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Kraka Draka

a series of short stories

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#421 Skull Krusher

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 05:31 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Three Hundred Fifty -- (350)

 

Note: Continuation from previous post....

 

 

*

 

Situated within the High City district that looks down upon the Port of Erengrad is Skvortskov castle surrounded by two curtain walls.  The first wall protects the outer bailey and the second wall protects the inner bailey and the large keep in the center.  To the north of the castle is the Goldsmiths Hall, to the south the Carriers’ Guild; to the east the Garden of Ursun; and to the west Shipwrights Hall.  Within Skvortskov castle Petre is seated at a table reading the latest report from the Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Shipwrights’ Hall and finally the most powerful of the three; the Carriers’ Guild. 

 

The present Carrier’s Guild Master or Druzhina, is Mitri Hchenko whose appointment by the Tzarina makes him one of the most powerful men in Erengrad who are not considered nobility.  Not only does he rules the Carriers’ Guild but the Tzarina granted the guild the right to enforce her laws some years ago and to established law-courts within the guild house.  For over twenty years those courts have become more popular the Boyar’s Courts and for obvious reason.  It is fortunate that Mitri is honest Petri thought as well as a good loyal friend. 

 

However powerful Mitri Hchenko thinks he is, his influence and wealth pales in comparison to Druzhina Thurgrom Thyksnev of Kraka Drakka who is the oldest serving Druzhina on Erengrad’s Guild Master Council.  Many within the council do not realize that Thurgrom fought alongside the Pulk over 300 years before during the sack of Erengrad and think that he is a relative newcomer and is only there as spokesman for the Erengrad’s Dwergsbezit merchants  thus the de facto leader of the Erengrad’s Dwarves.

 

It is snowing heavily outside but the room is warm mainly due to the fact that after the sack of Erengrad Kislev’s allies to the north; Kraka Drakka had helped to rebuild the city.  As a result this stone castle and its walls were built by Dwarf artisans making it not only the strongest but also the warmest in Erengrad.  No icy tendrils of air seeped through the chinks in the wall.  Tonight Petri is surrounded by court records and Chekist reports when he heard the knock at the door but did not look up from what he was reading for he had recognized the step and the placement of the knock upon the door, when it opened the chamberlain entered, went to one knee and then stood waiting until Prince Petre Von Skvortskov acknowledged his presence.  Looking up he saw that his chamberlain; Yuri Taalychev whose family came from Urszny is not alone.  Behind him still outside the door to his library is Chekist Captain Boris Dazhdalev who he had been expecting but beside him is Boyar Vaja Rybkin the business partner to the Dwarf Guild Master in the city of Erengrad and Yulia Fedokova Vaja’s bodyguard.  Yuri announced them and they entered each taking a knee before proceeding several steps in to stop as a group several feet in front of the table though Yulia remained just behind her Boyar.

 

“What news?” the Prince of Erengrad asked looking to each. 

 

The Chekist spoke first though he glanced as a way of acknowledging Boyar Rybkin’s part in what he had to report.  “My Lord, first I would like to say is that Pyotr Rebikov was executed at dawn for his crimes of murder and cremated; his ashes were dumped into the Lynsk.”  Prince Skvortskov nodded his approval as Boris continued, “I would have liked to say that the Tzarina’s Chekist were responsible for his capture but it was those working for Druzhina Thurgrom Thyksnev of Clan Ironhand who captured Pyotr Rebikov and brought him to the Chekist guard house.  Without their help I am not sure he would have been captured as he had sought refuge aboard an outbound trading vessel heading for Marienburg.  The master and crew of this smuggling vessel are now being interrogated and the ship; the Icehag has been impounded and the goods within seized.  The ship and the goods will be sold by the Prize Court and the proceeds will be shared between the Tzarina and Clan Ironhand for their help in this matter.”

 

As he listened Prince Petre realized he is indebted further to Druzhina Thurgrom and indirectly to the King of Kraka Drakka; first for his son Gregori which is a personal debt, and second for the capture of the escaped criminal as well as the seizure of a smuggling vessel operating under the nose of the unscrupulous Harbormaster of Erengrad; Radii Synvasalisa.  The second would be easier to dismiss through his auspices as Lord of Erengrad but the first is personal, much harder.  Turning to Boyar Vaja, Petre asked; “How would you suggest that the dispute between the Cooper Guild be handled which indirectly bears upon those who escaped from the Chekist jail cells?”

 

“It would seem,” and here the Chekist Captain turned to Boyar Vaja “that the Druzhina’s Bocharov and Bondarev of Erengrad’s Cooper Guild took umbrage to Druzhina Thurgrom selling cooperage to the Tzarina’s Pulk.  I have since learned that they attacked Master Nyi Brokkson as he delivered the firkins that the Pulk had ordered.”

 

“How many were involved in this attack?” the Prince asked he looked at both the Captain and Boyar.

 

Boyar Vaja answered.  “Master Nyi and his two young apprentices were leading a cargo sled pulled by four wolf-hounds when they were ambushed by twenty armed Cooper apprentices lead by Bocharov and Bondarev.”

 

Petre had read the reports of the attack and asked, “Why was only Master Nyi taken into custody by the Chekist?”

 

“That would be the fault of Sergeant Vlasi Vdovyn who had responded along with Corporal Antal Jakov and Oleg Novosi.  The Sergeant stated he could not understand what Master Nyi was saying and when Corporal Antal and Oleg had questioned the Cooper apprentices they all stated that the Dwarves attacked them.  Sergeant Vlasi decided that since he could not understand what Master Nyi was saying and he could not speak a word of Dwarf he decided to take him into custody.”

 

“What injuries were incurred in this ambush?” the Prince asked.

 

“Only bruises, no broken bones other than a few noses amongst everyone,” Boris admitted.  “Most were just knocked unconscious the Dwarves did not even use any weapons unlike the Cooper apprentices.

 

“So if they, Master Nyi and his two apprentices wanted to they could have killed every single attacker?  Am I not right?  Our northern allies who helped us rebuild after Erengrad was sacked, who are also our good trading partners showed remarkable restraint when attacked,” Prince Petre stated.

 

“Yes my lord,” Captain Dazhdalev admitted then added quickly, “Other witnesses have since come forward collaborating that it was Bocharov and Bondarev who attacked first,” Captain Boris admitted.  “I am sure Master Nyi felt he was unjustly incarcerated and decided he did not want to wait a week for the magistrate to hear his case in the Boyar’s Court.”  Though Boyar Vaja had a different opinion about why Nyi Brokkson did not want to wait was that in all likely-hood Nyi would have been transferred to Erengrad’s fortress headquarters of the Tzarina’s Chekist.  Within those dungeons lies torture and death and once a person enters that grim structure, they will in all likely-hood, never be seen alive again.  Better to escape from the injustice of a holding cell than to just disappear.

 

“Captain Dazhdalev, all charges will be dropped against Nyi Brokkson.  Druzhina Thurgrom has agreed to pay for the services of healers that were injured during his escape.”  And here Prince Petre smiled wickedly, “In addition the Chekist under your command will take weapons training conducted by Druzhina Thurgrom’s weapons master.  No longer will your men be beaten by an unarmed opponent.  Is that understood?  You will also investigate the Coopers Guild and find out why they are building shoddy firkins for the Tzarina’s Pulks.  For that alone is why they lost the contract and their work in treasonous.  Ensure that the Carrier’s Guild Druzhina Mitri Hchenko assists in this endeavor as well.”

 

“One other thing, see that the Sergeant is demoted, it has come to my understanding that he assists his brother selling watered down Jewel of Kislev Kvas.  Which I believe is reason enough for my son, Gregori to get angry with the bartender who needed to be beaten.  You will inform Mitri about this and take care of that disgrace upon Kislev’s good name,” Prince Petre said most forcefully.  The Chekist captain could only nod in acknowledgement.  “Also it seems to me that Sergeant Vlasi Vdovyn’s error in judgment and leadership is the root cause for this predicament and I believe that Chekist Corporal should Tordimir Kudrov should be promoted.”  Captain Dazhdalev nodded in the affirmative.    “Captain you may leave and good night to you.” 

 

Boris back out and closed the door behind him pleased that he still had his head where it should be.  It was time to clear out the dead wood within the Chekist garrison of Erengrad.  He had no problem with zealous pursuit of those who are true enemies of the Tzarina and Kislev or worshipers of the Dark Gods but he hated incompetence and dishonesty and Sergeant Vlasi had both in abundance but he had been saddled with Vlasi when he was promoted to Captain; time for a change.

 

Prince Petre von Skvortskov turned to the two remaining guests and gestured for them to sit.  What was to be discussed now would be his personal debt and wanted everyone to be somewhat comfortable.  As they sat Petre filled three tankards with Kvas his favorite, Jewel of Kislev he also noticed that Yulia Fedokova remained standing off to one side but behind her Boyar’s chair and that her two weapons were tied down with honor-knots while in his presence.  He heartedly approved and wished more of his own guard absorbed the nuances of Dwarf honor.  As Yulia absently rubbed the spot on her chest where the Beastmen arrow had pierced her Boyar Vaja accepted the tankard and handed the prince the message tube from Thurgrom Thyksnev of Clan Ironhand.

 

Gregori’s father unrolled the contract and slowly read;  This Indenture Contract states that Gregori Von Skvortskov puts himself as an apprentice to Guild Master Thurgrom Thyksnev of Clan Ironhand of Kraka Drakka and Boyar Vaja Rybkin business partner to Guild Master Thurgrom Thyksnev to serve each for a period of three full years.  During which time he shall be supplied with sufficient food, drink, clothing, lodging and all other necessaries befitting such a warrior and merchant apprentice.  Further Gregori Von Skvortskov will obey all commands of those appointed over him during his apprenticeship; any disobedience will be dealt with in accordance to standard Master to Apprentice norms.  At the end and expiration of said time, Gregori Von Skvortskov will be free to leave if he so desires.  This Indentured Apprentice Contract is Witness by all parties involved and have placed their signature and Seals on the 13th day of Durgzet in the year 2517 in the presence of the Lord of Erengrad, Petre Von Skvortskov and Guild Masters Thurgrom Thyksnev and Boyar Vaja Rybkin.

 

Petre looked up as he finished reading and nodded his approval; opened a small ornately carved wooded box and removed a red candle lit it and dribbled a small puddle of hot wax.  Removing his signet ring he pressed it into the wax leaving an impression of a rampant bear.  Then he dipped a quill into the inkpot and signed his name and dusted his signature.  Then Boyar Vaja Rybkin did the same signing below Thurgrom’s Rhun, then pressed his signet ring of a crossed horse-bow and an anchor.

 

When they were finished Petre asked, “How did my son take the news of his indentured status?”

 

Yulia suddenly laughed then smiled; “Gregori has found out that we have two weapons masters in Erengrad’s Dwergsbezit, one is Nyi Brokkson of Kalan Ironfinger and the other is Zamnil Narsson an Ironbreaker of Kalan Ironhand.  Zamnil is the husband of our healer Duree Boriadottier whom Gregori is smitten with.”

 

Boyar Vaja Rynkin added his own laugh, “My lord you will find that Thurgrom and I are harder task masters than either of the weapon masters.  In three years you will be able to trust him with your money, your life and possibly your mistress.”  Then he added, “If he survives.”

 

 

 

Note:  to be continued.... have a pint on my tab.

 



#422 Skull Krusher

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 02:58 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Three Hundred Fifty One - (351) final post for this particular story.

 

Note:  Continuation from previous post.

 

*

 

In the middle of a flurry of strikes, counterstrikes, and parries that he became distracted as he recalled what Boyar Vaja had said about his upcoming assignment patrolling The Grand Market with Yulia Fedokova and Algrim Gormsson when Zamnil’s quarterstaff seemed to change direction and appear out of thin-air; unable to block the strike that hit him in the stomach and then the back of the knees.  Gregori lay on his back upon the sawdust covered floor of the salle, his breath came in great gulps and he still firmly held onto the training weapon.  He grimaced as he rolled over and slowly stood though he had his hands on both knees.  Perhaps he needed to be healed but then he looked over at Zamnil and thought better.

 

*        *        *

 

Note:  This is the end for this story thread.

 

Note:  This particular thread all started due to some very old ongoing family research of my father’s ancestors.  Two of my many times great ancestors were transported (the boy was age 10 and the girl was age 8) from the same village in Alsace-Loraine to America in 1813 because of Indenture Contracts signed by their parents.   However their contracts were for ten years after which they were set free with no means to get back to Europe.  In 1823 my many times great grand-parents married, and settle in what was then New York he a craftsman and she a seamstress.  It is interesting to note that Indenture Contracts were still legal in the United States until the early 1900’s.

 



#423 Skull Krusher

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Posted 15 April 2016 - 04:29 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Three Hundred Fifty Two (352)

 

Note:  Well this small bit of fluff seemed to come out of no-where in that it was perhaps rooted in a dream after I finished reading a bunch of MHI books by Larry Correia.  The author is currently doing a book signing tour in England and Europe for the next several weeks.  But anyway... here is my latest bit of fluff about a Dawi of Kraka Drakka...

 

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

 

If it was Fornskrak with a summer sky filled with bright daylight, and it is not being that it is the end-of-the-year with it’s last dimly lit days of Fornhekes he would be described as interesting weathered to a point that it is difficult to guess his age; a little taller than the average Dwarf, un-usually bald with blunt-broken-freckled nose, and a thick braided forked red-beard that shows streaks of grey which is so absurdly long that it hangs nearly to his knees.  The Dwarf holds a carved wooden staff in his muscular scarred-hands, some of the scars were old some newer and one still pink.  There is no way that the staff is not, just a crutch or just a quarterstaff not with the numerous Rhuns carved along its entire length nor the large blue stone affixed to the top and a sharp iron point at the bottom.  On first glance the staff appears to be his only weapon but he has others they are just hidden under a soft drakk-black-leather cloak which would make the casual observer due to the lack of adequate light think that the Dwarf is perhaps a witch-hunter but they would be wrong. 

 

As the daylight of Fornhekes recedes further beyond the horizon the Dwarf becomes a darker shadow within the growing night; dressed head to toe in black-iron chain-mail over a padded-black wool-gambeson and darkened leathers all worn underneath a cloak which has a deep cowl that hides a reinforced, padded black-leather helm but also his features when pulled up over his head.  The only bit of color is the embroidered dark-red knot-work and Rhuns along the hem, cuffs, and cowling of the cloak and a Rhun embroidered flame symbol over his heart.  Despite the weight of the armor and his weapons he moves easily silently passing without noticed.  No one who has seen him move and fight would ever guess that he felt more at home surrounded by sawdust and wood shavings wielding a wood chisel or wood plain instead of a warhammer or battleaxe.  He had been a carpenter, a Master wood-worker of Kalan Kolthingaz and member of the Carpenter Guild; and now he is still that and much more.   

 

There is not enough light to see him clearly where he now stands.  To him here north of the Sigmar’s fragmented Empire it is growing darker colder, of course for this time of year that was hardly unusual.  But Kislev is further south than he had ever been in his life and there is less than a quarter-candle-mark of daylight left with a dim twilight on either side.  Then it will be dark, so dark that the stars that are scattered across the night sky are like bright diamonds.  When he first began his current occupation as an apprentice the stars were a new experience as well as the two moons, now they are familiar almost like old friends but not so the moons.  The dreaded full moons kept many locked behind doors and shuttered windows and with good reason; the moons would never be considered friendly.  But not now for tonight’s sky is filled only with forgotten diamonds awaiting a thief.

 

Within the shadows the Dwarf patiently waited and watched the Golgotha not knowing if rumors had any validity.  He is supposed to meet an adherent of Morr but he or she is nowhere to be seen.  Strictures prevented him from entering or disturbing a place of burial that had been blessed so he had to wait though others had left their mark upon the snow covered paths within the Golgotha.  Thin wisps of wind pulled the last remaining dry shriveled leafs from the sparse limbs from the only tree within the Golgotha planted as a memorial to someone long gone; that was the problem with Umgi they soon forget.  The tree itself was nearly dead as well for over the decades its roots had sunk deep drinking in the dark miasma of death that surrounded it not one of its many seedlings ever survived long enough to sprout and now it is bare, lifting its thin, imploring arms to the cold gods as if in supplication.  The Golgotha had fallen upon hard times, once only the wealthy lie within the confines of the ornate iron fence.  Now the fence is rusted beyond repair, barely standing only because a few of the stone pillars still stood and even they leaned like staggering drunkards and are covered with lichen and so weather worn any Rhuns of Morr are unreadable and no longer had the power to keep the darkness away.  He sensed a growing darkness an evil so dark that the air seemed to become icy.  So far the Dwarf had sensed no use of magic other than the fading Rhuns placed upon those during interment. 

 

With the sun now below the horizon and the dim twilight rapidly fading the night did not fall it seemed to rise out of the grounds of the Golgotha.  It oozed out of the rusty-iron flavored corroded earth of the graveyard.  It seeped up the single tree until it turned the color of burnt-blood as it seeming absorb the last remaining dusk.  Then the darkness pooled in the deep shadows of gravestones, crypts, and mausoleums, the night flowed outward as if seeking some warm-blooded prey and slowly it seeped unerringly toward the main Golgotha entrance where a ragged-cloaked figured stood; arms held high as if in supplication.  Taken momentarily aback by the sudden appearance the Dwarf continued watching and listening.   He could not make out what the figure was saying for it sounded like nothing he had heard before, it sounded like gibberish and he wondered if the figure was the right one for this Golgotha but not knowing there could not be a right one he shivered not from the growing dark coldness that reached out toward him but from momentary terror as the figure fell to the ground to be swallowed by the night. 

 

Without a thought to his own safety the Dwarf no longer hindered by any stricture he rushed toward the Golgotha to stand just inside the weary sagging gate.  The Dwarf wondered if the unmoving figure at his feet had been trying to perform a banishment spell as the darkness circled, enclosed, and severed whatever contact it had with god.  Within the darkness something pushed in against him with clammy unseen hands.  This was not like the deep underground comfortable darkness of a Dwarf hold; this darkness seemed to cling to him.  The former carpenter held his staff in his left hand and slowly raised it parallel with the ground high over his head while his right hand held a flanged headed mace.  Then he spoke a single word and the Retribution Rhun engraved Bryn stone atop his staff suddenly seemed to ignite and pure-light accompanied by white-hot heat that could only come from a Dwarven forge radiated outward in a wide circle attacking the darkness; forcing it away until there were only cowering shadows and these took shelter in the lee of standing gravestones, crypts, and mausoleums.  Those that could only survive in darkness that did not flee quickly enough burst immediately into unquenchable flames leaving only ash.

 

However the creatures of the darkness do not give up so easily.  Dirt encrusted hands grasp the edges of a collapsed graves and broken sarcophagus; then the ghouls climbed out.  A few wore the remnants of tattered garments others wore nothing; many were empty handed a few gnawed on bones still covered in sinew or maggot infested flesh they had reaped from desecrated coffins.  They were not just one but many and the carpenter’s mace’s head seemed to give off an eerie glow as hungry, living, breathing creatures of darkness who feared not the light gathered for an easy meal.

 

If they had coordinated and charged as a group then all would have been lost but they did not, satisfying hunger was their only thought; strategy is one of those Umgi traits long lost in their decent into Chaos.  Thankfully they were unlike Norsca wolf-packs and so their attacks were ineffective and the former Carpenter’s mace crushed the first one’s skull.  Two others came, one stopped to feed on the newly dead ghoul; the other swung a jagged thigh bone at him which he blocked with his staff as his iron shod boot broke the attackers knee dropping the third ghoul to the ground as it keened loudly in pain.  Three others arrived almost at the same time; he rammed his staff sharp iron point into the first one’s left eye and through its skull where it became wedged.  The ghoul fell backward landing on its back the staff upright illuminating the fight at the Golgotha gates.  The Carpenter drew his hammer and fought; his mace and hammer breaking bones all the while chanting.  If seen from above, he was a dark maelstrom amidst what seemed to be an ever growing throng of pale ghouls.  They could have mobbed him but they did not instead many stopped to feed upon the newly dead and wounded; their unquenchable hunger was their ultimate undoing as Skalf Alriksnev of Kalan Kolthingaz a former Carpenter and now a Priest of Gazul slew them all.  Much later he performed funeral rites for the nameless dead.      

 

Note:  This is the end of this short fluff story...  I have more in the works hope you liked it, PM's are always appreciated....

 

Regards, and have a pint on my tab...

 

 

 



#424 Skull Krusher

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 05:07 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Three Hundred Fifty Three (353)

 

This is a short fluff story from just before the Ancestor God closes the warp gate in the Chaos Wastes.

 

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

 

Chapter Ninety Nine

 

It was early morning; long ago during the waning days of Wyrzet in the ninety-eighth year of the reign of the Thorik Snorrison the 7th King.  They moved slowly along a spine-like ridge amidst the Grontklug, whipped by cold penetrating winds.  The trio are roped together but not tethered to the mountain and each of them plunged his ice-axe into the loose snow and rock knowing one misstep could send all hurtling to their deaths.  Two others had fallen, to lie broken, lost until spring thaw or perhaps forever.  They clawed their way up the precipice, hoping to reach the summit, and in the process discover a secure pass so as to flank a Chaos Horde of twisted creatures that had been warped, changed beyond all recognition who are even now approaching the heavily fortified and defended Drakka Barak.  Some of the Kraka priests surmised that perhaps the Beastman had been primitive nomadic herdsman and had become twisted into neither true Umgi nor beast; but a blending of both.  If not for the Grungni’s messengers warning of a great disaster that would change the world forever they too would have been changed beyond all recognition.  The world became overrun with all manner of Beastman and other creatures of Chaos and battles raged for days-on-end in order to safe-guard the Kraka’s of Norsca.  The war against the hordes of Chaos has been grinding on for over a thousand years, with neither side gaining the upper hand. 

 

However all that was ancient but well known history which is still relevant as they forced their way toward the summit of the mountain.  The winds steadily increased forcing the trio to seek shelter against an outcropping of glacial ice almost as old as the mountain itself; they huddled together for three whole days beneath their thick fur-lined cloaks as the fierce icy winds attempted to push them off the mountain.  Unbeknownst to the trio as they waited for the storm to abate, somewhere to the north at the edge of the Chaos Wastes Grimnir and Morgrim had already fought and defeated a Daemon Prince of Chaos.  Morgrim had watched as his father, Grimnir entered the Chaos Wastes to personally close warp gate. 

 

One of the trio a grim unforgiving Dwarf, Grumdin Snorrison who is also loyal to a fault in regards to the Rik, and who happened to be one of the Kraka’s greatest warriors had the honor of attending the banquet for Grimnir and Morgrim prior to Grumdin and his fellow rangers being assigned to find the flanking route.  “What do you think,” Grumdin yelled trying to be heard over the sound of the wind.  “Can he close the gate?”

 

Both Nori Skalfson of Kalan Kolgrund and Ragni Ulfarson of Kalan Langkhim looked at each other not knowing what to say.  All had heard during the banquet that Grimnir intended to march north and personally close the ruptured warp gates that Chaos used to enter the world.  They also knew that many of the warriors in attendance thought that Grimnir’s Az-Dreugidum would be better used against the Chaos besieging the Drakka Barak than wandering around lost in the northern Chaos Wastes.  But the Kalan Warriors out of respect to the Ancestor God did not give voice to their thoughts.  Finally Nori replied, “I am right glad that Morgrim found time to teach the Endrini Kalans newer techniques of crafting bolt and stone throwers before he harried off with his father.”

 

Because of the loud wind that seemingly blew the words away Ragni put a hand to his ear and yelled, “Nori what did you to say?”

 

Both Nori and Grumdin were about to yell back when suddenly they both stopped; their comments unspoken.  It was eerily quiet the storm’s fury was gone not a breath of wind could be felt.  Hesitantly they stood under the weight of three days of snow and pulled their cloaks hood off their head.  The morning skies were clear only far off scattered clouds could be seen.  Shaking the accumulated snows off, they hurried as safely as they could toward the summit.  Everywhere they looked, the skies were clearing.  Upon reaching the summit and looking down into the valley that led to the Kraka there was little trace of the foul creatures that had been besieging the Drakka Barak.  The mighty horde gone, the unbroken Barak still stood and without thinking all three looked to the north towards the vastness of the Chaos Waste but saw nothing but a haze that now obscured the far north.

 

It was then that Grumdin turned to his companions; “He did it, Grimnir closed the gate confining Chaos!”  Turning back to look to the north he commented, “I do not know whether to celebrate with a tankard of ale or that Grimnir took away my chance for further vengeance.  In any case let’s finish our task and return to the Throng.”

 

They had mapped out the pass and were now making there way back down the mountain.  Nori wondered if it was all for naught.  Yes they had found the pass, but with the horde gone it would never be used.  Were the deaths of those they had lost in the summit attempt worth it?  Would they be remembered he wondered as they headed back to the Kraka. 

 

Days later the three entered a dark band of Wytryth that ringed a tall massive Wutroth grove which is so thick that they obscured their ultimate destination, Drakk Khaz.  The Wutroth grove had been the original Dawi-hold site in the year -4645 before Snorri Cromson discovered the lair of the great Mhornar Drakk, he and his retinue enter the lair and kill the Drakk.  Snorri becomes the 1st King of Kraka Drakka.

 

The path they traveled twists and turns through the grove and ultimately to a huge Wutroth that towers above the grove itself.  It is so big around that it takes twenty-five Dawi linking their hands to completely circle the tree.  At the base of the Wutroth between to mighty roots is a guarded doorway and they are met by four Rangers who are standing guard.  The tall stone walls that had been built that abuts the Wutroth is now part of the tree as the tree absorbed and grew around the edges of the wall.  Once they are recognized they pass through the heart of the tree and out the other side into courtyard of Drakk Khaz.    Drakk Khaz had been built on a granite outcropping and the upper half is made of timber and only the surface portions of the Khaz are above ground the other lower levels are hewn into solid rock much like any Dawi hold. 

 

They cross the courtyard and enter a yawning arch door-way guarding by additional Rangers; Grumdin Snorrison pauses for a moment to let his eyes grow accustomed to the dim light.  Slowly battered shields of long-dead Dawi warriors can been seen along the walls and from the rafters Klan banners emerge from the gloom, he and his companions once again continue on.  Before them, the mosaic flagstone floor seems to stretch away forever into the shadows, but here and there small islands of light pool onto the age-scarred stones as sunshine lances down from smoke vents in the high roof.  At the far end of the hall they can make out the raised dais, where a throne of black Wutroth stood.  Its arms have been carved to represent the forelegs of a Drakk.  Above the throne hangs the battle standard of Kraka Drakka: a rampant Drakk.  The Khaz is near empty, the last time Grumdin had been here was when the 7th King Thorik Snorrison held a feast for the Ancestor Gods, Grimnir and Morgrim.

 

The three went behind the throne and are stopped by four Hammerers guarding a door they quickly come to attention, “Is the King available” asked Grumdin?

 

“Yes, Prince Grumdin,” as one of the Hammerers opens the door for the King’s brother.

 

It was then that Grumdin, Nori, and Ragni learned from other scouting parties that little trace of their enemy had been found except a handful of small isolated war bands, which had been quickly eliminated.  But the further south they ventured, mighty hordes of Beastmen and twisted creatures of Chaos had been found and they are a barrier between Norsca and their southern kin.  The four Kraka’s of Norsca are safe for now, but isolated an isolation that would last over 6,000 years.

 

Note:  The end of this short fluff story... hope you enjoy... have a pint on my tab...



#425 Skull Krusher

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 06:26 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Three Hundred Fifty Four (354)

This is just a short about my take on the ending or perhaps a new beginning... where and to what place and time does the portal lead?

Chapter One Hundred


The Beginning of the End Times

The inn keeper glanced over at the Dwarf that sat dozing near the hearth in the common room and wondered what dreams the old Dwarf dreamt. He had never seen such an old Dwarf and he had seen many in his inn over the years, Borders Rest was the last inn along the ancient Dwarf Road. He had seen many Dwarves come and go along the road but never one like this one. His hair and beard are pure white and his beard was in numerous long braids that hung to the floor despite being tied in several loops to keep from being stepped upon. There are enough gold rings and gems braided into that beard to buy the whole town hundreds of times over he thought. Though old there was nothing feeble about the Dwarf for he could see the hard muscles of the hands, the scars, and the power those arms possessed. He had seen that power displayed when one of the local footpads attempted to steal one of the heavy gold beard rings. The old Dwarf struck faster than a swooping Drake his massive fist appeared almost out of thin air enveloping the thief’s hand and squeezed crushing the bones like a walnut. Afterwards the Dwarf just drank more ale and went back to dozing by the fire. Old but not broken only broken in spirit it seemed to the inn keeper for there was a great sadness about the eyes as if grief was held at bay as a wasted energy when that energy could be used elsewhere, destruction, justice, or revenge and he shivered at the thought of what justice and revenge meant to a Dwarf.

Many of the patrons who frequented the inn were sure that the ramblings of the old Dwarf were fanciful tales that were the stuff of legends but they were told with such clarity of detail that only an individual who had been in the story or perhaps a scholar from the Altdorf universities who was privy to such knowledge. In any case the listeners sat spell bound for candle-marks and many assumed that the old Dwarf was telling stories about himself, his clan, and hold. Even the Dwarf Slayers who occasionally stopped in the inn for food and drink who saw, and heard him speak were in awe of him. The inn keeper did not begrudge the free beer the Dwarf drank in great quantities even though the Dwarf complained that it was watered down. The more he drank the more he rambled on of great battles and his listeners sat for long periods of time drinking and eating increasing the size of the inn’s coffers. The Dwarf was better than any traveling minstrel or bard who sang songs or told tales that everyone had heard before and more often than not there would be a fight but no fight had broken out since he taken up residence in the tap room near the fireplace.

In fact the whole town seemed much safer since the old Dwarf arrival. He and a very large well-armed caravan of Dwarves had arrived escorted by two squadrons of Kisliv horse-archers and a battalion of Kisliv Kossars. The cities high lord, a second or third cousin to Wilhelm Eric Von Dreyhur, the Duke of the province thought the Dwarves were an invading army there were so many of them since they nearly doubled the size of the population. But this was no army for they kept the peace and paid for their lodging in gold or silver coin that was a higher quality than the Empire’s coin of the realm. What he had heard from several not to reliable sources is that nearly all the Dwarves were females and children which to him was unheard of; no one to his knowledge had ever see a female Dwarf much less a child. The inn keeper had spoken to one of the Dwarves whose face was never fully seen due to the deep dark shadows of the Dwarves cloak and cowl. He or she and the inn keeper was not sure which is some minor Dwarf lord or lady who is perhaps kin to the old Dwarf the inn keeper thought. This Dwarf stated that they had stopped here for rest and would eventually travel on when the rest of their kin caught up with them and upon purchasing additional provisions. The inn keeper had tried to find out where they had began their journey but the grief stricken eyes told more than the inn keeper wanted to know, death, destruction, endless exile. He knew that the forces of darkness be they Chaos, Orcs, or the unseen Skaven were making serious inroad against the Emperor’s armies but he had faith that Sigmar would join the battle and all would be well. He had faith but still he would be sorry to see them leave for the Dwarves not only enriched his coffers and the cities but also his knowledge of Dwarves as well. With a sigh he filled the Dwarves strange tankard made from the skull of some strange beast and went to the Dwarves side, “Master Blackhammer, here is your ale” he said as he set it on the table before the Dwarf. As he walked away he muttered under his breath, “Blackhammer, a strange name and easier to pronounce than that foreign sounding one he used when he first arrived. What was it?” He paused as if thinking, “oh yeah Drazhgrund or something like that,” As he sat on his stool behind the bar and waited on his patrons.

The inn keeper looked over at the Dwarf and saw one of the Troll Slayers who had come in every day to hear the old one’s stories along with a few of the younger townsman. Rafe, a baker’s apprentice spoke to the old Dwarf. “Master Blackhammer we wish to hear more.”

For the longest time the old Dwarf said nothing just sat there drinking his ale staring into the fire. He was thinking of the past and more importantly the future road and the “old one’s” portal the Dawi of Norsca Ankor are willing to travel through. The enemy was not that far behind and Queen Kalea and Ehrung are never more than a candle mark away. Then he took another sip and spoke. “Where did I leave off?” The elderly Drazhgrund asked. The Troll Slayer said something in the language of Dwarves and the old one nodded and asked for a refill which the Slayer paid for.

Taking a drink he spoke. “King Thorin Thorgardson; the 56th King of Kraka Drakka fighting along side Tzarina Katarin had been slain and now the heir; Kalea “Wyrleoparddrengi” nay Drakkenrider” Valayadottier; the newest and youngest became the last Queen, the 57th. With the fall of Norsca Ankor it was the beginning of the end times. …”

Mountains and metal
The Throngs Khrum beat long gone
Tide and time goes on

Fini

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#426 Skull Krusher

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 01:07 AM

Kraka Drakka - Part Three Hundred Fifty Five (355)

This is new short story during the early years of Kraka Drakka. Hope you enjoy and have a tankard of ale on my tab.

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Chapter One Hundred One

If the Norscan Dawi were following the Imperial Dwarven calendar King Rorek Dorinson would know that it is the IC Year -500, but he does not. To those Dawi dwelling in Norsca it is the four thousand five hundredth year; since the great Dawi migration from their mythical place of birth; Karak Zorn and it has been only four thousand one hundred fifty years since the founding of Kraka Drakka. As well as the three thousand nine hundred eighty year; since Grimnir disappeared in the Chaos Wastes closing the warp gates. The 29th King, Rorek “Scarface” Dorinson has only been King for one hundred years and over the last eleven hundred years the Umgi of Norsca have slowly built their settlements further and further inland following the twisting fjords into the interior of Norsca. Whether their inward migration coincided with the volcanic activity and earthquakes that had occurred world-wide some nine hundred years before had anything to do with the Umgi migration is unknown; but moving inland to avoid the huge tidal waves meant that the Umgi were entirely too close to the Holds of Norsca Ankor.

Taking one last look at his Sarl warriors who sat upon carved stone-benches drinking Dwarf ale with several Dwarves near the gatehouse Olaf nodded at the door wardens as they looked to see that his weapons were tied down with honor knots, Hilmar carried no weapon but a carved staff and a leather wrapped bundle. This was not the first time Olaf walked this hall; a hall so large that his entire tribe; warriors, women, children, freeman and slaves could gather inside and still there would be room for more. His father had brought him when he became a warrior of thirteen winters and had looked in awe at the battered shields that hung along the walls the blackened smoke-stained rafters where Dwarf Klan banners hung within the gloom. He had marveled at the mosaic flagstone floor which seemed to stretch away forever into the shadows. In his travels where it was much warmer Olaf had seen others mosaic patterns but none as intricate. Olaf shook his head bringing his attention from the past to the present as he passed small islands formed by sunshine lancing down from smoke vents in the high roof. At least that was familiar perhaps his people had copied the Dwarf king’s hall though on a much smaller scale.

If not for “Oath Binder” Eriksson the 21st King, Rorek would have been hesitant to meet with the Sarl Norscan Umgi Chieftain; Olaf Redhand. Though Olaf’s tribe had settled nearly in the heart of Norsca and have been successful at farming the land, hunting, and fishing the seas they were still Reavers. Their longboats whether filled with warriors or traders sailed far and wide bringing home loot or trade goods and even slaves. At times there was little difference between a Sarl warrior and a Sarl trader. At the far end of the hall upon the raised dais King Rorek sat upon a throne of polished black wood; above and behind the throne hangs the battle standard of Kraka Drakka: a rampant Drakk. Scarface watched as Olaf and Hilmar, the tribes Ursun cleric enter Drakk Khaz though he was still talking with several of his Thanes. His Hammerers on either side of the Khaz eyed the approaching Umgi as well.

Olaf and Hilmar escorted by one of the Dwarf door wardens stopped several paces away from other Dwarves who seemed to be in a heated discussion but not understanding a single Dwarf word that was being spoken they could have been discussing the weather or the best way to brew ale. Finally what ever was being discussed was settled to the King’s satisfaction and the other Dwarfs departed. The Hammerer escort stood off to one side banged his staff of office against the floor four times and spoke in tongue of the Sarl and then again in Khazalid: “Olaf Redhand Chieftain of the Sarl and Hilmar Priest of Ursun.”

King Rorek recalled the first time nearly fifteen winters ago Olaf stood in Drakk Khaz now he looked upon not a Deb warrior standing at this father’s side but a seasoned fighter and now the leader of the Sarl tribe. “What brings Olaf Redhand to Drakk Khaz” Scareface asked? “A hankering for some good ale” and he signaled for one of the Hammerers to bring tankards and a small keg.

Olaf smiled and remembered the last time that he quaffed to much Dwarf ale, he slept nearly a half a hand of days and remembered only bits and pieces of his wedding night. That King Rorek had gifted a keg for the ceremony was partly to blame. “I always look forward to drinking your good ale, but we have come with a saga to relate.”

Rorek signaled for his Loremaster to be present and while they wait the keg was tapped and tankards are filled. Finally the Loremaster arrived wearing a heavy cloak with the hood pulled all the way forward and obscuring any facial features. The Loremaster carried a small folding table and foot stool. The Dawi set the table up one step lower than the King and with a nod from the King sat. From an engraved leather satchel an iron bound Kron with thin copper pages is removed and placed upon the table. Then a writing instrument was removed and held ready. The King motioned for a tankard to be provided for the Loremaster.

Hilmar turned to his chieftain and whispered softly. Olaf who is taking a drink at the time nearly choked as he breathed in ale instead of drinking it. Finally when he was able to breathe he stammered loudly at Hilmar; “What do you mean? Are you sure?”

Pounding his Chieftain upon his back so Olaf could breathe Hilmar chuckled “I may be old but I have all my senses and I do not spill my drink.” Olaf glared at Hilmar than turned his attention to the Loremaster.

The Dawi in the Khaz wondered just what Hilmar deduced and seeing no reason in continuing to hide what was plain to see even for an Umgi King Rorek spoke, “Loremaster, Fenna Helgasnez you may lower your cloak.” Small hands callused from obvious weapon training and ink stained reached upward and lowered the hood, the cloak dropped to the floor as she shook her head and pure-deep black braids fell nearly to the floor. She smiled at her King took a drink and nodded that she was ready.

Both the Umgi are surprised for this is the first time either of them or anyone from the Sarls had ever beheld a Dwarf female. So taken in by her stunning beauty neither noticed that every Dwarf warrior in the hall is suddenly on alert, ready to slay either of them if they approached closer or thought about harming her. Even the King as relaxed as he appeared his weapon was less than a heartbeat away.

Olaf looked upon the Loremaster then at the Dwarves lining the hall walls and then at the King; “King Rorek “Scarface” Dorinson you honor me with your trust.” Rorek nodded and Olaf continued. “Two seasons ago our Dragon Longships sailed south ward along the shores of the Sea of Claws until we came to the great river Lynsk that leads towards the rising sun.” King Rorek had seen maps of the eastern coastline of those shores and he knew of the bay though no Dawi to his knowledge had ever been there. “There along the bay the Ropsmann have built a settlement. We trade with them on occasion but mainly we go ashore to fill our freshwater tubs. It was at this time two seasons ago our people heard tales of others like you.”

The Loremaster stopped scribing turned to her kinsman, the King. “What kind of sagas” Rorek asked?

“There were many stories about warrior gods, the saga that that I really liked which Hilmar can recite is about the greatest of warrior gods who slew two mighty dragons; the first was Zharranok and the second was Glammendrung,” Olaf answered. “With your permission Hilmar will recite the saga of the death of the second dragon. Aged Ursun Priest spoke for nearly a candle mark pausing only to take a sip from his tankard. Finally he finished.

Not clearly understanding the Sarl language a Hammerer spoke, “The name, what was the warrior’s name according to this tale” the Hammerer standing next to them asked and immediately asked Scarface for forgiveness for speaking out-loud?

“I am not sure I vocalized it right but it sounded like Grimnir,” Hilmar replied. The Dawi in the Khaz those who could understand the Sarl’s language are stunned and so also those around the Dais.

“Do you recall where this bard this speaker of sagas heard this story,” Rorek asked wondering if the Umgi could have heard the tale from one of the four Dawi Kraka of Norsca Ankor?

Olaf and Hilmar turned to each other and talked in hushed tones that did not carry to the throne and eventually turned back to the King to whom they had sworn an oath of loyalty. “King Rorek we had also heard tales of mighty battles that are even now being fought beyond the southern shores of the Sea of Claws. Where there is war there is always a chance for spoils.” The King nodded but as long as the Sarl did not war upon or within his boarders he would have to be content. “So three Dragon Longboats filled with warriors went south following the directions of this bard who sailed with us. Upon sighting an estuary we entered and rowed for nearly two handfuls of days into the interior upon the Ruvalk Reyak. There were very few mud hut settlements with wooden stockades that had not been destroyed by roving Orc and Goblin hordes. We came across a great many people who had fled the mountains to avoid these hordes. We traded with tribes of Unberogens, Teutogens, Thuringians, Cherusens, Norsii, and Merogens who battled against these hordes and it was from these different tribes who related other sagas about Dwarf gods called Gazul, Valaya, Grungni, and Grimnir. We were told of ancient Elven cities that were destroyed by Dwarves in their war against Elves. We asked who told them these sagas and they said they were handed down from one bard to the next or that stories were traded for other stories. We never saw any living Dwarf though we saw one ancient ruin with the same markings that you have upon your stonework; nor could the tribes tell us where any yet lived; only that on occasion a Dwarf might be seen in the high mountains.”

From a pack Olaf removed a heavy awkward looking bundle that had been wrapped in leather and bound with leather straps. The Dawi within the hall watched as the two Umgi slowly unwrapped whatever they had brought back. “It was near the edge of a mountain pass strewn only with wild beast gnawed sun bleached Ork bones and their crude broken weapons a small stream had eroded into a mound and we found this on the stream-bank,” Olaf stated as he held up a huge bone-white troll skull that had nearly been split into two pieces. A double bladed battle axe is still embedded in the skull, its haft broken off nearly a hand-span from the blades.

Even from where he sat, Rorek could see that where the skull had been nearly cleaved in half, the bone is scorched charred more importantly upon the axe he can clearly see three Rhuns. He rose, and walked slowly down the four steps that separated the raised dais throne from the floor of the Drakk Khaz. Each of those steps represented one of the Ancestor Gods each step was engraved with their individual Rhun. Skaff Snorrison, the closest King’s Hammerer saw that Rorek had left his weapon leaning against the throne and started to place himself between the Umgi and his King but Rorek motioned him to stop. Even Loremaster, Fenna noticed but she said nothing only placed her hand upon the haft of her mace that lay across her lap as she continued to annotate the proceedings.

As King Rorek approached both Umgi out of respect knelt and for another reason Olaf did not want the King to look up to him as he held the split skull and axe. Rorek cautiously but with feverish desire reached out carefully and took the skull then turned his back to Olaf and walked over to Fenna and sat upon the step next to her as everyone in the Khaz looked on in stunned surprise. Rorek whispered; “It would have made a good size Nogarung” as he gently pulled the embedded battle axe from the skull. She chuckled softly.

Then Fenna gasped as she pointed out the Master Rhun of Zharr above the two lesser Rhuns of Azz and Thrag. She described the Rhuns and the condition of the blade as well as the skull in the Kron. Rorek slowly turned the axe and saw that the weapon was free of any tarnish and the blades cutting surface seemed to glow as if just taken from a forge fire and even now without a haft still very lethal. Other than the broken Wutroth haft which could be easily replaced made Rorek wonder just why it had been left behind and what Karak the Dawi’s hearth and kin dwelled in. Or for that matter if any of the southern Dawi yet lived. No southern Dawi kin since the Ancestor Gods, Grimnir and Morgrim has ever been seen. Did those in the south survive, no one knew for sure. Rorek motioned to the two Umgi to come forward and sit and they did on the lowest step the one engraved with Gazul’s personal Rhun. After they sat and their tankards had been refilled King Rorek spoke. “So you came to tell me of a strange tale and you came with this” and he nodded to the skull next to him and the battle axe in his hands “which I will accept as five years worth of tribute or Thragh and I will send a metal smith to your settlement to train one of your people for one full season if that is acceptable to you.” Olaf and Hilmar could only nod for this was beyond any expectation.

Note: This is the end of this particular tale... More to write about the goings on of Norsca Ankor... Cheers

Edited by Skull Krusher, 14 September 2016 - 01:09 AM.


#427 Skull Krusher

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Posted 25 December 2016 - 05:48 AM

Yeah I know I am late or slow or whatever but here is a short story... Sort of a snapshot into the past of Kraka Drakka...

Kraka Drakka Part Three Hundred Fifty Six (356)

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Chapter One Hundred Two
During the Rein of the 33rd King of Kraka Drakka

Even though the shipyard of Sjoktraken had been completed over sixteen hundred years ago it did not mean that we Dawi are worthy shipwrights thought Rorek Brogarson. Just what was his illustrious many times great grand father; Gurni “Hammerfist” Kallonson’s ultimate goal was, was still lost on Rorek. But according to family tales Hammerfist had a huge hunger for fish, not fish from a pond, creek, steam, or river but from the sea. It had to be from the sea and that according to Kalan history was the beginning of the boat building but before Hammerfist could have a proper boat built he wanted a proper shipyard to build his fishing boats. Dawi are great warriors to say nothing about miners, stone masons, or metal Okri; not however sailors or at least not yet. Boats or sailing vessels are downright dangerous. They sink!!! Dawi should remain under a mountain not water unless for short periods of time for the annual Dunkin whether it was needed or not; unless of course they are an Ufdi.

Rorek fumed because this latest Kalan venture was risky and to make matters worse unprofitable because it was only during the summer months that a vessel was able to leave through the hidden entrance of Sjoktraken to travel the Voltag River northward into the sheltered bay before sailing along the northern coastline of Norsca. At any other time The Frozen Sea was solid with thick pack ice. Even then it was only along the shore that the sea is free of ice, and then there is the hazard of uncharted reefs and shoals. It was only after you had sailed past the northern Hold of Kraka Ornsmotek could you begin sailing south into deeper waters along the western shores of Norsca. But even then a vessel could be sunk by an unseen floating chunk of ice, frozen water! Hitting drifting pack ice was not the only hazard; there were storms, giant kraken, and worse of all the Elgi attacks that began during the rein of the 17th King; Yorri “Stormcrow” Zamnilson and ended some five hundred years later during the rein of the 20th King; Erik Olinsson. It was during the rein of the 17th King that Dawi vessels began to be more seaworthy all because at the beginning of the Elgi-Dawi War during one particular hot summer, Elgi raiders stumbled upon evidence of Dawi in Norsca. The Elgi attacked without provocation the above ground-outside seaport of Sjoktraken which earned them more than one line in the Dammaz Kron. The Elgi attempted to burn the seaport to the ground never knowing there was a greater prize within the mountain. But old Hammerfist had the buildings and piers built of solid stone blocks quarried out of the heart of Mount Sjoktraken. They were defeated and the retreating Elgi survivors were pursued by Dawi Rangers from Kraka Drakka and Kraka Ravnsvake who totally destroyed the Elgi raiders before they could escape. The Rangers back-tracked them to a remote outpost in one of the deep fjords and burned the outpost to the ground but not before looting it of all useful items. The Dawi engineers carefully brought an Elgi sailing ship back hugging the shoreline all the way back to Sjoktraken. Soon afterwards part of Engineering Guild split off to become the Shipwrights guild and began designing newer Vithang sailing and fishing vessels.

The history of the Kalan interest in shipbuilding Rorek knew; so why go to all the trouble to build an Ungdrin Ankor between the Northern four Holds and still attempt overland Vithang caravans baffled even his father, there was just no understanding a Vithang when it came to profit Rorek thought to himself as he watched his older brother Guttri go aboard the latest of the Shipwright Guild creation an armored Grubark. It looked like an ugly ungainly giant water beetle waiting for a giant fish or kraken to devour it thinking it might be bait.

*

Guttri turned to look back at his brother, Rorek standing near their cousin, Kili Grumson the proprietor of the Rusty Harpoon; nodded at them both as he went on board the Grubark that had been named Drazhvarr. Guttri went in search of the Drazhvarr’s master, Brokk Rungnison whom he spotted on the rear of the ship atop the armored citadel. Eventually Guttri found Brokk in a heated discussion with the Drazhvarr’s master Khrumi, Ginnar Heganborson of Kalan Varrdrakken representing the Varr Sailors Guild.

“You are nothing more than a Narwangli clay-brained piece of Troll-hide if you think I will allow some Deb Kvinn Khrum-beater to callout the strokes of the Drazhvarr’s oars” Brokk shouted. “Sailing vessels are not the safe and you want to sign on a Kvinn to be a Khrum-beater,” Brokk stated caring not that he just insulted the Varr Sailors Guild master or even the fact that the Kvinn wore a Thongli. Slaying an Orc or Goblin was one thing slaying or defeating the Varr is impossible; nothing alive will ever slay the Varr and he would risk no Kvinn as long as he was master of the Drazhvarr.

In Ginnar’s younger days he would have pummeled Brokk for the insult but then he saw Guttri Brogarson approach and since he was known to wear Nathgar trousers and iron shod boots made from tanned Troll hide and drank from a Nogarung which of the two he owned one sat perched upon the mantel in the Rusty Harpoon he took no offense of Brokk’s ranting for he understood all to well the dangers upon and under the Varr.

*

From the pier Rorek observed the heated discussion and had no idea what was said but knowing his brother as he did, nothing would stop the launching much less the sea-trials of the Drazhvarr. Rowing back and forth within the confines of the shipyard was not a proper sea trial. A callused scarred hand was suddenly upon his shoulder and he turned as his elder cousin, Kili Grumson spoke; “Lad let us return to the Rusty Harpoon, I have a 50 year old keg that needs some attention.”

“What brewery,” Rorek asked.

“Durak Duraz Brewery:” Kili replied. “Are you interested?” Rorek nodded and they both took one last look at the Drazhvarr before winding their way back amongst the shipyard workers and gawkers.

*

It was four months later in the middle of the night when the stars that are used to steer by disappeared; when disaster struck. It was a mistake that no one could have foreseen except perhaps a weather seer but no one aboard the Drazhvarr had such a talent. Nor was there such an individual within Norsca Ankor though perhaps one of the few living Gormtrommi Karaki Doki that sat before white-hot glowing hearths for warmth could have told them that an unseasonal wintery storm was just beyond the horizon. But these Gormtrommi were not-at-sea and it was to helmsman that felt the first indication of danger though he felt that those at the oars were half asleep. The Drazhvarr was felt to sluggish to answer the helm as he tried to keep the Grubark pointed into the wind. The Khrum-beat was adjusted but the Drazhvarr wallowed as it plowed into the waves instead of gliding over them.

It was far too late when the Drazhvarr’s master, Brokk Rungnison and Guttri Brogarson went topside and discovered to their horror that the Grubark’s forecastle is coated in an armor of white ice. The Drazhvarr wallowed because she was increasingly top-heavy. Guttri ran back to the helmsman to tell him to steer for land and Brokk sounded the alarm for all hands-on-deck. The crew of the Drazhvarr went to war not against a foe that could be bloodied but against ice. Hammers struck at the accumulation but it is for not as the Grubark’s bow failed to rise over the next wave and instead it dove into it, oars snapped cleanly others flailed about like a dying water beetle as the Drazhvarr slid beneath the dark-sea never to be seen again. The frozen body of the heir-apparent; Guttri Brogarson was found clinging to a broken oar by the Karaki Doki of Kraka Ornsmotek as they search for amber along the shoreline.

*

Rorek Brogarson the second son of Brogar Yadrison the 33rd King of Kraka Drakka becomes the heir-apparent and eventually the 34th King for the next three hundred and two years.

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Still more stories are being created, hope you enjoy my snapshot into the past... Have a good holiday wherever you live... and have several kegs on my tab...

#428 Skull Krusher

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 05:39 AM

Kraka Drakka Part Three Hundred Fifty Seven (357)

Note: I know it has been awhile, no excuse so please have a tankard of ale on my tab. The following is another snapshot into what some might consider the mundane life of a Dawi Kalan. Hope you injoy...

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Chapter One Hundred Three

Let There Be Light

Her ancestors along with Snorri Cromson who led the Dawi Kalans into what is now Norsca, discovered the lair of the great Mhornar Draka and helped to slay the Draka thus laying the foundation of Kraka Drakka. Those ancestors who came after not only carved the heart out of the mountain to create a Hold but shaped and changed the very landscape around the mountain as well. The mighty canyons and valleys that led to the feet of Mount Sjoktraken had been blocked with huge inner-locking squared cut stones that had been quarried from within the mountain, transported, then carefully placed under the scrutiny of Master Stone Shapers upon a prepared foundation of bedrock at the head of each valley creating a massive stone curtain wall that stretched across each canyon as high as the canyon walls. Each of these curtain walls curved inward toward the mountain like a drawn crossbow nearly thousand feet thick at the base and fifty feet wide at the top which completely closed off every valley and canyon leading to Mount Sjoktraken. The outer surface of the curtain walls, were then carved to resemble; to blend in, to look no different than the rest of the sheer mountain ridges. Over the centuries Dawi workers had filled in the land behind all these walls to form ten protected terrace levels from sea-level to approximately ten thousand feet for the many farms, orchards, and grazing lands for domesticated mountain cattle, sheep, goats, boar, as well as herds of Norsca deer and elk.

Looking down from the Undi watcher-post from atop of the mountain if one knew where to look one would see the summer surface farm-homes and barns built of cut stone as well as the entrances to the underground barns for the animals during the harsh winter months. Not one section of Mount Sjoktraken had been overlooked in order to defend and hide hearth and kin; the precise construction of the curtain walls and the hidden watcher-posts ensures that bare rocky ground before the walls is a killing ground, covered hidden bolt-throwers, cross-bows, and catapults. What is not seen are the underground passages that lead to hidden Undi watcher-posts that looked out over those curtain walls or the secret-doors leading to armories, storerooms or small air vents and chimney shafts nor the small underground Dawi farming communities that were built of solid stone with walls and vaulted ceilings hundreds of feet thick prior to the valleys and canyons being filled in creating the protected farms and pastures. Even two of the narrowest and smallest canyons had been sealed and turned into lakes that an unlimited supply of fresh water could channeled to all of Kraka Drakka; including breweries, the great forges and machine shops, underground water gardens, waste removal, and the fish farms.

Upon one protected terrace between two arms of the mountain some six thousand feet above sea level upon the eastern slope of Mount Sjoktraken is one of several Dawi farming communities including one of only three above ground taverns all partially owned by the Farmers and Herders Guild, but unknown to many the other owner of all three is Durazklad, the King’s Kalan. Freda Solveigdottier of Kalan Zangrund who could trace her family and Kalan lineage back to the very founding of Kraka Drakka turned her head slightly as the heavy iron-bound twin wood-doors of the Wyrhart Tavern opened as the rising sun brightened the room; saw who entered then continued scraping last night’s hardened candle drippings from the table into a melting pots. She had cleaned five other tables and two hearth mantles and was looking forward for a tankard of ale before melting the drippings and turning a months worth of drippings back into candles. Being that the Wyrhart is above ground she was used to seeing nearly everyone belonging to the Farmer’s and Herder’s Kalans, the occasional King’s Rangers either coming or going on patrols, or even members of the Fishery Guild as they inspected the water supplies to the fish farms. What caught her attention but not enough to interrupt her scraping were the trio of bee-keepers who belonged to Kalan Langkhirn and distantly related going back two or three centuries. Freda knew why they were here for she had heard the rumors about the tallow contract expiring. The three nodded at her as they settled upon some benches in the far corner of the Wyrhart.

The three Langkhirn’s waited until their tankards were filled, and a trencher of fresh bread and bowel of creamed honey was delivered before they began discussing business. Hilda Thorisdottier; spoke first; “The Kraka Dorden’s Grung contract for tallow candles expires in thirty days.” The other two at the table nodded that they were aware of it and Hilda continued; “Their Guild Master for the Grung Kalans indicated they no longer desire to purchase tallow candles produced by the Chandelier Guild of Kraka Drakka.”

“Why is he not renewing the contract and where are they taking their business? Our Guild is larger than the other three Kraka’s of Norsca Ankor and we have resources to make more tallow and wax than the others which we sell to the Chandelier Guild for them to make candles,” Olka Largsdottier stated.

Her brother, Rogni Bronnson remained quiet as he drank his ale and watched Freda Solveigdottier finished scrapping up the last of the melted wax. She had two pots of scrapped wax, one she emptied into the fire the other Freda took back to the kitchen. The smell that arose from the hearth fire said it all. Tallow candles stink and from the smell he could tell that what had been tossed was the residue of candles made from the worst fat of all, lard, which is made from boar or pig’s fat. If not for the open windows and door the tavern would stink, thankfully most of the smell followed the smoke up the chimney.

As Hilda, his Kalan Matriarch discussed the upcoming negotiations between the Boki Guild of Kraka Dorden and Chandelier Guild of Kraka Draka and how any contract that was agreed or not agreed upon would affect the Farmers and Herders Guild who manufactured the tallow or wax for the Chandelier Guild. Despite the fresh air the Wyrhart stank; and Rogni sat thinking about candles; the quality of a candle depends on the fat that was used. The better quality of the fat, the firmer and less offensive was the candle. But Boki with a burning tallow candle stuck on their helm suffered greatly from the stench as the tallow dripped off their helms into their beards. The lowest levels of every Grung of Norsca Ankor stank due to the lack of adequate ventilation. The Farmers and Herders Kalans provided the tallow that had been rendered from cattle, sheep or goat, and boar herds and the occasional elk or deer and in the early days provided suet. He remembered hearing about suet lamps with their sooty wicks burning in bubbling liquid fat. But it was only after the Long Migration when Dawi settled in Norsca that enough wax could be extracted from the wild bee-hives of Norsca which became the foundation of Kraka Drakka’s honey and wax industry. Every Vorni Kalan sought out and cultivated the wild bee-hives placing them within wooden boxes. These hive boxes were then placed in all the tilled fields and orchards that lay at the feet of Mount Sjoktraken. Honey was carefully extracted as well as the beeswax which was melted down to create candles; candles that were not sooty or stink. Beeswax candles are expensive highly sought after for altars within each Ancestor God Thryng whose priesthood accept beeswax altar candles in lieu of tithing. The poorest of Kalans made do with tallow candles and if they could not afford that the alternative was rushlight made from a rush dipped in grease, or a burning splinter of wood. A single rushlight lasted less than half a candle-mark and gave out a weak light and smelled of burning kitchen fat and were held pinched in a nip on a stand. In the very beginning only the Royal Kalan could afford beeswax candles and which they used mainly for lighting within the archives and the King’s audience chamber. The five Kalans of Kraka Drakka’s own Mining Guild could not quarry and discover enough Brynduraz to keep up the demand. There just was not enough Brynduraz stones to illuminate the passageways and tunnels of any Hold, one or two stones would be found in any given year.

Then another source of wax was discovered; Myrica. The Myrica only grew at certain elevations upon the flanks of Mount Sjoktraken. It had many uses; the leaves are used to create a salve to keep insects away and this salve is much sought after by the King’s Rangers. The fruit is either eaten fresh or preserved and the juice of the fruit is used by some brewers to make spiced ale and healers use the juice also to treat catarrh. Lastly the Myrica fruit has a waxy coating. Rogni thought of the number of long tedious days spent boiling the fruit in water and skimming the Myrica wax from the surface of the water. Myrica candles have a distinctive resinous fragrance.

Rogni realized that many guilds were involved the in making a candle; nine Kalans and four different guilds were involved. Like the Fisher Guild who provided the processed oily fat from leviathan blubber or even fat from the eulachon fish. But the chances; one in fifty of finding and slaying a leviathan was by pure luck and the risks outweighed any chance of profit. For like beeswax candles; leviathan candles were expensive because they did not create a repugnant odor when burned, and produced significantly brighter light. It was harder than either tallow or beeswax, so it would not soften or bend in warm weather. Then there is the Weavers Guild who produced the threads to be made into wicks. In the early days Chandeliers simply twisted strands of thread but then they discovered that if you tightly braided the threads then the wicks would curl over as they burned, maintaining the height of the wick and therefore the flame. Then there was one guild, the Metalsmith Guild who fabricated the broaches, candle-molds, candle-holders of various sizes and shapes, snuffers, and snuff-pans. He doubted whether the Metalsmith Kalans would suffer at all for those items rarely wore out. He was still thinking about the entire problem when his Matriarch interrupted his thoughts, “Rogni have you listened to a word we have said?”

“Yes grandmother, what ever is decided upon nine Kalans and four guilds will be impacted,” Rogni answered. “The weather has been mild the last two years compared to last decade, and the yields from the beehives have more than tripled, and last two decades of planting more Myrica have yielded greater amounts of berries as well. Profits will be very substantial; but no way should we base our own contract with the Chandelier Guild on this year’s yields.” He took another drink from his tankard, asked for a refill before continuing. “Rather I propose that we set a standard fee for processed wax, and for any additional wax the Chandelier Guild requires to fulfill his contract with Kraka Dorden should be increased on a prorated fee above and beyond what we normally charge. These good times will not last forever.”

His sister, Olka Largsdottier nodded in agreement withdrew a Kron from her pocket opened it to the appropriate page she wanted then spoke, “Our year-to-date profits on what we sell to the Chandler Guild for material needed to produce wicks is up twenty-five percent over last year, tallow sales are a steady twenty percent profit over the last decade, beeswax is at fifty percent profit this year alone, and Myrica wax has increased nearly thirty-five percent profit over last four years. After the King’s Tax is paid, all profit is shared equally between the five Kalans who make up the Farmers and Herders Guild.”

Rogni knew they had done well but hearing it was entirely different. “How much profit does our Guild receive just from the Chandler Guild contract,” Rogni asked?

“Seventy five percent split between the five Kalans,” she answered with a smile and then said “Let there be light!”

* * *


Note: Total page count of all my fluff stories so far is 877 typed pages. Cheers and have another drink on my tab.

#429 Skull Krusher

Skull Krusher

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 12:47 AM

I know I have been rather remiss in my writings... but to compensate everyone gets a pint on my tab!!!!

 

Chapter One Hundred Four

 

For Whom The Bell Tolls

 

Long before Umgi began delving into the mysteries of the alchemy, Dwarf alchemist were hard at work within the Endrinkuli Guild; Alchemy of Metal practiced by Dawi in not magical in nature, but a scientific process of study and experimentation.  “Most Umgi thought that the true aim of an alchemist is to discover the philosopher’s stone; that which will turn lead into gold and give eternal life,” what a load of "I Swear too much" thought Frida Hildadottier of Kalan Ironforge. Every Dawi Alchemist knew that “the physical world is a world of tangible objects that can be weighed and measured; and that the true Alchemist seeks to understand the natural world, to discover what there is to be discovered and to unravel all its secrets,” which was why she was trying to understand how a simple forging mistake produced metal that might be truly worth more than the cost of baking pan.

 

The contract she had with Kalan Stonebread of the Bakers Guild was for the fabrication of an Izor baking pans shaped like a warhammer which should have been simple to make.  The molds had already been laid out ready for the pour.  Somehow her apprentice; Litr Brokkson had knock over several bins in his haste to please Frida.  Gathering up the required amount of Izor ore Litr swept up Zint thinking it was just black dirt from the waste bin.  Then he dumped the Zint into the wheel barrel along with the Izor never telling the journeyman at the smelter that there was some black dirt thinking wrongly that it would just burn away leaving nothing but the Izor.  The journeyman; Bombur Kilison who happened to be Litr’s third cousin on his mother’s side of the family was giving some last instructions to the forges newest apprentice never saw the contents of the wheel barrel as Litr dumped everything into the cauldron.  Bombur saw the empty wheel barrel and nodded to the new apprentice upon the bellows.

 

However the black dirt was Zint found only in the alluvial at the foot of mountains and it did not burn away; instead it melted but at a much lower temperature; nearly a quarter as much heat required too melt the Izor.  As the Izor began to melt Bombur stirred with his Klad paddle until the Izor flowed like melted butter within the cauldron unknowingly mixing thoroughly with the liquid Zint.  Bombur told Litr to inform Frida that the molten Izor was ready to pour; Frida was none the wiser nor was anyone else in the forge aware of what the clumsy Litr had inadvertently wrought.  As she oversaw the pour from the cauldron into the molds for the Izor Bron baking pans Frida realized that the aroma of molten metal smelled wrong not at all like the Izor scent she had come to expect.  She continued watching the liquid metal fill the Bron molds and for some unknown reason there was left-over molten in the bottom of the cauldron.  Her instructions were for a specific amount of raw Izor and there should have been nothing left over.  She called for Litr to bring her the smallest available bell molds and when it was in position instructed Bombur to pour the rest of the molten metal into the bell mold.  As the molds cooled Frida wondered what she would tell Thane Gerta Skorinadottier of Kalan Stonebread.

 

Many hours later after all the other pours were completed and the forge fires dampened she called the foundry workers together to find out just what had happened, “Bombur, did you notice anything amiss?”

 

“Nay Forge-master Frida, the cauldron was clean and there was no sludge left over from previous pours.”  He thought a moment or two then continued, “the new apprentice kept the forge fires hot as she worked the bellows diligently” giving a nod toward the apprentice; Brynja Vanyrasnez who had just recently returned back to Kalan Ironforge within the last two months finished her mandatory three years working in the mines.

 

“Did you weigh the amount of raw Izor before it went into the cauldron” Forge-master Frida asked?

 

Bombur looked toward the journeyman and apprentice foundry workers around him and stopped when he got to Litr Brokkson, “No I did not” he said turning back to the Forge-master.  “I relied on the entry in cauldron Kron.”

 

“Who made the entry” Frida asked looking directly at Litr Brokkson.

 

Litr was looking at the forge floor and his worn Drakk-hide forge-boots and so too did Frida who saw a light dusting of Zint.  Litr wished he was back in the mines but his clumsiness was no longer funny because he was a danger to others in his recklessness to please.  He looked up from his boots as he faced his Forge-master, “I made the entry.”

 

“What weight did you enter and what else was in the wheel barrel that you dumped into the cauldron” Frida demanded?

 

He told her, “But it was only some black dirt that had fallen out of the waste bin and not wanting to carry out the waste I swept it up and dumped into the wheel barrel.  The forge fires should have burned it up…” Litr stammered as he tried to apologize.    

   

The Forge-master cut him off, she had heard enough; “So without thinking you decided to cover up your clumsiness and incidentally contaminate the molten Izor and quite possibly void our sworn contract with Kalan Stonebread which would be the ruination of this Kalan’s reputation.”   The others cringed and universally everyone took an unconscious step away from Litr Brokkson as Frida opened the Ironforge Dammas Kron.

 

*

 

Centuries later long after the Bakers Guild contract had been completed; the bell that had been forged that day is a reminder.  Amongst Kalan Ironforge that bell is known as Litr’s Bell and the sound it makes, a clear ringing sound that is traditionally heard upon the successful completion of every contract.

 

*        *        *

 

 

Note:  I hope everyone enjoys and have another drink on my tab!!!






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