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Author MessageThe Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of Hashut
Beloss
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The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutBeloss 12-07-2015

Written by: Beloss
Illustrated by: Forgefire


The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of Hashut


Once upon a time there was a band of five Acolytes who, through the reading of many portents, determined that it was their appointed destiny to depart from their clan and journey out into the wasteland to find the house of High Hashut. Long they wandered together in the wilderness navigating all kinds of treacherous terrain and seeing all manner of wonders, but Hashut's holy dwelling was ever out of reach.

One day as the wind blew across the waste the five companions heard a great din approaching and turned to see a horde of Orcs rushing up from behind. The Acolytes drew their weapons and began hacking and hewing the grobi to pieces as the green savages surrounded them.

Now among the five companions there was one who was especially bold and strong of arm, but undisciplined as he despised the constraints of proper formations. While the other Acolytes formed up back to back the undisciplined Dawi fought alone, laying all about him on the left and on the right and slaying many foes. Before long however he was hard pressed on all sides by the mob of Orcs and his resolve wavered.

"Hashut you have abandoned me!" He whimpered. "If there be some other God or Great Spirit who can rescue me from this clamor, may my beard wither and daemons hound me to the end of my days if I do not swear my soul to them at once!"

No sooner had he spoken than they saw a looming shadow and looked up. Before them was a towering figure of ruddy horned flesh shaking the earth with its stride, and around it piles of blood soaked corpses of every race in every direction.

"I am Arkhar, the Lord of Carnage!" The monstrous God bellowed. "Worship me and your foes will be as rye before your axe, for in ruinous might there are none who surpass me or my favored! Your lowing Calf God is nothing more than another ox to slaughter! See what resilience he gives you in your moment of need?! No doubt he intends to send you to the meat hook in his stead!"

Straight away the undisciplined Dawi swore himself to Arkhar and was filled with new vigor. Turning then he cut his way free of the press of Orcs with terrible oaths and great slaughter, throwing their chieftains down and pursuing the rest into the hills.

The band of faithful Acolytes, astonished at the bloody departure of their comrade hefted their packs and journeyed on. "Hashut still awaits us!" They told one another. "We will not abandon the search to fight Orcs in the hills for the rest of our days!"

They marched on and came after a time to a vast plain of dusty desolation greater than any other. Soon they despaired for no food or water or shade of any sort could be found, and they were weary to the bone.

Now among the four companions there was one who foolishly stored up more gear than he had need of in his march, for he could not bear to go without his costly liquors and sweetmeats that he enjoyed at home. As they crossed the plain his supply at last ran out and, growing vexed with the unbearable conditions, his resolve wavered.

"Hashut you have abandoned me!" He moaned. "If there be some other God or Great Spirit who can respite me from this suffering may my phallus shrivel and daemons hound me to the end of my days if I do not swear my soul to them at once!"

No sooner had he spoken than they heard the sound of beautiful laughter and looked up. Before them reclined a huge languid figure of sensuous flesh, and around it a scrumptious banquet of every kind of delicacy born on glittering trays by dam's of surpassing beauty.

"I am Loesh, the Goddess of Pleasures." The shining Goddess sung. "Consummate yourself to me and you will never want for luxury and satisfaction, for my chosen indulge in every delight. Your bellowing Bull God promises you harems and days of ease born on the backs of slaves, but he drags you through dust and ash, submitting you to drudgery for a hundred days to every one of joy! See what refreshments he offers you on this dusty plain? No doubt his idea of pleasure is a barn with hay to eat and cows to bed!"

Straight away the besotted Dawi swore himself to Loesh and began to swill from every glass and gobble up every delicacy in reach, smearing his beard with streams of gravy and wine while the giggling dams surrounded him, fawning over his fine hat and tusks.

The trio of faithful acolytes, aghast at the indecency of their feasting comrade, hefted their packs and journeyed on. "Hashut awaits us!" they told one another. "We will not abandon the search to fornicate with harlots on this plain for the rest of our days!"

They marched on and came after a time to a vast bog of fetid water and rotting thistles. Slogging their way across the reeking mud they soon despaired, for the water was to noxious to drink and the stench was so great that they could hardly force down the merger provisions that were left in their packs.

Now among the three companions there was one who was especially prone to melancholy mood. As he sat to take his stale bread and oily water he began to think of home, and to reflect on every hardship and tragedy that had befallen them on this journey, and of all the terrible fates that had befallen various unfortunate members of his clan. As he sat he sunk into the mire till the rotten slime of the swamp soaked him to the bone, befouling the remainder of the food in his pack. Seeing this he felt suddenly as if all the weight and tragedy in the world was bent against them and his resolve wavered.

"Hashut you have abandoned me!" He quailed. "If there be some other God or Great Spirit who can revive me from this mire, may my tusks rot away and daemons hound me to the end of my days if I do not swear my soul to them at once!"

No sooner had he spoken than they smelled a foul stench and looked up. Before them sat a massive bloated figure of ruined flesh. From its dangling innards sprouted a forest of putrescence so foul it beggared belief, and around it, great hills of excreta, the product of a thousand army's dysentery.  

"I am Onogal, the Ancestor of Pestilence." The putrid God muttered. "Devote yourself to me and I will take on your every sorrow, for in depth of affliction there are none who understand as much as I. Your trampling Thunder God reigns from on high, delivering harsh judgments from up above, heedless of the suffering he causes to his children. See what redress he sends to you in this mire? No doubt he laughs in secret at your pain and grief, despising you as rival males."

Straight away the the sodden Dawi swore himself to Onogal and, slogging forward, collapsed in a stupor amidst the Gods foulness, throwing great globs of muddy offal over his head and beard as he wailed in loud misery and sunk down under the dung.  

The pair of faithful acolytes, aggravated at the indignity of their wailing comrade hefted their packs and journeyed on. "Hashut awaits us!" they told one another. "We will not abandon the search to wallow in filth under this mire for the rest of our days!"

They marched on out of the swamp and after a time came to the mountains where they found their way blocked by a great maze of tall standing stones. Winding their way together through the impenetrable tangle they quickly despaired for they had become confused and lost in the labyrinth from where there seemed to be no escape. Tired beyond reason and with the last of their provision gone they came to rest at the foot of a great monolith.

Now between the two companions one was a prone to idle turns of fancy and possessed of a suspicious mind, and as they sat in weariness in the heart of the maze he began to retrace his steps. Sitting and musing he thought of the God that they were searching out and of the Gods that they had met in their travels, and of the maze, and of prophecies and of the schemes of kings and priests, and it seemed to him that all the world and all his words and deeds were the product of plots and powers beyond his control, and his resolve wavered.

"Hashut you have abandoned me!" He quaked. "If there be some other God or Great Spirit who can relieve me from this maze, may my hat crumple and daemons hound me to the end of my days if I do not swear my soul to them at once!"

No sooner had he spoken than they felt an aura of strange energy and looked up. Above them perched on the monolith was a stupendous figure of morphing flesh. On its cruel frame coiled every conceivable form, fair or foul or fantastic, the fantasies of a thousand fanatics twining together between a coat of cobalt feathers.

"I am Tchar, the Tzar of Schemes." The changing God chirped. "Sanctify yourself to me and I will show to you every shift and shuffle of the great game played by persons mortal and immortal under the ceiling of heaven, for in wisdom and knowledge of hidden things none rival I. Your tampering Fire God trundles over field and fallow sticking his dull snout into this or that affair to trample or teach on whim. See what realization he sends you in this maze? No doubt he makes his plan blindly, caring not if it fails!"

Straight away the befuddled Dawi swore himself to Tchar and began to dance and caper before the great monolith, turning this way and that as he began to change and waver weirdly before he wandered once again into the web from which they had come.

The last faithful acolyte, agape at the insanity of his last remaining comrade, hefted his pack and journeyed on alone. "Hashut awaits me!" He told himself. "I shall not abandon the search to meander in a mountain maze for the rest of my days!"

He marched on, working his way again through the portions of the maze that they had not yet searched until at last he found his way through and came out on the other side to the foot of a great volcano. High he climbed up the side of the fire mountain, determined to gain the summit and see at last the house of High Hashut, or else plunge into sacred fire and end his life as a holy sacrifice, for he was weary beyond measure and heavy of heart after the apostasy of all his companions.

And lo after trial by battle and thirst and hunger and befuddlement and fire and long long weariness the last Acolyte came to the house of High Hashut, the Father of Darkness.

The great Thunderbull stood before the brazen doors of his house and gazed down upon the Acolyte and was much pleased, though he showed nothing, but his servants progress he did check, for no weakness could be allowed into the holy dwelling.

"My Lord, what weakness is left in me that you would expunge? For I have left behind every care of spirit and body on the road to gain the place where I now stand, and to behold your house."

"One weakness only!" The Thunderbull roared. "That you mourn your faithless companions and traitors to my covenant! They who were your brothers all the days of your journey have become mine enemies and stains upon the name of my children! Soon their ways will cross your own and you must treat them harshly!"

Straightaway the faithful Acolyte swore a terrible oath of vengeance upon them who he had once journeyed with and considered close as kin, for between the faithful and the apostate there can be no softness or sentiment or longing for better times, but only hatred and righteous cruelty.

Having sworn his oath and banished this final weakness from him Hashut bathed the Faithful Acolyte in his scorching breath and the Acolyte was heartened as one who has slaked their thirst and hunger and given rest to their weary limbs. And Hashut ushered him into his sacred house whereupon he was bathed and tended by faithful dams of surpassing beauty and loveliness. His wounds were bound up, and his beard was washed clean. Then did the Great Hashut take the Faithful Acolyte into his confidence and instruct him in every manner of art and industry and secret ritual till the Acolyte was an Acolyte no longer but a great Lord indeed and a Prophet and a Sorcerer to bend all the world to his will.

____________________________________

Now as it happened the great Hashut marked the arrival of his favored with an eruption of fire and magma from the volcano in which he made his dwelling, and the mountain sent vast plumes of ash and fire across the land in all directions. The magma flowed down into the lower peaks and swept through the maze of standing stones forcing the apostate Acolyte of Tchar to flee for his life.

"Who has ruined the maze of my God?!" The Acolyte quaked, pulling his hair. Following the trail of the volcano's desolation he reached the fire mountain and picked his way unsteadily up its side to find the culprit, confidant that his God would give him victory over any foe.

But the Sorcerer-Prophet saw the mad one coming and journeyed out to meet him with an obsidian headed mace. With a powerful blow he struck the worshiper of Tchar in the mouth, halting his senseless ramblings and laying him out. The Apostate cried for his God to save him and smite his adversary, but Tchar was far away dreaming of the schemes of ravens in a faraway land, caring not what misfortune befell his chosen. The Sorcerer-Prophet then seized the Apostate, bound him with chains and dragged him back to the house of High Hashut, where with brands and blows he set him to work with a pick in his quarry, to toil his life away in dust and drudgery.

Again the Volcano of Hashut erupted sending fire and ash over the land. The wave of destruction crossed over the mountains descending upon the mire. It boiled the fetid water and burned away the corruption of the place, forcing the Acolyte of Onogal to lift his beard from his bed of excrement.

"Who has ruined the mire of my God?" The Acolyte of Onogal quailed. Following the trail of the volcano's desolation he reached the fire mountain and picked his way querulously up its side to find the culprit, confidant that his God would give him victory over any foe.

But the Sorcerer-Prophet saw the unclean one coming and journeyed out to meet him with a brace of red hot irons fresh from the forge. Nimbly avoiding the worshiper of Onogal he took him off his feet and set to cutting and searing away all the corruption that infested his body. The Apostate cried out for his God to save him and smite his adversary, but Onogal was far away sniffing over the sorrows of Manlings in a faraway land, caring not what misfortune befell his chosen. The Sorcerer-Prophet then seized the Apostate, bound him with chains and dragged him back to the house of High Hashut, where with brands and blows he set him to work in tending his forges to toil his life away in smoke and drudgery.

Again the Volcano of Hashut erupted sending fire and ash over the land. It reached over the mountains, over the mire, and rained down upon the plain causing the Acolyte of Loesh to look up from his feasting, for the rich food and drink had all been polluted. "Who has spoiled the banquet of my God?" The Apostate moaned, wringing his hands. Following the trail of the volcanoes desolation he reached the fire mountain and picked his way delicately up its side to find the culprit, confidant that his God would give him victory over any foe.

But the Sorcerer-Prophet saw the depraved one coming and journeyed out to meet him with a hooked blade. Easily weathering the feeble assault of the worshiper of Loesh he pinned him, cut out his tongue and gelded him. The Apostate cried out for his Goddess to save him and smite his adversary, but Loesh was far away listening to the cry's of fornicating Elves in a faraway land, caring not what misfortune befell her chosen. The Sorcerer-Prophet then seized the apostate, bound him with chains and dragged him back to the house of High Hashut, where with brands and blows, he set him to work in cleaning his stables to toil his life away in dung and drudgery.

Again the Volcano of Hashut erupted sending fire and ash over the land. It reached over the mountains and mire and plain, to smash down upon the hills, and caused the Acolyte of Arkhar to look up from his slaughter, for the tribes of Orcs had been engulfed in ash and smothered. "Who has ruined the battlefield of my God?" The Arkhar worshiper whimpered, gnashing his teeth. Following the trail of the volcanoes desolation he reached the fire mountain and picked his way clumsily up its side to find the culprit, confidant that his God would give him victory over any foe.

But the Sorcerer-Prophet saw the berserk one coming and journeyed out to meet him with a staff of potent sorcery. Sidestepping the worshiper of Arkhar's wild charge he summoned the winds of magic and beset him with cunning spellwork. The Apostate cried out for his God to save him and avenge him upon his adversary but Arkhar was far away watching the blood sport of Ogres in a faraway land, caring not what misfortune befell his chosen. The Sorcerer Prophet then seized the apostate, bound him with chains and dragged him back to the house of High Hashut where he loped off his hands and hammered in his nose a ring of brass, and then with brands and blows set him to work in turning a great millstone, to toil his life away in pain and drudgery.

Then High Hashut was pleased indeed with his servant and ushered him into his innermost sanctum. He was bathed three times by the pure dams, and his beard was washed clean and and oiled with costly perfumes. Rich clothes were presented to him along with fragrant incense and gold and gem encrusted articles. The attendant dams were wedded to him in a great harem and a lordly feast was held with the Sorcerer-Prophet seated at the right hand of Hashut. And Hashut put in his hand a scepter of basalt set with garnets and lapis lazuli and every kind of precious gem, that all might see the device and know that he and his descendants forevermore were given stewardship over all the world and every creature in it, from the lowest of Grobi to the mightiest of Daemons.  

Long he reigned and lorded over all the earth and filled it with his children and his riches and his labors of craft and spellwork until the end of his days had come. Then did the great Father of Darkness cause the flesh of the departed lord to become as stone, that all might look on the sacred body of the faithful and witness his glory for all time, for Hashut is not as other Gods and he does not forget those who earn his favor, either in life or death, but lifts up his faithful as the rulers over all things.

- The Acolytes Progress and the Four Slanders of Hashut, Largest remaining fragment of the lost Epic of Annunachizedek by Sorcerer-Prophet Utnipishzim the Proselytizer, venerable instructor during the ordaining of the second priesthood.*

____________________________________
* The Epic of Annunachizedek, besides being a parable on the fickle nature of the other Chaos Gods, is also an early attempt by the Dawi Zharr to construct an alternate history which would have been imposed as a replacement for the abandonment of the Dawi Zharr by the Ancestor Gods. In this alternate history, the story of the Dwarfs is essentially inverted, with the Dawi Zharr being the original Dwarfs, and the worship of Hashut having begun from the earliest times. The Dwarfs in this false history were a rebellious group of youths to weak to survive in the original and divinely appointed homeland of the Dawi Zharr, and migrated south, boosting their numbers by allowing weak and degenerate children to live. In the climax of the Epic, the newly born Ancestor Gods forever mark the Dwarfs as degenerate slaves to their worship by forbidding the use of tall hats, straightening the beards and pulling out the tusks of every Dwarf.

Unfortunately for the proponents of this plan the Dwarf psyche, chaos worshiping or not, rebels at the prospect of historical revisionism on such a blatant scale.

The Above version is edited to be presented as a simple parable, however the original was intended as a history, and edited from the story were the final passages intended to establish a line of succession for the purposes of establishing Zharr Naggrund as the latest in a line of countless ancient cities in the region leading back to the earliest days of civilization. A mad and desperate lie even for a one as deluded as Utnipishzim the Proselytizer.
____________________________________

This post was last modified: 03-23-2016 02:34 AM by Beloss.

12-07-2015 01:29 AM
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Abecedar
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutAbecedar 12-07-2015

Very good indeed.


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12-07-2015 08:18 AM
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutJackswift 12-07-2015

Very well written.  This piece is both fully descriptive yet wonderfully succinct, keeping to the shorter format of a recorded parable or excerpt from an epic tale, at the same time being a complete and finished yarn.  The commentary at the end reads like a Victoria's notes.  I thoroughly enjoyed the read!  Cheers, JR

12-07-2015 10:12 AM
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Beloss
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutBeloss 12-08-2015

Thank you! This should probably be under religious texts instead of parables. I guess its sort of like a parable, but its to long. Its a Texable.

12-08-2015 12:05 AM
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutForgefire 12-08-2015

Great read! Thanks

12-08-2015 07:42 AM
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutAdmiral 12-26-2015

One can only second the praise. Well written and well thought-through indeed. This might be the best story so far in our growing collection. Filed it under religious texts, myths & legends, but we can leave a link in the parable collection as well if you want to. Just say the word.

A most enjoyable read. Takes Hat off


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This post was last modified: 12-26-2015 08:28 AM by Admiral.

12-26-2015 08:19 AM
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutRoark 12-26-2015

A truly great body of work and words. Fantastic. All the names and references are perfect! Bloody well done.


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12-26-2015 10:54 AM
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Fuggit Khan
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutFuggit Khan 12-28-2015

Quite the enjoyable read, somehow I missed it before. I can't help but think that perhaps the four acolytes all failed because of vanilla dwarf traits that still lurked in their being/essence. And that Hashut rewarded the true servant who bound those lesser kin to his service.
This is a great story, my personal favorite here on CDO (among many favorites)...Slaves being donated to you Beloss Happy


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This post was last modified: 12-28-2015 03:39 PM by Fuggit Khan.

12-28-2015 03:37 PM
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutAdmiral 01-04-2016

Forgefire has illustrated this gem of a story with a gem of a painting. Perfect marriage? Check it out! Happy

I'll soon get back into the hobby, including writing stories, and will make sure to take extra notice of Beloss' work and Jackswift's writings for inspiration. They've raised the level of quality, and increased the enjoyment of reading CD stories.


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This post was last modified: 01-04-2016 07:21 AM by Admiral.

01-04-2016 07:11 AM
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Beloss
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutBeloss 02-10-2016

Oh my goodness! You guys have spoiled me in my absence. Thank you all for your comments, and thank you especially to Forgefire for his great picture.  

I am a little alarmed by how long this turned out to be, it was much shorter in my head. Some of the things especially are less obvious that I was hoping they would be. I tried to keep a sense of symmetry going, not just in the repetitive nature of the Dwarfs falls from grace, but in the wording used to describe each god. The last words of each of the four gods slanders of Hashut is meant to match up for instance.

Khorn: "No doubt he intends to send you to the meat hook in his stead!"

Slaanesh: "No doubt his idea of pleasure is a barn with hay to eat and cows to bed!"

Nurgle: "No doubt he laughs in secret at your pain and grief, despising you as rival males."

Tzeentch: "No doubt he makes his plan blindly, caring not if it fails!"

Anyway I am curious if this was apparent from the reading, or if they were too far apart to be noticeable. After being away for more than a month they didn't stand out to me when reading it fresh. I included a few other parallels between the encounters with the gods as well, and I think they might be similarly to far apart.

Also, unlike the other gods, Tzeentch does not use a title that the Chaos Dwarfs really have anything to do with. Tzar would be a current age Kive title if it exists at all. I like the way it sort of non rhymes, but I also sort of think it might break the narrative a little to much.

Anyway thanks again people. I will put some finishing touch minor edits on this one, read your stories that have come out since, and then maybe start working on something new. I am thinking about a fable that would emphasize the superiority of Dawi Zharr wargear over that of the other races maybe.

02-10-2016 07:21 PM
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Admiral
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RE: The Acolytes Progress, and the Four Slanders of HashutAdmiral 02-12-2016

It was apparent during my first read-through at least. Looking forward to what you come up with next. Happy


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02-12-2016 04:17 AM
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