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Ok, this is some background I've come up with for my dwarf army. It's been a while since I've thought of doing this but never got around to it. Anyway, this is my work. Been a while since I've written anything, so might not be all that good. Anyway.. this is it.
(I plan on writing a story or two to accompany this background. If you want to see more, then I have more in the fiction forum)
Valag Grung (The Lonely Mine)
In the far reaches of the Grey Mountains, north of Karak Norn and west of the Bretonnian state of Couronne lays the small mining city of Valag Grung. Despite the Grey Mountains being nearly dry of any form of ore or gem to mine, the small city has lasted for little over a century and a half. And yet, in this small period they have suffered greatly. In the recent past there were the effects of the Storm of Chaos. From the East, pushed out of their homes came swathes of beastmen. Most of them passed over the mountains and into Bretonnia or lower down into the realms of the Wood Elves, but one particular warband took up residence in a local mountain that was riddled with caves. This warband has become a thorn in the side for the dwarves and the humans who live on either side of the mountains. All of them suffering at the hands of the creature the dwarfs call Varag Goruz ('Wolf made of Horns').
The current ruler of Valag Grung is Ulrik Flamebeard, youngest son on Ulfar Flamebeard. How Ulrik came to the head of the family is a sad tale. During the "Storm of Chaos" his father took most of the city’s veterans to war, leading them into the Empire, towards Middenheim. Alas, before they could make it to the city they were set upon by a large warband of beastmen. In the ensuing battle Lord Ulfar was slain and returned to the city upon his shield. Ulrik’s two elder brothers went near mad with grief and when opportunity arose both marched against their enemy; Varag Goruz, believing him to be cornered. Yet, the wolf was much too canny to be caught so easily and it was a trap. The brothers were drawn into a small ravine and slaughtered. Of the hundreds that entered, only a handful returned. But yet there was more woe to be heaped upon the bloodline of Ulrik. For his brothers both carried powerful rune axes, a pair – twins, just like the brothers. Yet, when they were slain only one of the brothers was recovered, Mordin. The others brother, Borri, was taken. His corpse, along with the axe, was stolen by the beasts of the mountains. To this day Ulrik has an intense hatred towards all beasts, this hate rivals that reserved for the greenskin menace.
When Ulfar first created the city he left with three powerful weapons; a hammer and a pair of axes. The hammer is called Dammaz Stokaz (’Grudge Striker’). The large headed hammer was believed to come from the time before the “Time of Woes”, upon its head is a special rune that thus far none of the runesmiths in the city have been able to decipher. Yet, the name was given to it due to the fact that all the wielders have managed to expunge multiple grudges. The twin axes are actually a pair, each with a specific ability. One is called Wry (‘Ice’) and the other Zharr (‘Fire’). They are believed to be from the same period as the Dammaz Stokaz. These two weapons have a special ability. Each one expels an essence of the element they are named after - fire and ice. These two were split up and given to Ulrik’s twin brothers, alas one was lost in battle and is in the hands of the beastmen.
Valag Grung sits high in the Grey Mountains; the city itself is small for a dwarven city but is still bigger than many of the smaller human cities in the Empire. The population of the city is estimated to be in the smaller range of the thousands, this number includes the women and children. The main support for the city is in fact the meagre ore and gems found in the mountains below their city, but they also manage to use trade as a source of income. The city has created numerous trading routes with the near by groups of humans. Mainly they trade with the Empire, but they also have routes west leading into Bretonnia and north to Marienburg. Unfortunately in the recent years these routes have become increasingly more dangerous. There has been an increase beastman activity in the mountains. This means that the trade routes and the groups that travel them have to be a lot more protected than they use to be. They often are accompanied by the city’s hardened veterans or even at times ironbreakers: but even with this protection there is never any guarantee of their survival. The Rangers have spotted various beastmen wearing large plates of armour strapped to their bodies and armed with dwarven axes.
Many feel the day has come and the hammer of judgement has fallen upon the city. Yet, dwarven born stubbornness means Ulrik refuses to abandon his home. Or, at lease he refuses while the beastlord Varag Goruz still draws breath. So, he prepares for death and vengeance. He treats both like long lost brothers.
Looks good to me, would love to see some stories with it. The beastlords name is in Dwarven, I presume? Anyway, good job, especially like the weapon ideas!
2,500 points Empire
1,300 points Dwarves
500 points Cygnar
Hey. it's really good KU! :yes:
You write well. Do you read a lot of GW fiction? A lot of fantasy?
The first two paragraphs are the best. They're more narrative driven. The 3rd and 4th are background exposition. At first I wondered if they'd make more sense coming 1st and 2nd, but after a bit of reflection, I think you started the story at the right place.
Are you going to write any more?
Do you have special stats for the weapons? Or are you using the runes available in the army book?
zuz - Yes, it's in Khazalid (the dwarven language) and it means "Wolf made of Bones". Seemed a cool name, and this was possible due to me having an extended version of the dwarf language (from "Steel and Stone" WFRP first edition. =D )
David - I have done, I own most fantasy novels (slipped recently due to funds and college etc) and I love almost all things dwarven. The slayer series are my favourite (not got or read Orcslayer yet) and so is the Grudgebearer one. All good fun to read. And I tend to read other fantasy stuff more often than not.
I am considering writing the story of the families deaths (ie the Father and then twin brothers) but not sure when I'll get around to it. But this is the first stuff I've written for a while. There are a load of other stuff in the fiction forum but they're ages old now.
I'm not sure. I think for sake of easy I'd try and use the rules that exist but, for some fun I might have a go at creating my own rules at some point. =)
Ok, I got the idea to write something and this might be the beginning of a story. I want an honest opinion from people. I don't care if you like it or not, I do however care why you don't like it or why you do. Please be critical, as I want to improve my writing ability and comments like "nice" or "I like it" don't help. Anyway, here's what I've put down so far:
The messenger sprinted up the isle of the throne room, the dwarves gathered gasped at his bravado of bursting into a meeting with the king. As he closed on the throne, two Hammerers stepped forward, blocking his passage to the king: each wore a stern look and held his namesake in a firm grip. The messenger stopped feet from the throne’s edge, then bent double as he tried to catch his breath. Above him, upon his throne, sat the King Ulfar Flamebeard. Not an elderly dwarf, but as wise as a runesmith, it is said. His family name comes from the proud, fiery facial hair the males in his bloodline have. He sat waiting for the messenger to recover, his flame coloured eyebrows knitted together as he ran though his minds the names of the clans under his rule.
“Speak, Thorin Stoneback, son of Gurin. Why do you break this conference without my permission?” The king’s voice was stern and harsh, like the tumbling of rocks down the mountain side. Thorin Stoneback, still slightly out of breath, dropped to one knee in supplication to his king.
“I beg your forgiveness for this indiscretion my lord but I have important and grave news.” Thorin glanced up, locking eyes with his king. Ulfar nodded for him to continue and the messenger began to explain “We have just received news that Karak Norn is marching. They are heeding the call of the High King and marching to help the manlings in the Empire.” Gasps and mutterings echoed in the large throne room, it is rare that the dwarves of the Grey Mountains accept orders from the East, this was big news. “There is more!” Thorin called over the din. Ulfar raised his hand and instantly the room was ushered into a deafening silence. Thorin nodded and continued with his message “Not only this, but there have been reports from the rangers and traders, some manling, of beastmen warbands heading towards these mountains, as well as a grobi and urk force close by.” Ulfar sat back in his throne, his eyebrows seemingly joined in the middle to create a creased wave of fiery hair along his brow. A heavily jewelled hand reached up and he slowly began to stroke his beard, deep in thought. He sat this way for moments, his eyes gazing off into the distance as if he could see what was to come. His hand stopped and cupped his chin. Ulfar turned his head slightly and his blue flint eyes met with the green jade eyes of his closest and most loyal servant Breunor Blackbeard.
“Master Blackbeard.” He rasped, his words almost whisper. Breunor raised his head, expectantly, and waited for the orders his king, and friend, was about to issue. “Sound the horns. Call to arms my friend. We march.” At this the hall exploded into sound as the dwarves leapt to the commands that Breuner Blackbeard barked at them. They quickly returned to their clans to arm themselves. They had but two days, and then the mountains will tremble beneath their iron shod boots.
Took a while, but here is the second part.* * * * *
“And where do you think you are going?” asked the king with a raised eyebrow. The question was aimed at his youngest child, Ulrik, as he strapped on his armour. The young prince opened his mouth to reply but he father held up a bejewelled hand, delaying him. “No Ulrik. You must remain here, with the others. In mine and your brother’s absence you are king here. War is no joke and you must not rush headlong into it. Son, have you not seen the faces of your people?” Ulfar questioned. Ulrik frowned for a moment and glanced at the dour hammerers that constantly followed his father,
“They always look that way father. How am I to tell how they feel with such faces that are cut from the mountains themselves?” Ulrik replied. Even in such unhappy circumstances the faces of the dwarves brightened at the young prince’s jest, there was even a slight chuckle.
“Tis true son, tis true. However, war must never be celebrated. It is a sad time for our people, for we are not like the manlings and breed lots or like the elgi on their far off island or hiding in their trees. We Dawi are small in number but fierce in heart, war means the loss to us. And our race dwindles even more. That, Ulrik, is no cause for celebration.” The elder Flamebeard’s words touched the junior to the heart and he understood. Nodding solemnly he unbuckled the chest plate and replaced it on the stand.
“I’m keeping it warm father. Understand?” he said with all seriousness. Ulfar let a smile creep across his face and nodded.
Ulrik stood on the battlements of his city and watched as the dwarven army marked down the main gateway and into the mountains. He stood there, oblivious to the cold wind that whipped his flaming red beard about him with such fury, and he waited until he could see nothing of them; not even the dying sun glinting off armour. Grasping the engraved stone axe he wore around his neck he whispered a prayer to Grimnir, the dwarven god of War and battles. He told Grimnir he would give anything to see his father return safely. If the god was once more mortal he would have shook his head and his fierce eyes could not have met the young dwarf’s, for the sight of his father marching off clad in glittering silver armour would be the last he would remember him breathing. Finally he turned and without looking back he descended to speak with his people and join them with their prayers to the ancestor gods.
The echoing beat rolled before them through the mountains, announcing their arrival long before they appeared. In blocks came the heavy set faces of the small statured dwarves in their shining mail armour. Warriors came leading the pipe smoking, grumbling Longbearded veterans with small numbers of Thunderers and more traditional armed crossbowmen behind them. In the middle, among the best fighters and the bravest dwarves out of them all was Ulfar and his twin sons with their Hammerer bodyguards. Holding up the rear was the multitude of war machines being drawn along the rough mountain paths by sturdy ponies almost as touch as their owners themselves. Running before the army were the Rangers. These light moving, for a dwarf, warriors moved swiftly through rock and stone with ease as the checked the way is clear for the marching host.
“We’re making good time, my Lord” Ragnar muttered into his mug of ale. Ragnar was the chief Ranger, meaning he was the best, and was also an aged old friend with Ulfar Flamebeard. The two old dwarves were joined at the fire by three others, master engineer Harin Halfbeard – named due to the excessive number of time his beard has been almost lost due to an accident with his beloved black powder – there was also Alaric Snowbeard, chosen of the Longbeards and Breunor Blackbeard, the king’s right hand. Ulfar nodded at Ragnar’s information as he tore into a leg of lamb he just removed from the spit over the flames in the middle of them all. “No signs of any enemy, yet.” The chief Ranger continued, “But this means nothing yet. We will pass a number of places where an ambush would work best, the first will be the Axe Bridge tomorrow. I will make sure each is scouted before we are close, though there are few alternatives.” Again the aged king nodded as he wiped grease from the leg from his beard, staring directly at the flames he tossed the neatly picked clean bone into them – the little fat remaining on it fizzled and spat.
“How long before we enter the Empire?” he enquired. This time it was Ragnar to put his hand to his beard in thought
“A few days I’d imagine. The going is quicker than I had expected, we’ll be there quickly my friend. After that, to the manling city? You guess is as good as mine. I’ve never ventured that far, though I bartered a map from a manling when I was at the boarder last time.” At this quiet and thoughtful moment Harin Halfbeard collapsed backwards off his log seat to the floor. The others stared at his prone body, quickly wondering if there was an assassin about. But, as hard worked hands touched weapons the prone body began to snore noisily. Relieved laughter rippled through the quartet
“Never could hold his ale” chuckled Alaric “Not like us old ones” and with that he knocked back his eighth flagon. As he stood to get another he turned to two passing dwarves “Oi, you two. Take this drunkard to his tent. He’s spoiling my appetite.” After the drunken engineer had been removed the venerable dwarf resumed his place. “Now, I remember this time when I was younger much like this one.” And as the moons high in the sky began their slow decent, fleeing the oncoming morning, the elder dwarf recounted one of his tales. The fires burned low but the ale flowed freely.* * * * *
Okay, finally got a chance to read it. I enjoyed the last two installments. You didn't waste time with scenes. What I mean is the scenes that are there to move the story forward do their job without being needless fluff. You develop the plot, give an idea of the characters, and then get the dwarfs back on the march.
And I like the closing sentence.
Thanks. This is more an exercise to get back into writing (well, non-essay or power point things anyway), and hopefully I can improve my skills with language and so forth. Also, allows for development on my army background as a whole (should I keep it all this time. =D ).