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The Obsidian Fort

It is no coincidence that the tribe of the Father of Darkness aesthetically values dark objects highly. The soot and black smoke which blows from Chaos Dwarf manufactories, furnaces and Iron Daemons is not an ugly tarnish upon the face of the earth to the Dawi Zharr, but rather a beautiful manifestation of dark domination and industrial power. In a similar vein does some Chaos Dwarfs colour their light beards and hair black to better please Hashut, especially those with some dubious uncorrupted Dwarf ancestry due to enslavement of Dawi females and concubinage. Likewise, ashen or dark building materials are favoured among the Chaos Dwarfs, and foremost among them is obsidian.

Obsidian's nature as a volcanic glass would in itself have been a reason for its high value among the Blacksmiths of Chaos. Yet it is the black colour of the opaque glass that truly sells it to the Chaos Dwarfs, as does its usefulness in Daemonsmithing rites. Obsidian is everywhere in the Dawi Zharr world where prestige and power is to be found. Similarly, obsidian features frequently in their myths and legends.

It is often associated with soul-crushing oppression, the subjugation of Daemons, the power of Hashut, evil masterminds and cruel twists of fate. To a people so interested in minerals and geology as the Chaos Dwarfs, the different kinds of obsidian all have their own devious meaning. In stories, this volcanic glass usually signals malignant events ahead, such as treachery or disaster.

Such are the obsidian tales told by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

This is one of these tales.

The Spear: The ashen desert known as the Blasted Wastes is not devoid of life, just devoid of soft life. Its close proximity to the Plain of Zharr makes it a given target for slaving expeditions against the small yet tough Greenskin tribes that inhabit this wasteland. It was one such routine venture that saw Daemonsmith Engineer Hazhubrat Blackmaw at the head of a small Chaos Dwarf force facing down a tribe of Goblins in an unknown canyon. Roiling clouds promised storm and thunder ahead, yet for now the only thunder was that of the Chaos Dwarf artillery.

It roared and spat and shrieked. Maimed Goblins collapsed around the flaming craters, their severed limbs flung everywhere whilst panic set in amongst the horde. It was a quick affair as usual. Before the battle, Wolf Raider parties had moved to flanking positions to prevent nasty surprises, charge if necessary and hinder the enemy's retreat. Then, a small band of slave rabble had been sent in towards the onrushing Goblin mass, pinning it down long enough for the Dawi Zharr artillery to devastate their foe and send them packing.

Likewise, the shattered cannon fodder slaves were on the run. They scrambled back towards the Chaos Dwarf lines, for there was no escape up the steep canyon walls. When Daemonsmith Hazhubrat saw this, he lead the line of Hobgoblins and Chaos Dwarf warriors forward, nets, shackles and whips ready to recapture the panicked slaves. When the first slaves crashed into the line of warriors and tried to push their way through the thin ranks, the Hobgoblins and Dawi Zharr stopped them with bonebreaking brutality. Slaves screamed in agony as they were subjugated yet again by these devils out of hell.

These screams caused some of the slaves to turn back and run after the fleeing Goblins whilst others just handed themselves over. Yet a few steadied themselves to sell their lives dearly. At least now they were armed, and their fierce spirits would rather die fighting than face slavery once again. This pathetic gaggle of eight thralls were mostly Marauder northmen sold into slavery by enemy tribes. Hazhubrat laughed at the sight of this, ordered his warriors to set after the Goblins and not interfere, and then he charged the Humans himself with a roaring battlecry.

Six of the eight wretches attempted to face his charge together in close combat. It was a mistake. Hazhubrat cut off their thin spear shafts and then their legs with savage swipes of his scimitar. They tried to stab, kick, punch and bite him, yet his Blackshard armour made him nigh invulnerable to their attacks. One of the men managed to scratch his cheek and almost toppled his hat as the man collapsed with his feet cut-off, but otherwise the Daemonsmith reigned supreme like a god in the close quarters fighting. This was just an amusing game to him, merely a training session or even a rigged sport where he couldn't lose.

The two other Marauders tried to dance around the Chaos Dwarf, jabbing with their spears and dodging his blows. Despite their starved condition, they were faster and more nimble than him. Filled with wrath, Hazhubrat Blackmaw burnt one slave to crisps with a fireball and lunged for the other one. He was met by a hurled spear that took his right ear clean off. The slave was cut down in short order, yet the Daemonsmith was bewildered that a mere slave's spear would have wounded him more than any Daemon had ever managed to do before in his Soulforge.

Hazhubrat picked up his ear and the spear that had cut it off, removed his armoured gloves and fingered the spear tip. It was just an obsidian shard, a waste-product from some building project. There were heaps and heaps of them on the Plain of Zharr. It was also sharper than any razor blade...

And that was how Hazhubrat Blackmaw got the bright idea that would cost him his life.

The Wall: Back in Zharr-Naggrund, Hazhubrat Blackmaw did not sell his booty on the slave market, but kept the slaves instead and went on to purchase a huge amount of obsidian that he at great cost and effort transported through the naval tunnel to the northern port stronghold of Uzkulak. He was inspired by his encounter with the rebel northmen slaves and wished to test his newest invention on their kinsmen.

North of Uzkulak he invested much of his fortune in erecting a small fortress outpost built out of obsidian. The construction work took place by day, yet by night the Daemonsmith would stalk the building site, inscribe heinous signs, sacrifice and perform mysterious rituals on the obsidian. This went on for months until the fort was finally finished. Here, he settled himself with his slaves and only a handful of Chaos Dwarfs. The Dawi Zharr of Uzkulak thought him crazy and talked among themselves of how the outpost would be perceived as a raw insult and a challenge to the northmen tribes. In fact, Hazhubrat Blackmaw counted on it.

True enough, the nearby Kul tribes one by one soon assaulted its walls with grappling hooks and rickety ladders, yet each time they met a horrible surprise as the obsidian walls came alive and calfed monsters of black glass that smashed men and spat sharp shards that tore flesh better than any metal could. The tribes ran away with their tails behind their legs, and the weird beings melted back into the smooth walls without a trace left behind other than a spattering of shards. The Kul tribes united in coalitions and under local warlords, and the assaults began anew in large numbers.

This time, the Humans counted on the sorceries of the tribal witches, Daemon-callers and shamans to aid them, but to no avail. The Chaos magic had little effect on the obsidian golems, and the weapons of men proved futile against their might. Atop the dark walls stood Daemonsmith Engineer Hazhubrat Blackmaw and laughed with the full force of his lungs as the Kul Marauders were defeated and had to flee the field.

As planned, this only attracted the attention of yet more tribes and Chaos Warriors to test their mettle against the volcanic glass behemoths. So they did, and so they died. Aspiring Champions of Chaos challenged the obsidian golems yet succumbed under their heavy fists. Beasts and monsters brought by the Marauder tribes were smashed, ripped apart or shot full of deadly shards. This cycle of ever stronger assaults on the fort continued, until finally Hazhubrat declared himself invincible from his gatehouse. He yelled this to the stormy skies, and the Dark Gods punished him.

Perhaps it was one of the Great Four. Perhaps it was some Daemon Prince or lesser deity. Perhaps it was the Father of Darkness Himself who did it. Divine punishment was delivered one night of fell omens and bale moon rising, when the obsidian golems all climbed up on the walls and assaulted their creator in the main tower. He fought furiously, yet he had made his golems too strong, too resistant.

Obsidian flakes chipped off their hulking frames as he shot at them with pistols and cast spells at them in desperation. With a yell that could be heard to Uzkulak, Daemonsmith Engineer Hazhubrat Blackmaw were killed by his own creations. The obsidian golems then went on to kill all the slaves and the few Chaos Dwarfs who did not make it out of the fort in time. The survivors' ill tidings spread far and wide across the region. To this day, northman and Dawi Zharr alike avoids the haunted fort at all costs. Even though its ensorcelled crafting has ensured its pristine condition to last for ages, no Human warlord have claimed the Obsidian Fort for himself.

There it stands, a citadel of black glass, waiting for a Sorcerer-Prophet foolhardy and ambitious enough to garrison the fort or take up residence himself there.

Waiting, and watching.
Another entertains read - keep it up Admiral. Takes Hat off
Cheers!Takes Hat off
Thanks guys, I'll try to! Cheers!
I immediately thought of tjub's obsidian golems Wink
Another great story!
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