Yselte buried the axe-head into the cutting stump and looked at her hands. She had been chopping firewood all afternoon, and the blisters on her hands had swollen and burst hours ago. The haft of the axe was a mess of slimy gore. A few feet away, her mother was scraping a stretched hide. She envied her mother for being able to sit, and simply draw the bone-knife across the leather, but knew that it was dextrous work. A young girl could not be trusted with something so important, and chopping firewood not only built up her strength, but also gave her good practice with an axe. But still, her hands were sore, “Why have you stopped Yselte- you’re hands? Remember child, ‘Blood for the Blood God’” Yselte turned her eyes northward to the roiling skies, “and skulls for the skull throne,” finishing the blessing for her mother. Her father had been away on the longships for two months now, carrying the judgement of their fierce god to the soft wastrels of the South, and doing his part to ensure that the Gorehunt Tribe would remain in Khorne’s favor for another season.
As she reached a raw hand back towards the axe, she saw a trio of dark shapes cresting a distant drift of windblown snow.
“Mama, Gormach is back from the hunt!”
Yselte’s mother stood up from the tanning rack and squinted into the snow. When she saw Gormach and the other boys crest the next hill, she crossed her arms and waited patiently,
“Get the fire ready in the yurt, Yselte, it looks like they’re carrying a meal.”
With a fire burning, Yselte heard her brother and the other hunters crunching through the snow. Yselte and her mother lived in one of the outer yurts. It had been difficult for her mother to have children, and Yselte’s older brother Gormach was still barely thirteen winters old, too young to be a proper warrior, and therefore, Yselte and her mother were not yet welcomed into the circle of War Kin at the center of camp. She ran outside and hugged her brother.
Gormach’s shirtless torso was streaked with blood, and he had a bitter gash on his shoulder. Two youths behind him each looked worse for wear, and Gormach carried the lifeless body of a fourth over his shoulders. He dumped the cadaver onto the snow,
“Jorund” he grunted at the body. Yselte looked at it – great hunks of flesh had been ripped from the bone, and the head was only a lumpen sack of bone and gore. He had been her friend, only half a year older than her brother.
“How did he die?" her mother asked,
“Like a Gorehunt – with an axe in his hand,” one of the boys replied, Tyrgulf. His right arm hung limply at his side.
“That is good,” Yselte’s mother replied, “at least he died well. I cannot say the same for you three,” the survivors tried to look away from her darkened eyes, “take the body to his mother, and tell her why you have returned when her son did not”
Yselte looked down at her hands as the boys stepped forward to lift Jorund’s remains – they were still covered in blood, hers, her brother’s, and Jorund’s. She stepped forward to Trygulf and put her small hand on his handsome chest. When he looked at the bloody handprint, Yselte felt herself blush,
“For the strong hunter, who came back when Jorund could not,” she managed.
Trygulf’s mouth twisted with a smile, and he hefted the corpse over his shoulder with a grunt. Yselte watched the two boys walk off to yurt of Jorund’s family, and then fathered her mother and sibling inside.
“We need to move camp by nightfall tomorrow, mother,” Gormach was saying, “We saw them out there – the blue ogres have returned. They killed Jorund, we didn’t stand a chance, we came back to carry the warning.”
Yselte looked at her son from across the flames, “it only takes one to carry a message,” she looked at Yselte and back at Gormach “Hylan was the youngest. You and Trygulf should have died as men”
Yselte was confused, Gormach had been hunting to the North, but the Ogres lived to the South, with the other weak things.
“Blue Ogres? Why can’t hetman Solaus turn them away?”
Gormach looked up from his bloodied shoulder, “Because Solaus’s great grandfather brought them here!”
Yselte was even more confused. Were they Daemons? “Then Solaus must know the banishing curse to send them back.”
Yselte’s mother was already beginning to pack away their few belongings, but she looked over her shoulder at her daughter, “They’re not Daemons. They’re not Ogres either. Two generations ago, Solaus’s grandfather Gurrier led the yearly Great Hunt to the South, into Ogre-country. He wanted to bring back the largest kill since Kurran began the tribe, to take over the tribe from the chieftain. The hunt marched to the Ogre Stone, and set their camp. From there, young hunters, much braver than Gormach, hiked over the mountains to attack the grazing herdbeasts of the Ogres and drag them back to prepare for the feast.
“When the Ogres discovered their great beasts missing, they rallied their tribes and made for the Ogre Stone. The battle raged for three days, and many brothers and fathers of the Gorehunt were lost. But on the second day, the Blood God was pleased, and Gorehunt stacked the fresh skulls of Ogres until they buried the Ogre Stone, and they split open the ribs of the fallen as a feast for the crows. With a glut of meat for the feast, the Great Hunt returned to the tribe.
“One pale moon later, a tribe of Ogres marched North, past the Ogre Stone. The chieftain led the warriors of the Gorehunt into the snow, and they bit their axes and howled their warcries, and the Ogres marched around them, turning their backs. Old Gurrier called out to the Ogres, and walked to speak with their fat leader. He returned saying that the Ogres did not want to make war. They were seeking something, ‘a world without a Maw’ he said, but he didn’t know what that could mean. Too afraid to fight, Gurriel convinced the Chieftain to let them pass.
“Young hunters followed the Ogres however, proving themselves in battle against the stragglers who fell behind, and dragging the carcasses back to hang high upon the spires to Khorne. Your father brought back two large, fur-covered Ogres, dragging them alone after they killed the rest of the party. He was a braver warrior than Gormach, a true warrior. But the Ogres soon ventured further North than even we dared to go, and the last hunting parties said that they saw the Ogres disappearing into a blizzard, leaving nothing behind but a trail of frozen and butchered Ogres, and footprints in the snow.
“Years later, the coward Gurrier was gunned down in battle by the weaklings of the South, as he deserved. With him, almost all memory of the wandering Ogres died. But it was not long after that they returned. On the night of the season’s fiercest blizzard, they marched out from the snow to lay waste to the camp of the Gorehunt. Man and woman stood side-by-side to fend them off, and it was only when the storm abated that the attackers retreated, leaving burning yurts and half-devoured bodies behind them. They were different now though – their skin was blue, like a frozen man’s, and their hair had turned pale and white. Their blood was colder than an ice river, and their breath frosted like a cold morning.
“Solaus will not speak of them, just like his father and his father before him, except to say that they call themselves the Frost Guts Tribe, and that their leader is a great Ogre named Fjaldur IceEater. Others with the gift of omens and visions speak more, and say that they are the same Ogres who passed by the camp those many years ago, and that as punishment for Gurrier’s cowardice, the gods took them into their realm and remade them, as a curse upon the Gorehunt forever more, doomed to appear on the coldest of winters to slaughter us or drive us across the wastes.”
Yselte’s mother looked at Gormach, who gazed forlornly at the flames, “remember Gormach, the gods do not forgive at coward,” and turning her attention to young Yselte, “and the women should not suffer a weakling.”
The siblings nodded sullenly, as their mother continued to chastise her son, “Next time, I expect you to return with a trophy, or not to return at all – that is the way of the Gore Hunt.”
**Written by CaptainSarathai @ Librarium Online**
Check out my pics so far! Any feedback is welcomed!
THE FROST GUT TRIBE
Lords - 370
Lore of the Great Maw
Heroes - 394
Battle Standard Bearer
Banner of Swiftness
Core - 817
Ogre Bulls x 11 (4x3 formation)
Ironguts x 10 (4x3 formation)
Standard of Discipline
**Slaughtermaster and Bruiser go here.
LeadBelchers x 8
Mournfang Cavalry x 4
Ninja Maneaters x 8
Brace of Shurikans
Rare - 620
TOTAL - 3500