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Kraka Draka

a series of short stories

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#1 Skull Krusher

Skull Krusher

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 02:24 AM

Note:  I have been doing a lot of rereading my hard-copy of my tales of Karaka Drakka correcting misspellings an adding a word or two to make a sentence less confusing...  Also produced a cover sheet for the hard copy (see first post) as well as an index page listing chapters and page numbers...  This is what it looks like so far...

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Chapter One                   Page 1              In the beginning classroom lectures

Chapter Two                   Page  5             The founding of Norsca Ankor

Chapter Three                 Page  16           Riding versus Marching

Chapter Four                   Page  17           Queen Bjornhild “Chaosbane” Hilgadotter

Chapter Five                   Page  33           The Secret of Norsca Drakk Ale and Bread

Chapter Six                    Page  37           Chaos Marauders attack Dawi Farming Village

Chapter Seven                 Page  43           The Seacat and Kalan Krupp

Chapter Eight                  Page  46           Memories of Hard-rock Mining

Chapter Nine                   Page  48           The Black Urk Raiding Party

Chapter Ten                    Page  54           The Drakk-Ranger and the Sister of Valaya

Chapter Eleven                 Page  60           Morik, son of Ragnison, of Kalan Oakenstave

Chapter Twelve                Page  65           Part 1 The Death of a King of Norsca Ankor

Chapter Thirteen           Page  68           The Highest lookout post atop Mount Sjoktraken

Chapter Fourteen              Page  72           Finn Harokson of Kalan Oakenstave Enlists

Chapter Fifteen             Page  78           Nemesis Campaign – Norsca Expeditionary Force

Chapter Sixteen               Page  83           Part 1 Norsca Expeditionary Force or NEF

Chapter Seventeen            Page  86           Part 2 NEF – Dawi, Wood Elgi vs Beastman

Chapter Eighteen            Page  89           Part 3 NEF – The Headless Badger – 1st Battle

Chapter Nineteen           Page  92           Part 4 NEF – The Headless Badger – 2nd Battle

Chapter Twenty             Page  94           Part 5 NEF - The Tower of Moonrise - Battle

Chapter Twenty One          Page  95           Part 6 NEF – The Hanging Tree - Battle

Chapter Twenty Two          Page  98           Vault of the 2nd King of Kraka Drakka

Chapter Twenty Three        Page  100         Part 7 NEF – Lord Drazhgrund sails to Kislev

Chapter Twenty Four          Page  103         Part 8 NEF – The Stone of Blood - Battle

Chapter Twenty Five          Page  107         Part 9 NEF – The forest of the Empire

Chapter Twenty Six        Page  110         Part 10 NEF – The Vragthar’s Monolith - Battle

Chapter Twenty Seven        Page  115         Part 2 The Death of a King of Norsca Ankor

Chapter Twenty Eight         Page  118         Part 11 NEF – Final Battle Nemesis Campaign

Chapter Twenty Nine         Page  128         Part 12 NEF – The Aftermath of the Nemesis Campaign

Chapter Thirty     Page  134         Part 12 NEF – The Return of the NEF to Norsca Ankor

Chapter Thirty One     Page  136         A gift to the Rhunlord and a request from the King

Chapter Thirty Two      Page  139         Oldar “Klinkafist” Ragnison of the Kol-Duraz Kalan

Chapter Thirty Three          Page  141         Dawi History Class

Chapter Thirty Four            Page  145         The King’s Drakk-Ranger Belegar Goddison

Chapter Thirty Five            Page  150         Call for Vengeance against Dum Kladhand Marauder Tribe

Chapter Thirty Six             Page  151         The Destruction of Dum Kladhand Tribe

Chapter Thirty Seven          Page  167         Navnsdeg the Day of Naming

Chapter Thirty Eight           Page  170         Kalan Krupp – Engineering Guild

Chapter Thirty Nine            Page  172         Largo Khazadson – Drakk Thunderer

Chapter Forty                   Page  193         The Heirs – Princess Kalea and Prince Bronn

Chapter Forty One              Page  210         Slayer Skaldor Grondson

Chapter Forty Two              Page  219         Fimbar Thyksnev of the Ironhand Kalan

Chapter Forty Three       Page  240         Grund Khaz - Borkas Alrikson of Kalan Ironhand

Chapter Forty Four             Page  245         Arkat Fooger - Jeweler’s Guild Master of Marienberg

Chapter Forty Five             Page  247         Boyar Vanya Borissavich Kaminski – Erengrad, Kislev

Chapter Forty Six            Page  251         The Rusty Harpoon – Throwing Axe target hall

Chapter Forty Seven         Page  253         Bronzed muscles rippling beneath thy braided beard

Chapter Forty Eight                Page  254         Grindol Royal Mine

Chapter Forty Nine        Page  261         Baruch Drazhgrundson – Village of Lodz, Stirland

Chapter Fifty              Page  291         Death of Ragni “Kladfist” Skaffson, Shieldbreaker Kalan

Chapter Fifty One                  Page  295         Weapons training – Sister’s of Valaya

Chapter Fifty Two                   Page  302         Saga of Bjorn – Champion of the Aeslings Tribe

Chapter Fifty Three                 Page  312         Gorril Balinson - Loremaster of Kraka Drakka a

Chapter Fifty Four                   Page  315         The return of Kalan Ironfist

Chapter Fifty Five                   Page  372         The Rusty Harpoon – Years End

Chapter Fifty Six                     Page  373         House of Durazklad

Chapter Fifty Seven                 Page  377         Keg’s End – Erengrad – Troll Slayer Skaldor Grondson

Chapter Fifty Eight                 Page  385         The passing of Norgrim Durakson, Kalan Kladgrong

Chapter Fifty Nine                  Page  387         Troll War’s

Chapter Sixty                           Page  391         Baruch Drazhgrund – City of Wurtbad, Stirland

Chapter Sixty One                   Page  437         Kadri Florinson, Kalan Durazklad – the Black Gulf

Chapter Sixty Two                   Page  444         Thrangi Ragnison destroys undead army by himself

Chapter Sixty Three                 Page  446         Warriors Guild Khaz – The Night of Zagaz

Chapter Sixty Four                  Page  448         Death of an Umgi Assassin

Chapter Sixty Five                   Page  452         What Dorin “Talon” Moreksnev discovers in the Archives

Chapter Sixty Six                     Page  464         The Incursion and the Battle against Chaos Warrior Horde

Chapter Sixty Seven                Page  469         Journal of Bradni Gromson, Blackhand Kalan of Ravnsvake

Chapter Sixty Eight                 Page  482         Different Sagas of the North

Chapter Sixty Nine                  Page  492         The Lay of Yorri of the VarrDrakka.

Chapter Seventy                      Page  499         A shameful gathering of Foolish Warriors

Chapter Seventy One              Page  507         Deamon Slayer Skaldor Grondson – Erengrad, Kislev

Chapter Seventy Two              Page  519         Princess Kettra Valadottier – Brewer Apprenticeship

Chapter Seventy Three            Page  525         The Baker’s Inn – The Oath of Wheat

Chapter Seventy Four              Page  528         Vengeance, Dragons, Lost Anvils, Dragon Slayer Skaldor

Chapter Seventy Five              Page  608         The Mound of Chamon Dharek – Northern Oblast Kislev

Chapter Seventy Six                Page  624         He is Known as Baragdrengi – The Badlands

Chapter Seventy Seven            Page  631         Rikkaz Khaz - Shields

Chapter Seventy Eight             Page  631         The Bedrock Tavern – Meeting between Matriarchs

Chapter Seventy Nine             Page  640         Source of Kraka Drakka’s Wealth

Chapter Eighty                        Page  643         The new Weapon’s Master                 

Chapter Eighty One                Page  648         Rogni Kraggsnev of Kalan Langkhirn

Chapter Eighty Two                Page  666         Vanyra Fennadottier, Kalan Ironhelm the search for truth

Chapter Eighty Three              Page  670         The expedition to Grung Skekbrund – Kraka Ravnsvake

Chapter Eighty Four                Page  689         The decision of Anaya Valadottier, Kalan Ironhand

Chapter Eighty Five                Page  697         The Royal Kalan Gathering

Chapter Eighty Six                  Page  705         Drazhdok Migdhal – Sworn Drakk Oaths

Chapter Eighty Seven              Page 756          The Rumor about Lord Drazhgrund

Chapter Eighty Eight              Page  765         The Jewel-Smith of Erengrad, Kislev

Chapter Eighty Nine               Page  777         The Year of the Three Kings of Kraka Drakka

Chapter Ninety                        Page  783         The Completion of the Sjoktraken Shipyard

Chapter Ninety One                Page  785         Kaboom!!! An explosion rocked the night

Chapter Ninety Two                Page  787         The Year 1625 - The aftermath after the Earth Shakes

Chapter Ninety Three              Page  802         The Year 1627 – The meddling of the Royal Matriarch

Chapter Ninety Four               Page  819         The Year 2510 – The first Za Council of King Thorin

Chapter Ninety Five                Page  828         The new Ungdrin Hewn Boring Barag

Chapter Ninety Six                  Page  839         The Riders on the Storm

Chapter Ninety Seven             Page  840          The Jail Break

Chapter Ninety Eight              Page  856          The Carpenter

Chapter Ninety Nine               Page  859

Chapter One Hundred             Page

 

 

Note:  As you can see it is 859 printed pages (8.5 by 11 inches) and still growing...  and this does not include the family tree of various main charaters and the clans they are related to that is not included in this giant tome.  An insane amount of background information of clans and guilds that make of Kraka Drakka and Norsca Ankor.

 

I have another story that is in the works that takes place in Erengrad and the main character is of course a Dwarf.  Cheers and have a pint on my tab.... or perhaps Daft's!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norsca Ankor - Kraka Drakk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Sagas of Kraka Draka

as transcribe from the royal archives of Kalan Durazklad

by

Prince Alrik “Drazhgrund” Kartinson

 

 

Kraka Draka - Part One

All winter long the breath of Chaos blew down hard from the north towards the civilized lands of the south. Here in Norsca just below the Sea of Chaos more commonly known by those of Norsca as the Frozen Sea the winds are harshest. It is here under the cold mountains dwell the Norsca Dwarves. Deep within the Dawi Hold or karak far from the enemies of their race, and even further from their southern kin; one of four Living Ancestors or Karugromthi sat elevated above his listeners who sat upon the floor. It was one of many such groups of Dawi children throughout the karak but this group and a several more like it all lived in the royal compound within Kraka Drak, this one consisted of thirty small children ranging from a mere four winters to the oldest, twins, sisters, Kettra and Kalea Valadottier of the Durazklad clan barely twelve winters old who stood watching their charges as the matron, Skornia, a spry Dawi Priestess; a member of the Sisters of Valaya who wore a long skirt of black mail over purple robes trimmed in gold stood watching and listening near the iron bound door, a rune inscribed war-hammer hanging from her belt, and a Staff of Valaya in her right hand. The twins each carried a war-hammer at their belt and wore their chain mail over dark green tunics trimmed in red with the same ease as their elders before them. Their hair was the color of bright gold braided in an intricate Grindal weave that flowed down their back to nearly their waist. The Karugromthi’s long flowing hair and beard covered his mail like a blanket of heavy snow from head to his shoes to lie curled about his feet except that this snow was braided and bedecked with nearly an uncountable number of heavy gold runic engraved rings, and tokens as well as just as many rubies and emeralds bound and hung with gold wire that are the colors of Kraka Drak.

Their elder brought forth a book one of the oldest within the karak and the Master Rune of Preservation glowed upon its cover. Then the Karugromthi Drak-Hammererer, Drazhgrund Kartinson set aside his great runic war-hammer and carefully laid the book across his beard padded knees. He slowly reverently opened it revealing a parchment thin page of hammered copper and as he began to read he thought back nine hundred ninty-five years or more when he first sat upon this same fur covered floor like the Dawi children before him as he listened to then Karugromthi Dawi; Kattra Alrikadottier of the Durazklad clan read from this very same tome. He gave a small mental sigh as he remembered her smile and bright blue eyes as he began.



“It has been said in the past by Karugromthi’s older and far wiser than I before the fathers of the Elgi (Elves) and Dawi (Dwarves) knew of speech or song, the world was visited by a race of travelers who came from beyond the stars by means of a gate they created far to the north of Kraka Drak and Norsca itself,” and that brought a few gasps from the younglings for they knew only those of Chaos lived in the far north. “Our Dawi fragmented legends brought with us during the ‘Long Migration” prior to leaving Karak Zorn dimly recall these Old Ones. But the legends say they were here and that “the Dawn of Creation” was started by the Old Ones who lived in far off Lustria” and he pointed to the map that covered the whole wall from floor to ceiling detailing the major continents, the mighty nations with their capitals, every known Dawi karak, the entire Ungdrin Ankor, mine, and city, abandoned ruin, or otherwise. The great wall map was painstaking kept up to date and expanded by Dawi Rangers and Dawi seafarers despite Norsca’s great distance from the rest of the world and the ever present danger of the Chaos Wastes to the north. A second map in the War Room was more detailed showing the scouting reports of all their enemies and their latest movements, strengths, and weaknesses. Then Drazhgrund raised an intricately carved troll skull tankard or Nogarung to his lips and drank deeply and continued. “It has been often said by the Umgi (Human) Sigmarian theologians in the great schools and temples within the Empire that the Old Ones created and destroyed a number of races; before creating the Grob (Orcs and Goblins), Elgi, Umgi, and the Dawi. I do not know about you younglings but I doubt that the Dawi were created by some ugly looking lizard maybe the foul Grob since they both are green. But then again Umgi think the world is flat.” Which brought laughter to the lesson and who said history has to be dry thought the Dawi Valaya Priestess? “In any case many Loremasters and Umgi scholars say all this happened some 200,000 to 150,000 years before what takes place in this book and this book is over 7,000 years old. If you wish to learn more then ask Priestess Skornia to read to you from the Book of Valaya which is the oldest book within Kraka Drak and written in the High Tongue of Dawi.” Now that he had their attention he began to read as he brought to life the ancient history of their race and of their ancestors from a copy of a historical tome written during the first millennium by a High Priest of Grungni and Loremaster of Karak Hirn.

“In the age before time, the first of the Ancestor Gods, Grungni awoke in the darkness within the heart of the first mountains. Though there was no light for his eyes to see, Grungni knew he was not alone. He shattered his cradle of birth with one blow of his mighty fist, thereby creating a large cavern where he could stretch his arms. His exertions also forced a crack into which a thin shaft of light entered his birthplace.

“Grungni’s efforts awoke his brother Grimnir, who likewise shattered his cradle as he stepped into the new world. The two then awoke their sister, Valaya, and brother, Gazul, from the rock that birthed them.”

“The four set forth from the heart of the world, only to be confronted by otherworldly creatures with bulging eyes, hairless bodies, and sorcerous weapons of a type not found in the world. Though just awaken, the Ancestor Gods fought with such strength and determination that their enemies were quickly and decisively defeated. At the end of the battle, which lasted seven days and nights, the Ancestor Gods took possession of the mountain from which they entered the world. In time over countless thousands of years, they crafted a home for themselves and their children and called it Karak Zorn.”

“The Ancestor Gods Grungni, Grimnir, Gazul, and Valaya foreseeing the coming of Chaos into the world, Grungni persuaded nearly all the Dawi to leave their homelands in the Southland Mountains and eventually he led our people during what some call the “Long Migration” north from our ancestral homelands in the Southern World Edge Mountains.”

“After centuries in Karak Zorn, Grungni went before all his children and told them that he foresaw a great future for the race of Dawi. In order to reach this promise, Grungni told them that they had to depart the birthplace of their race. From the depths of the mountains, Grungni led his people to the surface. Many stood in awe of the majestic mountains that surrounded their now abandoned home. Grungni ascended a high peak and looked about him for the route that he would choose for his people. Recognising the need to strengthen them for hardship they needed to endure the threats of the future, Grungni decided that a route northward through the mountains would best serve his children.”

“The pace of the migration was slow as some Dawi foraging parties sought food for the people while others found shelter and opportunities to mine the bounty of the earth. Grimnir led parties of warriors to scour the mountains for potential danger and remove such from the Dawi path. Many tales of Grimnir’s valour arose during the Long Migration. One of his mightiest foes was Zharranok, a mighty dragon who was said to be over 100 feet in length with a wingspan of nearly the same measurement. It is said that Grimnir continuously battled the mighty beast for well over a year before bringing it to ruin.”

“As the decades progressed, the Dawi grew in number. By the time, they reached the mountains near what would later become the Badlands; Valaya decided that the time had come for the Dawi to begin to settle down. The Mother of all Dawi founded the first of the Dawi Karaks, called Karak Izbil now known as Karak Eight Peaks. In time, she also founded Karaz-a-Karak.

“Other clans emerged from these two great Dawi Karaks to establish others along the spine of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Some of the clans crossed the great flat lands to the west and established colonies in the Drakback Mountains along the south-eastern shore of Black Gulf.”

Drazhgrund often wondered what became of those who stayed behind in Karak Zorn. He gave a mental shake and continued.

“Still others continued their wanderlust and for years our ancestors traveled northward all the while our Ancestor Gods taught and protected the Dawi people. Grungni taught our forebears how to locate precious gems and metals. He also taught us how to smelt metal ores and make tools and weapons. Grungni’s wife Valaya taught our people how to rework mines and caverns into secure homes, the secrets of brewing, and instructed our people in the social values including runic script that would ensure the future of our race she taught the healing arts to those who could learn.. Grimnir the Fearless, Grungni’s brother, taught the people the art of war. Their sons Morgrim, Smednir, and Thungni taught the crafting of engines of war, shaping of ores, metalworking, jewel-smithing, and Runemagic. One of the lesser Ancestor Gods, Gazul who is the youngest sibling of Grungni, Grimnir, and Valaya established the Dawi tradition of venerating our ancestors, whether living or dead. Settlements and Dawi karaks were founded along the route of the “Long Migration”. In -4650 I.C. (Imperial Calendar) when the Dawi reached the northern most range of the World’s Edge Mountains they stopped. Most of the Dawi returned to the south, a few clans of our brethren went east into the Mountains of Mourn never to return and were abandoned by our Ancestor Gods when they began worshiping the Chaos God Hashut, the Father of Darkness and they never again knew the love of Grungni, Grimnir, and Valaya again" Drazhgrund thought about those lost clans the marched eastward onto the Plains of Zharr, and thought of the Blood Grudge, the only grudge that could never be stricken from the Dammas Kron. He could have said more about the lost kin but did not but instead continued on with his lesson about the great migration. "But over one hundred clans traveled west into the Grontklung Mountains to establish four great Dawi holds in the lands we call Norsca, the holds are Kraka Dorden or “Thunder Hold”, Kraka Ravnsvake or “Raven’s Roost Hold”, Kraka Ornsmotek or “Eagle’s Peak Hold”, and lastly, our own hold Kraka Draka or “Dragon Hold”. We will speak of those great holds at another time."

Once again Drazhgrund raised the Nogarung to his lips and drank deeply then he slowly closed the book. He had spoken for over five candle-marks even though he had turned not a single page. It was if some unspoken word had passed between he, and the Priestess but she now stood amidst her charges. Today’s lesson was over and as the Dawi children filed out they came before Drazhgrund and bowed in respect as he placed his callused scar covered hand upon each child’s head before they left. They would be back in five days after the other four classes had a chance to sit before him and learn the history of their people last to leave were the twins, the eldest children of the Great King Thorin Thorgardson and Queen Vala of the of the Durazklad clan.

 

*


Edited by Skull Krusher, 15 April 2016 - 04:42 AM.


#2 Skull Krusher

Skull Krusher

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 02:42 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Two

On days like this Drazhgrund very much felt his great age as he eased himself into a more comfortable sitting position as he set his war-hammer beside him. Even at his age he still took daily weapon practice and occasionally sparred. Once a Kings Drak Hammerer always a Kings Drak Hammerer was the inscription above the door to the Hammerer barracks. He could have avoided the sparring today except that the Gnutrommi was going about his practice wrong and he told the recruit Hammerer that if he kept at what he was doing he was not only endangering himself but his comrade in arms, the king himself, but more importantly the lives within the Hold. The youngling called for a Dar, and challenged him to a sparring match. So they met fully armored in the middle of the practice hall, a large excavated cavern whose sole purpose was to provide different types of terrain in which to train and spar upon, the other Hammers gathered around the edges or in the balconies that looked down upon the practice hall to watch the two, the youngling Kadri Thykson, a Dawi of perhaps 75 winters full of false pride against Drazhgrund Kartinson who had not raised his great war-hammer in combat since he and King Thorgard, the current Kings father had fought in the final Battle of Grovod Forest when last Chaos incursion was defeated. For over a two candle marks Drazhgrund put on a dramatic display. The Gnutrommi�s guard was broken through so many times that Kadri was unable to go on the offensive as he was battered consistently around the cavernous hall. Drazhgrund pulled every hit but the last which shattered the younger warriors shield and sent the clansman to the floor in a heap to the repeatedly loud chanting of his name. Drazhgrund, Drazhgrund, Drazhgrund!!! It was only then with the chanting beating against his ears that Kadri realized he had challenged Drak Hammers Rik or lord to single combat who was the one other Dawi in the hold other than the King Thorin who fought from atop the shield that the Drak Hammers carried into battle. Kadri was sick to his stomach but he had survived and more importantly he had learned from his mistakes at the hands of the weapons master of Kraka Draka.

Now as he sat waiting he prepared himself for class in much the same way as one prepares for battle with a long pull from his tankard that had just been filled by a Dawi of perhaps 30 or 40 winters. Before she left she set the great book before him on a low table beside him before going to the door and opening if for the next class. He heard them arrive and take their seat before him upon the floor and waiting in silence for him to speak or fearful to wake him from a musing as he sat there chin upon his chest as if asleep. The twins were back, he could hear them. Not their voices but their mail that made the sound that only a warrior would know. They were all about to leave thinking him asleep when his voice stopped them from rising. �You remember what I taught you about the Great Migration?� He said as he raised his head looking at each and every one as they nodded they head. �Do you have any questions?� Drazhgrund asked. One small Dawi lad stood.

�Drazhgrund sir, would you tell us about how the first Norsca kings found their Hold?� Then the youngster sat back down but looked up at him expectantly. He was sure that young Finni Rognison had heard the tales before but still it was Hold history and he did not need the book to tell the tale. He nodded his head to the young Dawi as she refilled his tankard put a plate containing a round of cheese on the table before him. He thanked her and waited as Kari handed out more of the same to the children plus set small tankards of Kvass before she took her place again nearby.

�Well young Finni this is what happened.� As Drazhgrund�s voice changed from sounding like the historian to that of a bard telling his tale for the first time as his tale took them out of classroom to a point high up on top of the mountain that fateful day.

<!--coloro:#000099--><span style="color:#000099"><!--/coloro-->�It was the year after one of the armies had stopped, saying they would travel no further. Brokk Vikramson the leader of his army had discovered a seam of rich ore protruding from the side of a peak and the clans with him had said that it would be here that they would found their hold and so they did, calling it Kraka Ravnsvake. Brokk became the first king of Kraka Ravnsvake. The three other armies continued on, but before they each went their separate ways all four promised to stay in contact, each clan of each army promising they would aid their brethren in time of need an oath that has never been broken to this day.

It was the year -4645 and it was like almost any other day in the long migration. The Dawi had been traveling in three large armies, some twenty-five clans each all traveling in the same general direction but miles apart so as not to completely strip the land as they foraged for food as they traveled. On that fateful day Snorri and a dozen of his followers had crossed north over what is now known as the River Dumaraz and climbed the great mountain just to the north of what is now Sjoktraken. They were there searching for an opening into the mountain because a young beardling swore that he saw a black cloud fly into the mountain, not around it, or over it but into the mountain before disappearing. Thinking that a swarm of bats had them selves a cave and where there are bats and a single cave surely there are caverns and so they searched. Eventually they found where the bats issued forth each night but the opening was too small for them to gain entrance but then they discover in a switched back ravine an opening into the mountain that was huge. As they made their way in they walked among the skeletal remains of strange creatures large and small and the reek coming from the darkened hole nearly overpowered them there eyes watered from the smell. Seeing small sections of jet black scale lying upon the ground Snorri picked one up and showed the others. It was a Drak scale! But more importantly there were small nuggets of gold and silver adhering to the scale where the Drak had scrapped across a vein of the precious metal. Snorri sent two of his fastest runners back to the main camp for reinforcements, equipment, and food; and before nightfall Snorri had nearly three hundred warriors stationed around the opening. During the night they had discovered three smaller openings in the side of the mountain not to far away and the same reek issued forth from them as well. At day break all was ready and Snorri and his warriors entered the mountain through the four cave openings with weapons drawn and crossbows cocked and loaded.

Each of the parties entered the mountain; their lanterns shielded in such a way at to throw its light towards the cave floor so no one would inadvertently stumble into a deep crevasse as well as light the way. It took them nearly half a day before the Dawi came upon the cavern. The three smaller tunnels opened out onto a ledge high above a large cavern and as these Dawi took their positions to support the main group they could barely make out a dark shape upon the cavern floor as well as the sound of deep breathing of a creature slumbering or so they hoped. It was not long before the group that Snorri lead finally arrived. It had taken them longer because they carried with them two bolt throwers and carrying them in the darkness over an uneven floor was not such as easy task. But they managed it with no mishap and quietly and quickly set them up on either side of the tunnel to give the crew of the war-machine a clear field of fire. The slumbering breathing continued as they loaded and cocked the war-machines as the engineers sighted down each shaft toward the creatures head, aiming for the soft unprotected eyes.

Quietly Snorri signaled the other three groups and three hundred lanterns were uncovered throwing their combined light into the center of the cavern illuminated its contents for all to see. Each of the Dawi held their collective breath for not only was the sleeping Drak illuminated in all its deadly peril but so was the caverns beauty. Seams of pure iron ore and silver were clearly visible and sapphires, amber, and other gems littered the floor and protruded from the rock cavern walls. The Dawi nearly forgot their deadly purpose so fixated on the wealth that could be clearly seen it was all they could do to tear their eyes away and look upon the occupant of the cavern. The Drak was curled up like a large cat, its head upon its enormous claws, wings folded over its body as it faced the main tunnel. The Dawi upon the main cavern floor fanned out so as not to hinder their warrior brethren as well as not to bunch up giving the Drak a chance to kill or maim too many of them at one time. Since they knew such creatures were fast and they wanted to stay out of its striking distance long enough for one if not two Quarrel shots and then it would be great weapon work.

When all was ready Snorri began to signal when he saw the creature�s eyelid twitch and its nostrils flare as if to draw in or sniff the air. Slowly the great Drak raised its head and opened its� eyes which was what Snorri was waiting for and his war-hammer slashed downward as three hundred Quarrelers fired as one including the two bolt throwers. They fired repeatedly for the lure of untold riches spurred them as well as the threat of death.

In the fierce battle that ensued, Snorri managed to climb upon and cling to the head of the Drak and with his great hammer he drove a huge bolt thrower point thru the great Mhornar Drak�s skull into its brain killing it but not before over 189 Dawi were either killed or wounded. On this day Snorri Drakslayer son of Crom of the Durazklad clan became the first High King of Kraka Draka. The throne that the Kings of Kraka Draka sit upon to this day is the Drak�s skull and it is heavily carved into a comfortable throne for the king and queen, inscribed with various runes, and inlaid with precious gems and gold. The shields of the King�s Hammers are made from the hide of the Drak and are impervious to fire and nearly all non-magical weapons. The Drak�s teeth and claws were carved into tankards and long stemmed pipes. The claws were made into horns for the new Hold�s warrior musicians. The flesh of the Drak became Drongnel or dragon stew which is cooked with cave mushrooms and marinated in strong Dawi ale; a stew which fed the population of the hold for many years as its former lair became Kraka Draka. Nearly the entire skeleton of the Drak with the exception of the skull was given to the Bakers and Brewers Guild for their use.�<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Drazhgrund paused looking down at the students, took a drink from tankard which Kari, the Dawi maiden kept filled. He nodded thanks to her and continued on giving a very brief history of the other holds. If they wanted more they could go to the holds Lore master and he would tell them more. Then he continued.

<!--coloro:#000099--><span style="color:#000099"><!--/coloro-->�It was some two years later in the year -4643 after the founding of Kraka Draka that the messengers of King Durak Thorison came announcing the founding of hold of Kraka Dorden. Kraka Dorden had been established upon a huge deposit of quarts, copper, and ore and the messengers also brought a gift from Queen Katrin Sifnasdottir to the Queen of Kraka Draka, two carved rose quartz drinking tankards.

The three holds waited three more years before hearing word from the clans. In -4640 Kraka Ornsmotek was founded by Thori Forestison and his 25 clans when they discovered several deep deposits of gold, ore, diamonds, and obsidian. Thori becomes the first King of Kraka Ornsmotek which is the most heavily fortified Dawi hold in Norsca and the closest to the Chaos Wastes.�<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Edited by Skull Krusher, 18 January 2011 - 09:11 PM.


#3 Skull Krusher

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 02:48 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three

On days like this Drazhgrund very much felt his great age as he eased himself into a comfortable sitting position as he set his war-hammer beside him. Even at his age he still took weapon practice and occasionally sparred. Once a Kings Hammerer always a Kings Hammerer was the inscription above the door to the Hammerer barracks. He could have avoided the sparring today except that the Gnutrommi was going about his practice wrong and he told the recruit Hammerer that if he kept at what he was doing he was not only endangering himself but his comrade in arms, the king himself, but more importantly the lives within the Hold. The youngling called for a Dar, and challenged him to a sparring match. So they met in the middle of the practice hall, a large excavated cavern whose sole purpose was to provide different types of terrain in which to train and spar upon, the other Hammers gathered around the edges or in the balconies that looked down upon the practice hall to watch the two, the youngling Kadri Thykson, a Dawi of perhaps 75 winters full of false pride against Drazhgrund Kartinson who had not raised his great war-hammer in combat since he and King Thorgard, the current Kings father had fought in the final Battle of Grovod Forest when last Chaos incursion was defeated. In less than a quarter candle mark Drazhgrund put on a dramatic display. The Gnutrommi�s guard was broken through so many times that Kadri was unable to go on the offensive as he was battered consistently around the cavernous hall. Drazhgrund pulled every hit but the last which shattered the younger warriors shield and sent the clansman to the floor in a heap to the repeatedly loud chanting of his name. Drazhgrund, Drazhgrund, Drazhgrund!!!

Now as he sat waiting he prepared himself for class in much the same way as one prepares for battle with a long pull from his tankard that had just been filled by a Dawi of perhaps 30 or 40 winters. Before she left she set the great book before him on a low table beside him before going to the door and opening if for the next class. He heard them arrive and take their seat before him upon the floor and waiting in silence for him to speak or fearful to wake him from a musing as he sat there chin upon his chest as if asleep. The twins were back, he could hear them. Not their voices but their mail that made the sound that only a warrior would know. They were all about to leave thinking him asleep when his voice stopped them from rising. �You remember what I taught you about the Great Migration?� He said as he raised his head looking at each and every one as they nodded they head. �Do you have any questions?� Drazhgrund asked. One small Dawi lad stood.

�Drazhgrund sir, would you tell us about how the first Norsca kings found their Hold?� Then the youngster sat back down but looked up at him expectantly. He was sure that young Finni Rognison had heard the tales before but still it was Hold history and he did not need the book to tell the tale. He nodded his head to the young Dawi as she refilled his tankard put a plate containing a round of cheese on the table before him. He thanked her and waited as Kari handed out more of the same to the children plus set small tankards of Kvass before she took her place again nearby.

<!--coloro:#000099--><span style="color:#000099"><!--/coloro-->�Well young Finni this is what happened.� As Drazhgrund�s voice changed from sounding like the historian to that of a bard telling his tale for the first time as his tale took them out of classroom to a point high up on top of the mountain that fateful day.

�It was the year after one of the armies had stopped, saying they would travel no further. Brokk Vikramson the leader of his army had discovered a seam of rich ore protruding from the side of a peak and the clans with him had said that it would be here that they would found their hold and so they did, calling it Kraka Ravnsvake. Brokk became the first king of Kraka Ravnsvake. The three other armies continued on, but before they each went their separate ways all four promised to stay in contact, each clan of each army promising they would aid their brethren in time of need an oath that has never been broken to this day.

It was the year -4645 and it was like almost any other day in the long migration. The Dawi had been traveling in three large armies, some twenty-five clans each all traveling in the same general direction but miles apart so as not to completely strip the land as they foraged for food as they traveled. On that fateful day Snorri and a dozen of his followers had crossed north over what is now known as the River Dumaraz and climbed the great mountain just to the north of what is now Sjoktraken. They were there searching for an opening into the mountain because a young beardling swore that he saw a black cloud fly into the mountain, not around it, or over it but into the mountain before disappearing. Thinking that a swarm of bats had them selves a cave and where there are bats and a single cave surely there are caverns and so they searched. Eventually they found where the bats issued forth each night but the opening was too small for them to gain entrance but then they discover in a switched back ravine an opening into the mountain that was huge. As they made their way in they walked among the skeletal remains of strange creatures large and small and the reek coming from the darkened hole nearly overpowered them there eyes watered from the smell. Seeing small sections of jet black scale lying upon the ground Snorri picked one up and showed the others. It was a Drak scale! But more importantly there were small nuggets of gold and silver adhering to the scale where the Drak had scrapped across a vein of the precious metal. Snorri sent two of his fastest runners back to the main camp for reinforcements, equipment, and food; and before nightfall Snorri had nearly three hundred warriors stationed around the opening. During the night they had discovered three smaller openings in the side of the mountain not to far away and the same reek issued forth from them as well. At day break all was ready and Snorri and his warriors entered the mountain through the four cave openings with weapons drawn and crossbows cocked and loaded.

Each of the parties entered the mountain; their lanterns shielded in such a way at to throw its light towards the cave floor so no one would inadvertently stumble into a deep crevasse as well as light the way. It took them nearly half a day before the Dawi came upon the cavern. The three smaller tunnels opened out onto a ledge high above a large cavern and as these Dawi took their positions to support the main group they could barely make out a dark shape upon the cavern floor as well as the sound of deep breathing of a creature slumbering or so they hoped. It was not long before the group that Snorri lead finally arrived. It had taken them longer because they carried with them two bolt throwers and carrying them in the darkness over an uneven floor was not such as easy task. But they managed it with no mishap and quietly and quickly set them up on either side of the tunnel to give the crew of the war-machine a clear field of fire. The slumbering breathing continued as they loaded and cocked the war-machines as the engineers sighted down each shaft toward the creatures head, aiming for the soft unprotected eyes.

Quietly Snorri signaled the other three groups and three hundred lanterns were uncovered throwing their combined light into the center of the cavern illuminated its contents for all to see. Each of the Dawi held their collective breath for not only was the sleeping Drak illuminated in all its deadly peril but so was the caverns beauty. Seams of pure iron ore and silver were clearly visible and sapphires, amber, and other gems littered the floor and protruded from the rock cavern walls. The Dawi nearly forgot their deadly purpose so fixated on the wealth that could be clearly seen it was all they could do to tear their eyes away and look upon the occupant of the cavern. The Drak was curled up like a large cat, its head upon its enormous claws, wings folded over its body as it faced the main tunnel. The Dawi upon the main cavern floor fanned out so as not to hinder their warrior brethren as well as not to bunch up giving the Drak a chance to kill or maim too many of them at one time. Since they knew such creatures were fast and they wanted to stay out of its striking distance long enough for one if not two Quarrel shots and then it would be great weapon work.

When all was ready Snorri began to signal when he saw the creature�s eyelid twitch and its nostrils flare as if to draw in or sniff the air. Slowly the great Drak raised its head and opened its� eyes which was what Snorri was waiting for and his war-hammer slashed downward as three hundred Quarrelers fired as one including the two bolt throwers. They fired repeatedly for the lure of untold riches spurred them as well as the threat of death.

In the fierce battle that ensued, Snorri managed to climb upon and cling to the head of the Drak and with his great hammer he drove a huge bolt thrower point thru the great Mhornar Drak�s skull into its brain killing it but not before over 189 Dawi were either killed or wounded. On this day Snorri Drakslayer son of Crom of the Durazklad clan became the first High King of Kraka Draka. The throne that the Kings of Kraka Draka sit upon to this day is the Drak�s skull and it is heavily carved into a comfortable throne for the king and queen, inscribed with various runes, and inlaid with precious gems and gold. The shields of the King�s Hammers are made from the hide of the Drak and are impervious to fire and nearly all non-magical weapons. The Drak�s teeth and claws were carved into tankards and long stemmed pipes. The claws were made into horns for the new Hold�s warrior musicians. The flesh of the Drak became Drongnel or dragon stew which is cooked with cave mushrooms and marinated in strong Dawi ale; a stew which fed the population of the hold for many years as its former lair became Kraka Draka. Nearly the entire skeleton of the Drak with the exception of the skull was given to the Bakers and Brewers Guild for their use.�<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Drazhgrund paused looking down at the students, took a drink from tankard which Kari, the Dawi maiden kept filled. He nodded thanks to her and continued on giving a very brief history of the other holds. If they wanted more they could go to the holds Lore master and he would tell them more. Then he continued.

<!--coloro:#000099--><span style="color:#000099"><!--/coloro-->�It was some two years later in the year -4643 after the founding of Kraka Draka that the messengers of King Durak Thorison came announcing the founding of hold of Kraka Dorden. Kraka Dorden had been established upon a huge deposit of quarts, copper, and ore and the messengers also brought a gift from Queen Katrin Sifnasdottir to the Queen of Kraka Draka, two carved rose quartz drinking tankards.

The three holds waited three more years before hearing word from the clans. In -4640 Kraka Ornsmotek was founded by Thori Forestison and his 25 clans when they discovered several deep deposits of gold, ore, diamonds, and obsidian. Thori becomes the first King of Kraka Ornsmotek which is the most heavily fortified Dawi hold in Norsca and the closest to the Chaos Wastes.�<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

Edited by Skull Krusher, 18 January 2011 - 09:12 PM.


#4 Skull Krusher

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:27 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Five

It had been months since Drazhrund had last been here, The Rusty Harpoon one of the seaport pubs of Sjoktraken. As he entered the sounds of boisterous singing could be heard by a group of sea rangers near the far corner of the common room. Over the large fireplace hung the twisted horn of a great Chaos Whale and on the mantle were its various ivory fangs long since carved into suitable Dawi tankards, smoking pipes, and musical flutes. As he made his way to his accustomed chair that was miraculously vacated and as soon as he sat one of the ivory tankards was set before him as was a plate of fresh bread and a round of cheese. As he ate he looked around him and as he did so he listened to two clansman and by their colors they were not of his clan but then again Kraka Draka started with twenty five clans and they were now thirty eight and he doubted if he had ever met these two as they discussed the merits of riding some beast or sitting in a wagon versus walking or marching toward any battlefield. An old argument, and in a rough voice that he knew they would hear he said, Dawi warriors do not ride, we either walk or march. There are two times a Dawi does not walk or march; when they come into the world and when they leave it, and went back to his noon lunch. The two looked upon Drazhrund and saw not just another Dawi with a tankard of ale but a Karugromthi and bowed to his wisdom. When the barkeep came back by they told him to refill Drazhrund tankard and to put it on their tab. Drazhrund had decided that nothing had changed within the pub in over a century but then his clan owned it and change came slowly when there was an oft said adage if it is not broke do not fix it. He had decided he would teach the class about Sjoktraken.

*

The class sat before him in a great circle and Drazhrund began by saying that their hold was unique in that there are only two holds of all the Dawi holds both great and small that have what our holds has, a seaport. He had their attention not that they were no wayward but still the little ones needed a hook to latch onto to make history alive and so he began and as he did so Kari uncovered the scale cut away model of the Kraka Drakas seaport and seaport that sat on a low table before the class.

As you know, we Dawi as a race prefer living underground rather than on it. Even the Gazani build their homes below the level of any human city they are in. Also no Dawi can ever get lost for once we have taken our first step upon the earth or bare rock we can always find our way back home because the earth gave birth to our race. A Dawi can be taken someplace he has not been in centuries and the earth will remember them and a Dawi will always find his way to kin and hearth. This is one reason we Dawi avoid riding on animals or by water when we can. Those of our race who travel over water use the stars as their guides and as far as I know there are only two holds that have seaports; Barak Varr and ours Kraka Draka Those that travel by waters are invariably Rangers or Sea-Rangers for they have the ability to read the stars enabling them to sail to foreign lands and return back to hearth and kin.

Nearly all the Holds have an Ungruvalk, as do we, but ours only connects the four holds of Norsca, but we have a second one that was built to be utilized by our merchant ships and naval ships. Our Ungrugalk links the Sea of Claws to Draksfjord where the underground seaport of Sjaktraken lies protected and hidden from the forces of chaos and our enemies. We Dawi can sail through the underground passage without circumnavigating the whole of Norsca. The alternative would be that our caravans would have to be guarded continually as we made our way through Troll Country to our trading partners in the city of Erengrod, Kislev.

It took 1200 years to complete the shipyard and seaport of Sjoktraken by miners and engineers inside a long dead volcano. The shipyard with its many piers, graving yard, dry docks, and metal workshops are protected by the solid rock walls of the volcano all around the port. Workshops, warehouse, pubs, inns, and living quarters are built inside the walls of the volcano connected by numerous stairways and landings and draw bridges. The top of the volcano is ringed with disguised watchtowers that look out over the frozen sea to the north and the surrounding Norsca Mountains to the east, south, and west. From a distance the top of the volcano looks to be spewing out smoke and steam from the industry below looking vary much like an alive volcano. A tunnel channel was cut through the volcano wall to provide access to the outside seaport of Sjoktaken and the Ungruvalk. Sjoktraken is actually two ports, the shipyard and protected harbor within the mountain and the seaport at the mouth of the River Dumaraz. The channel through the mountain itself is guarded with numerous solid doors and portcullis that close off the tunnel in advent of a siege. Numerous murder holes above the channel provide plenty of opportunity for the defenders to destroy any enemy who would enter through the icy cold watery channel.

During the War of Vengeance we Norsca Dawi suffered very little. Today there are no Elven settlements in Norsca, but at the beginning of the War there was a single Elven outpost or small seaport on the southern coast of Norsca and it was used as a staging area by the Elves who raided the old world and our Imperial cousins. How the Elves discovered Kraka Draka is unclear but Elves stumbled upon evidence of Dawi living in Norsca and attacked the outside seaport of Sjoktraken and attempted to burn the Kraka Drakas only seaport to the ground never knowing there was a greater prize within the mountain. But the protective outer walls, buildings, and piers of the seaport Sjoktraken were built of solid stone blocks carved from the volcano and the Elves were unsuccessful. Ranger units from Sjoktraken, the Hold of Kraka Draka and Kraka Ravnsvake tracked the raiding force and set up an ambush and totally destroyed the Elves before they returned to their outpost. The Rangers eventually back tracked them to their small outpost in one of the deep fjords on the south coast and burned it to the ground killing all the inhabitants but not before looting it of all useful items. The dwarven engineers carefully dismantled an Elven sailing ship in order to copy the design and then had it brought back and reassembled in Sjoktraken. It was then that the engineering guild split off to become the Shipwrights guild and began reengineering them into warships and merchant ships. Prior to the end of the war the Elves were forced to evacuate all of Norsca and thinking that to harm us more effectively they took control of the Sea of Claws during the War and completely cut Norsca off from the Old World. But the Norsca Dawi holds prospered despite the naval blockade, since we are completely self-contained and had no commerce or communications with the Old World prior to the war. As far as we know there are not Elves living in Norsca. Today a few Elves can be seen in the Norse Human trading communities along the coast, but they stay aboard their ships and stay in port only long enough to complete their trade and leave.


He sat there when he had finished relating the history of Sjoktraken listening to the whispers of the class as they talked amongst themselves waiting to hear if todays class was over. One small voice belonging to a young lass caught his attention as she spoke defending Bjornhild the third queen of Kraka Draka. Becca is right! Drazhrund said coming to Beccas defense. Queen Bjornhild is perhaps Kraka Drakas greatest warrior queen.

It was the outspoken Finni Rognison who raised his hand and was given permission to speak. But sir, Dawi woman are not supposed to fight in the battle line. At this point the daughter of the queen, Kalea Valadottier challenged Finni to a sparring match anytime or anyplace to show him that Dawi woman can very well fight.

Drazhrund spoke Kaleas name she turned to him, nodded and sat back down knowing that they would talk privately later. True enough Finni and I will tell you why and then give you a tale of Bjornhild. Then he nodded to the Valaya priestess as Skornia stepped forward and stood beside Drazhrund. She stood there in fine mithril mail over her purple robes trimmed in gold. The medallion of Valaya hung on a gold chain upon her breast. Her face was framed by golden honey colored hair that looked to be dusted with the frost of age and it was braided in a long coil that hung to the floor. Though she held a staff inscribed with various runes her battleaxe hung from her belt as she gazed at the class through 92 year old steel blue eyes. The children looked up at her wondering what she would say and then she spoke.

Dawi woman are entrusted with the fate of the Dawi race. They are the principal teachers of the young, and rulers of the household. Although many Dawi carry their fathers name as part of their surname, Dawi clans are matrilineal and Dwarves belong to the same clan as their mother. In addition to commanding great respect, Dawi woman wield considerable power. Since they tend to live longer than their male counterparts, there is a higher proportion of women on the Elder council than in Dawi society as a whole. The Matriarch the eldest woman of the clan chairs the clans Elder Council. Nonetheless, Dawi females are subject to a rigid set of rules. Very few ever venture outside the protective walls of their hold even with an armed escort. All Dawi females are trained to fight alongside there men folk in the event that the hold is invaded, but are not exposed to the dangers of the front-line defenses. If there are Dawi females on the battlefield, male Dawi will fight with unyielding tenacity; for a clans women to be killed or captured is an unthinkable disgrace, and one that no male Dawi will permit while he still lives.

With that said, during the time of Queen Bjornhild, long before the Wars of Vengeances some 7,000 years ago times were much different. Despite the constant warfare against our numerous enemies, the Skaven, Orcs and Goblins, and the Chaos Hordes, Dawi males today outnumber the female Dawi. It is not uncommon amongst the Warrior and Mining clans for Dawi women to have two or three husbands. This is one of the means Dawi use to safe guard the survival or our race.

The Matriarch of the brides clan approaches her opposite numbers in other clans to initiate courtship. The selected candidates compete with each other to craft masterpieces to woo the bride to be and her clan elders. However, the bride is always given the final decision on a marriage, and her favor is seen as a priceless gift rather than a commodity to be bought or sold. Even though Dawi live many times longer than a human our Dawi women rarely become pregnant more than four times over their entire life time, having at the most only 4 children. Single births are the norm, with a great likelihood that about 75% of the time that the newborn will be male and it is exceedingly rare for twins to be born. When Skornia said that the class turned and looked at Kettra and Kalea with wide eyes and awe for many of them were to young or not even born yet to remember the week long celebration that was held throughout the hold. The festivities that included a feast to give thanks to the clans ancestors, and especially to Valaya, for the honor bestowed upon the mother of the twins, Queen Vala, daughter of Breda of the Durazklad clan. Then Drazhrund told the story of Queen Bjornhild

Edited by Skull Krusher, 18 January 2007 - 05:48 AM.


#5 Skull Krusher

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 04:47 PM

Kraka Draka - Part Six

It was during the time of Bjornhild Hilgadotter, early in the year -4265 when many of our outlying forts were overrun, but each fort did its part in slowing the Chaos juggernaut. The retreating Dawi warriors swelled the ranks of the defenders in the main forts. Hold by hold, battle by battle, the forces of Chaos were fought. In the middle of year -4265 her brother, prince Borin was struck down along with many of his warriors at the gates of Khazid Rivik as his Dawi warriors successfully broke the siege. It was at the end of the -4265 when King Thorin Talonbreaker was killed as he and his bodyguards were inspecting one of the minor underways leading to one of our Ranger outpost bastions; when they were ambushed. Upon the death of her father Princess Bjornhild succeeded her father and becoming the Queen of Kraka Draka, Queen Bjornhild.

To be honest, most of the various elders who sat upon the Council of Thanes thought Bjornhild much too young, only 35 years old, too inexperienced to lead the Hold during the wars against Chaos, much less rule. But the Matriarch of the Royal Clan overruled her own Council of Elders giving hers and their support which was all that was needed to sway the Council of Thanes. But Bjornhild became known as Kladrinn, the Iron Lady who ruled, nay governed Kraka Draka with an iron will for 55 years until her marriage to Skalf Ghalsplitter, son of Durak and a distant cousin of the first queen of Kraka Draka, Queen Fenna. But for 55 years she not only ruled with an iron will she lead them in battle against the Chaos Hordes. It was during one of the many battles that first year that Queen Bjornhild earned her other name, Bjornhild Chaosbane.

On the last days of the year -4264 one of the greatest battles of her reign was fought with only a quarter of the available Throng mustered. Class you have to remember at that time in our history the population of Kraka Draka was a little over 16,000 Dawi spread amongst the main hold of Kraka Draka, Sjoktraken, Khazid Rivik, and Grung Kuldungor and this did not include the various outlying forts and outposts that guarded the likely overland invasion routes that the Hordes, Trolls, Skaven, or the Greenskins might use. If you remember what Priestess Skornia said about the number of males to females. Well of that 16,000 there was over 4,000 females and children. There was no way the Queen could muster the entire throng unless the Hold itself was being invaded and still leave the kingdom protected so with a little over 3,100 Dawi warriors she went to war against the Chaos Horde herd that had slain her father and brother, and many of her subjects. To remove this herd from the Chaos Horde striking them from the Dammas Kron the Kraka Drakas Book of Grudges.


#6 Skull Krusher

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 05:58 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Seven

Now I will tell you that story from its beginning.

[color=#3333FF]they hid in their thick bear skin cloaks hunkered down just below the ridgeline that overlooked the yoni shaped valley that ran east to west and was sheltered from the harsh northerly winds that normally would have filled the valley to the brim with snow. Around the inside of the valley was a thick band of lodge pole pine that grew from the steep rock walls to perhaps 60 steps into the valley. The ground under the pine forest was thick with fallen needles from years gone by. With little or no sunlight except at midday when the valley would be bright with light little else grew under the pines and it was perpetually gloomy and dark under the hanging branches and little could be seen deep inside hardly the trunks or the rock canyon walls. It was here another group lay hid under their shaggy cloaks as well, the needles deadening any sound they inadvertently would have made. Nothing could see them but they could see out into the open valley. To the rear of this group at the canyon wall was another group guarding the escape route out, a dozen or more knotted ropes which looked more like vines dangled 50 feet to the valley floor from a hidden rocky shelf that was perhaps 5 steps wide in places which ran along one side of the valley where a seam of copper once existed. The shelfs only exit was a dark tunnel that ended in a well guarded locked door made of stone and steel. Beyond this door and the Ironbreaker guards and down long miles of the Ungdrin Ankor was the guarded path into Kraka Draka. At the western end of the valley hidden by a thick forest a small stream fell a dozen times cascading down a treacherous narrow ravine to finally meandered down the center of the valley as it made its way east to eventually flow into the frozen seas through a narrow end of the valley. So narrow that only fifteen Dawi standing side to side could walk through it without hitting the canyon walls though their feet would be soaked due to the small stream that issued forth.

It was the Rangers who initially found the valley shortly after the founding of Kraka Draka and it was the Brewers Guild who owned the rights to it and intended to use the sheltered valley as a site for its brewery of the finest Norsca Draka Ale. But the Brewers never were able to build the Brewery due to the coming of Chaos and the years of warfare afterwards. It was the miners following a seam of cooper who discovered the shelf high above the valley floor when their mining tunnel broke through and it was the engineers and the Runesmith who fabricated the door and the runes upon it to guard the entrance to mine and the hold beyond and for many years the valley and the Brewery project lay abandoned as the four Dawi holds of Norsca fought Chaos. The door was had not been opened in over a dozen years, and many a guard had stood long lonely watches wondering what was on the other side and who had the key to the massive locks.

As it happened it was another Ranger belonging to the Oakenstave Clan, who were barrel makers who belonged to the Brewers Guild who discovered it and nothing in his clan or guild archives had noted its presence. He had climbed down the southern canyon wall till he reached the valley floor and as he made his way through the band of pines he had the feeling that he was being watched but saw nothing, heard nothing, and smelled nothing. His crossbow was loaded, and in his hand under the thick bear cloak which hung over his shoulder protecting his body far better than any shield. He had long since lowered the hood to be able to see and hear better. With his other hand he slipped the thong off his great weapon. It was as he entered the last section of the pine where the sunlight drove away the darkness that he saw it a pillar of rock protruding out of the valley floor half as tall as the tallest pine. At first he thought it was an ill shaped tree left standing from when chaos had spilled out of the north to infect the land. But it was not a massive ancient tree, but a pillar of rock with crude painted designs or glyphs bright red with fresh blood and there were numerous offerings piled around the pillar. The ground around the pillar was trampled in all directions and the freshness of the blood and the trampled ground meant that a Chaos Horde was not to far away from their herd stone. Perhaps the stone and the valley were sacred and the Horde were camped just outside the eastern end of the valley. Who knows he thought to himself as he moved cautiously.

Yorri, the Ranger, his beard barely reaching his belt quickly hid, already forgotten was the memory of the shining objects in the streambed when he herd a sound as he silently blended in with a nearby tree as he searched for the source of the sound. When he saw the Beastman come striding into the clearing from the other side of the clearing he wished silently that he had stayed up on the valley rim as he watched a Wargor, a Bay-Shaman followed by three Gors head for the pillar of rock. Any sensible Dawi would have eased away, climbed back up out of the canyon and reported back but that was before Yorri had seen the horde standard the one the Gors carried, the same herd standard that had been seen at the ambushed of King Thorin and again when the herd had struck down Prince Borin at the gates of Khazid Rivik. Yorri had served with the prince and had been there at Khazid Rivik that fateful day as he and his fellow rangers after the battle had carried Borins body back to the hold for burial in the vaults. Yorris own clan had inscribed the herd symbol into their own grudge book; and here he was all alone with the same herd and its Bay-Shaman and Wargor in his sights. That was when he saw what the Wargor carried. Not just some crudely made iron weapon or club but a Dawi great weapon as well as a scimitar, and the more he stared at it the more certain he was that great-weapon belonged to the King Thorin whose rune scribed hammer was never found. His anger rose, and as it did, Yorri heard the calming voice of his old weapons master telling him that anger only served the enemy that anger must be directed just like any weapon to be useful. So he channeled the anger and Yorri ever so slowly eased three bolts out of his quiver and placed them within easy reach knowing that at this range he would have three possibly four shots at them before they closed with him, four if he was extremely lucky.

The Beastman stopped. The shaman, half man, half beast more goat than beast wearing leather jerkin festooned with strange symbols made of bone and wood began bellowing and braying some sort of chant all the while splashing blood against the pillar then he raised both his arms in the air. Yorri felt the air stir within the valley and glanced at the trees and noticed they moved not, but the air around the pillar seemed charged and he knew who he would shoot first. Not the Gor with the war-horn who would sound the alarm, not the Wargor or the other Gors, but the Shaman. He slowly brought his crossbow up, steadied it against the tree, slowed his breathing, and ever so gently pulled the trigger. He did not watch the bolt to see where it hit he was too busy cocking and loading when chanting of the Shaman was cut short as the bolt hit the beast between the shoulder blades, severing the spine, slamming the Shaman into the pillar adding its own blood to what ever foul magic he was casting. Yorri aimed again this time at the Gor who stood a few paces in front of the Wargor. As the Gore raised the war-horn to sound the alarm Yorri fired and reached for a third bolt all too aware that the Wargor would be charging. Yorri looked up as he finished loading and saw that the second bolt passed through the throat of the Gor continuing on to hit the Wargor in the left shoulder making the arm useless. Yorri noted somewhere in the back of his mind that he must give thanks in the Temple of Grimmir when he returned to the clan house and seeing that he would not get off another well aimed shot he set aside his crossbow and drew his own great weapon its twin axe blades reflecting the light and counter-charged the wounded Wargor. As the distanced closed he drew a throwing axe from his belt and threw it not at the Wargor but at the trailing two Gors that the Wargor was out distancing who should have been there to support. Just no accounting for discipline he thought to himself.

The Wargor attempted to use both hands but could not raise the damaged left arm so it threw King Thorins great-hammer at him which Yorri avoided all too aware that the Wargor was now wielding what looked like a crudely made heavy sharp iron shaped scimitar. As the two to them came together there was a loud clang of metal upon metal. It was a great-weapon war-axe against scimitar. Yorri grasped the laminated iron and oak handle with a two-handed grasp; right hand high near the blade, left hand low near the half butt. He used the handle to parry the scimitar blows; and stabbed forward with the deadly sharp axe beak, and shifted his grip to strike with fury, lashing out the double-bitted blade in sweeping blows, driven with the power of broad Dawi shoulders.

Yet the Wargor was skilled, too, and stood taller than his foe. Its reach with the scimitar was considerably longer, and the hack and thrust of his broad, curved blade was swift and deadly despite being wounded, his shoulder leaked blood and bone splinters around the bolt that he had broken off.

Clang! Chank! Brang! Cried the tortured steel, as blade met blade, and Yorri was pressed back as he again parried the Wargor strike. Yorri knew he could not prolong this duel and with a hoarse shout, Yorri vented as ancient battle cry of his clan, and attacked with renewed fury. The Wargor desperately hacked downward with a mighty blow intending to slice the axe handle in half, but the curved blade chopped into the soft brass strip embedded on four sides along the length of the axe handle, inlaid there for just that purpose. Swiftly Yorri whipped the handle left, thrusting the edge caught scimitar aside, then jabbed forward the steel axe-beak, taking the Wargor in the chest, the steel blades bursting through leather armor shattering ribs and spearing into its heart. Before the dead Wargor could fall to the ground, Yorri whipped the axe back and swung a chopping blow, the blade cleaving through the neck sending the head flying to land at the feet of the Gor who had just arrived and was stunned as Yorri raced toward him shouting again the clan chant once more. The Gor raised his spear but Yorri was already passed the spear point slashing downward with his great weapon cleaving the Gors body in two from right shoulder to left hip.

Yorri quickly looked around, there were no Beastman standing, only one Gor was alive and it was crawling away, his thrown axe had hit the Gor in the knee shattering it and now the Gor was attempting to reach the fallen Gor with the war-horn. Yorri got there first raised his axe and severed the Gors head from its body.

He stood there taking in the stark beauty of the valley letting the bloodlust dissipate, then walked over to the streambed knelt down and drank deeply the icy cold water and then rinsed off his weapon and hands removing the blood. Before he left, Yorri placed all the Beastman heads on sharpened stakes on either side of the trail that led out of the valley, stacked the bodies around the pillar then piled dry wood, pine needles, sappy pine cones and dry brush atop of the bodies. King Thorins great hammer he reverently wrapped in the herd standard and secured it to his pack. When he was finished he left. Yorri was halfway up the valley wall when he took a rest. The war-horn hung from his belt and as he resumed climbing he looked back toward the center of the valley. The slow candle was just now beginning to blaze catching all the dry tender of pine cones and soon the pillar was wreathed in smoke and flame reeking of burned hair, and cooking flesh. He raised the Gors war-horn to his lips and let out a resounding call, a challenge and resumed his climbing.

When he had reached the top of the valley there were a dozen Rangers watching him as he climbed up out of the valley as they came to investigate what was surely a Chaos war-horn as well as the column of smoke. Mogrim, the Ranger, leader was angry then not at all as Yorri reached into his pouch and pulled out several good size nuggets of solid gold that he had picked up out of the streambed. Now that he knew he was not going to be demoted forthwith he told him what else he discovered. Morgrim detail a runner to bring in the other Rangers then gave Yorri his orders. He was to inform Queen Bjornhild what he had discovered and that Mogrim and his command would reconnoiter and keep the chaos beast-herd under surveillance until the Throng arrived for Mogrim knew his queen, and this herd was high up on her list of grudges.

Yorri and three others departed and made their way back to the hold and it was an uneventful six day trip. When they arrived back at Kraka Draka, his clansman tried to get him to clean up, return back to hearth and kin then go to the queen in his finery. But Yorri would have none of it. He knew his duty and he knew his queens reputation, the Kladrinn. As luck would have it the queen was in audience within the smaller audience chambers and as he approached the doors, two of the Queens Hammers stepped forward and barred the Rangers entrance, as a third appeared before them.

I am the Doorward of Bjornhild. Stated Dorik as two Hammers stood on either side of the doors barring the way. State your name and your business. He looked at the four rangers whose aroma was not altogether welcome smelling of sweat and covered with trail dust wearing their long hairy bear cloaks. Dorik thought to send them back to get cleaned up but and was about ready to send them away when a seed of doubt entered his mind when one of the rangers spoke.

I am Yorri, son of Drazhson assigned to Mogrims Rangers. I bear a great gift for Queen Bjornhild.

None may pass bearing arms before the queen unless tide down with honor knots. Dorik stated. Yorri and his companions nodded in agreement. They set aside their throwing axes and crossbows within a small alcove and only then did the one of the Hammers place the honor knots through their belts and tied down their great-weapons. When they were done the two Hammers opened the two huge stone doors and allow them in.

They were met by yet another Hammer who escorted them into the hall where they took their place at the end of the receiving line behind other Dawi who were all better dressed than they. While they waited Yorri removed the long bundle from atop his pack and held it under his arm. Two candle marks later they were at the head of the line. The Queens Herald raised his staff and hit the floor three times. Then the Herald announced them. Yorri, son of Drazhson, of Clan Oakenstave assigned to Mogrims Rangers.

Yorri looked up at the queen, she was a little younger than he and she had bright red hair that hung in a long braid that was bejeweled with gold and silver runes that lay curled upon lap. Though she was young he could see the strength in her arms, and her wrist and arms from what he could see were corded with muscle by the constant wielding of hammer and axe. Yet there was softness about her as she smiled at her councilor who must have said something in jest, and it was that smile that brightened the chambers. She wore somber dark green robes trimmed in red and gold. She looked back at him through steel blue eyes wondering why one of her rangers should seek an audience with her. Then Yorri reached the spot where the Herald had told him to stand.

Your majesty, I bring you a great gift, and important news. She motioned him to continue and then Yorri and his three companions each took a corner of the standard and slowly unrolled it upon the floor revealing a handful of gold nuggets, and her fathers, King Thorins weapon.

Every one in the hall took a deep breath. The silence was deafening. The Hammers along the walls were struck speechless by what was laid before them and also shammed for they were the Kings Hammers, his bodyguard. The queen slowly rose from her throne and came down the steps two Hammers on either side. The four Rangers knelt before the queen as she approached and Queen Bjornhild stood before them looking at each of them gauging their strengths and weakness and noted that only Yorri had spoken and it was he who looked to have blood stained bear-cloak and armor, and finally what appeared to be a Beastman war-horn. Then she looked at the standard and knew it and hated it with her entire being and then she reached down and grasped her fathers weapon. For long minutes she stood there lost in a memory both pleasant and full of grief and finally stepped away from her reverie and Bjornhild spoke. You may rise. They did so. Yorri, son of Drazhson, how did you come by these?

Your majesty, it will take awhile. Yorri answered.

Have you four eaten? the queen asked as the four shook their heads no. Then the queen ordered the steward to bring a small table and five chairs as well as food and drink. She said she would hear this tale as the five of them ate. She also ordered that her senior war thanes be in attendance immediately. The thanes stood around them as the five of them ate and drank and all of them listened to Yorris tale. As Yorri began his tale unnoticed by him the royal clans bard was committing it to memory for some future epic poem or song.

But all that was over 30 days ago and Queen Bjornhild and her Thanes had not been idle. The Throng was ordered to be mustered. When the muster was completed orders were given to be ready for battle and marching orders were given out. With almost daily scouting reports coming in from Mogrim the Queen knew the competition and size of the Chaos Beastman herd but more importantly they showed no signs of leaving the area of the valley. Besides the reports of the number of Beast Herds, and Bestigor Herds, there were actual sightings of Centigors, Minotaurs, Drak-ogres, Tuskgor Chariots, and one Chaos Giant none of which had been seen in previous battles with the Dawi of Kraka Draka. Already what could be described as the Chaos Herd general, a Drak-Ogre Shaggoth, had given orders to the Beatigor Herds to increased patrols but showed no signs that Mogrim had been seen. Scouting reports showed that the Drak-Ogre Shaggoth had move part of his army just inside the west end of the valley to protect the herd stone from further sacrilege the rest of the army was camp just outside the valley to guard the entrance. Mogrim earlier reports informed the war council that apparently this Beastman horde had allied itself with two other hordes. Mogrims rangers discretely followed them as they attacked an outpost of Kraka Ravnsvake, Kraka Drakas closest Dawi ally to the south. The attack was a failure in part, due to the fact that Morgrims rangers had discovered their intent and warned their fellow Dawi. Morgrims rangers trailed the defeated horde back to the valley.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 02 January 2007 - 02:30 AM.


#7 Barafo Steelfounder

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:45 PM

Ok I'm going to have to reply to this sometime or another, lest I completely forget again laugh.png

I read the opening post some time ago, and vividly remember being en-thralled by it.
With christmas and new years (still recovering) I havn't had time to read it all, but what I have read is very promising.

So keep up the great work SK thumbsup.png



#8 Skull Krusher

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 06:05 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Eight

Now Yorris life was getting to be a little more complicated, for somehow during his short stay in the capital he had attracted the attention of one of the queens distant kin which he returned with more than just a little interest if truth be told and no shaggy bear skin cloak would disguise or protect him from her endeavors even if he was a mind to. Yet, Yorri was completely overwhelmed when the matriarch of the royal clan began talking to her counterpart of his own clan about a match with the cousin of the queen who had taken more than a passing fancy to Yorri during and after a dinner with the royal family where he retold his tale. If that was not enough he was now second in command of a new unit of rangers and here he was back in the valley where everything began hunkered down under his bear skin cloak among the pine trees waiting to spring an ambush upon the entire herd that he had discovered. Be careful what you wish for his mother had once told him and with a heavy sigh Yorri, set aside the thoughts of a certain raven-haired Rinn with bright blue eyes, by the name of Zylra Lenkadottier of the Durazklad clan and began contemplating the immediate battle that would take place shortly and his part in it.

Above and behind Yorri along the hidden shelf above the valley floor Kraka Draka engineers had quietly opened the door and silently and expertly placed six bolt throwers. Interspersed between each war machine, were clansman with crossbows. On the opposite side of the valley beyond the canyon rim and out of sight additional guild engineers had been busy at work moving in more war machines on padded wheels into firing positions. Then just as quietly set up the massive catapults or grudge throwers able to lob massive boulders upon the unsuspecting Beastman.

Despite all the planning Yorri was worried. The Throng had arrived and it was lead by the Queen herself and this further complicated the battle plans for no Dawi female was ever allowed to fight in the main battle line unless it was a last ditch effort to save the hold once invaded. But this was no Hold battle. No defensive battle line; but an assault upon the enemy and the Queen would not be turned away from her path, the removing of a grudge enemy and her Thanes had grown hoarse trying. The Queens Hammers knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they themselves would die than permit the Queen to be killed or captured. They had already suffered one disgrace with the death of their king but now his daughter, their Queen led them into battle and they would fight with unyielding tenacity, to do anything else would be unthinkable. But if something should happen to the Queen Yorri knew deep down inside it would be his fault. What worried him a little was that the forces of the Throng had been split; the war-machines upon the high-ground were inaccessible by the horde below them and were in little or no danger. Since nightfall last night during the period of darkness what little there was during this time of year nearly two thirds of the army had entered the valley down the ropes hidden by the tall trees that sheltered the valley walls and were now in position formed up in at the eastern end obscured by the darkness of the forest. The other third had maneuvered into position and would engage the horde outside the valley and those Dawi Yorri knew would have the hardest battle for they faced Chaos Horde beasts that to his mind were far more dangerous; Minotaurs, Drak-Ogres, and a chaos giant. The plan was simple. As the first rays of the morning sun rose directly in the east to shine down upon the Herd Stone the Dawi outside the valley entrance were to attack the Chaos Beastman encampment situated outside. The two war-machines, a bolt thrower and a grudge thrower positioned at the eastern end of the valley ridgeline were to rain stones and bolts down upon the enemy as the Ironbreakers, troll slayers, and two clan warriors units attacked. When the alarm was sounded it was hoped that the Chaos beasts within valley would attempted to charge into the narrow valley opening trying to get out in order to support at which point the Dawi in the valley would attack them from the rear as more stones and bolts hurled into them from the heights above.

Such was the plan and as plans go this one had all the makings for a colossal defeat because there was no way out of the valley except up the ropes, climb the treacherous rocks like he had himself done, or go out the west end of the valley. The problem as Yorri saw it was the Beastman were in the way. As the first rays of sunlight began to illuminate the valley he said a small prayer to all three of the ancestor gods. He had no sooner finished when one of his companions nudged him. Looking out from under the cloak he saw a Bay Shaman leave the trees from the western end of the valley and head for the Herd Stone it was not alone as Yorri noticed five Chaos Hounds following along. He muttered a curse under his breath hoping that the hounds did not come any further than the stone. But it was not to be. As the sun struck the stone, the Shaman began his ritual chanting and pacing around the stone. The hounds continued on about ten paces past the stone toward his group under the trees. He did not have to give the orders but fully a third of his Quarrellers had the hounds in their sights the others the Shaman. Yorri patiently waited, and then it happened, four loud twangs and ka-thumps and as he looked to the ridge line opposite him he saw three huge stones fly through the air heading west. Four of the hounds stopped and looked up trying to find the source of the noise the fifth came continued forward sniffing the air. The Shaman stopped his chanting and looked up as well and clearly heard the metallic clanking sound as the grudge throwers were being reloaded and cocked, for if Yorri could hear them so to could the Shaman and the entire Chaos Beast Horde.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 03 January 2007 - 06:12 AM.


#9 Skull Krusher

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 06:54 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Nine

Then a multitude of Chaos horns sounded both inside and outside the valley followed by the sounds of Dawi drum beats from outside. As the rocks continued to be launched the Beastman were being rallied by the Drak-Ogre Shaggoth. He tried to keep them from bunching up and clogging up the narrow valley opening. The Drak-Ogre Shaggoth looked once into the valley and saw nothing, heard nothing only the braying sounds of beasts, the catapults, and the drum beats and chanting of Dawi in a battle being fought beyond his control outside the valley. Turning his back on the rest of the valley the beast general began to instill order to alleviate the bottleneck.

The curious hound on the other hand stopped, its hackles raised as it continued to sniff the air and then in a stiff legged posture raised its head to howl out a warning. As it did twenty-five bolts came out of the darkness, and all five hounds dropped as one and so too did the Shaman who never knew what hit him but still was alive enough to cry out a warning a warning that was heard and still the rocks fell from the sky in a steady rain almost like a meteor shower.

When the hounds and shaman dropped dead, it was all the signal, the Queen Bjornhild needed as she ordered the Throng to step out of the shadow of the woods. Yorri heard their iron shod step felt the ground shake and looked toward the main battle line and it was a sight to behold. In the center of the line was Hammers, their burnished armor and curved horns upon their helms gleamed in the light, their black Drak hide shields with the royal clan symbol on the boss made an impressive black wall as did the Queen who stood above them carried by her Shield Bearers. On either side of the Hammers, were more clan warriors and then there were the Longbeards on either side of the clans warriors and still more clan warriors on either flank rank upon rank upon rank. Yorri counted seven standards not counting the Queens army battle standard. Then he noticed that in front of the entire Throng was two long parallel lines of Quarrellers barely visible in the tall grass and he knew from previous battles each would fire a single volley and then regroup behind the main battle line ready for hand to hand combat.

Queen Bjornhild stood there with a practiced nonchalance atop the shield carried by two stalwart Shield Bearers. Her Runelord had bestowed upon her a rune weapon, one that he had worked many decades upon for her father, a weapon that was to go to her brother. But now she held it in her hands the Drak hide leather bindings upon the handle felt warm to her hands, the glittering double bit blades looked sharp enough to skin a deer and then she saw for the first time the faint aura of golden light around the blades the closer chaos came. The Master Rune of Chaos-bane gleamed brightly as did the double Runes of Fury. She waited and so did too her fury her hatred of all that was Chaos.

The Drak-Ogre Shaggoth turned when he heard the high pitched wail saw the Shaman fall with five bolts driven half way through its chest. He bellowed out yet again new orders, grabbing the two closest Foe-Renders from the their Beast Herd and pushed them back the way they came toward the Herd Stone, fortunately the three other Gouge-Horns saw their generals actions and turned their Bestigor Herd around as well. The bellows also alerted the Centigors and they stopped in their tracks and sped back out of the trees heading in the direction the Drak-Ogre Shaggoth who was pointing. The rest of the horde oblivious to what was happening behind them disappeared into the trees as they pushed forward towards the valley opening forming a massive bottleneck as they squeezed through in an attempt get out side and join the battle in the west.

And still the rocks fell from the sky into the trees and the valley opening. Trees shattered under the impact of the boulders and when they did they sent massive sharp splinters of whole trees and limbs in all directions. Some of the boulders impacted the close canyon walls and exploded into many sharp rocks, some even caused sparks which ignited the dry pine needles and underbrush and soon a half dozen smoldering hotspots united to became a raging infernal burning in the center of the woods blocking the valley exit as sap filled pine trees exploded into flame. And still the rocks fell from the sky.

Queen Bjornhild watched the Drak-Ogre Shaggoth as it struggled to gathered its troops yet again and then it roared out its orders. Five of the Bestigor and Beast herds were with him as well as two groups of Centigors on either side of him. She watched as the Gors and Ungors within the herds lined up with him and then he roared out yet again and then they charged directly for where she was standing, the center of the Dawi line. She saw the shaman in the back busily casting their magic in support of the horde. She was not concerned with them, that was Yorris and his rangers task, kill the shamans. When their task was done they were form up into ranks and charge the rear or flank of the advancing horde.

She could hear the various Thanes calling out to their warriors to stand fast. The first unit of Quarrellers stood up, aimed and fired at the advancing Centigors who outpaced the rest of the horde, then fell back placing their crossbows across their backs as they drew their great weapons and formed behind the line. She watched four out of ten Centigors tumble end over end to lie dead and still the other six continued to charge as they came into range to throw their spears. As they did the second unit of Quarrellers stood up out of the tall grass and fired at nearly point blank range into the Centigors leaving only two standing. Instead of falling back they charged them with their great weapons. She yelled for them to fall back to regroup but their bloodlust was up. The horde continued to charge forward and their howling chilled the blood. But their howls took on another noteone of rage and fury when they found themselves facing a steady line. It was a thin line, with too few Dawi in it, but it was rock hard unshaken and glistened with steel.

The Queen gave the order to advance in support and the whole line moved forward ten paces anchoring on the Quarrellers who having dispatched the two Centigors were quickly reforming into ranks. Queen Bjornhild looked upon the charging horde nodded to her Hammer musician who raised his horn to his lips and blew the signal that the Quarrellers, and the crews of the bolt throwers were expecting. The first note had hardly reached them than they checked their sights and targets one last time on the horde crossing in front of them and fired down upon them. Queen Bjornhild watched the oncoming charge noting that the Quarrellers were more effective against the on coming horde that looked more like a mass of skirmishers than the bolt throwers and made a mental note to leave the bolt throwers behind in the next battle or to bring fewer. A half-dozen more Beastman went down, yet the others kept coming, and the ranked Quarrellers in front were too few to break the charge. Queen Bjornhild knew it, and she snarled her disapprove of their failure to follow orders. It was obvious to the Queen that the horde knew their exact target, for another score of Beastman came in the wake of the first herd, charging headlong for the Quarrellers out in front. Others split to either side to face off trying to flank the Dawi line but there was no flank it was a solid line from valley wall to wall. Crossbow strings twanged above the Dawi heads as more Beastman continued to fall victim to the massed heavy volley fire and the Beastman could do nothing but continue to charge. Two more volleys fell upon the horde and she made another order and the entire battle line counter charged as the two enemies impacted each other in what sounded like rolling thunder on a spring day. Only it as not thunder it was the impact of metal on metal, and bodies upon bodies.
Her great axe was a blur of motion before her, and the Beastman running at her yelped in sudden panic. The Ungors hooves skidded in the dirt as it tried to stop, but it was far too late. It was face-to-face with the worst nightmare of any Dawi enemy, a "I swear too much" off Dawi Queen and her Throng intent on exterminating their entire horde for their crimes against the Dawi race and her clan, and a lightening bolt of Dawi steel split the Ungor from skull to waist as Bjornhild used her strength and her great height atop the Shield Bearers to her advantage. The body tumbled away, blood and organs and shattered bone steaming in the morning air, and Bjornhild howled in laughter again as her axe whirled before her. She attacked a trio of Beastman who attempted back out of the way, one of them screaming as it held the spouting stumps of its wrists up before bulging, horrified eyes, and Bjornhild ordered her bearers to stepped forward into the splendor of their destruction.

A crossbow bolt whizzed past her into a Beastman's chest. It screamed and twisted, trying to pull it back out, then went down without another sound as Bjornhild's axe struck its head from shoulders. Two Gors came at the Shield Bearers desperately, and their own axes smashed the Gors aside. A thrown spear whirred, and Bjornhild twisted aside and lashed out again. Another Gor screamed as Dawi rune steel took it in the left shoulder and its arm and spear dropped to the ground. Someone else drove a desperate cut into her left side, bruising the ribs, but the blow rebounded from Bhornhilds rune armor. Her axe came around in a blood-spattering loop that claimed another head, and her yell of triumph shook the valley as she roar a challenge at the Drak-Ogre Shaggoth that she had spotted as it limped forward trailing blood.

The entire Chaos Horde charge withered into confusion and faltered. But then by chance an unlucky blow struck one of her Shield Bearers and Queen Bjornhild went tumbling to the ground and a great rage rose amongst the Dawi around her who saw it happen and some went into a berserker rage. But the Queen was oblivious to the rage and turned her fall into a somersault and landed on her feet her axe cleaving the legs out from underneath Beastman in front of her. Bjornhild leaped forward exhorting her Hammers to charge but there was no need for such an order as they too surged forward without hesenticty. She had spotted the Shaggoth who appeared to be severely wounded in a cluster of Foe-Renders as she cut her way through a handful of Gors blocking her way like a Drak through a herd of lams, closing in on the Chaos Horde leader, and the screams of the dying Beastman around her was an anthem of her coming.

The Shaggoth shouted at his Foe-Renders, and all five of them counter-charged the Queen. They were big Beastman and well armed. Each of them had a shield while Bjornhild had none, and they used their height to their advantage, but a two-handed overhead blow whistled down as the first Foe-Render began to reached for her. The runic axe crumpled the Foe-Renders leather-faced shield like cheap tin, and the backhand recovery took its head. Queen Bjornhild oblivious that she had outpaced her Hammers leapt into the gap made by the fallen Foe-Render, slashing first right and then left, sending two more bodies tumbling, and suddenly she was behind the last two, face-to-face with the Shaggoth who towered above her. They were both covered in blood. The Shaggoths blood bled freely around the stumps of a bolt thrower and several cross bow bolts that were sticking out of its arms, legs, and chest but it still fought on turning ever so slowly to meet her challenge attempting to block her attack. Blood oozed from a cut on her face and another on her left forearm, pain burned in her right thigh where someone had gotten through and jabbed her with a spear, her ribs were a painful agony but if the pain meant removing the grudge then it was a pain worth bearing.

Queen Bjornhild yelled forth another challenge and leaped at the Shaggoth her blade came down like an grudge thrower of steel and smashed the Shaggoths shield aside as her runic blade flashed back as she swung up under and past his guard to sink deeply into the Shaggoths armpit. The Horde general screeched in pain as the impact jolted it nearly off its feet. She wrenched the axe free and her over hand blow sliced through the top of its shoulder slicing the arm away as her armor was sprayed in a fountain of bright blood as the Shaggoth fell to the ground. Not satisfied she lopped its head off and held it aloft as Queen Bjornhild turned to face the two Foe-Renders.

But there was no one to face her. The Chaos Horde had seen enough, and the survivors were trying to disengage to escape the valley but the exit was block by fire and a few attempted the fire and were burned alive. Her Throng needed no orders from the Queen as they chased their foes down who scattered in terror, abandoning their wounded fleeing madly trying to escape the valley or hide and were run down, hunted, and killed to the very last one. Queen Bjornhild shook her great axe and the Shaggoths bloody head above her head her yell of triumph echoed across the mountains of Norsca.

She lowered her axe slowly, dropping the head, all to aware of the pain in her side, blood streaking her face and more running down her right thigh. But her cuts are shallow and her leg still held her and she ignores her wounds. Queen Bjornhild closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, smelling the mingled smell of pine, smoke, and the stench of death hearing the sobs and moans of her Dawi and dying screams of the Beastman, and she knew exactly that even in great victory there was still the taste of defeat. She clenched her teeth and bent, despite the pain in her side, to pick up a scrap of hide and fur armor from a corpse. She wiped her great weapon clean and slowly slung it over her shoulder pulled out her flask and drank deeply. Then she noticed her remaining Shield Bearer tying a bandage about her thigh to staunch the bleeding when he was done she handed him the flask so he too could drink. She stood for another long moment, alone upon the crowded battlefield amongst the dead and dying, then drew another deep breath, straightened, and gave the order to muster the Throng. Already the chants of Bjornhild Chaosbane were becoming louder and louder as her Throng gathered around her. On this day she earned her nickname.


The students were long gone yet still Drazhrund sat there in his chair his pipe long since gone out pondering the history of his race and Kraka Draka. He was comforted in the knowledge that Princess Kalea Valadottier could well be another Bjornhild. He wondered if the students would find ii interesting that their present queen, Queen Vala of the Durazklad clan was directly related to Yorri, son of Drazhson of Clan Oakenstave and Zylra Lenkadottier of the Durazklad Clan and the largest distillery of Norsca Draka Ale in all of Norsca is in that valley. But that is another story.


#10 Skull Krusher

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 02:38 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Ten

Drazhgrund sat in the familiar comfortable chair near the blazing fireplace within the Rusty Harpoon Kari Valadottier his shadow sat beside in her own chair nursing a tankard of Kvass while he drank his customary drink of choice, Norsca Drak Ale. From their place near the fire they listened to a young Dawi play a lap harp and sing a ballad as another small group of Dawi played a noisy game of Crown and Anchor. But most of the cliental, Sea Rangers and Sjoktraken shipyard workers were more interested in the discussion of placing an organ gun in the turret of the newest ship being built. Every once in awhile a one of the Sea Rangers or a shipyard workers would look over to where Drazhgrund and Kari were sitting most likely wondering why such a young Rinn was sitting in a tavern drinking with a much older Dawi. It was unusual to say the least since if this were a less respectable tavern in any a human seaport the question need not be asked the answer would be assumed and they would be correct in their assumption. But this was Norsca not the Empire or Bretonnia and they were in Kraka Draka so assumptions could not be easily made. Still a few wondered why Kari was not back in her clan quarters where all females belonged, not this close to the dangerous surface where all manners of Dawi enemies could be lurking just beyond the volcano walls; but safe and sound instead of being here without a more adequate male escort. A few of them had notice his long flowing white hair and beard braided with and festooned with gold engraved rings, tokens, and as well as rubies and emeralds and thought the Drazhgrund was some rich old Dawi Guild Master out for a bit of sport and not a suitable escort. Some had seen them come in and saw no armed bodyguards either for what they assumed was a Guild Master or the female with him.

The two of them had long since finished the pheasants stuffed with wild rice and mushroom as well as the toasted bread covered with melted cheese and after taking another sip of her Kvass Kari turned to her companion. Why are we here Drazhgrund? Kari asked not that she was worried about her honor or her reputation or her ability to handle her mace that hung from her belt unseen by many of the patrons. The noise from the common room was distracting so she studied the twisted horn hanging over the fireplace and the large number of ivory tankards setting on the mantle much like the one Drazhgrund drank from as she waited for his answer. Drazhgrund drank deeply.

Kari did you know our clan owns this tavern? She shook her head no and was amused that the royal clan of Durazklad owned a pub. I come here not because we own it but that they serve the best food and ale in Norsca; and that they inadvertently provide unwittingly by their patrons information about the mood, attitudes, and morale of our people as a whole. Turning to her he nodded toward the patrons.

This to me and King Thorin is vitally important information. But on the whole I am here because back so many generations ago I worked nearly three years in the mines, just like all Dawi do not to far from here and this is where I came to relax after a hard days work. It is the ale Kari that brings me back here as well as the memories.

She reached over and placed her young smooth hand that had its own share of calluses and small scars from the mines and weapons practice upon his. They sat there together as Drazhgrund began tell her about the ale.

Kari, Dawi brewing goes back as far as the Long Migration if not further when we traveled northward from our ancestral homelands in the Southern World Edge Mountains. During the journey the brewing was mainly in the hands of the broustairs or alewives within all the clans and then after the initial founding of a Hold also within the temples of Valaya. But during the Long Migration ale was not like we have today. It was hard to make ale when our ancestors were constantly on the move tasting RAW or unfinished not aged enough and it was only when our ancestors were in one place for a period of time that they could brew proper ale. But all that changed once a Hold was founded.

He paused long enough to take a drink and fill his pipe with tobacco and light it. Kari noticed that more than one Sea Ranger had edged a little closer to hear what Drazhgrund had to say. Then Drazhgrund continued as Kari lit her pipe as well.

After the founding of Kraka Draka the Brewers Guild became more organized and soon brewing of Dawi beer was a steady product no longer of questionable quality of an unsteady supply like many of the beers consumed during the Long Migration.

He motioned for the Florin the tavern keeper for a refill for the both of them and then continued on.

During the first 150 years the Brewers guild within our Hold established farms and several breweries. With the seeds and seedlings brought north during the Long Migration they planted the special grains and hops that are vitally important for the making of ale. Secure granaries were built to stockpile what was required for the Holds needs. If not for the stockpile of grains, hops, barrels of ale, and food the times would have been worse when we sealed our holds for ten years from the outside world when Chaos swept the world.

It was in the year 1144 KD (post founding of Kraka Draka) which corresponded with the departure of the ancestor gods in 3500 according to the Imperial Calendar of Karaz A Karak and was when the first large scale brewery was built and that was the Brewery of Skara Brae. You remember the lesson about Queen Bjornhild?

Kari nodded yes and the Karugromthi continued.

As everyone knows Norsca Drak Ale and he pointed to a bas relief upon the wall showing a five barrels upon a snow covered mountain each of the barrels of ale depicted a different clan symbol representing the five clans of the Brewers guild. Above or behind the five barrels is a rampant Drak its wings spread over the kegs, is brewed in Skara Brae, what they may not remember is that Skara Brae is where Queen Bjornhild earned her name of Chaos-Bane. I do not think if Yorri were alive today he would recognize the valley. Gone is the narrow valley opening instead the two arms of the mountain that formed the valley opening has been closed and now a massive fortified stone and iron-gate secures the valley. If truth be told the gate is seldom ever opened but on the gate is a large bas relief depicting the battle of Skara Brae and it can only be seen from outside the valley which is a shame since it is a fine piece of craftsmanship that can not be fully appreciated since the forest that has grown in the past six thousand years outside the gates obscures everything. Truly the only safe comfortable way into Skara Brae is through the tunnels which have been enlarged so that the ale carts can transit back and forth from the Brewery to our Hold. The small stream where Yorri found the gold which made his clan rich when they found where the gold washed down the stream from the mountains above now brings only icy pure water into the brewery. Of course the Herd Stone is gone it was broken into small rocks and further crushed into gravel and finally into sand. The forest is still there since it provides a wind break for the fields of grain and hops that is grown there for the brewery use as well as a supply of wood to be used for kegs.

Drazhgrund stopped in his narration, and was about to call for another tankard when he realized that Florin was doing just that. He relit his pipe again and noticed that the tavern had grown quiet, the dice throwing had stopped but the players were still there but they sat facing Drazhgrund and Kari as they drank and listened even the harp playing had ceased.

Leaning forward a Sea Ranger asked a question. But what makes the ale of our hold taste so different from any other? I have drunk ale from the other three Holds of Norsca as well as ale from the Empire and Bretonnia when the ship I sailed upon traded with old world merchants. In the Empire and Bretonnia I sample other Dawi ale and found them all lacking with the exception of a brew called Bugmans. Now, that is one, fine ale but it still lacks something, something uniquely Norsca.

Drazhgrund took a deep drink before he answered as if to reaffirm what he had long suspected about the taste then he answered as he looked into the eyes of each listener as if gauging their capacity for accepting the truth or insight though he was sure if he asked the Brewer Guild Master he would refuse to give up his trade secret recipe but still Drazhgrund knew he was right and it would not take much just a pinch or two and there was more than enough to last thousands and thousands of years.

You well remember from your youth about how King Snorri battled the great Mhornar Drak? Many answered by nodding. What happened to the flesh of the Drak? He asked. Many answered a few were wrong but a great more were correct. The he nodded for Keri to get up so that they could leave. The same Sea Ranger again asked him what made Norsca Draka Ale so special and Drazhgrund answered as he and Kari departed the pub. Who do you think obtained nearly the entire Mhornar Drak skeleton?

Edited by Skull Krusher, 16 January 2007 - 01:12 AM.


#11 Skull Krusher

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 05:41 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Eleven

Drazhgrund was once again sitting in his familiar spot within the Rusty Harpoon. He was here for his mid day meal. It was quiet the ship yard workers had left, and with them went the latest news about ship that was being built. Ships powered by steam instead of banks of Dawi rowers or mighty sails powered by the wind. Drazhgrund hated the wind as much as he despised the above ground human cities. He remembered when he and King Thorgard and the Throng of Kraka Draka fought the Chaos Incursion down south in Kisliv where it was always windy. The wind. It was as a constant annoyance; the wind never ceased. At times it was gentle as a fuzzy remembrance of a time long past. Other times it whipped around slithering into every article of clothing and armor bringing in the damp, the cold, as well as the ever present grit and grim of Kisliv. When they were quartered within the cities not even a shuddered door or window stopped with moist cloth helped. The swirling wind brought the different aromas of the city to all. One moment it was the tannery and its pools of noisome stench to be followed by the smell of fresh baked bread or the fetid air with blowflies from the city stables. The occasional reprieve from the palace gardens and it sweet bouquet was never frequent enough. There were always warring factions that revolted the nose not to mention the sights and sounds of the city that helped to depress and desensitize the senses. The wind never seemed to sweep the city clean but added to the cities unsightliness. From its soiled roots to the top of the tallest spire the city was brown. Like the wind the color was everywhere. It was the wind that painted the city in its various shades. When the wind brought the rain it turned even the light dust and grim into rivers of dark mud that ran down from the roofs and down the walls but more often than not into the building. Since the wind could not be kept out neither could the sounds. The constant baying from the stables, the hammering from various inefficient human forges, bickering voices, and the constant complaint about the wind seeped into the deepest dungeons and assaulted the towers that looked down upon the city. Drazhgrund shuttered inside when he thought about human cities and its constant companion the wind. The wind was one enemy he could not defeat as the Throng had defeated the Chaos Incursion. With a heavy sigh the Karugromthi Drak-Hammer rose from his seat and left the inn heading back toward the royal compound and his next class.

As Drazhgrund walked the lantern lit stone corridors its walls carved with various bas reliefs depicting the various events of the Kraka Draka or perhaps the symbols of the clan he felt a great sense of well being. Unlike the streets and alleys of human cities the ways within the Hold that lead from one level to another, from clan hall to clan hall, to various parts of the Hold that are all part of Kraka Draka was like any Dawi Hold is, totally familiar and appealing to the senses and free of the filth, the smells, the grit, and grim that are always part of any human city. He had climbed the great spiral stairs that circled a massive stone column that brought him to the doors of his clan, the Royal Clan. There were four guards, Drak-Hammers who stood watch. On either side of the doors there are two huge statues the one to the left of the door was the statue of Grimnir to the right his son Morgrim both the Ancestor Gods feasted here in a banquet in their honor prior to the final battle against Chaos. (Stone & Steel WHFRP) The statues were carved depicting them as they were last seen in Kraka Draka before Grimnir went into the Chaos Wastes to close the ruptured gates with his own hands. The fact that the Ancestor Gods walked these same corridors both humbled Drazhgrund and gave him great pride for it was from here, Kraka Draka that Grimnir departed from to do battle against chaos. Deep within the Holds archives was that proof, for Grimnir had left a final message to the Norsca Dawi to stay forever vigilant against all that is evil, all that is Chaos and is signed with his personal rune that still radiates his power thousands and thousands of years later. The Norsca Dawi were not forgotten for Morgrim when he returned back to Karaz-a-Karak took back copies of the four Norsca Dawi Hold's Dammaz Kron to be included into Karaz-a-Karaks Master Book of Grudges as well as the histories of the Norsca Dawi.

As Drazhgrund entered through the guarded gates he nodded to the guards giving them a cursory inspection to ensure that their weapons and armor were in good repair and continued on. Just inside the gates, Kari stood waiting for him. How she knew he would be returning just now he could only guess but she often knew things about the goings on of the hold and he was glad that she was waiting for her presence made him feel young again his step just a touch lighter. What will you talk about today? She asked wondering.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 22 January 2007 - 05:48 AM.


#12 Skull Krusher

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 06:48 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Twelve

Drazhgrund sat back in his chair, feet up on a small stool as he smoked. The children had just sat down and from the looks they were giving the assorted implements on the table he was sure they were confused about todays topic of discussion. Of course if was young Finni who still stood looking at the tools upon the table and eventually sat down with a confused look on his face.

Is there a problem young master Finni? Drazhgrund asked as he pointed his pipe towards the table. Finni sat for a moment and then stood respectfully then spoke.

Sir these are not proper Dawi tools. Finni said as he looked for his classmates for support. He expected Kalea to jump up but it was her sister Kettra this time who stood and walked over to the table picked up an axe looked at it, set it down and inspected the rake, the hoe, and a scythe, and the smaller hand held sickle with out saying word. When she finished she turned to Finni and told him they were proper Dawi tools since they all had the same Dawi smiths personal rune and another rune indicating that the tools came from one of the largest guild forges in the hold. But they are farm tools! Finni explained. What use are farm tools?

Well Finni, that is what you are about to learn that even farm tools can be a potent weapon in the hands of a Dawi. I want you personally give a report as to how our Hold obtains its food. Finni groaned Then perhaps you will not dismiss these tools so quickly since they do not meet your approval so much as a good hammer, or axe. Now let me tell you about farmers. Then Drazhgrund began. Long ago there was a group of Chaos Marauders led by a rather effective war leader. This war leader would raid not only our Dawi Farmers but also the Norsca human farmers who swore binding oaths to our king thus were under our protection. What this band of marauders would do would first capture a few of the farmers and then force the community into surrendering a tactic that only worked against the humans needless to say. Our Rangers were trying to track them down when the band attacked one of are Dawi farming villages near Khazid Ravik and this is what happened. Then Drazhgrunds voice changed and took on the aspect of a bard telling a story. But this was a story that he had participated in nearly 450 years ago. But they did not need to know that.

Sorcery! Dwarven treachery! came the futile curses of the Marauders that split the air as their defeated champion stumbled back and fell to the ground dead as he tired to get back to the Marauder battle line and shield wall. The opposing line of Dawi praised their warrior and hurled insults at his vanquished foeman, jubilantly waving their axes, hoes, hammers, picks, and sickles at the sky as they did so. Raising his hand, the Marauder raid leader stepped forward.

An unnatural silence fell upon the two lines of warriors, all eyes on the lone figure between them. Would Kragen, the Chaos war band leader honor his word, withdrawing his raiding party peacefully from the Dawi farming community now under siege, now that the Dawi champion had been victorious that had been the agreement to leave and release the captives?

Bring me the greybeard! Kragen ordered. An old Dawi was dragged through the Marauder line and forced to his knees. Kragen snatched him roughly by his long braided hair and laid a naked sword at his throat.

We will honor our bargain, farmers, and free our captives, shouted Kragen. There was a menacing edge to his voice, as hard and cold as the chaos wastes as the sword he held against the old Dawis flesh. And this old farmer will be the first released! The kneeling figure slumped forward, his trembling hands clutching vainly at the gaping wound in his neck.

An outraged howl rose from the farmers standing behind their makeshift barricade, then the farmers surged forward over the barricade like an angry wave. The Marauders braced themselves behind their interlocked shields as the farmers smashed into them. Farming implements smashed shield rims and bit flesh. Their fury at the wanton slaying of the old Dawi Langktrommi lent strength to the Dawi blows but it soon became clear that lent strength was not enough. The Marauder shield wall remained as firm as a granite cliff, first holding, then repulsing the raging farmers.

Their first flash of anger spent, the farmers now heeded the commands of their leader once more and drew back to reform. Fearing a trap, Kragen snapped an order to maintain the shield wall, holding his horde in check. Despite its furious intensity, the first clash had left few bodies on the fields between the opposing lines. Kragen glanced along his line and smiled to find that they were still roughly even in number, with about sixty warriors each. Soon he thought, this small village upon this small mountain in Norsca will be destroyed.

The Dawi leader raised his massive war hammer above his head and led the next advance himself. Flushed with their success in the first encounter, the dangerously over confident Marauders began clashing their weapons on their shields. Some were working themselves into a battle frenzy, howling like animals and biting the rims of their shield.

In contrast, the Dawi were strangely silent. Gone was the hot, insistent anger of their first charge, in its place, a grim set on there faces showed a cold bitter hatred. They advanced with resigned, unhurried short steps of farmers who know they have one last furrow to plough before they can return to the warmth of their fireside. Their slow, silent advance began to grate upon the nerves of the younger Marauders, and upon the patience of the howling berserkers. In ones and twos, despite Kragens exhortations, they broke rank and charged into the oncoming farmers, only to be unmercifully cut down like so much dead wood. This left dangerous gaps in the Marauder shield wall, which the Dawi would not be slow to exploit. The lines met. Weapons rose and fell; some to be parried, some to slash home.

Amidst the tumult of shouted battle cries, clashing of weapons and screams of pain, the Dawi leader led some of his warrior-farmers around the Marauder right flank. The fresh attack, coupled with the growing gaps in their battle line, turned the tide against the Marauders as the Marauder shield wall was pushed back, wavered, then broke completely.

The outcome was no longer in doubt, but there was still much blood to be spilled, on both sides, as the isolated knots of Marauders were surrounded and methodically cut down. When the survivors saw what the battle cost them they had little cause to rejoin the bloody field was littered with the bodies of their villagers, punctuated only by the groans and shrieks of the wounded Marauders as our Dawi females themselves dispatched them and the sad laments of the females themselves as they found loved ones amongst the slain. Already the fallens names were being added to the growing list of Dawi dead to be avenged within their village Dammas Kron as well as the master one kept with the Hold of Kraka Draka.

An agonized groan drew the Dawi leaders attention to the fallen Kragen, he staring disbelieving at a wound from which there would be no recovering unable to comprehend why Kragen still breathed. The fighting had left gaping rips in chain mail that carried through to the war leaders body itself.

A weapon! Kragen gasped. Do not let me die without a weapon!

You want a weapon? Spat Drazhgrund contemptuously. Try this one it belonged to my cousins kin, the greybeard you set free! So saying, he removed a doubled bladed battle axe that had been slung over his shoulder and swung downward slicing through Kragens neck to bury the blade deeply into the rich fertile earth that was now enriched that much more with the blood of both friend and foe alike.


As Drazhgrund sat holding his pipe that had long gone out and his tankard that just did not seem full enough when his thoughts turned to past events such as this he realized that there was so much more that need to be done, needed to be taught to the younger Dawi of Kraka Draka. He was suddenly aware that both Kalea and Kari had spoken to him when he looked up from his empty tankard. He handed it to Kari who filled it but not before she gave him a look of mild concern but his attention was drawn to the Kings daughter. You had a question Kalea? He asked.

She nodded yes and stood. Lord Drazhgrund, how many warriors were in the village?

He looked at the entire class then over at Skornia, the Valaya priestess who was always assigned to his group of younglings and then to Kalea. He took a deep drink and then answered. In the defense of your hold as well as your village or home, all Dawi are warriors. All trained in the art of war. There were sixty males and twenty females who fought that day in the defense of their village as they fought to protect over fifteen small Dawi children.

When Kalea sat down, Finni stood. How many died sir? Did any of the younglings die? Drazhgrund noticed gone was Finnis haughty attitude towards farm tools as a little reality set in.

Kari noticed the hard cold glint in Drazhgrunds eyes, and knew he was close to rage that he often released in the sparing hall. But she also saw that he was very much in control. Finni, the entire raiding party was killed, however ten Dawi died that day. Nine adults and one child no older than you who was old enough to wield an axe but not old enough or experienced enough to save his mother as he went to her aid. We found him slumped over his unconscious mother, his axe embedded in the back of her slayer. Who managed to kill them both before he bled to death from the wound the youngling inflicted. Then Drazhgrund pulled the hood of his cloak up over his head leaving his face in shadows and turned away from the class. He did not hear Skornia call an end to the class as she led them out of the room and gently shut the door. Nor did he hear the silent tears fall upon Karis cheek as she sat beside him keeping him company


#13 Skull Krusher

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 05:30 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Thirteen

Kari sat reading in the Loremasters Archives. She was trying to research information about Clan Krupp who came to Kraka Draka over 500 years before and at last she had found it and was surprised that Drazhgrund was mentioned in the records as well which made her curious as she started to read the letter from Sven Skauldson, captain and master of the Sea Cat to the King of Kraka Draka. It was the year 1991 I.C. (Imperial Calendar) Drazhgrund is nearly 486 years old having been born in 1500 I.C. or in the 6,150 K.D. year since the founding of Kraka Draka. The Wizards War, a thirty years war amongst the human wizards in Empire would be ending about this time, a war that plunged the human Empire into darkness for the next 320 years. Like Drazhgrund, Kari found little use for wizards and thought them just as evil as the creatures of Chaos.

The ships captain, Sven Skauldson wrote: our sharp eyed Karugromthi passenger, Drazhgrund Kartinson spotted the drifting wreak first and I have ordered the Boatswains to stopped the Ale ration to the deck and mast head watch for allowing a landlubber to spot another vessel before the crew aboard the Norsca Dwarf Naval ship the Sea Cat did. Your highness, how your cousin, Drazhgrund sighted a dismasted vessel drifting before sharp eyed Largs did only the Ancestors Gods would know. I ordered the helmsman to steer a course toward the vessel which appeared to be a victim of pirates due to the fire damage that could be seen on the transom. The vessel had additional storm damage and suffered the loss of both masts. We hailed them but received no response to our hails. We sent a cutter over to take possession of the hulk. Upon boarding it was determined that the crew was either dead or missing as a result of the storm and may have abandoned ship when they lost the masts since no small boats were found on board and from the condition of several of the cabins it looked like the crew left in haste. Who ever the crew was they acted with dishonor for they left passengers aboard and much to our surprise the passengers turned out to be family of Dawi; an engineer, Dern Dalhgrunson of Clan Krupp, his wife, Kargo, a metal smith, and their apprentice son, Brokk Dernson and his sons wife, Tharma, and daughter Freda. Lord Drazhgrund nearly went into a rage when he found out that the humans had abandoned the Dawi to the mercies of the wind and sea especially when he learned that both wives are with child, he swore an oath that the ships owners and the crews would be placed in Dammas Kron for future vengeance and justice. What Lord Drazhgrund and I learned was that Clan Krupp was all but destroyed due to the constant fighting within the city states of the Empire and that Dern and his family had managed to hire an outbound merchant ship to escape the Wizards War and had intended to resettle in Kislev where Dern had heard that members of Clan Krupp had intended emigrate to before the war. On the third night of the voyage the ship came under mage attack and they barely escaped when a sudden storm swept out of Norsca across the Sea of Claws separating them from their attacker. The storm lasted four days and on the third day the masts snapped and they heard no more from the humans who were the crew. Dern surmises that they were either swept over the side or they abandoned ship thinking that the ship was sinking. If the crew left the ship, then the Dawi were forgotten by the crew in their haste. Dern and his family are more than happy to emigrate to Kraka Draka and accepted Lord Drazhgrunds offer of sponsorship. We drank to the future of Clan Krupp from the finest ale I have ever drunk a brew called Bugmans. On board are five kegs of Bugmans four of which are untapped. More importantly was the cargo belonging to the Krupp Clan, which included all their foundry and smith tools, engineering plans along with several long wooden cases of new Dawi made weapons called Arquebuses which have been used by our Dawi kin of the World Edge Mountains for the last 180 years, a relatively new Dawi weapon that neither I or Lord Drazhgrund have seen before. That is not all your Highness there was also a weapons called a cannon with its ammo caisson. There are barrels of black powder and cases of small round shot for the Arquebuses and much larger ammunition for the cannon all of which was designed and fabricated by Clan Krupp, and guild-master engineer, Dern Dalhgrunson and his apprentice. Upon Drazhgrunds order, the Sea Cat has towed the vessel back to the secure fortress at the mouth of the River Dumaraz for a long trek back to Kraka Draka with its valuable cargo and long lost Dawi southern kin. Your highness, if the Golden Stag proves to be repairable and sea worthy according to our Shipwrights I proposed that we sell it to our Merchants and

Kari was still reading in the Loremasters Archives when Drazhgrund found her in an out of the way alcove surrounded by Sea Ranger records. She was so involved in her reading that she was unaware of her mentors presence until he spoke.

Find what you were looking for? he asked as she jumped up out of her chair so startled that she grabbed her weapon hanging from her belt and swung her hammer into the guard position before her but mentor had trapped the head of the hammer in his massive fist before she could take a swing at him, her heart pounding angry with herself for being so oblivious to her surroundings as she read, very Doh and Drazhgrund would surely assign her to extra ambush weapons training.

Slightly flustered Kari pointed to the book, Yes I was looking into how the Krupp Clan came to Norsca. Young Finni wanted to know why the pillar in the royal court for Clan Krupp was not nearly as impressive as the other pillars? I swear I think Finni has the making of a Loremaster

What else did you learn? curious about what else she was reading as he indicated the records book.

I was reading the history of the Sea Cat in the year 6150 K.D. which I had not finished when you came. Why were you aboard the Sea Cat? I never did understand that part it was not mentioned

He smiled, Kari, you are looking in the wrong section of the archives. I was just a passenger aboard and if you want the answer you need to go research the diplomatic treaty section for that year which is located on level five of the archives. As to what I was doing aboard, the ship was returning from Kislev and I just happened to catch a glimpse of the dismasted hulk of the Golden Stag figurehead as both vessels crested a wave. Drazhgrund picked up the book looked at the page that was open and began reading what his old friend Sven Skauldson had reported to the king. He smiled to himself remembering that it took two years for Sven and he with the entire crew of Sea Rangers had rendered justice, and remove the grudge of Dawi abandonment. He stood there for several minutes thinking about the past before he closed the book and handed it back. It is time to leave, the Queen Vala and your mother are waiting for us and if we are late for dinner I will never hear the end of it. Your mother seems to think that a Dawi my age should know better than to keep a female waiting. Kari chuckled as she returned the record books to the proper place on the stone shelves before leaving. It took them nearly a half mark to reach the guarded door to the Royal compound. On their way Drazhgrund told her a little about why he was in Kislev.

We Dawi of Norsca had watched the first landings the humans had made in our lands in the year 5777 K.D. or 1136 I.C. Kraka Ravnvake discovered the humans first along the west coast of Norsca. The human vessels barely seaworthy had sailed from the coasts of what is now Bretonnia seeking lands not embroiled in war. We Dawi watched them from a distance not knowing if they were in league with Chaos, mercy did not stay our hands but killing for the sake of killing is not the Dawi way. So we watched them struggle to survive for decades fighting against the harsh weather of Norsca as well as the Chaos Beastman. They fought against the Chaos Beastman with weapons made of wood and stone. Those that fought against Chaos we eventually helped in trade for additional food supplies and in time the Norse Roppsmann tribes became allies to the four holds. But the alliance did not last as many of the human tribes fell sway to the forces of Chaos. Many of the Roppsman who fought against Chaos were outnumbered and left Norsca to live and settle in what is now Erengrad. Those that stayed behind fell completely under the influence of Chaos became our enemies and we have fought them for centuries as we cleared Norsca of their taint. There are still a few Roppsmann in Norsca who faithfully upheld the alliances but they are few in number and live mainly on the southern and west coast of Norsca deep within the fjords. However those that could left, fleeing across the Sea of Claws to Kislev to avoid the corruption of Chaos did so and by 6150 K.D. Kislev had developed into a loose confederation of states, centered on the city-state of Erengrad under the Kingship of Ingjold the Red and ruled by the Norse Roppsmann. I was in Erengrad to bringing back a treaty between Kislev and the major Holds of Norsca. King Thorgard, the current Kings father and I had fought in the final Battle of Grovod Forest when last Chaos incursion was defeated due to that treaty, a treaty that still holds to this day. What I also learned from our Kislev allies was that there were no Gazani Dawi living within the Kislev and I and my followers were the first Dawi their eldest elders had seen since leaving Norsca. We were told of our southern kin and I gathered what information that I could of them to take back with me. When Master Engineer Dern told me his family intended to immigrate to Kislev to rejoin the rest of their clan it was my sad duty to let Dern Dalhgrunson and his family know that they were no Dawi is Kislev and that they were likely the last of Clan Krupp. Dern and his family were more than happy to emigrate to Kraka Draka and accepted my offer of sponsorship.

Drazhgrund had just finished his reason for being aboard the Sea Cat when the two of them arrived before the doors to the Royal Clan. Once again he gave them a quick once over. Asked question or two concerning their families if any needed any assistance then continued on. It was then that Kari asked a question that had been nagging her since reading the ships log. So if you or the ships crew had not spotted the Golden Stag, we or the other Norsca holds might never have been able to field canon, organ guns, or clansman with Arquebuses? He nodded and they continued on.


#14 Skull Krusher

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 04:41 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Fourteen

Drazhgrund dismissed the class an older group of Knublstubi all of them having just recently turned 16. This group would be leaving soon heading for the mines as was Dawi tradition. A tradition started long before the Great Migration that all Dawi Younglings or Garazi or Knublstubi meaning young ones of all clans and both sexes between the ages of 16 and 30 are required to work in the mines learning the essential mining skills of their heritage, spending at least three years in the mines belonging to their hold and some Knublstubi may learn other skills such as metallurgy and smithing. The door had just closed on the last of them as he sat smoking his pipe thinking of the past when he worked the mines

Thungni, the tough-looking shift boss, led my crew into a long adit to the main shaft. While waiting for the lift hoist he pointed to me and said, "Drazhgrund you're with the ore cart teams this month on level sixteen hundred. Durgin's the ore cart teamster. Work with him."

Durgin walked over to shake hands with me. "What clan?" he asked. Not wanting to bring undue attention to myself I pointed at the crest upon my pick handle. He nodded gave me a cursory inspection to see if I had all the required gear and that it was in good repair and quietly explained what I would be doing for the next moon or so. Aside from his greetings each midnight and my nods that's all we ever said in the first weeks we worked together.

We communicated with our headlamps. Durgin drove a team of four draft mine ponies ahead of three or four open ore carts. He moved the carts so that each empty cart in turn sat exactly, by my light signal, beneath an ore chute. I rode the carts and pulled the boards up from the chute to let the mined, broken ore from above spill out and fill the car. Each steel cart when filled weighted about 142 stone. As the cart filled I had to replace the chute boards and cut off the flow of ore. I then signaled Durgin by rocking my head up and down slightly. He would see my lamp bob, the universal miner's signal which meant go. When the empty cart was in position under the chute I nodded my head side to side. Durgin saw my light swing, the underground stop signal. When I emptied the carts one at a time over a floor grill called a grizzly we used the same system. The mine was dark except for our headlarnps and the ponies head lamps.


The worst part of chute-pulling occurred when I pulled the chute boards up and nothing came out. This meant the chute was plugged, or hung up, like a clogged pipe. Big chunks of rock would bridge across the chute and stop the flow. The chute puller had to reach over the boards and up into the empty space with a long steel pole. The trick was to keep your lamp light focused on the rock-pole contact point, poke it, and then get the pole and yourself out of the way before tons of rock came crashing down.

Durgin and I had run the carts for seven days when we came to work one midnight to find a hung chute from the last shift. This ore passage was about a hundred feet long, four by four feet across, and straight up. It was full of heavy rock except for the first five or six feet above, my work opening, a chute of thick iron plates. Sweating and swearing, I poked the hang-up repeatedly to try breaking it loose. The first thrusts into these things were always light and quick, enabling the worker to draw back instantly.

If the steel bar didn't work the next step was to set a small black powder charge on the end of a pole and prop it in the chute. I took a breather while deciding to try one more strong poke with the bar.

I glanced up the track at Durgin standing by the ponies when I saw a new light, near Durgin's headlamp. I went back to work with the bar, seventeen hands long nearly around as my wrist weighing about two stone. After a series of hard jabs I found the key to the hang-up and barely got the bar out of the way as the ore shifted with a crash and rumble. Everything was okay, or so I thought.

Through the settling dust a light flashed close-up in my face. It was Thungni, the shift boss. "Youngling, lemme tell ya' somethin'. Ya' never hold the bar in front of yer head like I jes' seen ya' do. We had a chute-puller did that when the chute broke loose an' he never got the bar out in time. It got drove into his head clean through and come out his "I swear too much". A reg'ler spear. From now on ya' hold the bar so's it can't kick ya'. Keep yourself clear. Remember that. Okay?"

My lamp shook, more from a tremble than a nod, and I never forgot those words. There have been hundreds of mines since then, all over Norsca, with the echo of Thungn's words in my ears


His pipe had long gone out as he thought about the mines that were far different from the rest of finished hold of Kraka Draka. Dark dank uninviting and outright dangerous to the ill equipped or in experienced where as the rest of the Kraka Draka was well lit, dry, comfortable and more than anything else home. Well he remembered his first day in the mines when his candle when out and it was completely black. He sat there in the cool darkness listening to the voices of the rock around him the soft sounds of water dripping off the tunnel roof to the floor, and the total rightness, the feeling of well being at being at peace with the living rock around him. He shook himself out of his reverie as the smell of mountain lavender aroused him from his musing as he realized that Kari had come in. It was time for another class. She said as she refilled his tankard and lay out a plate of cheese and bread.


#15 Skull Krusher

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 06:04 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Fifthteen

Once again it was it was the outspoken Finni Rognison who raised his hand and was given permission to speak. Lord Drazhgrund, from what you have taught us and from what I, I mean, we have learned so far is that the Chaos Hordes are our main enemy. He looked at his classmates and they nodded but what about Urk and Grobi who have taken many of our southern kins Holds?

Drazhgrund looked to Kari whose eyes seemed to burn when Finni asked about the race of Grob and she uttered a soft curse which only Drazhgrund heard as he nodded and let Kari speak.

The Grob or Orc and Goblin race are our bitterest enemies. She raised her hand to stop young Finni from interrupting as she continued. For nearly the first 2,700 years since the collapse of the warp gates we Dawi have fought the Chaos Hordes and in all that time only two holds were lost. Karak Dum which lies to the north of us across the Frozen Seas which was lost during the first incursion of Chaos, we do not think the messengers reached them in time, they barely reached Norsca. Nor do I think our kin to the east within the Mountains of Mourn were warned. But they on the other hand did not fall in battle with Chaos rather they embraced it and are eternally cursed and forsaken.

On the other hand for the last 4,000 years we Dawi have only lost one Hold to Chaos. That Hold was lost a little over two hundred years ago during the last major Chaos Horde incursion that engulfed Karak Vlag, overwhelming its defenses. After the final Battle at Grovod Wood where the combined forces of Norsca Dawi and the Imperial Dawi of the Worlds Edge Mountains defeated Chaos, Rangers from Kraka Draka and Karaz-a-Karak searched for Karak Vlag but there was no trace remaining of it or its inhabitants. The class uttered a low moan and then Kari continued with much bitterness. But during the last 4,000 years every Hold our Dawi kin of the Worlds Edge Mountains have lost with the exception of Karak Vlag was due to the armies of Grob and Skaven. The following Dawi Holds were lost, Karak Azgal, Karak Drazh, Karak Eight Peaks, Karak Ungor, Karak Varn, the great mines of Gunbad and Silverspear; all to the Grob and Skaven. We in Norsca are extremely valiant warriors but we are also lucky and unlucky because of our isolation. All of those fallen Holds I have mentioned had populations nearly 10 to 20 times ours yet they still fell to the Grob and Skaven. We have barely 50,000 Dawi in all of four Holds in Norsca today and those southern Holds that fell had as many as 125,000 to 300,000. In Kraka Draka, our Hold we have a little over 16,000 Dawi. Then Karis voice became stern. We must be forever vigilant against all our enemies especially the Grob and Skaven. There can be no treaty, no peace with the Grob till they are all dead till they are nothing more than a bitter bad memory and now I will tell you why. What I am about to tell you can be found in level eight section three of the archives if you wish to find out more. Then Kari spoke.

It was during the tail end of the last major Chaos incursion 2303 I.C. or 6908 K.D. There were some Grob who had allied themselves and fought along side the forces of Chaos. But after the Battle at Grovod Wood when the armies of Chaos was defeated, many of the enemy both Chaos and Grob scattered trying to escape the Dawi and human armies that hunted them down. Once such group of Grob fled north out of Kislev managing to cross through Troll Country relatively unscathed fleeing further north into Norsca where they fell upon our loyal Norsca Roppsman tribesmen and Dawi alike. Karis voice changed to that of a bard telling a tragic tale or Zagaz.

Above the ground, in the snowy mountains of southeastern Norsca, a small band of Orcs and Black Orcs no more than a dozen moved quietly through the night. They were all that remained of the great horde that had that fought alongside the Chaos Horde fleeing Kislev and then the Trolls trying to put further distance between themselves and the armies who defeated them in Kislev. Many thought they had escaped their enemies but now they feared that the Dwarves may have caught their trail. They were pursued, but some of the Orcs did not know why. They took shelter from a snow storm in a cave on the mountainside.
"It will be dawn soon," the band's leader said. "The Dwarves will catch up to us soon, I have no doubt and more than once he wished he had not taken the opportunity to slip away and raid that small farm hidden away in the rocky mountains two days past. He could smell the goats but found none so raided the goat herders farm. He swung a large bag down from his back and onto the ground, and a small leg of meat fell out, from what, no one could tell. Grabbing it up before anyone else got the same idea he started to gnaw on the cold and dry flesh, apparently enjoying every bite, though no human or dwarf would understand why. It wasn't even cooked.

"Stop hogging the meat," one of the two Black Orcs with them spoke up.

"Quiet!" the Big Un shouted as he devoured what he had in his mouth. "I'm the leader here, I eat first!"

"There are no leaders anymore!" the other Black Orc yelled back. The two Black Orcs stood up and moved towards the Orc Big Un with the meat, who now held his axe in one hand, and the leg in the other.

"There's still more meat!" he shouted as he nudged his satchel with his foot. Without hesitation, the Black Orc grabbed the bag and looked through it.

"Meat?" he said, skeptically, until he saw what he was referring to. He grabbed it by its arm, and slowly pulled it out of the satchel.
"You fool," the Black Orc said, staring at the small creature he held. "This is why we're being hunted. This is why the Dwarves are on our trail!"

The Orc tried to mouth out words in a response however no sound came out, as he felt a sudden and searing pain in his throat. There, about six inches in front of his chin he saw the bloody tip of a crossbow bolt. It was his blood. The Black Orcs took steps back, and grabbed the other Orcs and pulled them in front of them just as a barrage of cross bow bolts swept through the cave from outside.

"Go!" the Black Orc shouted as he grabbed the satchel and shoved the creature back inside. They ran deeper into the cave, towards the underground, not knowing that they were entering passage that would eventually lead them to the Dwaven Underway to Khazid Ravik.

A dozen hooded Rangers wearing shaggy bear skin cloaks entered the cave, slowly, three of them with great weapon axes drawn, and the rest with their crossbows ready to shoot any Orcs they see.

"These are all dead and this one soon will be" one of the Rangers said, as he looked over the Orc corpses impaled with their bolts. "Find her." Came the order and they dropped their crossbows and axes and started looking through all the bags that the Orcs had on them. Nothing.

"They must have gone deeper into the cave, the fools do not know where they are," Ragni, the oldest of the Dawi said as he gazed down the long and dark tunnel that lie before him. For that matter he did not recognize this cave entrance though he recognized the smell of the underway and could not imagine that the Hold miners had not found it and either posted a guard or placed a locked iron door to keep the enemy out. He would have to report this but first he had to find her.

*

Dorin had his great weapon slung across his back as he marched in line through the final stretch of smooth path leading out of Kraka Draka and into the old shortcut to Khazid Ravik, that had long been unused by Throng. It would be a short journey, possibly taking seven days.

"One week journey," Dorin said to his fellow Clan Warriors behind him. "The Khazid could be perfectly fine for all we know."

"Invading Urks and Grobi," a warrior said as he smoked his pipe, blowing smoke out with each syllable. "There're no creatures fouler."

"Maybe Elves," another warrior joked, and they all had their laugh, which lifted their spirits from the darkness that has plagued them since they heard of the possible siege of Khazid Ravik. The reports were unclear.

*

Ragni laid flat against the cave floor, and slowly peaked over the edge into the great chasm. There was a narrow bridge extending from one side to the other, and several areas to climb up and down. He now realizes that the Black Orcs have actually been following a path, but to where he did not know. His eyes continued to scan the side of the chasm until - there. One hundred feet below, the two Black Orcs rested against a rock, trying to hide around the rocks that had fallen from the ceiling. Ragni was there alone. The Rangers had all split up to take different paths in hopes at least one of them would come across their prey. He knew he could kill one of them, but the other was tucked away, hidden, with only a leg exposed. It was a risk he'd have to take.

Ragni propped himself up, and moved towards an old miners ladder and he recognized the makers rune, he snorted silently, the "I swear too much" thing was two hundred years old. His footing was everything, if knocked any stone lose, it would alert the Black Orcs and the chase would be on once again. Foot by foot he climbed down. Finally he reached the bottom, and could see the Black Orcs down a little further, but he was now at an angle to shoot one of them with ease. His hand slowly went under his cloak feeling for the feathers of his bolts. As soon as he felt the soft end, he pulled it out, and cocked the crossbow, held it steady. He closed his left eye as he aimed, as he adjusted for the distance and took one last breath and stopped!

The low sound of marching Dawi iron shod shoes that he would recognize anywhere and voices broke his attention, and he brought his crossbow down, and inadvertently fired and the bolt shot into the rocks below and bounced up and over the edge of the path, falling into the chasm below. The Black Orcs paid no attention to this sound, they were more concerned with the voices heading towards them.

*

Several Dawi emerged on one of the bridges down the path. At the head of them was Dorin, mumbling about how they should not have rested and were behind schedule but the unit Thane beside him told him to keep quiet. The Black Orcs sat motionless, staring directly at the dwarves, who now saw the Black Orc, and both sides grew quiet. Ragni did not think he would get such an opportunity again so he aimed and shot another bolt. The Black Orc collapsed to the ground when a bolt hit between the shoulder blades punching through heavy armor killing it which caused the second Black Orc to run in fear.

Dorin immediately grabbed his great axe from his back and charged after the fleeing Black Orc yelling a war cry as his fellow Clan Warriors stood their in shock at seeing Grob in their tunnels.

Ragni finished climbing down the side of the chasm and landed on the path below, cutting the Black Orc off who came to an abrupt stop when he saw that a Dwarf had a crossbow aimed at his head. Around the Black Orc's shoulder, Ragni saw the satchel, and a low murmur was emitted from it, followed by the shrill cry. The Black Orc grabbed the bag and held it over the edge, obviously meaning to drop it unless he would be allowed to pass. No words were exchanged during this stand off, and the Black Orc slowly started to walk slowly towards Ragni who kept his crossbow aimed squarely at the Black Orc's head, who just stared back with cunning hatred as he held the bag away from him over the dark chasm. Dorin came charging up behind the Black Orc, out of breath, but with enough angry energy to swing his axe if he needed to, then he too heard the cry and stopped his deadly swing. The Black Orc was now right next to Ragni, and the Grob had to switch hands; he didn't want his back towards either Dwarf. Dorin now stood next to Ragni both powerless and watched as the Black Orc slowly backed away and disappeared around a corner. The cry from the satchel didn't get any quieter, and Ragni ran around the corner. The Black Orc had ditched it to the side of the path, and took off at full speed down the path and towards the bridge in the distance. Bringing up his crossbow, Ragni lead his target and then shot striking the Black Orc in the head just before he disappeared around the next another corner. The Grobs body fell limp, and slipped off the edge down into the chasm bounding off the unseen rocks in the darkness.

"Nice shot!" Dorin said. Ragni smiled for the first time in days, picked up the satchel, and gently removed a very small Dawi baby.

"What is her name?" Dorin asked.

"Katrin, Katrin Vanyradottir," Ragni son of Drazhson of the Durazklad Clan responded as wrapped her in a small blanket and brought out small flask of goats milk and gently let her drink and soon her crying subsided as he then placed her within his bearskin cloak for added warmth and protection as he comforted his niece.

"That's a fair name. Fair, indeed." Dorin states as the rest of his fellow warriors gather around Ragni forming an honor guard.


Kari stood there before the class silently weeping as she finished the story of her mother who had been rescued by her great uncle. The twins, Kettra and Kalea got up and went to Karis side to console their kin and as they did so Priestess Skornia dismissed the class and escorted the somber children away leaving the twins behind with Kari and Drazhgrund. A half mark later the four of them left escorted by a dozen Drak-Hammers as they made their way to the gates of Durazklad clan.

Great King Thorin Thorgard and Queen Vala as well as Karis mother Katrin stood when the Karugromthi Drak-Hammerer, Drazhgrund Kartinson of Clan Durazklad, their clans Throngrink or patriarch came through the door followed by Kari and the twins. When he set aside his great runic war-hammer and sat down so did they. In public Drazhgrund would have been the first to stand to show respect to his king and queen but here in the private section of the family quarters far from the seeing eyes of non clansman the roles were reversed. In truth there were some Dawi outside Clan Durazklad who wondered why Drazhgrund was not the king being as he was the patriarch of the clan Durazklad. His father had been king and so had his older brother and his brothers son, and grandson, but Drazhgrund though he had the training for governance he flat refused to usurp his great, great, great grand nephew. If there had been no one else perhaps but he had long learned that he got more done in the Kings name than many kings did themselves which was ironic. All this passed through his mind as he sat down and placed the ancestral war-hammer down beside the chair. No sooner than they all were seated when Kettras and Kaleas siblings came rushing into the royal family chambers, brothers Bronn and Hagar followed by their baby sister Tarni who climbed up onto his lap and snuggled into the great expanse of his beard to give him a hug. Both Thorin and Vala laughed at their daughters antics and the king laughed loudest when he told his Throngrink that his gruff image was safe with them that there was no reason for the Drak-Hammers to think that their commander was such an easing going Dawi. Drazhgrund just harrumphed which produced smiles on everyones face.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 08 March 2007 - 02:32 AM.


#16 Skull Krusher

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:20 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Sixteen

There were all Karugromthi and their combined age if anyone were crass enough to ask and then to total it up was nearly four thousand years. Four thousand years of living Kraka Draka history sitting around a banked fireplace within the Rusty Harpoon in their favorite chairs. The table between them held their empty dinner plates though their tankards were always full thanks to the attention of Florin and the numerous Dawi patrons that filled both main wings of the inn. Drazhgrund was the oldest of the four by a mere nine moons but that was all that mattered to the Heganbor Kladfist of Clan Rhyn of the Miners Guild, Brogar Zfarrgrund of Clan Drakkgrund of the Engineers Guild, and last Derna Morgadottier of Clan Oakenstave of the Brewers Guild. Brogar was the youngest of the four by thirty seasons, Heganbor was the next oldest followed by Derna who was older than Brogar though she looked to be almost 100 years younger and if you looked hard you could still see strands of bright golden hair that seems lost in the numerous white braids that coiled around her shoulders. Some how the talk had gotten around to the Rangers who guarded the mountain passes as well as guarded the stalwart small craft guild of Dawi farmers and herders who provided additional food supplies for the Hold of Kraka Draka. Derna talked about one her clans more famous members a Ranger by the name of Yorri, son of Drazhson who had married into Drazhgrunds clan and he nodded in agreement. But is was Brogar who brought up the ranger Harok Finnson, another member of Clan Oakenstave who courted and married a Valaya priestess Lakin Gertadottier also of Clan Durazklad. Heganbor had not heard the hold story about Harok he only knew that the ranger was involved in breaking the siege around the city of Erengrod. Drazhgrund suggested that Derna tell the tale since she knew Harok from the moment he came into the world.

It grew quiet around them as the closest of the other patrons strained to hear the tale. Derna called for another round and calmly refilled her pipe and the others did the same and began smoking as she marshaled her thoughts and then she began. Young Harok was an impetuous youngling from the very first As soon as his mandatory three years working in the mines were over he bolted for the surface like a frightened rabbit but no rabbit was Harok He was perhaps the most skilled ranger I have ever seen who could track a beast across hard rock surfaces with ease where no trace could be seen or smelled. Harok often ranged far and wide around the Norsca Drak Ale brewery at Skara Brae often returning to hearth and kin with tales of defeating wandering Chaos Beastman or human marauders where ever he found them and would present the evidence of his success. He was a loner a perfect Dawi ranger but one day, and that was when Derna smiled. Harok wandered into the temple of Valaya and was smitten, smitten hard and fell head over heals for a certain Priestess. To prove that he was worthy of her, that he would fight for the King and Hold and not just for his clan he petitioned and was accepted into the Kings Rangers. He courted her for five years and when the Throng went to Kislev so did he as well as six Valaya Priestess and Clerics. When the advance force of the Throng reached Kislev and they saw that the Erengrod was besieged they sent word back to the Throng. While they waited for the King and the rest of the warriors the Rangers noted that during the day the Orc used their catapults to launch rocks into the city walls to break them down, during the night the occupants of the city used those same rocks to strengthen the walls. One moonless night Harok slipped out of camp and this is his tale.

Dozens of campfires, cast an eerie, flickering illumination across the area surrounding the walls of the Kislev city. Although most of the Orcs were snoring loudly from inside crude tents or around their campfires, sentries could be seen haphazardly patrolling the area. Through this horde of sleeping Orcs, a single Orc wielding a battleaxe and a dagger stalked quietly from shadow to shadow, carefully avoiding the other Orcs with agility that looked out of place for its short bulky frame, the lone Orc moved up behind a standing sentry. A thick hand reached up around and locked itself over the sentrys mouth while the other hand stabbed a wickedly sharp dagger into the base of its neck, upward towards its brain. The sentry stiffened and then went limp. Looking around to make sure the guards death had gone unnoticed its attacker replaced the dagger in its scabbard, next to the battleaxe and pulled the dead sentry back behind some rocks. Harok, the Orc looked around to make that the other Orcs hadnt been alerted. When he was satisfied they hadnt seen him kill the sentry, he continued his stealthy trek to the first catapult.

Of course, Harok was not really an Orc, but thanks to the Rune of Disguise that hung around his neck, anyone looking at him would see him as an Orc. Glancing down at the medallion on the chain, the Harok winced when he remembered how much he had paid for it from the Runesmith. Still, he thought, it would be worth it if he could walk away from this alive. He only had a couple of marks before dawn, but he knew now was the time the sentries alertness would be at its lowest. By now, they were bored and fighting off drowsiness, making it the perfect time to navigate the Orc encampment.

The deft Dawi ranger crept from shadow to shadow, careful to avoid a small group of guards who were still up, swigging on some type of ale. He heard them grunting to each other in their harsh guttural language and strained to hear what they were saying. Harok had learned how to speak Orcish it had not been an easy thing nor was it something he let anyone know about, but in the end it had saved his life on more than one occasion. He wondered if it would help him tonight too.

Already, he had learned that the main force was comprised of a tribe from the Axehead Mountains north of the Empire, though apparently there were at least four other smaller tribes that had flocked to the banner. From the scattered conversations he had managed to ease dropped on, an Orc warlord named Sitruc Skull Krusher was responsible for the new Waaagh. But his job wasnt reconnaissance he was here to take out the catapults. Leaving the group of drinking Orcs behind him, he edged back into the shadows and continued towards his objective.

Moving from shadow to shadow and stopping occasionally to waylay or avoid an Orc sentry, it took Harok almost half a mark to reach the first catapult position. He found three Orcs snoring next to a fire on the other side of the catapult. Probably the catapult crew, he thought. Hed have to deal with them after he took care of the catapult.

He gingerly slid the serrated dirk from its scabbard on his belt. The dagger was legendary within the Oakenstave Clan, supposedly a relic from days of the first King, because its blade wasnt steel, but carved from the tooth of a dragon that had once made its home in what is now Kraka Draka. Harok didnt know for certain if that were true, but blade's serrated edges were razor sharp, which is what he needed right now.

Moving along the right side of the catapult, the Harok quietly began to slice the thick ropes that held the catapult together. He kept sawing away until he felt the rope starting to give, he stopped. He moved to the other side and repeated did the same thing. With any luck, the first time they fired the catapult, the ropes would give and it would quite literally come apart at the seams. Satisfied that this catapult was crippled, he looked over to the sleeping Orcs. They hadnt stirred, but still he was careful not to make a sound as he crept up to them. With deadly precision, he slid his dagger across their throats, holding them still until death took them. Then, quiet as a wraith, he slipped back into the darkness and was gone.

It took him another mark to reach the second catapult. He had been forced to take out a sentry that he had nearly blundered into. Luckily, in the darkness, the Orc hadnt realized the Dawi ranger wasnt one of them until it was too late. But there had not been a good place to hide the body nearby, so Harok had been forced to drag it behind some rocks a good distance off. Harok had hidden the dead sentry, but now he was behind schedule. He knew the sun would be peaking across the mountains soon and his time was growing short.

He sabotaged the second catapult just as he had done with the first, then he killed the crew. It was messy work, but he had little sympathy for the Orcs. So lost was he in his thoughts, Harok nearly walked into an Orc sentry that strayed away from the main encampment to relieve himself. "Tezna Okk..." it started and then paused. Maybe the Orc saw through the illusion. The Harok did not know, and never would. His right hand shot forward, fingers stiffened, and struck the Orc in the throat. It tried to cry out in alarm, but all that came out was a strangled gasp. His left hand came up, driving the Dragon tooth blade deep into the Orc's stomach. It's eyes went wide and it reached down, as if trying to pull the dagger out. It struggled weakly for a minute, gradually loosing strength as it's body collapsed toward the ground.

"Kaz Zegor Gaj," Harok whispered at the Orc, as it's eyes closed for the last time. He lowered the limp Orc to the ground and wiped his blade on the dead creature's dirty tunic. He left the body where it lie and moved on down the hill towards the last catapult, silently praying the death of the Orc would go unnoticed.

It was almost daylight, the eastern horizon already begun to turn a pale orange. His time was running out. Soon the camp would be awake and the dead Orcs discovered. Once that happened, the camp would go on full alert and searches would be mounted. Harok knew he had to move quickly. He picked up his pace, moving from rock to rock, but still staying in the shadows.

Ahead of him, the third catapult loomed just over a small outcropping of rocks. He moved quickly but deftly over the uneven terrain towards his goal, when he stopped suddenly. His keen eyes had caught something out of place on the ground - footprints. He bent down, his hand tracing them in the ground. They weren't Orc footprints, he thought to himself. They appeared to belong to four Dawi. By the depth of the footprints, three were in heavy armor. One he thought, must belong to Dawi female the prints were smaller not as deep as the others. He had no idea why they were here in the middle of the Orc army and wondered if the King and the rest of the Throng had arrived. He started to move back towards the Rangers camp and then stopped. There was still the third catapult. He needed to take care of that last catapult. The time it took the Orcs to repair the catapults may be the time they needed for the King to attack the Orc Horde. Harok drew out his dagger and spun around, sprinting the last few yards to the catapult. He dropped down and began cutting the thick ropes that held it together. His serrated dagger made quick work of the first set and he moved to the second set. He was nearly done when he heard a noise behind him. Out of instinct, the Ranger rolled to the right, narrowing missing a huge choppa that came crashing down where his head had been a moment ago. His roll carried him back onto his feet, and his battleaxe swung into the guard position.

He faced three Orcs. Probably the catapult crew, though he hadn't heard them get up. One came on suddenly, this one armed with a battle axe as well but not so finely crafted he noted. It swung the battle axe in a furious arch, trying to cut him in half. Harok side-stepped the swing and his own battleaxe slice up and across the Orc's face, drawing a long crimson line from forehead to chin. The second Orc, thinking him off-balance, moved forward and attacked him with a series of quick slashes with its short, curved choppa. Harok erupted into a flurry of motion, parrying the thrusts with his battleaxe, letting the Orc think it was gaining ground. Then, quick as a snake, the Dawi side-stepped, spun around and buried his dagger in the Orc's back stabbing it through the heart. The Orc crumpled to the ground.

Spinning to face the other two Orcs, the Harok barely managed to get his battleaxe up in time to stop the mace-wielding Orc from crushing his skull. He managed to deflect the mace's heavy steel head away from his head, but its force continued the blow downward into his shoulder his light armor providing little or no protection and Harok thought he felt a bone snap. His left arm went numb, hanging limply at his side and his serrated dagger fell to the ground. Grimacing through the pain, Harok barely managed a wild swing at the choppa wielding Orc.

The two Orcs were circling him now, toying with him. They knew, as he did, it was only a matter of time. Below him, from the tents around the catapult, Harok could see Orcs emerging, heading up to help. But the Orc in front of him didn't want to wait. It rushed forward, choppa coming in high, trying to sever his head. Harok managed to get his battleaxe up in time to block it but immediately realized his mistake. The Orc behind him brought its mace across and under the Ranger's guard, catching him in the ribs.

The force of the blow knocked the Harok off his feet. He hit the ground hard and the battleaxe slipped from his grasp. Worse, he could feel a warm wet feeling from his side and the difficulty he had breathing told him he had at least one or two broken ribs. His breath was ragged, and his vision was growing dim. So this was it, he thought. He watched with morbid fascination as the two Orcs closed in.

He saw the air behind the Orcs shimmering and thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. Then he heard a Dawi battle cry and braced himself for the final blow. Instead, a huge two handed runic battleaxe flashed out of the shimmering air, looping off the head of the closest Orc. The shimmering air revealed four Dawi who apparently had been hidden by Rune Magic. The two-handed battleaxe was wielded by one of the Kings Drak-Hammers in gromril armor. Behind to him stood two other Drak-Hammers in dark gromril armor, a heavy mace in their hands a shield in the other. Behind them was a Dawi female who had no business to be where she was. She wore long chain mail over her purple robes and was armed with a battleaxe as well. In the semi-darkness of the early morning she looked very familiar but the pain in his side from each labored breath he took made it hard to think much less focus on the fight above him.

The Drak-Hammer stepped forward and slammed the heavy mace he was carrying into the other Orc's legs, destroying its kneecap. As it dropped, he side-stepped and brought the mace's head down on the Orcs skull. It hit the ground and didn't move.

"Bah," grumbled the Drak-Hammer, looking at the blood on the mace's head. "That smell will never come out!"

Harok looked over to the female who began gesturing. A clerical spell, he thought. She must be a Valaya priestess. She must be with the King, where is the King he thought to himself and in the background he heard the Throngs war drums and war horns sound all around him. If only he had waited

"ZharrZonGrob Har!" she said in strong tone, inscribing a rune in the air at the oncoming Orcs coming up the path. A large ball of light sped from the rune towards the lead Orc. It struck the creature full in the chest and erupted into a blinding flash, tossing Orcs around like a game of nine pins. The voice sounded familiar and he strained to get a better look. Dark hair.... green eyes... so familiar. If only he could remember.

"Get us out of her, Lakin," ordered the second Drak-Hammer and Harok heard the the priestess begin to chant again. Her voice was a softer now almost like a prayer and the ranger struggled to hear the words, something about a Master Rune or a Zone of Hiding. But now his sight was growing dim and he was getting colder. He was dying, Harok knew. Suddenly he remembered who the priestess was. Lakin, he thought. It was his beloved priestess of the Temple of Valaya. He strained to lift his head to get a better look at her, but collapsed back down. "Lakin," he coughed.

"Better heal him," the gruff Drak-Hammer told the priestess as he picked up the rangers weapons as Lakin moved to the ranger's side. Right before he blacked out, Harok suddenly felt warmth... and then a tingling and then... nothing.

In the early morning darkness fourteen days after the siege was lifted and the Orc and Chaos forces defeated and scattered; Harok became aware of the smell of hot wax and burning incense in the air. With eyes still shut his senses slowly probed his surrounding. He was naked under a wool blanket, his arm was in a sling and no longer numb, his ribs were wrapped and as he took in a breath they pained him only a little, he lay upon a soft bed; somewhere in the room at least four candles burned. His body felt nearly healed he told himself, not fit to carry armor or to fight a battle, but healed and he was so very thirsty and just a little hungry.

As he listened Harok discovered that he was not alone. He heard soft breathing and the movement of cloth not too far away and the soft sound of chain mail over cloth. The heady aroma of mountain heather awoke another feeling and he ever so slowly opened one eye and from behind his lashes he made out the figure of a Valaya Priestess in purple robes sitting upon a nearby stool staring at him intently. Harok slowly turned his head toward Lakin and opened his eyes. "Lakin! Beer! Please my love" he whispered to her with an audible sigh as he reached out with his good hand to take her hand in his.


When Derna was finished she nodded to Drazhgrund who finished her tale. By saying that it was after the final Battle of Grovod Forest when King Thorgard and the rest of Throng and returned to Kraka Draka from the Day of Remembrance festivities at Karaz-a-Karak with the Imperial High King that Harok and Lakin were married. Drazhgrund had noticed that once again the inn had grown quiet one a tale was being told and when he and Derna were finished all four of their tankards were refilled complements of their listeners.

Heganbor Kladfist turned to both his long time friends and commented, That if he did not know better he thought that females in Clan Durazklad were secretly ordered to marry Dawi males from Oakenstave in ordered to procure an endless supply of the finest ale in Norsca.

Or Oakenstave courts the females of Durazklad in order to procure and easing of the tariffs from the crown. Brogar Zfarrgrund joked. Drazhgrund raised his tankard to Derna in salute to the union of Durazklad and Oakenstave and they both smiled at their friends.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 23 April 2007 - 04:23 AM.


#17 Skull Krusher

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 03:46 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Seventeen

It was late but no one really cared as they huddled around the table tankard in one hand and a handful of coins in the other. At this time of night the bard had quit playing long ago and was now rolling dice which was the only noise within the Rusty Harpoon aside from the crackling of the fire within the great hearth and an occasional bang or two from the scullery workers cleaning up the inn for another mark or two before the night shift took over. The inn never closed and Florin and the Bard was with the group huddled around the board watching the betting as the players placed their coins upon any of the six squares representing the sides of the dice which were; the Dawi Crown, the Mud Hook or anchor, the Miners Pick, the Draka Claw, the Oath Stone, and a Azgal or treasure horde.

Everyones attention was on the game or upon cleaning and the opening and closing of the main inn doors went unnoticed by many it except Florin who smelt the salt air come in from the underground seaport of Sjoktraken no more than a good axe throw away. He looked up and noticed that a ranger had come in shrugged his pack off, removed a dingy fur cloak from around his shoulders that might have been white if it had been cleaned and sat in a chair with his back to the wall next to the glowing fireplace with his weapons within easy reached. Florin had not always been an innkeeper. He had spent nearly fifty years within the Kings Throng and not all of it peaceful years and he had done his share of fighting the Chaos Hordes and the race of Grob, the vile Orc and their kin the Goblins and if the King mustered the Throng he would march to war again if called upon, much like Drazhgrund his patriarch would. Still it was not so long ago that Florin could not fail to recognize a veteran warrior when he saw one and this one had the look of a veteran. But this warrior, no ranger for the stranger wore none of the usual armor that a warrior clansman, Miner, Ironbreaker, Drak-Hammer, or Longbeard warriors did. In fact Florin did not recognize the Dawi at all which surprised him in that the hold populations was a little over 16,000 but still as one of the Elders or Throngrinks of clan Durazklad he had met or had seen nearly every single Dawi even if they had not stopped by for a pint or for a meal and this Dawi ranger was old, older than he. Well the game was no longer interesting so Florin went to the bar filled two large tankards, and told one of his workers to bring a plate of fresh bread and cheese, as well as large bowl of elk stew.

As Florin crossed the room he decided that this Dawi was to young to be considered a Living Ancestor or Karugromthi but old enough to be a Great Beard or Gormtrommi and wondered why a Gormtrommi Ranger was still patrolling the lands of Norsca for surely that is where this Ranger had come from, the travel stains and the smell of the outdoors was still clung to him like a stubborn food stain. As he approached the table he noticed that the Rangers eyes tracked him across the room as if he was gauging a target or an enemy and soon he stood next to the table and handed the Ranger one of the tankards.

My thanks, master Florin. Hearing his name surprised Florin for he knew he had never met this Dawi in his life but the Ranger must know him or of him. Your reputation as an astute innkeeper proceeds you. Have a seat I see that you are curious. Then one of the kitchen staff set a plate of food before him and he nodded his thanks and he sliced a hunk of bread and wrapped it around some cheese before dunking it into his stew. In between bites he started talking.

All Florin could do was sit and drink while the old Dawi ate. Florin was thinking about asking who he was but did not want to be considered rude or crass when he realized that the Dawi had been speaking and he had missed what he had first said and it vexed him that he had missed the beginning of the story about why it took him so long to finally return to home to Kraka Draka

For all I knew I was still in the Empire and I paused at the fork in the road, wondering which branch would take me back to Norsca, away from the Empire. Both lead north to my home in Norsca. Both were narrow tracks of half-frozen mud and slush neither appeared to have been used since winter fled the hills. A lichen carved stone road post was half hidden by a leafless bush. It said Torisk in the language of humans. I do not know if this is a god, the nearest mountain, a village, the last boarder outpost before entering the land of Trolls or an inn, or some obscene Kislev suggestion. When a sudden puff of wind sent a leaf racing to the left; I pretend it is an omen from Valaya and follow it.

Perhaps it was my weariness from more than four full moon cycles without adequate food or shelter, or perhaps it was the fault of the fading light of dusk, or perhaps I thought the clump of white in my path was a large patch of snow. In any case I did not recognize the bear until it stood. Its coat was long and very clean. Its eyes were pale blue. My crossbow was atop my pack and thus next to useless and my axe felt much heavier in my hands as the bear and I stared at one another. When the bear growled softly and padded closer, I glanced around for refuge or aid. The woods were bleak in the twilight. The oaks wee naked and grey, almost malevolent. I could try to scale one before the bear charged, but who ever heard of a Dawi climbing a tree.

The bears paws made soft sucking sounds on the muddy road. I shifted my axe to my left hand, letting my right settle on the handle of my other axe in my belt. The bear growled louder as it attacked. I stepped forward, drawing my other axe and sweeping my left axe before me. The bear reared high overhead. A heavy paw descended toward my face. I threw myself to one side, slashing my right handed axe at the bears stomach, as my left axe hit deeply into its foreleg, but for the beasts hunger or anger, it never noticed. Its other paw came down to rake my chest shredding my leather jerkin over my mail shirt that was stretched and torn as well.

I had not time to note my wounds. I brought the back edge of my double bladed axe up into the bears crotch. It shrieked, as I had expected, but it did not curl up as a human or elf might. The bear, while it stood, was over twice my height and my only hope of survival was to get close enough to pierce its heart or brain.

I feinted for its head then chopped at its thigh. As my axe borrowed deep into its flesh, its paws came down on my helmet, scarping against leather and iron then gouged my shoulder. I almost lost consciousness. Still out of reflex or the many years of training or battle, I slashed blindly with my right axe while I fell. I do not know where I struck it, but my blow kept the bear from throwing itself upon me. I rolled through the mud and came up standing.

The bear charged me. I was past the point of conscious thought. My legs moved of their own accord, and I was running towards the bear as if to embrace it. At the moment its forelegs would close around me, my right hand axe swung up and down and I darted aside. The axe struck deep and was stuck and the shock of the impact wrenched it from my grip. I spun about, bringing my other axe to my right hand, and with my left I slipped a dagger from its sheath on my belt. It my mind I rehearsed the clan death song, but when I looked at the bear, I saw that I would sing for it, not for myself. My axe was wedged firmly in the bears split skull.

The bear lay in the road like a dirty, abandoned bale of fur. A tremor shook it for an instant as its life escaped then it was a bag of fur and stringy meat that would soon nourish me. I was cold, sad; and my chest and shoulder felt as though someone had sown it with hot coal. I wanted to collapse where I stood. My axe fell from my numb hand into the half-frozen mud something I had never done even in the practice hall. I thought I would follow, but I managed to stumble the few short steps to the bears side.

Suddenly a voice came from the woods behind me. An Elfs voice called in Empire common speech; Well done. Very well done! He had watched from forty paces away in the dark shadow on an oak. As I jerked my axe from the bears skull, I saw that his only weapon was a tall carved wooden staff and a longbow that hung from his back. He was clad in weather jerkin, and leggings, long black hair that did little to hide the pointy ears, and was pale skinned. He had a long fur cloak that was fastened at the throat by a gold winged Drak with ruby eyes and he had heavy gold bands on his wrist. He held a staff in his left hand and his right hand rested upon the head of a large gray wolf that stood beside him.

Greetings I answered politely hating to speak anything but Khazalid and looked for hidden companions knowing that if he had wanted me dead I would more than likely be dead already.

You are afraid of me? the Elf laughed or I should say the Wood Elf. That is rather flattering. Wise, too, but still flattering. Are you wounded badly?

I hate speaking common especially with a Wood Elf. Though we Dawi of Norsca have had little or no contact with them still from what our Dawi Imperial cousins have told us they are not to be trusted much less any Elf. But still I needed help and it galled me that help may be coming from an Elf so I answered. I have never been wounded well.

You are amusing.

I will probably bleed to death soon, I said, if I do not laugh myself to death first. I let the head of the axe drop. If he intended to complete the bears work, he would have set the wolf upon me before I saw him.

Do not worry, Dwarf. I will help you. He pointed to the grey corpse of a tree that had fallen across the road some years before and had been dragged aside so a cart would pass. Sit. Go on. I will heal you.

He carried no healers kit that I could see, unless it was under the cloak. I said, Are you a healer? As I san down wearily upon the log.

Yes! He stood before me. Will you serve me loyally, until my word or my death releases you?

I looked up into his face. I knew that I would not be able to leave this place alone, and that I would not survive the night if he left me. This is the price for healing?

It is, he said with obvious satisfaction.

I had no idea who he was or what he wanted from me, yet I whispered a silent prayer to our ancestor gods, and said, Then I will serve you loyally.

Good. Who are you, my bondsman?

I am Morik, son of Ragnison, of clan Oakenstave. I replied.

I am Gelmir Nnmacil. Twele, Morik, son of Ragnison. I promise food, shelter, and clothing for you and your kin, so long as you serve me loyally in my hunt. I promise death for you and all you love, if ever you betray me.

My interest was peaked to say the least despite being near death. I sensed that this Elf needed my help just as much as I needed his. But I was curious. What do you hunt? I asked.

We hunt and kill all that is Chaos. He said with more than a hint of hatred.

I said, Fine. Heal me. and then he called down Ariels Blessing upon me.

For nearly two hundred years we slew those who would follow Choas, be they human, Elf, and yes even our far eastern kin we slew when they crossed our path. But Gelmir Nnmacil no longer stalks the slayers of his kin, he died and I carved him a burial vault that looks like a large oak tree out of living rock and their I interned him nearly six moons ago.


Morik, son of Ragnison, of clan Oakenstave sat in his warm corner chair and called for a refill for his tankard. It was only at the last that Florin noted that the bard sat spell bound as well as those around him who had stopped their gaming to listen to the old grey bearded Gormtrommi Ranger. Morik spoke again, If you will tell me which room I will have for the night, I will be off to the bath house, and then to my room for the first sleep in over two hundred years where I did not have to watch my back.

Florin told him the way and soon Morik and his belongs disappeared down the hallway leading to the boarding house section of the inn. When he was gone Florin wrote two quick notes, one to Derna Morgadottier of Clan Oakenstave of the Brewers Guild and the other to Drazhgrund Kartinson of his own Clan Durazklad. He knew that Drazhgrund would inform the Holds Loremaster as well as Great King Thorin Thorgard. When the two messengers departed he wished he could see the expression on Derna Morgadottier face when she hears that her grandson is alive. Then again he knew the inn would be rather busy in the next few marks if he was any judge of the Holds Loremaster not to mention Derna. More profits he said to himself and sat back down with the dice players again.


#18 Skull Krusher

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 04:02 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Eighteen

Bronn Thorinson turned eight seasons old this day. It would be normally cause for any young Dawi to celebrate but it was also the day that his father King Thorin had become king. He was barely two years old when his grandfather King Thorgard died in battle along with his uncle, Prince Durak. Bronn had only a vague recollection of his grandfather, and for the longest time he thought that the clans Throngrink was his grandfather until Lord Drazhgrund told him that he was much too old and much to young which left Bronn confused until Kari told him what section in the family archives to go in order to read the history of his grandfather, King Thorgard. He had spent long candle marks after each days classes reading for the last seven months until he found the relative section of the history and now he was reading the final days that the King, his grandfather had spent in Kraka Draka.

King Thorgard was in his chambers with his family, except for Prince Thorin and his brother, Durak, who were mustering the Throng. Else where in the House of Durazklad compound Lord Drazhgrund Kartinson was being attended to by Kari and her mother Katrin just as Thorgard sat in a chair as his wee grand daughters, Kettra and Kalea, braided his hair and beard just as they done their father much earlier. Neither of them were unaware of what he was about to do and they applied themselves seriously. Eventually, Thorgard had two great braids hanging in front of each ear, and a long braid in back. His beard combed, divided in two, and braided. Queen Vala came before him after the little ones were done, and plated his braided beard with bands of gold, thus contrasting with the grayish-white beard.

Thorgard rose, already clad in gilded plate and mail. He hugged and kissed Kettra and Kalea, and said, "Know that your grandfather loves you with all of his heart. Now go to your mother and let your grandmother finished."

After the girls had left, Queen Vala girded Thorgard with his weapons belt, his great two handed battleaxe she hung upon his back the handle sticking up over his right shoulder for and easy draw and a warhammer soon hung from his belt next to the pipe holder and tobacco pouch. She then began to weep. Thorgard held her close. "Worry not, my love. There is no cause to fear this Beast Horde. I shall return ere you know it."

"You be careful, Thorgard," said Vala. "And keep an eye out for our sons, Thorin and Durak." He nodded but knew that Thorins unit, the Drak-Ironbreakers would be on his left flank, Duraks Longbeards were to be on his right flank, and he and Lord Drazhgrunds Drak-Hammers would be in the center of the Throngs battle line with the Kraka Draka Warriors inner mingled. Thorgard reassured his Queen that between himself and the clans Throngrink he was sure they would be fine.
As they embraced, Thorgard's hands began to wander, both for his own comfort and that of his wife. "Oh Thorgard," she sighed happily. "You still the most lustful Dawi I married so very long ago!"

"And you, my little lass, are still the fairest thing I ever did see," praised Thorgard. "Farewell Vala, my wife and Queen. You have my eternal love." He kissed her lips slowly and passionately then grabbed his helm, and left without a look behind as he slung the dark green Drak cloak about his shoulders.

As soon as the Thorgard left his family quarters his bodyguard followed expecting the King to stop at the Temples of Grungni, Grimnir or Valaya before joining the mustered Throng, but he had already done his duty to the three before this day had even dawned, so instead he went to their younger brothers temple. The guard stopped and nodded to the Drak-Hammers who stood also the entrance and these two saluted King Thorgard as he entered. Inside stood Drazhgrund who turned when he heard the Kings footfall. A carved stone statue stood between two eternal flames that illuminated the Lord of the Underearths temple. The statue depicted the bearded Gazul wearing armor of black iron under a floor length cloak with a hooded cowl pulled over his head. In his hands he held his great rune-axe, Zharrvengryn; flaming vengeance. Together they knelt in silence before the small altar in front of the statue and then Thorgard spoke: Hail Gazul, Lord of the Underearth protector of our clan ancestor spirits. Nothing more was said and the two knelt in silent communion with the Ancestor God Gazul. Thorgard prayed for justice, valor, mercy, strength, the safety of Hold, his clan, family, and above all else victory. The air began to stir in the room and the eternal flames rose higher and the scent of Underearth filled the room with eternal peace and calm. Then the light of the flames leaped from the torches and danced upon the sharp edges of their weapons for what seemed like an eternity but in reality only several heartbeats. Then the air stilled and the flames resumed to their usual brightness. Together King and Throngrink nodded to the altar, rose silently and left the temple with lighter hearts. It was as if their ancestor, the first king of Kraka Draka, King Snorri Drakslayer, son of Crom of the Durazklad clan had spoken to them saying that the House of Durazklad would not fail.

"The time has come," muttered Drazhgrund.


Rising, King Thorgard took his mighty battleaxe from his back, and marched out to lead his army into battle. As the door to the mustering hall opened, all normal sound was drowned out by the shouts from the Drak-Hammers and then by the entire Throng of, "All hail King Thorgard, King of Kraka Draka!" Lord Drazhgrund stood behind the king as he surveyed the Throng.

Bronn would have continued to read but he heard his name being called and it was way past meal time and he knew that his mother the Queen would be upset at his lateness. Never be late, even Lord Drazhgrund knew better than to keep his mother waiting and besides today was his birthday and he hoped the Clans Throngrink would have something special for him. He marked his place and put the tome back in its place upon the shelf as he hurried back.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 10 May 2007 - 02:15 AM.


#19 Tah Kazak Rik

Tah Kazak Rik

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 02:00 AM



You are my hero, this is some amazing stuff. Maybe during the Nemesis crown campaign I can have you ghost write some of my fluff stories, you will of course get the credit, I just need a good ghost writer.

#20 Skull Krusher

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 10:05 PM

Kraka Draka - Part Nineteen

The crackling eulogy of oak logs in the wide fireplace wafted through the oversized guard room where uncounted decades of entrenched beer and pipe odors held their own against the brisk fresh air that blew in from the irregular shaped viewing windows stealing the warmth of the fire. This, the highest lookout post atop Mount Sjoktraken and it is situated just below the summit. The lookout post a continuous stone carved that circled the mountain is a enclosed covered walkway with open view ports looking more like cracks and crevasses in the mountain looked out over lands of Norsca and the Frozen Sea to the north. There were view ports that looked through the inner wall enabling the guards to peer down into the heart of the Sjoktraken, to the hidden seaport thousands of feet below to give warnings of approaching enemy. At each and every window was a table that had a highly detailed terrain map showing exactly what the mountain features were from that window and it was constantly updated.

If one wanted they could access the very summit via a hidden doorway but few braved the fierce bitter cold wind much less the chance of being blown by the wind off the mountain. It was here nearly ten thousand feet at the very summit of Mount Sjoktraken that Drazhgrund stood looking out over the Frozen Sea. The only thing that was higher than Drazhgrund was the statue of Grimnir that stood forever staring northward; looking in the same direction Drazhgrund saw nothing but the unbroken white expanse of the Frozen Sea. Nothing marred the emptiness or its pristine beauty to warn of the approach of Chaos. We are over due he mused and shook his head as he took one last look around before descending to the warmth of the guard room but not before securing the door. After the stone counter balance door was firmly set in place an audible snap could be heard as hidden locking restraints within the stone walls further secured the door. Drazhgrund secured the door by pouring water along the hidden seams of the door that quickly froze thus sealing out the cold as well as securing the door even more. From the central guard room he could see one of the lookouts at his station using one of many telescopes. The two dozen Rangers and their Thane who were posted here for lookout duty were furnished with the finest telescopes that the Engineering Guild could produce. They were near as long as an Elf was high and mounted on swiveled pedestals and the lookouts used these to scry out the lands around the mountain for any Dawi enemy. Many a time Drazhgrund had stood his duty up here in his far away youth taking the winding 10,000 stairs at a run much like the Rangers do today.

But today was different. Today he waited for the class to make their way up the long winding stairs to where he stood. This close to the surface not under the protective stone and far from the secure underground clan homes or the protected room where he usually held his classes meant there would be nearly one hundred warriors guarding the children not to mention the bodyguard for the Kings daughters. For many this would be their first view of Norsca from atop the mountain much less the lands above their Hold. Florin had provided the class with an early breakfast at the Rusty Harpoon this morning and they would have their lunch here also provided by Florins cooks in the guard room before the roaring fire.

Drazhgrund stood staring through the long glass north towards the Frozen Sea and beyond into the mountainous barrier that surrounded the Chaos Waste. After the Battle of Grovod Wood, Drazhgrund and the Loremaster of Kraka Draka as well as the Loremasters of Karaz-A-Karak and Karak Kadrin had discussed at great lengths about what lay beyond those mountains as well as the fate of Kraka Dum. That lost Dawi hold lay beyond the mountains and many now believe they and their hold were lost during the first incursion of Chaos so many thousands of years ago. There had been no messages from Karak Dum since the Gates fell during that first incursion and no one knew if there was some hidden citadel deep within the lost hold that still held out against Chaos but there was no proof either way since it was sure death to penetrate the Chaos Waste where everything was covered with warpstone dust that caused mutation and or death. They were thankful that the mountainous barrier stopped nearly all of the warpstone dust from extending further south. Drazhgrund did not did not envy his old Kislev Boyar friend Ivan Mikail Romanoff whose fortress outpost was on the northern boarder between Troll Country and Kislev and a two day journey from the Blackblood Pass, the natural invasion route of the Chaos Hordes as they marched south out of the Chaos Wastes. The Kislev Fortress of Romanoff is much like the Holds of Norsca: the first lines of defense for the civilized world and knew that the Romanoff Clan was steadfast in its hatred of Chaos and would always fight in defense of Kislev and the civilized world.

But of late Drazhgrunds had been concentrating some of the Ranger intelligence resources on the Skaven as well as Chaos. In all his long years he had battled the Skaven only twice and found that he had no respect for them as a race. He would never discount the ratmen race for they were a dangerous threat to the Dawi race and the rest of the world which was why there were always guards and patrols throughout all Norsca holds from the lowest level to the highest especially in the little used out of the way tunnels, chambers, and storage areas. Dawi listening posts through out the hold were required to report any suspicious tunnel excavations to the Miners Guild and the captain of the guard on each level. Who in turn reported all such noises to the Drak-Ironbreaker Thane. All reports of unusual spoilage, missing or stolen food or ale stocks, or stolen property as well as all missing Dawi who just disappeared were reported to the captain of the guards as well. Even though Hellpit, the mighty skaven fortress was located far to the south south-east of Norsca and deep within the Troll Country; Drazhgrunds greatest fear, was that some day the Skaven Lords would turn their attention north to infiltrate and overrun Kraka Ravnsvake, and then turn further north into Kraka Draka. He hoped they did not and wondered if the bitter cold kept them at bay.

As he mused upon that loss of Kraka Dum and the Skaven threat he vaguely heard the stamp of feet, the noise of armor, and singing as the children and their guards made the last hundred feet or so to where he stood. The whole group was armed even the smallest Dawi child wore chain mail and carried a weapon. But at last they arrived some wanted to sit but their guardians had them doing leg stretches in the large room and made sure they drank plenty of water and Kvass to ward off any cramps. When they were all sufficiently cooled down they sat upon the floor before the fireplace as Drazhgrund sat upon a padded chair with Kari at his side. At the far end of the room opposite the fireplace was a large table covered with a cloth that stood against the wall as the guards fanned out and took their position as they too added to the lookout strength and scanned the horizon and the lands far below them for any possible threat.

The young Dawi sat in a semicircle around Drazhgrund most were overawed to be atop of Mount Sjoktraken and wondered just what todays lesson would be about perhaps lessons in being an Undi or a Sjoktraken Guard. But once again it was Finni Rognison who rose to his feet his and spoke. Lord Drazhgrund what happened to all the rock? Drazhgrund leaned back in his chair wondering what Finni was asking about but it was Kari who cleared it up.

I think Finni wants to know is what happens to all the rock that we Skrund or hewed out of the mountain. Am I not right? Kari said looking directly at Finni.

Finni nodded and replied, Sir I have been thinking that we must have enough excavated rock to build another mountain and I was wondering where does it all the Grint go, all that waste rock? The other children when they heard the question had that same look of thoughtfulness as they too pondered what the answer might be and Drazhgrund let try to come to their own conclusion before answering. After awhile as he heard several different plausible and near correct and impossible suggestion he spoke.

Drazhgrund smiled and gave a small shake of the head, Young Finni it has been a good long time since I have heard that question a very good question indeed. How many of you have seen a map of Kraka Draka? he asked. Not many had as he well knew and what maps they may have seen were usually those indicating the well traveled well known portions like the markets, homes, workshops, clan meeting hall, and burial chambers of their own particular clan and not the whole of Kraka Draka. Only the Royal Durazklad Clan, the Miners Guild and the command structure of the Drak-Ironbreakers knew the complete layout of the entire Hold of Kraka Draka and there were still secrets passages known only to a select few. How many of you have seen the map of Kraka Draka as viewed from atop Mount Sjoktraken where you now sit? As he expected not one of the children had though when he looked towards the kings daughters only Kettra appeared about to speak but she stayed silent. Drazhgrund turned to Kari, Kari, you Kalea and Kettra please remove the covering from the table. When they were done the entire class surrounded the table and gasped at what they saw before them, a scale model of Mount Sjoktraken and the land around it. Drazhgrund smiled for it was masterpiece of craftsmanship. Then their Karugromthi spoke.

As you can see young Finni, our ancestors not only carved a city out of the heart of the mountain but shaped and changed the mountain above the surface as well. All the mighty canyons and valleys that led to the Sjoktraken have been blocked with huge squared cut stones that were removed from within the mountain and carefully place upon a prepared foundation of bedrock at the head of each valley creating a mighty thousand foot high curtain wall that is curved inward like a bow nearly thousand feet thick at the base of solid stone and fifty feet wide at the top that completely closed off every valley and canyon. Over the centuries we have filled in the land behind all these walls to form protected terraces for farms, orchards, and grazing lands for our mountain cattle, sheep, and goats. During the harsh winters these animals have access to underground barns. If look you can see you see some of the above surface homes and barns of cut stone as well as the entrances to the underground barns for the animals during the harsh winter months. Also as you will note that there are five terraced levels from sea-level to approximately five thousand feet. There is not one section of Mount Sjoktraken that has not been overlooked in order to protect our people or their home. Even the Grint has been put to.

What Drazhgrund did not mention was the hidden passages that led to hidden Undi watcher posts that looked out over those curtain walls, the secret doors, armories, storerooms, small air vents and chimney shafts as well as the small underground Dawi farming communities that were built of solid stone with walls and vaulted ceilings hundreds of feet thick prior to the valleys and canyons being filled turning them into the protected farms and pastures. A couple of the small narrow canyons were turned into lakes that provided water to all of Kraka Draka including breweries, the great forges and machine shops, underground water gardens, and the fish farms. Turning to Finni, Does that answer your questions young Finni? Drazhgrund asked. Finni nodded in the affirmative as he looked down upon the diorama of Sjoktraken.

Now if everyone will take their seat again I would like to tell you about the Norsca Expeditionary Force or NEF that will shortly be leaving Norsca for the Empire and the lands of Sigmar in search of the Nemeses Crown.

Edited by Skull Krusher, 10 June 2007 - 02:15 AM.





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