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Kraka Draka

a series of short stories

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#381 Skull Krusher

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:06 PM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Fifthteen (315)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post... the story took a turn that I did not expect... hope you like, have a drink on my tab.

 

In between bites, Ori asked.  “Isn’t Thurgrom the brother of Fimbar Thyksnev of Kalan Ironhand, who happens to be the Guild-Master of the Merchants Guild of Kraka Draka?”  Vanyra nodded yes. “I thought Guild-Master Thurgrom oversaw the Merchants Guilds in the Port of Erengrad.”  Again Vanyra nodded yes.  “Why would he want to hire a Jewel-Smith and why are you offering it to me?”  Ori could think of several reasons the Merchants Guild would want to hire someone from the Jewel-Smith Guild and it all had to do with making a profit.

 

The senior Jewel-Smith took her time as she tore a chunk of bread from her loaf and soaked it in the spicy stew and ate it before answering. “The Karakverdagi Urbar has negotiated a contract between our Guild-Master, Kazgar Bradnisson and Guild-Master Fimbar Thyksnev and his brother,” Vanyra stated.

 

“Just what is the Royal House of Durazklad hoping to gain,” he asked and wondered what Princess Boria Kaleadottier, who happens to be the King Thorin’s aunt and held the title as Master of Trade hope to gain?  Then Ori remembered that the House of Durazklad has a Kalan kin who is also a master Jewel-Smith who is a member of the Jewel-Smith Guild but not kin to either of the two Kalans that made up the guild.  Then Vanyra reminded Ori that one of his fellow Jewel-Smiths, Kvinn Magna Karidottier is also of the royal Kalan of Durazklad and that her Boki husband, Grindol Harokson, a miner is of Kalan Rhyn who happens to mine and sells to their guild the high quality emeralds. 

 

Ori smiled as he filled his bowl a third time with stew and wondered why Magna who had the Master of Trade’s ear as well as his own Guild Master did not volunteer for the position that he assumed would be in the Port City of Erengrad.  It was then that he realized that if a member of the Royal House was in Kislev then Magna would be caught up in Umgi intrigue that plagued the Court of the Ice Queen that invariably revolved around the best way to defend Kislev from the threat of Darkness that comes from the Chaos Wastes to the north and east of Kislev.  Often this dispute meant that the people of Kislev have to pay more and more new taxes rather than weakening their defenses.  But this also leads to some of the Boyar nobility to withdraw some of the unpopular taxes because disgruntled Umgi make poor warriors.  Which could lead to rebellion when the Nobility of Kislev fail to protect Kislev and its people.  Which meant that security protecting anyone from the Royal House would be a constant nightmare because Ori recalled the firestorm that was caused when the King’s kin and Kalan patriarch Lord Drazhgrund went south to the Umgi Empire of Sigmar several years ago with the niece of the Queen along with a contingent of Hammerers.  There was no way the Rinn of the Royal House would let one of its female kin leave Kraka Draka ever again unless it was betrothed to one of the other three Royal Houses, or Kalans within Norsca.  “I assume that the Master of Trade desires to open a business in the city of Erengrad to sell gems and jewelry produced within Norsca?” Ori asked.

 

But elder Master Jewel-Smith, Thane Vanyra Sigrundottier signaled for another refill when Yori Yannisson returned to the bar she answered, “Perhaps but the actual negociations are between Tzarina Katarin and King Thorin.”  Ori sputtered and choked on a mouth-full of stew and when he finally quit coughing he took a drink Vanyra continued, “The Tzarina has met with Guild-Master Thurgrom Thyksnev of Clan Ironhand and several occasions and she trusts him over many of her own Vithang.  Our guilds contract may be with Guild-Master Thyksnev but it is he who providing the Jewel-Smith.  The Tzarina desires to appoint a Dawi Jewel-Smith to be the next Guild Master of the Goldsmith’s Hall of Kislev.”  Ori nodded.  “The current Guild Master is only thirty years old, a talented crafter for an Umgi but the Tzarina would like a Dawi, one who will be answerable only to herself and of course King Thorin; a Dawi who is incorruptible and one who understands the necessity of protecting Hearth and Kin.  Until that Umgi Guild-Master dies of old age, his successor will be working and learning right along side of him just what the duties of the Goldsmith’s Hall entails since the hall also serves as the bank and mint of Erengrad.”  Ori Kilisson was stunned into silence, and his mind raced along several different paths and they all lead invariably to Erengrad.  He nodded and signaled for Yori to fill his tankard.   

 

Note:  To be continued... Have another drink on my tab....

 

 



#382 Skull Krusher

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 03:48 AM

Kraka Draka       Part Three Hundred Sixteen (316)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post....  this story is still taking strange turns... it was supposed to be about Khazid Ravik, oh well... hope you enjoy.

 

 

*       

The last time he traveled the Ungruvalk was when he went to the capitol and met with the Karakverdagi Urbar and Lord Drazhgrund and eventually the King.  Then he was accompanied by his own Kalan Thane and Guild-Master when he met with them and their being there did not lesson the stressfulness.  Ori well understood the seriousness of the contract negotiated between Kislev and Kraka Draka but he wondered if there was another Jewel-Smith better qualified he wondered since he had never met an Umgi before.

 

Surrounded by the darkness of the Ungruvalk Ori Sat quietly on the main deck of the Vithang vessel, the Firestone smoking; the deep reddish glow from the long-stem calumet’s bowl reflected off the various gemstones braided into his beard as well as those mounted in his rings and helm.  As he sat he listened; the steady pace of the canal ponies and their handlers upon the tow-paths, the chatter amongst the sailors as well as the occasional splash of running water.  Occasionally the vessel would pass a group of Endrini making repairs.  The Firestone had one more set of locks to pass through before it reached the final sea-gates and the docks of Draksfjord.

 

*

 

Several months after Ori’s arrival in Erengrad, Guild-Master Thurgrom Thyksnev of Clan Ironhand sat with his Umgi Vithang partner; Boyar Vaja Rybkin listening to the latest reports from two Umgi, Stepan Boriskova and Kubah Jakov about the latest attempts against their business interests by the kyazaks of the City of Erengrad.  That took the better part of a candle-mark as two other individuals sat quietly listening; it would be their turn next.  Several individuals in Ironhand and or guild livery silently filled their tankards or brought more food then quietly retreated.

 

Finally it was Algrim Gormsson of Kalan Ironhand and his Umgi comrade-in-arms Yulia Fedokova of Horchovsk turn to speak about the amount of smuggled import goods being sold in the Grand Market by the Skazi or kyazak known as Radii Synvaslisa.  The Kislev Chekist had so far been unsuccessful in stopping all of Radii’s underhanded activities.  They were nearly finished when Algrim asked his Guild-Master if he had heard about the latest new hireling. 

 

Thurgrom looked at his Kalan kin, “On whose authority?” Thurgrom asked in a stern voice for everyone within Kalan Ironhand knew that only the Boyar Vaja and the Guild-Master had the ultimate authority to hire anyone and only after a very thorough background check.

 

It was Yulia who spoke up which surprised Thurgrom, usually she allowed Algrim, or Stepan or Kubah to take the lead reporting about what went on in the streets and on the docks of the Port City of Erengrad.  “Guild-Master; do you remember the Dawi that showed up not long after Algrim and I returned with Skaldor?”

 

Thurgrom nodded that he did and frowned as he thought of that day.  The day that Wyrdrakendrengi Skaldor Grondson stated, “My doom is not here in Erengrad, I go to Chamon Dharek the sacred grave-mound of the Kurgan Marauders to battle the shaman and champions of the Chaos Gods.  If not there then to the Shadow Lands to battle the gods themselves.”  Thurgrom shook his head at that memory which brought up yet another, a report by Boyar Vaja Rybkin that one of their trading vessels was long over-due and perhaps loss.  But then he recalled that later that evening the listing vessel with ragged sails upon shattered spars had been spotted crossing the bar into the Bay of Erengrad with but a single survivor aboard, a Dawi sailor by the name of Grom Thrundsnev, more dead than alive still manning the helm. 

 

She continued, “I was with Captain Borodyn Vajasyn of Urszinski, our liaison officer between the Port City of Erengrad and the Merchant Guild and we happened to be in the White Hart and this is what we saw happen.”  Thurgrom wanted to know what the two Umgi were doing in a bawdy house but it was none of his business what his hired help did on their own time as long as it did not reflect badly on the Kalan and the Guild so he listened as her report unfolded…

 

 

Note:  To be continued.

 



#383 Skull Krusher

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 03:56 PM

Kraka Draka       Part Three Hundred Seventeen (317)

 

Note:  Continuation of previous post...  a drink, a brawl, did someone want to mix the two especially in a tavern...  here it comes...

 

 

After searching the various Inns that dotted the streets of Erengrad, Ori Kilisson eventually found whom he sought in the early morning hours playing Crown and Anchor with Kislev lancers at a gaming-bawdy house called the White Hart.  Ori motioned for the serving wench to bring a tankard of ale as he observed the Dawi, known as Grom Thrundsnev.  Grom is huge the Chekist reports failed to mention that.  His shoulders and chest appeared to be nothing but thick slabs of hardened muscles that strained the jerkin and the chain-mail links that were visible looked about to burst apart.  Heavy corded arms bearing numerous old and new scars crisscrossed his arms and the back of his large hands.  Hands whose large fingers boasted an array of gold rings.  One hand curled around the tankard dwarfing it making it look like a Bretonnian child’s tea-cup the other held dice; both hands bore decades of calluses from long weapons use.

 

From what Ori had learned from his connections within the merchant’s guild and the Chekist no one knew where Grom hailed from just that he was the lone survivor of a trading vessel and Grom never said where he was from.  Some people said he was from Karak Varr, others said he had come from the east traveling through the High Pass to reach Kislev, and there was as many wild tales about Grom as there are flakes of snow falling from the sky.  Grom could and would not say where he was from; he could not do so, for his tongue had been cut out by one of the Dark Elgi who attacked and captured the ship he was on; against all expectations Grom had escaped from his shackles and killed the Dark Elgi soon after.

 

Because of being tortured by the Dark Elgi Grom is mute, and had to communicate with gestures this gave an increasing impression amongst the local denizens that Grom was stupid as well as mute.  Of course it did not help that his dark brown hair and beard was wildly unkempt and Grom’s only attempt to tame it was to keep from sitting or stepping on either was to tie it with a thong that appeared to be made of troll hide.  This overall impression appeared to be a ruse as Ori watched the dice game in progress he suspected that this was happening again.  Ori took a tankard of ale to a side table and sat back to enjoy the spectacle as a small group of Lancers began gaming.

 

The Kislev Umgi are officers, elegantly dressed as if they had just come from a court function with the Ice Queen.  They were drinking heavily, but Grom consumed nearly three times as much and showed little affects from drinking Kvass.  The lower ranking enlisted Lancers lost and moved away to go to other tables where their luck might be better, some headed for the bar, and one or two decided to climb the stairs to the second floor in hopes they still had enough in their pouches to pluck a wild rose.

 

Ori watched the remaining two officers as they bet.  They were gambling recklessly, joking and laughing in high spirits.  Grom sat impassively, with a stack of coins in front of him.  Crown and Anchor is a swift game that did not warrant casual betting, and indeed, as Ori watched, Grom scooped up the last of the Kislev’s money.

 

They stared in silence a moment, and then both shouted “Cheat!” in Kislev and common.  Grom shook his head calmly, and pocketed the money.  The Lancers insisted that they play another toss, but in a gesture, Grom indicated that they had no money left to bet.  At this, the Lancer officers became quarrelsome, shouting and pointing at Grom.  Grom remained impassive, a serving wench came over when he beckoned and he handed the lass a single gold coin which she slipped into her bodice.

 

The Umgi did not understand that Grom was paying, in advance, for any damage that he might cause the gaming house.  The Umgi suddenly stood and began shouting curses at Grom, who remained seated at the table.  His faced bland, but his dark green eyes flicked back and forth from one Umgi to the other.  They became more quarrelsome, holding out their hands and demanding the return of their money.

 

Grom shook his head no.

 

Note:  To be continued... well the violence will be in the next post.... cheers and have a tankard on my tab.



#384 Skull Krusher

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:48 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Eighteen (318)

 

Note: another continuation and besure to get a refill on you tankard.

 

 

Grom shook his head no.

 

Then one of the Lancer Officers pulled a dagger from his belt, and pointed it at Grom, just a finger span from his nose.  Still Grom remained calm as he inspected the quality of the dagger and liked the craftsmanship, it was obviously Dawi made he thought.  He sat very still with both massive hands folded in front of him on the table.

 

Without taking his eyes off either of the two Lancer officers Grom shook his head again but this shake of the head was directed toward the unknown Dawi who sat drinking against the far wall who placed his free hand on his weapon.

 

Suddenly the second Lancer Officer started to tug a saber from its scabbard which hung from his belt, and with that, Grom sprang into action.  His large right hand flicked out, grabbed the dagger in the first officer’s hand, and swung the blade down, burying it halfway to the hilt in the table top.  Then he punched the second officer in the gut, the Umgi dropped his saber and bent nearly in-half, spewing the contents of his stomach as he was hunched over Grom’s huge ring-filled fist struck him again in the face which sent the Umgi sprawling across the room leaving a trail of broken teeth, blood, more vomit and knocked over benches.  Ori expected a fight to breakout throughout the White Hart but then he noticed the bouncers with their heavy clubs ready incase anyone joined in.  Ori continued to watch as Grom turned his attention back to the first Lancer Officer, whose eyes are now wide in terror as he struggles to reclaim his dagger from the table.  Grom yanks him off this feet and holds the struggling Umgi high over his head,  walks to the door which he kicks open and tosses the Umgi far out into the street, where he lands spread-eagle face-down in deep mud.

 

Grom returned to his table, plucked the dagger out of the table, slipped it into his belt.  He looked around the room and noticed that the proprietor nodded when Grom kept the violence to a minimum and had righted the table and benches.  Then he saw the Dawi and Grom crossed the room to sit next to him.  Only then did Grom smile and it was not because the unknown Dawi handed him a full tankard.

 

“New Umgi fish,” Ori asked?

 

 

Note: to be continued...

 

 



#385 Skull Krusher

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 12:47 AM

Kraka Draka      -   Part Three Hundred Nineteen (319)

 

Note:  continuation from previous post....

 

 

“New Umgi fish,” Ori asked?

 

 

 

Grom nodded, grinning as he held up a pouch with his winnings.  They both noted the Skazi in the room are watching but the Skazi looked quickly away when Grom smiled wickedly and made a fist.  Ori also saw the female Umgi that worked for Guild Master Thurgrom, and he nodded and Yulia Fedokova nodded back.

 

 

Ori turned his attention back to the Dawi beside him, “Grom Thrundsnev, I am Ori Kilisson.  I am a Master Jewel-Smith and I work alongside the Umgi Guild Master of the Goldsmith’s Hall here in Erengrad.  I also report directly to the Guild Master Thurgrom Thyksnev of Kalan Ironhand and the King of Kraka Draka.” Ori stated.  Grom’s drank but gave no hint of wondering how this Dawi knew his name, then he saw the Chekist talking to female Umgi that Ori nodded to.  Ori continued on when Grom looked back at him, “I find that I do not trust the Umgi and I am in need of a body-guard and I would like to hire you, are you interested?”  Ori asked.

 

Grom mentally weighted the contents of his pouch that held today’s winnings, looked at his rings that he was hesitant to even thinking about selling.  The thought of spending yet another sleepless night wondering if some Skazi was stupid enough to attack him in his sleep made him more quarrelsome than usual.  He had been told in his youth that many of his ancestors had been Hammerers, but that had been when his ancestors had belonged to a hold.  That had been a long time ago and talk around any Nuln drinking establishment in the Empire was cheap when anyone talked of reclaiming the hold.  Perhaps it was time for a change.  He took another drink looked at Ori and nodded yes.

 

“Good I know where we can get some ale from Kraka Draka,” Ori stated wanting nothing more than to return to the Ironhand compound.  Both got up to leave; but not before Grom picked up the fallen saber in both hands looked at the Skazi in the room and snapped it over his knee not once but twice leaving the four pieces to fall to the sawdust covered floor next to the whimpering Lancer.  Not a Skazi moved to follow either of them out of the White Hart…

 

 …Yulia Fedokova finished her report by adding, “Guild Master, Ori Kilisson hired Grom Thrundsnev.  Ori has arranged for his quarters next to his in the Guild compound something about not trusting the living or security conditions in the High City of Erengrad.”

 

Thurgrom paused as he finished his drink and smiled; the fox was in the hen-house to use an Umgi expression and he smiled not at all displeased.

 

*        *        *

 

 

Note:  So ends this particular tale....  More tales to be written about other Kalans of Kraka Draka and the Dawi live in Norsca Ankor....  Cheers and besure to have another tankard of ale on my tab... 

 



#386 Skull Krusher

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:17 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Twenty (320)

 

Note:  The following is a little different in that it takes place much earlier than many of my other stories of Kraka Draka.  If you have read the other Time-line Thread I have in this forum you will note I am writing about the Year of the Three Kings...  I hope you enjoy.

 

*        *        *

 

Historical fluff taking place 600 years ago.

 

In difference to her age she sat to one side and one step lower than the Drak-Throne that had been made from the skull of the Drak that once inhabited this very throne room; of course it had been a large cavern then.  Since then every King and Queen of Kraka Draka sat upon the Drak-Throne as they imparted justice, issued royal decrees, listened to the petitions of the Dawi whom they ruled over as well as to receive the oaths of loyalty.  As a wee child she and her two brothers use to sneak into the throne room.  While her older brother, Groth who would in time become the 43rd King sat upon the Drak-Throne which is inscribed with various runes and inlaid with precious gems and gold pretended to administer justice their younger brother, Drazhgrund would climb atop the Drak-Throne and reenact the slaying of the great Drak by King Snorri “Drak-Drengi” Cromson who hammered the armored point of a bolt thrower into the skull. But today she absently watched the long line of finely attired Thanes, Matriarchs, and Patriarchs of all the Kalans who stood waiting.  One-by-one they climbed the steps to just below Skull-Throne then waited until the Seneschal-Hammer announced them; they gave their oaths to the new Queen and then departed to stand next to their Kalan column that reached from the floor to the ceiling.  Each column had the Kalan history engraved upon it from the founding of Kraka Draka to the present.  Later the rest of the Hold would give their oaths to Queen Hilda Kettradottier.  It would be a long day for there would be many oaths of loyalty given; some grudgingly but for those spoken grudgingly it would be an oath that they would never break. 

 

As she sat below the Queen, Princess Ketra Martadottier was feeling her age, all five hundred and fifty-five years but the Matriarch of the Royal Kalan of Durazklad had her duty which is more important than the grief she felt.  Three deaths of three kings all in one year is unheard of in the history of the Hold.  Succession should have been secure and now the new Queen whose braided hair barely reached the floor sat upon the Drak-Throne of Kraka Draka since the Queen’s own mother, Kettra Lenkadottier had become suicidal due to the recent sudden deaths of her husband and two sons.  Many of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the various Kalans argued that Ketra’s younger bother, Prince Drazhgrund as the Patriarch of Durazklad should become King of Kraka Draka as well as the High-King of Norsca Ankor.  They whole heartedly agreed with those members of the Council of Thanes who stated publicly that being only thirty-eight years old Queen Hilda Kettradottier is to young, to inexperienced to rule.  But that had been said of Queen Bjornhild “Chaos Bane” Hildadottier some six thousand years ago and the Matriarch of the Kalan prevailed then and “So shall I”, Ketra said quietly to her self though her brother, Drazhgrund heard her and just grunted in agreement.  Both knew that between the two of them they would guide, advice, and train the young Queen governance and leadership for the Royal Kalan wanted no regency to rule in her stead.  Dawi were not Umgi.

 

As Prince Drazhgrund Kartinson stood behind his sister, his thoughts were on the dead Kings.  Old Gottri “Ironhead” Hargremson had died so unexpectedly but fortunately between the Matriarchs of the other Royal Kalans and his sister, the Matriarch they managed to hammer out a betrothal between the Royal Kalans of Kraka Dorden and Kraka Ravnsvake.  On the first day of the New Year of 1910; the pre-nuptial Barazdeg Bans had been posted in all three Holds and there had been a great celebration for High-King Gottri’s two sons.  Then the unforeseen happened; Gottri who was perhaps too drunk to stand much less walk slipped and tumbled head first down a flight of stairs in front of the celebrants and snapped his neck and was dead even before his body stopped at the bottom of the stairs.  “The King is dead! Long live King Kendrak!”  But it was not to be.  Drazhgrund mentally shook his head at that memory. 

 

*

 

At the age of 75, the same age as his father, “Ironhead” had been when he ascended to the Skull-Throne; Kendrak became the 49th King of Kraka Draka and the High-King of Norsca Ankor.  The Council of Thanes demanded that the new King be married as soon as possible and messages were sent back and forth between Kraka Draka and Kraka Ravnsvake.  The Royal Kalan of Ziflinskaud saw no reason delay the marriage and Kendrak’s bride to be, Princess Freyja Fennadottier was amendable.  Unfortunately the construction of the Ungdrin that connected the four Norsca Holds was not totally complete.  The section between Kraka Draka and Kraka Ravnsvake was blocked by the River Dumaraz and it would be nearly 400 years before the Ungruvalk was completed allowing safe passage between the two Dwarf holds.  Three months after the death of his father, King Kendrak escorted by a mighty Throng of Warriors marched overland to meet his bride on the banks of the River Dumaraz.

 

For nearly three handful of days during the month of Durgzet lightning and thunder lashed the Mingol high atop Sjoktraken, the Drak-Rangers were used to the bad weather and they were sheltered from the worst of it in their hidden Mingol that ringed the long dead Karag mountain top.  Many of the Drak-Rangers noted that Mhornalhune and Gormljune filled the night-skies and fierce wind and pounding rain rampaged down from the peaks to inundate the deep valleys throughout Norsca.  The Thane, Skaff Norisnev the eldest Drak-Ranger who was on duty reported the two moons since it was something that he had not seen in over 240 years not since Groth Kartinson had been the 43rd King.    

 

On the first day of Kazalzet the day-time skies were still dark and the thunder rumbled and lightning struck the mountain peaks of Norsca much like a Rhunki striking an anvil.  As King Kendrak’s forces came in sight of the River Dumaraz they found that the King of Ravnsvake’s throng had their backs to the ice covered river, and is fighting what appeared to be a Drak-Ogri Horde lead by an immense Shaggoth.  As the King’s Patriarch, Drazhgrund did not have to remind his young nephew, King Kendrak of the oaths sworn between the four Durazklad cousins six thousand years before as they went their separate ways to establish four Dawi-holds.  As King of Kraka Draka Kendrak would not be the one who would forsake the oath sworn between Brokk Vikramson who became the first King of Kraka Ravnsvake and Snorri Cromson who became the first King of Kraka Draka.  As they force marched to the river the King and Prince agreed on the battle plan.

 

Drazhgrund well remembered the battle along the banks of the River Dumaraz as lightning flashed down from the skies.  The dangerous traverse of the frozen river, the harsh sounds of ice groaning, creaking, and in some places thick sections of ice tilted open like a great-gaping maw of some wild beast to swallow the un-weary as the Throng of Kraka Draka made the crossing to reinforce the embattled Ravnsvake King.  Lightening flashed and thunder shook the skies as Drazhgrund and his Langktrommi and bolstered by three units of Kazaki charged out of the midday-gloom hitting the flank and rear of the frenzied Drak-Ogri.  Fighting the Drak-Ogri was akin to fighting the four-legged Frundrar in his youth, nay it was like chopping down an entire forest only these trees had four trunks and Drazhgrund had imparted that hard-won battle-knowledge of hamstringing them onto the Warrior Guild.  As he and the Langktrommi and the Kazaki hewn their way through five of the Drak-Ogri Drazhgrund spared a quick glance for his King’s Kalan Kazakflegi but saw it naught, only the Fleg’s of the Grundi and the Kazaki who had marched with the King.  Where was King Kendrak he wondered?  But he could not spare the time to search as he heard a female shrill battle-cry of “Thrung Elgraz-ha” from the templar Thane of the Valkyrinn as they formed a shield-wall around Kendrak’s bride as the Shaggoth’s weapon cleaved through a handful of Kazaki as if it was a scythe going through stalks of wheat and it was only the King’s Ravnsvake Grundi who stood between the Shaggoth and the Valkvrinn.  That shrill battle-cry was akin to a lightening bolt that energized every single Kazaki on the battle field.

 

Without hesitation Drazhgrund yelled, “Khazukan Kazakit-ha” as he, the Langktrommi and the Kazaki charged toward the Shaggoth; barely heard above the din was the echoing “Khazukan Kazakit-ha” from the Grundi as they swarmed and cut down the remaining three of the Drak-Ogri.  Then the darkened sky brightened as a bolt of lightning came down from the sky bathing the Shaggoth with energy.  But primal fury was no conqueror over Dawi resolve.

 

There was no other option now with the Shaggoth towering over them so Dawi swarmed.  But to the Shaggoth they were like insignificant gnats trying to take down a greater demon.  With each swing of his weapon, each swing of his massive armored tail, each time he stomped Dawi were either crippled or died.  But still they fought on, for running away was not a choice.  Then cries of “make way” came from different voices well used to having their orders obeyed and way was made.  Drazhgrund leaped over the tail as it swung by him those that could not get out of the way were bowled over like a game of ten pins.  Drazhgrund landed near the left rear leg and immediately attacked the Shaggoth’s knee, the rune-weapon sliced through the tough hide revealing corded tendons.  He was joined by Harok Karolsson the Thane of the Langktrommi who had somehow followed him; climbed up on the base of the tail where he managed to wedge himself between to sharp bony spikes; once secure the Langktrommi began chopping with his rune-axe into the middle of the monsterous beasts back.  But it was King Ragni Yorrison of Ravnsvake surrounded by what was left of his Grundi-guard who battled directly in front of the Shaggoth.  The Shaggoth in his frenzied-state struck-out not at those who were doing him the most harm but those who were just an annoyance.  Ragni struck and his great-axe cleaved through the beast’s torso-armor as if was a maiden’s camisole.  His next strike parted the dark grey scaly skin like a cook’s knife through rotten fruit.  The beast roared in rage and pain, stomped down crushing two Grundi to the King’s left and one to the right.  The Shaggoth tried to reach the Langktrommi upon its back but could not but instead turned around to face the Dwarf with the snowy-mane who reminded him of another Dwarf who had defeated him in combat thousands of years ago.  It could not be the same Dwarf the Shaggoth thought as he attacked with his Frundrar forged weapon made from black-metal which had been inscribed with sickly greenish gold Rhuns that seemed to twist and turn as if in perpetual agony. 

 

Drazhgrund ducked beneath the Shaggoth as it turned to attack and swung his own Rhun-weapon not at the exposed knee tendons but at the opening in the torso created by King Ragni that was no longer protected by ancient armor.  The sharp axe-blade forged and enchanted with Rhuns by the first Rhunki of Kraka Draka cut through the muscle and immediately long-ropy-slimy disgusting smelling intestines bulged outward spilling to the ground.  The Shaggoth’s front feet stepped upon his own intestines ripping them further from his body.  Harok kept chopping and eventually the backbone was exposed, chanted loudly to Valaya asking the Ancestress Goddess for her blessing he struck again.  King Ragni saw the damaged knee and with a mighty swing sliced through exposed tendons. 

 

There was no more rejuvenating lightning and with a sudden lurch the left knee gave way nearly spilling Harok from the Shaggoth’s back but his last strike had cleaved through the backbone and spinal cord gave way and the affect was immediate.  The Shaggoth fell to the ground only able to move its front legs which it tried to do to lift itself high enough to keep attacking as it directed its attack at the snowy-mane Dwarf and the beast missed and fell to the ground; but the Patriarch of the Royal Kalan of Kraka Draka did not miss.  As the Shaggoth collapsed in front of him Drazhgrund stepped to one side and with his great Rhun-axe sliced through the muscle bound neck of the beast showering everyone nearby in thick-hot blood as the head bounced and only stopped rolling when a Valkyrinn placed her iron clad boot atop the Shaggoth’s face.    

 

There was stunned silence upon the banks of the Dumaraz and for fleeting moments only the wind and distant thunder could be heard as every Dawi who still breathed, still held a weapon realized that they had won.  But at what cost for then the cries of the wounded could be heard as nearly every Valkyrinn began caring for those who would live and a shadowy figure of a priest of Gazul tended those who would not.  To those few who were paying attention, heard the clarion call of a Dawi horn and the cadence of iron-shod-boots belonging to Stone and Steel as they slowly faded away into the distance.

 

Drazhgrund well remembered the battles aftermath as the King of Ravnsvake called the Chain of Brotherhood so too did the Patriarch of Kraka Draka.  The Ravnsvake had lost two warriors out of five and another two out of five that were walking wounded.  There was not a single Ravnsvake weapon that was not bloodied even the Valkyrinn, even Princess Freyja Fennadottier had fought and killed.  The Patriarch had completed his own call for the Chain of Brotherhood and was stunned for very few events caused him to ponder his continued longevity as he was doing just now and almost went to his knees.  But then King Ragni came to his aide thinking that Drazhgrund had taken a grievous wound that the blood that liberally coated him was not just from the Drak-Ogri or the Shaggoth; it was then the Ravnsvake king saw a knot of warriors weeping in rage.  Soon his own daughter and her Valkyrinn had joined them.  “The King is dead! Long live King Ulther,” cried out the dead king’s few remaining Grundal as they surrounded Kendrak’s younger brother as a Valkyrinn bandaged his leg.  The new king was bewildered by the news and looked to Drazhgrund for guidance and it was given. 

 

There would be no new marriage alliance between the two Dawi-holds but their shared blood that had been shed made the oath sworn between Brokk Vikramson and Snorri Cromson all that much stronger.  Both forces marched slowly to the seaport town of Sjoktraken where they tended their wounds waiting for re-enforcements to arrive for King Ragni’s throng was not strong enough to march home and when they arrived a double handful of days later Drazhgrund issued orders in the name of his new king to deploy a contingent of Rangers to escort the Ravnsvakes home.  The new and dead king would enter the Ungdrin at Sjoktraken and travel home in relative safety.

 

*

 

Though he could still smell and taste the sounds of that battle he was nudged back to the here and now by his sister, Ketra when she saw that Drazhgrund was staring off into the past or perhaps the future as he was oft to do instead of listening to the loyalty oaths that were being given.  She knew what he was thinking for she saw the vacant gaze as the both of them observed the representatives from the other three Norsca-Ankor holds.  Lord Florin Elmadorson and his widowed-young aunt; Kvinn Alrika Zylradottier both of the Royal Kalan of Zhargrun of Kraka Dorden stood observing the loyalty oaths.  Princess Fenna Katrindottier, King Ulther Gottrison intended bride was no where to be seen and Ketra knew she was in her quarters to distraught to attended.  Poor child, Ketra thought for Fenna and Ulther had been become friends when King Gottri had sent his son, Ulther to the Court of Kraka Dorden for additional training and seasoning which is something all the Kings of Norsca-Ankor did, sponsor their royal male kin to various courts.  Fenna and Ulther had been a good match it was just too bad he had died suffering for two years from the wound he had received at the battle along the river banks of the Dumaraz.  Such an insignificant wound, hardly anything to worry about, but it had festered and it was much too late when the healers discovered the small jagged tainted-piece of a Frundrar black-forged-blade that had broken off, and had become lodged deep into the leg muscle.  Taking off the leg may have saved his life but it much too late since poison had spread too far.   At least his brother, King Kendrak died, well; dying in mortal combat as he snapped the neck of a Drak-Orgi with his bare hands. 

 

As Ketra sat there she observed her young Queen and saw where her occasional glance lingered; upon Florin of Kalan Zhargrun.  But at age thirty-eight, Queen Hilda was much too young to be married and needed to be guided and trained in governance and leadership before taking on a consort.  Perhaps in twenty years Ketra thought if she could hold off the Thanes and Kalan council long enough to get her trained in governance.  Ketra also noted that Drazhgrund’s gaze seemed to linger as well, and Ketra thought it was about time to get her brother a wife, and Kvinn Alrika would seem to be a perfect fit and as matriarch of the Kalan it was her duty to see that Drazhgrund did his duty as well she chuckled to herself.  Drazhgrund wondered about his sister’s humor but a pair of deep blue eyes had snared him and he knew it not.

 

 

48th King Gottri “Ironhead” Hargremson 1850-1910

          Queen:  Kettra Lenkadottier

                   Son: Kendrak Gottrison        

                   Son: Ulther Gottrison

                   Daughter: Hilda Kettradottier

 

49th King Kendrak Gottrison 1910-1910 Age 75

50th King Ulther Gottrison 1910-1912  Age 68

51st Queen Hilda Kettradottier 1912-1972 Age 38

51st King Florin Elmadorson 1932-1966

 

 

*        *        *

 

Note:  have a tankard of ale on my tab... hope you enjoyed the story....


Edited by Skull Krusher, 08 June 2014 - 03:24 AM.


#387 Skull Krusher

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 11:46 PM

Kraka Draka - Part Three hundred twenty-one (321)

 

Note:  More fluff from the holds past.

 

 

*        *        *

Year -1625

 

Spring time in Norsca is usually something of a tease, the master mining engineer Durak Gloinson thought to himself.  Not that he had all that much experience above ground but he had seen more than his share on this construction project.  One often smells the coming season long before it arrives, then discovers bursting buds of the red snow-plants and blades of green only to turn around once and find them covered with a foot of wet snow or lashed by endless icy wind.  Durak looked down at the snow-plant growing in the lee of a large Norsca spruce; it was about two hands high, about as big around as his wrist and bright red.  He had been told by the Holds Rangers that they only bloom once every seven years so to see one it was quiet rare and made a mental note to himself to tell the herbalist who brews healing draughts where it was and shook his head at his woolgathering and turned back to his final bit of surveying to ensure that no undue harm came from the building project since all Dawi have a deep, heartfelt veneration for the earth and stone of their Karak. 

 

Durak thoughts continued to roam in that direction, and thought it very good that all sane Dawi viewed earthly rock much like despised Wood Elgi viewed living plants and animals.  Stone, metal, and minerals are not simply inanimate substances to be exploited and callously manipulated, but are living things to be cherished, protected, preserved, and handed down from generation to generation.  Thoughtless and careless use of the resources of the earth is a great blasphemy Durak thought as he recalled vast open pit mines created by Umgi who gave no thought of what they would leave behind when the mines were played out.  Careless, haphazard mining and destructions of the earth is as immoral to a Dawi as hewing down a whole forest for lumber to create a single long-bow or spear is to an Elgi which is something an Umgi just never seemed to understand.  Dawi do not speak of crudely exploiting mineral resources, but of cultivating the bounty of the earth.  Dawi Kazaks and strongholds are not simply carved out of mountains in the quickest or easiest manner, but are designed so that the stone and earth are sculpted and shaped to best display the great beauty and art of the earth.  Dawi Boki did not just dig out gems or metal ores from the earth in a haphazard thoughtless manner; mines are created with long term use mind.  Durak and his fellow mining engineers did not talk of repairing damage to stone walls or earthen ramparts, but of healing the damage to the flesh and bones of the world.  Great caverns are especially prized as homelands, and many ancient Dawi enclaves were built into vast cave systems.  The throne room of Kraka Draka started out as a cavern and most of the main hold was built and shaped from the cave system that led to and from that Drak filled cavern.  

 

Today would be the final day of the project started by the 11th High-King of Kraka Draka, Gurni “Hammerfist” Kallonson who commissioned the project and Durak’s great-great-great-grandfather had been the master mining engineer who filled the first ore-cart full of rock to start the construction.  The dream of a sheltered seaport and shipyard inside the long dead volcano of Sjoktraken was about to be realized.  Prior to construction the Boki had delved deeply into the volcano and found it dead, colder than a dark-Elgi’s heart.  No longer would the valuable Vithang ships of Kraka Draka endure being frozen, locked to their quay-wall during the long winter months blasted by violent winds.  Now after thirteen hundred and forty-five years the King and the Vithang Kalans would have their sheltered shipyard.  Hopefully the 20th High-King of Kraka Draka; Erik Olinsson would have the foresight to fund the Ungruvalk which would be the underground shipping channel from Sjoktraken to the Sea of Claws.

 

Durak nodded to the journeyman engineer who had accompanied him as they made their way to the intake valves that would be opened slowly to fill the inside of the volcano with seawater.  Upon arriving at the valves and with little fanfare both engineers slowly turned the valve handles, huge gears turned and eventually a thousand feet below their feet a massive thick steel plates slowly opened just a hand-span and water rushed into a pipe system that allowed water to be spewed into the center of the long-dead volcano from all around the inside perimeter.  It would take a double handful of days to fill the basin and there was no need to do it all in a rush and damage the stonework done by generations of stonemasons who had smoothed the inside walls of the volcano that would eventually be below the waterline to the point that it looked like the inside of a barrel with the exception of the Rhuns that had been carved into the walls.  

 

The shipyard of Sjoktraken with its many piers, graving yard, dry docks, and metal workshops is protected by thousands of feet of solid rock walls of the volcano all around the port.  Workshops, warehouse, pubs, inns, and living quarters had been built inside the walls of the volcano connected by numerous stairways and landings and draw bridges.  It was only here within Mt Sjoktraken that a Dawi could see the sky; of course they had to look to the opening at the top.  If they wanted to view the outside they could climb the ten thousand stone steps that lead to the snow covered top of the volcano which is now 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 would be spewing out smoke and steam from all the industry below making Mt Sjoktraken look vary much like an active volcano.  A secret tunnel channel had been cut through the volcano wall to provide access to the outside seaport of Sjoktraken; and the hidden tunnel ended inside a very large stone warehouse building that had steel doors that opened into the harbor.  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 channel.  Once the hidden basin was filled to the same level as the outside Varr the Port of Mount Sjoktraken would be officially open for trade.  The complex within Mt Sjoktraken was a work of art Durak thought to himself especially when he compared with what an Umgi would have built; his many times great grandfather would be proud of what he had finished.  Durak Gloinson absently wondered what the fishing would be like once it was filled.

 

*        *        *

 



#388 Skull Krusher

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 12:42 AM

Kraka Draka – Part Three Hundred Twenty Two (322)

 

This particular level of the hold is perhaps the coldest and it had nothing to do with being situated in the northern hemisphere and covered by nearly a maximum quarreler shot worth of heavy deep snow for over half the year.  It is also the quietest which made sleeping easier than where some of the other Kalan had their living quarters or workshops near the shipyards, the metal workshops or other occupations that generated lots of noise through-out the day and night. 

 

Kaboom!!! An explosion rocked the night and Dwalin Hadrasson thought it was just part of his dream where he stood within a Dawi line-of-battle next to a Thundral rifle regiment, we can not be under an attack and he absently grabbed a handful of beard and stuffed it into his ears and fell back to sleep. 

 

Kaboom kaboom!!! Dwalin was jolted awaked not by the sudden blast but by his six year old dottier Breda who came running into his sleeping chambers bewildered and frightened.  Dwalin grumbled as he sat up in bed and took his wee daughter into his arms.  Gads be missed his wife Skornia who had died three years after Breda was born.   

 

Kaboom kaboom Kaboom!!!  Breda shook with fright and Dwalin quickly stood, hurriedly placed his dottier under the bed inside a large Thrindrongol.  Shoving his helm on his head he grabbed his two-handed hammer and hurried towards where he thought the battle was being fought wearing nothing but his helm and Gruntaz.  Leaving his quarters he entered the main hall-way of his Kalan and saw various kin in all states of dress and undress all holding weapons.  All except his older sister, Harga who stood facing a closed door, hands on her hips, just then four more loud explosions are heard as well as something hitting the other side of the door; as nearly the entire Kalan flinched at the sounds.

 

Kaboom!!! Then silence for a couple heartbeats then Kaboom Kaboom, Kaboom.  “Dwalin Hadrasson” Harga called out. “Here,” and she waited impatiently for him to arrive as her side, her fingerers tapping against the side of her hips.  Dwalin arrived and his sister looked at him with a sinister smile then spoke in a mocking tone; “At least you are dressed properly” as he took his hammer from him and put a mop and a broom in his hands; and pointed toward the door.  It was then that Dwalin realized he was standing in a puddle of ale that had seeped under the door.  Kaboom Kaboom Kaboom and more bottles of ale exploded on the other side of the door.

 

Grumbling, Dwalin opened the door to the new Valdahaz and went inside, Kaboom!!!

 

************

 

Note:  I wrote this because a friend of mine was trying to brew his own ale instead of taking advantage of the over 100 micro-brewers that are in and around the city I live in.  The whole thing is humorous in that he was awoken in the middle of the night with the sound of 22 ounce glass bottles exploding sending razor sharp shrapnel into the walls of the closet where he was storing the beer.  50 bottles exploded and he had to wait until they all exploded before opening the door to clean up the mess.



#389 Skull Krusher

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 01:24 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Twenty Three (323)

 

Yeah I know it has been awhile but between my Rinn's rehab, the little ones, and work things have been busy and stressful.  Anyway with out further ado.  Ooops forgot to add that this takes place in the year 1625 or there about.

 

*        *        *

Year 1625

 

Far to the southwest within the frozen Norsca wastelands of the fjords and hidden valleys was the first indicator that snow and ice is not necessarily the norm.  Hot vapors rose near the base of an ice shrouded mountain that appeared to be dusted not with purity of snow and ice but with dark gray soot.  Normally nothing grew but some enterprising Norsii several generations ago found the hot springs, the soft fertile soil ready for seedlings, and now crops they planted flourished as did a Norsii village.  The hot springs provide respite from the harshness of Norsca’s long winters; for Norsca is a harsh grim land where the soft do not long survive.  It would have been better if they had never found the hot springs.  For several hands of days the hot springs began to slowly boil, then one night just before dawn the whole of southwest Norsca shook violently and the dirty snow-covered mountaintop melted.  Those Norsii who are awake as they stood watch atop the village walls incase of attack and are quick thinking took to their longships in order to escape, but a deep-wide-river of boiling hot-mud rushed down the mountainside wiping out the hot-springs, devouring the bright green crops, the drab-log longhouses as well as the escaping Drakk longships burying them all in mud, ash, and debris that was nearly as deep as the now non-existent fjord.  A huge column of roiling dark-grey smoke and ash rose from the mountaintop into the dawning sky as bolts of lightning lashed outward from the column.  Then as quick as it began the mountain stopped shaking and the reddish glow at the top of the mountain was dimmed by the fall of rain that turned the falling ash into droplets of wet-clinging-gooey grey-mud.  It was like a huge Norsca giant had awakened stretched its limbs, yawned then slowly rolled over and fell back into deep slumber.

 

*

 

There were plenty of places for an enemy to hide and observe and the Guild Master of the Warrior’s Guild had tasked the Rangers to guard the Shipwright Guild as they procured what would become the keel or perhaps the mast and spars of the newest vessel.  The Rangers noted that their fellow Dawi Shipwrights did not appear to be looking up at the sky as if the openness was nothing new.  Most Dawi would be looking constantly flinching at the slightest sound that was not familiar or for the matter most would be uncomfortable with the sun blazing down upon them no longer surrounded by the cool darkness beneath the mountain.  But since nearly every Shipwright at one time or another sailed upon the Varr the openness was nothing new to them.  Still it was unnatural that a Dawi should be comfortable above ground no matter what guild they belonged to at least that was the general complaint of a couple of Longbeards.

 

It would have normally taken them perhaps two weeks travel above the snow covered ground to get to the grove but since they were traveling via the Norsca Ungdrin Ankor it would only take them less than a day’s travel to get to the fortified gateway that opened out into a hidden valley at the foot of Mt Sjoktraken where a massive grove of Wutroth; mountain oak filled the entire valley.  Getting back would take them much longer since the material for the main mast could not be taken back via the Ungdrin which they had exited some five marks before dawn.  It was slow going; even with snow-shoes as they stomped their way through waist deep snow.  Grundi Durakson, one of the Rangers wondered just how they were going to get the tree to the graving dock.  The wood for the spars could be taken back via the Ungdrin but not the mast.  There were two alternatives, wait until spring and float it down river to the tunnel entrance then through the tunnel from the Varr Port or and he looked to the east as the sun began to rise and color the distant horizon and wondered the logistics of transporting the wood. 

 

He and the others felt it deep within their bones, a low level grinding moan of almost unbearable pain then a sharp snap.  Then nothing more then silence for many heartbeats followed by a loud roar of sound as part of the mountain shifted and collapsed in on itself.  An Umgi may have felt a slight tremor of the earth beneath his or her feet depending on how close they stood from the collapse.  The mountain from the outside looked normal, trees still standing, sky still blue, streams stilled flowed, and the sun is still shining; normal except for the squawking chatter of birds of all kinds as they took to the air, the noisy passage of larger animals crashing through the brush in fear, and the mournful wail of the Norscan wolves as their howling echoed amongst the mountain valleys. High above them the glacier covered mountain is still pristine and innocent as small ice crystals swirled and danced in the non existent wind.  But to the Dawi one and all everyone had a nauseous sick feeling in the pit of their stomach.  Each and every one knew their present location in relation to their hearth and kin beneath their feet and wondered what had happened.  All thoughts of Dawi Shipwrights finding the perfect tree is set aside as a huge section of dense glacier began to break away from the mountain. 

 

At first glance Grundi thought that his eyes were paying tricks on him as a thin black line seemed to be drawn across the top of the glacier.  Then the line widened and the glacier-field began to move slowly but then its momentum suddenly increased and to many the noise of the glacier rushing down the mountains sounded like steam escaping from a kettle hung over a fire as towering Norscan Spruce trees were snapped like so much dry twigs.  The avalanche of snow and ice scooped up everything in its path, trees and boulders there is no stopping it; there is no where to run as generations worth of snow exploded outward from the mountain precipice above them.  Then there is only silence and the cold weight of the avalanche.

 

*

 

The Dawi were in the 6th deep, at the south-western end of a played out drift.  The drift ended as did the ore vein of Agril that they had mined for the better part of ten decades.  The seven Boki watched as the forked-bearded Nori Belgarson a Priest of Grungni who is attired in grey-wool with a silver-rune scribed-pick embroidered upon his chest, consulted with the Master-Miner, Rorek Bronnson of the Kalan Stonecutter and the Master-Lodefinder, Dern Belegolsnev; the ten Boki had journeyed nearly five or six candle-marks through various tunnels and descended down six shafts to reach the end of the drift and any decision that was to be made could not be hurried.

 

Brothers Drong and Durak Finnson stood with their cousins; Fimbur, Groth, Hugnir, Kettri, and Yorri of Kalan Stonecutter wondering just what the decision would be.  The drift was played out but the faint odor as well as the taste of Agril was still in the drift’s air; and Drong the eldest of the seven Boki said as much as he licked his finger then ran it across the closest tunnel wall’s rocky surface; “Agril very faint,” he muttered “with an even fainter taste of iron.”

 

“We have all said as much” the youngest cousin, Kettri replied sharply “but the time and effort it would take to chase down this faint taste will not put ale in my tankard or food on my plate.  All Kalan has mined the drifts ore and then had it smelted; the cost of coal nearly exceeds the worth of Agril.”

 

“Just our bad luck that we have been unable even to follow that faint taste of iron.” Yorri muttered to no one in particular.  “Be nice to find a good source of iron or even some gemstones.”

 

“Both Yorri and Kettri have a point we have also gone through and refined the overburden a second and third time with nothing to show for it.  No Agril, no iron, and no gemstones,” Groth muttered as he held up a rather flat leather pouch that had more cheese crumbs than coins or Agril nuggets. “Not even Anaya Kettradottier at the Rusty Harpoon would open us a tab,” he said shaking his empty pouch.  “Might as well lease this tunnel out for equipment storage and regain part of the Kalan’s stake.”  They all seemed to agree with Groth’s assessment and as one they all looked toward other three elders who were in deep discussion.

 

“Well Nori as I recall you were right that this vein would come to a sorry worthless end in under a hundred years and would be more costly than it would be worth,” Rorek; the Master-Miner stated “but it was my patriarch at the time that thought you were daft and he was a Lode-Finder as well; kept reminding the Kalan that until the day he passed on that the Kalan would strike it rich in this drift.”  Rorek shook his head sadly when he thought of his ancestor.

 

His kin the Lode-finder jammed his pick into broken-rough drift-face and pried small chunks of rocks loose.  Then Dern placed them in the palms of his callused-hands and rubs them together breaking them into smaller and smaller bits of rock.  The lantern light illuminated minute traces of blackish-grey colored ore with just a hint of metallic luster.  Dern brought the palms of his hands to his nose and sniffed noisily.  “Baaaahh this is not even worth smelting, hardly a trace; I think it was our sire that was daft and not Nori.”

 

They both turned toward the Nori who seemed to be lost in thought.  He too is a Lodefinder, nearly every Priest of Grungni who had at one time been a Boki was but what bothered him was not that the drift had played out he knew it would back then.  The scent of Agril was still a lure to these Boki wanting to strike a rich lode.  He directed his lantern illuminating the surrounding bedrock.  He felt uneasy which was all together unnatural for him.  It was the weakness of the tunnel that Nori sensed.  With a sense of urgency he toed his boots off stood barefoot and placed his hands upon the tunnel walls, then the floor, and finally the ceiling.  Nori started to shout a warning when he felt it; a bone-deep grinding-motion that began far to the southwest at the very root of a long continuous chain of mountains that stretched the length, and width of Norsca.  Nearly the whole of 6th deep groaned as ceiling joists atop support beams swayed and for the most part held as small cracks appeared and some became fissures that seeped icy cold-water.  The Boki at the end of the played out drift made them-selves as small as possible as the tunnel they were in undulated like a crazed Drakk and all they could do was pull their mining-helms down upon their heads as parts of the tunnel collapsed around them and waited for the mountain to stop shaking.  Then the shaking did stop and in some areas of Norsca where the mine tunnels were to close to the surface there was a sizeable subsidence.

 

*

 

Anaya Kettradottier of the Durazklad Kalan looked towards the doors to the Rusty Harpoon as they opened and a trio of Drak-Hammerers entered.  She automatically reached for the new Nogarung tankard that was stored above the bar where all the other personal Nogarung tankards are shelved.  Anaya picked up two other kiln-fired tankards and filled-up all three just as they reached the bar.  The two flanking Drak-Hammerers were supposed to be the heir’s bodyguard but Lord Drazhgrund, King Groth’s brother often went about Kraka Draka with no escort what-so-ever.  Drazhgrund was her kin, a cousin but the closeness of their blood ties precluded marriage between the two of them.  No royal Kvinn ever had two husbands at the same time; only in the warrior or miner Kalans is a Kvinn permitted that custom.  It had been said that King Groth wanted his one hundred twenty five year old younger brother to cement an alliance with one of the other three Dawi kingdoms of Norsca Ankor.  She and Drazhgrund were born the same day, their respective father or grandfathers had been King of Kraka Draka, they shared so much except for the color of his hair and beard; pure black with not a hint of grey anywhere.  Like him they were both it seemed, forever young.  With a heavy sign Anaya let her unspoken dream fade away as the Prince approached.     

 

“Cousin” she said, “Have you heard, your sister Princess Ketra has returned home from Kraka Ornsmotek with her son Tyr?”

 

“How can that be,” as he turned to one of the Drak-Hammerers?  Drazhgrund knew that Ketra’s marriage to Prince Durgin Hadrason of Kraka Ornsmotek was not solely based on an alliance.  “What have you heard?”  Prince Drazhgrund demanded.

 

“Nothing my prince, only that Kraka Ornsmotek has been fighting small hordes of Chaos Beastman on occasion,” answered Ori Durginson.  “As you know our Drak-Rangers have served alongside the other three Kraka’s to support and to gain experience.”  This was something that Drazhgrund knew for he had served twenty-five years as a Warrior and then fifty years as a Drak-Ranger before becoming a Drak-Hammerer.

 

Turning back to his cousin whose dark blue eyes, beautiful yellow hair braided in the style of his Kalan still made his heart beat wildly, and there were many times in their youth they had wished they were not kin but she is married and is the one who manages the Rusty Harpoon which is owned by their own Kalan.  Still they both remembered past shared-passions and dreams, and eventually by mutual agreement thought it would be better if they were never again alone together for neither wished to incur the Kalan matriarch’s wrath or to take the Grungni’s Oath.  “Cousin Anaya what do you know,” he softly asked keeping his unspoken emotion at bay.

 

There are moist spots in the corner of her eyes as she sadly spoke “Only that Prince Durgin Hadrason of Kalan Agrilaz is dead.”  The three Drak-Hammerers were stunned into silence for they had shared more than one keg of ale with Durgin before his marriage.  Anaya continued, “Also the King of Kraka Ornsmotek gave Ketra permission to return home and rejoin our Kalan as he has plenty of other heir’s.  What a thing to say, luckily Prince Tyr Durginson is far too young to understand but old enough to miss his father.”

 

“How did you hear this?” Drazhgrund asked and wondered how his brother, the King would deal with having their sister back in the royal family compound.

 

“Cousin, you hear many interesting things in the Rusty Harpoon.  Royal couriers and heralds stop here either before or after their journeys.  In this case one of the escorting Hammerers from Kraka Ornsmotek stopped in here for a meal spoke of is reason for being in Kraka Draka.  What is heard in the Rusty Harpoon is both important and trivial to our kin, the King; now finish your drink and be off with you; go to Ketra.” Anaya ordered the three of them complied but not before finishing their drinks.  Anaya watched Drazhgrund leave and the thought of a something she had written not to long after their decision;

 

Like a cask full of spirits
sealed to keep them in
my Dawi heart strains its staves.
I am a cask that is untapped
I am a drumhead stretched too tight
I am a loaf that waits to be split
I am an that unburned altar candle wick
I am the unknown river stone amongst many
I am a feast at which no one eats.
The ale in the cask is rich with waiting
my heart is weak from wanting you
sit at my table and let us drink
our spirits will burn hotly brightly entwined.

 

And that decision was only fourteen days before her Barazdeg and Drazhgrund inadvertently left her with a priceless gift which to this day is worth far more than her husband’s betrothal gift, and forever a secret from both Drazhgrund and Durak her husband.  Those thoughts faded and the double doors had barely swung shut behind trio when a group of Shipwrights entered the Rusty Harpoon.  When Anaya saw the Shipwrights she momentarily thought of Grundi who looked nothing like his blonde haired father but then there are calls for refills.  Without a look behind Drazhgrund lead the way towards the spiral stairs that would lead to the upper levels of Kraka Draka.

 

Prince Drazhgrund and his two bodyguards and it frustrated him that his brother and the Kalan council ordered that he have bodyguards at least until the Queen gave birth and he was no longer the heir apparent.  His sister Ketra would normally have been next to succeed but when she married into the royal Kalan of Kraka Ornsmotek that duty fell upon Drazhgrund’s shoulders.  Now that she was back… and as he mused about succession he gave little thought to what went on around him as the three of walked amongst other Dawi conducting business at the various establishments along the main boulevard, called the “King’s Road”.

 

  

 

 Even before they approached the gates to the Royal Compound they were under observation not only from the four King’s Drak Hammerers guarding the doors but from silent hidden watchers.  No one entered or left the Royal Compound without someone seeing them. The four guards stood before the double doors three broad steps above the “King’s Road”.  Since this is the capital’s main boulevard which has many side avenues leading to different districts and levels of the underground capital and all are guarded by the King’s Drak Hammerers who are stationed at every intersection joining the King’s Road.  Their primary duty incase of invasions was to close and secure the massive iron bound stone doors so as to block entrance to the road.  There secondary duty was to keep the peace.  

 

 

 

 

Of all the twenty or so rooms spread over two levels Drazhgrund liked this one the best it was a two level reading room, the second level was open and looked down into the first.  Drazhgrund looked up to the upper level and saw that it was empty save for the massive book shelves that lined all four walls and no one was on the stairs coming down.  But it is the lower level of the reading room he liked the best.  The floors were covered with thick dark green wool carpets and the walls were lined with Wutroth that was stained and polished to a rich golden hue, in fact all the furniture was made of Wutroth by Clan Kolthingaz and were upholstered with layers of wool gathered from mountain goats and sheep and then covered with the white fur of Norscan bears.  The walls held heirlooms that belonged to various bygone eras.  The room is lit by several bronze and crystal lamps that hung from the ceiling on bronze chains.  A fire burned in the hearth, and in front on either side were two large padded chairs and foot stools with a small table between the two chairs.    There is also two writing desks with a map upon the wall above and between them, and the desks are flanked by a book case and a liquor cabinet and that was where he found his mother, Marta Throlindottier wrapped in a large floor length white fur blanket from a Norscan great-bear as she talked to his sister, Ketra Martadottier.  The both were sitting, and a small keg and two tankards of ale sat upon small table between them.  Their weapons leaned against the side of the chairs within reach.  Also within reach behind the chairs is a small day-bed where her grandson his nephew, Tyr Durginson slept as his mother and grandmother quietly talked.  The two doors that lead to other parts of the royal home are open, and he could just barely hear the water garden in the distance as well as smell their dinner that was being cooked by one of the unseen royal staff.  Drazhgrund went to his mother, leaned over and kissed her brow, his sister stood and they embraced and quickly realized that his sister is heavy with child.  Drazhgrund was about to say something… then the mountain shook.

 

Note:  As always to be continued.....


Edited by Skull Krusher, 20 November 2014 - 01:33 AM.


#390 Skull Krusher

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 01:40 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Twenty Three (323)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post...

 

*

 

What once was a deep valley and navigable fjord is now a sea of soft-mud where there is nothing left; no life just thick mud.  Not even the scavengers ventured forth into that quagmire any that did, quickly disappeared never to be seen alive again.  The mouth of the fjord is filled with the floating wreckage of an uncountable number of fallen, shattered, and uprooted trees; so many that an individual could walk from one side of the fjord to the other without getting their feet wet.

 

*

 

It is cold the moans and groans around him seemed muffled distant and when Snorri open his eyes all he saw was whiteness and realized he and the others have been buried by the avalanche.  He is alive and had not been hit by any trees or rocks and he thanked the Goddess for that.  So before the snow settled Snorri began moving arms, legs and then his head back and forth and side-to-side as he took a deep-breath expanding his chest as much as possible to give him room to breath.  Snorri hoped the others remembered their training and were doing the same as he spit to figure which way is up.  “At least it did not fall back into my face,” Snorri muttered and he heard a muffled laugh.

 

“Aye Snorri, I was thinking the same thing, you are ugly enough without covering your face in chewed tabago,” Grundi laughed.  Snorri just harrumph.  Grundi had enough time and sense to take shelter behind a large Norscan spruce when the avalanche hit them so he knew which way is up.  The tree had bent over and snapped and had formed a protective barrier over him.  Grundi had room to crawl around under broken tree trunk and almost stand but would still have to dig his way out.  Even though he was not the Drak-Ranger’s Thane and there was no battle, Grundi yelled loudly, “Chain of Brotherhood!”  Grundi had no official Zagaz Kron but the Drak-Ranger unit Kron would have to do as he removed it from his pack.  He put a mark next to those Drak-Rangers that did not answer as well as the Shipwrights.  Placing the Kron back into his pack Grundi used his axe to dig a snow tunnel towards Snorri who seemed to be nearer.

 

No longer shaking like an Aspin leaf on a windy day Snorri Finnsnev had managed to get the fluff-duff lighted and transferred the burning ember into his badly dented mucket that he had filled with the dry twigs and wood shavings.  Coal would had been better he mumbled to himself, three pieces landed in front of him and he nodded thanks.  He broke them up into smaller pieces poured a bit of raw ale into the bottom of the mucket and nearly singed his beard when he dropped the burning fluff-duff in.  The flames crept up the base of the broken tree trunk igniting the raw pitch.  “Grundi,” he shouted towards the end of the snow tunnel where he could barely see the Gnutrommi’s feet.  So far Grundi and Snorri had managed to find seven survivors who were now crowded under the trunk of the tree.  Kadri Harokson, one of the Shipwrights carved a shovel out of a branch that is twice again his height and had managed to dig his way to the top of downed tree trunk.  Kadri was now trying to ram the improvised shovel towards the surface of the snow above his head.  He stretched as far as he could in his vertical tunnel and pushed again and was reward with snow in his face, a breath of fresh-air and a small patch of bright blue sky.  Snorri’s makeshift fire suddenly burned hotter and brighter with the infusion of fresh-air.  One of the other Dawi added his own mucket half-full of snow, when it had melted; he added pieces of dried stock, jerky, and bread crumbs into simmering mucket.  Hot food went along way to lift their spirits, more so than the untouched spirits in the canteens.             

 

Grundi heard Snorri shout just about the time he had broken through to Logan Dorinson a fellow Drak-Ranger who had managed to hunker down next to a boulder just as the avalanche hit.  Logan had a very small space to move about.  He had been hindered by the broken Dawi next to him, Nori Skaffson who is pinned to the earth by a shattered tree branch that has impaled his leg half way below his knee.  Logan kept the new Drak-Ranger alive by tying a leather thong around the leg.  “Can we move Nori?” Grundi asked Logan.

 

Logan shook his head, “Not unless we take his leg off and that may just kill him faster.”  Logan looking towards Nori, “If I had a saw I could cut the tree branch; but it will take the two of us to do it.”

 

Grundi shook his head at the thought of cutting either the leg off or the branch then remembered that Kadri has a wood saw.  “I will be right back,” Grundi stated and he laboriously crawled backwards until Snorri reached in and grabbed his feet, and pulled him the rest of the way back to the snow cave under the tree trunk.

 

“I am right glad that Grundi found us,” Nori said with some effort.  “Where did he go?”  Logan mumbled that Grundi would be right back as Nori sipped some ale to dull the pain.  Due to the pain or perhaps the spirits he had imbibed Nori began speaking incoherently; “Have you ever seen Grundi with his two younger siblings?  Much alike almost twins; they take after their mother and father, blonde hair, green eyes though their mother does have blue eyes.  Not like Grundi with his pure black hair and blue eyes.  He reminds me of a former Drak-Ranger, you know who I mean, the one who is now a Hammerer…” Then Nori closed his eyes in pain almost passing out.

 

“What did you find,” every one asked at once as Grundi reappeared at the tree trunk.  Grundi quickly answered and the Dawi that were not enlarging the snow cave under the tree trunk began looking for a saw.   Nyr Ragnison another one of the Shipwrights removed a saw from his pack and handed it to Grundi who nodded his thanks and tossed it far into the tunnel.  The Drak-Ranger was about to crawl back into the tunnel when Snorri grabbed his shoulder.  Grundi turned and was surprised when Snorri handed him a tankard of steaming stew.  Nodding his thanks Grundi swallowed several mouthfuls of hot stew.  Snorri refilled the tankard, “for Logan and Nori.”

 

It took Grundi longer to crawl back to the head of the tunnel since he was pushing the saw in front of him and trying not to spill the hot stew all over his hand.  Finally he reached the opening.  The saw disappeared in front of him and then Grundi noticed the flickering of a several candles that Logan had set upon the top of dented helmet.  “Here,” and Grundi handed the tankard to Logan who gave it to Nori who swallowed nearly half before giving it back.  “My complements to the cook,” Nori said with a forced smile “and you need to take it off,” pointed to his leg as he placed a leather strap between his teeth.”  Soon a muffled screamed could be heard throughout avalanche debris field.

 

Hearing the scream spurred him forward as Kadri Harokson finally broke through to the surface.  Enlarging the opening for the others; Harek Narsnev, Furgil Svenson, Dwinbar Ultharson, Nyr Ragnison, Yadri Gloinsnev, Borin Dernson, Finn Dufson  who would be following close behind.  No longer entombed they began searching for the others that had not answered Grundi’s call for “Chain of Brotherhood.”  As luck would have it they found Nar Hargarson, Baldur Orison, and Skaff Durakson all unconscious and nearly frozen.  Then there were the dead; Thane Nainn Druminson, Kallon Zamrilson, and Hargin Snorrison.  Those that were able began digging a large pit just off to one side so that the three unconscious Dawi, and Nori Skaffson could be safely removed once Grundi, Snorri, and Logan freed Nori by cutting his leg off or removing the branch. Then there were the three dead to retrieve.  The Shipwrights began fabricating out of found tree limbs travois to haul the dead and wounded.  King Groth’s kin, Grundi Durakson though not the senior Drak-Ranger took command as he lead the way home, it was slow trek back to the entrance to the Ungdrin and everyone hoped it had not been buried as well.

 

*

 

The groans in the 6th deep that continued was not sounds of the subsidence of the mountain but from the aches and pains the mountain had inflicted upon the Boki at the end of the played out drift.  The shaking had finally stopped and the Boki one-by-one slowly began to assess the damage to tunnel around them and finally themselves.  It was Nori Belgarson, the Priest of Grungni who called “Chain of Brotherhood” for the thick falling dust and dripping water had nearly extinguished nearly all their lanterns.  One-by-one all the Boki answered the call some were slower to answer.

 

“Those that have lit oil-lanterns or lit candles extinguish them,” Rorek Bronnson ordered and it was done without hesitation.  Explosive gas was to be feared and as the darkness began to envelope them; the Priest spoke in archaic Khazalid, and suddenly bright light filled the entire tunnel and it came from a huge blue gem stones, one atop the Priest’s staff and the other though much smaller atop his helmet.

 

“That be Brynduraz,” several of the Stonecutter Kalan cousins burst out in surprise for that particular type blue gem is highly valued in the making of Glowstones used in the illuminating important Ungdrin, Khaz, Thryng, Kadar, or Thindrongols.  It is one of the most sought after gem stones for any Boki but right now it was the bright light they needed as they checked out the drift.

 

“Fimbur and Groth check the support beams and the ceiling joists,” Rorek Bronnson ordered.  Turning to another Boki, “Hugnir check for additional water seepage and if the Kuchungkuchung has stopped get it working and make sure the pipes are not broken; repair if necessary.”  Hugnir headed towards the distant water pumps.

 

Nori Belgarson who is still barefoot and had yet to put his boots back on could still sense faint tremors but the epicenter is far to the south-west in southern Norsca.  The unease that he had felt before had eased considerably.  “What are you thinking about?” Nori asked holding his boots in one hand and his staff in the other. 

 

“I am right glad that the mountain has stopped moving.  More importantly that this is not a coal mine,” the Master Lodefinder Dern Belegolsnev answered.  “Have you ever gone down to the coal mines and just sat still, in the dark.”  Nori nodded that he had, “The darkness is not at all that quiet or still.  For if you listen you can hear soft gentle sounds falling around you like the low murmur of water in a rill, or perhaps the wind sighing through tall dry grass as it crests a hill.”  He could tell that the others wondered what he was talking about.  “Coal mines are dangerous.  It is the seeping gas.  Gas pours from the coal like an unseen waterfall relentless as it fills the deep which is why we have air pumps in all our mines as well as caged birds.  Coal mines are never quiet.”  Now he had their attention for they all knew the dangers of gas and the importance of working ventilation.  “Just glad this is not a coal mine which is good because this played out Argil drift now tastes and smells of Iron and Grontium different so let’s discover what has changed.”

 

The Master-Miner nodded in agreement to what Dern has said then turned towards Kettri and Yorri; “I want you two make your way back to the main gallery; make sure the lift to the upper levels is still working.”  The two grimaced with the thought of a non-working lift.  “Report to the Thane in the in the gallery that level six seems to be intact and that we are alive with no need of assistance at this time,” Rorek ordered. 

 

“Also make sure the tag-board in the gallery still indicates that we are in the drift.”  Kettri and Yorri both knew the importance of the tag-board since it is used to keep track of which miner is working in a tunnel and which is back in their Kalan hall.  The tag-board had two horizontal rows of hooks for each mine and tunnel, one hook directly below other.  Small metal sheets with their names stamped into them were used as tags.  Each tag had a hole drilled in one end and it was hung on the hook.  As each miner entered the mine and tunnel they place their tag on the row of hooks which indicated the mine and the tunnel.  Upon exiting they were supposed to replace their tag under the Kalan hall.  At a glance the senior supervising miner would know who is where.  “If they require ours or yours help or have important news; Kettri you assist as required and Yorri return here to report.  Understood?”  They nodded; “then off you go.”

 

Which left brothers Drong and Durak Finnson of Kalan Stonecutter wondering what they were supposed to be doing beside checking and insuring that the drift was not going to collapse upon their heads?  First they put the ore-cart back onto its rails then Drong the elder of the two and with decades more mining experience began checking the small piles of Rikkit.  Drong scooped up a pile of rocky rubble and examined it closely dropping some to the ground keeping others.  He looked around and up.  Unlike some mining tunnels that had high roofs this drift had a low ceiling.  Drong began single-jacking by placing his T-shaped rock-drill-bit tip into a small crack that was at eye level that ran upwards towards the low ceiling.  With one hand holding the drill-bit firmly in the crack Drong began using his mining-hammer pounding it deeply into the crack.  When he could not drive it in any deeper he then used and iron-bar to turn the drill-bit then pounded it some more, stopped then turned it again.  With each hit and each turn more Rikkit began falling breaking away from the crack bouncing off his miner helmet including several chunks of rock about the size of his fist.  Leaving the drill-bit embedded in the crack Drong picked up some of the rocks at his feet and held them up to the light of the Brynduraz.  As he did so his younger brother, Durak grabbed another rock.  Both brothers put small pieces of rock in their mouth then spit it out onto the palms of their hands.  It tasted strongly of iron but more importantly a metal ore called Grontium or what an Imperial Umgi alchemist called titanium.  Nodding to each other the two brothers began double-jacking, Durak holding and slowly turning the drill-bit while Drong pounded with his hammer.  It was more advantageous because Drong used both-hands as he pounded the drill-bit instead of one, and therefore applying more force per strike.  Bits of Rikkit bounced off their helmets and face-guards as well as the clanging sounds as the rocks bounced off the metal ore-cart rails.

 

The noise of their hard-rock mining did not go unnoticed.  “I said inspect for damage not create more!” The Master-Miner shouted moving to their side to confront the two brothers.  But the crack had widened either by the force of Drong pounding or due to the breaking away of chunks of rock that lay at their feet.  The light from Priest of Grungni’s staff was being reflected back into Rorek Bronnson’s eyes and he blinked and waved for Dern and Nori to see what the brothers had uncovered.  They saw just the edge of a reflecting vein that was worth more than all the Argil that had ever been mined from this drift in ten decades.  What they uncovered would prove to be the largest and wealthiest deposit of blue and green sapphires in all of Norsca; the iron and Grontium ore just an added bonus.

 

*

 

Note:  To be continued... Hope you enjoy, have a tankard on my tab....



#391 Skull Krusher

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 11:43 PM

Kraka Draka      Part Three Hundred Twenty four (324)

 

*

 

Deep within one of the many Rusty Harpoon’s kitchen pantries Ori Ragnison of Kalan Durazklad is reviewing the shipping manifest to ensure that what the head cook ordered was what had been received.  One of the cooks a Kalan cousin had not the time to check the order which was why Ori is doing it now.  Ori a Knublstubi fresh from his mandatory three year stint of working in the mines with Kalan Craghand asked why he needed to check the manifest.  Ori well remembered cousin Anaya looking at his cherub face whose beard is barely as long as one her smallest fingers and shook her head at him and asked if the scars on his forehead caused by any number of low mining tunnel ceilings had knocked the sense out of him.  She answered his question; “Ori, would you pay for something you had not received?  Or would you pay for spoilage due to a poorly fabricated shipping container?”  He shook his head no which is how he found himself trapped inside one of the pantries after the mountain shook.  With the help of several of the Rusty Harpoon’s more sober patrons, Cousin Anaya ordered one of the cooks and an undercook to clear the toppled supplies that blocked the access to the storeroom door.  Afterwards Anaya went to the entrance of the Rusty Harpoon, and looked out towards the harbor and saw that the water was still disturbed by the earthquake.  If it shook this badly at sea level what had happened in the mines or the rest of the capital.  With a mother’s instinct Anaya gave a worried glance in the direction of Grundi even though he is plainly out of sight and above ground.

 

Elsewhere Dawi had braced themselves as the furnishing, belongings, within their personal dwellings or places of business shifted or fell as the mountain shook.  This was not an uncommon occurrence.  Dawi dwellings built on or within bedrock are generally more resistant to earthquake damage than Umgi rigid structures built on loose soil which more often than naught would simply shake an Umgi building apart, and collapse then bury the inhabitants.  But since the Kraka Draka had been carved out of bedrock all that moved is belongings and furnishings.  Those Dawi not tasked to conduct inspections through-out the capital simply restacked, repositioned, or swept up any uninspected mess.

 

When the mountain shook Drazhgrund and his sister, Ketra had had just embraced.  He held onto her to ensure no harm came; his mother; Marta Throlindottier guarded Tyr Durginson, her grandson in case the heavy Krons toppled from the shelves nearby.  When the movement ceased Hammerers who had been standing guard through-out the royal Kalan Durazklad compound entered each family residence to ensure that each royal family member is safe.  Several Hammerers entered Queen Marta’s home just as Drazhgrund is reaching up to stop the bronze and crystal lamps from wildly swinging back and forth on their chains.  Marta sent them away expect one Hammerer.  Drazhgrund and the single Hammerer inspected all twenty or so rooms spread over two levels, and found only one toppled shelf which they quickly put back in its place with a note to be give to the engineers to place restraining bolts on the shelving to prevent such re-occurrence.

 

*

 

Note: to be continued...

 


Edited by Skull Krusher, 14 December 2014 - 11:45 PM.


#392 Skull Krusher

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 06:14 AM

Kraka Draka      Part Three Hundred Twenty Five (325)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post....

 

*

 

When the mountain stopped shaking damage assessments are immediately ordered by King Groth.  By order of the King every Kalan Thane are tasked to ensure that their respective Kalans work with the Azuld-Drungi or Ironbreakers, the Grungi Guild or miners, Endrini Guild or engineers, to check each Kalan residence, audience halls, great hall, underground farm and fisheries, taverns, inns, brewery, foundries, mines, storerooms, the shipyard within Mt Sjoktraken; the main tunnel roads and maintenance tunnels had not been breeched and that the stairways accessing upper and lower levels of the hold are in good order.  Rangers were sent to the outlying forts and messengers were sent to the seaport town of Sjoktraken, Khazid Ravik, and Grung Kuldungor as well as Kraka Ravnsvake, Kraka Ornsmotek, and Kraka Dorden.  More importantly Rangers were sent out on long patrols to the South-west to determine the cause of the earthquake; it would be many moons before they returned with the answer. 

 

As the orders of King Groth were being carried out, the Rik conferred with Brokk Drongsnev, of Kalan Stoneface, the Thane of the Azul-Drungi in their main quarters that held the most comprehensive maps of Kraka Drak.  Reports slowly came in from all over Kraka Drak as well as Sjoktraken, Khazid Ravik, and Grung Kuldungor.  If there are injuries then couriers are sent to the Healers Guild and the Thryng of Valaya.  So far there were no reported deaths so there was no need to send for the Priests of Gazul.  Representative of the Miners, Stone Mason, and Engineer Guilds are also present and where there are reports of any damage it is indicated on the map and work orders are given to the Guilds to ensure repairs are quickly made.  The Karak’s Loremaster is also present to ensure that those orders are recorded, any failure to make proper repairs as soon as possible would be recorded as well; in the Dummas Kron. 

 

Many moons later the far-ranging Drak-Rangers returned and reported to the King and his council what they had found to the south west of Norsca.  Some wondered if Mt Sjoktraken would ever awaken; but engineers and miners had delved deeply into the very roots of Mt Sjoktraken and found only icy coldness that came from the Frozen Sea to the North whose icy water washed the feet of the Mt Sjoktraken.

 

*     *     *

 

Thus ends another short bit of fluff that takes place centuries before early fluff stories.  Hope you enjoy and have a tankard of ale on my tab.

 

 

 



#393 Skull Krusher

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:45 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three hundred twenty six (326)

 

Note:  This takes place 2 years after the previous short story.  Mainly this thread tells of no great battles only the everyday goings on within Kraka Draka.  Some who follow my writings about the hold may not care for the mundane but the mundane is oft times more interesting than death on the battlefield.  Cheers and be sure to have a drink on my tab in the Rusty Harpoon. 

 

*        *        *

Year 1627

 

The proprietor of the Kalan owned business, Anaya Kettradottier stood outside the Rusty Harpoon just to one side of the heavy ornate bronze double-doors.  She had a clear view since the Rusty Harpoon had been built one level above the waters of the harbor and had no intention of crossing the boulevard and taking the stairs down to the quay-wall.  Anaya leaned back and looked upwards towards the distant opening atop Mt Sjoktraken.  Glad that her son Grundi Durakson is not standing watch atop the mountain for the Doki reported that the winds atop the mountain are a penetrating north-wind under an iron-grey sky.  She turned her attention back downward towards the center of the sheltered waters of the harbor to watch the launching of a unique new class of steam sailing ship which had been recently built by the newest guild of Kraka Draka, the Shipwrights Guild who had just recently branched off from the Engineers guild.  In fact there are now three new guilds, the Shipwrights Guild; the Sailing Master Guild, and finally the Varr Sailors Guild whose newest members especially the last one came from the Warriors Guild but were predominately Rangers.  The use of steam began back during her great-grandfathers rein as the 40th King of Kraka Draka.  Back in the year 1122 Endrinkuli invent steam engine and since then steam pumps haves kept even the lowest levels of the mines free and clear of water.  Then 30 years later in 1152 Endrinkuli and the Shipwrights designed the first steam powered Dawi vessel.  With its armored prow it was the first vessel to sail “the Frozen Seas” during the summer months by breaking a path through the ice as well as using well placed explosive charges.  Wiser heads on the Kings council decided that blazing a trail through the ice would only lead the enemy to Kraka Draka.  So this newest vessel was not designed to sail the “Frozen Seas” but the Sea of Claws but first the construction of the Ungruvalk linking the underground Port of Sjoktraken to Draksfjord on the shores of the Sea of Claws had to be completed first.

 

It was her eldest, Grundi and his fellow Rangers who guarded the Shipwrights Guild several years before as they selected trees to be cut down for the ship that was being launched today.  Anaya mentally shook her head at the thought of being a Ranger and stalking around atop the earth guarding against enemies which was bad enough; but to go to sea.  Anaya shuddered at the thought.  One had to be a bit Zaki to do either.  Then she remembered the one time that Drazhgrund escorted her atop Mt Sjoktraken where the guards, the Rangers stood in their concealed Migdhal.  She was terrified and clung to Drazhgrund.  Sure she was still under the mountain but it was the openness that was before her as she gazed out upon the world.  “How can any Dawi bear the openness?” She remembered asking the Doki thane and Drazhgrund.  They both had nearly the same answer, “Because we must, for your sake and the Ankor.”  Anaya recalled that Grundi said much the same when he informed his parents that he was not interest in brewing ale and decided he was moving into the barracks of the Warriors Guild to complete his training as a warrior and eventually a Ranger.  Anaya sighed when she gave Grundi her blessing, though Durak grumbled his acquiescence like a true Dourback brewer he is.  Grundi was no Khazukan for in his veins flows not a trace of Kalan Dourback but the royal blood of Kalan… Anaya did not finish that thought as much as she wished to and intended to watch the launching but instead she went back inside.

 

As she weaved her way back through the crowded main floor to her position behind the bar Anaya’s attention was drawn to a nearby set of tables where Finni Algrimsnev of Kalan Zangrund was holding court.  She wondered what Farmers and Herders Guild errand Thane Helgar Gottradottier had sent Finni on.  So she stopped to listen and realized that Finni is telling another one of his tall tales.    

 

“Aye lads, my battle-axe is different from all regular battle-axes most of you carry.”  He removed it from the harness on his back by reaching above his left shoulder as he grabbed the Drak-hide wrapped handle that was protruding.  “It is how it was forged.  It is what inside the blade that makes it different.”  He showed the weapon to his audience.  “I know it hardly looks any different but I can tell.”  Looking each in the eye he continued after taking a drink of ale and asking for more.  “But you lads got to understand it is all in how it is forged.  Forged the way our Ancestors taught us.  The way Grungni taught us Dawi from the beginning of time.  Forged the way Grungni’s son Thungni taught the first Rhunki.”  He thanked the server who filled his tankard and the listeners who bought it.  “I am not Rhunki much less a Dawkuli’Makaz what you would call a master-weapons-smith but I hear they also had the help of another one of our ancestor gods in the teaching of those lessons to each new Rhunki apprentice.”  He lowered his voice to a near whisper, “Who you say?  From what I understand they had the help of their kin Gazul.”  Each of the listeners drew in startled breath as they looked over their shoulders as he continued.  “Each blade is forged with a piece of the bearer’s soul inside.  How it is done is a mystery and secret known only to the Rhunki and the priest of Gazul who helped in the forging of the blade.  I know, I know you do not have to say it but it seems like some Dum-Umgi blood-magic-ritual.  I just know that there seems to be a bond between me and this blade and it has been mine for nearly sixty-five years next Durgzet.”  Anaya managed to keep from laughing as the listeners mainly young gullible Gnutrommi crowded around to touch his axe, Finni suddenly looked up and caught Anaya smiling at him and he winked, she winked back as she returned back to take her usual position behind the bar.  Due to it construction and only here behind the bar Anaya could hear every conversation throughout the Rusty Harpoon if she so minded.  Many a patron’s order has been filled almost as if the server was at their table taking the order.  But today for some reason Anaya’s thoughts were not on the running of the Rusty Harpoon but on her eldest and she unerringly looked in Grundi’s direction though he was leagues away.

 

Note:  to be continued... Have a drink on my tab


Edited by Skull Krusher, 14 March 2015 - 10:10 PM.


#394 Skull Krusher

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 05:50 AM

Kraka Draka      Part Three Hundred Twenty Seven (327)

 

note:  continued from previous post...

 

*

 

King Groth’s mother, Marta Throlindottier the Matriarch of the royal Kalan is contemplating a match between Kraka Draka and Kraka Dorden.  The royal Kalan ties within Norsca Ankor are well known and those blood lines can be traced all the way back to the Great Migration when the four cousins and the Kalans that followed them turned to the west and eventually founded the four great Dawi Karaks.  Marta had received a message Kron from the Matriarch of Kraka Dorden enquiring if a match between Fenna Zylradottier; a distant kin of the King of Kraka Dorden could be arranged between Grundi Durakson.  Marta removed a heavy Kron from the shelf above the desk and began tracing the blood lines of both Fenna and Grundi.  There was plenty of separation between each of their lines and both belong to a royal house through their mother.  It looked to be a good match and Grundi Durakson would improve the quality of the warriors if Kraka Dorden.  Then she thought of Anaya Kettradottier, Grundi’s mother and the Queen Mother grimaced.  Anaya would not take this well which started another train of thought and the memory of Anaya and Durak’s betrothal.  Marta had heard from Harpa Ednadottier, Anaya’s grandmother that Anaya’s courses had been regular up until the last month before the Barazdeg.  That she was late or irregular could be due to stress of the betrothal.  That both Harpa and herself had been drinking heavily might explain the unexpected muttering of something personal; but Marta thought not.  Her memory of Anaya and Drazhgrund were fresh and it was almost painful to recall the closeness of the two and it was still painful to seem them tip-toe around.  Grundi with his pure black hair and bright blue eyes looked nothing like Durak whose blond hair and beard were as bright as gold, more like… and the more she thought of Grundi and who he reminded her of the more she was certain about who really sired him.  She wondered if Durak even guessed for surly the Gryntitrogg gift of an Ancestor Rhun-axe and Rhun-hammer could not be so easily explained through Anaya ancestral connections and not those of …  The more Marta thought about it the clearer the solution became; for the sake of her son and grandson she would agree to the arranged marriage between Fenna Zylradottier and Grundi Durakson.  The sooner Grundi left Kraka Draka for Kraka Dorden the better.  Now to break the news to her Kalan but more importantly she would keep Anaya’s secret.

 

*

 

Note:  To be continued.... Have another drink on my tab...  when I decided to do some fluff about Lord Drazhgrund my Rinn decided I needed some help...  who would have thought...  Still Marta's decision will come full circle in about 300 years long after she sits in the halls of our ancestors and watches what unfolds, the 1st marriage of her son Drazhgrund to a young royal Rinn of Kraka Dorden.  Not sure how I will write that up but I have about 300 years to work it out.

 

Cheers.

 



#395 Skull Krusher

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:06 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Twenty Eight (328)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post

 

*

 

It is a penetrating north-wind under an iron-grey sky but he persevered as he watched his surroundings.  Not really focusing, eyes drifting, looking for anything out of the ordinary or for something that did not belong.  Which is how he found the trail it was so faint, and most trails generally were.  Someone or something had moved through the area.  A bent blade of grass, the end of a broken strand of spider-web not attached but it was enough it was all the sign Grundi needed.  He raised his left hand so the others behind could see and signed that he had discovered the trail.  Grundi was now a Thane, the newest and youngest of the Ranger Thanes and as such he needed to know each of the Dawi that made up his patrol. 

 

Being the Thane his position should have been further back; not at the pointed end of the Wutraz but his Doki could not find his helmet even if he was wearing it.  How Skaf Balinson of Kalan Ironfinger of the Coopers Guild ever survived his training to become a Ranger Grundi would never know.  Skaf’s attention seemed to be focused on the different kinds of trees that his Kalan utilized in the making of various size casks that the Merchants Guild used to store, transport, and sell their dry-goods.  Skaf went on and on about the wooden casks, tubs, and pails his Kalan made and what was the best type of wood that utilized depended on what was to be stored in the cask.  He even talked of the woodworking tools; it was really quite annoying.  When Skaf was asked why he became a Ranger; he shrugged saying “Being a safe Khazukan covered in wood-dust and shavings seems less important when compared with safeguarding the Karaks of Norsca Ankor.  You can not have or be the first without having the latter.”  He made a notation in his map Kron of a particular tree type that his Kalan favored due to the tight grain of the wood; suited for making casks that held liquid or sound boards for musical string instruments.

 

Glancing over his shoulder Grundi looked past Skaf noting the positions of the thirteen others of his patrol; most were from the nine Kalans that made up the Warriors Guild but not all.  The oldest of the several Altrommi, Snorri Ragnisnev of Kalan Ironhelm of the Warriors Guild whose older cousin; Stromni Ragnison is the Thane of his Kalan.  Snorri is several years away from being eligible to join the Langktrommi Brotherhood but for now Snorri continues in the roll as a perpetual Grumbak as he helps to train the younger Gnutrommi of the patrol.  Now if only Skaf would listen and learn from Snorri.

 

Beyond Snorri is the newest Ranger an odd Beardling, a Boki formerly of Kalan Stoneface.  Mundri Alrickson is or was a Miner and after a joint Gangovr ceremony he is the newest member of the warrior Kolgrund Kalan.  He is known to be a complete klutz in the mine tunnels and that his constantly drinking did not help.  It was later discovered that Mundri is terrified of confined enclosed spaces and drank to endure.  Since becoming a Ranger he shows great promise as he listens and learns from Snorri.  Mundri’s weapon of chose is a two-handed mining pick when in hand-to-hand combat and is a decent shot with a Quarreler.  His mining experience helps for he is one of the few within the patrol than can walk in complete silence across any rocky terrain that even the most experience Ranger would avoid.

 

Two brothers, Norric and Dargo Fennison from Kalan Axehead are following behind the former Boki and oft on the left and right for Grundi utilizes the brothers as his flankers sense they appear to have the eyes of an eagle for nothing escapes their notice.  Though they are totally ruthless when in combat the brothers are as gentle as lambs when in the company of their wife; Freda Hunnisnez.  The three-some have a ten year old son and a six year old daughter that are a joy to be around.  When he has visited their family Grundi’s yearning is nearly unbearable and he has stifled it ever since he came back from his five years of living with Kalan Zhargrun.  Grundi sighed when he thought of the raven-haired Fenna whose bright blue eyes reminded him of the waters of a deep blue fjord.  Shrugging he signaled to his flankers to move forward.

 

Next in the column is the Vorni, from Kalan Drazhvarag.  Kazan Fennison is one of the few who joined the Rangers without first enduring years as a warrior belonging to the Warriors Guild.  The guild instructors found that Kazan knew more about stalking through the mountains of Norsca Ankor than the current Guild Master.  So far no one in the patrol was a better shot with the Quarreler than he and when it came to camouflage he was an expert.  Grundi had heard that on another patrol the Thane had told his fellow Rangers not to waste their Quarreler bolts on game unless it was a sure shot.  Apparently the Thane had resupply problems.  This particular Thane woke up the next morning with a live elk tied to a tree in the middle of their encampment.  Grundi laughed to himself every time he has heard that tale, and Thane Fimbar Kraggson has yet to hear the end of it.

 

Then there is Fenni Hergarson from Kalan Stonefist whose cravings for good calumet tobacco is legendary.  He has even gone to the extreme on long patrols when he had run out of tobacco to dry out various leafy plants to smoke.  On one rainy patrol years ago Fenni had found a small grove of tall plants that bore five leaves on the stems.  He filled his pack with the leaves and several days later and many leagues away dried them out.  As Grundi remembered it Fenni was totally oblivious to his surroundings for nearly half a day after smoking a pipe full of the foul weed.  Their Thane at the time sent a patrol to burn down the small grove only to be told by two different Guilds; the Chandler Guild and the Herbalist Guild that they would pay a substantial fee toward the Warriors Guild for the harvesting rights.  In the end the Warriors Guild receives a twice a year payments from the Chandler Guild for the harvested weed that is made into hemp rope that is later sold to the Shipswright Guild and Herbalist Guild who produce medicine that is used in healing certain ailments.  What is also legendary about Fenni Hergarson is the number of throwing axes he carries; he is extremely accurate and no enemy has ever survived after being struck.

 

Where Fenni craved tobacco; Rorek Stromnson of Kalan Ironhelm could not abide it.  The reek as Rorek often stated stunts the senses when stalking or waiting in ambush.  Rorek spent his spare time carving upon either antler horns or wood and could turn a tree limb as thick as his wrist into a wooden chain with articulated links and each link had engravings on them as well.  Nearly every member of the patrol had new horn buttons or toggles carved by Rorek and he would grudgingly carve someone a new calumet pipe which more often than not is a work of art.  Some of the patrol wondered if Rorek had any Elgi’wut blood flowing in his veins due to his ability to craft most anything out of wood; of course no one stated this out loud or they would find themselves in a duel armed with wood chisel and a carving knife.

 

There is a stench in the air and Grundi stopped; held his hand up signaling for his two flankers to move up on either side of the trail to cover him as he moved forward to investigate.  The rest of the patrol are motionless in their coarse brown long hair bear cloaks that blend with their surrounding; many held weapons at the ready as Norric and Dargo moved silently through the trees and boulders.  When the two brothers are in position Grundi begins his search.  The smell reminds Grundi of a corpse and what he had just found is three.  Grundi nearly gagged as he took in the scene and turned away and signaled for Norgrimsnev

 

Borin Norgrimsnev is of Kalan Drakkdrengi, one of the oldest Kalans of Kraka Drakka whose ancestor Sven “Drakkdrengi” Alrikson fought along side Grundi’s great forbearer, Thane Snorri Cromson who slew the Mhornar Drakk thus founding Kraka Draka and becoming the 1st High King of Kraka Draka and Norsca Ankor.    Borin is stout and grizzled, with a braided salt-and-pepper beard and pale green eyes. His hair that stuck out from beneath the mailed coit was turning gray after decades in the King’s Rangers service and at times felt older than his ninety-five years. As he waited for Grundi, Norric, and Dargo to figure out what is wrong Borin unbuckled the chinstrap of his helmet and removed it letting it hang from his belt. From a dragon skin bag he drank just enough ale to moisten his lips and tongue; one did not get drunk while on patrol.  Borin is foremost a Ranger and had fought in countless battles against the enemies of Norsca Ankor but that was not the reason Grundi signaled him for even this far away he smelt death and corruption.  Besides being a Ranger Borin is also a Priest of Valaya and thus a cleric and healer.  Who ever had been found they were certainly beyond his meager care and perhaps even Valaya’s.

 

Borin buckled his helm back on moving forward noticing Grundi’s strained effort to keep from spewing his stomach’s contents.  Slowly taking a deep breath stepping around Grundi wishing he had not for this was no death by accident, combat, or vicious animal but pure mutilation for the sensual pleasure of it.  A devotee to one of the Chaos Gods, Slaanesh more than likely or perhaps a Elgi'drazh worshipper of Khaine and least likely the vicious Grobi'drazh.  He was kneeling using a stout stick to poke through the revolting mass of undulating maggots before he found what he was looking for; flicking what looked like a sword that protruded out of the putrid remains of a ribcage cavity.  Well away from the stench he breathed normally as if was in the middle of a weapons training sessions.  Appearance was important when you’re a grizzled combat cleric and healer.  Once away and breathing normally the healer scrubbed what he had found with dirt and then washed it off with water from his persistently full water bag being careful not to touch the hilt or the blade with his bare hand.  Once clean he picked it up so that his Thane could see.

 

“Is this what I think it is” Grundi asked as he gazed at the symbol upon the hilt and what looked like a Chaos Rhun blade hoping the answer was not what he was about to hear.

 

“This is a Chaos Rhun weapon,” Borin stated reluctantly.  “Look here,” as he pointed to the maker’s mark that could be seen near the hilt “Grungni Ironheart made this weapon.  It is another grudge that needs to be erased, a follower of the Chaos gods.”

 

Gundgi took a breath walked back to the three bodies, stood for a moment and returned.  “Those are not Dawi bodies to short to be Elgi and too tall to be Dawi.  More than likely Umgi from the Eastern Steppes, Kurgan perhaps and killed by a follower of the Blood God, Khorne.  Their skulls are missing.”

 

“I think you are right; I would suggest we burn the bodies and destroy the sword” the Valaya cleric advised.  Grundi nodded in agreement.   

 

“Make it so, I need to inform the others,” Grundi stated and turned away as Born began building fire over the bodies.

 

The Vithang watched from a distance as his Thane talked with Borin.  Being a Vithang of Kalan Azrilhand of the Merchants Guild, Kazadar Dorinson had taken a lot of good natured ribbing about there being no “open-air markets” while on patrol.  As any Dawi at one time or the other becomes part of the King’s Throng they must learn to fight in a line-of-battle shoulder to shoulder.  His Thane and Guild Master ensured that guild members are trained and experienced in war.  Kazadar knew that what the Guild Master is publically showing his loyalty to King and Karak but having experienced guild members is also beneficial to the guild treasury.  It was for this reason that the guild did not have to hire guards or caravan guards from the Warriors Guild when the Karakverdagi Urbar or “Master of Trade” could utilize his own at not cost to the guild.   So far Kazadar thought this patrol has been boring, but not anymore and it was about to get interesting and he said as much to the two standing just behind him; Fimbar Thorison of the Shieldbreaker Kalan and Grim Oldorsnev of Kalan Gordrengi asking them how much they thought that sword was worth for even from here he could see the large red gem in the pummel.

 

Fimbar continued to observe his sector to ensure nothing is amiss as the Thane and Cleric met.  Fimbar glanced toward the two and resumed his search for any hidden enemy.  “That sword can not be worth much if it was left here; likely made of Umgi pot-metal and cheap glass,” the Ranger commented.  He heard a grunt of agreement from behind his back and knew it was Grim Oldorsnev who had been in the same training cadre as he when they both decided to become Rangers.  Though Grim was a better shot in any kind of windy condition, Grim like Fenni had always been better with splitting an enemy skull with a throwing axe prior to getting stuck-in hand-to-hand combat. 

 

Grim quickly glanced toward the sword but saw that Borin and driven it point down into the ground as he began to drag dry branches and tossed pinecones into a big pile next to a boulder.  He was about to comment about the sword when Kazadar asked him if he had ever used a sword in combat.  “Aye just once.”  Then he spit upon the ground and continued, “The first time I was forced to parry with the Umgi blade it shattered into five pieces.  If not for Fimbar’s thrown axe I would be drinking in the halls of our ancestors.”  Kazadar responded by asking how he came to be using the sword.  “Never you mind; not saying but if you want to know about swords you should talk to the King’s brother, Drazhgrund.  He has a Dawi forged Rhun sword and uses it on occasion to keep efficient but mainly uses an ancestral weapon that once was wielded by Thorin Snorrison, prince of Kraka Drakk who later became King Thorin.”

 

It was at this moment that Grim noticed that the two rear guards; Zamril Ketilson of Kalan Axehead and Gottri Brogarsnev of the Kolgrund Kalan both had their Quarreler loaded and aimed.  Suddenly birds burst forth from the underbrush followed by the sounds of snapping branches then a huge deer with a massive set of anlters in obvious panic leaped into view; mindful that they were on trail rations Gottri fired his Quarrel as Zamril continued to be on the lookout for any enemy.  The huge stag took a couple of steps ready to take flight at the sight of so many Dawi began to turn away then collapsed just in front of Zamril and Gottri with Quarreler bolt driven deep into its skull. 

 

Grundi was demanding for reports from his Rangers, who each called out “Clear” in succession down the length of his command then silence.  The only other noise around them is the striking of flint against steel and soon the crackling of resin covered pine branches followed by the smell of burning corrupt flesh.

 

*

Nearly three days away and inside another Ranger patrol area the scout who had originally been a warrior amongst Tahmaks was slowly making his way back to the Chaos Wastes.  He had originally lead a scouting party of ten Chaos Warriors.  Two had died crossing the Frozen Sea, a third upon reaching the shores of Norsca had slipped fell backwards and broken his spine.  The forth, fifth, and six died when they ran afoul a Vargs hunting party whom they destroyed totally.  The last three he had slain himself.  Fourteen fresh skulls cleaned of all flesh and brain matter, each with the symbol of Khorne carved into the skull rattled around in a course hide bag made from human skin that hung from his weapons belt.  He had just managed to safely cross the river by utilizing a wind felled towering tree.  The Tahmak had taken great care in carving each Rune of Khorne but neglected the care needed for stealth.  Six sharp iron tipped Quarreler bolts from a Ranger patrol of Kraka Ravnsvake slammed into his muscular chest.  He fell to the ground five strides away from the waters edge, his blood staining the ground.

 

 

*

 

Note:  To be continued and besure to have a pint or two on my tab.


Edited by Skull Krusher, 09 March 2015 - 02:58 AM.


#396 Skull Krusher

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 02:57 AM

Kraka Draka      Part Three Hundred Twenty Eight (328)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post

 

*

 

The Drak-Azul Drungi who happened to be a member of Kalan Durazklad is ushered into the living quarters brought his mailed fist to the center of his chest and gave a slight bow of his armored head.  His shield visor is raised revealing rich dark brown eyes and Marta nodded back.  The Matriarch of the Royal Kalan of Durazklad the Queen Mother, Marta Throlindottier who before her marriage to the last Rik had been a Princess-Rinn within the Royal Kalan of Ziflinskaud of Kraka Ravnsvake.  But that was long ago before she accepted a royal proposal of marriage between the two Kraka’s.  Marta had been married to Prince Kartin Mordinson for nearly fifty years before Kartin became the 42nd King of Kraka Draka in the year 1195.  The two of them King Kartin and she had ruled for three hundred and seventeen years.  Some within the Kalan whisper that Marta continues to be a power behind the throne for the last one hundred twenty-five years.  Of late Marta has grown slower and no longer takes her twice daily weapons practice and now only once a day.  She knows her time is coming to a close and as the current Karugromthi of the Royal Kalan she has one more task, a royal marriage to arrange and attend and this is why the Thane Drak-Azul Drungi Thorin Brokksnev has been summoned.  “You are looking well my Queen” Thorin states with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

 

“How long have we known each other?” Marta remarks and she knows the answer for only her long time friends are this jovial.  “At your age one should not attempt to deceive their queen.”  Thorin hair and beard is pure white, and the braided beard was kept from underfoot by being coiled in a loop and tucked into his weapons belt.  Thorin has been a loyal close friend for years and he made it worth living, if not for him she would have withered away after King Kartin had died.

 

“To long, and long has it been since we shared a tankard of ale and a pipe.  Did you invite me here to share a tankard or to just reminisce?” Thorin replied glad that in the last few years they had become more than just friends.

 

“Both.  Sit” she commands.  Thorin looks around and decides that since he is fully armored it would be awkward to even try so he shakes his head.  “Suit yourself but this is what I require.”  Marta picked up a reinforced with fine chainmail leather dispatch bag with the sealed Kron inside.  “This needs to be sent by our most trusted Drak-Azul Drungi messenger to Kraka Dorden to be hand delivered to the Queen-mother Freda Kettradottier the Matriarch of the Royal Kalan of Zhargrun.”  She watched as Thorin’s pure-white bushy eyebrow raised ever so slightly.

 

“Your wish is my command” Thorin chuckled, “what lucky lad is being frog-marched toward a Barazdeg?  Have you finally arranged a suitable match for Drazhgrund or have you give up on him?” 

 

“Never you mind,” she said in jest but she was sorely vexed about her youngest son.  “Everyone will find out soon enough, even the lucky couple,” as she handed him the dispatch bag and watched as Thorin attached the bag to his weapons belt.  “Now sit and have a drink and a smoke with me before you leave.”  Thorin complied with both the wish and command. 

 

Sometime later unknown to either of them Ketra Martadottier who had come for a visit looked in on her mother and saw that she had dozed off while holding the hand of Thorin.  Her elder cousin, the old Drak-Azul Drungi sat quietly not wishing to awaken his Queen.  She smiled and left word with their kin and non-kin staff that her mother did not want to be disturbed.

 

*

 

Note:  To be continued.  The Queen-Mother reminds me of a scheming character in the TV Series and the novel by Robert Graves called "I Claudius".  Cheers and have a drink on my tab.


Edited by Skull Krusher, 09 March 2015 - 03:02 AM.


#397 Skull Krusher

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 12:47 AM

Kraka Draka - part Three Hundred Twenty Nine(329)

 

*

 

Far to the south-south-west different Ranger patrols met along the banks of the River Dumaraz.  The brothers, Norric and Dargo Fennison of Kalan Axehead had arrived at the boulder strewn hilltop that overlooked the River Dumaraz.  In the distance to the north they could barely observe the shores of the Frozen Sea.  Slowly the rest of the patrol arrived quietly taking advantage of the reverse slope careful to stay hidden they spread out so they could covertly keep watch across the river and upon their own back trail.  It was a cold rainy morning as they sheltered in amongst the trees, thick brush, and boulders.  Moving quietly, Grundi knelt next to Norric “Any sign of the Ravnsvake,” Grundi asked quietly.

 

“Maybe, notice the huge rock with the tall lightning-struck-tree next to it, the one with the missing branches.”  Seeing Grundi nod in the affirmative he handed the Thane a long-glass. 

 

Grundi raised it to his right eye focusing on the rock and the tree.  At first Grundi saw nothing out of the ordinary until he observed a reflection or a glint of something bright amongst the darkened pine-boughs.  Why would a Ranger from Ravnsvake be up in a tree, why would any Dawi be up in a tree, I swear the Ravnsvake take after their namesake a bit too much?”  Dargo who was sipping some trail rations nearly choked as he tried not to laugh. The wet-wind shifted blowing in their faces from across the river and each of them could now barely hear the sound of a block and tackle that needed to be greased.  Refocusing on the darkened pine-boughs he made out the rope that angled up into the tree as a small bundle was being raised from behind the rock to the nest above.  The tree is a supply cache for what they do not want to carry with them on their patrol Grundi thought.  The Ranger thane continued to search the surrounding area a quarreler shot in either direction along the river banks.  Then he spotted something, a dull reddish stain where only white-snowy-slush should have been a dozen strides from the waters edge, then the faint smell of burnt flesh.

 

*

 

note to be continued....



#398 Skull Krusher

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 10:01 PM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Thirty (330)

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post.

 

*

 

The double doors to the Rusty Harpoon swung open and cold fresh air smelling of saltwater came rushing in followed by the sounds from the underground port.  A grungy looking Dawi carrying a large two-handed mining pick, a quiver of bolts as well as a quarreler came in.  The Boki seldom trudged all the way up from the lower deep but one with a pick and a quarreler drew special attention of many of the patrons.  As the doors shut behind him he looked around the tables as if looking for someone, shrugged his shoulders then spoke loudly;

 

“Ruthless

Stout Tatonka

Ironfisted Resistance

Numbskull Firestone Alesmith

Thirsty.”

 

Several patrons raised their tankards in appreciation, he nodded his thanks then made his way through the crowded room towards the counter where Dawi who were two tired or drunk to find their way back to their Kalan quarters would pay for a room for the night.  Very few patrons had permanent rooms set aside for one reason or the other and if so they more likely than not treated the Rusty Harpoon and its staff as hearth and kin.   Anaya is at her usual position ensuring that orders were filled and were place on the drinker’s tab or paid for in either coin of the realm or in gold or silver nuggets or even dust that she weighed and put in the Thindrongol for safe keeping.  She heard the Boki even half a room away and looked towards the speaker and recognized Mundri Alrickson the former Miner and now Ranger of the Kolgrund Kalan since the Vangover.  If Mindri is here Anaya reasoned then her son’s patrol must have returned.  She needed to tell Grundi of the matriarch’s intention of an arranged marriage between himself and Fenna Zylradottier of Kraka Dorden before Durak, her husband did.  Durak was not happy with Marta Throlindottier’s actions.  The Dourback Kalan has always put their Durak Duraz Brewery above anything else, not like Kalan Oakenstave whose kin always seemed to flock to the King’s colors even when there is no real call-to-arms.  Not counting the small individual Kalan breweries there is only five established breweries in Kraka Draka that sell their product to various eating and drinking establishments; Durak Duraz Brewery, Steinhammer Kalan’s Duraz Wytryth Brewery, Kalan Gorlhops’ Broken Drum Brewery, Kalan Stoutgirth’s Aalborg Brewery, and lastly Kalan Oakenstave’s Skara Brae Brewery.  Anaya knew that her husband Durak as the Guild-Master for the Kalan’s brewery had always hoped that Grundi would tire of being a King’s Ranger and return back to the Kalan settle down; and brew along side him thus helping to make the Kalan’s brewery the best of the five.  Now it would Durak’s true-son, Cranneg her youngest learning the brewer’s trade.

 

Anaya’s marriage had also been an arranged one and during the Barazdeg there were three young Guild-masters heir apparent to-be to vie for her hand.  Ayaya had the ultimate say and she had made the best of the situation or so she thought.  As a Kvinn of the royal Kalan she could have married into the royal Kalans of allied holds but any available males of royal blood were either in their dotage with much wealth or mere Garazi; and impoverished.  So the Kalan’s Throngrink Council lead by Queen Marta found prospective husbands of impeccable character and wealthy enough to keep Anaya in suitable style befitting a royal Kvinn.  It could be worse she thought, she could have chosen either the miner or a warrior.

 

Yes she is basically in charge of the Rusty Harpoon and is a prominent member of the Royal Kalan and as such any of her offspring can chose to belong to either the Royal Kalan or Kalan Dourback.  Grundi had yet to choose; and Durak was unhappy about his son’s choice to be a Warrior and then a Ranger instead of a brewer.  Anaya feared she was about to lose more than just her hearts desire, she was going to lose her son.  Kraka Dorden is to far away to travel safely even with a Drak-Azul Drungi escort and there was nothing she could do about it.  Anaya looked toward Alrika, her daughter who worked be side her learning how to oversea the running of the Rusty Harpoon and smiled; Alrika may have Dourback blood in her veins but her Durazklad royal blood is what every potential suitor is going to be drawn to.  Anaya would ensure that when the time came Alrika’s choice would be better than her own.  Anaya wondered what Drazhgrund would say or think when he heard the news.

 

Anaya filled Mindri’s Nogarung with Firestone from the Skara Brae Brewery, welcomed him back.  “Thank you, Kvinn Anaya,” Mundri Alrickson said after taking a long hard pull smacking his lips.  “Grundi said to tell you that he went to the Ranger barracks to make his reports, when he is done he will get cleaned up and head here to have dinner with you and Alrika,” he told her after drinking the tankard dry.  Anaya nodded her thanks, refilled the Nogarung and Mindri left to go to his room in the Rusty Harpoon.

 

 

 

*

 

Note:  To be continued....


Edited by Skull Krusher, 15 March 2015 - 10:54 PM.


#399 Skull Krusher

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 03:26 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Thirty One (331)

 

Note:  Continuation from last post....

 

 

*

 

The King and his brother, Drazhgrund were discussing what their mother, Marta Throlindottier, the Matriarch of the Royal Kalan of Durazklad is negotiating.  “Should we even get involved” Groth asked Drazhgrund not as a king to a subject but brother to brother.  Drazhgrund looked around the chamber to ensure that no one was close enough to overhear for they both knew from long experience that their mother had eyes and ears everywhere.  Even as children nothing remained hidden or secret from Queen Marta. 

 

“Her choice of Bronda Valadottier….” Drazhgrund would have said more but his brother interrupted him.

 

“Aye it was no love match at first, but you have to remember Bronda made the final decision though I think the Elder Council of Kalan Agrilaz influenced her a wee bit,” King Groth said with a wistful smile, “Two son’s Durgin and Thungni.  She a respectful dutiful wife and good mother;” Groth paused as he filled his tankard; “she will never be like Bjornhilld “Chaos Bane” Hildadottier our 4th Queen, but Bronda does brew a good keg of ale when she puts her mind to it.  What more could I ask for?”

 

“Still…”

 

“I know my brother that our sister’s marriage did not pan out, but the death of her husband, Prince Durgin Hadraison is no fault of our mother.  Though her father-in-law, King Hadra of Kraka Ornsmotek actions were not what you expect from a grieving father; to turn out his son’s wife and his own grandson Tyr.  Mark my words the Elder Council of Kalan Agrilaz may someday rue the day they allowed King Hadra to send our sister Ketra and Tyr Durginson back to Kraka Draka.  Kalan Agrilaz may have earned a line in the Dammaz Kron for Hadra’s actions,” King Groth stated.  There was a moment of silence between them, and Drazhgrund let his brother’s last comment sink in.  A grudge between kings is something that could lead to war.  Then the King spoke again.

 

“What do we know of Rvinn Fenna Zylradottier” King Groth asked looking towards his brother who besides his duty as a Hammerer is also apprenticed to their kin Lord Stromni Elmadorson who is the Thane of Kraka Draka’s Hammerers, and the Kraka’s War-master.  As War-master it is Stromni’s duty to gather all the various detailed Doki reports from the other three Norsca Kraka’s and all the Guilds, Kalans, and patrols in order to guard against any invasion into Norsca Ankor.  With his brother apprenticed to the War-master Groth knew that Drazhgrund would have accessed to all sorts of reports both serious and trivial.

 

“I know that during his fosterage to the royal Kalan of Kraka Dorden both Fenna and Grundi worked in the same copper mine for three years, this I heard from his correspondence with Anaya Kettradottier.”  When Groth heard this he looked strangely at his brother and wondered why their cousin would share that with Drazhgrund.  His brother not noticing the King’s scrutiny continued, “that Fenna through her mother can directly trace their bloodlines back to the very first King of Kraka Dorden.  Fenna is not from some cadet branch of the Royal Kalan.  Her mother, Zylra is the Loremaster for the Sisters of Valaya of Kraka Dorden and is warrior trained as is Fenna and she is also the King’s sister.  I also happen to know that he sends letters once a month to Fenna Zylradottier and they are carried back and forth by our own and Kraka Dorden’s Azul Drungi patrols.”  King Groth nodded and Drazhgrund paused and dredged up some other info from memory, “what I know of her father is that Logan Morgrimson is of Kalan Karangaz and a master Rhunki which more than anything else is the reason for Grundi to move to Kraka Dorden into future wife’s Kalan quarters.” 

They both looked at each other and thought of the ramifications of the Karangaz bloodlines in any offspring for Grundi’s grandfather, Hargar Stromnison of Kraka Draka was also of Kalan Karangaz and a master Rhunki and the chance that any children of their becoming a Rhunki is very good.    “What is done is done but I hate the idea that the throng of Kraka Draka is losing an experienced Ranger” Drazhgrund stated.

 

King Groth nodded in agreement and both decided they would not oppose the aranged marriage between Fenna Zylradottier and Grundi Durakson since the marriage would bind the two Karak’s even further.  As they sat drinking, smoking and going over the various Ranger reports and analyzing the reported threats both had same unspoken question, who would the Matriarch chose for Prince Drazhgrund Kartinson it was long over due.

 

*

 

Note:  To be continued... 



#400 Skull Krusher

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 01:58 AM

Kraka Draka     Part Three Hundred Thirty Two (332)

 

Note:  Continuation from the previous post...  But as I said previously this new story to the thread takes place 2 years after the previous short story.  Mainly this thread tells of no great battles only the everyday goings on within Kraka Draka.  Some who follow my writings about the hold may not care for the mundane but the mundane is oft times more interesting than death on the battlefield.

 

What I failed to also mention the best laid plans do not often come to a strategic successful conclusion.

 

Cheers and be sure to have a drink on my tab in the Rusty Harpoon.

 

*

 

Darkness filled every corner of the room completely and the silence would be soothing to an Umgi just as the darkness would be terrifying.  But the chamber’s sole occupant is a Dawi and there is no darkness or silence under the mountain; for the mountains spoke to those who knew how to listen just as the Boki shift boss had taught him during his ten years of fosterage to the King of Kraka Dorden.  It was there in the copper mines of Kraka Dorden that he had met Fenna Zylradottier for the first time where both of them spent their mandatory three years learning the fundamentals of mining.  The two of them worked on the same shift and it was only by accident that he had learned that her Kalan was Zhargrun, the Royal Kalan of Kraka Dorden.  Grundi had let Fenna know that he was from Kalan Durazklad of Kraka Draka and she surprised him by saying that she was there in the court when he was introduced to her kin the King on his first day. From that day forward they worked side-by-side and eventually became friends and each wanted more than just friendship.  Grundi’s thoughts strayed to the times when he and Fenna would enter an empty played-out tunnel and extinguish their lights.  They would sit there in the cool darkness holding hands listening to the voices of the rock around them 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 them.  The voices of the rocks reminded Grundi of their ancestor god Grungni and the water of Valaya.  Grundi once told Fenna that he often found that he was closer to the ancestor gods in the rough hewed mines rather than the fine temples and she agreed.  He missed her and wondered what became of Fenna and who her own matriarchs of Kalan Zhargrun and or Karangaz had sought to cement and alliance with.  Grundi hoped it was someone who knew how to listen and he wondered if she had received his last letter that he sent before the beginning of his last patrol.   

 

Grundi shook himself out of his reverie as the faint sounds of armor arouses him from his musing as he realized someone has entered the Ranger quarters and is now knocking on the door to his chambers.  Grundi unlocks and opens the door surprised to see Thorin Brokksnev a distant elder cousin.  “Tired of being a Drak-Azul Drungi hauling around all the armor and have come to join the Rangers,” Grundi jested as he welcomed Thorin into his chambers?

 

Thorin noted that his kin had cleaned up after his long patrol and is presentable.  “Nay lad, I have come to escort you, the Queen needs to speak with you” he stated.

 

“Why would Queen Bronda need to see or speak me?”

 

“Not Bronda but the Queen-mother!” Thorin replied and saw that Grundi looked uneasy like he was going to panic as if caught in some ambush unawares and Thorin half wished he could be ensnared in such a trap for not all Dawi males had the luxury or pleasure of having a mate.  A bachelor’s immediate family is the whole Kalan, Thorin looked at Grundi and shook his head, “your life just got a whole lot more interesting lad.”

 

*

 

 

Note:  Two more posts and this short story will be complete but not the saga of Kraka Draka.  So far what has been posted equals 815 typed printed pages; almost as old as Drazhgrund... 

 

Cheers and have a pint on my tab.

 

 


Edited by Skull Krusher, 06 April 2015 - 02:02 AM.





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