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Your Majesty High Kling Thorgrim,
I have spent many days with the dawi of Garaz Karaz, as per your instructions; the current rik has been mightily generous and given me complete access to the Karakâ€™s archives. Through thorough examination I have determined the origin of the hold, in the enclosed document you will find the tale of the founding as best as I can find it. I dearly hope I have found enough information for your needs.
Royal scribe to his royal majesty High king Thorgrim Grudgebearer of Karaz a Karak
Deep within the Black Mountains, between the holds of Zhufbar and Karak Hirn stands the Dwarven hold of Garaz Karaz. The Rebellious Mountain. Here in lies itâ€™s taleâ€¦.
In the Imperial year of 1436 a small clan consisting of 257 dawi left the legendary hold of Barak Varn and travelled into the mountains, in search of something.
The groupâ€™s leader was Ulrik Fireheart; this lone dawi felt something of unease at Barak Varn. At the waterside fortress he watched the engineers and miners create big and better machinery, supposedly for the advancement of the dawi race. Yet many failed, people grumbled about it but were as quick as the creators themselves to celebrate the working of one such machine. All of the hold celebrated the great steel ships of the hold, all except Ulrik. He viewed such acts and â€śadvancementâ€? was against the ways of the Ancestors, he never went to war other than armed with his trusty hammer and protective armour.
â€śPut your trust in dawi made weapons and armour, our trust and faith in the Ancestors will see us throughâ€? many time this was heard from his direction, once even in the Royal hall with the Rik present.
Soon many of his fellow dawi began to avoid this dour individual, it was even known for many a dawi to leave an alehouse upon his entrance. His discomfort and belittling of the engineers achievements finally reached the ears of the Rik, and he was called to attend the Royal Hall. The hall was as sight that made his heart sore, ancient weapons and armour adorned walls or stood to attention, each with great runes engraved upon their surface. At the far end of the hall was the Rik, his great white beard trailed many steps below his throne. On either side with faces of grim determination stood the elite of the dawi, the stalwart Hammerers. Standing slowly Ulrik could see a great suit of armour upon his leader, swirling patterns of gold and silver embedded within it burnt a fiery red as the torches reflected off of it. At his side was a equally ancient hammer, litanies and icons of Grimnir and Grungni were etched into its large head, the shaft born two silver lines wrapping themselves around it in an never ending unknowing pursuit. Beckoning Ulrik closer he was asked by the wizened veteran what does he show contempt and sow discord among his people, has the Rik wronged him in some way?
Shocked at these questions he spoke to the Rik from his heart, explaining that he never spoke with contempt just with warning. He felt something was not right here, the so called advancements was taking the dawi further and further away from their mountainous homes, this was sure not the wish of the Ancestors? At these words the great kings brow furrowed, the frown increased with each word coming from Ulriks mouth. Finally it became too much, it was evident he would never be satisfied there, and he rose a hand forestalling Ulrik half sentence. His slow rumbling speech rolled across the hall
â€śYoung Dawi, the progress of our race lies in our steam engineering. Without such advancements we would be nothing and easy pickings for our many enemies. No young one, our need and want for advancement will never be abandoned our need to great and our failure too dark to contemplate. I see and heard of your unease, there is nothing I can do for you unless you are willing. If you are you shall have a place alongside your father in the guild. If not then you will not be barred from leaving this place; you and any other who wishes to leave may do so. All bonds, ties and oaths shall be deemed fulfilled and settled.â€?
Pondering the Riks words Ulrik thoughtlessly made his way home, looking stunned and dazed he was given odd looks by his fellow brethren.
For four days he sat and brooded deep in thought, he ate and drank enough to feed three times his number. Nothing could awake him from his stupor, until eventually the weight upon him was accepted and he rose to meet the Rik once more. This meeting was attended by as many dawi that could squeeze into the hall, others shouting out what was happening to those unfortunate not to get in. Slowly he made his way to the dais, his head aimed at the floor as though in deep thought. Raising his head he began his speech, his voice was cracked and horse with emotion, his eyes wept tears of pain and passion.
â€śMy liege, these past few days have been hard, the words you spoke before cast me into a troubled series of thoughts. My home calls to me, our descendants and ancestors have had a rich life here. Our deeds recorded and our name renound. But alas I must break this thread. I have decided to leave.â€? Audible gasps sprang forth from lips and cries of pain and anguish gushed from throats, his clan looked at him in pain and contempt. But he was not fazed by this and continued.
â€śAs much as I love this place my heart cries for somewhere else, the Ancestors call for me. They tell me that our future lies not in steam and black powder but in the hammer and axe. â€? Again more gasps at the thought the Gods would have chosen such a dawi. â€śI shall take my family and leave; I ask no others to come with me. I shall never forget my home and shall miss it, but I cannot stayâ€? With this he abruptly turned and strode out of the hall leaving all within stunned.
â€śMay the Gods watch over you Ulrik Fireheartâ€? these were the parting words the Rik whispered to the retreating form of the dawi.
It took just over a week for Ulrik to have his family and business ready for leaving; he sold his home for as much as he could. It fetched a good price as the history and sturdiness of it was impressive, but most of this gold went into preparations for their leaving. Carts and baggage were brought, maps checked and plans made, and finally they were ready. The streets were lined with dawi some morning the family, others muttering about young foolishness but Ulrik left head held high and listened not to such talk. The dawi working in the fields stopped in their work and stared at the passing carriages, the dawi within glancing back at the hold before turning the bend in the river and entering the wood. By then the hold was out of sight, their last look of their former home was the sunlight hitting the water turning the waves into gold, the shadowy outline to the hold cast itâ€™s evening shadow and called those workers back in. Then nothingâ€¦.
Knowing nightfall was close behind them Ulrik led his family to a small inn he knew of, the â€śBeer manâ€™s Barrelâ€?. Upon entering the courtyard of the barrel he suddenly became concerned that they wouldnâ€™t get a room, for in the yard were many wagons it looked like an army were on the move. But yet they had to try, pushing the door of the inn open Ulrik stopped bolt still. For there inside was over a hundred dawi, all eyes turned to him and his family as they entered. From the throng stepped five dawi, he knew them all two were even his cousins. Though well watered none were drunk and from the group the eldest of his cousins spoke
â€śItâ€™s about bloody time, we thought youâ€™d never make it here! Here cousin a drink, to your new found army and peopleâ€? Raising his tankard in salute he and the rest of the dawi downed their ale, before refilling it again. One was offered to him by Oin, the younger twin to Snorri, his nose red from the amount of ale already consumed. Once sat down the five leaders began to tell of their decision, they had asked the Rik many days before hand to be released of their bonds. Slowly dripping out of the Karak the two hundred of them had planned to meet Ulrik either at the barrel or on the road, they had decided that he needed people and an army. And that is exactly what he had got.
The following day two hundred and fifty seven dawi filed out of the Barrel and began the long journey into the mountains, all were in good spirit even Ulrik found it hard not to smile amongst such admirable dawi, this put the smile upon his wifeâ€™s face for he had not smiled for a long time. For days the terrain was the same, luscious trees and fields fine for picking. Once or twice they stopped off at fields and in return for their picking services they received baskets of strawberries or bags of potatoes or apples, it was a slow moving but enjoyable pace. Then slowly the fields gave way to plain flatlands, nothing as far as the eye could see, the air dropped too the weather became more timid and the cool of the mountains crept down towards them. Soon even these rolled past and the foot of the mountains loomed, rocked struck from the ground at angles that suggested they had grown from it, a fine mist had formed and slowly crept its way down towards the valley and gullies below. Soon the mist had engulfed them, wading through a sea of white they made they way up into the mountains, for days the scenery and weather never changed. Many began to whisper about their foolishness and Ulrik as a madman; even his cousins began to show signs of doubt.
After days of wandering the mountainside, touches held high and constant blundering through potholes and into rocks Ulrik found what he was looking for, out of the mist it stood. The tallest and beautiful of them all, itâ€™s snow capped peak blazed a bright white in the sun the mist parting part way up revealed a small goat track leading to a cave halfway up the mound. Ulrik halted the pilgrims and took the five leaders with him, climbing the dangerous track the six dawi made it to the cave with little problems. Entering they disappeared into the darkness, for hours they didnâ€™t return and those below feared the worse, especially when they heard a roar from the cave. It was soon then joined by five others, as they took up their arms the six dawi appeared at the entrance tears of laughter and joy rolling down their cheeks. Theyâ€™d found it. Home.
It took many days but soon they had found enough material to build a kind of bridge, it was barely strong enough to take one carriage at a time. The progress was slow but finally all make it into the cave, staring about them they were amazed the cavern was large enough to house five times their number. Looking out of the entrance Ulrik sent a silent prayer up to the gods in thanks, meanwhile he cast his gaze over his new domain. Down to the left he could see patches of green through the mist, grassland he mused maybe enough for farm lands, to the right was a fast flowing river tumbling over a waterfall where it cast up clouds of spray to cause the perpetual mist. Down the centre he could just make out the path they had taken, obscured by the mist he could just see the rocks that adorned either side of the path. Turning around he cast his gaze around the large cave, taking a deep breath his began the walk down to the celebrations going on below, the bugmans wafted up to his nostrils and he knew he was home. This was where he was supposed to be.
The years past and slowly the hold grew, the first cave they stayed in soon have many off cuts. Tunnels led to sleeping apartments, more halls, food storage and even the beginning of mine works. Outside they cleverly used the rock and hollowed out two small outposts one overlooking the centre and the second further off to the left, these were their lookouts. In the outlaying valley to the left they found the ground to be fertile and easy to work, here they began the process of their crop growing and a small farming community was set up. The mines delved deep, quickly they found seems of gromril, iron, copper and other metals. It also proved to have a good selection of gems and other types of metal, gold and silver. All these were abundant within this mountain; surely this was a blessing of the Gods upon them. Soon their armourers and weapon makers were creating some of the best armour in the mountain range, dawi from Karak Hirn, Izor, Zhufbar and even one from Karaz a Karak came to purchase such armour and weapons. In light of these new smithing abilities the Runesmiths set up work and began the forging of great protective runes for the hold as well as adding their skills to the other smiths in weapons and armour.
Such is the amount of gold the dawi found that the twin doors to their hold are made out of them, their greatest artisans toiled over the pair. A full twelve feet in height and eight in width they are a marvel to look upon, large swirling patterns in gold and silver glide about its surface. Images of the Gods are embedded within it, and protective runes etched upon it to keep it hidden from unseemly eyes. Above the door are three icons of Grimnir, Grungni and Valaya carved out of the mountain face itself, these stalwart guardians are ever vigilant and if ever the hold is in trouble of assault they can be used to pour boiling liquids onto the attackers from hidden ways within the statues.
But still the hold lacked something, colours. The clans gathered still wore those colours of Barak Varn, but none knew what to do. This was about to be solved. Ulrik had a dedicated ranger force; these individuals patrolled the surrounding mountainside, falling upon unwitting enemies usually in the form of trolls or orcs before they could discover the dawi. Many times have travellers come across corpses with green fletched arrows embedded within them, their greatest achievement would be the saving of King Alrik of Karak Hirn. The king had gotten himself trapped in a small gully with no more than a handful of troops, marching through the gully they were suddenly caught in a trap set by orcs. Weary and battle worn they organised themselves to hold the orc charge and take as many with them as possible, but it was not to be. As the orcs careered down the slopes they suddenly began to stumble and fall in numbers, green crossbow bolts protruding from throats and chests. Still they came but soon again confusion struck when they realised there were less than there was before, it was then the rangers attacked. Bounding out of their hiding places within the rocks and mountain terrain they struck at the orcs in their confusion, the mountains echoing their harsh war cries. It is said that only two dawi fell in battle that day, no orc survived.
After the rescue King Alrik was taken to Garaz Karaz, here he saw a bustling dawi community. The news of the mines had spread and many miners came to seek their fortunes deep within the earth, shrines to the Gods were erected and guarded by dedicated dawi. It brought a tear to his eye, he instantly liked Ulrik and the two holds soon became like brothers. The two kings were seen many times in each other company in either of the two holds, and as a gift to Ulrik for saving his life Alrik agreed to help with the colouring and creation of the clans. Many veterans came from Hirn to Garaz in a debt to Ulrik, these old warriors proved invaluable and they taught the young beardlings the skills of war. The small outpost of Garaz Karaz had now become a great hold of the Dwarven realms; it was not an unusual sight for the warriors of Karak Hirn and Garaz Karaz to stand together in battle, the two kings fighting side by side. The rangers are now used to patrol further parts, thereâ€™s even talk of them having a secret hold where they remain. But whatever the case may be they are still a force to be reckoned with, they alone have forced entire orc tribes into fleeing the mountains.
But alas the tale of the Karak is not all good and heart warming; in the last four hundred years a great woe has fallen upon them. The miners accidentally broke into a tunnel they had not made, wary and unsure of who did they investigated. It turned out to be a Skaven made tunnel, those unfortunate few miners were slain as their torches lit up the foul ratmen. Pouring through the tunnels and mines the ratmen took the hold by force, unprepared for such an attack the dawi lost the lowest halls and mines to the furry fiends. Quickly the overwhelming number of rats ran through the hold like a flood, but soon the dawi began to marshal themselves. Ulrikâ€™s son Dali soon began to fight back, holding the Skaven in battle and preparing the way to safety, the upper levels were sealed with great unbreakable doors. But the dawi were not trapped for they made the karak, many secret passages were made some even large enough to pass entire armies through. Thus began a guerrilla war, the dawi would sally forth from these secret entrances slay all they could and then disappear back into the walls, this unnerved their enemy. The Skaven couldnâ€™t stop or chase the dawi; some even began to think them as ghosts. Dali was someone they came to fear, his fathers hammer shattered skulls and armour with ease, the runic armour he bore could not be penetrated, skaven forged weapons slid off its surface, spells disintegrated in showers of sparks and the stink of brimstone. Wherever he went he returned victorious, his deeds were enough to put the pride and steel back into the beleaguered dawi. And through cunning and knowledge of the mountain the dawi forced the skaven back out of the upper levels, wars were fought and won, traps were set and the rats died in droves.
But out numbered, they never gave up. Each hall or mine they retook became a bastion for them, it was strengthened so that ten times the numbers below would be needed to enter; the skaven were seemingly becoming content with what they had. The raids and attacks became less frequent, but the dawi refused to share their home with such creatures. They constantly launched scathing attacks and raids on the rats, forays from places of strength allowed them to capture mines and many of the workshops came back under their control. These newly regained workshops were put to good use; the forging of armour and weapons began anew whilst nothing when compared with the older items they were still strong enough.
Once more the continuous â€śSkaven Warsâ€? (as they are known here) rambled onwards. During one raid of the mines Dali fell, three assassins set upon him and his twelve companions. Dali duelled with the lead assassin, his armour turned its green weeping blade time and time again, the runes glowing bright whenever the two met. The two combatants twisted and twirled in a dance of death, but the foul assassin had been better trained, rolling under a swing of Daliâ€™s hammer it rose inside his guard. Unable to do anything else Dali smashed his helmeted head into the snout of the rat, a squeal of pain rose from the shattered muzzle before it fell to the ground, raising the hammer for the final strike Dali stepped forward but it never fell. The cunning assassin had thrown two Warpstone covered stars at Dali in desperation; one had forced its way into the slight gap between his helmet and armour. Dali was dead before his hit the floor, the poison sent his body into backbreaking fits, blood frothed on his lips, his eyes turned the colour of blood and finally with a heart-wrenching scream the poisons job was done. Dali was dead. The assassins slunk away into the shadows as the remaining dawi cried and tore out their beards in frustration; it was a sad day when they entered their home once more. Their Rik upon their shields, tears in their eyes. After the failure of the Riks death many of the twelve took up the slayer oath and went on suicidal attacks alone against the hundreds of Skaven, their death chants could be heard all the way up in the upper citadels.
Now the mantle of Rik has past to Ulrik Dalisson; The Silver Hammer. Ulriks best friend was a Runesmith, and as the two progressed and aged their friendship grew. Thoran Firebrow put all his skill into making a great weapon for Ulrik, the Silver Hammer. But when Ulrik rose to Rik he was expected to take up his ancestorâ€™s hammer and armour, the silver hammer was no longer his weapon. But he always kept the weapon beside him and when upon his throne it stood against it, a token of friendship was never forgotten by Ulrik. It soon became clear that he was another great Rik in the line, but with more in common with this namesake and grandfather. His great white hair was like snow on a mountain top, his face old beyond his years but his eyes held youth and wisdom, like all dawi he had a generous midriff from drinking and eating but his was more muscle than fat. Ulrik trained with his hammers everyday, for hours he could be seen twirling and swinging his weapons, he had mastered the art of combat. The hammers great shaft was used as a staff to block attacks or as a surprise attack, he was deft at switching ways with his hammer in mid swing, feinting this way or that way. None other within the hold could best him in combat, but he personally chose his bodyguard. Each fifty or so years he would hold a competition, dawi from all over came to watch these individuals show their skills. Duels were held, the competition was always tough but still Ulrik was impassive. After the winner was announced he would make his statement,
â€śThose of you who have fought this day I salute you, the skills of those entering improve every year. But now I challenge you, all of you! Those brave enough step forth and test me, if I am defeated then you may take one sack full of whatever you wish from the vaults. If I am not, then another shall step forthâ€? Many came to duel with the great Rik, yet none could beat him and as each step forward they soon stepped back. After all those who had taken his challenge he spoke names, those who impressed him with their skills would be allowed to enter his bodyguard. He chose only the bravest, strongest and quickest as his Hammerers, for his would constantly test them by leading them into deep raids on the Skaven. These elite guard smashing aside rats with easy whilst their Rik at the fore was unto himself a whirlwind of death, none escaped their wrath.
Since then Rik Ulrik has shown his leadership skills time and time again, he personally slew the Orc warlord Urg Stuntie-Smasher. The warlord had terrorised many Dwarven holds and had defeated armies sent to face him, Rik Ulrik slew him on the slopes of Garaz Karaz as Urg attempted to take the hold. The skaven are slowly being pushed lower and lower down, the halls the filth once occupied are now being rebuilt, the stink and remains of the rats ever evident in the halls. But now the Skaven too have problems, many miners and Ironbreakers have reported the presence of black robes greenskins. Night Goblins. The hated foe of the dawi return once more to pile the troubles upon the karak, but Ulrik fears none of this. He shall fight them to his last breath; his brethren shall fall upon on them with fire, steel, hammer and axe. His home shall once more be Dawi alone. This he has sworn.
Thanks, I was loosely basing it on Eight Peaks. The idea with skaven was basically because it could mean I get a chance to collect them in the future thus having battles between my evil and good armies. ^_^
As for the gates, what do you expect? If you have it, show it off!
But thanks, I'm glad it's liked.