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This is the start and first go at my dwarf fluff. I couldn't help but make it clichéd, but hopefully it isn't as bad as some fluff out there. However, it is long. I hope to add to it in the future as the army and it's history grows. I am working on some of the major characters. Anyway let me know what you think. It has been some time since I wrote some fluff, so hopefully it isn't that bad...The Delving Spear Hold
The history of the Delving Spear Hold is a long and sad one. The city was built over a forgotten and ruined city that fell to the greenskins during the Goblin Wars. What its original name was has never been found, the records of it were either lost in the fall of the city itself or expunged from the dwarven libraries across the world. Whatever the case might be, even without its name, its history is known. During the Goblin Wars the city was besieged, by the dwarf’s ancestrally hated enemies, the greenskins. Yet, dwarfs never give up, and despite being vastly outnumbered they fought on defiantly. Eventually, the orcs and goblins smashed through the stalwart defence and poured into the broken city. The dwarfs fought for their lives and home, it was fierce and bloody. Heroes were made and then slain in mere hours. In the lower reaches of the hold, the Runesmiths cast their mighty runes over the treasury, armoury and library, ensuring their protection from the marauding greenskins. Finally the few remaining dwarfs fell back to defend the king’s throne room. It was here, that in their final hour the mighty dwarven heroes were killed. Not by the rusted weapons of their foe, but from a hammer blow from the skies. Overhead a comet fell from the skies, its path across the mountainside was a blazing trail of fire. It plummeted into the side of the city like a fist from an angry god. Almost all within the city itself were instantly slain, the comet was devastating. This was too much for the greenskins who fled in fear, their leader having been obliterated along with the dwarf king he was battling. The battle was over. Exactly why no one had attempted to reclaim or claim this city after this event is a mystery, but even the bands of greenskins gave its location a wide birth, as if fearing its existence. And thus, the city fell into ruin and through the cracks in history. It was forgotten.
Hundreds, if not thousands of years after the fall of this unknown dwarven city, a young dwarf lord is born in the city of Karak Norn. This young lord is struck with an unnatural amount of ego for a dwarf. Rather than spend time in the mines or in the smithy this dwarf claims he is leaving to find his fame. In his folly he boasts that he shall find enough starmetal to make a dozen weapons. So outrageous is his boast, that the king summons him to an audience. It is here, in the throne room of the king of Karak Norn that his boast is heard and that Ulthar Stormfist has sworn an oath, with the king as his witness. Stunned, Ulthar is told he has two months to make his preparations. The months come quickly. No fanfare or loving fans wait at the gates to see him off on his ‘quest’. Instead, there is but one figure. Alric Snorrison, best friend of Ulthar. Together they take one final look at the city and leave.
For nearly seven decades the pair of dwarfs wanders the paths of the World Edge Mountains looking for signs of their precious starmetal. It might have been chance, or the will of the gods that on a particularly harrowing storm fuelled night the two dwarfs wondered into the remains of the long forgotten dwarven city. Here, looking for shelter they clamber into the ruins and end up in a long tunnel. Unknown to the two travellers, this city had long been inhabited by a great dragon. As all know, dragons make their den and fill it with gold and other valuable items. This drake had managed to break into the treasure vaults of the city, which were vast, and now bathed in gold and valuable jewels. As the dwarfs settled down for the night, they discovered a deep red glow from deep within the tunnel. Curiosity overtook them and they cautiously investigated. What they found stunned them, and sent a shock of fear through their bodies. Mountains of gold, more than the king of Karak Norn had within his entire city. Then, atop of the pile of gold lay the hugest, deep red coloured dragon. Unfortunately the dwarfs were not as stealthy as they had hoped, and as they came to the tunnel’s entrance the great beast belched a ball of fire at them. The flames rushed towards them, yet before they hit, Alric committed the ultimate sacrifice for his friend. He pushed him out of the path of the dragon’s breath, into a small alcove. Ulthar watched in abject horror as his loyal and closest friend was melted before his very eyes. The armour just ran like hot wax, and his flesh burnt off his bones. Tears ran freely down the dwarf lord’s face, as he was powerless to save his friend. Finally the ordeal was over, nothing; only a blackened shape remained of Alric.
Something at his hand drew his attention. A golden headband, a circlet of immense intricacies lay there, covered by years of dirt and dust. He grasped it; it was warm to his touch. Not sure why, he placed it upon his brow; the warm feeling spread through his whole body. Next to this circlet was a large axe, its head was festooned in gold inlay and runes. Standing he hefted the axe in his hands; the weight of it was perfect. He knew what he had to do. Once more he advanced upon the entrance, and again, the great drake sense he was there and sent another burst of flames down the tunnel. Ulthar braced himself, willing to meet his end with honour and bravery. The flames did not burn. Instead they splashed across him, but he felt no heat. The dragon’s breath could not harm him. Bellowing with laughter he sprinted out of the tunnel and leaped at the great beast. The details of this fight was known only to Ulthar himself, all that is otherwise know is that he slew the drake. The runic axe in his hands tore open its throat, and as it died Ulthar hacked its head off. Drained, Ulthar fell to the floor, unconscious.
The young lord woke up, unsure whether it had been moments or days. What was clear though was that the dragon was dead and all the riches it gathered to its den were now his. Painfully he hobbled among the vast piles of gold, past mountains of jewels and stone encrusted, golden goblets and bowls and plates. He was rich. Further back the tunnel went, the steeper it became. Trails made in the stone suggested that it was regularly visited by the drake, so Ulthar investigated. What he found made him happier than the entire contents of the cavern he was just in. The drake had many enemies and each one it slew, it cast their weapons and armour here, at this point. At the base of a giant ball of roughly hewn metal there was a kind of shrine to the failed dragon slayers. This ball of metal shone with intrinsic beauty, blue tones washed across its rough surface. He had found it. It was the largest piece of starmetal Ulthar had ever seen. It was almost harder than any either. It took him nearly a week to remove enough of the metal to full the oath that been pushed upon him. Leaving the mountain behind he became the long trek back to Karak Norn to the north, his pack mules groaning at the immense weight they carried.
It was an entirely different dwarf that entered the city of Karak Norn than had left it. He was older, wiser and more scarred. Upon his brow still sad the circlet, and strapped across his back, the axe which he had cut the dragon’s head off with. He now claimed them both as being his. Upon meeting the king once more, he merely gave him the amount of starmetal to make nearly three dozen weapons and suits of armour. A gift he called it, from the King of the Delving Spear Mountain. In the presence of the king and all of his court, he named himself king of the city and told stories of the wonders there – the dwarven architects and runes spoke volumes to others, while tales of the deep and strong metal ores brought others to listen. When Ulthar left his ancestral home once more, it was not two dwarfs, but just over two hundred that left to find their place in a new world. Among them were blacksmiths, and miners – looking to exploit the metals buried deep within. Engineers and architects went to help rebuild the city, but only better and stronger. Many families from dwarf cities that had fallen, not finding a place for themselves within the other holds joined the march to begin a new. However, it was the last group that was the most unusual and had brought the king of Karak Norn nearly to blows with their leader. The cities Runelord sent nearly half of his apprentices with Ulthar as well. He hoped to find lost secrets within the city, and believed that the city will need the runesmith’s help before long.
Decades and then centuries passed and the city grew. The damaged inflicted by the comet was built over; at the lip of the hole the dwarfs built a huge fortress and battlement. Stone grey and forbidding, it barred entrance to all except for a large door – so big that even the largest of dragons or giants would not struggle to pass through, with plenty of room to spare. Runes and golden metal work covered the large stone portal. Behind the doors lay a city where non dwarfs were permitted. They mostly had dealings with humans, many from the Empire or the Border Princes, the news of their quality of items spread. Of course, they also dealt with others of their race. The upper levels were a maze, but had a large central hub of activity known only as the Khaz, or in the mannling’s tongue “The Hall”. There is also a large audience chamber where the king meets ambassadors and other such people from all over the world. Below this upper level is where only dwarfs may go, and even then the dwarfs of the Delving Spear Hold are very secretive and not many of their own kind (outside the inhabitants of the city) may freely go about this section of the hold. This section of the city is split into quarters, or roughly so. One is the royal quarter, the living quarter, the engineer’s quarter and the jewellers’ quarter. Even further below this is where the city really makes itself know. The forges and entrances to the mines are on this level. Four doors, all large and bound with runic wards mark the entrance into the mines. An entire regiment of Ironbreakers are charged with guarding each door, with support from the engineer’s guild. The mines themselves delve deep into the mountains, many riches in the form of silver and gold are to be found within their roots; or even better still – strong seams of Gromril are known to be found. However, at the centre of it all is still the large ball of starmetal. Even after a couple hundred of years, the metal does not seem to have been reduced much and yet the city has produced hundreds if not thousands of suits of armour, weapons and some not so practical items from the precious metal. Also on this level are the halls of the runesmiths. Only the king is allowed to freely walk into here without permission. On guard at all times are some of the hold’s eldest Longbeards, protecting their masters from intrusion. Each one is decked out in splendid looking runic armour and armed with fierce axes each engraved with deadly runes. Located near the halls of the runesmiths are the shrines to the gods. There are of course large shrines for worship, each dedicated to the three elder, ancestor gods – Grungni, Grimnir and Valaya. However, there are also smaller shrines to other, lesser known gods of the dwarf pantheon, such as: Gazul of the Underworld, Smednir, the Shaper of Ore, and Morgrim of the Engineers and Thungni of the runesmiths.
However, this time of peace under the rule of King Ulthar was not going to last forever. From the south came a time of upheaval, and once more the tribes of the greenskins banded together under a powerful – and very large – warlord, and set their sights on the realms of the dwarfs. At first it was only the odd supply or merchant train that were attacked, then they became more heavily defended and while the attacks never actually stopped, there fewer casualties were inflicted. Those who were unlucky to be captured or killed met some grizzly fates. Humans were often eaten, but the worst punishments were kept for the dwarfs. Some were found staked to the ground, often in several pieces, others were tied to rocks and left for the birds to gnaw upon. These poor souls were generally alive when they were tied up. But in all cases, the only consistence was that each dwarf had had his beard brutally and roughly shorn from their face. Clumps of bloody hair left were a testament to how sharp the knife used to shave them was. Then, the horde began to surround and besiege the city. Crude stone throwers were erected, often manned by grotesque trolls, and all day and through the night they slung misshapen rocks pulled from the mountainside at the fortress. In return, dwarven marksmanship destroyed each of these rudimentary war machines with ease; shattering them into splinters.
It turned out that the dwarfs had underestimated their opponent. While the bulk of the horde sat outside the city walls, small groups of goblins had been able to uncover long forgotten entrances and tunnels that led to many of the newer mines. Thus the warlord and his bodyguard of fearsome black orcs, some trolls, and numerous goblins use these entrances to break into the city. The first clue the dwarfs got, before it was too late was the squealing shriek of squigs as the greenskins herded dozens of them into the tunnels. As the dwarfs fought off the creatures, they were unprepared for the warlord’s attack as he led his black orcs into the mines. The lower sections were quickly lost; those not eaten by the manic squigs were slaughtered by the blood thirst orcs. The higher up the levels they got the stiffer the defence as news filtered back to the dwarfs and proper defences were erected. Traps as well we implemented, entire sections of the mines were rigged to collapse or pits were hastily dug, or perhaps worse of all for the orcs, the dwarf employed close range small portable versions of the flame cannon. Still a relatively new invention, the flame pack was a success as clearing up squigs, goblins and even the fearsome black orcs couldn’t brave the flames of this contraption. But it was not enough. Slowly but surely the greenskins forced they way up, they had almost reached the runesmith halls where the dour dwarfs were already preparing for the worse and sealing away their secrets. Outside the longbeard guards brought the runesmiths time with their lives, each one felling a score of greenskins before succumbing to their wounds. It was in the dire moments that, as the last few longbeards stood locked shield to shield awaiting their deaths that a deep brass note rung out through the mines. The king had come. Armed with the weapon that slew the drake, the king looked magnificent; a dragon pelt made from the slain beast hung down his back, the golden circlet sat firmly upon his brow. His stern bodyguard of hammerers required no telling of what to do, and began to hewing and smashing of the black orcs. The elite brutes couldn’t stand up to the vengeance of the kings’ bodyguard, and they were reaped like corn.
In the middle of the melee orc warlord came face to face with dwarf king. Rune axe met enchanted blade, sparks flew as the two magical weapons clashed time and time again; neither fighter being able to break the other’s guard. Until finally, the brute strength of the warlord took its toll on the king and he was wide open. Even the starmetal forged suit of armour could not stop the titanic blow, and the weapon bit deep into the king’s shoulder. Triumphant the beast reared, ready to hack off the wounded king’s head, but the dwarf was not ready yet. Using the remainder of his strength he struck at the warlord, the runes on his weapon glowing hotly. The axe caught the orc below the chin, splitting its jaw in half. It tore a deep furrow through the flesh of its face, destroying an eye before finally ripping free from its forehead in a gout of gushing blood and spit. Stunned, the warlord fell. All around them, the melee slowed and grew distant. The hammerers quickly saw off the reminder of the orc’s guards, before rushing the king to the healing hands of the Priestesses of Valaya. The Ironbreakers slowly and methodically slaughtered the remnants of the greenskins inside the mines before placing strong guards at each of the greenskin entrances. The runesmiths and engineers worked together to find and seal off any other forgotten passages. Corpses littered the mines. However, after a search there was no sign of the warlord’s corpse. It had either been taken by his warriors as a mark of respect, or even more frighteningly – let on his own accord. Either way, news of the warlord’s defeat and reached the outside. His will that held together the warring factions was dead, and instead of slaughtering the dwarfs inside, they began infighting. Slowly, over a period of weeks, the size of the army dwindled until there was nothing left except the ruins of war machines, signs of a camp and lots of dead greenskins. Of the warlord, no one know what happened to him, though some say that he still lives and even now plot to return to the city.
The wound inflicted by the warlord was severe, so much so that even the healing powers of the disciples of Valaya could do nothing to help him. And thus, Ulthar Stormfist passed into the next world. In his stead the young prince, Ulrik (who we given the nickname of flamebeard after his impressive deep orange beard), took up the mantle left to him by his father. And so began the reign of the dwarf king, Ulrik Flamebeard.
I really enjoyed it! Loved the Rune of the Furnace twist with the Dragon's Breath!
"Stand fast, for the honor of your Clan"
Any more comments and criticism is welcome.
Very creative and much much fun to read even with the typo's. keep up the good work and all the best of luck to you in this ongoing project.
I could have sworn I read through this, and posted a reply... but I can't see any evidence that I have...
Oh well. I don't think I had any significant input, other to say that I thought it was a pretty decent story. I liked the transition from the old leadership to the new at the end, and the idea of a possible recurring Orc Warlord nemesis!
I love the story! In the beginning it was reminding me of reading the hobbit a bit but it is great fluf! 10+
Good read indeed!
My project log: High Elves (and other stuff actually, but mainly High Elves).
Last update 1 Sept 2011