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Author MessageThe Sinful Stone Carver
Admiral
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Post: #1
The Sinful Stone CarverAdmiral 10-21-2014

Written by: Admiral
Illustrated by: Forgefire


The Sinful Stone Carver


Idolatry lurks at the heart of Dawi Zharr religion and superstition. Monumental statues and images of the Father of Darkness tower above people and slaves in the strongholds of the Chaos Dwarf empire. The visage of Hashut is everywhere in this infernal realm, and the multitude of lesser figures of mythology (whether cult founders, great men, Daemons or the consorts of Hashut) are also represented in carvings, paintings, statues and household idols.

These images are not only found in the Temple and its subservient shrines, but are found everywhere in architecture, machinery and other crafted objects. Their intricate purposes varies immensely, for the Chaos Dwarf mindset is meticulous and enigmatic in its mysticism. Some of the simpler purposes of these images of gods and evil spirits include averting curses and fell Daemons; inviting winds of magic; gaining the Bull God's favour or soothing His wrath; acting as potent guardians and taboo signs; and reminding the living of perils and duties exemplified in legend.

Whatever the specific aim of these images, producing them is in itself an act of worship to the Dawi Zharr. No wonder that some of their warmachines and K'daai Destroyers are forged to resemble visions of the great Bull God. Furthermore, each likeness of high Hashut and the lesser religious figures is believed to possess a connection to the higher being, and even a small fraction of that entity's power. To praise, sacrifice and call upon the Bull God or some Daemon for aid in front of their idol is as such not only rational behaviour to the Chaos Dwarfs, but a powerful act of worship involving bribes, adulation and even trickery in order to convince the capricious divinity to return the favour as wished for by the worshipper.

This is a harsh gamble at the best of times, because it involves Chaos. At the worst of times, it is a deadly hazard, and the songs and stories of the Chaos Dwarfs are filled with cruel punishment dealt by the very cult images offered blood and praise by the victims of divine wrath. For life is never safe or easy to the Dawi Zharr, and they know that their actions are being watched and judged by the mighty idols of the Father of Darkness, to whom they sacrifice in flames and molten metal.

They fear them, for the vengeance of the idols is the stuff of legends.

Such are the stories told of sacred images by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

This is one of these stories.



Harnessing the Wyrdstone: Long ago in Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great there lived a stone carver, unmarried, harsh to slaves and hard-working as were so many other Chaos Dwarf males. His commoner's lineage stretched back but three generations, to the eighteenth son in the harem of a Sorcerer-Prophet, yet he was as lowly as the most simple of Dawi Zharr. The stone carver's name was Kebuzhar.

One day, Kebuzhar chipped away at a stone block and uncovered a huge and ancient chunk of wyrdstone embedded within it. Its glare and glow had not diminished by age, and so he hid the warpstone inside his hat. Later that day, he offered it up in flames, with hymns to Hashut before his household idols, yet the flames could not consume it.

Then he offered up the wyrdstone to his god's image  in a cauldron of molten spelter, yet the glowing stone would not melt. Out of piety, the stone carver bought, on the spot, two Goblin porter slaves from the street outside and performed the same correct rituals enhanced by the potency of sacrificial scarification, bloodletting and the screams of the vanquished weak ones. But still the warpstone would not be accepted by the flames of the household altar. Kebuzhar read this as a sign of the Bull God's wish for him to take the wyrdstone for himself, and so he did.

Kebuzhar the stone carver wrapped the wyrdstone in layers of Greenskin hide and cunningly hid it inside his second best hat. Then he brought with him most of his savings and paid the Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh Copperchin to secretly rivet on a bronze plate on the inside of Kebuzhar's hat. This plate was carved with ensorcelled runes that channeled the warpstone's power into the bearer as per the customer's specifications.

The stone carver's hands twisted and hardened to clawed talons over the days. Soon, Kebuzhar Darkclaw's fingers could cut through any material like butter, be it stone or metal. Yet this only made him tear his clothes to rags and ruin both furniture and tools. He had half by half killed himself after a sleep of nightmares and constant turning in the bed. Kebuzhar collected all the valuables he had left and stumbled into the Soulforge of Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh for a second time. He was still bleeding and covered in bandaged and cauterized gashes.

The Hellsmith agreed to install a second bronze plate inside his hat, but the stone carver's fortune was too small. Thus Barr-Gukesh Copperchin forced Kebuzhar to secretly swear fealty to him. Once done with this, the scarred man left the workshop and went to work himself. Now, the Darkclaw's talon-hands could only cut through stone and obsidian with ease. He abandoned tools altogether and mastered stonecarving with his bare hands. His claws sheared through granite and volcanic glass alike, and Kebuzhar knew that the wyrdstone's powers had at last been harnessed.



Divine Warning: The fast work of the stone carver Kebuzhar Darkclaw soon made him infamous and widely sought after for all number of constructions involving stone. Kebuzhar was allowed to set up his own business by his Despot, and the master stone carver always wore his second best hat during his waking hours. His specialty was the carving of idols, and in this trade he prospered and turned out magnificient pieces. The people thought Kebuzhar to be blessed by Hashut, and his renown grew.

One day, Kebuzhar Darkclaw was called to an audience with his overlord, Sorcerer-Prophet Azhorn Bloodsmith. The stone carver anticipated Azhorn's questioning of him, for Kebuzhar donned his very best hat, left the warpstone hat at home and attended the audience with all the respect and adoration to be expected by a man of the lower castes. Yet even so he sinned, because Kebuzhar lied to his Prophet and told him he knew nothing of where his new abilities came from. For were there not many mysteries in the world, and were not the ways of high Hashut obscured to mere mortals such as he?

The Father of Darkness must have known of Kebuzhar's profanity towards His sacred hierarchy, for that very night did three vile ratmen creep up unseen from the depths of Zharr-Naggrund. They were warpstone hunters from Clan Eshin, led by a low sorceror, and somehow they bypassed all the fearsome wards and guards and climbed the step levels of the grand ziggurat city. The sorceror of these Skaven had somehow detected the stone carver's wyrdstone from a far-away distance, and now they were out to get it.

Silently, they raided his dwelling. One of the intruders almost killed Kebuzhar in his sleep with a rusty knife, yet the Chaos Dwarf was saved when the ratman lost his nerve close to the warpstone hat and chittered excitedly. A wild fight ensued. Kebuzhar Darkclaw fought furiously with the Skaven over the hat, and somehow he managed to rip them to pieces one by one with his talon-hands. He then burnt their corpses at a street shrine's altar right in front of Hashut's mighty idol, and limped back home while bleeding on the street.

Yet Kebuzhar would neither heed this divine warning, nor did he see it for what it was. Instead, he would sin yet again.



Betrayal: Twelve years later did the master stone carver Kebuzhar Darkclaw receive a mustering tablet, calling him and his clan to join the host of Sorcerer-Prophet Azhorn Bloodsmith in a campaign of war. Dutifully, Kebuzhar packed all his equipment and rations before sacrificing a hen to the household idols whilst vowing unyielding endurance in combat.

Before he could leave, however, Kebuzhar was intercepted by Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh Copperchin, who did not serve the same lord as the stone carver did. Barr-Gukesh insisted that he needed Kebuzhar more than Azhorn Bloodsmith did. When Kebuzhar Darkclaw protested, the Hellsmith demanded his services at once with the fury of the Great Thunderbull in his voice and eyes. So it was that Kebuzhar broke his sacred obedience to his Sorcerer-Prophet by instead following the Hellsmith. At this, all the household idols in the traitor's house fell to the floor.

Kebuzhar marched down the streets, loaded with equipment and baggage, yet he went into the Soulforge of Barr-Gukesh instead of meeting the muster call. Two dozen slaves already stood loaded with equipment and necessities in the workshop when they entered it. The Hellsmith spoke a long line of convoluted words in the Dark Tounge, and a door to a secret stairway opened in a wall. The pair of Dawi Zharr and their band of thralls descended the dark stairs.

They would not live to see the face of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund again.



Punishment: The workshop of Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh Copperchin had been secretly connected with hidden staircases in the massive walls of the ziggurat city through years of slave labour and quiet nighttime sorceries.

Now, he led his burdened followers deep beneath the surface of the Plain of Zharr, into the very guts of Zharr-Naggrund. They came to a realm of sewers, aqueducts, cisterns and warehouses. They wandered past secret tunnels, mysterious tombs and sealed chambers. Strange sounds from some Daemonsmith's hidden forge-laboratory occassionally echoed down  in the catacombs of the Chaos Dwarf capitol.

Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh followed a dubious copy of some ancient map, inscribed on Ogre hide. His band travelled for days and days, and soon they left behind them tunnels with masonry walls and vaults to trek down natural caverns instead. It was a long journey which took a full week to complete on foot for the Chaos Dwarfs. It took them through hot places of brimstone and exposed magma. Eventually, they reached a truly thick masonry stone wall, which was carved with ferocious curses and the visages of guardian Daemons.

Here, Barr-Gukesh ordered his vassal stone carver to claw a large hole through the wall in front of them. Kebuzhar Darkclaw was apalled at the very thought of invoking the curses and watchful Daemons by tunnelling through the wall. He protested, yet the Hellsmith forced him to carry out the order by reminding the craven Kebuzhar of his oath and the expensive ensorcelled bronze plates in his hat.

Thus it was that the master stone carver carried out his third sin. Kebuzhar chanted a dirge to high Hashut as he clawed through the stone. The curses on the wall were vile indeed, for his flesh mutated and became twisted whilst he toiled. The flesh of Kebuzhar grew sinewy and became stony grey. Its surface cracked. His feet were twisted into talons like his hands already were, and his nose became a beak whilst his beard coils changed into yet more talons. This did however aid him in the tunnelling work. Finally, Kebuzhar's hat sank into him, and the wyrdstone melted halfway into his head.

He managed to carve out a small opening through to the other side of the stone wall. Then the stone carver collapsed and seemed dead to everyone around him. Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh Copperchin sent in his slaves to cut away the last remaining stones. They left the discarded Kebuzhar on the ground and proceeded into the chamber behind the wall.

It was a dark place, yet the torchlight from the slaves shone in the gold hull of a mighty bull statue in the centre of the room. It was one of the very oldest idols of Hashut, and it possessed true power that still lingered in its untarnished metal frame. Barr-Gukesh laughed out loud when he saw this, and chalked out a summoning circle on the floor around the bull. Then he ordered his Hobgoblins to cut the tendons of twelve screaming Goblins, who were then placed in separate positions in the circle.

Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh began chanting. He channelled bale sorcery and went about sacrificing the Goblin victims with knife and flames. His mystic rites were aimed at enslaving a Daemon within the gold bull. In this, he succeeded.

The ancient statue sprang to life. It bellowed fire and trampled the Hellsmith and his Hobgoblin lackeys in the chamber. Panicked shrieks and the thunderous steps of the gold bull echoed in the darkness when stone carver Kebuzhar woke up from unconsciousness. Dizzy, he realized that divine punishment was being dealt by Hashut through the enraged bull statue. The Chaos Dwarf realized that his doom had come. He ran for it.

He ran back through tunnels and caverns to escape, yet soon the pounding charge of the furious idol could be heard behind him. The wretched Kebuzhar Darkclaw was struck and impaled by the gold bull, who then went on to a tour of rampage through Zharr-Naggrund's subterranean levels. There, it killed thousands of slaves and made the whole Plain of Zharr quake at its holy wrath.



Restoration: Eventually, the priesthood performed a mass sacrifice of a whole enslaved Hung Marauder tribe, who had been tricked into riding all the way to Zharr-Naggrund by the false promises of mercenary work relayed by Hobgoblin messengers. Then, and only then, was the sacred anger of the mighty idol soothed. The gold bull fell silent and its fire died down. It went still once again.

The Sorcerer-Prophets read the portents in the guts of an Orc, and declared that the statue must be restored to its ancient position. It was transported back to its chamber, in which the corpses of Hellsmith Barr-Gukesh Copperthroat and his slaves were left lying unburnt in eternal dishonour. They were left as a warning to future intruders, and the breach in the wall was sealed off.

As for the late master stone carver Kebuzhar Darkclaw, his mangled corpse had fallen outside of the idol's chamber. Thus, Sorcerer-Prophet Azhorn Bloodsmith had it brought to his palace, where he looted the wyrdstone and placed the corpse on the floor like a puppet. Together with his apprentices, Azhorn Bloodsmith carried out heinous rituals that petrified the corpse of Kebuzhar.

And to this day it stands in plain view to everyone as a warning unto others who would commit blasphemy against the Order of Things upheld by the Father of Darkness. Azhorn installed the statuesque corpse amidst a monstrous fresque adorning the walls of one of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund's great ziggurat step levels. The Chaos Dwarfs claim that vultures still land upon the stony remains of Kebuzhar, waiting in vain for a meal they can never have.

For such is the fate of those judged unworthy to live by Hashut's mighty idols.


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This post was last modified: 10-23-2015 01:24 AM by Admiral.

10-21-2014 02:25 PM
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Fuggit Khan
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Post: #2
RE: The Sinful Stone CarverFuggit Khan 10-21-2014

Another great story...for some reason the imagery of it makes me think of the sewers and forgotten places of idol worship below the city of Vivec, in the game Morrowind.
Good stuff Admiral...once again your imagination knows no bounds Takes Hat off


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10-21-2014 06:12 PM
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Admiral
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverAdmiral 10-22-2014

Thanks! Cheers!


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10-22-2014 02:05 AM
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Admiral
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Post: #4
RE: The Sinful Stone CarverAdmiral 10-23-2015

Milestone moment, folks! This is now the first story of ours written by one author and illustrated by another artist. The first of many, hopefully.

Check out Forgefire's beautiful artwork above, in colour, at that! Takes Hat off


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10-23-2015 01:35 AM
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverThe_Penguin 10-25-2015

Indeed! Hopefully, we'll see more of your works, guys! isn't it time to publish a book, Admiral? )


"But we, your brethren, scorned the Ancestor gods, and mocked your foolish rune rituals, and preferred instead our bull god Hashut. Who can blame us if it were you and your gods who left us?"

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10-25-2015 05:09 AM
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Admiral
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverAdmiral 10-25-2015

Yes, fingers crossed for more artwork from our talented volunteer artists! Forgefire is the first non-author to complete an artpiece for a specific story, but he won't be alone. Happy

A PDF book is indeed a goal of this whole Chaos Dwarf culture project, but there are still more empty slots of mythology etc. to fill in before I'll be confident to cobble together a book, and we definitely need more illustrations! I suspect the future free PDF book will receive several updates as new stuff is written and painted. But one paramount thing is to have good background images and neat layout of text and illustrations. That'll be a criterium which I or someone else will have to manage before we make a true book out of it. It's gonna be polished, and we're aiming for perfect. It's going to be our gift to the Warhammer community as a whole, and a gift to all lovers of fantasy stories in general, so we'll make sure to spread the word, make it downloadable from multiple sites and so on when the time comes.

I expect work on compiling our stories into book format will be at least one year away, and it will depend not a little on how many illustrations we can amass.

I'll continue to draw and paint images for sure, but it's our really talented artists, like Forgefire, which will make it all pop. Takes Hat off


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And thus there was Chaos. And Squats. Hobby Group Auxillia Work. On Dark Tides. Miscellaneous Commercial Sculpts. Flayman Tutorial.
Chaos Dwarf Writings: Fables. Songs. Sayings. Quotes. Monumental Inscriptions. Religious Texts.
There's fourteen ways to skin a dwarf. Path to Glory: Chaos Dwarf Warband Rules.

This post was last modified: 10-25-2015 03:44 PM by Admiral.

10-25-2015 05:24 AM
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Abecedar
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverAbecedar 10-25-2015

I had images of the carver spelled or mutated or something and using his own hands to carve solid stone.
I wasn't disappointed at all.


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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverThe_Penguin 10-25-2015

BTW, I must complement you, Forgefire, on the idols you drew. They look like these sumeria idols a lot. Is it a coincidence?

Great work again, guys! Takes Hat off


"But we, your brethren, scorned the Ancestor gods, and mocked your foolish rune rituals, and preferred instead our bull god Hashut. Who can blame us if it were you and your gods who left us?"

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10-25-2015 11:55 AM
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverForgefire 10-25-2015

Thanks friends! You are quite correct Mr Penguin i had some images of sumerian statuary as reference! Happy

10-25-2015 12:48 PM
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Admiral
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverAdmiral 10-25-2015

Ah, that's the source for the large eyes! Well spotted, Penguin, and bonus points to Forgefire for using such reference material. Between, large eyes reappeared in this famous statue head of Constantine the great. Seems like an old way to underline divine connection with all-seeing eyes.


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And thus there was Chaos. And Squats. Hobby Group Auxillia Work. On Dark Tides. Miscellaneous Commercial Sculpts. Flayman Tutorial.
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10-25-2015 03:53 PM
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverThe_Penguin 10-25-2015

Quite true! These idols also remind me of ancient Russian pre-christian idols of our head god of thunder and lightning Perun.

Good day, ladies and gentlemen! ) Takes Hat off


"But we, your brethren, scorned the Ancestor gods, and mocked your foolish rune rituals, and preferred instead our bull god Hashut. Who can blame us if it were you and your gods who left us?"

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10-25-2015 04:33 PM
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RE: The Sinful Stone CarverRoark 12-20-2016

Can't believe I never saw the artwork before! It's beautiful. There is a dark flame of determination in his eyes.


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12-20-2016 06:55 AM
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