Born in Wrothgar, an Orsimer stronghold located in the Breton province of High Rock, Laranha was the youngest of chieftain Utash gro-Khazib's five sons and the only one by his mother, Barosh gra-Norzalag. Whilst his younger sister Lagakh was being groomed for a strategic marriage, Laranha and his brothers were expected to one day lead their own tribes - either by leaving to set up their own stronghold, or by challenging their father's position. Laranha was his father's favourite to succeed him: competent and dependable, he was even-tempered where his brothers were hot-headed, intelligent where they were impulsive. Nobody would have expected him to help his younger sister flee the stronghold ahead of her arranged betrothal, breaking a long-standing nupital agreement between the two tribes, and rendering the stronghold defenseless against their neighbours. Furious, his father deemed Laranha zugra crun, a "cursed outsider", and banished him from Wrothgar in its entirety. Laranha and Lagakh were two of only three siblings to survive the clan's eventual downfall.
In the years that followed Laranha found easy work as a mercenary in southern Tamriel, mainly guarding sugar plantations in Elsewyr, and participating in the occasional stray skirmish as the Dominion worked on sacking neighbouring Valenwood. It was actually his fleeting association with the Dominion which drew Laranha north to Skyrim, where he hoped to find continued work assisting in the civil war effort. Instead, he reconnected with his sister, now revealed as the legendary dovahkiin. Laranha subsequently took on an independent contract to rout the Forsworn from the Markath and the surrounding area, during which time he made the acquaintance of Markarth's venerable guard-captain, Jolurette Vennick. Laranha and Vennick grew close, eventually entering into a romantic relationship. Despite this, Laranha was still agonizing over the depth of his feelings for Vennick when he was kidnapped by Thalmor agents.
The Thalmor took Laranha to their Embassy north of Solitude, where he was tortured extensively in the hopes that he would agree to talk his sister into siding with the Imperial Legion in the civil war. After months of torture, Laranha managed to escape the Embassy during a prisoner transfer. Severely weakened, he staggered south until he stumbled upon a farm run by a Dunmer refugee and her daughter. Laranha remained here for several months, slowly recovering from his ordeal, until he was discovered during a Stormcloak raid. Commander Istar Cairn-Breaker had Laranha transferred to Windhelm, where he was given temporary shelter in the Palace of Kings. However, it is clear that Ulfric Stormcloak sees Laranha as little more than a useful resource in his civil war. Aside from providing them with information about the Thalmor, he hopes to use her brother's presence in Windhelm to win the dovahkiin's hard-earned favor.
Like his sister, Laranha is still consumed by guilt over the loss of their clan. However, whereas Lagakh is an introvert by nature, Laranha uses solitude almost as a form of self-flagellation. Outgoing and charming, he embraces the perception of the big, exotic orsimer. Composed and intelligent, his employers often praise his competency and sense of discretion. Somewhat unusually for an orc, Laranha tends to respect others regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic status, and abhors injustice in all its forms. However, he's so easy-going that, when he finally pushes back, his anger gives the impression of having come "out of nowhere". Laranha is generally placid and agreeable, but avoids getting into anything long-term due to his own feelings of unworthiness. Much like his sister, he is doggedly determined both in and out of battle.
Following his torture at the hands of the Thalmor, Ulfric offers Laranha sanctuary in Windhelm. He can't bring himself to rebuff the Jarl's kindness, even as it makes him a pawn in a larger scheme.
Anybody would expect Laranha to hate the Thalmor after what they did. However, Elenwen successfully pried Laranha's deepest secrets from him. She knows him better than anyone ever will.