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Author MessageThe White Archives of Zharr-Naggrund
Dînadan
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Post: #1
The White Archives of Zharr-NaggrundDînadan 08-14-2015

Deep within the mountainous edifice that is Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, hidden amidst countless chambers and labyrinthine halls is a closely guarded secret that few know about.  There are many forgotten places and secret laboratories within the great ziggurat and even entire rooms where whole clans have been walled up alive, but the White Archives is unique for it is where the Cult of Hashut keeps various dangerous artefacts and heretical texts away from the larger populace.

The truth behind how they came to be is lost to the mists of time, but legend holds that it is tied into the creation of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund itself.  It is said that when Hashut raised the black mountain that became the great ziggurat he also created the vault that became the White Archives from the purest white marble and tradition holds that this is symbolic of the virtue of nobility that dwells with the black heart of every Dawi Zharr just as the vices of greed and pride which dominate Dawi Zharr society dwell within the heart of each of their western kin.  It is said that Hashut raised the mountain rough and half formed, for while it was a gift to his children, it was not in his nature to give them everything, they would have to strive for their gift to show themselves worthy.  Over a century countless slaves under the whips of their cruel dwarf overseers toiled unceasingly, carving the mountain's slopes into tall steps and burrowing deep within, chiseling away grand halls and passageways until one day a mining crew broke through a wall and found a perfectly formed corridor which lead into an equally perfectly formed, many pillared vault.  Knowing this could only be the work of the Dark Father, the overseer in charge ordered his guard to slaughter the slaves and sent for a Sorcerer-Prophet.  The priest who arrived also recognised the significance and called the High-Priest, who in turn recognised the gift.

After much discussion, the High-Priest and his council decided that the vault's existence should be kept secret from the populace at large and that doing so would provide a unique opportunity.  Over the long centuries the Dawi Zharr had accumulated many daemonforged items; weapons and talismans of Erdrich origin that could drive the bearer mad or worse.  Though all were forbidden from using them, they had been loath to destroy them for to do so would be to admit there were things they could not master, something anathema to their nature.

As reward, the overseer and his guards were appointed guardians of the newly formed archives, and a form of monastic order was founded.  Each was blinded and their tongues torn out, the latter to prevent them from telling any of what they guarded and the former so that they would not be driven mad by their charges.  However, the ritual blinding gave them a sort of second sight and their remaining senses were enhanced allowing them to perform their duties as well as if they could see, some say better in fact.  Since then, new recruits have been drawn from beardlings born blind, taken at birth and trained in a brutal regime to guard the forbidden treasures against all interlopers, even their own kin.  The guardians are swathed in black linen robes and wear silver masks fashioned in the shape of learning daemon faces.

Since then, the collection has grown, each year an unknown number of artefacts making their way to the Archive, only the Master of Guardians knowing the exact number.  Access is restricted and of the few that know of the Archives existence, few beyond the guardians are allowed entry.  Even the High-Priest himself can only enter with the consent of Zharr-Naggrund's ruling council, for it is feared what damage could be done by a Dawi whose ambition outweighs his loyalty to the Order of the Clans.  Even those wishing to study the artefacts for purely academic reasons are viewed with mistrust.

The treasures housed are many and varied such as the heretical text 'The Wheel of Chaos', many pages from the Nine Books of Nagash including an almost complete copy of the third and fifth and daemonbound weapons beyond count.  They range from the brazen such as a brass banner shaped into a roaring face taken in battle against a horde of Khornish daemons that drives anyone within ten yards to bloodlust, to the malignant such as a mirror looted from a Tzeentch worshiping city in the northern Wastes that twists the reflections on its surface, slowly twisting the body of those that gaze upon it to match, to the peculiar such as an iron box found half buried next to the corpse of an armoured giant of a man in the deepest parts of the Wastes that constantly chatters in a distorted voice which speaks an unknown tongue.  Even bodies have been interred within the Archives, such as the Daemon Lord Kr'ack'thr'n, slain by High-Priest Krâzznurthran outside the gates of Daemons Stump and bound in chains of purest warpstone so that he could not return to the Realm of Chaos, or the heads of five Liche priests who had foolishly accompanied Arkhan the Black on an expedition into the Dark Lands.  The priests had been decapitated and their bodies burned in sacrifice to Hashut then placed in kanopic jars.  The Sorcerer-Prophets of the time had hoped to use the still living heads to glean necromantic lore to better fight the undead forces of Nagash but after the failed rebellion of the Bonebeards they had been sent to the White Archives so that no other clan could repeat treachery.  Since then they have sat on shelves above their kanopic jars and the Archive guardians have made a game of stuffing the most humiliating object possible into one of the heads' mouths; to date the winner is a rod taken from the body of a Slaaneshi champion which is tipped with a rune of ecstasy.

Of late there have been some fears that the collection may be more dangerous within the Archive than without, for keeping so many dangerous artefacts in such close proximity is surely to court disaster.  Some say that continuing to add to it will lead to the downfall of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund while others insist that only during the End Times should the Archives' contents be brought forth.  Regardless, all the Sorcerer-Prophets are too proud to openly call for change, so for now the Archive will continue to grow.


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08-14-2015 07:50 PM
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Admiral
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Post: #2
RE: The White Archives of Zharr-NaggrundAdmiral 09-22-2015

Great work again. Hoarding dangerous secrets and vile artefacts are at the core of what the Chaos Dwarfs are all about. Nice touch with the monastic order picked from Chaos Dwarfs born blind, too. As for the creation of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, it's a neat creation story for the city. For even if the ziggurat was raised by dark sorcery and vile slave labour alone by the mortal Chaos Dwarfs on a flat plain (as in the official background), having Hashut raise a rough mountain for them to carve out in myth is very suitable. And with Chaos involved, who knows what is true...? Wink

Besides, do you plan to convert at least one of the guardians of the White Archives? It could make for a nice, occult and archaic elite unit.


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This post was last modified: 09-22-2015 02:39 AM by Admiral.

09-22-2015 02:37 AM
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Axtklinge
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Post: #3
RE: The White Archives of Zharr-NaggrundAxtklinge 09-22-2015

Really nice stuff, congrats!

Loved the monastic order piece as I'm pursuing a similar idea with my "army" (read "bloodbowl team"), in the form of a "living (molten) metal and mechanical" cult.
Cheers,
A.


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09-22-2015 03:58 AM
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Dînadan
Sardonic Daemon of Hashut
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Post: #4
RE: The White Archives of Zharr-NaggrundDînadan 09-22-2015

@Admiral: thanks. Happy. No plans on converting anything as I have enough to be getting on with as is, plus my army is based in Uzkulak, not the capital Wink

@Axtklinge: thanks Happy


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09-22-2015 04:37 AM
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