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Welcome to the voting thread for the 12th Scribe's Contest writing competition!

"Ship ahoy!"

How to vote:
Please submit 3 numbers as votes by sending a PM to Scribe account (a special account all Staff members can access). We had 10 entries this time, which means each entrant will receive 10 slaves once the winners have been announced.

You are not allowed to vote for your own entry.

Each (more or less) anonymous entry is numbered ranging from 1 to 10. There is no need to specify which one you think is 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Simply list the three that you like we will do the rest.

Voting will close at 11:59 PM May 1st, 2019 EST (Eastern Standard Timezone).  Once the votes are tallied we will post the results.

Subject Matter: On Dark Tides (Chaos Dwarfs and the Sea)

Entry #1

The Legend of The Brazen Conquest

Long ago the young captain Balakar The Ambitious had a ship built, the ship was mighty in size and shaped like a grim Bale Taurus. The ship’s weaponry was cruel with its daemonic cannons mounted in the eyes that spat forth flame to which gifted a torturous end to the enemies of Balakar. Strapped on top was a mighty dominating cannon that could level multiple ships at once.  It was a gargantuan barge that instead of cutting through waves like a Bretonnian corsair, would see the sea bow before it's own grandeur.

He set out from Uzkulak travelling around Norsca on a vast journey until he reached the Sea of Claws. There he met upon an Empire fleet patrolling the waters of Norden. His crew counted twelve ships. The odds weren’t in the favour of The Brazen Conquest, a large battle ensued that fueled on into the dusk and dawn of the next day. Though the Brazen Conquest’s doom was thought to be certain, it fought through. Hashut must have taken notice to Balakar and his men and granted them favour, thus, Moor had to stalk the Imperials. The last Greatship levelled a shot into one of the daemonic eyes, the Daemonsmith in charge was killed only after he allowed his Daemon's freedom. The Empire Greatship became an orange and black puff of screams and bellows that only the most horrid of men could endure hearing. It then cleared to show a splatter of stained, red ocean and nothing more.

The Brazen Conquest sunk the remaining ships as the crew cackled at the sight of the defeated enemy. They felt incredibly fortunate. Everything was perfect for a second, until creeping out of the fog they saw it. Great teeth, beady, chartreuse eyes, scales black as coal and a massive fin. The colossal Leviathan dove beneath the water as the cheering obtusely stopped in the seconds between the leviathan diving, then swallowing the ship. Balakar let out a terrible screech to the heavens as though furious at the very world’s cruelty.

Balakar of The Brazing Conquest is a harrowing ghost story known to Uzkulak. Balakar’s ghost supposedly haunts the sea upon a zombie Taurus and ensures that no sailor may have the life of riches that he had sought.

Perhaps, his ghost entered Shyish and possibly evolved into actual danger to our seafaring Dawi’Zharr...

Entry #2

The Rhyme of the Ashen Mariners

Untiring, unyielding, ungodly, unbound,
Is sailing a vessel unlike any else.
O heavens! That only it never had found
The wretch who this story now tells!

Uncanny, unsettling, undying, unlit,
Cyclopean, clad with corroded ore,
As vast as a city, as dark as a pit,
Forever roaming and bound for no shore.

Unnerving, unheard of, unholy, untamed,
Her furnace holds fiery volcanic heat,
Steam drives her engine of artifice famed,
The pistons are marching to a maddening beat.

Unfearing, uncaring, undoubtedly cursed
The Ashen Mariners plow through the sea
With shanties of  war – ev'ry hour rehearsed –
Of hostile armadas crushed down to debris.

Unbeaten, unshaken, unmastered, unchecked,
A crew full of pitiless dwarven brutes
Is seeking the prey, to be shredded and wrecked,
As the band boards ship and plunders and loots.

Uncleanly, unwholesome, unspeakably fell
The Moloch then feasts on the derelict's rest,
Devouring it steadily into her shell
To grow even more on her masters' behest.

Unfailing, unflinching, untemperedly cruel,
This abomination came down on our ship.
While half of us fell in the unequal duel
The others succumbed to the slave master's whip.

Unlikely, unconscious, unsettled, undone
I alone escaped from that dreadful fate.
The Sea of Drowned Sorrows, dear listeners, shun!
You glimpsed Zharr Vyxa? 'Tis already too late!

Entry #3

It had been a long journey, the Tilean thought to himself. Years ago he found a treasure map inside a bottle that washed up on shore...and it was signed by Captain Stonebeard, a notorious Chaos Dwarf pirate who disappeared decades ago. Legends spoke that he was dead, his treasure hidden in a cave with walls of gold.

The map was crude, it could be any island, in any sea. But the glass bottle itself was a clue, it was embossed with a brewery name. Years of searching had led the Tilean to find the brewery in a small northern seaport, and sitting in the brewery pub, drinking grog, was a Hobgoblin wearing an eye patch. The pub owner said that the Hobgoblin was a smuggler, who knew the local sea better than anyone, if anyone could find a hidden island, it would be the Hobgoblin.

Looking at the map, the Hobgoblin said he knew where to go, and as payment, the Hobgoblin asked the Tilean to pay his bar tab, and buy one more bottle of grog for the journey.

Hours later they arrived at a small rocky island, the Tilean eagerly exploring the sole cave. But he quickly realized that the walls of the cave weren't gold, they were iron pyrite, "fools gold". And then he saw it, a stone statue of a Chaos Dwarf...with only one eye.

Calmly, the Hobgoblin spoke:

"Dat's Stonebeard hisself, sorcerers curse, turned 'im to stone. First mate I was, Master he still is. He's dying word, keep his treasure secret, keep et safe. And fer loyalty, he gave me he's Daemonsmith eye"

The Hobgoblin took off his eye patch, revealing a prosthetic copper eye with an arcane rune. With one glance of the eye, the Tilean fell over dead, his soul ripped from his body and bound forever to the iron pyrite walls of the cave.

"Fools gold" the Hobgoblin casually remarked, as he took the treasure map from the dead hand of the Tilean.

He then uncorked the bottle of grog that the Tilean had bought him for the journey, drank it down, and then deftly rolled up the treasure map and sealed it inside the empty bottle.

After paying respects to his stone Master, he tossed the treasure map bottle back into the sea...his smile revealing his sharp copper plated teeth.

Entry #4

From Bleak Depths, We Rise…

50 fathoms beneath the churning surface of the Great Ocean a hulking behemoth slipped through the calm darkness. This was not a creature of muscle and scales but instead one of gears, pipes, and metal. Crafted in utmost secrecy, none barring the crew had seen its insidious design. In a perilous ritual the soul of a tempestuous daemon had devoured all unfortunate slaves labouring in its construction, leaving naught but the molten remains of a dry dock.

Nalhad the Shipwright ducked beneath the overhead pipe rack, negotiating the tight hallways between the engine room and the conning tower. Hissing of valves and clanking of machinery overwhelmed the blasting steam boilers, firing on violent heat generated by the tenuously imprisoned daemon. His familiar clacked along at his heels, a minor entity easily drawn into servitude to escape eternal torment in some forgotten realm. Its essence was bound to a mechanized crab with a whirring mandible of gears and spindly articulating legs (one of many artificial forms crafted by its master). A faint purple glimmer radiated from beneath its riveted carapace with steam sputtering out of a grated exhaust pipe.

As he proceeded up the final ladder he sent his familiar toward the fore ballast tank to make preparations for surfacing. His vessel was poised to become a legend feared by all those foolhardy enough to weigh anchor. The shipwright shouted below to his stout crew of ironclad Dawi-Zharr to arm for boarding, which was met by a chorus of affirmative responses and rapid shambling. He could feel the ship begin to rise in earnest, angling toward its first victim.

Gaining speed and elevation the mighty iron beast neared the surface, portholes beginning to cast light as the blackness thinned. The reinforced hammerhead bow parted the water as gears and blades whirred into motion, a vicious scything maw. Fin-shaped hydroplanes held the angle of attack, initiating a ramming assault from underneath the large enemy war galleon. A resounding crash sent both sailors and debris airborne. The crippling blow to the brittle wooden hull caused the ship to list severely, instantly taking on water below deck. From the bow hatch spilled Nalhad’s crew, ready to plunder in the name of Hashut. From bleak depths, we rise and conquer…

Entry #5

Heimgrall looked at the blood slowly congealing on the deck. The assault, when it finally came, had been short and brutal. The few soldiers falling to the guns of the pirates. Even the Windsinger mages’ spells had died as they left his throat. That was before a bullet had taken the left side of his head. Heimgrall wondered blankly if it was his blood he was watching.

They had spotted the ship two days previously. The captain knew what that dark smoke on the horizon meant and had fled before it. It had been futile. The terrified passengers had watched their pursuers’ slow and inexorably gain with horror.

Heimgrall felt rather than saw the pirates stiffen. He looked up from where he was kneeling. The dwarf in front of him was heavily armoured, like the other Zharr Vyxa pirates. Yet his armour was trimmed with bronze and gold. Intricate runic designs decorating each scale of his brigandine.

“My Lord”

The dwarf turned his head to study Heimgrall. The golden deaths’ head mask  regarded him impassively

“My lord. We are only refugees, Take our valuables but let us live and you will have our eternal gratitude.”

The dwarf tilted his head.

“We do not want your baubles.” His voice was deep and tinged with humour. “We do not want your ship. We do not want your gratitude. We just want you.”

Slavery! Heimgralls’ last hope flickered and died. Images of whips filled his mind. Tears filled his eyes.

“I will never serve you!” The voice came from further down the line of kneeling prisoners.

“You may break my body but never my will. I will never serve you!” It was Adrithan, the young blacksmith.

The dwarf chuckled richly.

“Oh, you will serve. But don’t worry. We don’t need your body, or your will. I told you. We just want you.”

The dwarf raised the strange pistol that he held and fired.

The prisoner grunted. He looked in surprise at the small dart lodged in his chest, the long wires trailing from it and the pistol. Then he began to scream.

Heimgrall screwed his eyes closed to shut out the violet glow from those wires. He could not shut out that sound. The sound that clawed at his sanity. The sound of a soul being torn from its body.

The screaming was to last a long time.

Entry #6

A Daughter's Birth

Picks crunched and tore into stone as the slaves worked. The cruel masked overseer watched on as they worked, dark eyes seeking any who faltered. A meaty hand clutched a barbed whip even as other slaves moved around him, carting off mined minerals to the forges.

Hammer struck blazing metal again and again. An army of smiths ceaselessly worked ore into thick plates of blackened steel, great beams and curved ribs. Amongst the smiths robed priests moved from line to line, growling benedictions to Hashut. Every now and again they would pause and carve hateful runes upon the metal.

Within the drydocks the skeleton was formed of a mighty ironclad by teams of workers and slaves. Some perished as they worked from accident or malicious intent, their hot blood oozing into the young bones of the ship.

Upon his altar the Daemonsmith intoned the final rite of summoning as his acolytes took their blade to the throat of the sacrificial bull. It kicked and thrashed as its lifeblood oozed over the brass chased and runic etched wheel. From the still shuddering bull came a faint wisping smoke that coiled and curled with an almost hungry intent. The lights in the altar chamber then died one after the other and a scratching noise that emerged from the smoke turned into an inferno roar as the smoke erupted into the shape of a great daemonic bull of flame that poured into the bloodied wheel.

Bellowing Hellcannons, deprived of their wheels angrily tried to thrash in the chains that hoisted them into position upon the dark iron deck. Teams of Dawi Zharr engineers ran from cannon to cannon, fixing them to the decks even as the daemons roiling within them snarled. Great batteries of rockets and cannons too were erected and fixed to the decks and gunports, each one overseen by a growling forge master.

The brackish waters frothed and hissed to the touch of the ironclad as the drydocks were slowly opened to the sea. At the helm the shipmaster ran a stony hand through his beard before placing it almost tenderly upon the wheel. A low gurgling hiss was his response, the daemon within tasting and touching the ship that too was its body. Savagely smiling, the shipmaster gently turned the great wheel and the ship curtly obeyed. A ship made of pain and fury now let loose upon the world.

Entry #7

The Infernal Dwarf Captain and the Stone Ship, by Karhemaq Telltongue

There was once an Infernal Dwarf captain serving aboard an ironclad warship. He was a cruel soul hungering for the chance to domineer and crush others underhoof. He was also known for his tenacity, and many believed that he would let nothing stop him once he had put his mind to the task.

One day, the lookout of this Infernal Dwarf's ironclad caught sight of one of our stone ships, flying the banners of Kegiz Gavem in broad daylight. The captain of the steel ship was gripped by a desire to board or sink this enemy vessel, and so he roared out orders on deck and set to the task of sea warfare with vomiting smokestacks. Paddle wheels steamed him closer, swinging in for a broadside, and he ordered his crew to open up with artillery fire.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this duel, and our barrage worsted him. And so he roared out orders to board us. Paddle wheels steamed him closer, and grappling hooks gripped our stout railing. And he ordered his crew to assault us.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this combat, and our warriors worsted him. And so he roared out orders to disengage and ram us instead. Paddle wheels backed water for him, and then steamed him onward at full speed. And he ordered his crew to brace for impact.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this ramming action, and our rock hull worsted him so badly that his metal hull creaked and ripped open as rivets popped. And the whole ironclad sank with all hands, except for the Infernal Dwarf captain.

And so he swam toward us, and our merciful warriors produced a rope-ladder for him to climb and thus save his life if he swore to surrender to the victors of naval battle.

Yet the enraged Infernal Dwarf captain refused this offer, and instead started to crash his horned head against our carved stone hull like a mad bull, throwing himself against floating rock again and again until his horns broke and his skull cracked and his brains burst. And so we left the Infernal Dwarf's corpse dishonourably for the sharks to devour. For stubbornness is a virtue, but stupidity is a sin.

- The Infernal Dwarf Captain and the Stone Ship, by Karhemaq Telltongue

Entry #8

Mutiny on the Bountharr

Sorcerer-Prophet Alkanash regarded Wilham the Plight, disgraced sea captain, with a disdain-written face. “Come nightfall, you will set sail for the Turtle Islands and bring back 200 Ashheart Salamanders for a grand ritual in Hashut’s honour. But the Dark Father is weary of you. Prove yourself worthy captaining the Hobgoblin barque Bountharr.”

Wilham left, trembling with barely contained anger. To lead a crew of Hobgoblin slaves was an insult! Wilham decided to take the shortest passage to the Turtle Islands, leading around southern Lustria under the watchful eyes of the cursed Elgi at the Citadel of Dusk. A perilous route, but he would arrive two moons early with his spoils and would never have to command a slave ship again!

Wilham whipped the crew on day and night to make haste. By the time he reached the Citadel of Dusk, already 46 of 203 Hobgoblins were dead, an acceptable number. But the Hobgoblins feared the Elves as much as they feared his flogging, and the Bountharr could not make the passage. A furious Wilham lashed out but ultimately had to accept the detour through the Gates of Calith.

Three months later they finally arrived at the Turtle Islands. By now the Ashheart Salamanders started hibernation and so the Bountharr would lose another two months. The crew started raiding the coastal villages and enjoyed the easy match the rural island folk presented in combat. After months of waiting, the Bountharr finally left the Turtle Islands and Wilham was eager to make up for the lost time by flogging the crew twice as much.

Not after long, the Hobgoblins thought back longingly about their life on the Turtle Islands. Finally a group around first officer Fletchakk Khan realized they were far away from Zharr Naggrund. Spurred on by the rum-induced confidence they stormed their captain’s cabin, in hopes to surprise him in his sleep, as is the Hobgoblin way. But their plans were ultimately thwarted by the treacherous Hobgoblin nature, as some Hobgoblins preferred taking second-in-command under Wilham rather than staying mere slaves under Fletchakk. Still outnumbered, all the 18 “loyal” Hobgoblins could do was drag a still fuming Wilham to a boat and flee, never to be seen again.

Unfortunately for the Khan, the next day he had a “nasty accident” with the ship’s boom, according to his successor. Forty days later the dreaded sails of the Bountharr approached on the Turtle Islands’ horizon. Unbraked it ran on the ground, but no Hobgoblin jumped ashore. It took the bravest villager two days to set foot on the ominously silent ship. All he found were 24 dead Hobgoblins, two of them with hands still wrapped around each others' throats.

Entry #9

We were undone.  No provocation.  No warning.  The frozen spray, the monstrous waves... endless. Striving to whelm and drown us with every breath, wearing our hearts and minds down to the very bone of our will.  As if that were not trial enough.

The lookout saw nothing; frozen and driven mindless with ceaseless shivering.  He was there one instant... the entire mast, and nest and tower, and the frail mortal gone the next... smashed; riven from their frame by the shuddering whip of a great iron tentacle; screaming the horrid song of flexing metal over the mad grinding of gears.  In mere moments our ice covered craft was wrapped in their crushing grasp, snapping beams and breaking the back of the "Greyfall" in a cacophony of madness.  Suddenly loose rigging, snaking the deck with deadly intent, rending man and vessel alike and mercilessly flinging the remnant into the frozen, frothing, mad, seas.

Through the madness I got a glimpse of the impossible behemoth that held us in it's unyielding grasp. Massive metal tentacles covered in rivets the size of dinner plates and hulking pistons encircled the broken hulk of our ship tightening constantly.  And then... it's maw... a circular chasm rounded about with grinding teeth of pure iron... slowly devouring the ship from bow to stern... rendering ship, armament, stores, and crew alike to component parts for what purpose I can only guess... glowing eyes... view ports to a soulless master... massive rusted vents belching steam and foul chemical smoke making breath all but impossible... cough... coming closer... ever closer... those teeth... eyes within eyes... we... are... lost.

Entry #10


Intro and Chorus
What do you do with a Captured Slayer?
What do you do with a Captured Slayer?
What do you do with a Captured Slayer?
Earl-eye in the morning.


Shave his Chin with a Rusty Razor,
Shave his Chin with a Rusty Razor,
Shave his Chin with a Rusty Razor,
Until his head falls off.


Chain him up and Whip his Skin Off,
Chain him up and Whip his Skin Off,
Chain him up and Whip his Skin Off,
I’ll love to see his bones.


Tie Him to a Stick and Swab the Cannon,
Tie Him to a Stick and Swab the Cannon,
Tie Him to a Stick and Swab the Cannon,
Oops it just went boom!


Hoist him up and Flay his skin off,
Hoist him up and Flay his skin off,
Hoist him up and Flay his skin off,
He will make such a lovely Banner.


Pluck his hair with a pair of Pliers,
Pluck his hair with a pair of Pliers,
Pluck his hair with a pair of Pliers,
‘Til he looks like a Chicken.


Remember, the Gold winner's prize will be one unpainted resin Daemonsmith:

Great job folks and good luck!

The Staff

Also on CDO: Chaos Dwarfs Through the Ages Up Now
Fantastic entries. Such a variety of approaches. Think I have got 3 favourites but all need reading again. Of course the literary critique of the Zharrlings will be sought as well.
Wow.  Some great entries in this one.  This will require read and re-read in detail.   Well done CDO! Takes Hat off
All great reads to wake up to this morning. Awesome work everyone! Pirate
Fantastic! I will have to brew a nice can of tea and enjoy them all at once, already looking forward.
Ahhh, I enjoyed reading them all very much! Pretty tough selecting the “best” ones. Great contest. Pirate
Ah yes, the timer! Damn, slipped my memory. Thanks Jasko. Happy

Admiral Wrote:
Ah yes, the timer! Damn, slipped my memory. Thanks Jasko. Happy

Haha, you're welcome, I'm happy to be the timekeeper here Tongue Wink

Great storytelling Takes Hat off
We've got hulking ironclad ships, daemonic contraptions, cold hearted captains, slaves, pirates, treachery and Hobgoblins. Wonderful!
I've read them while enjoying a cup of hot tea and cookies, my votes are in, good work gentlemen
Takes Hat off
Really great stories. Takes Hat off

Wasn't easy to decide, but my choice is made and sent! Wink

And there it is voting closed, these were really great reads. Well done everyone. Wonderful entries.
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