Posts: 6,005 - May 2011
Group: Hashut's Admin
Market Rep: 6
The Black Wanderer's Meatchest
The Black Wanderer's Meatchest
Humiliation. Dominance. Obedience. Strength. Worship. Chaos Dwarf religion and its everyday life carries with it a mixture of humbling subservience to Hashut and His rigid hierarchy on the one hand, and ruthless displays of power and cruelty to slaves and foes on the other. This is not a contradiciton to the various cults and sects that make up Dawi Zharr societ. It is simply the moral and right way of the world to be as is manifest all around and as is taught by the Sorcerer-Prophets of the Father of Darkness' holy Temple in Mingol Zharr-Naggrund.
Even so, amongst a people fanatically devoted to Hasut and Chaos there are bound to be the odd deviants who cannot come to terms with the established world-view. Caste obedience and descent from Dwarf stock might make them rare, yet even so they exist. These are what other races would call the witches, hermits and holy men; religiously engrossed fools and oddballs acting outside of the Temple's jurisdiction. They are often shunned, or choose themselves to live outside Dawi Zharr society, and they will invariably turn insane if not sudden death claims these wayward individuals first.
For there is no place for independence, ideals or ascetism to be found in Chaos, only malignant struggles, falsehoods without end and the damnation of your soul. However respected the rare hermit, Daemon-seer or witch may grow in the eyes of the common populace, all Chaos Dwarfs believe that these castaways are ultimately doomed.
In songs and legends they often carry dire portents and demands, like the witch who halted Zhargon at the Gates of Zharr, and their very presence usually signals disaster ahead. They are exiles amongst their own people and some are even strangers to the nature of their own god. They are mad, and they are shunned, yet even the most powerful Prophet cannot afford to ignore their offers and warnings.
At the altar, they are pariahs. At the throne, they may be the messenger of some Dark God, and woe unto him who would disregard those tidings...
Such are the stories told of outcasts by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.
This is one of these stories.
The Feral Hermit: One dread Night of Mysteries, terrors were visited upon the Dark Lands when a Chaos Dwarf baby boy was born to the world in a clan settlement outside Zharr-Naggrund. His name was Koldumzhtrol Redeye, and even as a child his demeanour was marked by eerie depressions into religious contemplation and fits of maniac rambling. He was thought to be marked by Matzhkra the Leaden Trampled consort of Hashut, and all uprighstanding folks shied away from Koldumzhtrol and scared their children to hate him and shout down his blasphemous gabble.
He was shunned by all, even the lowliest slag pit slave and the legless Hobgoblin who cleaned the gutter in the settlement. It did not take more than seven decades of life before Koldumzhtrol disappeared into the wilderness at the fringe of the Plain of Zharr to lead a life of self-denial, meditation and introspection. In the ashen wastes he wandered and lived in caves, and as an ascetic hermit he sought the inner meaning of Hashut's will. Yet all the while he was tempted by Daemons.
Nightmares haunted the wretched hermit during the Night of Mysteries on the ninetyninth birthday of Koldumzhtrol Redeye, and the man did not wake up for twelve days. By then his frame was wasted, horns had grown from his head and his feet had become cloven hooves. Koldumzhtrol had dreamed of terrible revelations, and had reached the conclusion in a fever pitch, that he must imitate the ravenous Bull God and stop to deny his inner fire spark. This he did with a fervour and virility bordering on Daemonic possession.
Run-away slaves, Hobgoblin outriders and hostile Goblin scouts alike all met their end at the hands of a frenzied madman armed with nothing but a sharp stone. Koldumzhtrol the hermit stalked the lone unfortunates amidst the lava crags and rock formations, and jumped them with a horrifying bellow that echoed and soon was thought to be the voice of a Daemon.
The insane Koldumzhtrol did not stop there in his rabid quest to mimic the Father of Darkness. Somehow the cunning wretch sneaked into outlying settlements and raped seven married women without getting caught. One of the husbands yelled that he would hang the hermit in his own beard. The enraged clans of Koldumzhtrol's bruised victims soon united their forces in a hateful hunt for the feral hermit's head. This pursuit, headed by the sneakiest of Hobgoblins, went on fruitlessly for months out in the wilderness, yet eventually it met with success thanks to high Hashut's intervention.
Once when escaping his pursuers, the maddened Koldumzhtrol howled and ran on all four into a volcanic crater. Miraculously, the crater erupted all of a sudden and the rabid hermit was swallowed in a cascade of molten rock. The clans declared this to be divine punishment and returned to their dwellings with upheld honour and hymns on their lips.
That would have been the end of mad Koldumzhtrol Redeye, yet the Father of Darkness had a twisted plan in store for this heretic. Once the volcanic eruption ceased, a horned, ragged shape emerged out of hot lava in the glowing crater.
Clad in hooded, black robes and bearing neither hat nor mask, he was to be known thereafter as the Black Wanderer. In his right hand he held an icon of Chaos Undivided, and in his left he carried an always freshly decapitated slave head which he argued with in gibberish. The head was never the same on different sightings of the mysterious being, yet it was always fresh. The Black Wanderer's flesh and beard was burnt, his eyes were nothing but empty sockets, and he would haunt Chaos Dwarfs for centuries to come.
The Bargain: Chill winds whistled in the armour of a crestfallen column of Infernal Guards retreating over the Howling Wastes. They were the handpicked men of Daemonsmith Engineer Thurnukaz Ironbull, and they had failed him in combat against the Orcish Crushed Face tribe. Their banners and war machines had been abandoned, and most of their slave troops had scattered or been captured by the triumphant Greenskins. Thurnukaz cursed his foes and his outcast warriors, and he lamented his defeat to high Hashut at the head of the column, when suddenly a lone Chaos Dwarf appeared.
It was a black, horned shape carrying an icon of Chaos. It spoke to a cut-off Gnoblar head which it held in one hand, and it rose out of the wind-swept ground, from out of a lava crack that had not been there before. At its feet stood a rusty iron chest. When Thurnukaz Ironbull came near, it spoke. The Black Wanderer's voice was ragged and hoarse, yet the Daemonsmith could clearly make out the words which offered him the ensorcelled chest. Apparently, so long as Thurnukaz' and only Thurnukaz' hands reached into the chest, they would always produce hunks of fresh meat. All the Black Wanderer wanted in return was an oath to Hashut on never letting himself be defeated in combat.
Thurnukaz swore this oath upon his grandmother's pickled heart, and received the chest and its key. The Black Wanderer disappeared back into the ground, and Thurnukaz changed his route. The Infernal Guard could return to the Black Fortress all they wanted, for he had no need for their worthless services. Instead, he brought with him his apprentices and slaves, and headed for the Ogre trading outpost, the Sentinels.
At the Sentinels did Thurnukaz Ironbull gain the attention of every Ogre in town by producing endless piles of fresh meat from out of his chest. He gave it away for free to anyone willing to follow him, obey him and fight under his command. In no time at all had he amassed a monstrous army of Ogre mercenaries with a horde of Gnoblar cutthroats and hangers-on. All he needed to pay them was fresh meat hunks out of his magical chest, which never drained.
Thurnukaz plotted malevolent plans for his newfound power, yet his first aim was to avenge his defeat at the hands of the Crushed Face Orcs. The Daemonsmith led the thunderous charge at the head of one thousand Ogres, and the Greenskins' fates were sealed as tonnes upon tonnes of lard, muscle and metal hit home and stampeded over the Orcish horde. Many slaves were captured that day, yet even more Orcs were turned into unrecognizable gory pulp.
The magical chest continued to give him and his Ogre army meat, and thus Thurnukaz Ironbull sacrificed to Hashut in thanksgiving and marched far south, into the Plain of Bones where Ghoul tribes were smashed apart and taken captives. They made poor food to the Ogres, unlike the chest's meat. Thurnukaz then marched north, sold his new slaves in the Tower of Gorgoth, and headed west to Crookback Mountain, where vile ratmen makes their lair.
This time, the blunt force of the Daemonsmith's mercenaries proved insufficient against the Skaven in their myriad tunnels and undergound traps. The Ogres grew frustrated with hunting fleeing ratmen in the labyrinthine tunnels. Their willingness to fight diminished as they ran into ambush after ambush. The Skaven fought tenaciously and with deadly cunning. Eventually, only the prospect of fresh meat from Thurnukaz' chest prevented the Ogres from deserting him in this Maw-forsaken place, yet the mood was nigh-on mutinous.
One day, a Gnoblar named Ba stole the key to the chest from the drunk and sleeping Thurnukaz. Ba was far down in the pecking order of Gnoblars and always received the worst, stinking scraps of meat left over. Starvation had made Ba desperate to get some of the best meat for himself. Metal creaked in the camp tent as the Gnoblar turned the key and opened the dark chest. Ba reached inside it, but produced only rotten meat and maggots that crawled on his arms. The Gnoblar shrieked in terror or surprise, and then resolved to eat the maggots.
The Ogres were not content with this cuisine, however. One of them peered into Thurnukaz' tent at the sound of the shrieking Gnoblar, and roared in desperation. Soon, all eight hundred surviving Ogres had gathered inside and around the Chaos Dwarf's tent, and stared in utter horror as one Ogre Bull after another approached the chest, reached inside and produced chunk after chunk of rotten meat and maggots.
An Ogre Butcher named Hak Bigeater rushed in wrath to Thurnukaz Ironbull's bed and threw the drunken Daemonsmith high into the air. The startled Dawi Zharr fell back onto the ground and cursed his attacker venomously. Hak roared at Thurnukaz and demanded to know where he had hidden the fresh meat. The Chaos Dwarf went pale as he realized what must have happened. He elbowed his way past the Ogre legs, cast down his arms into the chest yet could only draw forth rotten hunks of fly-infested meat.
Too late did he realize that he had already broken his oath by swearing it, for had he not already lost once in battle, shortly before meeting the Black Wanderer? Thurnukaz Ironbull saw the rage in the Ogres' hungry faces and sold his life dearly. The Daemonsmith drew upon all his sorcerous power to unleash an inferno into the hostile mercenaries around him. He succeeded in this, but only because his sorcery went horribly wrong and unleashed Daemons that tore both him and fifty Ogres limb from limb before dragging their screaming souls back with them into the Realm of Chaos.
And in the midst of the uproar, the ground cracked in front of the chest that was filled with nought but rotten meat. The Black Wanderer rose from the lava rift, stole the meatchest and disappeared with it forever.
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This post was last modified: 10-21-2014 01:47 AM by Admiral.
Greater Daemon of Hashut
Posts: 1,169 - Feb 2014
Market Rep: 8
RE: The Black Wanderer's Meatchest
A chaos dwarf halloween-story! Awesome
I like alot how the enchanted items of your shorts are a shot away from the usual enchanted sword and such. Endless meatchests and carnivorous hats is the good stuff
May your hat be tall and your beard ever coiled.
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