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Author MessageScribe's Contest Hall of Fame
Nicodemus
Grand Imperious Sorcerer of the Forge
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Posts: 2,609 - Jun 2009
Group: Hashut's Admin
Market Rep: 40
Slaves: 1256
Word of Hashut - Contributor Chaos Dwarf Radio - Contributor Veteran Medal - Silver Best Attitude - 2010 Gold Army Medal - 4000 PTS Wiki - Major Contributor Image Gallery Contributor - Bronze Best Overall Member - 2011 Golden Hat - Bronze Best Overall Member - 2013 Photobucket Migration Photobucket Migration Exceptional Help                               
Post: #1
Scribe's Contest Hall of FameNicodemus 05-21-2019

This is an index list of the Scribe's Contests. Scribe's Contest is a regular writing competition held by Chaos Dwarfs Online in an effort to inspire creative ideas and foster growth of the community's Chaos Dwarf Culture Project in order to expand upon and deepen Chaos Dwarf background.

1. Infamous Quotes
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
2. Hobgoblins, the Middlemen Slave Caste
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
3. Visions of Doom
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
4. Prophecies of Rebirth and Resurrection
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
5. Chaos Dwarfs in the Eyes of Others
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
6. Myths & Legends
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
7. Blood Bowl
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
8. Afterlife
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
9. Distance & Remoteness in the Chaos Dwarf Empire
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
10. The True Nature of the Father of Darkness
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
11. Temple Song Lyrics
Announcement - Entrants - Winners
12. On Dark Tides
Announcement - Entrants - Winners


Nicodemus' adage: "It is not enough to bash in skulls, we must bash in minds!"

Nicodemus' Forge of Unfinished Business (Chaos Dwarf Blog) and Non-Dawi'Zharr Blog
Warhammer Quest & Dreams of Hashut (3D Tile Creation Blog - Dawi Underway & More!!)
Chaos Dwarf 'Quest Blog (Download the Warhammer Quest: Chaos Dwarfs Roleplay Book )
Warhammer Quest: Chaos Dwarf Expansion (Board Game Geek)

05-21-2019 11:58 AM
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Admiral
Auxilliary Moderator
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Posts: 7,079 - May 2011
Group: Hashut's Admin
Market Rep: 10
Slaves: 260
Scribe's Contest - Bronze x3 Best Attitude - 2014 Best Contributor - 2014 Major Prize Sponsor Golden Hat - Bronze x2 Scribe's Contest Veteran Scribe's Contest Silver Hellsmith - Gold Dark Apostle - Silver Best Attitude - 2015 Best Overall Member - 2015 Best Contributor - 2015 Artisan's Contest - Silver x2 Best Overall Member - 2016 Best Contributor - 2016 Artisan's Contest - Gold Best Contributor - 2017 Best Attitude - 2017                               
Post: #2
RE: Scribe's Contest Hall of FameAdmiral 09-27-2019

This is an index list of the Scribe's Contests. Scribe's Contest is a regular writing competition held by Chaos Dwarfs Online in an effort to inspire creative ideas and foster growth of the community's Chaos Dwarf Culture Project in order to expand upon and deepen Chaos Dwarf background. Great thanks to Jasko for salvaging all pictures and text!

Backup:

Google Drive Folder
CDOstaff Imgur Album





Scribe's Contest Hall of Fame

1. Infamous Quotes
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold (tie):  Fuggit Khan
Entry #5

"My youngest Zharrling will be 5 years of age tomorrow, so we're giving him a birthday party for him and 20 of his friends. I'll be needing some slaves for the youngsters to play with as party favors...but no damn Ogre's, they burn far too slowly and you know how children these days are, they'll lose interest if it takes more than a minute for them to kill it.
Hmmm...how about you give me about 150 Gnoblars? And cut out their tongues first, the damn little things curse too much when you disembowel them, not fitting for a 5 year old to hear such foul rubbish at that age. Can you also give me 25 spiked mallets for the young ones, so they can bash in the Gnoblars' heads with?"
- Proud Dawi Zharr father, overheard at the local slave market






Gold (tie):  torn

Entry #7

"Watch yourselves, Beardlings. Hashut may have decided to bless you with that Immortal armour, but He has cursed you by putting you under my command. Be warned - your life belongs to me now until either you die or I die. Your every breath will be at my command and every step you make will be in time with mine. Every strike you make with your hell bladed axes will fall upon my enemies' heads and every block you make with your obsidian shields will be to save a body that belongs to me. That is the life of an Immortal Warrior."
- Groth Steelbeard, addressing new recruits before the battle of Ghorkan Pass


"What shall become of me? I am neither of Grungni nor Hashut, yet the powers of Chaos have claimed my soul as their own. I feel their power raging through me. My fingertips are tingling as the winds of magic ripple through them. I know not where I stand in this world. Will I be accepted into the halls of Zharr Naggrund or will I be cursed with forever wandering these northern wastes? I suppose the only way to find out is to visit upon my hateful cousins and pray that they accept me as one of their own."
- Skrogg the Betrayer, to his servant Gorsh the Half-Man






Gold (tie):  Helblindi

Entry #12

"Any race too weak to fight to the death, is unworthy of freedom."
- High Castellan Nabhuzzhar debating the ethics of slavery


"Why is Hashut the greatest of the Chaos Gods? He is not the strongest amongst them, or the most loved, nor has he any Daemon legions. He is the greatest of the Chaos Gods because he pursues his destiny with grim determination, through intelligence, cunning and craftsmanship. So too are we the greatest race in the world, while we are neither the strongest, the most loved or the most numerous."
- Speech of Sorcerer-Prophet Abrizhoatt, leading a Fire Mass


"It matters not that you failed to burn the world. What matters is that you lit a fire."
- Neherazsh the Flaming Bull






Silver:  Bigdark

Entry #8

"Your K'Daai Destroyer has a lesser agenda than your peer's creations, and too many useless parts.
It is yours to defeat alone and... undressed."
- Grand Daemonsmith Darzokk to a pupil who had bound a Daemon of Slaanesh in a moment of distraction and failure


"My Lammasu has fallen.  
Give the ivory and claws to the Daemonsmiths. Send the hide to the Lords for display and honour. Leave his beard intact or your beard and slaves are forfeit.  The blood is Hashut’s, offer it in flames.  Every drop that is wasted will be supplemented by your own.
Bring me the strongest of his progeny, he was bred often and well. I will bind myself to him and the Will of Hashut. We will avenge the father. Prepare the sacrifices."
- Instructions of the Great Lammasu Rider and Daemonsmith Borgraurus the Crusher at the loss of his first Lammasu


"Drink the blood of the mountain! Drown in the floods of Hashut! Feel the burning hatred of the god!"
- Battlecry of Magma Cannon Crew Member Khrazgrup the Cooker






Bronze:  Dînadan

Entry #1

"What are ya laggards ducking for?  They couldn't hit an elder dragon at this dist-"
- Last words of Overseer Zhedzvik to his Ironsworn, before being shot by a Skaven Jezzail team


"Verily I do say thou art mine children from this time and for ever more. But be warned, I am a strict father and dost not suffer failure gladly. I hath set thou above all other races in mine dominion but tis only through strife thou shalt maintain thy position, for I am a loving Father and would seest thou prosper and tis mine love that guides mine hand to make it so, for from strife cometh determination, from determination cometh strength, from strength cometh pride and I would seest thou proud of all thy accomplishments.  So I command the, go forth and make me proud in mine love of thee."
- The Dark Father's Farewell to the Twelve Sons as presented in one of the few surviving fragments of the now lost epic
Peregrination


"The Dark Father has led us astray; with every prayer, with every sacrifice, every offering burnt and slave whipped He slices away another part of our soul. We teeter on the Abyss and only through the Ancestors can we step back. In Hashut's name we shackle slaves but in truth it is we who are the slaves, burdened under His yoke that only the might of the Ancestors can cast off. Mark my words!
- Last testimony of the Arch-Heretic Drazkhkûl Stonefist before being sacrificed in The Temple of Hashut at the summit of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund on the night of Ar'Uzkul







Entry #2 Herby

"You don't have to be evil. You can choose.”
- Jakkobus I, son of Zakkary, first peacemaker between the hostile clans






Entry #3 TheHoodedMan

"Honorable master cannoneer, the effectiveness  of this awesome device of destruction was significantly enhanced by me with the help of Hashut's blessing. Just pull this lever when firing….
Hm? Yes, of course it is safe!"
- Wrazlav the Weird, daemon engineer, before the battle of the three peaks


"By Hashut's secret name!  What the … Three cannons in one month! My beer glasses trembled in my cupboard this time not to speak of the crewmen! Until end of the year you will 'enhance the effectiveness' of the slaves' latrines instead! With a mop!"
- Murakat the Merciless, sorcerer lord of Kesham tower, after the battle of the three peaks






Entry #4 Zanko

"Take a look at the burning and writhing bodies of the slaves, thus ends a good day!“
- Shalhad the Cruel, High Priest of Uzkulak


"No rat shall survive… burn them all to honour Hashut!“
- Kharlund the Immortal, after the battle of Seep-Gore


"In the dust unworthy!"
- Hathlarkk the Damned, after the ambush at Nadhak Priest of Hashut near the Road of Skulls






Entry #5 Fuggit Khan

"My youngest Zharrling will be 5 years of age tomorrow, so we're giving him a birthday party for him and 20 of his friends. I'll be needing some slaves for the youngsters to play with as party favors...but no damn Ogre's, they burn far too slowly and you know how children these days are, they'll lose interest if it takes more than a minute for them to kill it.
Hmmm...how about you give me about 150 Gnoblars? And cut out their tongues first, the damn little things curse too much when you disembowel them, not fitting for a 5 year old to hear such foul rubbish at that age. Can you also give me 25 spiked mallets for the young ones, so they can bash in the Gnoblars' heads with?"
- Proud Dawi Zharr father, overheard at the local slave market






Entry #6 Grimbold Blackhammer

"Who's ready to face the furnace?"
-  Grimbold Blackhammer, banner-bearer and keeper of the Black Hammer of Hashut, every time he issues a challenge


"That looks like a job for the Hobgoblins."
-  Delman Blackhammer every time something dangerous begins to approach






Entry #9 speedygogo

"By the fires of Hashut, let them burn in the flames of eternal torment!"
- Anonymous






Entry #10 MadHatter

"Dusting it gently with a pinch of crushed elfbone after shining your cleaned hat throughly with Halfling fat gives it that sought-after quality gloss in which the fires of Zharr are properly reflected."
- Fragment from 'Impressing the Daughters of the Father of Darkness', Zharr-Naggrund Library, Restricted section






Entry #11 Abecedar

"For Hashut, My Blood!
For Hashut, My Life!
For Hashut, My Soul!
But first Neighbour…
Yours."
- Final verse of the dedication of sacrifices to Hashut as spoken by Lord Sorcerer Gred'Zoed


"We go to Dust.
We go to Ashes.
In Sorcerers we Trust,
But see to your Axes!"
- Part of a Clan Dark Fold Marching Chant






Entry #13 Bloodbeard

"Stand firm my kinsmen and face our enemy with stout hearts. Never shall the malicious hatred of the traitor race break our spirit or honour. Never shall the unholy and tainted enter the Temple of the Ancestor Gods. Never shall their dark fire burn through the gromril of our anvils.
Let the damned Dawi Zharr wash and break against our shield wall, like waves on a cliff and let grudges be settled tonight. Rally to me now my brothers! Rally to the banner of King Grauglim, the Banner of Karak Grimazul, the Banner of Ancestors!"
- Thane Svein Axegrinder of Karak Grimazul, 2122


"Millenia old bloodlines were slaughtered to extinction, our Temple was burnt by the the flaming brazen bull of flame and shadow and the battle standard of Karak Grimazul was stolen.
And thus Svein Axegrinder took the Slayer Oath and swore to return the Banner of Ancestors lost, or die fighting for it."
- Karak Grimazul Book of Grudges, one of countless grudges written upon the massacre at Temple Gates


"Oh, Hashut Father of Darkness! Take this enemy sacrificed, take his broken soul! An oath were sworn, and oath will not be kept. We offer you your most hated foe, let your unholy flames consume him. Shaved by the dagger cast from his standard. Bound by rope made from his beard. Oh, Hashut Father of Darkness! Hear the screams of agony and despair, know that this sacrifice has lost all his will for defiance. We cast him now into your furnace, denying his chance of death by combat. Take this enemy and dagger I offer you, eternal damnation awaits him, as he will never fulfill his oath. I too am now a slayer – a slayer of fates! Burn!"
- Sorcerer-Prophet Dazorak Fate-Slayer, Temple of Hashut, 2286






2. Hobgoblins, the Middlemen Slave Caste
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Bloodbeard

Entry #1

Friendship

Normally he was sneaky, always walking silently. Today there was no time for that, he was running quickly through the narrow streets of lower Zharr-Naggrund. Despite being in a hurry, he had remembered to clean his dagger. Otherwise the blood would quickly soak his sash, and the curved blade would not be secret then. Always keep some secret daggers – and dice!

The large tower city of the Dawi Zharr was always loud, filled with sounds of slaves in pain, hammers at work, a symphony of infernal industry. But this evening the noise was different, the sound of battle – screams of agony, pain and death. He had done his job well, as had all his fellow gits on this treacherous night. It was now just at matter of time before the last of the big dark skinned orcs would be slaughtered. The rewards in sight made the betrayal well worth it – they had all agreed.

Three gits had they been, three gits tasked with murdering a particularly large black orc slave boss. One git had never made it, he had chosen to run and hide in shadows, more likely he was a bloody red pulp on a black obsidian wall. That's the fate of the coward – not running fast and far enough.

Two gits remained. They had murdered together before, they knew the dance. Many a dice game had been settled with many a hidden dagger and they would split the winnings – almost equally. From the shadows they fell on the back of the big dark greenskin leader. Stabbing, slashing, slicing. Knees, armpit, groin, ribs. Soon the angry brute was spilling his black blood and stinking guts – getting weaker, getting taken by death.

Their job had been done, and very well indeed. Their little part in a much larger treason – their part in becoming the highest ranking greenskins of the Darklands. The Masters would be content, a position as overseer would be achievable.  But there could be only one. A friendship ended by pointy daggers, a single git remained.

Running quickly through polluted lower Zharr-Naggrund, running towards the prize and safety of his Master. The git had always been sneaking, skulking, stalking – no git should ever change...

The cut came quickly and the blade was sharp and hard, his achilles tendons soft and naked. The git fell hard – face first on the soot coated pavement.

A git had hid, avoided both battle and avoided becoming a bloody red pulp. A git had hid and made a plan. The dagger hit like a red hot punch between his shoulder blades, his breath was forced from his lungs as they collapsed. There could be only one indeed, and it wasn't him, he realized, as his warm blood washed over the dirty ground.

For such is the nature of the hobgoblins – there will always be a sneaker git and most daggers fit perfectly into the back of a traitor.






Silver (tie):  MadHatter

Entry #6

Ghazag was a lousy git. He served the Masters of Zharr-Naggrund as turnkey of the wretched slave-pens, this position had made him grow fat and lazy. He flayed slaves and kin alike, sometimes out of pure malice but more often to cover-up his own mistakes and neglects. This time was different, however, and there was no one else to put the blame on. The sound of the Chaos Dwarf Overseer's steel-clad boots echoed through the torch-lit corridors, firm and fast approaching.

Ghazag barely had time to stutter his attempt of an apology until a steel-clad fist sent him crashing into a tunnel-wall, teeth flying. The Hobgoblin tried to roll away from what he knew was coming but the narrow corridor didn't allow such maneuvers and he felt a sharp pain as his ribs cracked from the weight behind the Overseer's kick. Before he had time to open his eyes again, he felt a hard pressure around his throat as he was hoisted into the air, choking against the Chaos Dwarf's steel-gauntlet. With fire in his eyes and a frothing mouth framed by sharp tusks and a braided beard the Overseer bellowed:

"YOU ATE THE HOSTAGE?!"

Ghazag, his characteristic cloth-cap displaced by the thrashing so that its left ear-flap now covered half his face, tried to speak, but only a cough, followed by a mouthful of blood that trickled along his pointed tongue down the Overseer's gauntlet, came out of him. Again he was sent flying towards the granite wall but this time he was heads first and as the back of his skull smashed forcefully into the solid rock the greenskin blacked out.

He regained consciousness feeling terribly ill. Vomiting, he regained clarity and found he was dragged face-down deeper into the tunnel at a relentless pace, his right foot in the Chaos Dwarf's steel-tight grip. The Overseer's grand adorned hat cast a long shadow and in this dampened torchlight the broken Hobgoblin reached with his still functional right hand into his tattered cloak and grasped a small dagger.

At the end of the tunnel was a thick and terrible smell which Ghazag recognized as the stench of sweat, feces and rot emerging from the deep, unlit darkness of the hand-dug ravine that was the wretched slave-pens. Without a word, the Overseer changed his grip, and with one armored gauntlet under each of the greenskin's arms he was about to drag Ghazag over the edge. A fitting punishment for the fat git to be eaten by the wretched slaves, as it was his appetite for slave flesh that made him overstep his boundaries, the Chaos Dwarf thought to himself.

Suddenly, in a last ditch effort to save himself, Ghazag spun around, dagger flashing. The cut was aimed at the Overseer's throat but the Chaos Dwarf quickly lowered his chin and parried the blade with a yellowed tusk then threw the screaming greenskin into the darkness below. Ghazag was a lousy git, he thought to himself.






Silver (tie):  Fuggit Khan

Entry #7

Slowly, the Elf opened his eyes. The air was heavy with sulfur and ash. He tried to wipe his eyes, but then realized his hands were bound… what had happened? His ship from Eataine had run across a violent storm for three relentless days and nights… was it all a dream? Glancing about, he saw that he and one of his crew were in a wagon pulled by an Ogre… which had a copper dagger stuck cruelly in its neck. Alongside were Hobgoblin wolf riders…

"Scum!" the Elf muttered in his native Asur tongue.

Immediately there was yelling in the dialect of Ringkul, and the wagon stopped. The biggest of the Hobgoblins dismounted from his wolf and glared at the Elf, almost studying him. Then the Boss spoke in the dark tongue: "Lagg, go’s fetch my dagger."

The Hobgoblin named Lagg grinned wickedly while slowly twisting the dagger out of the Ogre's neck, and then handed it to his Boss. Lagg gave an evil glance, watching as the Hobgoblin Boss sheathed the dagger and then smiled.

Cautiously, the Elf asked, "Who are you?"

Squinting his eyes, as if in deep thought… and speaking fluent Asur, the Boss replied, "Khan of the Harghazhakh."

A Khan? The Elf had heard stories of them, but never thought he’d see one.

"You speak Asur?" the Elf asked.

"A depraved dialect, but one that my Master finds useful that I can speak," replied the Khan.

Confused, the Elf turned to his crewmate, and then realized that his companion was nearly dead, sitting in a pool of blood, with both ears cut off.

"He didn’t listen so well," said the Khan with a cruel grin.

Lagg smiled again… his red eyes looking intently at the ears of the Elf.

Looking back to the Khan, the Elf asked, "Who is your Master?"

Lagg stopped smiling as the Khan angrily snarled, "You are not worthy to speak HIS name!"

Scared, the Elf sat quietly, not daring to look the Khan in the eye.

After a few moments of silence, the Khan spoke again, calmly.

"This land bleeds lava, breathes ash, a heart that throbs to infernal machinery… it is His land.

His breath blackens the sky… we go to see Him… would you like to know how you’ll die?"

Nervously the Elf glanced up.

"My Master is here now, His Eye is upon us."

There was a sound from the sky above, looking up the Elf saw a fiery, brazen red bull flying overhead, wicked wings beating upon the ashen air and breathing flames.

Calmly, the Khan pulled out his copper dagger and spoke again:

"You are not worthy to speak His name… what makes you think you are worthy to look at Him?"

As the Khan gouged out the eyes of the screaming Elf, Lagg and the other Hobgoblins smiled… all the while keeping their eyes looking to the ground.






Bronze:  Admiral

Entry #10

Twelve Little Hobgoblins

Twelve little Hobgoblins saw a comet in heaven,
one of them got flattened and then there were eleven.

Eleven little Hobgoblins shared on a hen,
one swallowed his knife and then there were ten.

Ten little Hobgoblins started to whine,
master dropped one in furnace and then there were nine.

Nine little Hobgoblins formed their own state,
there was a coup in the palace and then there were eight.

Eight little Hobgoblins diced at eleven,
one choked on the dice and then there were seven.

Seven little Hobgoblins found a pile of bricks,
they stoned one to death and then there were six.

Six little Hobgoblins started to connive,
one didn't watch his back and then there were five.

Five little Hobgoblins walked at the shore,
one pulled a dagger and then there were four.

Four little Hobgoblins splashed in the sea,
up came a Merwyrm and then there were three.

Three little Hobgoblins went to a loo,
one drowned another and then there were two.

Two little Hobgoblins sat in the sun,
down came an eagle and then there were one.

One little Hobgoblin juggled knife all alone,
it cut his own throat and then there were none.

- Chaos Dwarf children rhyme song







Entry #2 Herby

Once upon a time in the Chaos Dwarf realm.

Off to one side of the tar pits where the slaves worked, there stood two Hobgoblins. Two dirty, scraggy, enslaved Hobgoblins, and instead of working, they were leaning on their tools and were chatting.

"And then Uhr-Kulmbizharr said that there was a wheel and a stone and they talked to each other."

"Whaaaat! They talked to each other you say?!"

"Yeah yeah! They did!"

"Nah! That's bollocks!"

"Shut up! Not just that. There was also a cloud and a volcano."

"Yeah and what?"

"They also talked with each other."

"Nah! What a hoot!"

"Yes, yes and…"

But the Hobgoblin did not go any further because a Dawi-Zharr slave driver rushed in and shouted: "What’s going on here!"

The two Hobgoblins turned their heads in awe and started to shiver due to his unexpected appearance. "N-n-nothing master. We’re just taking some breath."

"Just taking some breath?!  What have you nattered about before I came here?"

"Just about some fables."

"Fables?"

"Ya ya fables."

"Well how cute – but it’s wrooong! But don’t fear any longer, thou shall be forgiven."

The slave driver smashed the nearest Hobgoblin onto the ground and trampled him into the dirt with his steel-capped boots. After that he grinned at the other, shocked Hobgoblin, and said with a mad voice: "Still wanna talk about fables?"

"No! Boss please not! I will never open my mouth again till you want me to do so."

"So go back to work you filthy scumbag!"

So that’s what happens to lazy slaves in the Chaos Dwarfs' realm. It could be worse and it could be less bad, but you don’t want to find out.






Entry #3 DAGabriel

The Old Wolfrider

He was old and tired, his hands and arms twitched from an old head injury and years of strong drink.

Once he had been a fine warrior riding on a wolf and harassing foes with his bow, but soon he would be useless and probably offered to Hashut.

It was a sunny if chilly morning when the Master eyed him with a malicious glint in his eyes and spoke, "Can't you stop waving your arms around like that?"

"Sorry Master, I… I can't", he stammered.

"We will sow the fields soon, but this year there seems to be an abundance of crows. They will steal the seeds if we can't do a thing about it."

"Mm…Master?" the old hobgoblin said.

"Let`s put those offensive twitches to some good use", the Master said.

From that day the old hobgoblin stood on the field with his arms twitching about – and he did so until he fell dead between the green wheat shoots greeting the sun.






Entry #4 torn

Gorsh the Half-Man clung lightly to his malformed, six-legged mount as he rode through the greenskin camp. Though loyal to his master, this was a duty he did not relish. The camp was one of disorder, dirt and disease. Wicked, hook nosed gits guarding over pens of slaves, or pens of wolves. Malicious to the core, the hobgoblins were not to be trusted.

And for that reason alone Skrogg the Betrayer had sent Gorsh to find some.

Gorsh dismounted outside the khan’s tent. His mount would wait for him untied. He stepped through the flaps made of the skins of unknown creatures into a smoky darkness. Hobgoblin warriors in scale armour ringed the walls, and before him, sat at a desk of dwarfen manufacture, was a particularly ugly and scar-faced hobgoblin.

"Ah, the emissary of the betrayer arrivez. Pleaze sit. Would you care for a drink?"

Gorsh sat. The chair was remarkably comfortable despite its sturdy design. He lifted the visor on his helmet to show beneath not a face but chromed steel in the shape of a face, with six eyes of different colours and nothing else. He closed the visor again. The hobgoblin winced at the visage.

"As you can see, distractions shall not be required. As I understand things, your name is Garkash Vile-Everything, a name that I really don’t need you to prove, and you are currently head slave keeper for the warlord Varkon Goldenaxe of Zharr-Naggrund. Am I correct?"

The hobgoblin broke out in a grin displaying a mouthful of rotting, needle-like teeth, spitting as it spoke. "It seemz youz know a lot more aboutz uz then weez do aboutz you, emissary. Yezss you are right, the dwarf currently keeping my chests full of gold is Varkon Goldenaxe. I hear your master would like to aquire my services instead. You know, faceless man, that my services do not come cheap."

Gorsh stood and pulled a leather bag from his belt. "I was counting on it," he said as he released the cords on the bag. A metal ring flew out, straight towards Garkash. It opened and closed around his neck in a split second. Garkash stood, clutching at his throat as the ring contracted, causing him to choke. The hobgoblin warriors lining the tent made to close on Gorsh.

"I suggest you wave those fighters away from me. As you can see, If you want reward for your services to Skrogg the Betrayer, you had best do as he wants and come with me."






Entry #5 Abecedar

The Tale of Kracka-Khan

Kracka-Khan looked down at the barely moving body near his feet. It still breathed but at present could no longer be considered an immediate threat. In return the beaten one looked back up at the victor. With deliberate intent, Kracka-Khan slowly placed a booted foot upon the chest of his defeated foe.

"Serve me and you will live"

"Why would I?" came the laboured reply from the downed Khan, “What would you be?”

"I would be a Khan of Khans!"

The signs were easy to read. The mouth said yes, but everything else said no.   The shape of the mouth, the eyes, the tenseness in the jaw and neck muscles.   All said betrayal as soon as his back was turned. That was not what he required.

"You lie poorly," was his reply as he pushed his blade fully through the ex-Khan's neck.  

"Who leads this tribe now?" he demanded.

"You do... Kracka-Khan... You do!" came a few shouted replies.  His next question was one they’d never heard asked before.

"Who would have led next if this this one had died in battle instead of against me?"

"Me," came one grunted response. A few others shuffled a bit and looked like they might have wanted the job but were habitually hiding their intentions.

"Then come here, what is your name?"

"Digga," said the mean-looking hobgobbo.

"Would you be Digga-Khan? Would you lead your tribe? Swear loyalty to me and they are yours."

"Yes I would."

"Then on your battered soul swear your loyalty to me and then go prove your right to lead this tribe upon those of them that would deny you."

That made two whole tribes that were sworn to him, not counting his own small one. So three of the master’s tribes were his, that was if he could maintain and ensure his control over them in the coming days. So far two other Khans had denied him with their last breaths, but their tribes had descended into utter chaos as they squabbled over who among them would lead. Only a few remained to test and take control of. He turned and made his way back through his loyal disciples. Those last dozen survivors of his tribe that guarded his back as if it was their very own. Something else that he had failed to notice as being unusual for his kind.

As they left the dwelling area, a shape blocked his way. He instinctively began to draw his sabre. In the same half breath he felt his disciples fade back and their stances become ones of submission; realising it was one of the masters, he bowed and re-sheathed his weapon.

The Dawi-Zharr looked at the Khan. "You have been busy," rolled out the gravelly statement. "But this is not to be your destiny, oh Khan-of-Khans. For you have been chosen to be a part of something else than the endless battles amongst your kind here..."






Entry #8 TheHoodedMan

Mama Khan

Slowly, she went up the stairs on the side of the rocky hill, above the cave where she slept and held council. The morning mists were chilly and she wrapped her rough-spun cloak tighter around her bony shoulders. Her back was aching and her muscles were even weaker than just a few years ago, so that she needed her gnarled staff more than ever.

But she knew that she could not yet travel to the spirits of the ancestors and that her folk needed her at least until her two sons got a little wiser or one of them died of steel. Otherwise the two of them would at once pit their followers against each other for sure.

She took the last step and let her small black eyes run across the valley. Hundreds of small wooden huts, the smoke of campfires, lots of green skinned children playing and fighting, the scent of cooked elf meat and garlic in the air... so peaceful was her kin now; it reminded her of her never forgotten husband and the good times they had brawling and drinking.

Oh it was so long ago, she didn`t count the winters since then. She even felt sorry that she had to draw this really sharp knife through his throat but he didn`t want to hear her advice then and would have tried to stand up against the masters! That would have been the ruin of all their people, so she had no choice, had she?

Quickly she wiped away a single tear with her ragged sleeve.

The howl of a giant wolf rushing towards the cave caught her attention. She looked down and Mura, the elder of her sons, was there on his mount, fully equipped.

"Mama Khan, da lord of da tower wanna see ya!" he shouted.

"Let him know I`ll come in the eve," she replied with a dignity which was uncommon even for a hobgoblin leader. The wolf rider turned and sped away.






Entry #9 lustig1977

The hobgoblin Nevmin crept into a cave, he wanted to help his master, Karrahk Goldaxe. Karrahk had a very importent document for the sorcerers. He fled into the cave because he was being pursued by a group of sneaky gits. The cave had several exits and he tried to lose his pursuers in there.

Unfortunately, Karrakh had lost his own orientation and took the wrong way out. He realized his mistake and was struck by fear, he had no lamp and the way he took was much longer then expected. Going back was no option, and he could already hear his pursuers on his heels. So he kept going slowly forward until he saw a faint light. Finally he reached the exit and the fresh air helped him to catch his breath.

His servant Nevmin had once told him about a dream he had, had once. Strangely, now he felt to be part of this dream, though it was years ago when Nevmin told him the story.

Nevmin hurried, he must reach his master before the sneaky gits did. Karrakh was still standing at the exit when he saw a figure rushing at him. Tired and exhausted he had to run, they must not get the documents.

He hastily stumbled down the steep path and when he looked back he fell off the cliff. With one hand he grasped a rock, and he was hanging down the cliff.

Karrakh looked up and on the edge he saw the silhouette of a hobgoblin. "You wont get me nor the documents!" he shouted and pushed himself off the rocks.

When he fell into the darkness, the last he could hear was "Master, it's me!"





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3. Visions of Doom
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  TimothyLeighton

Entry #5

A Slight Return

The sound of Zharr-Naggrund’s great furnace exploding rang through Daemonsmith Hzzkad’s private chambers.  It drowned out the howls of the Greenskin horde assailing the great capital.  The demented screams of the K’daai unleashed from the bowls of the ziggurat in a final, desperate counter attack.  And for a second it even obscured the crack of fireglaives coming from the corridor just outside, as the handful of Infernal Guard allocated to Hzzkad’s protection, made their doomed, final stand.

Hzzkad had barricaded himself in his chambers at the first sign of trouble.  He had seen the end coming.  Watching the skies through the thick clouds of toxic smoke that perpetually hung about Zharr Naggrund, he saw the subtle changes in the stars as the sickly sheen of chaos spread across the world.  The Prophets dismissed his fears as weakness.  Those same Prophets who were now in the grand chamber, desperately spilling the blood of their own Bull Centaur retinues in a hopeless attempt to summon Lord Hashut to save them in this dire hour.  Hzzkad knew Hashut was not coming.  He knew that the great capital would fall.  Death did not scare Hzzkad.  What came next terrified him.

Ignoring the sounds of battle Hzzkad stood facing the giant, polished plate of brass, screwed to the wall of his chambers.  He saw his terrible reflection.  The tiny horns protruding from his head.  The twisted, stone stump where his left arm used to be.  The single, grim tusk that erupted from his jaw causing his lips to loll open in a permanent sneer.  Trophies of heresy.  In his one good hand Hzzkad clutched a saw.  Forged of base metals but sharpened to a surgical edge.  He had used it many a time in the rituals.  Sawing off the head of a still living sacrifice.  Pain and terror spicing the blood for Hashut.  Gritting his teeth Hzzkad began to saw at the first of the two horns.  Part stone, part tissue every draw of the saw was burning agony.  Hot, coppery blood poured down his face.  But still he continued until with a wet, wrenching plop the horn fell to the ground.  Hzzkad paused for breath.  The pain worked him, exhausting every reserve he had.  But he was not done.  With grim determination Hzzkad hacked the second horn from his head.  Blood gushed from his wounds, staining his face a slick crimson.  Hzzkad inspected his reflection.  He ran a hand across his smooth forehead.  And in the midst of the pain he smiled.

Putting the saw down he turned to the other tools he’d gathered for this moment.  Hzzkad picked up a pair of pliers, still mottled with the dry blood of whichever slave had been too quick to stumble or too slow to move.  A slave just like the thousands who right now were exacting their well earned revenge on his fellow Dawi Zharr.  

Hzzkad locked the pliers around the tusk protruding from his mouth and closed his eyes…

He pictured a cavern, lit by warm braziers.  He heard singing and drunken boasts.  He smelt meat roasting and ale, rich and hoppy.  On the cavern walls he saw the shadows of comrades in celebration.  Proud, boastful and true.  A blood bond thicker than any incantation…  

Hzzkad gripped the pliers and pulled as hard as he could.

The sound of a battering ram crashing against the door brought Hzzkad to consciousness.  He lay on the floor, his mouth filled with blood, the ugly tusk lying beside him.  There wasn’t much time left.  Scrambling to his feet Hzzkad rushed to the sealed chest he kept in pride of place in his chambers.  A chest without seams or joins.  Even the mightiest giant could not pry it open.  But with one touch from Hzzkad the lid gently lifted to reveal its secret.

Hzzkad lifted up the solid, double headed axe.  He admired the runes upon it.  Runes he could no more understand than he could alter the fate of Zharr-Naggrund.  The doors were beginning to give way but Hzzkad was ready.  His horns and tusk gone and in his hand an heirloom passed down through his bloodline for generations.  A secret shame held by his kin.  A reminder of a long forgotten past.  As the doors began to splinter  Hzzkad became aware of the corrupted, stone stump of his left arm.  A final mark of guilt.  With one mighty strike Hzzkad brought down the axe down on his deformed arm, shattering the limb in a hail of stone and blood.  And finally, he was whole.  

Axe in hand, a half remembered song about drink and kin and glory on his lips, as the horde outside surged through the doors, Hzzkad stood his ground and prepared to die like a dwarf.






Silver:  Bloodbeard

Entry #14

The Lead Casket

The mine had never been a silent place – but now it was silent. The mine wasn't a dark place – but now it was dark. For centuries slaves had toiled, lived and died down here. The Lead Casket, that was the name of the great mine with almost infinite lead veins. It had always been filled with the sound of hammering on stone, bodies breaking under heavy weight, slaves coughing up blood and dying to the bellowing screams of the Overseers. But now it was silent in the Casket. No longer did torches and corpsefires burn to light up the darkness of the mine.

The Dawi Zharr had been destined to chain the world and all other life should have been dominated by them. It was the will of Hashut and the will of the Dawi Zharr as a race. But their slow resolve and millenia long tactics had been too slow. The world was dying and not by the will of the Chaos Dwarfs.

Deep into the Lead Casket they had gone – gone to hide from an undefeatable enemy. Celestial bodies of poisonous green rock was raining down on The Dark Lands. They had been forced to hide and they were desperate – it was an unknown feeling to them.

The slaves had been driven towards the entry of the mine and the roof had been brought down, sealing the Casket and killing untold numbers of Greenskins and Men. Only a few slaves had been kept for the fires and marked as meat for the now starving Dawi Zharr.

Once again they were forced to the brink of extinction, once again they were forced to dig deep in search for salvation, trapped in a protecting Casket of Lead as the outside world was burned in the fires of The End Times.






Bronze:  Admiral

Entry #13

Lament for Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great

Oooh...

In blackest sorrow we wail and tear our beards.
Hashut!

Oooh...

In deep despair we cry and pull our tusks.
Hashut!

Oooh...

In raw desperation we blind our eyes so that we cannot see.
Hashut!

Oooh...

Lo and behold, for the signs of doom have been seen,
listen and remember, for these dire portents will be true,
confirmed by tortured Daemons twelve, eight, sixty and fourteen,
and to halt tribe's demise there is nothing we can do.
Hashut!

Waaah!

Cruel fate wrought by Dark Gods did destine us for doom,
yet in olden days He delivered us from ancestors' final death,
greater powers let this cracking of anvils stand for tribe to bloom,
only to pull us down from pinnacle of might with gasping breath.
Hashut...

Waaah!

Hear raw cries of beasts and brutes born out of war,
see greatest works bred in tribe's dark ascendancy,
sense scoffing guffaw of the terrible Great Four,
smell rotten promises of our dependency.
Hashut...

Waaah!

What is this grim fate that we cannot escape?
What is this vile doom in which Chaos would us drape?
What is this end of the high Bull God's divine rape?
What is this death the Dark Gods for us all did shape?
Hashut....

Chaos!

When death incarnate rises from the grave,
when Everchosen unite Dark Gods' sacred hosts,
when victorious master is overthrown by slave,
when all creation on doomsday's fires roasts.
The end...

Chaos!

When bale moon die in thousand shards and fall upon our heads,
when the call of Dark Gods is answered by us in strong force,
when fertile consorts and kin lie slain and torn upon our beds,
then know that this marriage of Dark God and tribe was ever a divorce.
The end...

Chaos...
Chaos.
Chaos!

For the potent signs are clear, the high Bull of Fire will at long last fall,
and those mighty turned to stone will walk again to heed His call,
and we Blacksmiths of Chaos will break down mortals' strongest wall,
and we will arm and armour hosts of Dark Gods like a thrall,
and unholy power will lift us to heavenly Hashut's flaming hall,
and our blessed dark empire will be at its greatest ever sprawl,
and after ages of toil and war we'll reap the fruits of our long crawl,
yet those the Dark Gods wish to destroy they will not at first make small,
for we will conquer and be great, only to succumb to defilers' brawl,
what is this laugh of cruel and dark divinities that echo like a squall?
And we will wail in torment at Temple's sudden fall,
and its lament we will scrawl.
We will scrawl...
O, we will scrawl...

Hashut!
Hashut!
Hashut!

We thrice beseech thee, mighty one, let not this dark path of future come to be!
We will sacrifice our slaves and worldly possessions in front of thee!
We will give up anything to escape the Dark Gods' cruel glee!
We will bash our offspring's hard heads upon the scree!
We will cut our precious limbs to that destiny flee!
We will scorch our hides if thee so decree!
We will maul each precious knee!
We will offer thee this plea!
O, Hashut when on high...
Spare me!

Oooh...

Ancient Blood Grudge, was it settled...?
Woeful civil strife in Temple's halls...
The vengeful Hide of Iron nettled...
Already hear the beastly calls...
Spare me!

Hashut!

Was our sole purpose to forge and toil and fight?
For untold centuries to build thine worldly might?
For this did we forsake each Ancestor God's holy rite?
To rise through ashen hardships and vilest, blackest plight?
To praise thine name and to all the foul foes of Chaos smite?
To shed our blood and life to grip the Dark Lands tight?
To embrace darkness and let fire be our only light?
For price of damnation eternal in our souls' night?
For us to see but thee and then lose our sight?
Was our sole purpose to know the fearful warlord's brutish bite?
Hashut...

Chaos!

Is this an insane scheme of Tzeentch's fiendish double-mind?
Or just a feverish nightmare in bloody Khorne's eternal grind?
Perhaps a heap of lies fallen out of Nurgle's cursed behind?
Or just a druggened haze in Slaanesh's pleasures blind?
And what is this fifth Dark God that rise to greatness find?
Horns and cloven hooves, but this vermin did us never bind...

Chaos!

Merciless master, would you these visions have us believe?
Are they our future reality, or but bale Daemons' false dreams?
Cast in doubt, not iron, may these visions ever see their eve?
Or will creation wail and come apart at its very seams?
Hashut...

O, high Hashut...

Great...

Great indeed...

Great is the fall of Zharr-Naggrund...

- Temple Acolyte dirge







Entry #1 Skink

Thousands of iron shod boots were beating the obsidian streets on the way to Zharr-Naggrund's citadel.  The sound was rhythmic, a one-two song of stone and steel that echoed ominously on the dark metal walls of the fortress. Astragoth looked at the warriors under a pair of brushy, bristly eyebrows.

“The Lord of the End Times counts on the sons of Hashut's allegiance.” The voice came from a tall figure encased in a black armor.

“He will have it,” replied briefly the High Priest.

“You refused every kind of payment.”

The ancient Dwarf paused for a moment, his sight lost somewhere westwards.

“The Everchosen offered me his troops to march towards the World's Edge Mountains. I couldn't have asked for anything more.”

“For these are the End Times, and the False Ancestor Gods will finally be crushed under Hashut's thundering hooves.”


The Daemonsmiths sang a choir of dissonant, guttural noises, as the Sorcerer-Prophets struggled to guide the arcane energies in a ritual of immense power. When the chanting peaked the ground shook in pain, and all over the Dark Lands volcanoes erupted, enshrouding the whole region in clouds of ash and fire.

Then it happened. A deafening, devastating explosion occurred somewhere far between the Mountains of Mourn.

“The Firemouth has exploded as you have bidden, Lord Ironhand.”

“Good. Is the Plain of Zharr enshrouded in Hashut's magic?”

“Yes.”

“Then the Ogres will run towards the World's Edge Mountains.”

“You want to leave the fight to them, Lord?”

“I have never said so. They will weaken our traitorous kin, then we will be ready to strike as fast as a lightning, right at their rotting empire's heart.”

“Lord?... You mean...?”

“I want to besiege Karaz-a-Karak,” said the High Priest, grinning sadistically. “And I want to be sure to leave as many survivors as possible.”






Entry #2 Abecedar

Land's End

A Lord Sorcerer looked out at the devastation now completely surrounding them. The flat topped mountain that he stood upon afforded him a grand view of it. This relatively small island of stability they were on had so far remained whole, amidst the destruction raging around them. He could see his ziggurat in the near distance below him on its plateau, standing about halfway to the edge of the maelstrom. He prayed to Hashut that his strength and that of his allies would be enough to maintain what they had so far been able to preserve.

He watched coldly, as in the far distance a smaller piece of land gradually succumbed to the raging tortured earth. He could see the magic being wielded by those there but the efforts lacked sufficient co-ordination and he knew that they were doomed. The figures on it were bursting into flames or simply disappearing one by one into the roiling mix of lava and magic, until only those with the greatest protection remained. He watched the last of the figures vanish in a massive detonation, so strong that he could hear it even at this distance.  Strength that would have served them all better here but was now lost. He remembered the attempts at an alliance with that one and how they had failed. For them to succeed and ensure their survival, all of them had agreed to be equals. That it would only last until they had survived was the unspoken agreement. But that one had stubbornly demanded their sworn allegiance. He did not get it and had left them in his arrogance.

Feeling the call from one of his fellow lords, he knew it was time for him to re-join the square of power. Retracing his steps, he moved through the outer layers of Daemonsmiths, to take his place again. Any Dawi-Zharr with a scrap of ability was linked to them so as to lend whatever strength they had.  Gathering his will, he mentally reached out and grabbed hold of the streams of power that flowed around them. Finding his balance among them he lent his strength to the fellow lords. Across from him another of the lords slowly moved out of the square, having released himself for his turn to rest. Off to one side a Daemonsmith collapsed and was quickly dragged to the rear by an attendant warrior. He would recover and return or he would not. Nearby a line of warriors continued to carry chunks of the crashed moon, Moorsleib, into the centre of the gathered sorcerers, to replenish what was constantly being consumed by their magic. No slaves or hobgoblins were left here readily available to do it now, having all been destroyed by the tainted rock during this ordeal.

Slowly the Lord Sorcerer felt the load lessen after what felt like days of unrelenting effort. Looking out at the world he saw that what he’d thought was true, days had indeed passed, and from the feel of the world around him, he knew that there would now be more days to come, for them at least. He looked closer at who was around him and saw that many had fallen, fully three quarters of the Daemonsmiths lay where they’d fallen, dead or alive he knew not, and the rest were mostly on their knees with fatigue. Thinking directions at his cohorts they began undoing the bonds of power they’d had tied to the land and fashioned them into a cage around the remaining warpstone. This done he signalled them and they all dropped out of the last vestiges of the square's union. As they did so he mentally gauged their remaining strength by how well they maintained their control as they left.  Focussing his attention on his two rivals he also took note of the two who did not move. They’d given everything as had at least one of the two others still standing. That one was immobile. His eyes were the only thing that could be seen to be still alive and as he watched him the spark inside faded into stone. That left two standing, so in anticipation he looked intently at the other surviving lord. He was attempting to raise his arms but failed for they had succumbed to the sorcerer's curse. His chest barely heaved as it struggled to draw in breath against the constriction of granite. He bowed his head expecting death and was surprised when the victor signalled at some Daemonsmiths to assist him. The last lord raised his own arms in triumph, a cloud of stone flakes and dust showered down. With leaden steps he trod forward and surveyed the clans that were now his and acknowledged the obeisances of all those around him.






Entry #3 Herby

Woe to you, oh earth and sea
For Hashut sends the K'daii with wrath
Because he knows the time is short
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the K'daii
For it is a human number
Its number is six hundred and sixty seven, the neighbour of the beast...

Visions of doom by the Iron Maidens of Hashut






Entry #4 George_van_Horst

Enemy at the Gates

Flames vibrated softly in the brazier, unaware of the outside events that hovered over the Great City that from the first coming of Chaos had been erected as Capital and Stronghold of the Dawi’Zharr. Alone in his private chambers, Gorth the Cruel, de facto ruler of the Chaos Dwarfs sought an explanation for the inexplicable succession of misfortunes that had culminated in which, it seemed, and if the Father of Darkness not remedied, could well be the last day of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund.

How could this have happened? The return of Chaos had completely destroyed the balance of power, not only in the Plain of Zharr, but in the entire world. Volcanoes, already active, began to spit the Blood of the Father of Darkness with unusual force that led the Council to interpret it as a sign that the Will of Hashut was that their Children must go to war. Even that damned piece of cracked stone of Astragoth agreed...

All went well at first. Artillery trains crossed the Plain of Zharr north toward Uzkulak. There troops from all Fortress and Towers throughout the Dark Lands gathered, from the Brotherhoods of Zharr to the Slavemasters of Gorgoth, with their untold hordes of slaves. The imposing siege machines from Daemon's Stump were guarded by the Hellforge Guard. Even the Legion of Azgorh, still hampered by the failed raid nearly two decades ago had sent an impressive contingent of the Infernal Guard.

And from there the children of Hashut departed eastward. He still remembered when the emissaries of the Great Hobgobla Khan arrived to the Capital with news of how the East was immersed in an uncontrollable crisis that plunged the Celestial Dragon Empire in a complete state of anarchy. The opportunity to capture the countless numbers of slaves who lived in Cathay was one that should not be missed. Astragoth himself imposed his own position as High Priest of Hashut to take command of the expedition.

Gorth could not help but let out a slight smile remembering his old nemesis...

Couriers and Daemons who had been questioned on the progress of Dawi’Zharr told him that it was as relentless and ruthless as a sea of lava. It seemed that the very Hoof of the Bull Father had fallen on those distant lands, and that's how the artillery of the Chaos Dwarfs started hitting the Great Bastion. The imposing defensive structure, which had resisted the thrust of the Hordes of Chaos and Hobgoblin riders for millennia fell in one day before the inexorable Hammer of Hashut. His subordinate, Rykarth the Unbreakable led the first assault to the gap, and it was the Granite Guard which waved the flag of the Dawi’Zharr on the Obsidian Gate. Trains of slaves began to return to the Capital and hundreds of thousands of slaves were sacrificed in honour of the Father of Darkness.

And that was when the sweet blood of captured enemies turned to ashes in their mouths.

The hordes from the Ogre Kingdoms scattered over the defenseless eastern lands, in a futile attempt to escape the destruction of their own home in the Mountains of Mourn. There were numerous clashes between the Chaos Dwarfs and the Ogre tribes. Casualties began to be important. What the troops of the Dragon Emperor had not achieved, the tribes united under the banner of Golgfag Maneater gradually did. But misfortunes never come singly... The hordes of Grimgor Ironhide, a former slave who had proclaimed himself the chosen of the savage Orc gods descended on the Obsidian Gate with a tide of Orcs the likes of which the world had never seen. Attacked on both fronts, the imposing army of the Sons of Hashut was overwhelmed by the endless flood of brutes. He still remembered how he had tortured a Daemon of the Great Deceiver to learn how Rykarth fell surrounded by his Granite Guard, unable to stop the flow of flesh, metal and fangs. The Ironhand himself became at last stone after using his last vestiges of power in a futile effort to turn the tide of battle...

There was no longer any hope. The troops of the Chaos Gods walked the Plain Zharr. The industrial complex of Daemon's Stump had been passed through blood and fire by the emissaries of the Blood God, depriving the Sons of Hashut of their enormous artillery power.

Now Grimgor had crossed the Gates of Zharr and his hordes besieged Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. And in those moments, quite possibly the last of his existence, Gorth looked at the golden mask that sat on his lap and understood how Zhargon the Great had felt when the Immortals led by Lord Khal Drakaz were at the doors of the Great Temple of Hashut willing to end his reign of terror.






Entry #6 Miasma

The Black Raiders of Uzkulak

Snow settled on the furs and jet black eyebrows and beard of Khadrakk Ironwalker, black metallic ringlets and trinkets clicked together in the icy breeze as his Thunderfire Slave Barge cruised through the Frozen Sea, the Thunder Roller at the front of the giant metallic behemoth crushing and splintering the pack ice allowing the ship to make slow but steady progress. The plume of smoke from the funnels stretched far back to be lost to the blizzard of snow and reforming pack ice behind them. He smiled and squinted his eyes against the white wall in front of him, the raids on the Baersonlings had gone well and they were returning to Uzkulak with a hold full of Norse slaves to be sent on their journey to the mines of Gorgoth to live the rest of their short, worthless lives as slaves to serve the whims of Hashut. Those presumed more worthy would of course be sent to the Great Ziggurats of Zharr-Naggrund to be sacrificed in the giant Brass Bull to appease Hashut. Three days he figured had passed since the event and soon they would enter the great gates at the northern base of the River Ruin, and he could finally discover what in the name of Hashut had caused those accursed waves. They had been ashore when the waves struck, almost as high as the Fjords where they were fighting the Baersonlings. As well as the waves and falling pack ice mighty rifts had sundered the earth under their feet. He spat in disgust at the thought of the Tribesmen that were lost down those massive fissures, the loss of revenue and respect that would have accompanied his return hurt far more then those he had lost in his retinue. The Hobgoblins were without doubt the strongest and most cunning that he had so far pressed into service but easily replaced from the pens of Uzkulak, his Clansmen however would be more difficult to replace but his wealth and fame would see to that.

A shout from above heralded the sight of Uzkulak but something seemed wrong, the mighty harbour usually identified by a cloud of smoke from the Battle and Slave Barges was missing, as they drew closer he eyed the flotsam and debris closely, the ruins of the fleet were becoming thicker and thicker as they drew near. “Stop the ship, Hashut’s Rage, Full Steam Astern!” he bellowed, a lurch signalled that his shout had been heard and acted upon. Facing the heavens he closed his eyes and focused his rage, his armoured gauntlet smashing a Hobgoblin from its feet and over the side of the ship, a billowing cloud of red appeared from where the creature had disappeared under the freezing water accompanied by a slowing stream of bubbles. He raised his head once again to the sky and bellowed in rage. As he opened his eyes he saw streaks of fire puncture the clouds, giant pieces of flaming rock landing in the sea sending clouds of steam high into the sky and sending forth waves to rock his ship. A thought struck him then, a small kernel of thought, the Priests had told him of this day.

The day when a Champion of the Gods would once again rise from the North, look to the South and wash away the Lands of the Old World, causing a war to end all wars. “For these are the times, these are the End Times, these are the Days of Hashut, when fire and brimstone fall from the Sky.” The words echoed through his mind. “Turn us around, we move for Sjoktraken,” he bellowed to those in the massive engine rooms. He smiled at the thought of the fighting to come, all was not lost, they would land at Sjoktraken, lay it to waste with the mighty Thunderfire Battery on the prow of the ship and make for Black Blood Pass. There they would find their forsaken kin, those who turned away from the words and power of Hashut, and deliver their wisdom. “Go to the Pens, tell the Baersonlings that they may fight for me or they may die in my Engines!” he bellowed, his face a mask of pure joy and menace. “Thank Hashut, it is finally time to make our forgotten kin pay for their ignorance! Fetch my Hammer” He bellowed as he turned and gripped the rails at the prow, smiling into the incoming blizzard, his crew cheering at the flaming lumps of rock that fell from the sky. The End Comes had come and the Dawi Zharr would march to war in Hashut’s Name.






Entry #7 Roark

The dying flames of a dozen sacrificial pyres fought hopelessly against the unyielding darkness of the vast obsidian monolith’s most sacred inner sanctum. This holiest of places had no name. Of the few Dawi Zharr who had witnessed the manifestations and wonders within, the unspoken consensus was that to name it would be absurd, banal and damnable.

“The beasts clamour beyond the gates, Lord. The Obsidian Phalanx have fallen. All are dead at the Thousand Steps.”


Silence within… Rancour without…

The Esteemed Prophet Ghul ar-Zarrak turned from his bitter contemplation of cold and silent runes and beheld the speaker. He stared deeply into the slit, burnished faceplate before him, his eyes searching for weakness or diffidence. Ghul was unsurprised to find none. He was bemused to note that he couldn’t recall the name of this warrior, the scarred and stoic commander of his slavishly faithful bodyguard.  

Irrelevant. Names, titles, political currency… all irrelevant now.

“This blasphemy cannot be” the Prophet hissed, with virulent hatred on his breath.

The cacophony of deadly battle beyond the temple portal increased in pitch and desperation, quavering like a wounded beast with a thousand throats.  

“Has the Father spoken to you, Lord?” queried the warrior, eager to end his ceremonial vigil and turn his grim attention, and that of his silently waiting warriors, to the threat outside.  He hungered to answer the furore of the greenskin invaders with his most eloquent of arguments - delivered at the edge of a hellforged greataxe.  

Ghul glanced meaningfully toward the shadowed recess beneath the sacrificial grate.


Indeed, he speaks not. And at this hour! What would you say to this, Holy One?

A gutteral rumble answered their questions, spoken and unspoken, from the impossible darkness of the pit. “The Father’s Will is known to us. It does not alter with the tide of battle, nor the whims or wishes of mortals.”

The Warden of the Temple Arch strode purposefully forward into the light, brass-armored hooves clattering and echoing off the ancient stone.  This massive creature was the foremost of Hashut’s chosen, the ferocious Doomborn bulls - elite guardians of His temple. Protectors of His sacraments, and bearers of His image.  The Warden spoke with the authority of one elected not by the casting of votes but by the bloodiest and grimmest of contestation in service to the Father of Darkness.

"We are yet the instruments of His Will, Prophet. Indeed, you shall bear witness to that before this day's end."

In the Warden’s wake gathered the blood-slicked brethren of his holy Order, invigorated from their gory rites of suffering, undertaken in preparation for the defence of the temple.

Emotionless still, Ghul ar-Zarrak observed with satisfaction the coal-eyed, hulking masses of promised bloodshed that stood before him, as they stamped with anticipation and near-berserk outrage.

He looked to the enormous portal.  As if in answer, the din outside of death and clashing metal grew.  The brass doors began to buckle under the weight of impossible and unrelenting force. Reliefs on the door panels, depicting the events of the covenant between Hashut and His children, suddenly warped with violence, skewing and twisting wildly. The gates of Ghul’s fettered rage broke as did the sacred carvings, and his eyes lit up with eldritch power and malevolence.

“The enemy is nigh, warriors of Hashut! Animals and desecrators! Will you deny them?”

A huge and black-armoured Orc-thing stumbled through the broken doors, heaving with exhaustion and bearing a ragged banner which dripped with gore.


Defiler.

The Bulls roared with anguish and blind rage, surging headlong into the ocean of green filth.





Entry #8 Doombeard

And so it came to be that the unstoppable Greenskin tide had brushed all asunder that stood before it. Galvanized from whence it came by the taste of oh-so-sweet a holocaust, and hungry to gorge itself on the soft belly of an old adversary amidst the Chaos the world now stood in, it once more turned its eye twixt here and the Dark Lands of the East, and with that hateful gaze brought its ugly head to bear upon the ancient and holy city of Zharr-Naggrund.

Known and hated amongst Greenskins for treachery shown toward the Black Orcs during the great rebellion, a cruelty never to be forgotten was bestowed upon the Orcs by the Dawi Zharr and the Hobgoblins of the East plains. Many past years ago was it written into eternal lore and documented, that one day this old city would pay the price. Now aptly Grimgor, one of the greatest Black Orc generals in Old World history, answered the cry on this day to deliver the final reckoning, for these are the unabated End Times of the Old World and none shall desist.
  
The air was thick with the acrid funk of burning flesh, like a thick veil of smog it hung on the air, to be seen as such a mist on a gentle autumn morning, hanging low over a valley of folded grass, but this was no such sight. For this was a dense thick mist of pain and suffering, of torn souls and butchered dreams, formed of rampant gas emissions and steamy condensation caused by the en masse annihilation of thousands. As each poor writhing wretched body was tossed helplessly asunder into the perilous molten slag, so came with them a hiss, like the striking of sulphur, as it bubbled and filtered away into the metallic gloop that pulsed and gushed through the veins of the temple of Hashut. And so it came to be that a living soul was snuffed out, as if never existed.
  
The Bull Centaurs, sacrificing slaves this way for many weeks on end, relished greatly their daily ritual. For as Guardians of the Temple they take great solace and pride in the duty of performing such ceremony. To them the smell of freshly cooking flesh on metal is as intoxicating as the promise of meeting their Bull God at the end of the warrior's path.
  
The Learned Ones foretold, from their great towers of Daemonsmith-wrought Steel and Iron, that a great shadow descends over all, one that would eclipse and engulf their land in a festuous cloud of bleak destruction.

The slaves to put it bluntly were now a burden, and not so were the Masters willing to relinquish their slave legion to any such despoiler. It fell upon them to make a much maligned decision. One based out of self preservation, damage limitation, and not least in so much as to present an opportunity, it fell on them to make the greatest holy sacrifice in history, to appease the Great Bull,  the sacrifice of several hundred thousand slaves every day for 50 days and 50 nights.
    
The molten metal coursed through the veins of the great Temple, from the great Brass statue of the Bull God, it flowed, instilled with dark energy, filling ornate cauldrons, bubbling in vast sacrificial vats and vessels, gushing down through to every other part of the city. This was the energy, lifeblood and circulatory system coursing through the great Ziggurat of Zharr-Naggrund, from the heights of the Holy Temple of Hashut right down through to the slave furnaces where the great Dawi Zharr Metalsmiths toiled beneath ground. And now freshly imbued with the bodies and souls of hundreds of thousands of slaves, it malformed, the temperature rising, a less viscous, more ferocious, boiling metallic splurge. A splish splash splay of effervescing and boiling metal violently akin to the pain and horror with which those tainted souls of a million screaming victims were snuffed out, ceremoniously day in day out.
  
The temperature of the  Black Obsidian rock out of which the Ziggurat was hewn now rose daily. And, so too much like the black souls of those inhabitants within; when told there were those who would take what's theirs and seek to destroy Zharr-Naggrund; it pulsed and thronged with heat so unbearable that any such mortal man would wither and pale.

And so it came to be that Zharr-Naggrund blistered, a volcanic oven, a hornets nest of hatred and spite, a murderous furnace of pain and fury, carrying the scent of burnt flesh and the screams of the dying far on the tainted hell-wind from the East.

For this my friend, is the Great Fortress of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, and the Dawi Zharr people will not go quietly into the night.






Entry #9 DAGabriel

Springs of Blood



„…and the end of times will be heralded by war at the black sea, springs of blood in the dark land and the coming of the fifty shades of grey!”

From the Prophecies of Zarr Dareis,
Author unknown



Htharikk Blackheart shook his head wearily.

This part of the prophecy didn`t make sense.

Given that it was one of the oldest documents in Zarr Dareis and that it was nearing illegibility the prophecies always were a lodestone to manoeuvre the fate of his fortress through difficult times.

What black sea did it mean?

The volcanic wastes of the dark land had its share of springs, but springs of blood?

And what monstrosities could be “the fifty Shades of Grey”?

Some times the old scrolls were rather straightforward, but especially when crucial times came the wordings became more and more obscure.

Htharrik had spent years of study to compare the wording of the scrolls with the events that happened in history.

Always he had found that the scrolls were exactly describing the events, but these were mingled with events he couldn’t trace to any known realm.

One of the oldest times best documented in Zarr Dareis was the Rise of the Master of Madness and of the Renegades.

Sure, he came from the heights above the Black Land, but was he really the “Highlander” of the prophecy?

And what was the meaning of the cryptic words he or one of his companions seemed to have spoken:

“From the Dawn of Time we came, moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the Time of the Gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you, until now.”

Full of frustration he downed a chalice of blood red wine and sighed. There were always so many questions and answers were rare.

Since he couldn`t see a way to find the meaning of the “fifty Shades of Gray” and the “Black Sea” wasn`t a location found on any maps there were only the Springs of Blood worth of investigation.

He would bring up that matter on the next council-meeting and see what his underlings thought of it.

Perhaps he could rid himself of some sycophants by sending them on a search to the blasted plains for some obscure springs running with red water, blood or something explaining that passage of the prophecy.



* * *

Chapter 1

The Mission


“And the waters of the Spring of Blood will give you powers manifold…”

From the Prophecies of Zarr Dareis
Urr-al-Hashut, 1st Dynasty



The Council Hall was awash with bickering and shouting which fell to an oppressing silence when the great iron gong proclaimed the entrance of the High Sorcerer-Prophet.

The Hobgoblins prostrated themselves on the raven black tiles of the floor while the Dawi-Zarr bowed with profound respect as Htharrik Blackheart took his place on the Iron Throne of Zarr-Dareis.

Tired but with barely concealed contempt he looked at the throng of sycophants, slaves and guards crowding the big hall until his gaze fell on his son, who gave him a nod and a military salute.
Then his voice grated through the silence and everyone present looked at him.

“Hashut be with you, fellow Dawi-Zarr. I have consulted the Prophecies for three nights and a hundred slaves have been offered to our Master at each dawn of my vigil,” his voice dropped to a whisper as he continued, “and I have found no real answers. - The future is clouded as is the want of the prophecies in time of turmoil.”

“But –“ he boomed, “even if the scrolls have not shown me a way they told me to look for certain signs and portents which will help us through this time of crisis.

Times of war are a risk but they always are a chance to multiply our might, too.

So fire up the furnaces, intensify the drill of our troops, double the offerings to Hashut and be ready for interesting times!”

The crowd began to cheer, chanting out “Hashut” and “Blackheart”.

He raised his gauntleted hands and they fell silent again.

“I would speak with all the servants of Hashut next, so the rest of you be swift to bring the city to readiness, for glorious battle will be joined soon and I will bring swift justice to everyone I find lacking.”

The throng filed out through the massive bronze doors until the Sorcerer-Prophet was alone with his Pyrophants and Daemonsmiths.

“You see,” he addressed them. “It is easy to command the simple mass. But our task is much more complicated. There are few references in the scrolls which can be connected with this time and it will fall to you to investigate those leads I found.”

“Master, you only have to command us!” they answered in unison.






Entry #10 MadHatter

The End has come.
Green bolts of lightning,
through a sky sundered by the storming winds of magic.
Jagged obsidian spikes jut up from the depths,
sundering earth that quakes and cracks.
Urk and grumi breaching the Black Gates,
slaves against masters on the Ziggurat stairs,
the Great Bull falls.






Entry #11 Bitterman

Feet of Stone

When Borezh Ahgul had been younger – before Hashut had imbued him with power beyond mortal ken; before his feet and legs had turned to granite – he had marched south, towards the Plain of Bones, to the very edges of Dawi Zharr lands. There, half buried by the pitiless black ash of the volcanic desert, he had seen the crumbling ruins of a once colossal statue. “I am Ozymandias, Prophet of Prophets,” the fading inscription had read. “Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

Ahgul had been no fool, even then. He had known that the gods had not shown him that cautionary warning lightly. From that day forth he had known his fate: to die and be forgotten, no matter how great his fleeting glory.

Fate, he thought, gnashing his monstrous tusks, could roast in the deepest pits of hell.

He stood at the topmost level of the Iron Ziggurat, determined to take this final chance to stand on his own two feet, lifeless and petrified though they had become. To either side of him, his Taur’ruk bodyguards stood wary, ready to give their lives for him, even now; and far below, at the base of the ziggurat, so far that even the roar of battle was no louder than a whisper on the wind, the gates of Zharr-Naggrund were crumbling.

Borezh Ahgul watched with ashes in his mouth. The billowing clouds of dust rising from the shattered gates showed the unbelievable, undeniable truth: The Black Orcs, those pathetic slave-beasts, were destroying everything the Dawi Zharr had taken millennia to build.

A hiss of steam and clank of gears to Ahgul’s right announced the arrival of Astragoth, lumbering into position alongside the Sorcerer-Prophet. The Bull Centaurs backed away respectfully; none would gainsay the High Priest of Hashut.

Astragoth took just a moment to catch his breath – the contraption that carried his half-stone body took effort to control – then spoke quietly, though not softly. His voice carried the same trace of fierce bitterness that it always did, though with the Dawi Zharr legacy collapsing before his very eyes, it lacked the usual spiteful glee that came with being proved right.

“Do you believe me now, Borezh Ahgul?”

Resentment burning in his heart, Ahgul said nothing. There was nothing that could be said.

When it became clear he would get no response, Astragoth sneered and spat. “Come,” he said. “It is time.”

The High Priest lurched clumsily away from the ziggurat edge, as Borezh Ahgul motioned to his Taur’ruk guards. They fetched his palanquin, and with effort he clambered onto it. As they turned to carry him away, Ahgul chanced one last glance back. Numberless hordes of Black Orcs were surging into the city, butchering all who stood before them. The era of the Dawi Zharr was over.

The other Sorcerer-Prophets joined the procession behind Astragoth and Ahgul. In another time, it would have been celebrated as the greatest gathering of sorcerous might Zharr-Naggrund had ever seen. None were so mighty – nor so changed – as Astragoth; few were as powerful as Borezh Ahgul himself. Some were still able to walk unaided, their feet yet made of flesh and bone, and Ahgul did not know whether to feel envy or contempt. It didn’t matter, really. Not now.

Eventually they came to the hallowed chamber at the centre of the Temple of Hashut. The sounds of battle could be heard clearly, now, as the fighting came closer; but Astragoth seemed unhurried as he took his position before the bull-headed altar, ignoring the scorching fires of the unholy furnaces. The iron and steel contraption that carried his half-dead form glowed red with the heat, but he spoke calmly and clearly regardless. “The End Times are upon us, as I have foreseen,” he said, the most powerful sorcerers in the whole Dark Lands captivated by his every word. “But this need not be the end for us. Our dark lord has shown me a way out, praised be His name; there is still a chance to join Him, and live on by His side.”

Astragoth began to chant, and Borezh Ahgul quickly joined in; then the next sorcerer added his voice to the chorus, and the next, and the next. The Bull Centaurs guarding the door roared, and their roar was met by Black Orcs charging full tilt towards them; the clash of weapon on armour, the tear of axe into flesh, the sounds of death and violence that had been ever-present in Zharr-Naggrund since the first stone was laid, all threatened to drown out the chant…

And then, with a blinding flash of darkness and deafening roar of silence, Astragoth’s ritual was completed, and the last surviving Dawi Zharr met their destiny in the End Times.






Entry #12 Fuggit Khan

Zharr-Naggrund was lost, defiled by the lesser races.

Word of the catastrophe spread among the Dawi Zharr strongholds that still had not fallen… not surprisingly, the news was greeted with a mix of anger and pragmatic acceptance.

The Dawi Zharr were patient, time was viewed as an asset.

But this was the End Times.


The three Dawi Zharr sat at their favorite local Zorn-Uzkul brew house. For 32 years they had come here to toss bone dice in games and celebrate victories.

Always expressionless, Vardch Stone-Chin sat holding a tankard of ash beer, pondering the news of the downfall of Zharr-Naggrund. Leaning back in the stone-cut chair, he studied the sullen expressions of his two friends who sat with him at the wrought iron table.

With him sat Belk One-Eye, a Daemonsmith. Years ago he had cut out his own right eye, casting it upon a brazier of coals as an offering to Hashut. His eye was now a black obsidian prosthesis.

Also sitting was Narrakg the Slave Master. Retired from battles after taking an arrow to his knee, his tall hat was adorned in precious copper, a testimony to his stature and wealth now as a slaver.

Belk spoke first, breaking the gloomy silence.

“Everywhere it’s the same news. The Gods have forsaken this world… the mightiest cities and empires destroyed… we’ll be overcome here as well.

Death knocks on all the doors of this world.”

“Then we should leave this place,” replied Vardch.

Belk paused, then asked, “Yes, but where? We’re heavily outnumbered by the hordes sweeping across these lands.”

“We’re always outnumbered, it’s the same game story played out every time” replied Vardch. “The current 8th era battle tactics don’t favor our smaller elite numbers of warriors. It’s not always a level playing field. We’re always outnumbered, getting railroaded, suffering from poor initiatives. We would have had a chance back in the days of the 4th era tactics… but these 8th era days heavily favor the stubborn hordes of lesser races.”

“We could muster our smaller number of forces in one of the four corners of the world, play a defensive bunker strategy, castle up our units… wait it out till the end,” said Belk.

“We’re limited to only two corners of the world for deployment…” countered Narrakg.

Puzzled, Vardch asked, “Corners of the world? What the frag you talking about?”

“Our world… it’s flat with four corners” replied Narrakg, pulling a map out of his pocket. Made of leathered flesh and tattooed with the blooded ink of a thousand slaves, the map was laid out across the table.

“This is our world, our lands are in the center,” said Narrakg. “Westwards are the lands of men, south of that is Araby, and so forth.”

“The bottom corners of the world are ocean, no going there, we’ll have to go to one of the two upper corners of the world… we’re only allowed to deploy on one side of the four sided world. Perhaps if we had some vanguard units…”

Vardch blurted out, “You honestly believe the world is square and flat? That if you go too far off the ‘edge’ you’d fall into oblivion? Who first charted this flat world map?”

“The Ulthuan elves,” replied Narrakg.

Vardch Stone-Chin, whose face never showed emotion, suddenly frowned…“You believe a map from FRAGGIN’ ELVES?!” he growled as he spat on the floor. “Those stinking, flower frolicking, smokers of tree bark?!”

Belk protested, “Vardch! The world’s flat… with four edges… I’ve seen Goblins flee off the edge of our four cornered world, gone after they went through the firmament. And stories of mighty warriors, knocked off the flat world, their weapons shattered and their bodies broken from the fall”.

Vardch spat on the floor again. “Fine,” he grumbled.

Narrakg spoke again “We’ll need to move fast… rumours say these End Times will usher in the 9th era next month… we will no longer be based on a square world. Our world will be torn asunder, become a floating ball in space… and that our feet will no longer stand squarely on a familiar base.”

“Move fast?” asked Belk. “Our resolute, contemptuous nature won’t allow it. Where are these rumors from?”

“From the Realms of Chaos… these End Times are the manipulations of the Workshop Masters, who view our world and us as mere playing pieces in a greater game. They seek to recast our world for their own lucrative purposes”.

Frowning, Vardch crumpled the map into a ball, holding it up for all to see.

“So, our world will become a floating bubble, drifting aimlessly and bumping into other bubbles of existence for the next 40'000 years?” Tossing the crumpled ball into the hearth fire, he grumbled, “Game over.”






Entry #15 torn

Clutching his long-handled axe, Groth Steelbeard readied himself behind the cast bronze gates of Zharr-Naggrund. As the newly promoted Captain of the Immortal Guard this was Groth’s first engagement leading the full Legion of one thousand battle hardened Dawi Zharr.

The air was dark with dust and sorcery. Lined up in formation with his men, Groth scowled as a renegade Dwarf sorcerer floating atop an ensorcelled rock hurled fiery globes of coruscating flame over the walls into the waiting Greenskin horde beyond.

There was a force behind the gates. Groth didnt know what that force was, but the gates were radiating heat and were bulging inwards. He nervously shifted his grip on his axe handle, the leather stretching under his black metal gauntlets.

He knew he needed to say something to strengthen the resolve of his soldiers, but his mind was blank. All he could think about was the gate, and just what was going to come through it.






Entry #16 Dînadan

The Prophesies of Ma'at

"Where is he?" asked Gibil-Nûzkû, stomping up the boarding ramp onto the deck of the Indomitable which had just docked at Uzkulak's western quayside.

"Chained up below deck m'lord," replied Captain Grazsh of the Red Host, tipping his hat in deference to the Sorcerer-Prophet. Uzkulak's Prophet of the Flame nodded and followed him below. "We found 'im wandering the northern shores of the Sea of Chaos," continued Grazsh as he led him, "Rambling incoherently about doom an' gloom. All we've been able to figure out is he wandered north inta tha Wastes and stared inta tha polar gate an' saw something that drove 'im mad." He shook his head contemptuously, "Nutter's been writing non-stop, scribbling 'is prophesies all over 'is cell. Mah scribe has been copying them down jus' incase tha's summat useful in 'em." He produced a scroll from his sleeve and handed it to the bemasked priest. "That there's tha' first scroll of thirty in 'is prophesies, wit' more ta come."

The priest handed the scroll to an attendant. "What has he prophesied?"

The captain shrugged and gestured at a scribe hunched at the door to a cell using a Goblin as a writing desk. The scribe glanced up and jabbed the steel quill into the goblin's back to keep it safe. With a wheeze, he stood up and tipped his hat in respect.

"Death," he wheezed, "The prophesy is Death.  Death of the whole world."

Behind his mask, Gibil's eyes flashed and he snorted with contempt. "Utter nonsense then.  No Prophet in the history of our Empire has ever foreseen such a thing; why would this wretch?"

The scribe shrugged. "No Prophet has ever stared into the Well of the Gods and lived to tell what they've seen." He scratched his beard and shrugged again. "Still, what he tells is absurd. There's the usual stuff about the Everchosen and his hordes sweeping down and overrunning the Manlings to the west. But then there's the ridiculous such as Malekith becoming the Phoenix King and the Ulthuan Elves accepting him or Grimgor overrunning the Great Bastion in Cathay. He claims Nagash will return and unite with the Manlings to fight the Everchosen and that the Old Ones' spawn are fleeing the planet, as it is torn asunder, in ships to voyage the stars."

He glanced about and spat a gob of phlegm in disgust. "Most ridiculous of all is that he foretells the fall of Zharr-Naggrund itself! A horde of Ogres and Greenskins will besiege our capital and the mercenary Golgfag will push open the city gates; peppered by shot and bolt he will hold them open so the hordes may barrel in. Like the Black Orc rebellion the greenies will fight their way up each level of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, but unlike then there will be no treachery that will lay them low. Grimgor himself, hand in hand with the Facebeater and the Green Prophet shall topple the Great Bronze Bull and cast down Hashut's might." He spat once more in disgust.

Gibil growled. "Such heresy cannot be tolerated. I will have him interrogated; even amidst the madness there may yet be an isle of sanity or two. After that...he will be given an execution befitting his dishonour; even the Infernal Guard are too good for him. His name will be struck from all annals and his family outcast. His scrolls will be kept and studied to see if we can glean anything useful and then locked away far from public eyes. In time the name Ma'at or the Clan Ord will only be remembered as a byword for lunacy."

The scribe and the captain chuckled, relishing in the downfall of their prisoner, but their mirth was soon interrupted.

"M'lords!" cried a sailor jogging down the corridor, "A message has just arrived." Panting he handed it to Gibil who read it, frowning.

"It's from Zharr-Naggrund," he grunted. "Warpstone has been seen showering the Dark Lands from the sky; all Prophets are being called to a conclave to discuss this news."

Grazsh and the scribe glanced at each other curiously.

"So that part of the prophecy has come to pass," mused the scribe with a frown.

Gibil crumpled the parchment and let it fall to the deck. "Gather the scrolls and prepare the heretic for transport; there may be more to this nonsense than we realise."





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4. Prophecies of Rebirth and Resurrection
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Fuggit Khan

Entry 3

Imperial Year
-4000
Contact is lost.

-3666
Mining an iron vein, Rahk-Shardstone unearths a prophetic obsidian tablet.
Its inscription, written in veins of living liquid copper, states:
“Hell has 664 portal gate keys. With them, your hands shall forge the final two, the keys of Rebirth and Eternity, and I, Hashut, shall name you my Son.”  

-3500
Dwarfs of the Dark Lands start worshipping Hashut.

-2700
Sorceror Prophet Rahk-Shardstone guides the raising of iron and obsidian from the ground, the foundations of Zharr-Naggrund.  

-2666
Whispers of the Sorcerors Curse. No, Rahk-Shardstone thought…not a curse.
Rebirth and Eternity. Flesh rots. Stone is eternal.
He smiled.  

-1666
Rahk-Shardstone’s lifeless petrified stone body is placed on temple grounds.

2666
The stone statue of Rahk-Shardstone steps off its pedestal.
His heart was iron ore, lungs of molten magma. Liquid copper coursed through his stone veins. Black obsidian eyes, with copper pupils, looked at his stone hands.
Glowing hotly, both hands held a key, each forged with the souls of 332 daemons.
The final two keys: Rebirth and Eternity.  
As those about him bowed in fear, Rahk-Shardstone looked to the statue of Hashut. Smiling, he spoke…”Hello, Father”.





Silver:  Grimbold Blackhammer

Entry #1

From the journals of Ekerz'ul the Lost

I have traveled farther and deeper than any being before me.  Deeper than the mountains, beneath even the roads of Valaya, and surrounded by stone that no dwarf nor God had ever seen; I looked upon the blistering furnace of the world in awe.  And in that place Hashut granted me a great vision.  

The Cursed One led an unstoppable army of the damned and where ever his shadow touched, all was destroyed.  One by one, his enemies fell and the world burned.  But his victory was ash for the betrayer was betrayed by his masters and all the world was consumed.  In the end, only one place remained - a fortress so great that only it could survive.  A place whos mighty walls were made of the blackest of stone and etched in runes of blood.  A place where only the strongest survive and weakness is destroyed.   And that place shall be named Zharr-Naggrund.





Bronze:  Miasma

Entry #2

And lo, once again doth the faithful of Hashut spill from the bosom of the world.
Entombed for an age, gathering spite and hatred in their hearts.
Free once again to slave, raid and pillage.

Free again to build, free again to plot, free again to spread spite.
These are the days of a new age, fools believe that this is the time of Sigmar
Let them believe their fallacies, let them believe in their lies.
For this is the time of Hashut, this is the time of the Dawi Zharr.






Entry #4 Bloodbeard

… And the Greater Daemon was exiled by his Master, hunted and hurt. And he would entomb himself in the Earth, for he knew the plans and he wanted to stop them...

… and Hashut the Father of Darkness knew how the world would parish in the fires of war, how it would be ripped apart by the powers of the Chaos Pantheon. He had seen it and he had prepared his children Dawi Zharr. …

… And the Dawi Zharr shall toil, build, conquer and ever grow in strength and numbers. And you shall master the Dark Arts of magic, the Binding of Daemons and Powers of Industry. For Hashut knew it would require all to stop the Ending of the World. …

… But new worlds must be conquered…

… Amidst fire, flame and molten stone shall the Children of Hashut be reborn in the Afterlife Realm Ghyran. Amidst ore, iron, rock and stone shall the Children of Hashut be reborn in the Afterlife Realm Chamon...

… And all realms beyond the heavens will be conquered by the Dawi Zharr…

Pieces from a broken brass tablet, found amongst the ruins of Zharr-Naggrund in the days after the Fall.





Entry #5 Abecedar

When all was lost,
I kept you alive
When your were at the end,
I gave you purpose.
You pledged to worship and obey me,
You failed.

Darkness beyond all light,
Heat and fire beyond all that the guts of the earth contains
Both these you shall know.
Those who hold me in their heart of hearts will survive
Those who hold themselves more precious will not
You know who you are already.
Knowing this and yet you do not believe.

In my name only will
My last servants know hope
In my name only will
The chance for Power and Glory be theirs
In my name only will you know me
The coldest blood crawls through my veins
The hottest fire drips from my mouth
YOU KNOW MY NAME.

“Found scrawled upon a scorched parchment, In front of a seated Hellsmith.  A Hellsmith known to have been dead for half a century, who’s body should not exist for he had been cremated for his apostasy. Written in handwriting confirmed by the archivists to be that of the heretic.  Known to the lords for they were the ones who had condemned him."

The ink was still fresh.





Entry #6 TheHoodedMan

"Was this the other side mentioned in the old prophecies?
It felt strange, hot and cold at one time and he tried to feel his body and remember his name,  but couldn`t. Pictures and sounds of past events flashed in his mind as he levitated in the vast space which was enlightened by beautiful silent thunderstorms.

In the distance he heard a voice. There was  a fellow-Dawi Zharr with eyes like bottomless pits far before him. The man shouted strange words, harsh and familiar.  He was attracted by this incantations.  Suddenly there was massive heat but it felt comfortable and he was strong again, stronger than ever before!  

His spirit gained power and formed a body of bright flames from the surrounding magma. His fingers moved as he watched them curiously and then he stepped on stone steps out of the great burning pool into a great hall.
“Step forward from the flames into the new world and take this helm, axe and plates forged with the blessing of the Dark Father. You were gone but Hashut saved you and remade you from Fire! Bow down and obey!”
He bowed and  felt the desire to fight in an unending war…"





Entry #7 Axtklinge

The drilling into the hidden compartment triggered a blast that swiped clean all the slaves of the lower forges of Zharr-Krong-Uhl.
‘Suits them fine!’ Kharzull mumbled, while staring at the new found artefacts.
‘These are far too important for the eyes of green scum!’ he continued.

It was not the first time a chamber was discovered, but this time something surpassed all riches found before: a metallic slab shaped artefact, where fiery runes of ancient origin kept burning and twisting right before their eyes.
‘The living tome of Makhorth The Possessed!’ pointed Kharzull in awe!
‘Notice how these runes shift and change form as we speak!’.

Even for Kharzull - master crafter and scholar - the translation of such old runes was not easy, but if tales told truth, not only it contained Makhorth prophesies but these would also shift their sayings, in response to actions taken in the present.
‘Quickly, take note of all I translate!’ bellowed Kharzull to his second.
And thus the foretelling of the great war to be, started to take shape…
“As yet before, again shall be
Reborn from fire to be free
Thy time draws near Dawi Zharr
To trust allies reopen scar…”






Entry #8 Dînadan

"...And thus again did it come to pass that the world did burn,
Screaming and staunchly defiant to the end,
But such brazen demands were futile for,
Entropy brings even the greatest low.
Fiery embers flickered out and ashes grew cold,
Last follies lost amidst uncaring stars.

[fragment missing]

'...As surely as life beget death, does not too death beget life?'
Sternly and stoically did the great drake set about its task,
Labouring slowly lest carelessness undo its creation;
Tirelessly labouring 'til at last the world were forged anew,
Again 'twas arisen from the flames,
For all this has happened before, and all this shall happen again."

- only surviving fragment from an apocryphal Dawi-Zharr creation myth said to have been found inscribed blood on an iron tablet discovered below Daemon's Stump.  Much of the text is damaged where the tablet has been melted by warpfyre after a daemonic incursion below the Stump centuries ago.






5. Chaos Dwarfs in the Eyes of Others
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Jackswift

Entry #2

The remains of the city brooded squat and evil, beyond the broken causeway.  Weathered behemoths of rough-hewn basalt stood before me… centuries abandoned… defiant still… awaiting the return of their masters. Jagged onyx spires on their crowns reflected hellish molten light across the tumbled ruin of their brothers.

Blistering wind howled between intricate carvings that lined the hanging path, jutting crumbled and forgotten over the abyss. Some long dead artist had rendered row on row of statues, capturing the ancient Dwarf inhabitants in absurd, grotesque detail. My eyes drunk in each perfectly wrought wrinkle and stitch on ornate robes, the myriad of arcane symbols on strange towering hats, every pore of their skin, even individual stone eyelashes where time and entropy left them intact. Faces leered at me. Expressions of malevolent hunger, unending hatred, and numbing boredom frozen in rigid caricature on every face. Row on row, in masterful lifelike poses, they watched me.

The wind calmed and a quiet grinding sound caught my ear... stone against stone... reminding me of the precarious perch I stood upon.

I could not cross. The sculpted bridge ended abruptly; eroded supports long since fallen, taking the path with them. Forty paces of nothing. Foul vapor and a steep plunge into the burning chasm lay before me. The heat and fumes took my breath. I languished before the gap, falling hard against a statue. It rocked backwards and shattered against the edge of the causeway; head and torso tumbling into the magma below. A whispered scream rent the air in amplified silence.

Heat flexed the poison air like a folded curtain. The ghastly sculptures seemed to move. Stone rasped and crackled; granite mice skittering down the walls. Nothing moved.  Everything moved. They were here all along. They never left… as I would never leave.






Silver:  Ikkred Pyrhelm

Entry #7

Among the Hellforges

The Skaven heaved another mound of charcoal into the furnace, ignoring the harsh grunts of the dark bearded Dwarfs as they worked the forge.

He fought the urge to twitch his tail in joy; few creatures other than these Dwarfs of Chaos had ever been permitted this far into their dark warrens. Though the number of slaves gifted to the hold’s forgemasters had helped gain him entry, it was their respect for his genius mind that had gotten him this far. No, he corrected himself, it wasn’t respect. The Dawi Zharr seldom viewed their lessers with anything more than contempt. If anything, the Skaven considered, he was still alive because he interested the black bearded creatures. Should he fail to extend this interest, he would be joining the slaves that were so hungrily sacrificed to this Hashut quicker than he could say Clan Skryre.

The Skaven shovelled yet more charcoal into the growling fire. He bit back the niggling sense of annoyance that crept through his mind. He knew the Dwarfs should have held him in awe, been stunned by his vast intellect, and cowered before his majesty and the power of the Horned Rat. Instead, he had spent what felt like years merely feeding the fires. The cool rational voice in his mind quelled this smouldering anger, had he not travelled the known world in search of knowledge? He had to adopt their way of thought rather than cling to his Skaven instincts. The Dawi Zharr never rushed, their brooding dark eyes were watchful and exacting, if he was to progress in the forges he would need to adopt patience.

The art of the forgemasters was exquisite, their daemonology unmatched. Their knowledge would further the Skaven’s ambitions and forge a legend amongst Skavenkind.

Ikit Claw raised his shovel again and smiled.






Bronze:  Axtklinge

Entry #3

“East from the lands of our glorious Empire,
Beyond the grim Mountains of World’s Edge,
Lies a place of desolation – plain, wide and blight,
Where unimaginable evil thrives in plain sight.

In these scorched and soiled lands,
Without the holy blessings of Sigmar,
Lives an abominable and accursed race,
Reigning in blasphemy, for all our souls disgrace.

Short and broad and bearded like a Dwarf would be,
Black is their blood and souls - blackest could not be,
At their will - metal and fire and daemons - all bend,
Pray to the Emperor and Sigmar's strength to save us, for they may be our end.”

Tales from Ostermark Vol. II,
by Theodricus Hausfoog (Altdorf University Library, 2533)







Entry #1 Hunter

“Quiet! They're returning.”

The Dwarfs, previously animated, paused. Their hurried whispering turned to silence. The mechanisms on the other side of the great iron door, bound in brass and engraved with terrible runes of hatred and spite, began to creak as a series of levers and bolts sprung into life. The eight Dwarfs, all master craftsmen, could not help but secretly acknowledge that their hated, twisted kin had lost none of their races' aptitude for engineering. The cell door was an exceptional work of twisted craftsmanship. It was also impregnable.

Even after years of toil in the seemingly infinite network of mines, after years of beatings and torture, after being worked to exhaustion daily and fed scraps for sustenance, the Dwarfs had lost little of their pride. They would not bow their heads. They would not look away. They glared defiantly at their captors. The Hobgoblin gaolers entered first. The Dawi Zharr had learned long ago that it was safer to have worthless Greenskins open the cell doors. The first to enter, the Hobgoblin known as Ghrashk, glared balefully at the prisoners. The nearest Dwarf winced as a barbed lash struck him across the face, lacerations cutting to the bone. He remained still. Enduring the blow was necessary.

Emboldened, Ghrashk approached the next prisoner. He drew the lash back for another blow. The Dwarf wasted no time. He leapt forward and punched the Hobgoblin squarely on the jaw, killing him with a single blow. At this signal, the other Dwarfs attacked their captors, wrenching weapons from mangled Greenskin hands. The Dwarfs knew there was no escape, only the chance to regain their honour. They had already sworn their oaths to Grimnir: They would die, and they would take as many Hobgoblins and Chaos Dwarfs with them as they could.






Entry #4 Fuggit Khan

Manifested in the Realm of Chaos, the Daemon Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht raged his hatred as he was pulled to the earthly world against his will, finding himself summoned and bound to the iron of a Hellcannon.

“Foul flesh!” he screamed. “I will escape this forged iron shell! I will wear your skin! I will taste your entrails!”

Smiling, the Daemonsmith replied “Silence”. And Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht fell silent.

The Daemon-bound Hellcannon went to battle after battle. Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht lost count of the years…whispers from the Realm of Chaos taunted him. “Fool! You’re the embodiment of my will, yet you are bound by sorcerous iron?” …the whispers became shouts, but Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht couldn’t answer, still bound to silence.

That hated Daemonsmith! His hatred for the Dawi Zharr grew year by year, and by sheer will, he vowed to break free. But the hated Daemonsmith was never far, always tending to the iron chassis, always smiling.

And then Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht saw his opportunity during the heat of battle. The hated Daemonsmith was not present and a Siege Giant was close, mortally wounded and starting to fall. Breaking free of the restraining chains, Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht’s Hellcannon charged forward as the massive weight of the siege giant fell upon the chassis. The iron shell cracked… and Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht returned to the warp.

But, in the blink of an eye, he was pulled back to the earthly world once again.

Within the stone cut quarters of the hated Daemonsmith, Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht screamed “YOU?!” as once again he was bound to iron.

“A Siege Giant?” said the hated Daemonsmith. “Ah, I wish I had seen that… but you did want to taste my entrails, right?”

And Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht realized that he was bound to an iron bedpan.






Entry #5 Abecedar

Hidden Fears

The beardling had been found lying under a dead pony. Delirious he was, raving about Dwarven Daemons attacking them. Cruelly standing on Dwarves' necks in iron clad boots or hanging them upside down to slowly bleed dry.

He tried to tell what had happened. They disbelieved him. Grobi had done it, they said. Later they began to laugh at him because of his tale. Soon after he began to be punished for mentioning them. Beaten and shunned in his own home. Finally he understood. They didn’t care that the Cursed Ones did exist; his brothers would never listen to the truth. They feared it beyond reason and were too scared to admit it.

Decades passed but the warriors begrudged him entry into the regiments. He prayed to the ancestors for help. A rumble came from the mountain. The gods had answered him. No, the elders dismissed him with finality. It was the ancestor’s anger at his apostasy and they banished him.

Slowly he drifted to Human lands always listening for word of the evil ones. But he only heard old tales coloured with fear. He decided to let the greed of Humans help him get his revenge. With a tale of a hidden tomb, he lured a band of humans to his side then waited until the Greenskins had gone south to cause trouble, leaving the way across the waste-lands clear.

Now he stood alone. The Humans lay dead all around and he was surrounded, ringed by those he had sought for so long.

“What have we here?” one rumbled. A voice he remembered too well. Full of power, arrogance, hatred and disdain.

“I am he who would… woo.” His voice broke as his fears and nightmares crashed and tore through his mind, leaving only stark terror behind.






Entry #6 Rakkzul

Hordes of Greenskins stretched as far as the eye could see, screaming and tempting our soldiers to fight them, and backing them up, a legion of Chaos Dwarfs covered in dark armour carrying their steaming and cursed war machines.

Suddenly, the ground trembled, and rock fragments were thrown into the air, a whole regiment of lancers disappeared, while the evil creatures laughed and pointed to the place where the cannonball had hit the ground. That was all which men could bear. With a single roar, the swordsmen charged toward the enemy while the handgunners fired a hail of lead. Surprisingly, the Greenskins weren’t scared at all, and raised their rickety shields, ready to receive the charge. When both troops collided, the Dwarfs started moving and they quickly wrapped the flanks, mowing the swordsmen as if they were mere wisps of wheat, and revealing something much more disheartening if possible, a sorcerer was summoning what looked like a Daemon created from pure iron lava that oozed evil.

The man at my right screamed in panic and started to run back. That was the trigger, soon all the soldiers ran for their lives… In vain, because a jet of steaming magma hit the bulk of the squad, killing them right off. But not me, I managed to avoid it by rolling on the floor.  I ran away with all the strength that I could press into my tired legs, trying to escape, trying to stay alive so I could warn the Imperial armies. And I almost made it. When I was less than a hundred feet to the forest that could be my salvation, a strong wave of wind hit me, I looked up and saw the sorcerer that was summoning the demons riding a giant winged bull surrounded by fire. He lifted his hand.

They were coming.






Entry #8 Admiral

Deeds of Ragnar

Thirst. Darkness. Hunger. Pain.

A mind so numb and dull,
of toil and drudge,
of bleakest grudge,
in pit of sludge.

Woe. Shackles. Terror. Scars.

A wrath so long oppressed,
of bitter fate,
of vilest hate,
it will not wait.

Whips. Fury. Struggle. Slay.

A deed so raw and great,
of strongest will,
of love to kill,
in blackest mill.

Break. Speech. Muster. Lead.

A chief so filthy low,
of host of scum,
of wretched slum,
now beat the drum!

Rise. Carnage. Murder. Glee.

Thrice Ragnar chose to stand not flee,
led unknown thralls in lands afar,
for warrior would nought die but free,
now raise the mighty Chaos star!

War. Bloodshed. Omens. Flame.

Lift your axe and brandish spear,
forget your maiden's home,
see Hobgoblins run down in fear,
their master but a gnome!

Pride. Valour. Hubris. False.

Praise Dark Gods and hail,
build shields of scrap,
and lethal flail,
fall into trap!

March. Cruel. Power. Hell.

Hear the thralls be torn apart,
know fell ranks arrayed,
see bale Daemon iron cart,
feel your hide be flayed!

Steel. Horns. Ashen. Might.

Burn living flesh to cinders,
and crush man's bravery,
no god their triumph hinders,
the lords of slavery.

Maim. Panic. Torture. Geld.

A wretch so broken down,
of eyes cut blind,
of ravished mind,
his fate to find.

Chant. Occult. Secret. Rite.

A bull so fierce and hard,
of bronze and smoke,
of flames and coke,
to victim stoke.

Knife. Heinous. Idol. Death.

A glow so hot and strong,
of its molten gold,
of flesh thrown cold,
into altar old.

Name. Fame. Saga. Told.

A man so rash and strong,
of gods' caprice,
of whip to cease,
for only thralls wish peace,
war for Ragnar,
listen well,
and sacrifice these geese.

- Norscan war poem





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6. Myths & Legends
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Ikkred Pyrhelm

Entry #2

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.






Silver:  Abecedar

Entry #7

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.






Bronze:  Fuggit Khan

Entry #4

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








Entry #1

The Twelve-hoofed God Dînadan

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.






Entry #3 Roark

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.






Entry #5 Admiral

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.






Entry #6 Grimbold Blackhammer

Taken from the journal of Baz'rat the Occulous, High Seer of the Fire Mountains

Day 1202
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.






7. Blood Bowl
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Intro: "Goooaaal! It's a GOAL! A bloody, magnificient unparallelled goal! G-o-a-l-err-h! Did you see that, Ham?"
"Sure did, Krogg. Straight out of textbook."
"Cheatnote, rather, by the look of those fans. They're all jumping onto the pitch!"
"Hahaha, now look at that Hobgoblin run! Silly stuff. Ouch! One moment scoring, the next dead."
"Well, so is Blood Bowl, Ham."
"Indeed, Krogg! The fans have both teams surrounded, but why are the mobs attacking their own teams...?"
"Duck! Now they're throwing Gnoblars!"
"Watchout!"
"There went the cheerleaders! Yuck!"
"It's doom on the pitch today. Havoc! Bloody mayhem!"
"Sure is, Krogg."
"Now the referee's gone. In four different directions at once. Oooh, pretty nice quartering there by those Amazon fans!"
"For sure! An' do you know what those curses and obscenities are? Those vomited from tusked mouths, like that sod's blood 'n' guts spewed all over his curlybeard? D'you know what them acid words are, Krogg?"
"No, tell me, Ham!"
"Those are the last words of the players..."





Gold:  Ikkred Pyrhelm

Entry #3

Players of Renown

Igniz Stone-Cursed

Race: Chaos Dwarf
Position(s): Blitzer
Team(s): Gundrok’s Stinkers (2500-2504), The Mad Hatters (2504), Hashut’s Fists (2505- )
Status: Active

Igniz Stone-Cursed was a renowned sorcerer who turned to the noble sport of Bloodbowl in 2500, becoming a formidable blitzer for Gundrok’s Stinkers for four seasons. He was instrumental in the Stinkers’ victory against the Moot Shields, notably his brutal dismemberment of Halfling captain Fil Little; earning Igniz the 2503 award for Hashut TV’s Best Kill of the Year. He later joined the Mad Hatters until majority of the team were wiped out by the great mercury sabotage of 2504. Finally he joined the infamous Hashut’s Fists as a star player. During this time he won the Beard Lovers award for Best Beard on Pitch from 2505 to 2509, accrued a new record kill count for the Fists, and played an important part in the team’s victory in the Magma Cup in 2506. Unfortunately, the stone curse that had long dogged Igniz finally caught up in 2508, turning him fully to stone. However, he remains an active part of the team, often used as a battering ram and continues to add to his number of fatalities.

Awards:
Uzkul Cup Best Newcomer: 2500
Splat Magazine’s Top Twenty Best Noses: (17) 2501, (14) 2502, (15) 2503, (10) 2504-2506, (11) 2507-2508
Hashut TV Best Kill of the Year: 2503
Beard Lovers Best Beard on Pitch: 2505-2509
Magma Cup Most Valuable Player: 2506, 2508
Hashut TV Most Stoic Player: 2509






Silver:  Bitterman

Entry #2

Estelle Silverleaf laughed in delight as she pirouetted past her marker. He swung a clumsy fist at her face. The punch carried power, but to Estelle it seemed as slow as tree growth. She turned her head slightly, allowing the fist to glide past her cheek rather than flatten her nose; it felt anything but pleasant, but she imagined the impotent fury of the creature that had swung for her, and laughed aloud again.

Her marker - a stunted, twisted thing; brutish and repulsive, with tusks protruding from its bearded face - hurried and hobbled as he tried to keep up. She was too swift for him. Before her, the pitch - black granite, the lines marked by lava - opened up.

Estelle glanced up and back; there, just as she knew it would, the ball flew on a perfect trajectory. Her teammate, Jaden Eagle-eye, never missed. All she had to do was reach out; the ball landed gently in her hands, and she ran. Five paces, ten, and she was in the End Zone. Touchdown!

The crowd roared, and Estelle rejoiced in their adulation. Then she looked back.

Jaden’s broken body was a red smear on the granite. He was not the only one. Everywhere Estelle looked, her teammates - all but a lucky few - were down.

Her eyes locked with the marker she had escaped with such apparent ease. The glint of evil in his glare was unmistakable. With a sudden chill, Estelle realised that the game was not won yet.






Bronze:  Abecedar

Entry #4

In the Stadium Box overlooking the team’s field.

“Hey coach. What’s that green stuff they’z playing on down there? And those prissy white lines around da edges?”

“That son is what they play on these days. They calls it ‘Turf’. It’s soft and smooth they say.”

“Ahh sheet. Back in my day we all’uz played on flagstones with only the try-lines. They wuz just the blood of a goblin we’d dragged across the field.”

“Son, you know, when I started it was on lava fields we played and the markings was just a line of rocks on the ground.”

“I remember coach. You alluz took me there an’ trained me on ‘dem old grounds. I can still find the scars.”

“Son. I done teach you all I know’d about playing back in the day. I raised you from a snot-nosed blocker up to the champeen blitzer you become. But this ‘ere game they play now, it be all about looking purty an’ money an’ stuff. Not the thrill of the game.”

The Beardling servant left the two old Dawi Zharrs in the secluded stadium box. He didn’t know who they thought they were, criticizing the great game every time they came here. But his orders were to give them anything they wanted.  

Above him, the old portraits above the bar could hardly be seen, shrouded all in gloom and lamp smoke as they were. Behind him, watching the game in sad silence sat Coach Boot-Face and the Star Player Four-Ears.







Entry #1 Jackswift

Zar-Nhaak the Pugilist lived only for the game.

He stood in a red haze of barely-tempered acrimony. Waiting... the promethean effort of his immobile stance visible in the incessant twitch of cheek and brow, and the tense dance of flexing scars etched across corded forearms. Iron shod fingers flexed and curled into white knuckled fists. The skinned ball was hidden, tucked against his body. His focus narrowed onto figures opposite the field in neat formation.

A trumpet blew. Like a spark to kindling, movement arced through his coiled frame; an engine of rage funneled into unstoppable motion. Friend and foe alike were frozen by the fury of his unchecked blitz. In a moment he was among them, clad fists swinging; snapshots of terror; fragments of armor, flesh, blood, and bone yielding in severance as the opposing rank imploded like a pulped Goblin. Ordered lines fell to screaming disarray.  Inertia carried him onward, expanding devastation through the target of his ire.

Anger spent, he slowed and surveyed the field; empty but for the moans and gurgled breath of trampled soldiers. He blinked. Bent swords, broken spears, armor, limbs, and broken banners lay strewn in haphazard piles of twitching rubble. Panicked State Troops fled toward every point of the compass. No ball. No game. No cheering crowd or trophy stand. No nubile cheerleaders, or frothing uber-fans.

The lines of the Dawi Zharr never moved from their battle line; now fell about themselves in evil mirth and laughter.

The red fog descended again.






Entry #5 Admiral

The footprints told it all, like a replay. The pitch had been soaking wet from long rains when the match started, and the surviving grass tufts were now even more rare on the mudfield, emptied now where havoc had reigned scant minutes before. Marks of running feet crisscrossed the mud, detailing the game, in between beer cans and bones. The footprints were smudged over in large, gory craters were Bull Centaurs had fallen and Hobgoblins had been nailed hard under layers of diving opponents. Some had even survived.

The referee had survived, too. Unprotected, exposed, a lone voice of order among chaos upon the arena of death, dodging lethal projectiles and aggressive thugs while the roaring spectators had you completely surrounded in their thousands, each one of them a raving madman with throbbing veins on his forehead. At best. The fans' surging enthusiasm and wroth depths of dismay were a monster with a life of its own, howling and frothing in bloodthirst. No wonder an honest guy took some tips from wherever he could find them. Extra cash was always welcome, especially if it could pay you to get away from the hellhole that was a Blood Bowl stadium. The referee wondered whether he'd survive the losing team's wrath. Well, a smart guy didn't shy away from taking bribes from both directions...

He could still see the half-buried remains of his predecessor in a corner, exposed by a mob brawl. The referee nodded sagely. Aye, the footprints told it all.





News on CDO: Artisan's Contest XXVIII - Deadline 31st of October  ...  Etsy shop

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

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8. Afterlife
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Ikkred Pyrhelm

Entry #1

A Lost Rune

Dark whispers and even darker promises. Our kind has fallen prey to these time and time again. I know the truth of these whispers and promises; I have seen what awaits all of us.

It was only meant to be a simple ritual. My master Drekkfra had only recently perished in battle against a migrating tribe of Ogres. As his adept, I was meant to take his place as Sorcerer. Yet the old coot had fed me precious little knowledge and his tomes were locked by a rune I could not fathom. In my lust for knowledge and trusting not to consorting with daemons yet, I decided to cast my spirit into the fabled Halls of the Dead. If I could find my master then maybe I could learn how to unlock his rune, even if I had to torture his spirit to do so.

Ten slaves and a young bull carved with runes of death and afterlife were sacrificed within my master’s altar room, the dying bull’s blood pooling into a goblet that I drank whilst invoking the words engraved on the gates of Hashut’s Halls. What happened next, I do not know, but I must have passed out for I awoke in darkness.

I rose to my feet and looked around warily as my eyes began to adjust. I was within a stone chamber marked with the runes and dark signs of Hashut. I muttered an incantation and a small sphere of light grew from my hand to float beside me. I knew I did not have long before my spirit would be drawn back to life.

There was a large stone passageway that opened up and I passed through it. Of the souls of my fellow Dawi Zharr, I at first saw nothing. I have heard tales of pits of fire and flame where the weak of my kind are eternally tormented, and I have heard other tales of great halls with warm hearths where our greatest eternally feast and toast our lord Hashut. None of those tales hold truth. The oppressive stone around me was dark and cold. There was little sound, as if these halls were truly empty.

I then heard a pained gibber. I turned quickly at the sound, words of destruction forming within my mind. A face had appeared on the stone wall. It was the face of one of my fellow Dawi Zharr. It gibbered, eyes slackly turning. It did not seem to notice me, too lost in agony and madness. I took several wary steps away and continued down the tunnel, noticing more and more faces appear and disappear upon the walls. Males, females, and children. Some were nobleborn, some Sorcerers, some guards, and some mere underlings. They gibbered, gnashed, and groaned as they painfully crawled across the walls. I tried to entreat some of them whom seemed familiar to me, but none answered.

The tunnel grew colder, ice crystals seemed to form upon the walls. Still the faces swam.

Finally, a stone portal loomed ahead and I quickly passed through without looking back. An ancient and haggard Chaos Dwarf leant against the back wall, muttering and shaking. It was my master. Not five days had passed since his death, yet he had aged so much. I strode to him with purpose, though my heart was already chilled with what I had seen. He looked up with confused and distant eyes.

”Lost...lost...lost...” he murmured in a faded voice.

“Master. Drekkfra. It is I, your pupil” I replied. He looked at me strangely with unfocussed eyes.

“Lost...lost...lost...Hashut...It’s so cold...” he gibbered.

“What is the rune you used to hide your secrets? Tell me!”

“Cold...cold...cold...” he whimpered.

Snarling, I seized him. Yet I was unable to move him. He was becoming one with the cold stone. He dragged a finger nail across a slab of stone beside him, almost absentmindedly. I looked on, brow furrowed. It was the rune that I didn’t recognize. I reached out to touch it but on contact it burnt worse than any flame that has licked my flesh. I reeled back in pain and turned angry eyes to my master.

“Lost...lost...lost...” he murmured again, unaware of me. I turned to leave and as I did so my master and the cold stone walls seemed to fade into the darkness. I heard a laugh. The laughter of Hashut.

I awoke.

We are fools. In our greed we have surrendered our souls. We are the building blocks for Hashut’s Hall. There is no reward for our service, only the cold stone. It is our fate and something we shall all face.

Even now, I look to my hand and the rune burned into it. I realize now what it is, forlorn, misplaced, or impossible that it may be.

Hope.






Silver:  Admiral

Entry #8

"Gather around me, brethren, and heed my words, for they are all born out of wisdom blessed and cursed by Dark Gods and Daemons alike in nightmares and fire and orgiatic visions. Heed these words, for they were grasped at the price of insanity and damnation eternal by mystics and seers and priests, while foul spirits and unholy confusion tried to snatch these secrets away at every turn as the ancients struggled to haul home their forbidden plunder of lore. Heed the words, for herein lies the mysteries of death, afterlife and fate itself. Spoken above fire under heaven, as witnessed by the searing eyes of deities and mighty idols alike, I hereby confess to know that which is beyond sight of lowly mortals.

Witness Hashut rise!

In the beginning there was fire and darkness, and fire and darkness there will be in the end. What passes between them is the living's struggle for domination over one another, where the cruel, the strong, the cunning and the best win through. Dark glory shall be theirs in life and legacy, and mastery they shall hold over others, yet in the end death will claim all the living, be they lord or slave.

Darkness be. The filthy souls of unbelievers and slaves will all be cast into the towering furnace beyond light, to fuel the flames of the Father of Darkness, and so too shall be the destiny of those damned to exile and shameful servitude in the dread Infernal Guard. Spit upon their fates!

Shadows be. Every righteous sacrificer of the chosen tribe of the fiery Bull God must utter in full the Last Praise to Him on high when they lie dying, lest the gate to the Realm will be closed, and they will be cursed to wander the world as ghosts, as do so many revenants of infants and mutes and weaklings who died quick deaths.

Fire be. Baleful be the woe after death of whoever has their corpse cast into impure water, for eternal drowning of the soul in the Unknown Abyss will be theirs forever.

Smoke be. The correct rituals of death must be observed. Let the omens decree if burning or burial must take place. Sacrifice to Him, and send the deceased into the afterlife with grave goods and mourning rites aplenty. The niggardly endowed will find his bribes and arcane passwords and otherworldly weapons and armour insufficient to pass through the long line of travails and hardships and perils awaiting the wandering soul on its winding path to the one true Father, for Daemons will surely ensnare or lure or overpower the one buried for a miser, and his soul shall be carried away into oblivion and torment.

Cinders be. The souls of sacrificers not lost on the long way to afterlife will face the sixty mighty Gates of the Father, and at each gate they must answer the twelve times twelve Questions of Devotion, or be torn apart beneath the cloven hooves of its guardians. Those who answer in truth will pass.

Pain be. Those who enter the Gates of the Father will be judged by high Hashut and His court of shackled Daemons within His divine and unholy abode of shadow and flame. There no falsehoods will long withstand the burning gaze of the Father of Darkness, and uncloaked truth shall be had by torture and torment until all the soul is laid bare like a flayed animal, and only then shall judgement be passed.

Hell be. The heretic and wrongdoer and failed usurper who breaks His sacred commandments shall be plunged into the hungering flames, to be roasted for all eternity and to be trampled and split in two and shredded by His hallowed K'daai tormentors, and the screams of the unworthy will echo across creation.

Ashes be. The righteous sacrificers and fertile mothers and stalwart warriors and diligent craftsmen judged worthy shall be spared the flames of eternal torment, and their shackled souls shall instead be cast into cage and gloom, to eat dust in dreary limbo, forever longing for the bliss of their betters.

Slag be. The unfailingly devout sacrificers and greatly fertile mothers and surpassingly skilled craftsmen shall know eternal labour and dark glory, and the supreme warriors shall stand guard over the roaring forges of the Artisan of Chaos, and their works shall be eternal.

Metal be. The blessed spawns of the Bull God and those gifted with stoneform and prophecy and those truly superior amongst the Blacksmiths of Chaos shall know might and pleasure. Vast shall be their harems, grand their armouries, glittering their treasures. They shall attend the dark and fiery court of the Father of Dakness, and forever more adulate Him who is Hashut.

Now serve."

- The Way Past Death sermon of the Slaghoof sect






Bronze (tie):  Dînadan

Entry #10

"...And as I descended through the Gates of Death before me lay a vast wasteland, a blasted desert haunted by the souls of the damned where the spirits of traitors and oathbreakers are staked out to be preyed upon by Hashut's forsaken spawn each night. For twelve days and twelve nights I traveled through that forsaken land before arriving at the crest of the Pit, the dark abyss where all must go.

Looking down I saw that Twelve levels there are to the Pit, one each for every level of society. The first and highest is the most populous and is where the souls of slaves go, shackled in death as they were in life, lorded over by shadowy bull-headed Daemons who whip them ceaselessly. Below that is the second level, reserved for the honoured slaves, those whose chains, both mortal and eternal, are invisible to their eyes. Next lies the third level, for the common Dawi Zharr, who are most numerous, dwelling in simple homes of stone and below that is the fourth for the Mothers, the matrons of the families honoured in death for bearing the Children of Hashut and the fifth for the Fathers, masters of the hearth and sires of all. Grander are the homes in these levels, the whims of those that dwell there catered for by Daemon thralls bound to their wills.

Below that the shadows were too dark to discern their inhabitants and so I descended into the Pit. Down I went, through the sixth where the Overlords dwell in their obsidian palaces, past the seventh where the Bull Centaurs revel in their debauchery and the eighth where the priests chant in their temples. Deeper still I went, beyond the ninth where the heroes reside, training without pause for the glories they shall reap in the End Times and beyond the tenth where the Prophets speak the word of Hashut from golden thrones atop black marble ziggurats, and so I arrived at the eleventh, the Court of the High-Priests. No further could I go, for no mortal may set foot in the twelfth,  the deepest where sits Hashut Himself on His throne, brooding and biding His time..."

- Excerpt from
The Azgorragead, an epic tale by the priest Azgorrag detailing his journey to the afterlife to reclaim the soul of his family after a curse of madness cast on him by Tzeentch drove him to slay them. The validity of the tale is much debated, and the place where Azgorrag says he found the Gates of Death which allow the living to enter the realm of death is highly contested amongst Dawi Zharr scholars.





Bronze (tie):  Fuggit Khan

Entry #11

Just a young beardling coming of age, Sin-shar-Ashkad was now allowed for the first time to accompany his father and the other patriarchs of his clan to their family mausoleum in Zharr-Naggrund. His clan was preparing again to march to war against the lesser races of the west, and per tradition for the past 400 years, the leaders of his clan would visit the great ziggurat mausoleum of their clan, in order to reclaim a mighty token of war. It was the family heirloom of the mighty Ashkad family, and tradition was that this heirloom was the reason that their clan had never lost a war.

The numerous petrified stone statues of long dead Sorcerer priests from other clans lining the streets in Zharr-Naggrund had made an impression on the young Sin-shar-Ashkad... and while ascending the 666 steps to the top of their family mausoleum, he asked his father about them. His father, an undefeated veteran of numerous wars against the weaker races, laughed in contempt.

“They would have you believe in an afterlife,” he said. “I will tell you this: there is no afterlife. No heaven, no God, no paradise after death.”

Sin-shar-Ashkad was puzzled. ”But there are Gods! Hashut, Khorne, numerous others!”

With a grin that reflected pragmatic wisdom, his father replied: “They are not true Gods in any sense of the word... They are beings of immense power when compared to us. Nothing more. If you were marooned on a small island, and the only other inhabitants on the island were ants, you would be the God of that world. One stomp of your foot would devastate their anthills, killing thousands of them in a single whim. A swipe of your hand would topple their great forests, but just mere weeds to you. They would fear you and offer you any sort of appeasement that they could muster, to gain your favor. And they would only want to buy your favor, so as to promote and strengthen their own wants and needs. With their needs fulfilled, does that make you a God? Or does that make you easily bought with mere words and their pittance of offerings? Are you so weak that you need smaller beings offering prayer and appeasement to you? That does not make you or anyone a God.”

Sin-shar-Ashkad could not find fault with his father’s logic, and asked: “So there truly is no afterlife?”

“Perhaps you should reflect more on what happens to you after your life, as opposed to the idea of an afterlife itself,” his father replied.

Sin-shar-Ashkad thought about this as they reached the top of the 666 steps, and watched his father unlock the massive stone-cut doors to the mausoleum with an ancestral key made of obsidian and copper.

Looking to his father, Sin-shar-Ashkad asked: “If I am dead, and there is no afterlife, then what choice could possibly happen after my life?”

His father looked at him, and replied: “Wealth is fleeting. It cannot be taken with you once you die. Let the weaker Dawi Zharr clans covet wealth. Let them line the streets with stone statues of their dead kin, only to be shat upon by the black ash pigeons that perch atop them. Ask yourself... how do you want to be after your life?”

Sin-shar-Ashkad thought for a moment, and then answered: “The weaknesses of our enemies are an affront to my family, I live now only to see them killed. So my wish after my death would be to continue to see them killed by my kin and descendants.”

His father smiled approvingly.

His father then unlocked the mighty obsidian casket of their family founder, the great warrior Zharr-Ashkad himself. Reaching into the casket, Sin-shar-Ashkad’s father lifted out the family heirloom... the skull of Zharr-Ashkad himself.

The skull gleamed with inlaid runes of copper, the eye sockets stared contemptuously with pupils of polished obsidian. Mounting the skull atop the family battle standard, Sin-shar-Ashkad’s father and the other clan patriarchs all read aloud the runes embossed upon the skull, the final words of their founding father: “To see my enemies slain before me, in my life, and after my life.”

And Sin-shar-Ashkad knew then the true meaning of “afterlife.”

There was life after death, it was the memory of your life and deeds, carried forth with honour by your family.







Entry #2 Rakkzul

I know that one day I will die
But in the time I have to exist
Cloistered in stone
A thousand memories remain

Forever, unhurried
I will feel eternity
My body and soul never will be together
Death is not death
Only a trip to the afterlife
The shadow of time never will meet one more year

I want to feel the energy that is within me
And with all who are here share
The greatness of the power
That Azakil once wielded

Forever, unhurried
I will feel eternity
My body and soul never will be together
Death is not death
Only a trip to the afterlife
The shadow of time never will meet one more year

But now, I depart
My muscles solidify
My magic has betrayed me
And I must say goodbye.






Entry #3 Steven

D’Varr struggled to open his eyes. It was the most difficult thing he remembered doing in weeks. His eyelids shifted, grinding against stone he could feel but not hear. His ears stopped functioning long ago.

He didn’t know how much time had passed since the Hobgoblins had moved him to the temple workshop, face down on a cart like some sort of soulless hunk of rock. He wasn’t, though. He was a prisoner inside his own body, fully aware but unable to move, to speak, to breathe. At least they had the courtesy to face him outward.

He had spent his entire life studying and knew his choices would eventually lead him to this pain and to an eternity next to the Father of Darkness, warming his hands at the world furnace. The body completely turned to stone as your soul leaved this forge of blood. It’s what the priests said, and he believed every word. That did not make the transition any easier. The stone slowly creeping through his body caused pain beyond reckoning. However, it was worthy pain knowing the power he wielded in life.

He had accomplished more than any Sorcerer known to Dwarfdom. Those upstarts, Astragoth and Ghorth, had fame, but down in the bowels of Zharr-Naggrund, all knew who held real power. Power was more important than fame. His proof of that power was how quickly he had been turned to stone. He was half Astragoth’s age, yet he had been unable to move his legs for years. Those ridiculous pistons that Sorcerer used would do nothing for D’Varr now. He had been stone from the neck down for what seemed like an eternity.  In his final battle, he’d been carried out on a palanquin, slaves struggling under his weight as he cast spells using only his voice. That was power.

He prayed to Hashut. He could no longer bow his head, and now he had lost control of his eyelids. Still, having sight was a small comfort. He hadn’t been able to speak to his loved ones when they came to say goodbye. His wife cried, weeping into their son Harchett’s arms. He could only watch them from a stone prison of his own making. He looked longingly at his family, his love burning through his petrified heart. He impotently watched his wife in her grief, quietly sniffing and wiping away tears.

D’Varr seemed to see Harchett for the first time in years. His family came second in his struggle for power, but he always loved them more than he let them know. The power was always his first love, and he had been wrong. His son was now an old man himself, wrinkles lining his face.  Harchett was a slave master by trade and would never know the pain of being a Sorcerer. For that, D’Varr thanked the Dark Father repeatedly. The Chaos Dwarfs of Zharr-Naggrund could be the cruelest of creatures to all others, but in their homes, they protected and loved their own.

His wife and son reached out and brushed away the stone dust that had settled on him. He watched them say things he couldn’t hear. He begged to Hashut to hear their voices one last time before he joined His side; his prayers were met with silence. The two Chaos Dwarfs he loved more than life, and in retrospect, more than the power he spent his life obtaining, turned and walked away, having said their goodbyes. He wanted nothing more than to tell them how he would have changed everything, how he would have chosen the life of a slave master if it meant being with them for one minute more. They were gone. Alone, he was buried in stone and regret.

D’Varr didn’t know how long he’d been there; minutes, hours, or days. He only knew that something was suddenly very different. He could feel Hashut’s presence stronger than he had ever felt before. The air shimmered mirage-like in front of him, Hashut Himself tearing through the fabric of reality, not in the form of the Great Taurus, but in Daemon form, writhing in the flames of Chaos. Hashut reached for His minion, pulling him through the rift. D’Varr was carried through the inferno and placed among a host of other statues, all Sorcerers like himself, all with their heads bowed and eyes closed. He suddenly felt the searing heat of the fires which engulfed him, agony seething through nerves of stone. He begged for mercy and knew there would be none. He could hear the deep guttural laughter of Hashut as He walked away from His petrified servants. D'Varr now knew why all the other Sorcerer's statues had their heads bowed; their eyes closed. He tried to scream, but could only stare helplessly into the fires for eternity.






Entry #4 Jackswift

Zharek Kadesshak was an enigma, and this is but a small measure of the tally of deeds that followed the third century of his existence:

- Unyielding and eternally cruel, no other emotion ever crossed his glaring visage; and always at his core lay the frigid stone heart of a true Dawi Zharr.

- Though family beseeched him, and the masters of the city kneeled before him begging his learned and sage advice, ever he kept counsel to himself. For all, be they enemy or friend, would fail and be ground underfoot in the furnace of callous ambition.

- He looked down on the Plain of Hezegarr from the heights of Mt. Golanta and surveyed the outmatched armies of Zharr Khazak-Unn. They stood, arrayed in a black haze of armor and smoking engine, against Gorsha the Warlord and the teeming mass of Orcs and Goblins that flocked to his banner. In timely brilliance he saw the battle unfold in his mind's eye, and knew instantly the scheme that would obliterate Gorsha's horde. Yet he told no one. The army was utterly defeated. Zharr Khazak-Unn was erased; leveled to the ground in three days of frenzied slaughter. Not one inhabitant escaped.

- Such was his rigid mettle, that no sound escaped his lips when the mad Sorcerer Kreklashik severed his left hand in anger, spite, and lust for power. But his ire was kindled. Oh, how his ire was kindled! His heavy hand round Kreklashik's neck was evident in the Sorcerer’s tumultuous fall from Gorgoth's heights.

- Though it could not be enough to save the city from ruin, he stood alone, unflinching, and faced the Gelshazatar the Destroyer as the woesome dragon rose from the lava trenches; molten magma running rivulets of gleaming stone and fire down his scaled hide. Gelshazatar shattered the fortress walls of Khardak Zhag in a single night. Only Zharek remained standing.

- For years he watched the Seed of Hashut in its slow, inexorable path across the sky. From the start, he knew with perfect calculation the conclusion of the comet's circuit. Ne'er did word of warning cross his lips, and he looked on from the heights of Zharr Shakoth in gleeful anticipation at the panicked populace; secure in the surety of his own destruction at the fateful omen's approach. Though Zharr Shakoth was laid to waste, Still Zharek stood fast, untouched.

---------

This is but a brief chronicle of deeds; chiseled deep and permanent into the stone tablet of my mind. I, the Sorceror Zharek Kadesshak who in my 296th year turned to obdurate stone as payment for the expanding breadth, and consummate power of my magic. Petrified. Immobile. Terminal. The icy finality of death in life, and termless life in death. And though you cannot see me move or hear me speak; I see... and I hear... everything. Where ere they have carried and mounted my stone visage on pedestals and plinths, I have watched with staring eyes. I have seen heights of glory and the most base obliteration, plotted demise and destruction, strategized infallible conquest, and ranted and raved in a cacophony of abhorrent silence, till even madness gave way to the plodding inevitability of aeons. And always I speak nothing. The genius of my fossilized mind has increased until I but look to see in wonder the veiled uniformity of chaos itself; unraveled before me in intricate complexity.

I stand and I see. Though Kreklashik took my granite hand to tap my stolen power, and wore it briefly round his neck on iron chains; I saw the frayed thread that told his end, even before his killers knew to curse his name, and plot his untimely defenestration.

And now I stand on the gilded causeway to Zharr-Naggrund ever watching the endless procession that passes through and from those massive gates: Master and slave, Sorcerer and fool, wench and shrew, guard and menial, pauper and king, slave and master. Each going about their self-ful ways... oblivious... because they do not know. But I know. I. KNOW... as must all my silent brethren, with undiluted certainty, how and when Zharr-Naggrund will fall, crushed and broken, ground into the dust, and sunken into the molten depths, ruined beyond revival. Though years beyond... it approaches... grinding slowly closer as we stand our voiceless watch.

And still I say nothing, and no-one reaps the scourge or benefit of my acuity. Nor will they ever. Perhaps, finally, I will fall with it... or yet still... I will stand.






Entry #5 Abecedar

Castellan Kravdurn looked at the unfamiliar scene. He prepared for whatever would surely come out of this mist. Around him stood his unit, stark Dawi Zharr all. They had the same intent stare out from their helmets as his. He remembered the battle but its details eluded him. Events seemed jumbled, and the wounds he knew he’d taken, he could feel nought of them now.

A glow grew stronger within the shrouding gloom, hinting at flames and shadows. The tension in his troops heightened as the thick atmosphere began blowing away, clearing whatever had clouded his mind on its way.

He knew now, the battle was over and they were surely dead. Those around him, his warriors, he’d seen most of them fall beneath blades and claws. They’d died obeying his last commands. His decision to defend the battle standard to the last as his commander fled. Fighting, retreating and delaying the rampant chaos baying before them. Only one possible end for this freely made choice.

What stood before them now was not the battle. It was a boundless plain, not of grass or fields. Writhing souls as far as vision allowed, lay entangled, entwined, in pain, on a living bed of fire. Figures ranged across the plain, familiar four legged, two armed and horned. Burning shades but not in pain. Where they moved, the “soul-grass” was laid flat, frozen in a rictus of agony. Distantly one figure outshone and outsized all the others, silhouetted against a towering ziggurat.

They watched the tabloid before them silently, until with a sound of rolling thunder; He was there before them, looming and majestic beyond belief. His God, not the shadow in the fire-lit gloom as seen in the temple but the God of Darkness. Stretching behind Him a trail of mighty hoof prints embedded into the morass of damned souls, the edges blackened and the dents blazing hotter than anywhere around them.

As one, all there knelt and prostrated themselves, feeling the lash of His gaze as it swept across them. A thudding presence in their minds, reminiscent of hooves, dragged them back onto their feet and all knew that their time of judgement had come. Arrayed now around Hashut’s hooves were many of the fiery Bull Centaurs and with a chorused bellow they called to their own. The slain Temple Guardians from his army flowed down to join their fellows, all of them transforming into the fiery beings from the previous flesh they’d worn.

Hashut raised his mighty axe and pointed it at the Lord and Commander of this once earthly army. The soul-body of the Prophet floated towards Hashut until it touched the tip of the axe blade and paused there. The God’s gaze seemed to pierce the Lord Sorcerer and a sneer creased the divine visage. The sublime look of arrogance that had always been on the Prophet’s face disappeared instantly. He began toburn and to writhe as he started screaming. Kravdurn remembered having seen him flee and knew Hashut’s justice now. The axe flicked and the tortured soul fell. One of Hashut’s hooves then slowly descended and ground it deeply into the carpet of souls.

The axe rose again and swept in a lazy arc across the breadth of the souls before Him. All along that arc, souls were drawn out onto the blade's edge to suffer and burn. Another flick and the cloud of damned were flung out to join those already judged and found wanting. The searing gaze swept across them again and another cloud of souls was drawn up towards Hashut. This time they landed on the palm of His hand.  No screams came from them, no flames consumed them. A fiery glow surrounded them, lifted them, and Kravdurn could see the exultation on their faces as his comrades were sent towards the distant ziggurat behind Hashut.

Kravdurn dared to look around and found he stood with only two others. His sergeant and another he distantly knew as an extremely ferocious warrior. They were all that were left awaiting judgement. Hashut turned His face back to them and the rumbling avalanche of His mind reverberated through them.

“You shall be my chosen”

Darkness fell and folded itself around Kravdurn and time slowed beyond his knowing.

Pain came, then light and then excruciating noise. He fought and vision came to him. He was able to look around, everything seemed huge, and he was being held by something or someone. His body felt strange and he looked down at it, two hands, a chest, four hoofed legs and a short barrelled body. Kravdurn knew then, he was of the truly chosen now. He rejoiced with a bellow.

“The bull child is alive and well,” stated the midwife.

“Excellent,” replied the temple priest.






Entry #6 cornixt

[This is an account of the High Priest Rhaskhull Stonefoot, as written by his disciple Ghrashnik the Lowly:]

After 44 days of bloodfast, I prayed to Hashut for guidance. He showed me a great vision of what awaits the dead - both those who keep strong in the faith and those who do not.

The souls enter this domain falling from a great height, dropping down to a great circular plain with a square-sided volcano at the center. The plain is surrounded by an ocean of lava that stretches as far as the eye can see. Each soul is held up by strings tied to balloons of hot air, each one representing a deed or sacrifice performed in our Dark Lord's name. A gentle wind blows the souls towards the volcano in the middle. Those buoyed up by many strings drift and descend to the edge of the great volcano, the quickest and easiest route. Those with only few balloons crash into a heap on the rocky ground and have to limp or crawl the many miles to the volcano by land. The sand is dry and sharp, it painfully scratches the skin with the merest touch. Those with no balloons drop straight into the lava ocean at the edge of the plain, feeding His energy with what remains of their lifeforce. These are just punishments for those who do not use their life to further His causes, but they may still yet serve Him in death after this atonement.

At the volcano, you feel the pleasant heat of His energy, and each of your balloons releases a being of energy who acts as your servant - fetching you food or other supplies as you wish. You need not eat or drink here, but any delicious food or liquid refreshment is available for your pleasure. At the base of the volcano there are many establishments where you may sit and commune with fellow souls, not unlike alehouses. Higher up the side of the great square volcano there are smithies for those who enjoy making weapons and armour, each with a forge heated by lava. At the peak are the workshops of the highest quality, where the best Sorcerers and engineers devise contraptions of a fantastical nature. In the afterlife, stone skin is a blessing - no longer are the Sorcerers slowed down or restricted, but instead they are ten times stronger and resistant to harm, while as flexible as a mere whelp. Their accomplishments in life are far exceeded in death, with the strength to lift huge brass gears into place without a winch and connect pipes full of boiling oil without even thin gloves, while commanding thousands of obedient and capable servants to construct yet more devices from their plans.

From this I came to gaze upon their greatest achievement, said to be finally completed only when the whole of the world is under His command: a giant mechanical form of Hashut where each leg...

[The remainder of the document is missing.]






Entry #7 Enjoysrandom

The High Priest of Hashut leaned down to the eager young Chaos Dwarf in a puff of smoke. His legs, long seized, groaned to the sound of iron on stone, and in a husky, cruel snarl the priest uttered:

“Young Dawi Zharr, so eager for the battle. To give your life to Hashut, to the Father of Darkness.”

The young tusk quickly grunted:

“For Hashut, the Father of the Darkness, the Father of the Dawi Zharr, I would willingly sacrifice my life.”

Stunned at the wit of the minor, Astragoth growled out a hiss and bit back at the child:

“I will tell you what awaits a Dawi Zharr warrior when he sacrifices his life to Hashut.”

The eyes of the old High Priest narrowed and his hardened face wrinkled back into a gnarled smile of tusk and beard.

“Your Weapon will be cast to the Battle, from the Father to the Son. Back to the Dawi Zharr.
  Your Body will be cast to the Fire, from the Dust to the Ash. Back to Chaos.
  Your Mind will be cast to the Stone. From the Warp to the Earth, Back to the Darkness, Back to Hashut.”

Leaning back away from the boy, he relaxed to the sound of obsidian scraping over iron as smoke billowed to the floor.

“Become the power that enslaves everything.”

The sun peered through the smoke and dawned across the cracked sands of the Dark Lands, the air as still as a Gnoblar caught in its master’s stare. The boy somberly exclaims:

“Glory to Hashut, Father of the Darkness! From the Ziggurat to the grave, I give my life to Hashut!”






Entry #9 Carcearion

To Carve One's Fate

In the roiling hell of the Realm of Chaos amongst a miniature tempest of pain and madness a single cohesive thought consolidated: “I.” It was a simple but powerful revelation amongst the writhing miasma of insanity which changed the whole form of what before was but a trivial swirl in the tides of Chaos: “I am Dawi Zharr! I am Sorcerer-Priest!“ The will of the Blacksmiths of Chaos is mighty and the will of their sorcerous overlords many more times so. Thusly the devastated spirit, becoming somewhat whole, looked out again from its own eyes, barely able to focus through the heinous pain which wracked his body. He beheld the great sacrificial chamber, the altar of his mighty god, and the brazen podium from which he had stood many times and conducted unnumbered unholy rites on behalf of his Sorcerer-Prophet whom... whom he hates! Whom he must destroy! To stone with him! To stone with Bharvrhak! Stone!

He stood mightily upon the podium, brandishing blooded rod and smoldering staff, conducting the ritual and calling the favors of Hashut. Too many times he had called the dark powers standing in for the aged Sorcerer-Prophet. Streaks of stone had finally begun to pain his footsteps and the Sorcerer-Prophet's secret was now known to him, Bharvrhak’s time now waned.

The vision melted from his mind as he tried to control the pain which wracked his body, he tried to pull himself back to that moment but failed. Of all things Bharvrhak’s greatest transgression was his heretical vanity. Where idols of glorious Hashut should blaze upon the adjoining wall of the Prophet's throne instead glowered five huge ugly busts of Bharvrhak’s face, his head repeated again and again as big as a Giant’s across the vast stone wall. The five great stone faces offended him even more then the Prophet's own mediocrity as a Sorcerer. It was only by the secret of his dreaded Mage-Bane Petrification curse that Bharvrhak rose to glory; an insidious version of the Curse of Hashut which targeted enemy wizards and was devilishly difficult to counter or resist. However, he had deftly plundered the Sorcerer-Prophet's secret...

He crept carefully through the hidden labyrinth, timing his incantations and the sliding of secret doors with the noisy work of the Daemon-Forge above him. He toiled in constant dread knowing were he discovered with a stolen tablet of Bharvrhak’s own arcana he would soon meet a cruel death. The thrice-warded tablet was laughably easy to clear of obscuring enchantments, another testament to the Sorcerer-Prophet's unworthiness of his title. Concealed amongst the sliding secrets of the maze were the petrified bodies of failed acolytes, secret and cunning runes were carved into their stone-flesh and with his pilfered lore he deciphered them whilst avoiding the nameless and faceless Seven Times Mutated Thing which haunted the maze.

Once again pain overwhelmed his memories and returned him to the unbearable now. Great rents and masses of flesh where gone from his body. In the soaring pain he knew most of his torso and some portion of his heart had been sheared from him, much of his face was sliced from his skull, terrible furrows of pain covered his legs and arms. He had been kept immobile and upright, unable to see what tortures had befallen his body. He gazed across the familiar chamber unable to fathom his vantage point, grateful he could not see the Prophet's pompous throne, for the last time he had looked upon it… the last time…

Coming to the crescendo of the sacred and unholy rite he stood now surging with the powers of fiery darkness. Hours had passed and countless slaves had been sacrificed as the Sorcerer-Prophet gazed on from his throne. He soon came to the pinnacle of the spell, burning with the raw stuff of Chaos as he conducted the ritual that the aged Prophet no longer could. Where he was meant to bestow upon his master blessings and vitality he denounced him! He cast upon the vain fool his own secret and signature petrifying incantation! He cast... He cast...

The reflection in the vast basin of sacrificial blood recently filled by the ritualists snapped him harshly into the present and into maddening epiphany. As his mind and soul howled and shattered unable to bear the black revelation he knew that the spell he thought he had so cunningly discovered was but a trap of that dark labyrinth. He knew the nature of the horrible pain which assailed his body. He knew his suffering was to be eternal. He knew why he could see in the crimson reflection not five great stone faces of his hated enemy – but six!




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Gold:  Abecedar

Entry #6

Treacherous Road


A summons from Zharr-Naggrund had come, the tight restrictions on troop numbers and its lateness had complicated matters, but the orders were simply to be obeyed. Things like it were an absolute; all knew the price of disobedience or failure.

The caravan was moving more rapidly along the rugged road than it normally would. Other smaller much quicker tracks ran out from these mountains but they were definitely not suitable for the necessary wagons. Time was the greatest issue as the summons had arrived late and their journey was far longer for them than for some of the others. To arrive late would involve a distinct loss of face. Possibly made worse when they considered the rumored identity of some of the other attending clans.

The escorting Blacksouls jogged along tirelessly. As stipulated in the summons only a single cohort accompanied the caravan and had been spread thinly to cover the six wagons, the overlarge enclosed tribute wagons clattering along between them, led by a lone Ironcaster and the Blacksouls Overmaster.

A shallow shoulder by the road spread out before them within the nearing valley. Easy room to stop and rest before continuing on their hurried journey. A waterhole near the edge of the clearing conferred upon the place a temptation too convenient for them not to avail themselves of it.


This was going to be so easy, thought Hragnax, his prey had stopped exactly where he'd predicted they would. The enticing location helped of course, as did the artful arranging for the delay in the carefully doctored peremptory summons. None would suspect it hadn't arrived directly from the High Lord Sorcerer. To destroy those before him and take the tribute would physically and financially weaken these upstart highlanders and was well worth the effort. But to cause them the loss of considerable prestige in the ruling lord's eyes for their failure to obey, now that would be truly pleasurable. Two strikes against them at once, a simple, effective plan.

The caravans escorting troops had all meandered in close under the edges of the wagons. Stupidly disarraying themselves, their shields and weapons lain down. They could be seen clumsily unlimbering stuff. No guards watching outwards at all.
Disgraceful, Hragnax thought. They deserved their impending doom for their slackness.

So be it. He bellowed the order, "No mercy!" and stepped out of the enshrouding rocks, and all about him, his troops followed to surround the caravan.

Suddenly the sides of all the wagons fell outwards, revealing rank upon rank of Decimators and Dragon Fire Teams arrayed in tiers, inside the wagons and all behind solid armour plating. And the lowered sides were now effectively providing barricades for the escorting troops underneath. As he watched firing holes opened up with more barrels emerging from them. He heard a commotion behind him and was dismayed to see more Blacksouls and Decimators and even several troops of Half-breeds emerging from the same tracks he'd used, and were even now spreading out all around him.

"Aye," an unfamiliar voice came from the lead wagon.  "No mercy it shall be."






Silver:  Slavemaster Hod

Entry #1

The Ambush


The wind tore through the tight valley, whipping needles of ice against Heinrich’s exposed skin. His bare-feet burned in the frigid snow, and the blackness seeping across them filled his mind with dread. It’d been eight days since they left the Ogre camp, and eight more until they reached their destination, a hellish outpost called the Keep of the Three Kin. Heinrich didn’t speak the guttural tongue of the foul Dwarfs that had dragged him halfway across the world, but when he’d been sold in the flesh markets of the Black Fortress, his new owners had used Reikspiel to tell him this name.

Heinrich had been a merchant before - a life which was never safe, but to fall into the hands of the dreaded worshippers of Hashut, was the worst of all fates. ‘Luckily’ for Heinrich, his skill in Engineering had saved him from the fire pits of their ziggurats - but not from slavery.

He had hoped to die on the journey. Even now, he could just lie down and submit to the snow’s icy embrace. He would have done so days ago, had it not been for the fair Lady Maribel. The Bretonnina noblewoman was cursed to the same horrible existence as he, and without Heinrich, would die in the arms of the giant Kurgan shackled with them.

Heinrich glanced at the barbarian, pulling some joy from this blasted land at the sight of his broken nose - a gift from Heinrich the first time he’d tried to have his way with Lady Maribel in the dead of the night, when their masters were asleep and wouldn’t hear her cries.

In front of the Kurgan, Lady Maribel’s long blond hair cascaded down a pale back covered in goosebumps. He wished he could wrap his arms around her and offer her some warmth, but even that had been sucked from him by these frozen peaks.

Heinrich’s mind was as numb as his body and he didn’t hear the howling at first, but quickly it grew until it filled his ears with a demonic chorus. He’d never heard the feral call in person, but its high-pitch wail had been repeated by many travelers warning of the perils of the Mountains of Mourn. Of all the things to fear while traversing this frozen wasteland, the war-cry of the Yhetee was to be feared the most.

The four Ogres the Chaos Dwarfs had hired to protect the caravan were already forming a perimeter, their giant heads lulling back and forth, scanning the snowy hills with rusty blades. The Chaos Dwarf holding the chains that shackled the slaves, threw them to the ground and drew his blunderbuss. He ran the stout barrel along the drifts beside the path, the moon glistening off his long black beard woven into tight greasy ringlets. The dwarf was half Heinrich’s size, but wore a heavy hat that almost doubled his height. Down the length of the mighty crown were skulls - some decorative, other in various states of decay.

The howls stopped, leaving only the wind and the beating of Heinrich’s heart to gauge the passage of time, then the Yhetees attacked. They burst from the snow like Daemons of frost and ice. Claws slashed out and carved grooves across the Ogres' blades. There were three Yhetee and four Ogres, but instantly Heinrich knew it wasn’t enough. The first Ogre went down in a burst of blood, his head flopping backwards. A second Ogre cried out before vanishing into a swirl of snow.

The Chaos Dwarf’s blunderbuss fired and its muzzle exploded in a rain of gunpowder. There was a cry and a Yhetee collapsed. The Chaos Dwarf sped to reload, but not before another beast emerged from the snow behind him. In its giant claw it held an ax of pure ice, and with a quick swipe, it separated the Chaos Dwarf’s gigantic hat from his shoulders.






Bronze:  Forgefire

Entry #3

The Cattlewagon


A slight breeze rustled the sparse grass across the great plain. The heavy steamwagon trundled slowly along the road pulling a large cattle or slave wagon behind it. A short stocky driver with a tall helm at the front steamwagon and two Hobgoblins armed with bows on the roof seemed to be the only guards.

Scaldr smiled to himself and climbed down the cliff he had been watching the caravan from. His band of raiders were already mounted and armed, their round hide-covered shields painted with the ruinous symbol of the Dark Gods. With scalps and leering skulls dangling from their saddles they looked fearsome and eager for blood and loot.

The Chaos Dwarfs were dangerous prey Scaldr knew, notoriously well armed and stubborn creatures. But this lone wagon would be no match for his warband of fifteen battle hardened raiders. Mounting his hardy Norscan steed, he drew his blackened steel blade, its edges sharp and deadly as always. Ironically those stunted and twisted Dwarfs had crafted it for his tribe generations ago at the steep price of a dozen healthy slaves. Spurring their mounts the raiders raced down the cliffside down to the plains and the hapless caravan.

The caravan driver glanced west seeing a cloud of dust coming from the cliffside and started in his seat, his smoking pipe dropping from his tusked mouth. Scaldr laughed as the driver turned the steampropelled caravan wagon slowly, facing it away from the approaching warband. The very thought of escape was ludicrous, the wagon moved barely as fast a walking man!

Hooting and bellowing battlecries the raiders drew ever closer. A lucky shot from a Hobgoblin sent one of his men crashing to the ground, a black-shafted arrow jutting from his throat. Cursing the cowardly swine Scaldr spurred his mount forward even harder, riding up alongside the caravan. Scaldr suddenly saw the caravan driver up close as he peered back at the raiders from the steamwagon in the front. His warcry stopped short when he saw the driver's evil grin.

Why was he smiling?

The Chaos Dwarf gave him a little wave and pulled a lever next to his seat.The door-ramp of the cattlewagon at the back slammed down. He heard his men shouting warnings as six roaring and heavily armored Bull Centaurs charged out from the wagon. Their greataxes cut through the raiders and horses alike as a scythe cuts through wheat. Such brute strength!

Roaring in frustration, Scaldr turned his attention towards the driver, shield raised and sword ready to carve. A deafening blast blinded him and almost threw him from the saddle. The driver smiled smugly at him holding a smoking blunderbuss. Scaldr looked down. The blast had wrecked his shield, pellets and shrapnel shredding his shield arm and torso. Stunned, he coughed blood and slumped from his mount.

Karrzul Varr, caravan driver, bent down and retrieved his still smouldering pipe next to his seat.
Such fools, these damn Manlings, he thought to himself as he heard the last of them being slaughtered. Did they really think they could raid Dawi Zharr lands so close to mighty Uzkulak without consequenses? He chuckled to himself and pulled the steamwagon to a halt. Time to see if there were any usable slaves or sacrifices still alive.






Entry #2 Carcearion

A Left Turn at Albakhar’ri


In Zharr-Naggrund the Tradesmith Azhrikul sat brooding. His Prophet’s distant Fortress Tower required another infusion of the cities' Hashut-given mineral wealth and more importantly the delivery of secrets won by spies and acolytes about the sacred plots and machinations of the Temple. It had been agreed sixty and four weeks prior that their two caravans would meet halfway across the vast desolation at the Infernal Guard outpost of Albakhar’ri, exchange cargo and return – but in the last fortnight Orcs had overrun the far western roads of the desolation, and Zharr-Naggrund itself paid little heed. Azhrikul scratched worriedly upon his tablet. If he guessed his Lord's course of action wrongly it would be his head.


Far west of Zharr-Naggrund Drakesh gathered his counselors beneath the great Fortress Tower.

“As you predicted the Immortals declined, protecting the Prophet while forces are away is paramount.”

“They think it’s beneath them, they wouldn’t dirty their tall hats. What is the word from the Hashut’s Eye wolf riders who encountered them?”

“I met personally with their Khan. He says the Orc forces are immense and claimed he rode four score wolves against their host and lost his eye and half his forces in the melee.”

“Hrm! I’m sure, he and his score of riders probably fled soon as they saw the bulk of their forces.”

“He did have the scar to prove it my Lord, his eye was missing.”

“Fuggit Khan has been missing that eye since before I can remember – I’ve heard more stories about how he lost it then you have teeth. But if even he wouldn’t ride his wolves into their flanks their numbers must be vast. What word from our envoys to Nir-Khezhar and Rhan-Ghanor?”

“We believe they still haven’t reached them.”

“If we attached a full artillery train we could simply blast through.”

“Is this caravan truly worth risking our warmachines? The steel is the best from Zharr-Naggrund but it can be gotten elsewhere – and we have barely five score slaves to send back.”

“We are too far and too long away from home. The Prophet cannot let his presence be diminished. We send not merely his spoils but his will.”

“We could circumvent their territory, meet further north… of course we would lose months to the greater distance, sending new orders, and to waiting for confirmation.”

“I don’t expect Azhrikul to wait for new orders, I expect him to make the right decision…”


In Zhar-Naggrund Azhrikul poured over maps and the most reliable news he could purchase, steal, or black mail about the Orc tribe which troubled their plans. It was a mere swell in the desolation, a leaderless mass of filthy Orc flesh. He could practically hear Ezharr’s counsel, imploring Drakesh to simply avoid the rabble – and Drakesh did not keep advisors merely to ignore them. The Orcs where a problem which could escalate drastically were a Warboss to arise, but even then the threat was more likely to migrate into someone else’s territory than assault the Fortress Tower. Aha! There was the ideal outcome; the Orcs driven from the western roads to trouble one of the Prophet’s rivals, but Drakesh would not leave it to chance…

“Halubar! Ghartan! Procure a dozen more Hobgoblin guards and three times the extra wagon wheels. Thank Hashut for the desolation, we move as scheduled.”


Many days later deep in the Dark Lands Azhrikul sweated in his scalemail shirt and prayed to Hashut to stop himself cursing the weight and heat of his hat. When they first laid eyes upon Albakhar’ri they turned left, and broke from the roads out over the barren cracked earth, for days they baked as the caravan jostled across the wasteland. Drakesh would certainly have lured the Greenskins away to other territories in the south… certainly out here they would meet and exchange cargo… certainly they would share and redistribute supplies... certainly… certainly… or else-






Entry #4 Admiral

The Folly of Nebirudnuzhak


The divinely appointed Sorcerer-Prophets of the Dawi Zharr interpret the convoluted and malignant will of their Father of Darkness, and are oft blessed with otherworldly visions and may speak the words of divine command, or so they claim. Yet the occult is steeped in peril and mystery, and even those most learned in dark lore, most attuned to the arcane and those who believe themselves to be the masters of Daemonology may find their souls led astray. For in the maelstrom that is the Realm of Chaos dwells many more spirits than the fiery Bull God and His shackled court, and the malice and trickery of Daemons and Dark Gods alike present a trial to be overcome by faith and wisdom.

Some are laid low by these harsh trials. Indeed, even the mighiest have failed.

One such failure was Nebirudnuzhak Thunderhoof, High Priest of the Temple of Hashut and earthly ruler of the dark empire of the Chaos Dwarfs, a nightmarish realm built in the image of the merciless Bull God, the worldly domain of the Father of Darkness where His will was made manifest by whip, weapon and tool in the hands of fanatic sacrificers. Nebirudnuzhak was one of the mightiest mortals alive in the whole world, yet when staring into the oracular flames of the inner sanctum, his eyes and mind and heart were lured away from the true path of Hashut by a thrice-accursed Flamer of Tzeentch, and his fate was sealed in that instant by false visions acted upon.

Nebirudnuzhak Thunderhoof gathered the highest members of the cult of Hashut, and declared that he had heard the voice of the Father of Darkness Himself more truly and more intensely than any worshipper alive, dead or not yet born, and that it was his sacred duty to cast off the mundane troubles of the world and venture into seclusion to fully fathom the innermost meaning of his Dark God. His heretical words rang out in the great Temple, yet no other Sorcerer-Prophet ever spoke up against it, for all they saw was a powerful rival abdicating in their favour. And Hashut saw that it was ill.

Accompanied by but a few loyal servants, Nebirudnuzhak set out for the remote Hell's Eye, a sunken lava pool in the Blasted Wastes, to glimpse his deity in the molten rock. Needless to say, High Priest Nebirudnuzhak's grip on power turned to dust in his absence. His rivals plotted against their overlord and a clique of the most powerful Sorcerer-Prophets in Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great crowned themselves regents without the divine and unholy approval of high Hashut, only to see their might and dark splendour drowned in blood and ashes when the great Black Orc Rebellion erupted a scant month after the unworthy oligarchy's ascent to power.

As for Nebirudnuzhak himself, his stay at Hell's Eye lasted but shortly. He had sought out one of the remotest lava pools in the entire Dark Lands to hear his cruel deity clearly and to escape the crowded noise of the grand capital. His few servants had brought with them dried rations to last for years on end, yet the scent of this food led a massive feral pack of giant wolves to descend upon the retinue of Nebirudnuzhak with fang and claw. Their howling and snarling, and the frantic yelling of their prey echoed in the sunken pit of Hell's Eye as the wolves chased the Dawi Zharr round and round until their short legs could carry the doomed no more. The last shrieks of the High Priest of Hashut passed unheard upon the vicious winds which wailed across the Blasted Wastes, and the bones of his corpse remain lost to this day and age.

Such was the judgement of the Father of Darkness upon His children for the sake of their folly, according to the Blacksmiths of Chaos.






Entry #5 Will Liam

Azroth the Slayer


For three days the ash fell softly upon Azroth’s body. The Chaos Dwarf stands still in the dusty haze. The light grey powder hangs in the air like a heavy mist and leaves nothing around it untouched. Weapon at the ready, not held high but close to his chest deliberately positioned not to give his location away. The axe is large, long and weathered, its unusual length used to compensate for his strong but remarkably short arms. His beard is exceptionally thick and hangs low against his stunted thighs, braided with heavy talismans of gods he does not own.  Their weight eliminating all but the slightest trace of movement from each shallow laboured breath he takes. His broad stout silhouette blends into his drab contorted surroundings of petrified tree stumps, an ancient forest dead and long forgotten, covered in the same soft dust as everything else in this distant dead waste land.

This is the last outpost, patrolled by himself, one Chaos Dwarf alone, located at the edge of this realm, a place far away from others, a place where no one else will go, a place where they banish their unbelievers to die!

The ash is his only companion, It will protect him from predators, cover his tracks as he moves, but when it is time to rest, it will lie with him, quietly smother him and slowly choke him in his sleep.

Yes, like a true Chaos Dwarf companion, he mused to himself, with irony as dry and black as the dark land itself.

Click, Click, Click!

The noise was close, a bone-on-bone sound, gently tapping together.

Click, Click, Click!

It has finally taken the bait, he thought.

A pile of rocks lay in a clearing a few lengths in front of the Chaos Dwarf, fashioned into a female decoy. Her head intentionally placed facing away from him. Larger than the males but built low and flat so as not to intimidate the suitor but to look as if crouched into submission.

Click, Click, Click!

The prize was in sight.

Its image wavering out from the gloom through the hot distorted air.

A giant scorpion! Fast buggers with huge front claws and a lethal oversized stinger. They are about the only creature able to survive out at the Grey Post, for Hobgoblins and Black Orcs are too moist, their blood hardens and clots from the unfathomable dry heat.

“I must stay still.” The Chaos Dwarf braced himself!

CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!

The time had come; the scorpion awkwardly crabbed itself around to the back of the decoy exposing its hindquarters. Its enormous stinger held high, just out of reach from the dwarf’s concealed position, its pincers inches from touching, discovering, the lifeless form of the female.

In one swift motion the Chaos Dwarf swung his axe; with full force it dismembered the deadly segmented tail cleanly from his foe. An immense hissing shriek cut through the tainted air like an enchanted blade, resonating higher and louder within seconds. Bright green fluid gushed from its severed stump; the stinger writhed and dropped to the ashen ground below. Continuing his arc Azroth spun the axe with his body. His foot placed strategically onto the arachnid's back using his fluent momentum to spin full circle and drive his rusty axe head down deep into the scorpion’s brain.

Abruptly all fell silent, and as the disturbed dust started to thin, the slayer lowered his head and listened... for a reply. And like a distant friend a roar was heard, faint but a roar none the less. He smiled for he knew what was coming; he knew what he had to do, for Azroth was a slayer of DRAGONS!






Entry #7 Helblindi

"Are we there yet?"
- Bezherak the Cruel to his Iron Daemon driver.






Entry #8 Ikkred Pyrhelm

When Even the Stones Become Echoes


The hearth was cold and the kegs drained of their dark elixir. How long they had sat in the darkness, none of those present knew. They were as one caught in the siren’s call of the story teller who weaved them tales of glory and death. Each felt weary but all listened with rapt attention, for the ancient had more tales to tell.

“Take this humble stone,” the storyteller began, showing a small pebble in the dim candle light that he had pulled out from nowhere. “What has this stone seen on its travels, what has worn away at its skin as it made its journey to this very room? Each of you are this stone. But what of the stone that is cursed to forever journey without an end, slowly worn down to nothingness?”

He paused and gave a savage smile that seemed almost Daemonic in the candlelight.

“Rirdeg, lord of the Mouth of the Screaming Fire was arrogant even amongst those that call themselves lords of the Dawi Zharr. He believed himself to be the epitome of our race.” For a moment the listeners thought the storyteller had spoken with two voices, one having said “your race” and the other “our race,” but this momentary ripple was forgotten.

“One night a stranger arrived in Rirdeg’s realm and demanded a trial of strength. The stranger seemed to be a fellow Dawi Zharr and yet not an inch of flesh showed on it. Rirdeg without pause accepted the trial, of which there would be three tests of endurance, strength, and skill with axe and hammer. The first test the two were bid to grasp a starmetal dish that was slowly filled with Hashut’s rage given form in liquid. Rirdeg clung onto the dish even as his flesh smouldered; the stranger said nothing and held it as if it were cool. Finally, with a cry, Rirdeg’s grip faltered. The second test, once Rirdeg had recovered, was to throw a statue of a stone-cursed Sorcerer as far as they could. Rirdeg again went first and threw his statue further than any mortal Dawi Zharr should. And yet the stranger shook with mirth and threw its further than the sharpest eyes could see. At this Rirdeg snatched up his axe and swung it at the stranger in fury at being bested a second time.”

The storyteller picked at a tusk.

“And the stranger caught the blade with a gauntleted hand. It held the blade still as Rirdeg turned purple as he sought to move the axe. Then the stranger broke the blade with the slightest pressure of its hand. “You boast and preen like you were an equal to the Gods,” the stranger said in a voice like burning flame, “but you are but a mortal and just as weak as they are.” Rirdeg however was not cowed. “I will prove my strength, Daemon” he growled, “I shall run the length of our empire in but two sunsets.”

The storyteller smiled. For a moment to the listeners it was as if a Daemon was wearing the skin of the storyteller or perhaps the storyteller was wearing the soul of a Daemon.

“The stranger distorted and revealed itself. Hashut.”

The hearth flickered back to life.

“Then run you shall,” spoke Hashut. And so Rirdeg ran the length of our/your empire and encroached the end just as the second sun began to set, but before he could prove his boast, he found himself back to where he began. He continues his eternal run to this day, bloodied and weary. Whenever he nears the end, he is whisked back to the start to begin anew. Some claim he has worn himself away to a whisper on the wind that echoes throughout our/your empire. Such is the fate of those who pretend to be anything but mortals.”

The listeners nodded dumbly, but the storyteller had already vanished.






10. The True Nature of the Father of Darkness
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Abecedar

Entry #4

Father in Darkness


Lord Z’Lenn trudged into the tunnels, his bodyguards trailing behind. The walk was shorter than it once had been. The struggle against chaos had raged for years, the fighting constant, sapping their numbers and assailing their will.

Those on guard saluted him and left, visibly weary. As Z’Lenn settled in for his vigil, the space began to darken as it had many times before. He extended his senses, attempting to find the source. He knew something was there, but again could not define it. The presence coalesced and Z’Lenn drew his power in, he had waited for this chance to confront this thing. He projected his will and demanded. “Who are you?!”

Silence surrounded Z’Lenn; as a hiss prickled at the back of his neck;

His answer was a cascade of hot breath, exhaled from all around him.
>>“I am your saviour”<<
“I can save myself”
>>“No you cannot. Believe in me, I can save you”<<

The voice echoed away and the awareness of encroaching chaos returned. Masses of mutated beings streaming towards him. He unleashed bright clean fire and they burned, he shot clear white lightning and they fried, but multitudes kept coming. He felt his strength waning and knew that this time he couldn’t hold.

>>“I can help you.”<<
“How?”
>>“Believe in me. Do Fire, like this.”<<
Z’Lenn sent fire, dark fire in a thousand shades of blood.
>>“Worship me. Do lightning like this.”<<
Z’Lenn sent lightning, black shards reflecting darkness.
>>“Exalt in me. Do this. Like this.”<<
Z’Lenn released chains of dark fire and darker lightning and the demons fell down, bound.

Z’lenn looked at the darkness and believed.
Z’lenn bowed to the darkness and worshipped it.
“Who are you? He asked again”
The Darkness replied,
>>“I am your Father”<<
Z’Lenn exalted in belonging.






Silver:  Pappa Midnight

Entry #3

A Flaming Load of Bull


“Evidential transcript number one. I submit to you the so-called song that the accused and co-conspirators performed on the steps of the Grand Ziggurat yesterday evening. They claim to be in a metal band, whatever that is.”

Faster than an Eldritch spell
You are terrifying, beautiful
Blazing, mighty Lord of Hell
And a flaming load of bull!

Master of Dawi Zharr pulling my chain
You’re twisting reality and opening doors
Blinded by you, I fight through the pain
Just say my name, then I’ll scream yours
Hashut!
Hashut!
Just say my name, then I’ll scream yours
Hashut!
Hashut!
A flaming load of bull!

A mighty daemon nestled between dead and alive
A fiery god-beast - no portents, no signs
Day of judgement, but will our prince arrive
Eventually, we’re all buried in the mines

When the mountain starts to crack, there’s no use turning back
'Cause I just had to see, was Hashut really watching me?
In the ash and mist reality twists
Was all this well, or just some kind of spell?
Hashut!
Hashut!
Just say my name, then I’ll scream yours
Hashut!
Hashut!
Where are you?

A flaming load of bull!
(Guitar Solo)

On the holy Plain of Zharr
Prophets raise the battle cry
Ten thousand foes come from afar
But do we pray to an empty sky?

A flaming load of bull!

Flaming bull…bull…bull, flaming bull..bull..bull ( Fade )

“As you can see, this vile blasphemy calls into question the very existence of our divine master! Have you anything to say for yourself, vile worm?”






Bronze:  MadHatter

Entry #8

"Refered to as Arch-Daemons or Lesser Chaos Gods, to glimpse into the what is of the Father of Darkness, we look to these lesser Chaos Gods, such as Malal, the Horned Rat, Ans'l, Mo'rcck, Phraz-Etar, Necoho, Khorne's Urlf, Zuvassin, the weird Nuffle or even to the Dark Lord of Mordheim, first and last Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided, Be'lakor, who while not technically a Lesser God of Chaos schemed during the End Times to become the Fifth Ruinous Power by breaking through the Chaos Gate of Grimnir's Fortress Kazad Drengazi.

What these Lesser Deities of Chaos share is the channeling of powers (or possession of the virtues) belonging normally in the spectrum of the Ruinous Four. Maybe mostly accented in Urlf who even bestows the Mark and mutations of Khorne to his worshippers but surely even the Horned Rat is an amalgam of these four fundamental elements of Chaos, waxing primarily in Tzeentch's warpmagic and mutations as well as Nurgle's pestilence and multiplicity.

Hashut, the Father of Darkness, is The Shadow of the Flame that is Zharr-Naggrund, the Bull-God of the Chaos Dwarf. An amalgam waxing primarily in Khorne's strife, war and rage (The Father of Darkness is even portrayed as a red raging fiery bull), of Tzeentch's alchemical magic mixed with the ancient Dwarf arts of smithing and even into the black brilliance of the ecstasy, the wish to enslave and to dominate that belongs to Slaanesh, looming as a shadow beyond the obvious. Interesting enough with no visible traces of Nurglian influence, the Chaos Dwarfs are few and neither subject to decay or multiplicity, giving an alchemical meaning to the Fires of Hashut."

-Except from the forbidden
Alchemy of Chaos






Entry #1 Uther the unhinged

I wish to present a translation of the surviving Nebabtite Tablets found beneath the ruins of Golfrasur: Age uncertain, author unknown.

I have used the Amourfaitfils' translation. Though possibly more controversial than the standard form I feel that its use of pronouns is justified by the similarities in grammatical form to first age Duardin Script.

The B'hanic Manuscripts mentioned are also noted in the heresies of the mad Archmage Escriveon but there is no record of them other than that.

The timing, placing and indeed reality of the events recorded is unknown. Hartsson has suggested a reference to an era predating even the age of myth. The more wild metaphysical assertions he argues are allegorical.

Professor Aych-Peeyell

”....fled east. Driven by the cataclysm that had overtaken their.......lured by the dark figure ......dreams promising....salvation they...

......Plain of Bones they came...... ruined city. Great blocks hinted.... strange architecture....... twisted geometry that......ziggurat that dominated.......aeon weathered obsidian........ protection from the sorcerous winds.........howled.....mutating and twisting all outside.

Safe within....bas reliefs....strange glyphs seeming to squirm and shift just......sight.... trying to find a ..... they could understand.......The Nameless City stirred in her sleep........roused from.....her new children safe...... her bosom that....

Once again...... ever thus and will be again....... For this.........the dark city ALmaddul screamed of...his daemon ridden sight. Broken shard.......shattered dimension destroyed by greed. Alien and......remnant and refugee locked together....

....same city hinted ........B'hanic Manuscripts. S'Hir Ng gnd the eternal....dark thorn stuck ...flesh of our reality. Haunted.......her lover....ghost..... forgotten god stalking halls and corridors.....Thirsting.......worship that makes dreams flesh....Blood.......memories whole....rise again.

Greed incarnate......Alien and undying....Outside time....Gather new children...... again........”






Entry #2 Jackswift

Never barest heat of glowing coal
nor searing flash of breath fed ember.
Not in red eyed glare of molten brand
Nor tempest flare in roaring timber.
In strength of raging minotaur none
nor two thousand pounds of crushing bull.
Not heavy engine of destruction
Comes to price nor pays the final toll.
But rather in the full of endless
rage and mindless fill the smoking dram,
and touch the fiery cusp that fills
the endless burning brutal core I am.






Entry #5 Admiral

Grungni's Pained Anger


In misty days of olden yore there clanged and banged a hammer. Wrought with runes, strong to strike, it forged nails, arms and wonders alike. Upon doom-laden anvil, it struck hot matter again and again. Sparks flew. This hammer was Irongrip of the Depths, and it was wielded by leathery hands that could tear rocks apart. Those powerful hands were the Ancestor God Grungni's, praised be his lore, craft and works until the world ends and the mountains come crashing down.

One midwinter night, dour Grungni struck and struck again at the red-glowing matter upon his anvil. He turned it hither and thither, and so hardened was his thick skin that he did not even need tongs to turn the hot matter. And thus, whenever a fine angle was sought, he dropped the tongs and clenched the sizzling metal between his fingers, keeping it as steady as the ancient heart of the mountains while he struck the matter with his mighty hammer. Yet this frosty night, curses were upon the wind, and Grungni slipped with his hammer. He struck his own thumb, and he yelled and swore, driving his reddening hand into the water pail into which the hot metal is lowered to cool and harden.

Yet as Grungni moved his pained hand to the water pail, a single drop of glowing, hot blood fell from his thumb down upon the Anvil of Doom. So furious was Grungni in his anger that the blood caught fire in mid-air, landing in flames upon the anvil. And from those tiny flames sprang a tiny spark-being shaped like a dark bull, running off into the world. And so the Accursed One who shall not be named was created by the blacksmith's wrath.

- Excerpt from the forbidden Dwarf tome
Blood Grudge





Entry #6 Ikkred Pyrhelm

What truly makes a God?

The Four have been named the Gods of so-called Chaos and the mortals of the world have deities that number in the dozens and more. But where do they come from, these beings above all?

Perhaps they are birthed through the belief and actions of mortals? But this feels false. What of the grey-clad stranger who became the Horned Rat, what of the Father of Darkness of the Dawi Zharr? Both created or altered their worshippers rather than being created by them.

Are they lesser servants of those that sit at the pinnacle of godhood, who through trickery and deceit became near equals to their masters? Hashut is fire and darkness, a shard of the Lord of Skulls? No, Hashut is much more than a servant or shard of Khorne. Hashut’s chosen wield great sorcery and whose worshippers are anything but ‘honourable martial warriors’. The Horned Rat is pestilence and ruination, a shard of the Grandfather of Pustules? No, for the rat is ever evolving, there is no joy within its heart, only envy.

But Hashut is so much more and so much less. He is the fiery light that births the shadow of which he is lord. Shadow and flame. Strange bedfellows but so intertwined. Light and darkness and yet impure. Missing. Was he a shard, a shadow of something greater, something whole? Not a shard of the others but someone else.

I see his fire burn and yet there is coldness to his flame.

I wish to grasp it and know him.

But I cannot.



A gnarled hand, cracked like molten rock grasped the scrap of cindered parchment. Eyes like shadows but with the intensity of burning coals peered at the disintegrating words. A mouth ashen and dark twisted into a smile.





Entry #7 Enjoysrandom

Lust for power


The shadows contorted to and fro, the flames rose in the middle of the spires, all joining into a whirlwind of agonizing fire. The air thickened, the darkness consumed the light and tainting the flame to turn a dark reddish hue, the colour of freshly dried blood, the dark firespout spiralled into the roof of the temple.

The aged sorcerer stood before the summoning, clearly straining to contain the force clawing through the chaos, a force that devoured the light and left only darkness. The fire turned almost black as the shape of pure dread and destruction took form. With eyes that glowed like the deepest fires under Zharrduk, snarling smoke and lightning it gnarled “Nu rhun marazit... Dar... langked.... Or.... rhun rik!” and with its final words the colour of blood illuminated the room from within the fire.

Clearly defined, the glowing eyes set in a daemonic, horned, bull-shaped mask; blood red hair leaked from the sides of the blackened metal. His armour like dragon scales black and burnt, from millennia hidden in the Chaos Warp, obscured by a thick curly beard matching his hair and swirling fire, smoke and lightning. Clutched in one hand, a godly runic axe inscribed with ancient dwarven runes, unlike anything a chaos dwarf had seen in over 5 thousand years. The dwarf god that stood before them and screamed “Zagaz Or Zagzak, Grimnir,” as the brightness overwhelmed everyone in the room and forced them to look away.






Entry #9 Roark

The Witch of Rashan


"...What can I say of these voiceless, sneering masks? We traded much flesh for burnished steel, yet no words were spoken. It is said among the Horselords that Houtha did not even negotiate! Vaszu-cha!!

After, our hill camp was not yet even ringed with stakes when we saw they had made a vast pyre from blocks of blue-black stone dragged behind their train. It was quickly framed with dangling chains and gibbets and, I tell you now! - they built a hungry fire to consume their own vast prize in a chorus of bloodless screams! All the while, they praised and scraped to a throneless fiend that no tribe knows, or knelt in thralled wonder of him while the growing shadows danced about the flames.

In the mead-sick haze of morn, there were but ashes and cinder to speak of the Zharrlings' passing. My mind is unquiet, mother. Tell me of... Ash-Uhr."

"Wait... Chakha ko taku. I have with me an... other. He roils within. He is Malacerion the Ancient. A Lammasu of Ash-Uhr."

"Yazzht! F'jatrak! I have seen the Father's eyes. I have seen His mind. Hashut called to me before your kind emerged from the cast-off smegma of the Old Ones. In darkness, He sanctified me with ash and holy flame, and told me truths of death and of limitless pain. The Dawi-Zharr are His alone and He lurks at the core of their being, in every shadow of the mind and behind every whisper of the heart. His joy is the roar of conflagration. His pride is the silent ashen waste that comes after. His pity is the release of death from unspeakable agonies. You have not yet earned even his contempt. Begone!"

"Mother, are you....? By the true gods... her eyes... We are cursed."





News on CDO: Artisan's Contest XXVIII - Deadline 31st of October  ...  Etsy shop

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

This post was last modified: 09-27-2019 03:04 PM by Admiral.

09-27-2019 03:03 PM
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Admiral
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Scribe's Contest - Bronze x3 Best Attitude - 2014 Best Contributor - 2014 Major Prize Sponsor Golden Hat - Bronze x2 Scribe's Contest Veteran Scribe's Contest Silver Hellsmith - Gold Dark Apostle - Silver Best Attitude - 2015 Best Overall Member - 2015 Best Contributor - 2015 Artisan's Contest - Silver x2 Best Overall Member - 2016 Best Contributor - 2016 Artisan's Contest - Gold Best Contributor - 2017 Best Attitude - 2017                               
Post: #8
RE: Scribe's Contest Hall of FameAdmiral 09-27-2019

11. Temple Song Lyrics
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Ikkred Pyrhelm

Entry #4


Lammasu

Darkling fire come smother me
Let shadows fill my mind
With your power I shall see
My soul to Hashut I bind

Bone!

Once splintered and smashed
Mended with artisan skill
Flame of furnace lashed
Sheathed in dark steel

Skin!

Once broken and shorn
Fused with fury and fire
In Hashut’s image reborn
Hardened and cracked by pyre

Soul!

Food for Hashut’s thirst
This I do gladly yield
And so become the First
Hooves beat the battlefield

I am Dawi no more
Gone the weakness within
Gone my outer flaws
His word I shall bring

Bone!

Once splintered and smashed
Mended with artisan skill
Flame of furnace lashed
Sheathed in dark steel

Skin!

Once broken and shorn
Fused with fury and fire
In Hashut’s image reborn
Hardened and cracked by pyre

Soul!

Food for Hashut’s thirst
This I do gladly yield
And so become the First
Hooves beat the battlefield

His word I shall bring!
His glory I shall sing!
I am Lammasu!






Silver (tie):  Carcearion

Entry #5

(Chorus, softly): Lift the hammer!

There’s no earthly way of knowing
How many hours we’ve been moaning
There’s no knowing how long we’re going
Or how hot the bellows blowing

(Chorus, louder than before): Lift the hammer!

Not a spec of light is showing
So His hunger must be growing
Are the fires of hell a-glowing?
Are the temple daggers flowing?

(Chorus, yet louder than before): Lift the hammer!

Yes, His hunger must be growing
For the blood and steel keep flowing!
And they’re certainly not showing!
Any signs that they are slowing!

(Chorus, loud and boisterous): Lift the hammer and strike and again! That’s the Daemonsmith’s way!






Silver (tie): Abecedar

Entry #6

Temple Chant Number    7-11   

Clang         =         Large Bronze Gong being hit
Thump     =     Bass Drum beats    or    Staff Butts banged onto the floor

>HASHUT!<     Clang     >Aaaaaaaaaaah!<
>Saviour of the Dawi Zharr!<
Thump, … thump,    …    thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

>HASHUT!<     Clang     >Aaaaaaaaaaah!<
>He saved every one of us!<
Thump, … thump,    …    thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

>HASHUT!<     Clang     >Aaaaaaaaaaah!<
>He has blessed our noble race!<
Thump, … thump,    …    thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

>HASHUT!<     Clang     >Aaaaaaaaaaah!<
>He is our Father in Darkness!<
Thump, … thump,    …    thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

>HASHUT!<     Clang     >Aaaaaaaaaaah!<
>He owns every-one of us<
Thump!
>The souls of every-one of us!<
Thump!
>With a mighty hoof, he’ll crush the world<
>And the Dawi Zharr will rule . . all!<
Thump, … thump,    …    thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.






Bronze:  Admiral

Entry #2

Break or Be Broken

See!
Hear!
Know!

We are the forsaken ones,
in the thrall of dread Dark God,
our dedication absolute...

Hearts of stone,
and fevered minds,
the Dark God's own,
the broken kind's.

Break!
Break!
Break or be broken!

See!
Hear!
Know!

We are the toiling ones,
cursed by ancestors and gods,
our damnation assured...

Wills of steel,
madness chained,
the master's heel,
the honour stained.

Break!
Break!
Break or be broken!

See!
Hear!
Know!

We are the chosen ones,
erecting greatest works,
to His dominion claim...

Souls on fire,
a world to scour,
the hardship dire,
the hunger for power.

Break!
Break!
Break or be broken!

Break!
Break!
Break or be broken!

Break!
Break!
Break or be broken!

- Chaos Dwarf Cult Song







Entry #1 Forgefire

Trackless steppe, a plain of bones
Hidden there, great halls of stone
Ramparts rise up to the very sky
Ruinous banners upon them fly

Red hot furnace burns the air
Journey here only few dare
Brute overlords make this their lair

A city where life has no worth
manacles and chains dragged through its dirt
Furious industry cracks its earth

Let the hammers sing
Faces behind the masks are grim
A dirge for bloody war
Ironclad Dwarfs range far

Black hearts filled with greed
Feverish eyes glazed by mead
Ashen beards bound in brass
They charge
en masse

Blood and iron!
Crushing all beneath their boots
Smoke and fire!
An unyielding desire
Runic icons of yore
Becomes occult artifacts
Through Daemonic lore

By steel will
Are battles won
Wealth is made
By lives enslaved

In cursed ziggurats
The currency is souls
Favors bought by feel deeds
Bloody sacrifices grants them their goals

A god vain and cruel
Use the souls as fuel
Dark rituals of the Dawi Zharr
Leaves the world riddled with scars

Hellish contraptions powered by steam
bound by runes and black oaths
as made from a madman's dream
crush the bones of foes
makes them sing songs of woes

Blood and iron!
Crushing all beneath their boots
Smoke and fire!
An unyielding desire
Runic icons of yore
Becomes occult artifacts
Through Daemonic lore

By steel will
Are battles won
Wealth is made
By lives enslaved






Entry #3 Enjoysrandom


Hobgoblin Sneakers – Tzomy Tzukker

Put on your Big Hat, Dawi
Hashut, we're going out to fight
Put on your Big Hat, Dawi
Hashut, we're going out to fight
Better curl your bearded face,
Send Sneaky Gitz to kill'em right

Send in your Hobgoblin sneakers
and wear that Big Hat on your head
Send in your Hobgoblin sneakers
and wear that Big Hat on your head
They're just slaves now, Dawi
Hashut knows your gunna knock'em dead

I've got an old Chaotic fever
and some strength in my backhand
got an old Chaotic fever
got some strength in my backhand
Hobgoblin slaves cost much more than I can stand

Get behind your Hobgoblin sneakers
and wear that Big Hat on your head
Get behind your Hobgoblin sneakers
and wear that Big Hat on your head
Though some slaves die
In Hashut's name you've gotta knock'em dead






Entry #7 Jackswift

Make haste! Make haste! We cross the death-locked northern waste.   
Where dark unspoken deeds are done, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.
March we with endless iron tread to iron will of granite dead   
whose stone hard hand beats walking drum, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.

MAKE HASTE! With deadly IRON TREAD!    [shouted with a chorus of voices]

Lay waste, destroy! With iron and fire and smoke sing joy.   
The fortress fallen; battle won, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.
Drink deep the sound of battle's song; the clanking roar of engines strong
that follow on the walking drum, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.

DESTROY! and hark the BATTLE SONG    [shouted with a chorus of voices]

Lay waste, and burn! With axe and smoking cannon turn.   
Rout the foe; their senses stun, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.
And wretched bring them back in chain; to toil till end of days in vain 
and ever fear the walking drum, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.

LAY WASTE! and BURN and BIND THEM!    [shouted with a chorus of voices]

Lay waste! Lay waste! Enslave and drag with brutal haste.   
To blackened tower of Zharr-Naggrund, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.
To fan the flames of smoking forge and mine the depths of blackest gorge 
and blinded hear the walking drum, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.

ENSLAVE! to the BLACKEST DEPTHS!    [shouted with a chorus of voices] 

Make haste! Make haste! We rule the dreadful northern waste.   
Our last unspoken deeds are done, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun.
The price of power thus we earn; from stone we start, to stone return. 
and endless beats the walking drum, 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun. 

From Stone we start, TO STONE RETURN!

The stone hand beats the Walking Drum
...we follow on the Walking Drum.
...they ever fear the Walking Drum.
...and blinded hear the Walking Drum.
For endless beats the Walking Drum.   

Across the death-locked northern waste... 'neath twilight glare of frozen sun... 
'neath twilight glare of frozen sun...   






12. On Dark Tides
Announcement - Entrants - Winners



Gold:  Fuggit Khan

Entry #3

It had been a long journey, the Tilean thought to himself. Years ago he found a treasure map inside a bottle that washed up on shore...and it was signed by Captain Stonebeard, a notorious Chaos Dwarf pirate who disappeared decades ago. Legends spoke that he was dead, his treasure hidden in a cave with walls of gold.

The map was crude, it could be any island, in any sea. But the glass bottle itself was a clue, it was embossed with a brewery name. Years of searching had led the Tilean to find the brewery in a small northern seaport, and sitting in the brewery pub, drinking grog, was a Hobgoblin wearing an eye patch. The pub owner said that the Hobgoblin was a smuggler, who knew the local sea better than anyone, if anyone could find a hidden island, it would be the Hobgoblin.

Looking at the map, the Hobgoblin said he knew where to go, and as payment, the Hobgoblin asked the Tilean to pay his bar tab, and buy one more bottle of grog for the journey.

Hours later they arrived at a small rocky island, the Tilean eagerly exploring the sole cave. But he quickly realized that the walls of the cave weren't gold, they were iron pyrite, "fools gold". And then he saw it, a stone statue of a Chaos Dwarf...with only one eye.

Calmly, the Hobgoblin spoke:

"Dat's Stonebeard hisself, sorcerers curse, turned 'im to stone. First mate I was, Master he still is. He's dying word, keep his treasure secret, keep et safe. And fer loyalty, he gave me he's Daemonsmith eye"

The Hobgoblin took off his eye patch, revealing a prosthetic copper eye with an arcane rune. With one glance of the eye, the Tilean fell over dead, his soul ripped from his body and bound forever to the iron pyrite walls of the cave.

"Fools gold" the Hobgoblin casually remarked, as he took the treasure map from the dead hand of the Tilean.

He then uncorked the bottle of grog that the Tilean had bought him for the journey, drank it down, and then deftly rolled up the treasure map and sealed it inside the empty bottle.

After paying respects to his stone Master, he tossed the treasure map bottle back into the sea...his smile revealing his sharp copper plated teeth.






Silver:  Uther the Unhinged

Entry #5

Heimgrall looked at the blood slowly congealing on the deck. The assault, when it finally came, had been short and brutal. The few soldiers falling to the guns of the pirates. Even the Windsinger mages’ spells had died as they left his throat. That was before a bullet had taken the left side of his head. Heimgrall wondered blankly if it was his blood he was watching.

They had spotted the ship two days previously. The captain knew what that dark smoke on the horizon meant and had fled before it. It had been futile. The terrified passengers had watched their pursuers’ slow and inexorably gain with horror.

Heimgrall felt rather than saw the pirates stiffen. He looked up from where he was kneeling. The dwarf in front of him was heavily armoured, like the other Zharr Vyxa pirates. Yet his armour was trimmed with bronze and gold. Intricate runic designs decorating each scale of his brigandine.

“My Lord”

The dwarf turned his head to study Heimgrall. The golden deaths’ head mask  regarded him impassively

“My lord. We are only refugees, Take our valuables but let us live and you will have our eternal gratitude.”

The dwarf tilted his head.

“We do not want your baubles.” His voice was deep and tinged with humour. “We do not want your ship. We do not want your gratitude. We just want you.”

Slavery! Heimgralls’ last hope flickered and died. Images of whips filled his mind. Tears filled his eyes.

“I will never serve you!” The voice came from further down the line of kneeling prisoners.

“You may break my body but never my will. I will never serve you!” It was Adrithan, the young blacksmith.

The dwarf chuckled richly.

“Oh, you will serve. But don’t worry. We don’t need your body, or your will. I told you. We just want you.”

The dwarf raised the strange pistol that he held and fired.

The prisoner grunted. He looked in surprise at the small dart lodged in his chest, the long wires trailing from it and the pistol. Then he began to scream.

Heimgrall screwed his eyes closed to shut out the violet glow from those wires. He could not shut out that sound. The sound that clawed at his sanity. The sound of a soul being torn from its body.

The screaming was to last a long time.






Bronze:  Ikkred Pyrhelm

Entry #6

A Daughter's Birth

Picks crunched and tore into stone as the slaves worked. The cruel masked overseer watched on as they worked, dark eyes seeking any who faltered. A meaty hand clutched a barbed whip even as other slaves moved around him, carting off mined minerals to the forges.

Hammer struck blazing metal again and again. An army of smiths ceaselessly worked ore into thick plates of blackened steel, great beams and curved ribs. Amongst the smiths robed priests moved from line to line, growling benedictions to Hashut. Every now and again they would pause and carve hateful runes upon the metal.

Within the drydocks the skeleton was formed of a mighty ironclad by teams of workers and slaves. Some perished as they worked from accident or malicious intent, their hot blood oozing into the young bones of the ship.

Upon his altar the Daemonsmith intoned the final rite of summoning as his acolytes took their blade to the throat of the sacrificial bull. It kicked and thrashed as its lifeblood oozed over the brass chased and runic etched wheel. From the still shuddering bull came a faint wisping smoke that coiled and curled with an almost hungry intent. The lights in the altar chamber then died one after the other and a scratching noise that emerged from the smoke turned into an inferno roar as the smoke erupted into the shape of a great daemonic bull of flame that poured into the bloodied wheel.

Bellowing Hellcannons, deprived of their wheels angrily tried to thrash in the chains that hoisted them into position upon the dark iron deck. Teams of Dawi Zharr engineers ran from cannon to cannon, fixing them to the decks even as the daemons roiling within them snarled. Great batteries of rockets and cannons too were erected and fixed to the decks and gunports, each one overseen by a growling forge master.

The brackish waters frothed and hissed to the touch of the ironclad as the drydocks were slowly opened to the sea. At the helm the shipmaster ran a stony hand through his beard before placing it almost tenderly upon the wheel. A low gurgling hiss was his response, the daemon within tasting and touching the ship that too was its body. Savagely smiling, the shipmaster gently turned the great wheel and the ship curtly obeyed. A ship made of pain and fury now let loose upon the world.







Entry #1 Gargolock

The Legend of The Brazen Conquest

Long ago the young captain Balakar The Ambitious had a ship built, the ship was mighty in size and shaped like a grim Bale Taurus. The ship’s weaponry was cruel with its daemonic cannons mounted in the eyes that spat forth flame to which gifted a torturous end to the enemies of Balakar. Strapped on top was a mighty dominating cannon that could level multiple ships at once.  It was a gargantuan barge that instead of cutting through waves like a Bretonnian corsair, would see the sea bow before it's own grandeur.

He set out from Uzkulak travelling around Norsca on a vast journey until he reached the Sea of Claws. There he met upon an Empire fleet patrolling the waters of Norden. His crew counted twelve ships. The odds weren’t in the favour of The Brazen Conquest, a large battle ensued that fueled on into the dusk and dawn of the next day. Though the Brazen Conquest’s doom was thought to be certain, it fought through. Hashut must have taken notice to Balakar and his men and granted them favour, thus, Moor had to stalk the Imperials. The last Greatship levelled a shot into one of the daemonic eyes, the Daemonsmith in charge was killed only after he allowed his Daemon's freedom. The Empire Greatship became an orange and black puff of screams and bellows that only the most horrid of men could endure hearing. It then cleared to show a splatter of stained, red ocean and nothing more.

The Brazen Conquest sunk the remaining ships as the crew cackled at the sight of the defeated enemy. They felt incredibly fortunate. Everything was perfect for a second, until creeping out of the fog they saw it. Great teeth, beady, chartreuse eyes, scales black as coal and a massive fin. The colossal Leviathan dove beneath the water as the cheering obtusely stopped in the seconds between the leviathan diving, then swallowing the ship. Balakar let out a terrible screech to the heavens as though furious at the very world’s cruelty.

Balakar of The Brazing Conquest is a harrowing ghost story known to Uzkulak. Balakar’s ghost supposedly haunts the sea upon a zombie Taurus and ensures that no sailor may have the life of riches that he had sought.

Perhaps, his ghost entered Shyish and possibly evolved into actual danger to our seafaring Dawi’Zharr...






Entry #2 Hashoooot

The Rhyme of the Ashen Mariners

Untiring, unyielding, ungodly, unbound,
Is sailing a vessel unlike any else.
O heavens! That only it never had found
The wretch who this story now tells!

Uncanny, unsettling, undying, unlit,
Cyclopean, clad with corroded ore,
As vast as a city, as dark as a pit,
Forever roaming and bound for no shore.

Unnerving, unheard of, unholy, untamed,
Her furnace holds fiery volcanic heat,
Steam drives her engine of artifice famed,
The pistons are marching to a maddening beat.

Unfearing, uncaring, undoubtedly cursed
The Ashen Mariners plow through the sea
With shanties of  war – ev'ry hour rehearsed –
Of hostile armadas crushed down to debris.

Unbeaten, unshaken, unmastered, unchecked,
A crew full of pitiless dwarven brutes
Is seeking the prey, to be shredded and wrecked,
As the band boards ship and plunders and loots.

Uncleanly, unwholesome, unspeakably fell
The Moloch then feasts on the derelict's rest,
Devouring it steadily into her shell
To grow even more on her masters' behest.

Unfailing, unflinching, untemperedly cruel,
This abomination came down on our ship.
While half of us fell in the unequal duel
The others succumbed to the slave master's whip.

Unlikely, unconscious, unsettled, undone
I alone escaped from that dreadful fate.
The Sea of Drowned Sorrows, dear listeners, shun!
You glimpsed Zharr Vyxa? 'Tis already too late!






Entry #4 Reaver of Uzkulak

From Bleak Depths, We Rise…

50 fathoms beneath the churning surface of the Great Ocean a hulking behemoth slipped through the calm darkness. This was not a creature of muscle and scales but instead one of gears, pipes, and metal. Crafted in utmost secrecy, none barring the crew had seen its insidious design. In a perilous ritual the soul of a tempestuous daemon had devoured all unfortunate slaves labouring in its construction, leaving naught but the molten remains of a dry dock.

Nalhad the Shipwright ducked beneath the overhead pipe rack, negotiating the tight hallways between the engine room and the conning tower. Hissing of valves and clanking of machinery overwhelmed the blasting steam boilers, firing on violent heat generated by the tenuously imprisoned daemon. His familiar clacked along at his heels, a minor entity easily drawn into servitude to escape eternal torment in some forgotten realm. Its essence was bound to a mechanized crab with a whirring mandible of gears and spindly articulating legs (one of many artificial forms crafted by its master). A faint purple glimmer radiated from beneath its riveted carapace with steam sputtering out of a grated exhaust pipe.

As he proceeded up the final ladder he sent his familiar toward the fore ballast tank to make preparations for surfacing. His vessel was poised to become a legend feared by all those foolhardy enough to weigh anchor. The shipwright shouted below to his stout crew of ironclad Dawi-Zharr to arm for boarding, which was met by a chorus of affirmative responses and rapid shambling. He could feel the ship begin to rise in earnest, angling toward its first victim.

Gaining speed and elevation the mighty iron beast neared the surface, portholes beginning to cast light as the blackness thinned. The reinforced hammerhead bow parted the water as gears and blades whirred into motion, a vicious scything maw. Fin-shaped hydroplanes held the angle of attack, initiating a ramming assault from underneath the large enemy war galleon. A resounding crash sent both sailors and debris airborne. The crippling blow to the brittle wooden hull caused the ship to list severely, instantly taking on water below deck. From the bow hatch spilled Nalhad’s crew, ready to plunder in the name of Hashut. From bleak depths, we rise and conquer…






Entry #7 Admiral

The Infernal Dwarf Captain and the Stone Ship, by Karhemaq Telltongue

There was once an Infernal Dwarf captain serving aboard an ironclad warship. He was a cruel soul hungering for the chance to domineer and crush others underhoof. He was also known for his tenacity, and many believed that he would let nothing stop him once he had put his mind to the task.

One day, the lookout of this Infernal Dwarf's ironclad caught sight of one of our stone ships, flying the banners of Kegiz Gavem in broad daylight. The captain of the steel ship was gripped by a desire to board or sink this enemy vessel, and so he roared out orders on deck and set to the task of sea warfare with vomiting smokestacks. Paddle wheels steamed him closer, swinging in for a broadside, and he ordered his crew to open up with artillery fire.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this duel, and our barrage worsted him. And so he roared out orders to board us. Paddle wheels steamed him closer, and grappling hooks gripped our stout railing. And he ordered his crew to assault us.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this combat, and our warriors worsted him. And so he roared out orders to disengage and ram us instead. Paddle wheels backed water for him, and then steamed him onward at full speed. And he ordered his crew to brace for impact.

Yet the Infernal Dwarf had the worst of this ramming action, and our rock hull worsted him so badly that his metal hull creaked and ripped open as rivets popped. And the whole ironclad sank with all hands, except for the Infernal Dwarf captain.

And so he swam toward us, and our merciful warriors produced a rope-ladder for him to climb and thus save his life if he swore to surrender to the victors of naval battle.

Yet the enraged Infernal Dwarf captain refused this offer, and instead started to crash his horned head against our carved stone hull like a mad bull, throwing himself against floating rock again and again until his horns broke and his skull cracked and his brains burst. And so we left the Infernal Dwarf's corpse dishonourably for the sharks to devour. For stubbornness is a virtue, but stupidity is a sin.

- The Infernal Dwarf Captain and the Stone Ship, by Karhemaq Telltongue






Entry #8 Jasko

Mutiny on the Bountharr

Sorcerer-Prophet Alkanash regarded Wilham the Plight, disgraced sea captain, with a disdain-written face. “Come nightfall, you will set sail for the Turtle Islands and bring back 200 Ashheart Salamanders for a grand ritual in Hashut’s honour. But the Dark Father is weary of you. Prove yourself worthy captaining the Hobgoblin barque Bountharr.”

Wilham left, trembling with barely contained anger. To lead a crew of Hobgoblin slaves was an insult! Wilham decided to take the shortest passage to the Turtle Islands, leading around southern Lustria under the watchful eyes of the cursed Elgi at the Citadel of Dusk. A perilous route, but he would arrive two moons early with his spoils and would never have to command a slave ship again!

Wilham whipped the crew on day and night to make haste. By the time he reached the Citadel of Dusk, already 46 of 203 Hobgoblins were dead, an acceptable number. But the Hobgoblins feared the Elves as much as they feared his flogging, and the Bountharr could not make the passage. A furious Wilham lashed out but ultimately had to accept the detour through the Gates of Calith.

Three months later they finally arrived at the Turtle Islands. By now the Ashheart Salamanders started hibernation and so the Bountharr would lose another two months. The crew started raiding the coastal villages and enjoyed the easy match the rural island folk presented in combat. After months of waiting, the Bountharr finally left the Turtle Islands and Wilham was eager to make up for the lost time by flogging the crew twice as much.

Not after long, the Hobgoblins thought back longingly about their life on the Turtle Islands. Finally a group around first officer Fletchakk Khan realized they were far away from Zharr Naggrund. Spurred on by the rum-induced confidence they stormed their captain’s cabin, in hopes to surprise him in his sleep, as is the Hobgoblin way. But their plans were ultimately thwarted by the treacherous Hobgoblin nature, as some Hobgoblins preferred taking second-in-command under Wilham rather than staying mere slaves under Fletchakk. Still outnumbered, all the 18 “loyal” Hobgoblins could do was drag a still fuming Wilham to a boat and flee, never to be seen again.

Unfortunately for the Khan, the next day he had a “nasty accident” with the ship’s boom, according to his successor. Forty days later the dreaded sails of the Bountharr approached on the Turtle Islands’ horizon. Unbraked it ran on the ground, but no Hobgoblin jumped ashore. It took the bravest villager two days to set foot on the ominously silent ship. All he found were 24 dead Hobgoblins, two of them with hands still wrapped around each others' throats.






Entry #9 Jackswift

We were undone.  No provocation.  No warning.  The frozen spray, the monstrous waves... endless. Striving to whelm and drown us with every breath, wearing our hearts and minds down to the very bone of our will.  As if that were not trial enough.

The lookout saw nothing; frozen and driven mindless with ceaseless shivering.  He was there one instant... the entire mast, and nest and tower, and the frail mortal gone the next... smashed; riven from their frame by the shuddering whip of a great iron tentacle; screaming the horrid song of flexing metal over the mad grinding of gears.  In mere moments our ice covered craft was wrapped in their crushing grasp, snapping beams and breaking the back of the "Greyfall" in a cacophony of madness.  Suddenly loose rigging, snaking the deck with deadly intent, rending man and vessel alike and mercilessly flinging the remnant into the frozen, frothing, mad, seas.

Through the madness I got a glimpse of the impossible behemoth that held us in it's unyielding grasp. Massive metal tentacles covered in rivets the size of dinner plates and hulking pistons encircled the broken hulk of our ship tightening constantly.  And then... it's maw... a circular chasm rounded about with grinding teeth of pure iron... slowly devouring the ship from bow to stern... rendering ship, armament, stores, and crew alike to component parts for what purpose I can only guess... glowing eyes... view ports to a soulless master... massive rusted vents belching steam and foul chemical smoke making breath all but impossible... cough... coming closer... ever closer... those teeth... eyes within eyes... we... are... lost.






Entry #10 Abecedar

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CAPTURED SLAYER?

Intro and Chorus
What do you do with a Captured Slayer?
What do you do with a Captured Slayer?
What do you do with a Captured Slayer?
Earl-eye in the morning.

Chorus!

Shave his Chin with a Rusty Razor,
Shave his Chin with a Rusty Razor,
Shave his Chin with a Rusty Razor,
Until his head falls off.

Chorus!

Chain him up and Whip his Skin Off,
Chain him up and Whip his Skin Off,
Chain him up and Whip his Skin Off,
I’ll love to see his bones.

Chorus!

Tie Him to a Stick and Swab the Cannon,
Tie Him to a Stick and Swab the Cannon,
Tie Him to a Stick and Swab the Cannon,
Oops it just went boom!

Chorus!

Hoist him up and Flay his skin off,
Hoist him up and Flay his skin off,
Hoist him up and Flay his skin off,
He will make such a lovely Banner.

Chorus!

Pluck his hair with a pair of Pliers,
Pluck his hair with a pair of Pliers,
Pluck his hair with a pair of Pliers,
‘Til he looks like a Chicken.

Chorus!





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09-27-2019 03:05 PM
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