's possible that it exploits Maltak's unusual geometry to spray a concentrated dose in every location at once, but that seems unlikely. I believe that the Crone is, in fact, some sort of enormous fungus, living and growing beneath the Plains in the underground tunnel system (aka "The Nakta"). This is further supported by the fact that, when Luna traveled through the Nakta, she emerged extremely belligerent and enraged, as well as under the Crone's complete control.

It is also possible that the Crone can infect others with a lesser form of its mutagen, turning them into small-scale producers of Malteth capable of gradually subverting whatever enclaves of "free orcs" exist in the wastes. These can range from apparently normal sleeper agents to figures visually indistinguishable from the prime host itself, who appear in "visions" to important figures and deliver a highly concentrated dose of Malteth. The Bikta, whose mastery of the face-meld has protected them from the Crone's subversive effects, are particularly at risk from these carriers, and so they are careful to execute anyone they believe to be "unclean" (particularly those led to the Sanctuary by the obviously Malteth-addled Huk Thak) as far from their encampment as is safe.

Unlike Lord Dominus, however, the Crone does not seem to have perfect control over its drug of choice. Namely, its hosts appear to be wildly unstable, flying into homicidal rages as excess Malteth builds up in their systems. It appears the Crone has found a way to correct this error, however, and will likely implement a new form of the mutation once it infests Melna. Additionally, it sometimes overdoses its victims, as shown when Hirek arrived at the Crone Cave in a berserk rage.

Lastly, Malteth has unusual side effects when combined with the Deegandrug. In particular it appears to render its victims completely incoherent for a brief period, babbling out random names of people who happen to cross their minds.