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Scribe's Contest VI - Voting!
Welcome to the voting thread for the 6th Scribe's Contest writing competition!
"And lo! The silent mystics spoke at last, and dreadful were their revelations..."
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 seven entries this time, which means each entrant will receive seven slaves once the winners have been announced. There will be Gold, Silver, and Bronze Scribe's Contest medals to be awarded!
You are not allowed to vote for your own entry.
Each (more or less) anonymous entry is numbered ranging from 1 to 7. 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 Feb 11th, 2016 EST (Eastern Standard Timezone).
Once the votes are tallied we will post the results.
Subject Matter: Tales of Darkness (Chaos Dwarf Myths & Legends)
The Twelve-hoofed God
and so Hashut was cast out from Khaosus and smote His ruin upon the land, split in tern. Three gods and yet one there were. And so Hashut came to be known as the Twelve-hoofed God to mortals. The three brothers piled the rubble from their ruin high, building a mighty black mountain that in latter days came to be called Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. A gross of years it took them to build and when it was complete they stood atop the summit and surveyed the land, claiming it as their Kingdom.
Though one God, they were also three and quarrelled over who should rule. Each claimed that he should be supreme and set out to prove it.
Rudharazgorlok, the Red Fire Bull journeyed West and then South, and everywhere he trod flames leapt up and great volcanoes rose. In the south he warred with dragons and slew a gross, for his fires were too hot even for them.
Dronstokgorlok, the Thunder Striker Bull journeyed South, for he had seen the sun glinting off the waters of the sea and it enraged him for it reminded him of the fires of Rudharazgorlok. He raced along the mountain tops, striking sparks with each hoof beat and cast himself into the sea over and over until the waters boiled and the steam blotted out the sun.
Uzgulmhornargorlok, the Death's Shadow Bull journeyed North. In those days the land there was fertile and great beasts roamed everywhere. Everywhere he cast his shadow crops withered and beasts keeled over and when he left, a cold, dry, desolate plain strewn with skulls was all that remained.
The three Bulls ascended the mountain once more and bragged of their exploits, yet still they could not decide who was greatest. They fought for supremacy for a tweleveday nonstop, wreathing the peak in fire and shadow that could be seen for miles. Exhausted they each took a step back, too tired to continue, but too stubborn to submit. Knowing none could claim supremacy, they agreed to a truce and decided to cast lots, leaving their fate to the Weaver. They agreed to divide their Empire into three domains, the Land, the Sky and the Dark Places.
The lots were cast and to Rudharazgorlok went the land, the premier domain, and he filled it with his magmatic blood and stands of copper and iron hair from his hide; to Dronstokgorlok went the second domain, that which is the sky, and he called forth storms across the sky to cow any mortals that dared look up at his majesty; the last and least, the Dark Places, went to Uzgulhornargorlok, who bore the slight stoically, claiming the souls of all mortals under their domains as recompense.
And thus Hashut was one God and yet three and became known as the Twelve-hoofed God. Thus, though He is worshiped as one Father, His children will invoke one of his aspects when dealing with one of His domains; miners, smiths and prophets call upon Rudharazgorlok in their duties, mariners will sacrifice to Dronstokgorlok, now called Stromfels by some, to placate him before setting sail, lest in His anger one of his storms sink them, and the morticians of the Cremitoria bow to Uzgulhornargorlok at funerals and place a gold coin on each of the deceased's eyes so that their soul may pay the toll to enter His Kingdom."
- Extract from the heretical text the Khaosiad. Though worship of Hashut is of many faces and varied, and Dawi Zharr sailors do sacrifice to Stromfels and the temples of the Funerary Cult do depict Hashut as a skull-headed bull, the view of Hashut as a trinity deity as depicted in this extract has never been popular and most see the aspects as just different names for Hashut rather than of gods which are disparate from and yet simultaneously part of Him.
F’kari and the Eternal Flame
The hearth crackled as hungry flames licked already blackened logs, throwing up a dirty yellowish light over the Chaos Dwarfs. They paid it no mind, nor even the drinks now forgotten beside them. The Chaos Dwarf ancient and his companion had arrived earlier that day, his accent strange to them. He wove them stories of their ancestors, of forgotten glories, of bloody deaths. The fire crackled again, casting an almost daemonic aspect on the old Chaos Dwarf's craggy face, he had yet another tale to tell.
"'I’d give my eyes for knowledge, my skin for wealth, my bones for power, my soul for immortality,' the long forgotten Dirszki once claimed that, for which of us would not want such boons despite the sacrifices? Yet dark fates await those who would reach for such ends. Such as F’kari and the Eternal Flame.
F’kari was an adventurous son of our kind, his blade was always sharp, his eye keen, and his stein forever empty. Here was a Dawi Zharr that seemed destined for great things.” The ancient’s companion snorted at this as if he’d heard the same line one too many times, the mask covering his face seeming to shimmer in the glow. The ancient ignored him and continued.
“Indeed, the hearth would be colder than a spurned Rinn before I could cover the legends of F’kari.” His companion grunted something about the old coot exaggerating everything but was ignored. “But his last great adventure,” continued the old Chaos Dwarf, “dealt him the greatest treasure yet the most ill of punishments. Our story begins, as many stories do, on a lonely barren road. F’kari had returned from a great war against our soft ‘cousins’ and was making his weary bones along the path home when he happened to come across an old pedlar. He was mending a pair of boots whilst whistling a tune, F’kari stopped and began to dance to the tune in merriment. The tune finished, F’kari noticed that his jig had worn away his boots to nothing. The pedlar smiled and proffered the boots he was mending, 'may your dance never leave you barefooted,' he chuckled and left without further word. F’kari hesitantly tried the boots on and found them a perfect fit, and he walked onwards noticing how they did not seem to wear.
“He came upon another pedlar whittling away at a piece of dark wood and smoking a pipe. F’kari lit his pipe and joined the pedlar, watching him work. When the pedlar finished, F’kari removed his pipe only to find it crumble away in his hand. The pedlar smiled and gave F’kari his pipe, 'may your pipe never empty,' he chuckled and left without further word. F’kari placed some pipe weed into this strange pipe and found it burned for as long as he wished, and he walked onwards, plumes of smoke around him.
“Then he came upon a third pedlar who sat there weeping, for he had neither boots nor pipe. F’kari would have left the fool as he was, and yet he was unnaturally moved by the Chaos Dwarf’s plight. Before proper sense returned to him he had given the pedlar his boots and pipe. 'It is a rare Dawi Zharr who gives such riches,' the pedlar smiled and gave F’kari a set of strangely crafted dice. 'Go to the ruins to the south and meet with the Daemon of fire. May your luck never run out.'
“Taking the dice, F’kari made his way south and found a long forgotten ruined keep. He made camp there and waited. As darkness fell there was a plume of fire and a great Daemon appeared before F’kari. The Daemon cackled and prepared to feast on the foolish Chaos Dwarf when F’kari held aloft the dice. 'Very well,' hissed the Daemon, 'what do you wish to gamble your soul for?'
F’kari thought hard and responded, 'I have seen much in my years and wish to see much more, I wish for life eternal.' The Daemon smiled and the two began to gamble. To the Daemon’s dismay his every roll was bad and F’kari’s perfect, and by the light of dawn he conceded defeat. 'You seek the Eternal Flame,' the Daemon whispered, touching F’kari’s brow. With the path in his mind, F’kari began the long and perilous journey till he stood before the flames eternal. Filled with dreams of immortality he stepped into them and his wish was granted.”
The old Chaos Dwarf smiled as the flames crackled. “Of course, the Daemon (nor the pedlars he pretended to be) never told F’kari that the fire would scorch his flesh and he’d be cursed to forever travel...always burning...never dying...”
“So what happened to him?” spoke one of the listeners.
“He still wanders...isn’t that right, F’kari?” smiled the storyteller.
His companion stood and removed his mask.
Dirge of Awakening
In Zorn Uzkul's black heart, 'neath the eldritch, nameless peak
We toiled at the stony roots, axe cast aside for pick and auger
Despair clawed unceasingly at our hearts, all pride was ashes
Bent-backed sworn brothers shouldering a burden of terror
Beards shorn in shame - ancient, beloved clan annals thrown to flame
Outside, the agony of worlds was made manifest, ineffable hunger
Tempests of gibbering madness shrieked wordlessly all around
Howls pierced each kinsman's soul, duty and honour forgotten
Desperate hands clawed at obsidian, ironstone, warp-ore
We pulled away the pieces of our past, torn free of the mountain
Until silence surrounded us, the echoing null of insignificance
Grungni spoke not. Grimnir stayed his tongue, Valaya her counsel
We were nothing in that moment of nothingness. Yea, less
When stone gave way to a yawning void, steaming darkness
And the sun a memory of a dream, and the world annihilated
In Zorn Uzkul's black heart, 'neath the ancient, nameless spire
Our souls were reforged when two burning eyes opened.
In aeons past, the Old World was inhabited by Titans, beings of immense size and power. They were akin to Gods, in a time before the Gods themselves were born. The Titans decided to impart a sliver of their consciousness to the world, giving spirit and life to every stone, every river and every tree.
But amongst the Titans stood one who raged fury and contempt at these actions. His name was Dakgron.
Dakgron argued for “the Will to make power over others”, while his Titan brothers believed in “the Will to make life”.
Dakgron confronted the first Titan, calling him feckless. The first Titan smirked in disagreement, and thus Dakgron tore the head off his brother Titan, tossing the dead Titan's head into the ocean, which became the island of Ulthuan.
Dakgron confronted the second Titan, calling him unstable. Hearing this, the second brother fell to despair and insanity, and committed suicide, giving birth to the Chaos Wastes.
Dakgron proceeded to confront the third Titan, calling him cowardly. The third Titan fought back, but Dakgron ripped the spine and ribs from the third Titan. Casting them aside, the spine formed the Worlds Edge Mountains, the ribs to become the Rib Peaks.
The fourth Titan was then killed, its bones ground to dust, forming the deserts of Araby.
The fifth Titan had his jawbone and teeth ripped out, tossed to the sea to become the Dragon Isles.
And so it continued, until all the other Titans had been killed, and only Dakgron stood.
But even in death, the dead Titans' “Will to make life” flourished, and from their corpses sprang the lesser races of Man, Elf, Dwarf and Greenskin.
And in a final rage to consume all the life that sprang from his weaker siblings, Dakgron consumed even his own life force. The Dark Lands sprang from his final Will, lava boiled from his blood, ash breathed from his lungs and iron from his heart. And in his death his name was corrupted to what we now call Dharkhangron, the Dark beneath the World.
Because of this, only a race who can have “the Will to make power over life” can flourish here in the Dark Lands, a race who understands that the true nature of this Will is to enslave the lesser offspring of the lesser Titans.
The true inheritors and subjugators of this world: Our race, the Dawi Zharr.
- Chaos Dwarf Cultural Tradition
The Bastard Son of the Bull God
In travail were heaven and earth, in travail, too, the hungering abyss. The Ash Ridge Mountains rocked, quaked, cracked and broke apart. The travail held in the fiery depths a surging pillar of magma, striking through the veil of ground and unleashing rivers of molten rock and geysers of ash and cinders upon the Desolation of Azgorh. Through the breach came forth smoke, came forth flame. And out of the flame a naked bastard demigod sprang, fiery was his hair, ablaze was his beard, of hot lava rock his hide, and his eyes were like suns. Born from a hidden womb of magma, the untrue son of He Who Rapes the Earth, the golem demigod was, and he possessed vast strength akin to one hind leg of that Father of Darkness who begot him in fury.
Out of the raging volcano he ran, horned and wild, tusked and sturdy, frothing molten copper and thirsting for blood, a spirit on fire destined to burn itself out. The name of the frenzied one was Vazharrukur, and this name became feared far and wide as he went on a ravenous rampage without course, without rest, stamping forth and leaving fiery footsteps behind amid the carcasses of scorched Greenskins, monsters and other beasts. Yet the bastard demigod met his match in the eastern Howling Wastes, but miles from defiled River Ruin, for upon a black marble hillock reared great Muzharrshushu, primordial mother of the fell and mighty Magma Dragon race. Scarred and glowing, they roared challenges at each other, and both charged the other at the same time, spewing forth flames that would have melted granite, yet barely scarred the foe.
In savage wrath did Vazharrukur and Muzharrshushu fight, unrelenting and bereft of mercy was their clash, and so ferociously did they set upon each other that the crust of the world underneath the behemoths wore thin, pounded as it was by monstrous combat. And west of defiled River Ruin did the face of the foundations of the world creak and crack and crumble, and at last did it collapse, swallowing them both into the infernal depths of the earth. Thus were the Bubbling Pits created, gashed upon the frail earth akin to a festering wound aflame which never healed.
Yet their fall into the lower depths of flame did not cease the battle of titans for one moment, for beneath the facade of the surface realms are the bastard demigod Vazharrukur and the great Magma Dragon Muzharrshushu still locked in an everlasting struggle, neither gaining an advantage decisive enough to slay the other. It is said, that the vicious combatants may be glimpsed on rare occasions, rising out of erupting volcanoes across the cruel Dark Lands, or leaping from out of the towering Fire Mouth among the freezing Mountains of Mourn. Then, they are invariably showered in fire and sparks, wreathed in smoke and billowing ash as they clash, claw and tear each other. Whenever they emerge from the infernal realms they are carried upwards on strong currents of molten rock, and will always spread havoc around them before sinking back into the hellish guts of the world once more, striking blows, kicking and biting in a blaze of fury without even noticing the surface world stretching out around them.
The sight of Vazharrukur and Muzharrshushu locked in their fiery duel to the death is regarded as a potent omen indeed, which could signify impending disaster or great success to be reaped amid terrible perils.
Such are the fates of the Bull God's bastard progeny, according to the Blacksmiths of Chaos.
Taken from the journal of Baz'rat the Occulous, High Seer of the Fire Mountains
This shall be my final entry as I have completed my final test and now conclude the experiment. I am now convinced using the Warpstone vapors to assist my visions has not led me to madness but instead I have been given a greater glimpse of what yet may be. Perhaps I have even peeked into the mind of a God itself? A great war is to come where Daemon slaves swarm across the earth.
I have summoned, bound, and interrogated the last of the four Daemons confirming the four aspects as the old lore described, as expected. The Daemons all independently revealed the Daemon-realm is at war not just with our world but among themselves as well. Each spoke of the time when their aspect would conquer the other three and, on that day, there will be a great purge of all the lands. It would be a day in which the sun would never set and and an endless army would march into the world and cleanse it with Chaos. Of course each of the Daemons spoke of how imminent their rise was to be and tried to entreat with me with promises that their allies would be spared. But anyone with even a grain of stone-sense could hear how empty their words were. Through a shared lie between them, I can now see the truth. First that this has been an eternal dance and indeed none of the four factions is likely to rise to ascendance soon. And secondly, should that day come, none will be spared. Lastly their lies have confirmed what was shown to be a truth and not the work of an addled mind.
It is time I take my findings before the conclave where we can deliberate the future. I shall counsel we must work to keep the four aspects in balance until we can begin a great work to seal the Doors of Chaos forever.
As with all the worlds' troubles, it always rests with the Dawi Zharr to fix them.
For those who would seek power without wisdom, or, as has often occurred before sufficient wisdom has been attained, beware, for success can be a danger unto itself.
All of the Dawi Zharr stand in awe of the strength and majesty of the Great Taurus. Any whom get to behold a Bale Taurus and the force embodied there cannot but tremble. Those graced to be bonded with one and allowed to ride with it; they are considered the favoured of Hashut and are blessed. Though to arrogantly believe oneself the master in a relationship with such a battle beast, simply put, that belief can be justifiably perilous.
The Lammasu is another such manifestation of power. Its focus lies in the magic and not brute force. Shaped in the image of our Father of Darkness and born versed in the Lore of Shade. An intelligent creature, equal to any Sorcerer in their power and knowledge. To be accepted by a Lammasu is to know that one is truly favoured by Hashut and close to the pinnacles of power.
But where are the greater ones? Those older and more powerful brethren of the Lammasu that logic states must exist.
It was the Tome of a Hell-smith named Thun’nor that has brought these questions to light. Riven in blood into aged bronze and sealed with a layer of souls for protection. Found in excavations deep below Zharr-Naggrund. Buried among the ruined layers of what is believed to have been a part of an early temple precinct. Buildings possibly from the first millennia of our existence here in the dark lands. These dwellings had succumbed to the sheer amount of later construction and had been crushed by the weight of all that had been built above. Small disasters that were forgotten quickly as the massive construction progressed.
The Tome speaks of Emissaries of Hashut. Sent to aid us in our struggle for survival and our eventual dominance over the whole world. It spoke of the Fiery Bulls, the Hru’n or Storr and the bigger Bal’ and also of an Ice Bull. Among those words are others that be unknown to us in this day and age. The Syrgjan and the Vinar. Lammasi both, far stronger and more powerful than those that we know today.
The Lords Sorcerer and the inner council of Prophets have pondered long on this tome, keeping it to themselves and as much of a secret as they can. For this knowledge, nay even the thought of this knowledge is believed by them to be dangerous. The translators had decided that 'Syrgjan' possibly means Sorrow and is stated as being as strong as a Sorcerer. 'Vinar' may have meant Patron, and appears to be thought of as being a level or two in power above any Prophet. The Council of Lords has also discretely held one part of the translation apart from the rest. That the definition of 'Emissary' given could also be read as 'Watcher'. That the tome defines their existence and the then existing temple hierarchy’s interaction with them is undeniable. But why has that knowledge gone from our lore? Research into all the available surviving ancient grimoires and tablets has yielded few real hints about these greater Lammasi. But without the knowledge contained in Thun’nors Tome, these hints could be just coincidental and have no real meaning at all. Some knowledge of the contents from the deciphered tome had inevitably begun circulating amongst the junior levels and the research effort itself has also fuelled the gossip mill. The lords believe that as a consequence of this spread of knowledge, several Sorcerers and assorted Smiths had disappeared in the preceding century. Some, well their remains have been found clearly etched in flame and outlined in shadow upon the walls of the halls and rooms in which they were last seen. As if their essences had been blasted in charcoal upon the burnt stone. Strict and painful lessons enforced by the ruling lords have quashed most of the remaining rumours over the last century; but predictably they do remain.
In secret, the Lords themselves have not given up on the search for these legendary creatures. Their hunger for power that these lost Lammasi surely embody cannot but drive all of them to intense efforts. For if one where to find them, then the belief that he would be able to rule supreme is too powerful to ignore. There is only one section in all of Thun’nors tome that hints of where they may be found. A cryptic paragraph about conversing with a “shadow within shadows” and a dire warning of the consequences of any such conversation. A message that a shadow can read the depths of your soul and would burn the unworthy.
Remember, the Gold winner's prize will be one unpainted miniature of Ancient Dwarf Statue of Ancient Times
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