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  • Added on: Apr 11 2012 01:05 AM
  • Date Updated: Aug 05 2012 03:59 PM
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Kraka Ravnsvake

The Saga of Alaric Ironaxe

Posted by Alaric Ironaxe on Apr 11 2012 01:05 AM
Alaric:

The worst day of my life was 40 years to this day. I was just a young beardling, only 8 years old, with not even a hair on my chin. It started out as any other day..my father taught my lessons on dwarven history, mine workings and other common knowledge all dwarfs should know. But as my lessons were nearing an end a deafening horn sounded out across the city.
"That's not a good sign." my father said. "you stay here with your mother and brother, I'm going to talk to uncle T"I swear too much"k to see what is amiss." (uncle T"I swear too much"k was the king of Kraka Ravnsvake, so usually knew what was going on).
About an hour past and we heard no word from my father. I played with my younger brother Barthomir, who was only 3 while we were watched over by our mother. And suddenly as the hour ended I heard the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life. It was a huge screech, so loud i felt my ears would bleed. And in that moment for the first time I felt something I had never felt before: fear. I knew whatever had made that noise was no dwarf and had come to our home to do evil. For abut 10 minutes after the loud screech I heard nothing. Then from the hall outside our chambers I heard the sound of fighting, of metal clashing on metal. My fear grew. Something had broken into the hold that was probaly trying to kill us. But I trusted Father and Uncle T"I swear too much"k would drive them out. And then the door crashed inward. Father and Dwarven warriors were being pushed back into, fighting off many times their number. Their enemies were odd creatures, things I had never heard of before but I could tell from the stories father had told me what they were: Skaven.
"Ramilda, get the children into the safe house!" yelled my father. My mother quickly showed us to a small hidden door in the back room.
"Promise me not matter what that you will stay here until the fighting is over or until I or your father come to get you." said my mother
"But mom I can help!" I said.
"No you are too young! Promise me!"
"alright we promise..where are you going to go?"
"To help father. " My Mother then gave us both a kiss on the head, closed the door and ran off to help father.
I have no idea how long I stayed in the safe house, but it felt like an eternity. For some time I could hear the sound of fighting, but after a while it died down and I could no longer hear it. After what I judged had been several hours after I heard the fighting end I opened the door and ran to the room where father had been fighting. and I was met with the worst sight mine eyes have ever seen. On the floor lay mother and father, right next to each other surrounded by many dead Skaven, and further off the bodies of the three dwarven warriors. I ran to the bodies of my parents and sobbed, with my brother beside my sobbing just as loud. Then I noticed my father was not quite dead and I told Brathomir to get some water for him.
"I have failed you son. There was so much I wanted to teach you...and now I will never be able to." said father.
"Don’t say that" I said, my eyes full of tears. "I'm going to find a priest of Valya. Everything will be fine...they will be able to heal you and make you feel better."
"No son nothing can save me now...I can feel my life fading away. Soon I will be feasting with our ancestors..." He coughed up a glob of blood.
"No father you can't die! I need you!"
"Well son I'm so sorry but the cursed Skaven have taken me from you...I will not be able to raise you, to see you become a good dwarfs..listen son I want you to promise me a few things."
"I'll do whatever you ask father."
'"I want you to swear by Grugni you will defend our people, and keep Kraka Ravnsvake safe, and that if uncle T"I swear too much"k does not have a son and you become king, you will be a joust and wise king. Also I want you to look after your brother...he's to younger to understand what has happened. And lastly, if you get a chance that won't put Kraka Ravsnvake in danger, I want you to avenge me and kill that spawns of hell. who lead the attack, who is also the one who struck the final blow that made me fall..."
"I swear to you father I will do all in my power to keep our people safe, and that I will follow the Skaven who lead this attack to the realm of chaos and back if I must."
"I knew you would son...you have no idea how proud of you your mother and I am. I believe you will grow up to become a great Dwarf Alaric..." and then, with a small smile on his face as if he knew his legacy would be carried on by his son, he died.
My screams of rage filled the halls of Kraka Ravnsvake...


For forty years there had been no sightings of the Skaven since my uncle King T"I swear too much"k Ironaxe had driven them from Kraka Ravnsvake. Forty years I had spent becoming a master of the axe and hammer, preparing for the day when I would see those verminous creatures again. When they had attacked Kraka Ravnsvake I had been a child without any means of defending myself….but that had changed. Now I was the fiercest of the young warriors of the hold. I had taken part in no less than seventeen skirmishes with the followers of chaos, the hated enemy of the greenskins. I had leaded my own band of twenty rangers for fifteen years. And that was what I was doing the day I saw the Skaven. It was just a usual patrol, near the small mine of Grung Stekbrug, about a day’s walk from Kraka Ravnsvake when I saw a party of Skaven, about 70 strong from my best guess, making its way out of a small tunnel about 1000 strides from the mine. I signaled for my party to halt and called up my most experienced ranger, Kargrim.
“What do you make of that party of vermin up ahead?” I asked him
“From the look of the equipment they are carrying, probably searching for warpstone.”
“This close to Grung Stekburg? Seems like it’s more than that to me.”
“Yes they would not be coming this close just to look for warpstone. Most likely scouting out our defenses as well.
“What do you advice?”
“send five of our fastest men up ahead to cut off their escape. The rest of us will release a volley then charge.”
“Sounds good to me. Agrjak, take 4 fast men and cut of the skaven’s escape. The rest of you with me!”
I set the pace at a fast jog and moved into position. The Skaven part was below us, down a small hill. Our position was shielded by pine trees. Their only escape was across a small brook to the south, where Agrjak and his men set up their ambush.
“Ready your crossbows men. Release on my command…release!”
Fifteen bolts went flying toward the Skaven. A few missed their mark, but most hit on target and I saw eight of the vermin go down. The Skaven saw we had much fewer troops then them and started running up the hill towards out position. Unfortunately for them forgot just who they were facing. I had time for one more shot before the Skaven were upon us.
The first Skaven to reach me I slashed his stomach and his innards spilled out on the ground. I had killed my first Skaven…and the first of many. But I had no time to think of it as the battle rage came upon me. I fought like I had never fought before, madly hacking and slashing, not caring whether I lived or died as the Skaven were dead. After just a few minutes I heard Kargrim telling me we had won and the Skaven were running like the cowards they are. But I didn’t hear him at first, for the rage had come upon me and I was madly hacking the dead bodies of the vermin until they were not recognizable.
“Alaric stop!” yelled Kargrim. I returned to my senses after he shook my arm.
“a fine victory Kargrim…how many have we lost?”
“Only four. I sent eight lads to carry the bodies back to the mine for a proper burial.”
“Good good…did any of the Skaven escape?”
“Yes unfortunately. Agrjak and his men got most of them but seven escaped.” I told him to wait for you to pursue.
“Alright. I will go join him…you take the rest of the men to the mine and wait for me there. I should only be a few hours.”
So I went off to find Agrjak. I found him just a few hundred strides from the battle site on the other side of the small brook.
“Hello Alaric. The Skaven are ahead of us but not that far…we should be able to catch up to them well before they reach the pit.”
“Good. Well let’s get going.”
After several hours of following their tracks through pine forests, we still had not caught up to them, and it was getting dark. In Norsca, one never wanted to be out in the dark if you could help it unless you were with a large party…as the land was filled with monsters and other wicked things. Just as we were about to give up we saw an eerie green light in a ravine.
“Let’s investigate the light and then turn back.” I said.
We slowly crept up to the cliff above the ravine and saw down in the valley below a gathering of Orcs, Goblins and Skaven, at least 20,000 strong.


After discovering the gathering of Greenskins and Skaven, which were clearly preparing to head north and attack Grung Stekbrund, we quickly headed back to the mine to warn them. It was already late and the skis had grown dark, but we dare not wait until morning to return to the map and waste valuable time we needed to ready our defenses. Once we reached the mine I quickly found the longbeard who was overseeing the mine.
“Tromm elder. We pursued the Skaven who escaped the battle this afternoon and found an army of Greenskins and Skaven gathering.”
“This is ill news Alaric. How strong are their forces?”
“20,000 strong by my reckoning.”
“We don’t have enough warriors to hold off that many. We will need to send for aid from Kraka Ravnsvake at once..I shall send a raven.”
“Good. In the mean time we must prepare what defenses we have. How many warmachines and weapons do we have?”
“We have a cannon, two bolt throwers and an organ gun at the entrance to the mine. That’s the only way in, unless they build a tunnel but that would take weeks given the poor workmanship of the Skaven, and by then a relief force would arrive. So we will need to hold the entrance with the majority of our forces.”
“Sounds like the best way we can hold out. How many warriors do we have?”
“200, including your rangers and the miners. 30 of those men have crossbows and handguns.”
“Let’s have the men with handguns and crossbows up on the battlement with the warmachines. We’ll make a shield wall at the entrance with great axe men to back them up.”
“It seems your uncle has taught you well in the strategies of war.”
“I have devoted much of my studies towards it…as future king I will need those skills.”
“Indeed you shall. I shall rest more easily now knowing that the heir to the throne has been brought up well. Now go and see the defenses, I shall make sure the mine walls are reinforced against tunneling.”
I immediately went to the mine entrance and ordered the miners build a barricade at the mine entrance, and for the quarrellers and thunderers to store as much ammunition as they had on the battlements. For two days the dwarfs prepared their defenses as best as they could be made, and waited for the coming attack. On the first day they received a raven from Kraka Ravnsvake, saying a relief force 2000 strong would reach the mine within six days. On the third day, at dawn the enemy was spotted. Alaric was inspecting the barricade when they were spotted.
“That’s a lot of Skaven and Greenskins..you think we will be able to hold out until the relief force arrives?” said one of Alaric’s younger rangers.
“We may, we may not, but no matter what happens a lot of that filth will die…” I said


The first attack came around midnight, just four days after I had arrived at Grung Stekbrund. It was so dark I could only see about 100 yards, so I heard the booming of the drums before I saw the foe. I could see nothing out of the ordinary, but the booming continued for about an hour, droning on through the night, and then the attack came. A wave of skaven, orcs and goblins all came rushing towards the mine, wielding crudely made blades. The skaven brought a few of their cannons, of poor quality but still capable of devastation. The green lightening shot from the cannons lit up the night sky. Fortunately they went off target and harmlessly hit the mountain side. Our warmachines responded, opening fire on the horde, each shot crushing a dozen of the enemy. As the horde came closer a few of the goblins unleashed shots from small bows, most of which did not have the penetrating power to pierce dwarf armor. Our thunderers and quarrellers responded, unleashing a hail of bullets and bolts that tore through the enemy, dozens of them falling with each volley.
"Brace yourselves!" I yelled from the front of the line, as the enemy ran closer to our line.
"Now is the time my fellow dwarf to uphold your oaths, and drive the hated enemy back! For Kraka Ravnsvake!" I yelled as the vermin crashed into our shieldwall. It was if a tidal wave had just crashed right into me, as the skaven that charged into me was pushed forward by his fellows behind him. He slashed his cleaver at me, which I blocked with my shield. I slammed my shield into his face and finished him off with my axe. But I had no time to relish my first kill of the night as more vermin charged forward. I hacked a slashed madly, and within a few minutes my face was covered with skaven and orc blood. Already I felt my axe arm grow sore, but there was not time for rest as more of the enemy charged into our line. And then after what felt like many hours, but must have been only several minutes the enemy withdrew to lick their wounds. They had lost many more then we had, but thousands of them remained, while we only had 200. And so the first day of the seige of Grung Stekbrund had ended.


"Tromm Elder. How many casualties have we suffered?" I asked the longbeard in charge or running the mine, Thragmir
"Only 23 so far. The enemy has taken at least several hundred casualties, though there are still many thousands left."
"That is ill news...but at least we are holding out. Any word from Kraka Ravnsvake?"
"No, but I'm sure your uncle is mustering the throng."
:"Good. Let me know if you hear anything from him."
I returned to inspect the defences, which had been damaged over the past few days during the fighting. The seige had been going on for four days, and each day the enemy had luanched an "I swear too much"ult under the cover of darkness and withdrew at sunrise. We were running sort on ammunition, and our defenses had been weakened over the past four days of savage fighting. Miners were working hard to repair the defenses. Just then a young dwarf, even younger then me came up to me.
"My lord, I have important news for you."
"No need for such formality here beardling. Tell me what news you bring me."
"I believe the Skaven are trying to dig a new tunnel to the mine, so they can outflank us. I know I'm just a beardling, but I've lived in this mine my whole life and I know the sound of tunneling. If my theory is correct then we have a day or two until they break through, and I'm not sure if we will be able to hold them back."
"Tell this to Thragmir and ask him to take a look..he's an experienced miner and should know if you are right. But I pray you are not, we are hard pressed enough already..."

Unfortunately, the beardling’s theory was right. The Skaven were tunneling, and Thragmir estimated we only had a few hours before their tunnel was finished. So we prepared defenses where we expected the tunnel would hit the mine shaft.

“Thargmir, I need you to go command the tunnel entrance defenses…I will see to the defenses here. Any word from my uncle yet?”

No sorry lad, haven’t heard anything, and even if he did send a raven it’s likely it was shot down. But I trust your uncle is preparing a relief force and will hopefully be here soon. I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out…”
“As long as we hold out for a few more days, my uncle will come. I know he will.”
“By Grugni I hope you are right Alaric.”
Thragmir headed off to the mine entrance to see to the defenses. Just then there was a loud banging noise coming from the walls of the tunnel, which I thought must mean the Skaven were about to break through.”
“Get into position men! Garthmir are the charges ready?”
“Yes Alaric, when they break through there will be a nasty surprise for them.”
Just a section of the tunnel wall eight feet wide clasped, and the Skaven charged into the mine.
“Garthmir now!”
Garthmir lit the fuse, and a few seconds later an explosion filled the tunnel where the Skaven were charging in, leaving over a dozen of them dead.
“Kill the all!”
Alaric led the charge into the breach…

………………………………..

Thorek Vikramson Ironaxe, King of Kraka Ravnsvake sat in his tent with his most trusted commanders, 20 leagues west of Grung Stekbrund.
“What’s the situation outside the mine? Asked Tharmir
“There are several thousand Thaggoraki and grobi outside the mine, about 20,000 by my reckoning, maybe a bit less do to their casualties over the past few days. They have completely neglected to build any defenses, and a swift attack will most likely scatter them.” Said Kragmir, chief runelord of Karak Ravnsvake, T"I swear too much"k’s most trusted advisor.
Just then a dwarf courier entered the tent with a letter.
“My King, a raven has just arrived with this letter.”
To Thorek Vikramson Ironaxe, King of Kraka Ravnsvake:
King Thorek, Kraka Drak has heard of the attack on Grung Stekbrund. We are greatly concerned of this alliance of the Thaggoraki and Grobi, and king Thorin Thorgardson sent an expeditionary force under my command to aid you in clearing Grung Stekbrund of the enemy. At the time of writing this letter, my throng is 120 leagues east of Grung Stekbrund. By the time this letter reaches you, I should be within 50 leagues of the mine. I suggest we crush the Thaggoraki and Grobi between our armies, with your throng attacking from the west and my throng from the east. My throng will advance to within 10 leagues of the mine and await your reply.”
-Morgrim Stromnison, commander of the Krak Drak expeditionary force
Thorek looked up from the letter.
“Krak Drak has sent an expeditionary force. While I thought we would not need aid, I am grateful that King Thorin has sent aid. We attack tomorrow at dawn, with the throng from Krak Drak. Ready the men!”
Thorek’s advisors cheered and set about preparing the throng for battle.
“Courier, I need you to send a reply to Morgrim. Tell him we attack tomorrow, at dawn.

I dispatched another Thaggoraki, as they swarmed up through the tunnel. It was late in the night and still the fighting continued, as the Thaggoraki kept poring through the tunnel and the Grobi attacked the mine entrance.
"Alaric, the grobi have taken the mine entrance!" Yelled Thargrim. "There were just too many, we couldn't hold them back. We've set up a barricade 50 ft from the entrance and are holding the grobi there."
"You tried your best Thargrim, I know there was nothing else you could do to hold it...we are containing the Thaggoraki here, but I'm not sure how long we can hold out. How many men have we lost?"
"At least 50% of our forces by now, if not more."
Just then I heard a monstrous roar from the Thaggoraki's tunnel, and a second later several rat ogres appeared. They tore into the dwarf lines, leaving several dead within a matter of seconds.
"Alaric we need to fall back, make our defensive perimeter smaller...I'll charge those rat ogres and buy you some time. It's been an honor serving with you Prince Ironaxe."
And before I could say anything Thargrim charged the rat ogres, going into a bezerk rage. I realized I had to take this opportunity to save as many of my men as I could.
"Fall back! Withdraw to the 2nd defensive line!"
I took one last look at Thargrim, who was bleeding from a dozen wounds but still holding on. I then followed my men just as Thargrim fell.
For hours we held them off, fighting back to back as more Thaggoraki and Grobi poured into the mine. I thought that day I would die, fighting to my last breath. I was so tired, barely able to stand but still I fought on. As dawn approached only a handful of us remained.
"It's been an honor fighting with you all. We shall meet again in Grugni's halls." I said. And just then I heard a dwarf horn, and the boom of dwarven cannons.
"Drive the Thaggoraki back! Clear the mine of the enemy!" I heard my uncle Thorek yell. And just then I knew we had been relieved, and after that I blacked out.

It felt like I had been walking for eternity. I had no idea where I was, but I knew I wasn’t in the physical world. I was walking in a tunnel, with strange lighting that I had never seen before. Eventually I reached a grand open hall, with the biggest gate I had ever seen at the end. I walked up to the gate.
“Hello?” I said
A guard came out from a small sally port beside the gate.
“Hello Alaric. Do you know where you are?”
“No. I can’t even remember how I got here. I just woke up in the tunnels that lead here.”
“You are at the gate to Grugni’s hall. You fell in the battle of Grung Stenbruk. But it is not yet your time to join your ancestor’s here. You must return..you will have an important part to play in the fate of the world.”
“Then why did I end up here in the first place?”
“I cannot say for sure, though I’m sure Grugni has a good reason. Now your uncle is worried about you, and your brother Botrek, so it is time to send you back. And remember Alaric, one day the kingship of Kraka Ravnsvake will fall to you. It will be your responsablity to make sure the hold does not fall to the forces ot evil, and if it did, not only would your hold be destroyed, but more of the forces of chaos would be able to make it through the mountains to reach the south. Much depends upon you Alaric, but I am confident you will live up to the challenge. Remember what I have said..."
And just then I woke up in a tent, a little confused over what the gate guardian had told me, but proud as well.
“Alaric is awake!” I heard my brother Botrek yelled. “You’ve been out for a long time brother.”
“How long?”
“Three days. Uncle Thorek found out in Grung Stenbruk, wounded and surrounded by dead Thaggoraki. He seemed very pleased with you, for holding Grung Stenbruk for so long. But he can tell you himself, for he is coming now.”
Just then my uncle Thorek, King of Kraka Ravnsvake stepped into the tent, and he looked very happy.
“My boy you’re awake! That must have been quite a blow you took to knock you out.”
“I think it was many blows uncle. How did the battle go?”
“We crushed the Thaggoraki and Grobi utterly. Our kin in Kraka Drak sent aid. A throng lead by Morgrim Stormnison attacked from the east, while we attacked from the west. The Thaggoraki stood had no chance. They did cause significant damage to the mine but it shouldn’t take too long to repair. Thanks to you Alaric they never had a chance to loot the mine.”
“That is good to hear. What do you plan on doing now?”
“Well we need let the Hellpit know we are not a force to be reckoned with. Attacking the pit itself is out of the question, there are simply too many Thaggoraki there. What we will do though is attack a Thaggoraki outpost 20 leagues north of the pit.”
“Sounds good to me. I think it’s time I get out of this bed, my axe arm is getting sore and it seems there are more Thaggoraki to kill in the near future!”
“That’s my boy! Get your armor on, I’m having a war council meeting in 30 minutes and I want you there.”
“ I will be uncle.”
Thorek left the tent. I was very pleased my uncle wanted me at the war council meeting. He invited veteran warriors and strategists whose council he valued, so it felt good to think my uncle valued my council.
“Borek, where’s my armor?”
“Karjini Redbeard has it. It was damaged during the battle so he was repairing it. Let’s go see if he’s finished.”

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