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Kraka Draka

a series of short stories

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#441 Skull Krusher

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 03:48 AM

continuation from previous post - Part 364

 

Many marks later Snorri before bedding down for the night in one of the five Kalan compounds.  The five compounds formed one large city block within city of Woodhaven, no Umgi lived within this district.  The stout stone walls that surrounded the district were just as tall as Woodhaven’s walls only they had a unique protective qualitive that possibly only a Priest of Gazul or a Rune-smith could detect as soon as they entered the districts boundary if not before, “Where are they” Snorri asked the five elders.

 

The five looked at each other a quizzical look on their faces, “Where’s what” they nearly said in unison.

 

“The sarsen stones” Snorri responded.  Four of them looked confused.  “How old is the city of Woodhaven?”

 

Yadri Orinnsnev of the Tanners Guild and Duregar Nyradrson of the Mining Guild looked to the eldest of the five; Alaric Skorrison who is the patriarch of the Jewel Smith Guild. Alaric stroked his long white beard in contemplation and looked at Burlok Morekson of the Stone Masons Guild.  The youngest of the five, Dorin Bronnson of the Brewers Guild said nothing nor suggested anything.  Finally Alaric spoke; “the name Woodhaven is the Umgi’s name; true name is Grung-Zan-Izril.  Alaric removed a pendant that hung hidden behind his white beard; a ruby the size of a Robin’s egg attached to a heavy gold chain; then he spoke, “we are one of the very few far flung Grungs of Karaz-a-Karak and the sarsen ward stones have protected we Dawi long before the hunter-gather barbarian Umgi took refuge against our walls when they huddled in hide tents and wore garments made from animal skins.  They were at the time armed with crude wooden clubs, bows and or spears.  They prospered due to benevolence of our Rik.  Over time they became Herders and farmers eventually merchants and craftsman.   Dawi helped to build their outer walls foundations of stone which was quarried from the Grung and some of their structures though the present-day inhabitants remember not.”

 

Satisfied with Alaric Skorrison’s answer he bid them good night and followed Brewery Guildmaster into his dwelling.  Finally alone and safe behind stone walls for the first time in months he slept.  In two days there would be the feast of Skraksdeg and perhaps during the telling of Sagas his duties as a Priest of Gazul for Grung-Zan-Izril would begin.

 

 

 

 

To be continued

 


Edited by Skull Krusher, 28 December 2020 - 02:19 AM.


#442 Skull Krusher

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Posted 28 December 2020 - 02:24 AM

continuation from previous post - Part 365

 

It was Skraksdeg and this ancestral feast day would be spent recalling the great sagas of their ancestors who founded Grung-Zan-Izril.  Snorri sat as the quest of honor for being the eldest Dawi present; a Gormtrommi and he doubted he would live long enough to be considered a Karugromthi only Gazul knows who is ready to enter his realm.  The feast takes place in the underground grand hall, the only place large enough that every single Dawi in Woodhaven could sit in attendance.  From the outside it looked like any other Umgi Guild Hall; but inside it looked like a huge underground cavern lit by Brynduraz and one large central fire pit in the middle of the cavern.  Ten rows of stone benches and their corresponding tables form ten circles around the fire pit.  Doors to kitchens, supply rooms, a small brewery are to be found beyond the outer circle of benches.

 

Many a tale Snorri heard tonight.  None spoke of battlefields where the Dawi lay unclaimed.  Then Alaric Skorrison, the patriarch of the Dawi of the Grung asked Snorri if he would like to contribute.  Snorri nodded then began the “Lay of Yorri of the Varrdrakk” for he was sure that being landlocked they had not heard the tale of the Dawi merchant ship; the Sea-dragon.

 

Lay of Yorri of the VarrDrakk

 

Baraz made, farewells given

Batten down, holds brimming

Tied no longer to hearth and kin

Outward bound, full of hope

 

Towards the darkening seas

 Dire lights fill the sky

Air spills headway lost

Becalmed listless adrift alone.

 

No breath of wind stirs the canvas

Unseen closeness stalks the decks

Eyes blind to the reek of despair

And coldness numbs the mind

 

Black clouds of terror formed

And without the wind they came,

With black sails filled with dark dread

Their bow wave bright with blood.

 

Helm guided by unseen hands

Alongside grapples unerringly thrown

That bit deeply gripping the rails

Held fast then boarded.

 

Sounds of the forge blade against blade

Many fell, Ragni was the first throat torn

Norgrim dropped with nary a mark

With last breath Finbold fires the hold.

 

Flames smoke encircles the mast

Deck seams oozes with black bloody pitch

Battle rages, death abounds, friend and foe

The grave’s coldness descends upon all.

 

Sweet was the sound of recall

Harsh was the Zanguzaz’s Dar demand

Yorri shrugs axe gleaming in the night

As bare skulls roll across the flaming deck

 

One mast falls then another falls

Dawi retreat fighting against Uzkular boarders

As the lines snaps and the ships drift far part

Seen in the bright towering flames, the Dar

 

Beneath the cold dark Varr

Far from the halls of our ancestors

Are the sounds of iron shod boots

And the clarion call of the Drakk’s horn.

 

Yorri alone walked that pitching deck

In darkness slick with death

With bright blades of fearful light

                                                        He burned to ash the harbingers of night


Edited by Skull Krusher, 28 December 2020 - 02:26 AM.


#443 Skull Krusher

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 02:01 AM

continuation from previous post - Part 366

 

*

 

The light of dawn could not be seen where he had awakened.  Snorri felt the faint vibrations far below the surface of the earth where miners worked arresting rubies from rock.  But what pulled him from the clutches of the Umgi god Morpheus was the smell of fresh baked bread lathered with honey-butter; groaning Snorri got up, used the garderobe, then a dunkinn before finally getting dressed.  He found his way to the kitchen by following the smell.  “The Throngrinki will be here when she gets through dealing with a Garazi,” stated the cook who set a plate of hot fresh bread, jars of butter and creamed honey, a honey baked apple as well as bacon meat pie on the table; he ate well.

 

Snorri missed the mid-day meal and the morning meal was just a faint memory and he is far from being done; and may miss the evening meal.  It would not be the first time he had missed a meal nor his last.   He had refreshed or cast further protection in four out of the five clan Grongol catacombs; and the fifth belonging to Kalan Zan-wutroth of the Brewery Guild had been breached the ward seal lay broken in front of the door; no one within the Brewery Kalan knew when it had occurred.  The Kalan Kron indicated the Grongol had last been opened Set-Sak years ago for the last internment and a Priest of Gazul had set the warding Rhuns then.  Normally no Grongol-Undi were ever posted since this was not a Rik’s Grongol but today there is one because Snorri had found the Grongol doors breeched and he had duly informed the Brewery Kalan.  

 

Note:  To be continued


Edited by Skull Krusher, 15 January 2021 - 06:21 AM.


#444 Skull Krusher

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 06:23 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Sixty Seven (367)

 

Continuation from previous post...

 

It is dark within, no Brynduraz would be used only a single Kantuz year candle; having taken a deep breath Snorri detected no scent of hot wax from the eternal flame. So Snorri knew that it had been extinguished some-time ago.  Snorri removed the two-handed warhammer from his back harness and slowly began chanting the blessings of Gazgul as he proceeded inside; he knew he had to check every single sarcophagus looking for shattered Rhun seals and or an Uzkular.  Once inside he could smell it the faint smell of decay which meant at least one sarcophagus lay open, he signaled Grunni Ragnison, the Undi to be vigilant then proceeded, perhaps only a Skazi would almost be the lesser of two evils.

 

Snorri and the Undi did not have to search the whole Gongol for in the first niche lay draped across an open sarcophagus the mummified remains of a Dawi.  Atop the lid are two dust covered tankards and a small keg ale.  “All sarcophagus are always sealed to prevent decay from filling the Grongol which is why a Kantuz year candle can burn,” Snorri stated, “a decaying body uses up the air and any flame will be extinguished which is why the Kantus flame was not burning.” Still Snorri thought to himself he better check the rest of the Grongol for any other surprises.

 

 

Note:  To be continued and by the way I am at 904 pages of stories of Kraka Draka


Edited by Skull Krusher, 24 January 2021 - 04:42 AM.


#445 Skull Krusher

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 02:37 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Sixty Eight (368)

 

Continuation from previous post: Thus ending this short story.

 

As Snorri continued deeper into the Grongol of the Brewery Guild Grunni stepped forward to look at the mummified remains. “But that sarcophagus is a cenotaph nothing not even a lock of hair,” the Undi said loud enough for Snorri to hear.  Snorri takes another step then stopped as the full import of what was said.

 

“Grunni, who is supposed to be in the sarcophagus and why is it cenotaph,” Snorri asked as he continued to search.

 

Undi Grunni responded though to Snorri, the young Dawi sounded perplexed, “Not sure, the sarcophagus was placed here before my time and was told that it is empty; but I think the mummified body is my uncle’s cousin, Yorri Morikson who went missing.”  Grunni continued to look at the body and he frowned, “Snorri, Yorri’s hammer is missing, my uncle said his cousin never went anywhere without it.”

 

Snorri sensed more than felt the movement of air coming from an alcove towards him and sidestepped away swinging his warhammer up into a defensive posture to meet and or parry the threat that was nothing more than a black shadow within the darkness.  However his weapon shattered the darkness with a resounding peal of metal on metal that sounded more like a thunderclap in the quiet Grongol.

 

Clang! Clang! Clang! The sound combat echoed throughout the Grongol and the tunnels they are connected to.  Grunni ran towards the sound of battle.  Clang, then a strange cry and a thud as something hits the floor.  By the time Grunni had rounded the first corner he had thought the fight had gone on for an eternity and as he rounded the last corner nearly received a killing blow from a two handed warhammer that Snorri had pulled back just in time.  Grunni had never seen a two handed warhammer used as if was no heavier than a cheese knife when the head of the weapon stopped a handspan in front of his nose.  Seeing the three glowing Rhunes upon the head of the weapon Grunni Ragnison, the brewer apprentice understands.

 

“Grunni, light the Kantuz year candles.” Snorri asked strangely soft; Grunni Ragnison did so and soon the darkness was replaced and both, the priest and the brewer are horrified; for upon the floor is a female Dawi, a Nubungki wearing the symbol of the Kalan Zan-wutroth and still grapping the hammer belonging to Yorri Morikson.  How she came to be living within the Grongol Snorri did not know but there had to be collusion within the Kalan or Grung.  Snorri knew that at least one Drengi Baraz would be sworn.

 

Snorri turned toward the brewer as asked him to fetch his Kalan elder, Dorin Bronnson and Alaric Skorrison who is the patriarch of the Jewel Smith Guild but also the Rik of the Grung-Zan-Izril.  “On your honor, Grunni Ragnison; speak only to those two and say nothing what you have seen here that is for me to do.  Now go and be quick,” Snorri demanded

 

*

 

Sometime later, after he did the chants for Yorri Morikson, and the Nubungki to ensure they would not be desecrated by any necromancer, Baraz were sworn.  Snorri, the priest of Gazul could see the two Deb Drengi from atop the palisade.   They were at a fork in the road they momentarily hugged each other, kissed, then parted.  One heading towards the mountains and Karak Drazh, the other; a female headed toward Gnashrak's Doom Hold the training ground for the Doom-seekers of Karak Kadrin.   He doubted either of the two brewers would last for very long.  Only Grimnir and his brother Gazul knew.

 

Note: So ends this strange tale… Now 906 pages of Kraka Draka - I hope you all enjoyed and have a keg on my tab and special thanks to Thunderer.

 

 


Edited by Skull Krusher, 30 January 2021 - 06:07 AM.


#446 Skull Krusher

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 06:31 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Sixty Nine (369)

 

Note:  This is a new story that began as part of dream, I woke up and had no idea of who, what, where, why.  Any way grab a seat, a pint on my tab and enjoy I hope.

 

Chapter One Hundred Eight

The Fall

 

Day One:  There had been not a sound of wildlife nor breath of wind upon the mountain.  That there had been total silence was the only warning and it came too late.  It had been said that if one fell off the mountain it is not the fall that kills it is the sudden stop.  This time however the fall was cushioned by pine boughs, thick ground cover, and a deep layer of wet moss.  It still hurt and it would be many candle-marks later before that assessment would or could be acknowledged.

 

As the grim process of fully waking, other senses began to enter into play.  First came the aches and pains, and muscle spasms; the result of falling, landing, and laying unconscious on an uneven surface of weapons, bags, and loaded pack, along with broken branches and limbs from various tress having fallen through plus crushed bushes, and moss-covered rocks.  Also lying amidst the wreckage having fallen as well is a bloody crossbow bolt.  While still sorting out the waves of pain and spasms, only one eye slowly opened and began searching the surroundings in an effort to reestablish one’s whereabouts, the other is crusted shut with dried blood.  A ball of pale while light is the only illumination so it must be after sunset came to mind. 

 

Memory of what happened is chaotic.  Slowly and painfully easing into a sitting position using the right hand, back against a sizeable boulder gladly missed in the fall; tried to remember what happened.  Trying to use the left arm, pain shot like red-hot needles shot through the whole body, it was broken.  When the pain subsided to a manageable level and using a handful of dripping wet moss, wipes away the dried blood and opens both eyes once again.  One eye sees clearly the other seems to be nearly swollen shut then discovers a bloody knot above the left eye and partially beneath the helm.  Removing the helm was excruciating but once removed the wound began to ooze.   By feel alone it was the helm which decided life or death.  “I will have to tell” there is a long pause “I, cannot remember who made the helm,” spoken softly and painfully in the darkness. “Am thirsty” speaking to no one in particular and unable to reach the waterbag, several handfuls of wet moss squeezed and the moisture quenches the thirst before passing out.

 

Day Two:  Noises brought awakening of senses; peering through partially closed eyes see everything dimly illuminated, the sunlight is filtered by the treetop canopy except for the hole above where broken branches told the story of falling.  Thirst, hunger, and pain and not necessarily in that order can be remedied.  First thirst and several handfuls of squeezed moss helps, pain or food are next.  But which?  Food is easier and a struggle trying to open the drawstring bag of dried fruit and nut trail rations with one hand, but manages.  The whole time while eating, and drinking moss drippings, the thought about what to do about the arm is never far away.  Finally an idea comes to mind to reset the broken arm.  It will be a struggle and it will be painful.  After rummaging through the pack a leather strap is found of suitable length.  One handed a loop is fashioned then reaching down with the other end of the leather is tied around a branch which is then braced under both feet. Then pulling on the leather as feet hold the branch in place will have to do.  Bending forward toward the branch the loop end of the leather is placed around the hand of the broken arm and tightened.  Grabbing the drawstring bag, stuffs part of the bag between teeth, grabbed the left arm with right hand and with no second thoughts quickly leans backwards at the same time straightening both legs, pushes the branch away.  The broken bone snaps back into place as a muffled scream accompanies the descending darkness once again.

 

Pale white light once again illuminated the forest floor, the soundless flight of an owl is not heard but the dying squeal of some unknown prey caught unaware is, and that is what brought wakefulness and awareness of pain and hunger.  Unable to move the left arm brought pain and the memory of it being tied to a branch.  So leaning forward enough the right hand clumsily untied the leather strap then looped the strap behind the neck forming a sling for the broken arm.  Ever so slowly while leaning against the boulder painfully one leg at a time stood. 

 

Eventually the waterbag is found to be empty, the cork pulled loose during fall now hanging by a leather thong.  Shrugging, grabbed a handful of moss, and squeezed and drinking several handfuls of moisture, then wiped the face clean again with the wet moss.  Thirst satisfied now the hunger and began eating from trail rations bag while scanning the surrounding but little can be seen in the darkness.  Behind the dark vertical rock face of the mountain, to the front and either side, little else beyond the shadowy shapes of ancient trees towering overhead blocking out the stars and filtering out the pale light of Gormlhune whose name is somehow recalled.  Right now with nothing more to see slowly resumed sitting with back to boulder once again and becoming a little more comfortable this time nodded off to sleep with food and a weapon at hand. 

 

 

Note:  To be continued.


Edited by Skull Krusher, 09 February 2021 - 02:58 AM.


#447 Skull Krusher

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Posted 06 February 2021 - 05:25 PM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Sevenyty (370)

 

Note: continuation from previous post...

 

Day Three:  In time daylight noises start the slow process of awakening again.  Careful stretching to relieve the aches and pains from the fall then water and food.  Now able to move, steps are taken and slow exploration begins.  Looking up at where the distant mountain trail should be; it is not seen through the opening in the forest canopy.  The rock wall is near vertical and impossible to climb with one functioning arm or even two.  So moving to the left begins to follow the mountain wall until a tiny trickle of water is found seeping out of the rock forming a shallow pool of water nearly the size of a large cart and a nearly a foot deep.  A little stream meanders away into the underbrush. Taking advantage fills the water bag and drinks icy cold fresh tasting water then secures the stopper the continues on.  It is not easy going, the ground is uneven there is fallen rocks toppled from high above to be eventually covered with thick wet moss; then there is the waist high brush which hits the broken arm causing additional pain.  Two candle-marks later finally the wall dead-ends in a deep V and another larger pool of water fed from high up on the mountain; perhaps snow melt.  Standing at the V and looking back in the direction traveled from a thought occurs, “I must be in a deep narrow canyon I need to confirm.”  Then starts walking carefully along the other arm of the V.  Many marks later as the available sunlight hides behind the mountain above bringing early darkness on the eastern side of the mountain and after near exhaustion stumbling and nearly falling on occasion only to find the original starting location below the broken tree-top canopy.  “I am in a small pocket canyon with no noticeable outlet” is the thought, “Do not panic I have water,” is another thought, then another “food?” And the last thought, “fire” before beginning the arduous task of starting a fire one handed.  It is only after the fire is going is the discovery of the bloody crossbow bolt made.  Picking up both the bolt and the helm that had not been put back on due to the swelling and the wound a comparison is made between the bolt tip and the dent in the helm; a perfect match.  “Now who would be wanting to kill me” speaking out-loud?  “Hmmm no idea.”

 

 


 

Note:  To be continued hope you have figured a way out of the canyon  because I have a couple idea's brewing...

 


Edited by Skull Krusher, 09 February 2021 - 02:59 AM.


#448 Skull Krusher

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Posted 11 February 2021 - 03:13 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Seventy One (371)

 

Note: continuation from previous post...

 

Day Four:  Morning came just as it did the previous three days before with the same morning routine.  Banking the coals from last night’s fire then off to refill the water-bag and further exploration to figure out the interior of the canyon and any other resources.  Crisscrossing back and forth across the width of the canyon through brush and undergrowth with not even a single large game trail to make it easier what so ever is tiring even for someone not injured.  Due to the brush and old-growth trees could not see further than ten to twenty paces.  The canyon seemed to be about a bow shot across and perhaps three longbow shots long and parts seemed not to have been touched by sunlight in countless years and only when the sun was directly overhead, still despite the shade the water-bag had to be refilled three times during the day. 

 

Food was going to become important more than escaping the canyon.  There is only so much food in the backpack other than trail rations.  The food consisted the making of willow-bark tea, a large bag of assorted dried beans, a small container of salt, and medium size bag of jerky all of which had to last as long as possible thus foraging, and soon found pinon nuts.  There is other vegetation that had been found that is edible some will have to be cooked others could be eaten raw.  As far as game; just birds and nothing on four legs bigger than tree squirrels.  One could only hope that larger game would accidently fall into the canyon. 

 

Returning back to the banked fire; places a few more dry pieces of wood, later flames caress the small metal pot retrieved from the pack earlier and water soon simmered with mushrooms, onions, watercress from the larger pond, pinon nuts, and lastly with slivers of precious jerky.  Careful not to spill the soup, only dry twigs or branches are added to the fire, not wanting any smoke to alert the unknown attacker.  After consuming the soup and wiping the pot clean, places just enough wood on the fire that will last the night.  Then drops off to sleep thinking and designing traps to catch the squirrels and birds but more importantly a way out.

 

Note:  To be continued

 


Edited by Skull Krusher, 11 February 2021 - 03:13 AM.


#449 Skull Krusher

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Posted 14 February 2021 - 01:25 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Seventy Two  (372)

 

Note: continuation from previous post...

 

Day 35:  Cut another notch in the tree to mark the days.  Same stuff different day only yesterday had been a good day.  An eagle had dropped its struggling prey. A fat rabbit and it was still alive, female, and appeared to be heavy with kits.  Deciding not slay the rabbit with the broken leg outright instead built a small stone hutch with a removable roof to keep it in and a stout wooden fence made of rock and branches high enough so that it would not escape.  Providing the rabbit with a wooden bowl full of water and fresh greens to eat.  In time hopefully the kits would thrive and breed and be a source of food and furs.

 

Day 45: The arm had healed significantly enough to allow the construction of a small lean-to cabin.  Rocks had been stacked that form the three walls against the canyon wall nearly waist-high, the fourth wall is the mountain itself.  Then bark-stripped-logs were laid one atop another upon the waist-high rock-walls.  The roof is pitched to allow rain or snow to slide off to one side.  A mixture of clay, dried grass and or weeds, crushed limestone and sand is used to chink the gaps between the rocks and the log sections ensuring no cold air entered.  The floor had been made with flat stones laid end to end with smaller rock filling in the spaces in between.  Then using the same chinking material sealed the gaps further making the floor as smooth as possible.  Even a fireplace and chimney had been built from slabs of fallen rock; its hot fires ensured that the chinking had dried properly.  It took longer to build the roof since finding trees that were no bigger around than the arm needed to be cut down stripped of bark and the axe needed sharpening constantly.  The strips of wood filled the gaps between the roof logs and once the roof is in place everything had be chinked as well.  Collecting countless balls of pine pitch which had been melted and spread across the roof to seal it from the rain and snow.  Building the shelter took nearly thirty-six days of hard work when he was not foraging for food or collecting pine balls.  Finally a bed is near the fireplace; using four logs, two long, two short, and using part of the rope from the pack made a rope mattress that is cover in pine boughs and then a ground cloth.  Opposite the bed two small flat boulders and a split log became a table in front of a rock bench were the only other furnishings.  Pack and other belongings unhung from wooden pegs driven into the log walls. In all this time ideas came to mind in how to leave the canyon, one after another set aside as being not feasible due to lack of tools.  However several seemed possible.

 

Day 55:  In the last ten days every one of the ancient tall trees suitable were studied to see if cutting one down so that it fell against the cliff would enable an escape.  The ancient grove of trees within the canyon are nearly three hundred feet tall and over thousands of years old.  Cutting into anyone one of the trees was sacrilege like despoiling a sacred tomb; not for the wealth but to escape.  It would be near impossible with the hand axe suitable for cutting fire wood and small trees, not something that is so big at the base that twenty individuals holding hands could not circle any of them. Depression and love for those ancient Wutroth trees felt strange, stranger still as names for each had been given.

 

Day 7,920:  The sound of an avalanche is heard at the northern end of the canyon.  Peering out through the two-room cabin’s front door; looks to the left where the lean-to structure still stands now a shed full of wood to make sure it is still sound after the heavy snow fall.  The mornings bright snow hurts the eyes despite the sheltering trees and unkempt hair.  In past years there had always been avalanches but they had been minor, this one sound large; like the whole mountain had suddenly collapsed.  The cabin where it stood at the bottom of the cliff was relatively safe, very seldom had anything fallen straight down.  Hoped the ancient trees had not been harmed especially the mother of the forest, the oldest and largest within the canyon.  Perhaps when spring came and the snows had melted there would be a way out.  Only time will tell if not, the tomb had already been built, a sarcophagus carefully carved from a single log and shaped, polished, and lined with rabbit fur set upon two carved rock plinths waited.  

 

Day 8,382:  Spring had come to the mountains of Norsca Ankor.  A scouting party of rangers from Kraka Dorden heading toward Grung Dobelkzhuf is forced to traverse a new route due to an avalanche when they see and smell smoke coming from an area not normally scouted before.  Thinking that an Umgi Chaos Horde had invaded unseen they approached cautiously until they at last found a canyon valley not previously mapped from whence the smoke issued from.  Following a nebulous trail they make their way down the treacherous Skree until they reach the canyon floor, the forest of Wutroth trees tower over them, none had seen any even half as tall or as big around.  What is more surprising is that each of the ancient trees has a carved stone pillar placed before it with engraving naming the tree, and the words are in Khazalid.  The largest proclaimed it as the Mother of  the Forest, and they could well believe it.  But what Dawi lived here leagues away from any Dawi settlement?  Curious they fanned out staying within sight of each other as they moved cautiously toward the southern end of the canyon where the smoke came from.

Eventually they encounter a strange sight; a Dawi who may be Zaki who is surrounded by a fluffle or herd of rabbits quietly eating grass.  Even stranger is the huge eagle that sits on a stump near his left shoulder ignoring the rabbits and watches as the Dawi quietly stitches two large sections of leather together. Occasionally he reaches into a bowl and offers the eagle some red meat which it takes.  Behind this strange tableau up against the cliff is a well-built stone house surrounded by a forest of poles with uncountable number of notches cut into them, each pole has a small wooden bird-house perched upon each one; then there is a fresh bear’s skull hanging over the open door.  A small cone shaped structure not to far away emitted the smoke, and from the smell the Dawi must be making jerky. 

 

Seeing no obvious threat the senior ranger signals the others to stay out-of-sight as he investigates.  Unloading his crossbow and hanging it over one shoulder he steps into the small clearing and approached careful not to startle the animals or the Dawi whose attention is centered on his work.  It was the eagle who screeched loudly that caused the unknown Dawi to look up. 

 

Brock Durakson, the senior ranger asked; “Who are you?”  Brock realizes that this is a Zaki who is wearing no clothing at all, his long unkempt beard and hair covers him entirely.  There is even a small mouse peering out of his beard near his feet.  Though unkempt there was no stench which is a mark in the Zaki’s favor.

 

For the longest time there is silence as the apparent Zaki stared back in disbelief.  Wondering if the intruder was an illusion or not.  Looking away and back down at the pair of leather trousers that he is in the process of sewing together.  The first clothing that he will wear in years all thanks to the bear that had wandered down the newly formed Skree in search of food. 

 

The apparition is closer now and it has spoken again; “Who are you?”  Looking up he stared once again at what is apparently neither an illusion or apparition but a Dwarf.  He had not heard a voice other than his own in and he looked behind him at the forest of slender poles near the cabin where he had notched the days; for over twenty years.  His body begins to shake as he begin crying; tears leak from his eyes to disappear in his beard for he did not know his own name, the memory of who he is or was had been slain by that crossbow bolt which sits with the dented helm above the fireplace.  “I do not know” he said in a gravelly voice unused in decades, “I am, I think, the Guardian of this canyon.”  

 

Note: So ends yet another short story within Norsca Ankor.  Hope you enjoyed have a pint on my tab, and PM if you choose.  Cheers and stay safe and sane.



#450 Skull Krusher

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 06:46 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Seventy Three  (373)

 

Chapter One Hundred Nine

The Recipe

 

 

The Dar had been publicly given so there was no backing out so arrived early so as to evaluate the terrain and to be sure that there are no traps or ambushes placed by the opponent’s Kalan, friends, and supporters more importantly no Kalan or Guild observers.  Using a long glass, a search is made of the entire area for over a candle-mark but so far nothing that warranted suspicion however caution is still warranted; so far having survived over two hundred winters already it is not the time to be careless or reckless and Brigit was no Garazi but a Thronginki.

 

Just what resulted in this Dar in the first place she mused, something about a recipe of the Kalan’s latest brew,  minor Runks between two different guilds that turned into blood-letting, then the lies, disparaging the Kalan’s honor and the final insult being called a Skazi.  Now Thane Brigit Mennidottier of Kalan Stoutgirth whose Kalan owns and operates the Aalborg Brewery has been challenged in a Dar by Thane Gerta Skorinadottier of Kalan Stonebread of the Bakers Guild.

 

The Runks between Beardlings and or Garazi of competing Kalans could be brushed away as youthful exuberance; well almost if blood had not been shed.  The lies are easily countered by having the truth presented that detailed the timeline of true facts and that would involve Loremaster Gorril Balinson of Kalan Drakkdrengi.  But the sly whispers and innuendos that became a loud clammer within the Kraka that the Kalan’s wealth and status had been built upon Skazi ancestors, ancestors that had helped establish long before her opponent’s ancestor had crawled forth and stood on two legs.

 

She was all for having Priestess of Valaya; Freda Thodadottier settle the dispute but then blood had been shed during the latest Runks that had broken out within the Rusty Harpoon before members of the Durazklad Kalan as well as several of the Kraka’s Kalans who had been drawn into the dispute by having to quell the bloody bawl when the staff needed help.  There would be a Bagril and now an Okstal before this feud is put to rest.

 

Verbal sparring between Kalans or Thanes is not unheard of and they rarely turn into Dar, but a Dar between two Rinn Thanes is nonexistent.  So why is she, Brigit wearing armor, armed with a crossbow and warhammer sitting beside a mountain laurel listening to whistling marmots?   How did it come to this?

 

*

 

It had started over the newest ingredients of the latest brew of ale the Kalan is using within Aalborg Brewery and the rest of her guild.  The only common new ingredient change that all five of the Brewer Kalans and the two Bakery Kalans used; is mainly due to the failure of the Drengi, Skaldor Grondson who tried once again to regain his lost honor but instead slew a Wyr-Drakka.  Where Wyrdrakkendrengi Skaldor Grondson is right now Brigit did not know for sure, somewhere up north in the Chaos Wastes. 

 

What she did know was that between the Brewery Guild and the Bakers Guild they had purchased from Kalan Langkhirn nearly the entire Wyr-Drakka skeleton.  The bones would be cleaned of all flesh then dried and only then ground into a fine powder so that just a tiny pinch of Drakka bone powder is added to each brewery vat while the bakers used a pinch in the mixing of the bakery dough.  It was a tradition of these two guilds to use Drakka powder which had been won from the Kraka Drakka’s founding.  However supplies of that precious Drazh-Drakka ingredient is nearly exhausted after 7,000 years.  Lord Drazhgrund had once told her that there was not a single Dawi within the Karaka that did not benefit from Skaldor Grondson’s failure which had also been hinted at by Ehrung’s dame. However that purchase started the argument between traditionalist who advocated only bone powder from the Drazh-Drakka used since the founding and those who saw no difference between using Wyr or Drazh.

 

*

 

So here Brigit sat setting in the sun which was a remarkable occurrence in any Dawi’s life time.  She was not out here alone on the slopes of Mount Sjoktraken high above the terraced Vorns of the Vorni Kalans; there are the Vorni herders and one or two carefully hidden Drak-Rangers who are always guarding the terrain surround Sjoktraken.  More importantly they were far from the prying eyes of their Kalan and Guild.  Finally, Brigit spotted Greta representing the Bakers Guild as she departing the hidden Und approached; armored as well and carrying a haversack and a warhammer as well.

 

Seeing the loaded crossbow that Brigit has on her lap “Figures you would bring a crossbow to a Dar,” Greta said sarcastically.

 

“I suppose you feel your safe out here without one,” Brigit replied with a grimace?

 

“No I do not, rather have the mountain over my head not me on top of the mountain which is why I brought these,” as Greta opens her cloak revealing a brace of handguns borrowed from Kalan Krupp.  Brigit nodded in agreement.  “Do not know how the Vorni can put up with all this fresh air and brightness.”

 

“Well let’s be about it.  Shall we,” the brewer grumbled to hide her own nervousness about being above ground as she set aside her crossbow and opened a Wutroth hamper.

 

The baker sat down beside her and removed her rucksack from her back and began removing three round loaves of Bron and jars of creamed honey, a small cutting board and three knives.  Brigit spread a leather ground cloth down and set three unopened bottles of ale; one seemed to have a light dusting of hoar-frost on the outside of the bottle, four glass tankards, and finally from Prince Sergei Clivonsley of Kislev, a wheel of Pinsk; one of his more famous aromatic cheeses.

 

Together they had a leisurely lunch, each sampling Bron and ale made from a single pinch of either Wyr or Drazh. The third loaf and bottle is made from both.  “I find that these Bron regardless of their ingredients taste very well, worthy of being presented to our Rik,” Brigit stated as Greta smiled in response.  “Toasted with melted Pinsk on top would be excellent!” she continued.

 

“And I fine the quality of the ale either Wyr or Drazh, is a unique acquired taste that goes well with what is to be served. However that combined brew must be served in small quantities,” Greta pointed out, “did you triple brew it?”  Brigit nodded in the affirmative.

 

“Well, what do you think?” Brigit asks as she pours the last of the Wyr into their tankards.

 

“About what, our unusual Dar or the lunch,” Greta responded.  “Our Garazi and their followers only knew that I issued the Dar, but not the choice of weapons or how it would be settled.”

 

“No, the lunch idea came from Lord Drazhgrund’s wife; Kvinn Kari Katrindottier I only expanded upon her idea about having it up here on the mountain knowing none of the Garazi or their followers would dare the open air; and you accepted with your usual aplomb,” Brigit stated.

 

But seriously,” and Brigit pointed to the remains of their lunch and the empty bottles how do we reconcile that bunch of Garazi of ours?” 

 

“Between you and me I am almost tempted to send them back down to the Boki to repeat their mandatory three years with a pick and shovel,” Greta said with equal exasperation. 

 

“Now that is an idea,” Brigit said with an evil smile.  “Let’s do it”

 

“The Dar has been completed to both our satisfactions.  Agreed” they both nodded to each other, “nothing more needs to be said, of course a couple hundred years from now when a Loremaster reads our guilds Krons they will have a laugh,” Greta stated.

 

“If any of our Garazi have a problem we will just let Kvinn Kari’s husband deal with them.  Agreed?” and they both laughed and drank the last of the ale and repacked the hamper and left the mountainside.

 

*       *       *

 

Note: so ends another short story. have a pint on my tab.


Edited by Skull Krusher, 24 February 2021 - 05:29 AM.


#451 Skull Krusher

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Posted 21 March 2021 - 04:19 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Seventy Three  (374)

 

Chapter One Hundred Ten

 

From the Royal Kalan Archives

Year 1150

 

Derna Lenkadottier watched from the dock as her only son; Kartin Mordinson proceeded out upon the Frozen Seas.  She did not know who was more stressed, herself or the Kalan’s normally stoic body guards.  They could see Kartin near the helm on the aftercastle giving orders to the helm and the crew on the forecastle. It is summer and the seas are mostly clear along the Norsca shores of floating ice during this time of year but still; in the distance the grey seas, grey skies are filled with heavy-sagging weeping-clouds that pour a chilling rain from the leaden sky in a continuous sheet from horizon to horizon moving closer and closer to Norsca.  Occasionally the distant grey skyline is lit by bolts of lightning followed by distant thunderclaps.  

 

Today’s testing; is a cooperative effort between Kraka Draka and Kraka Ravnsvake; the Endrinkuli and Shipwrights are testing the first steam powered Dawi-built ship.  The real test will come this winter when they test the vessel’s armored prow against the pack-ice of the Frozen Seas.  Standing beside Derna is her son’s Rinn; Marta Throlindottier whose father in the King of Ravnsvake, both Rinn have their own and shared concerns about today’s test.

 

Prince Kartin took a quick glance over his shoulder towards Marta and his mother before returning his attention to the helm.  The sails are presently furled so as not to catch fire from the hot gases discharged from the funnel.  The deep throated sounds of the steam engine; Kachungkuchung, Kachungkuchung mask the sounds of the ship’s prow cutting through the waves and the squawks of the sea birds startled by the bellows of the ship’s horn as the vessel; Wryzank or  Icecleaver challenges the Varr for the first time.

 

The boilers had the steam driven Wryzank cutting through the seas faster than even the swiftest of sail rigged vessels or those powered by long banks of oars.  The wind shrieked through the standing rigging supporting the mainmast and foremast as the ship easily sliced through the waves.  After nearly Fut turns of the hour-glass they deemed the test of the Wrysank a success and Kartin went to stand next to the Wryzank’s thane; they both looked north worried about the approaching storm.  With mutual nods in agreement Kartin ordered the helm to come about handsomely and head back towards Port Sjoktraken; and hearth and kin.

 

They were halfway through the course maneuver when the crew were thrown against interior bulkheads or to the deck.  Kartin slid across the tilting deck, grabbed a stanchion to arrest his slide, Wyrzank’s thane, Norgrim Yadrison almost went over-the-side; but Kartin grabbed him by the ankle thus saving his life.  The lookout atop the mainmast crows-nest was not so lucky as he became tangled up with the rigging when the mainmast snapped and went over the side; he drowned.  Some  Endrinkuli were burned by steam others had broken bones; so far only one death.  The Wryzank shuddered to a dead stop and are now dead in the water drifting with the wind and waves.

 

Due to the sudden impact when mainmast snapped it now hung over the side forcing the Wryzank into a slow port turn as the mast acted like a rudder.  Back on their feet Kartin and Norgim knew they did not run aground nor hit an iceberg; it might have been a rogue wave for all they knew.  What they did know from repots being sent to the Thane was that the Endrinkuli have been forced to shut down steam pipes leading to the propeller gear box having developed leaks; but steam was still available for the bilge pumps. The Dawi who had been shoveling coal into the boilers had managed to slam the door to the firebox to prevent the ship from catching afire as well. 

 

While some of the crew go about securing the mast and hoisting it back aboard; the ship’s carpenter reports, “Prince Kartin the forward hull around the bow is leaking, so far, the pumps are keeping the inflow of water at a manageable level.”  Kartin nods and tells him to see if he and his apprentice can stop leak.

 

The seas are getting rougher as the rainstorm continues south over the Frozen Seas which makes it imperative that they either cut the fallen mast loose or finish hoisting it back aboard to keep the waves from smashing the mainmast through the side of the ship.  Kartin spared a thought about his mother’s misgiving about him joining the ships crew in the testing.  If he did not survive this, it meant  that his sister, Zilyra would eventually become Queen and her husband; a Runesmith would become King. Then he thought of his Rinn who is heavy with child.  All this wool gathering was not getting the ship repaired so he joined the deck crew.  With much effort they had managed to hoist the mast back aboard and tie it down.  Re-stepping the mast would have to wait until they reach port.

 

Once the mainmast was no longer hanging over-the-side the Wryzank answered her helm.  The crew quickly swarmed up the foremast to correct any rigging that may have been damage; then unfurled the jibs and staysails between the bowsprit an the fore-mast; with the wind coming from the stern the Wrysank was soon sailing slowly back toward Sjoktraken.

 

Standing near the helm, the carpenter’s apprentice appeared, “Prince Kartin, now that the Wryzank is underway again the carpenter reports that we are taking on more water” he would have said more but an Endrinkuli arrived and reported, “Prince Kartin, with the water is rising, we are in danger of losing the use of the boilers.” 

 

The Thane had already noted in the ship’s log that the Wryzank is down by the bow by about two feet.  “Plug the leaks, if you have to use your beard do so” Norgrim grumbled.  Not satisfied, “Prince Kartin, you have the deck, steer for Sjoktraken,” then the Thane went below to see what he could do to help.  “Call away the off duty watch standers and have them spell those working the hand-pumps, switch off every candle mark.  I will not have idlers on our ship when it is in peril,” he ordered and commented just before his head left the level of the aftercastle’s deck.

 

Eventually using a mess table they place it against the leak, and using spare spars and other timber as shoring braced the table against the worst hull leak. Working in near total darkness with lit candles upon their helms the Endrinkuli pounded wooden wedges into spare sail cloth to plugged the cracks and eventually stopped the majority of the major leaks.  They were no longer in danger of immediately sinking but land is nowhere in sight due to darkness.  Slowly Gormlhune rose above the horizon as it cold light penetrate the clouds; lighting their way to hearth and kin.

 

The sun is barely above the eastern horizon; yet the quay-wall at the port of Sjoktraken is crowded with more than just the population of the port; Wryzank had not returned the day before and many feared the worst.  But thanks to the coast-watchers, word had spread throughout Kraka Draka that the Wryzank is spotted entering Draksfjord and is limping back to port with one mast missing with water lapping nearly to the main deck.  Two vessels quickly sailed out to meet the Wryzank and are soon tied to either side of the crippled ship; handpumps are quickly put to use pumping water out of the Wrysank. The on-lookers are waving and pointing not at the damage or to those they longed to see, some were, but not all.  What they are pointing at is the bow of the Wryzank, its iron beak meant to shatter ice-flow had hit a Monodon leviathan dead center in the creature’s side and now the dead Monodon is firmly wrapped around the bow.

 

*

 

It will be two years, towards the end of 1152 before the rebuilt Wryzank steams again and becomes the first vessel to transit “the Frozen Seas” during the winter months by breaking a path with its’ armored icebreaker bow through pack-ice as well as strategically placed charges of gunpowder; making it profitable for the Vithangs to sail around Norsca to the Sea of Claws to Kislev; rather than employing guarded trade caravans from Kraka Draka to Erengrad.

 

One of the shattered ribs of the leviathan hangs over the mantle fireplace within the Compass Rose, a tavern in the Fut lower level favored by the Endrinkuli guild, a second rib adorns the walls of the Rusty Harpoon; the ivory tusk was presented to the Rik to be used as a staff for the battle standard.

 

It will be noted that later, Prince Kartin Mordinson became the 42nd King of Kraka Draka.  His Rinn, Marta Throlindottier bore him two sons and a daughter.  The first son, Groth Kartinson eventually became the 43rd King.  Ketra Martadottier; the daughter is well remembered within the royal archives.  But it is Kartin’s second son born in the year 1500 who has had a greater influence upon Kraka Draka more than many of the kings he has served; Alrik “Dazhgrund” Kartinson still serves.

 

*       *       *

 

Note:  Hope you enjoy and have a pint on my tab.



#452 Skull Krusher

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Posted 27 March 2021 - 01:00 AM

Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Seventy Five  (375)

 

Note: As Reality still rules our everyday lives; it has intruded into my stories of  Kraka Draka.  Since in the "official" timeline in WHF, the Skaven let loose a plague that nearly destroyed the Old World as we know it.  So I let  a little of today's reality creep into and intrude into Norsca Ankor.  Enjoy and have a pint on my tab.

 

 

 

 

Chapter One Hundred Eleven

Year 1055

The Black Plague

 

It is a quiet not so quiet  for there were rumors and he frowned as he sifted through the stack of Ranger scouting reports.  There were several that gave him pause to reflect.  There were no rumors of war that often spread on the wings of those fleeing.   At first it was only an occasional rumor and like all such they are often a grain or two of truth to make a savvier reader sit-up and take notice.  But  these rumors have been reported by such diverse sightings from Rangers whose patrol sectors were south, north, and east.  The northern Umgi migrations are always seasonal following the elk herds.  So to the eastern Umgi who often fled the steppes though the High Pass into Kislev to avoid the .  But those fleeing from the south out of Kislev through the Troll Country made no since.  The reports made no sense but they still gave him pause.  He would have pursued the matter but at that moment his chest was aching again, and he began to make a note to have the armorer to put another row of links in his chainmail for it seemed that it was a little tight and he was short of breath lately.  He never finished that thought as he became lightheaded and it felt like he is being repeatedly beaten with a two-handed warhammer in the center of his chest.  They found the 39th King of Kraka Draka; Finn Thungnison laying on the floor dead.  The King is dead, long live the King.

 

Fornhekes 28, 1110

 

It has been 55 years since he assumed the throne; now he; Elmador Finnson is the 40th King of Kraka Draka and High King of Norsca Ankor.  He had yet to read what his father had been reading the night he died putting it off for one reason or the other.  For the last month he began reading those old reports and then the ones between Year 1055 and the present,  and is alarmed; so he called for one of the ever-present Drak-Hammerers to take a message to the Matriarch of the Sisters of Valaya; preferably Priestess Eydna Alrikadottir of Kalan Silverhammer.  Until she arrived, he would go through the reports again putting the pertinent one aside for Eydna to read.

 

The sightings were somewhat the same to a lesser or greater extent. It mattered not that these Umgi came from across the Frozen Seas fleeing the Chaos Wastes coming from all the different tribes; Kvelligs, Gharhars, Tahmaks, Haslings, Kul Kurgan, Dolgans, and the Tokmars just to name a few.  He noted that there were even sightings of Tong atop their great war-Mammuthus or steppe horses coming from far away Cathay following the long road across the Roof of the World.   To the east of the Worlds Edge Mountains that encompassed the Dark Lands and the Plains of Zharr where the Frurndar dwelt very few Umgi managed to escape their enslavement; those that did; did not live long.   The very few Umgi that managed to survive their individual trip to the boarders of Norsca were all he same; sickly, and did not last the winter.  He did not know what to make of the sightings of sickly Umgi fleeing from their homeland.  But it was the reports from the south that gave him the most misgivings for they would have a greater impact.

 

The tidings of death came not from along the Roof of the World where Cathay is but from the lands of Sigmar’s heirs.  Taken and read individually the rangers reported isolated farmsteads, decimated deserted streets of Nuln, Talabheim, Altdorf and other great cities of the Empire; taken as a whole it is worse than war.  Wars ultimately end, and there are clear victors and losers; but not when a disease strikes down all even those not involved in the war.

 

Elmador is reaching for another repot and his tankard when the Drak-Hammerer announced the Valaya Priestess.  She noted that her king is not wearing the Hoggron but the Daggron so her attendance is not necessarily a royal command; and looking at all the Krons on the table something has her Rik worried.  Eydna has known Elmador nearly her entire life and not once had she seen him look this worried; not even when the priesthood placed the Hoggron  on  his head.

 

“Elmador, my Rik, my friend what troubles you enough to drag me away from my brewery” she said lightly.  He smiled at her greeting thinking how things had turned out and wondered why their matriarchs had not come to an agreement.  Still all things considered Eydna is a far better friend than a wife and queen.

 

“I think you and perhaps the Healers Guild can confirm my suspicions; and if we are in agreement, we will have to close our boarders and go into a lock-down like the four Krakas did upon receiving Grungni’s warnings.  In the past we sealed all the Krakas, Kazads, Grungs, and Ungdrin that join all of Norsca from the outside.  For how long that is up to you and the others to decide.”

 

*

 

It was much later when the representatives of the Healers Guild; the Herbalist, Physicians, Apothecary/Alchemist guild-masters arrived after being summoned by the King Elmador that the gravity of the situation dawned on each of them.  Included for the first time in the meeting is the thane of the King’s Rangers and he is somewhat perplexed by seeing all the entire Healers Guild present and wondered about the King’s health.

 

“Thane Durak, you have been invited because of the reports that have been submitted,” King Elmador informed him.  “Not because they are deficient but what they all contain; each contains a small portion of a story, combined they tell an ongoing saga.” 

 

They were all seated around the same table piled high with Krons on the next table a map is laid out showing where the reports came from.  “My late father, King Finn was reading these older reports years ago on the night he died.  I believe what he surmised is the same as what the Healers Guild and I have put together.”  He then turned the meeting over to Guildmaster Furgil Orisson of Kalan Harghal.

 

Furgil was not one for standing when he can say what was needed while seated.  He is a physician and knew that one way to staying healthy was staying active but being a Gormtrommi he saw no need; exercise is for the Garazi.  He cleared his throat several times and then took another drink from his tankard that had been refilled by one of the king’s kin.  Furgil set the tankard down with a thud, “there is a pox on the Sigmar’s empire,” he said in all seriousness.  “Our king gathered scouting reports for all of Norsca Ankor.  The six of us have all come to the same conclusion as well as the three lessor kings of Norsca Ankor; the Umgi are dying of some sort of contagion.”

 

“What other signs are there” Thane Durak asked.  “So far, I have ordered the Rangers to stay away, keep up wind if possible, observe and report only; especially after one of my Deb Rangers tried to help an orphan child found.  But what Stromni Morikson reported was that the child was suffering from a constant cough, appeared feverish, Rutz, and had difficulties breathing.  But these are common complaints during the winter months. 

 

“It was only after black spots started appearing on both the child and Stromni that I gave the order.  Stromni wisely stayed down wind and yelled across the river to the rest of us to stay away.  Showing and giving mercy brought about his untimely death; he built a large funeral pyre to burn the dead.  Then he himself lay atop another pyre as he drank the last of his ale and smoked his last pipe of tobacco.  When he died, we fired a burning quarrel at the pyre and it also burned.”

 

Priestess Eydna responded; “That order was wisely given.  How long did it take for the black spots to appear on Stromni and his death” she asked?  “Also where was your patrol sector at this time?”

 

Our patrol normally patrols north of the Dumaraz River all the way to the Sea of Claws.  We were two days away from the coast when Stromni crossed over the Dumaraz River that divides Norsca Ankor from Troll Country upon sighting the Umgi child.  Lately there have been more such sightings, but I had assumed the Umgi were fleeing Trolls, not some contagion.”

 

*

 

Year 1111 to 1115

 

The Dawi to the south, in the Worlds Edge Mountains sealed their Karaks during the initial start of the plague, and fight off underground Skaven attacks as a devastating outbreak of the Black Plague begins in the Sigmar’s Empire and spreads throughout the world over the next five years.  So named for the spreading black spots it caused on the on the skin.  The disease was fast spreading and fast-acting, killing its victims in days if not hours after the symptoms appeared.  No known medicine could help, and the speed of the disease provided no time to study it.  The disease was soon thought to be unstoppable, with prayers and pleas to the Gods thought to be the only way to be spared.  Both the low and high born suffered and died.

 

Only in Norsca Ankor are the effects of the Black Plague never felt mainly due to the closing of the boarders to all Umgi refugees fleeing the plague; denying all entrance to Norsca Ankor upon pain of death.

    

*       *       *



#453 Skull Krusher

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Posted 02 April 2021 - 12:05 AM

Kraka Draka – Part Three Hundred Seventy Six (376)

 

 

Chapter One Hundred Twelve

Night of the Walking Dead

Year 4681 or  1681 IC

 

 

It is recorded in the royal archives of the High King of Norsca Ankor and elsewhere as; the Night of the Walking Dead.  This event is recorded in sixty-four Kalans archives as well who make up the whole of Kraka Draka.  For one night, and one night only the dead walked the corridors of the living.  Each Karak both in Norsca Ankor and Karaz Ankor to the far south record the events of this one night and how it affected each of their Karaks differently.

*

It is just past the midnight, the 30th day of Kulkelzet and Prince Alrik “Drazhgrund” Kartinson, the uncle of Thungni Gothson the 44th King.  Drazhgrund had just left his living quarters when a Drak-Grundi  (or Hammerer) came running, out-of- breath, pale as a corpse; followed closely by a Drak-Azuldrungi (or Ironbreaker).  In his lifetime, Drazhgrund had spent thirty years as a Ranger and equal amount of years as a Drak-Azuldrungi; and now he is considered a Deb Drak-Grundi after only twenty some years even though he is considered a Throngrinki (or Kalan elder).  But in all that time in the ranks of the Rik (or King), he had never run; unless it was to a fight, just why are they running.  Surely there is no battle within the royal compound of Kalan Durazklad, so he followed quickly after them, but not at a run.

 

Just before arriving at the main door of the audience chamber where the King Thungni heard petitions or settled disputes, Drazhgrund turns aside and entered through a private entrance used only by those kin close to the king or his advisers; being the king’s uncle had certain advantages.  Upon entering, he nodded to his nephew who having felt the movement of air oft to his left and the sound of the stone panel opening and closing returned the nod.  As Prince Alrik took his position one step down and to the right of the Drak (or Dragon) skull throne he listened to the final arguments presented in a dispute between Kalan Aufist of the Glass Maker Guild and Kalan Keg of the Pottery Guild.  The fact that the two apprentices from Grudge Keeper and the Loremaster infers to Drazhgrund that the dispute is trivial; something that the Artisans Guildmaster; Dorin Lunnson should have adjudicated and resolved long before bringing this to the king’s attention.

 

The king listened tolerantly; Drazhgrund could tell that his nephew was thinking and was about to render his decree when the audience chamber doors opened and the Door Warden allowed the two warriors to enter.  He could see their honor knots upon the haft of their weapons.  The two were met by a Drak-Azuldrungi who escorted the pair to the King’s Herald who upon hearing what reason they came to interrupt the King’s Audience; immediately left their side and approached and disrupted the audience. 

 

Thungni was not oblivious to what was occurring at the far end of the chamber and reluctantly welcomed the interruption.   His Herald raised his staff and banged the floor with it three times; “Your majesty, these warriors bear dire news that affects Kraka Draka.”  Everyone in the hall took a deep breath. The silence is deafening.  The Drak-Azuldrungi standing guard along the walls start to draw their weapons; ready to die to protect the Rik and Kraka Draka.  The audience was at an abrupt end and the petitioners are escorted out assured that their King would make a decision and they would receive his Kron.  When the doors are secured, King Thungni places his helm on his head, grabs his axe and steps away from the throne followed closely by Drazhgrund; they stop in front of the two warriors.

 

“Speak. You first,” nodding toward the Drak-Azuldrungi.

 

“Excuse me, your majesty.  Should we not order your senior war thanes be in attendance immediately so as not to repeat the news more than once,” suggested the apprentice Loremaster. 

 

The one thing that his father; King Goth and his Uncle Drazhgrund had drilled into him was not to make public your rebukes or displeasure on those who cannot protest that rebuke for fear of being treasonous. So he said nothing to the Loremaster;  knowing Drazhgrund would administer the rebuke in private.

 

“No we will not wait,” the King replied.  “Continue, what have you to report?”   

 

Drong Norgrimson of Kalan Shieldbreaker, the senior Drak-Azuldrungi who is the Thane of all the Azuldrungal states only, “our dead stir and walk once more and not just in the Royal Grongol but in all the Kalan Grongols (or tombs).”

 

“What!” is uttered in amazement, fear, terror and confusion or a combination of all from not just one voice in the audience chamber but from nearly all.

 

“It started no more than a half candle-mark ago.  One of the Grongol-Undi (or Tomb Guard) of Kalan Wyrhead of the Bakery Guild heard noise within their Grongol. Upon unlocking and opening the Grongol door he was startled to see two long dead ancestors walking and moving about,” Drong stated, “he quickly slammed the door shut and barred the door.”  

 

“Grongol-Undi for other Kalan have reported the same,” the Drak-Grundi.  “Some Kalans without greater resources just wrapped their deceased in shrouds and placed them within carved out niches instead of sealed coffins or stone sarcophagus.  In some cases the Uzkular (Undead) have managed to leave the Grongol and attacked the living.  So far there has been one death, that of Anaya Morgodottier a Gormtrommi who died of a terror induce heart attack; though dead she too rose and is now a Uzkular.”

 

King Thungni and Lord Drazhgrund looked at each other and both saw the danger to the Ankor (Realm) and they both nodded in agreement.  “Sound the Drak-Horns, sound the Call to Arms signal.”  King Thungni commanded.  It was better to be safe than sorry.  Two Drak-Hammerers went to the great hall where the two great Drak horns were mounted.  The dragon horns that King Snorri, the first king had hollowed out, engraved with Rhuns, and then inlaid with Gal and precious gems.  Taking a huge breath they began blowing the horns, and the horns thundered .  Every one throughout the Karak awakened from their sleep or stood where they were in disbelief, setting aside  what they were doing when they heard the call to arms, the calling of the entire Karak to arms warning them all that the Karak is in danger.  “To Arms!!”

 

Throughout Kraka Draka the great Drak-Horns sounded. The deep reverberating sound echoed throughout the entire Dawi (Dwarf) capital from the lowest mines to the highest watchtowers a top Mount Sjoktraken.  At first there is disbelief but then disbelief gave way to resolve as the horns continued to sound the call to arms as the entire Karak went on an instant war-time-footing with little or no dread or inconvenience. 

 

Throughout the entire capital Endrinkuli and Drak-Azul Drungi  began closing huge ten-foot-thick stone doors that pivoted on iron hinges, locking and barring them into position thus blocking and securing Kraka Draka from danger.  Only those halls and Ungors accessible by the Warriors Guild and the Drak-Azuldrungi  were open so they can take full advantage of the interior lines of communication so as to send Dawi warriors to the embattle sections. 

 

In all the Kalan compounds, females with small infants and children too young to hold and use a weapon affectively as well as the infirmed were ushered into secret well stocked hidden halls by the armed Priestess Sisters of Valaya to await the all-clear signal or even worse.

 

The Throng mustered.

 

Engineers assigned to the Warriors Guild began issuing portable Zharr Barag (or flame-bellows) to two-Dawi warrior teams.

 

The Warriors Guild, the largest guild began the muster; as armor was being strapped on, and weapons readied the Thanes for the various Throng units waited for orders as they sent their units to preplanned defensive posts.

 

All this is well and good; however the threat was within and not from outside.

 

*

 

Ten warriors are assigned to pairs of Drak-Azuldrungi who  accompany Zharr Barag teams to each of the Kalan Grongols while other warriors patrol the main hallways leading to and from those Grongol.

 

Drong Norgrimson the Thane of the Drak-Azuldrungi is heading towards the first of the disturbances, the Baker’s Grongol knowing that the Royal Grongol is secured and no Uzkular or anyone not alive can open the doors from inside; his Rik is in agreement with that decision.  Besides Lord Drazhgrund and several Drak-Grundi were going to deal with the Royal Grongol.  But then the priesthood stepped in; meaning his brother.

 

The Grand-master of the Order of Guardian; Garil “Uzkular Stalker” Norgrimson of Kalan Shieldbreaker senior priest of Gazul sought out his younger brother Drong.

 

“Thane Drong,” Garil called out. “I just came from the King’s council chambers; how do you plan to combat the Uzkular who feel no pain nor exhibit Dwor; unlike our Throng.”  Drong and his fellow warriors abruptly stop, look at each other; they had not thought about that.

 

“Perhaps, the Priests of Gazul will confer our Ancestor God’s blessing upon us,” Drong replied.  Drong knew that there is a small Gazul Kadar (or temple) adjacent to each Kalan burial vault, so that meant there would be a Gazul priest nearby to help.

 

Garil gruff demeanor gave the hint of a smile or perhaps a nod; most Dawi avoid the Priest of Gazul, much like Umgi (Humans) avoid the followers of Morr. “May Stone and Steel receive you within their honorable ranks as they guide you to the halls of your ancestors,” Garil said as he held his hammer over the heads of the assembled warriors.  Then turning to his brother he motioned him to one side away from the others.

 

“Brother, I fear some Necromancer has called forth our dead.  Slay the Necromancer and perhaps our honored dead will find peace again,” Garil stated then added.  “But I think the Order of Guardian must be at the head of each group of warriors.”  His brother was about contradict him but Garil continued over his objections. “It is one thing to attack unknown Uzkular and another to dismember our undead kin.  The Order shall deal with them and you will take care of those we cannot.  Perhaps the Fishing Guild will provide nets.”

 

*

 

By now the Uzkular have walked for nearly two marks, Dainn Burlokson; Priest of Gazul stood outside the doors of the Wyrhead  Grongol.  No voices are heard but then again, the Uzkular cannot speak; the only noise was the sound of perhaps a lid from a coffin or sarcophagus falling to the floor.  Dainn turned to the Kalan Wyrhead Grongol-Undi and asked, “How many Uzkular did you see?”  It was a good thing that Dainn had blessed everyone at this particular Kalan Grongol, for most of these Kalan are all Khazukan-Dawi and would be fleeing or on the floor in a fetal position if confronted by a Uzkular. 

 

“I saw only two; one appeared to be Katrin Dernadottir dead for fifteen years,” he paused then continued “not sure about the other; but more gaunt, nearly skeletal beneath the dried skin.”

 

So those who have turned to dust have not risen Dainn thought to himself.  He prepared, calmly began the prayer-chant to Gazul as he readied the spell.  When he was ready, the Grongol-Undi will open the doors. The Drak-Azuldrungal who  accompany Zharr Barag would ensure that the Uzkular would not exit the Grongol.  With a nod of the head from the priest, the doors to the Grongol slowly opened.

 

The Kantaz (or Hundred) year candles continued to burn; one had been knocked over and lay upon the floor, its guttering light giving enough illumination that Dainn could see one skeletal Uzkular with reddish eyes gleaming with malevolence;  it had no legs and is crawling across the floor toward the now opened door.  A second and third mummified Uzkular slowly shamble out of the darkness towards the light entering through the open door.  The Gazul priest waited to see if more would appear, but in reality, he wanted all three in close proximity to each other.  Dainn could tell that the Dawi behind him are ready but apprehensive,  he did not have to look he knew.   Then within one heartbeat and the next the Priest cast Retribution.  The crawler crumbled into a pile of dust leaving behind only remnants of a burial shroud or clothing, the other two took a step or two before collapsing to the floor and no longer moved.  Dainn calls out to the Grongol-Undi, “Were either of those two Katrin?”

 

“Nay,” he said.

 

Then enter, Drak-Azuldrungal first,” Dainn ordered, “and relight any Kantaz year candles you find unlit.  They eventually found Katrin Dernadottir where she collapsed, near the sealed sarcophagus of her dead son.  They checked the rest of the Grongol and found no Uzkular.  Dainn found that those that had been dead for centuries had long ago turned to dust, it was only the recent dead that had arisen; so he performed funeral rites up those bestowing the blessing of Gazul up them thus sealing them from a Necromancer’s influence.

 

Dainn then turned to the senior  Drak-Azuldrungi; “Where is the next closest Grongol?”  Hearing the answer he told him to lead the way.

 

*

Meanwhile Prince Drazhgrund is conferring with the Grand-master Priest of Gazul; Garil  Norgrimson outside the main temple of Gazul; the Ancestor God of the Underworld which is adjacent to the vast Royal Grongol.  Forty-three King’s and their consorts, and every past member of the Durazklad Kalan is entombed here.  All except one, Duregar Kraggson, uncle to Kraka Draka’s 1st King; Snorri “Drak Slayer” Cromson.

 

“We do not have to open the doors,” Drazhgrund said quietly to Garil.

 

“How do you expect me or the others to rid the Grongol of Uzkular if we do not open the door,” Garil replied somewhat at a loss.

 

“Use the Grongol-Undi door grill,” is the reply.  Garil looked at the double doors and the walls on either side and saw no grill.  He had been in this tomb several times and had seen no grill on either side of the door and acknowledged the idea had merit.

 

Drazhgrund approached the door, unseen by those behind him, his hand went into his long-braided beard until he found the what he wanted and removed an icon shaped like two crossed weapons; a hammer and an axe.  Stepping closer to the door he placed the icon into one of many similar depression in the decoratively caved door.  A slight click is felt and a viewing grill opens up at eye level.  Once open Drazhgrund reaches in and opens an inner door allowing him a view of inside the Grongol.  Within his vision he sees that all Kantaz year candles still burn and only one Uzkular; his brother Groth; his nephew’s father.

 

“Garil Norgrimson, Priest of Gazul; the King requires your service.  Now!” Prince Alrik seldom used his voice of command, but he did today.  At first the Priest is taken aback almost insulted for the lack of respect due as a priest. “Say nothing to anyone but a Priest of Gazul of what you see,” as the Prince commanded.

 

Garil stepped forward as Drazhgrund stepped aside.  The door grill is perhaps two hand high and wide, and he can see the last king who has been dead for 29 years pacing back and forth like King Groth frequently did when confronted with an unmovable obstacle.  The Priest turned to Prince Alrik, “Please tell the others to step back, better yet face away from the door; all but you.”  Drazhgrund did as he was asked just a little perplexed, then Garil told him what he was going to do; and if he failed Drazhgrund was to slay him. 

 

Drazhgrund nodded that he would, for he had a vague idea what the priest was going to do; something that was rarely ever mentioned in the oldest archives due to the treacherous ramifications of falling or embracing the darkness in an honorable attempt to eradicate evil.   The accompanying Drak-Grundi and Drak-Azuldrungi who heard looked at one another confused but did not question either the Priest or their Prince. 

 

The Priest held his two-handed warhammer straight out, pointed at Uzkular king.  With both hands on the Rhun-hammer’s haft just below the hammerhead, Garil began chanting in a string of harsh, broken syllabled words; his weapon pointed at his target, he kept uttering the chant time after time after time.  Reddish flames seemed to ignite all over Garil’s black armor and along the hammer’s shaft; they appear to pulsate in concert with the priest’s heartbeat.  Garil continued unperturbed by what is occurring and Drazhgrund understood only two words, Gazul.  Then suddenly Garil stopped; the pulsating reddish light fusing into the hammerhead which glowed as if freshly forged; the Garil spoke a single word and the light shot forth from the hammer head through the grill of the door. 

 

Unseen by those outside the red light fills the entire Grongol, every corridor within the Royal Grongol is filled with Gazul’s light, every niche containing an ancient wrapped ancestor in their burial shroud, every coffin, every sarcophagus is surrounded then absorbs the Ancestor God’s light.  The reddish glow then soaked into the very bedrock rock walls, ceiling and foundation of the mountain itself and quickly filled every Grongol throughout Kraka Draka then slowly over a candle-mark dissipates.  All the Grongol are quiet once more.

 

Garil slowly crumbled to the floor as did every Priest performing the same rite.  Garil’s hammer makes a loud noise disrupting the quiet as it hits the floor.  Prince Alric looks through the grill, Groth is not seen in the Kantaz year candle light.  He then kneels beside Garil Norgrimson, slowly turns the priest over and is startled.  The prince hardly recognizes the Priest that lay before him, though alive Garil appears to have aged nearly two hundred years during the casting of the spell.  Drazhgrund called for a belt keg from one of the warriors, opened and noted from the smell that this brew came from the Rusty Harpoon.  He tipped a small amount into the Priest’s mouth who sputtered and opened his eyes. 

 

“Have you looked inside?” Garil gasps.  Drazhgrund nodded yes.  “Help me up, I, we must go within.”  Drazhgrund helped him up, signaled for two of the Drak-Azuldrungal to support the now frail priest.  The hammer once again in its harness upon Garil’s back seems to weigh him down as he now walked like a stooped over feeble Karugromthi Khazukan. 

 

Drazhgrund opened the Grongol doors after securing the door grill.  It took Drazhgrund nearly half the night as the Grongol-Undi and the others to inspect the entire Royal Grongol.  The dead, those that had arose, are now back where they belong.  In their niche, coffin, or sarcophagus once more. 

 

Rumors of an Uzkular horde invading Norsca was still being debated by those who were not knowledgeable about that night’s events.  So days later, after Kraka Draka returned back to what would be normalcy King Thungni Gothson held a meeting of the matriarchs and patriarchs of each Kalan.  Most of the Kalans wanted to know what had happened.  They knew that when a Dawi dies, the body is taken to the Temple of Gazul, where it lies in state for four days.  There, the priest invokes the protection of Gazul over the body to ensure the safe arrival of the spirit in the realm of the Ancestors.  They assumed that the protection prevents their kin’s bodies from being used for necromantic purposes.  After four days, the Kalan’s burial Grongol is opened, the body is entombed and the doors are sealed until the next burial.  All this the Kalans of Kraka Draka knew.  “So what happened,” they all asked in almost a unison voice.

 

The Kalan Throngrinki gasp, and are shaken to their very core by the sight of the now greatly aged Grand-master of the Order of the Guardian and Priest of Gazul; Garil Norgrimson and his fellow priests.  Shaken because one of the most powerful Necromancers of the Old World had caused every dead to arise and just for that one night only; to be forever known as the “Night of the Walking Dead.”

 

 

Note:  Hope you enjoyed this version of The Walking Dead.  Have a pint on my tab.


Edited by Skull Krusher, 03 April 2021 - 04:19 AM.


#454 Skull Krusher

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 02:14 AM

Kraka Draka – Part Three Hundred Seventy Seven (377)

 

Chapter One Hundred Thirteen

The Frurndar

Year 5350 or 2350 I.C.

 

The message from his distant Imperial cousin was months in transit before it arrived in Kraka Draka to be read by Holds 57th King; Thorgard.  That the High King Thorgrim Grudebearer of Karaz-a-Karak had taken the time to dictate and send the message must mean it is important.  That only he, Thorgard and his many times great uncle; Lord Drazhgrund were allowed to read the message indicated even more the importance.

 

Drazhgrund and his 2nd wife Rinn Harga Ulladottier formerly of the Royal Agrilaz Kalan of Kraka Ornsmotek; had just left their quarters intending to spend some time with their great grandson Balin and his Rinn Sigrid when their Rik’s messenger found them almost at their destination.  Harga continued on as Drazhgrund followed the messenger back to the King’s private archives.  The Drak-Grundi knocked and announced Prince Alric.

 

“You summoned me, my lord” Drazhgrund said.

 

“Enough, Uncle. Sit, pour us some of the Rusty Harpoons finest that Florin has to offer,” and seeing that his many times great uncle was now relaxed he spoke again.  “Our Imperial cousin has sent us a message or more precise; a warning,” seeing that both he and Drazhgrund forty-eight years prior during the final battle of Grovod Forest in 2302 I.C. had met King Thorgrim when the Chaos Horde had been defeated, Drazhgrund wondered what the warning was about, another Incursion of Chaos.  He hoped not.  Then his nephew handed him the message Kron.

 

The message read; The Frurndar have been sighted in the northern part of the World’s Edge Mountains. Followed by two words written boldly they almost shouted loudly from the surface of the Kron if not from far-away Karaz-a-Karak; “Blood Grudge.”   Then the personal rune stamp and signature of High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer of Karaz-a-Karak. 

 

Alric “Drazhgrund” Kartinson, 2nd son of the 42nd King reread the message and is very quiet as he thought through all the ramifications of such a short message.  He rose and walked quietly over to the large wall map, that detailed much of the known “Old World” from the shores of the Chaos Wastes to the ruins of Karak Azgal to the distant south and from Albion in the west to the Mountains of Mourn in the east.  Information collected at great danger over the centuries from various sources were annotated, updated when new scouting reports came in.  Portions of the wall map is blank mainly due to lack of reliable information. 

 

“You realize nephew that our cousin’s message leaves a lot to be desired,” Drazhgrund commented still looking at the map and pointing out the length and width of the mountain range.  “There is 1,600 miles of World’s  Edge Mountains that are north of Everpeak.”

 

“What do we know about “The Tainted” in regards to this missive.” Thorgard pondered.

 

“Not enough to remove the Blood Grudge,” Drazhgrund pointed at one particular portions of the map, Uzkulak.  “Back 1000 I.C. in my great great grandfather’s reign, which would be the 39th King Finn Thungnison; it was reported by escaped slaves that the Frurndar had managed to construct a sea canal tunnel under the Great Skull Lands linking the Falls of Doom to Uzkulak which is located upon a river that flows into the Frozen Seas in the far east giving them an exit in their far north.”  Turning back to his nephew the King, he added, “In the 1,350 years since that tunnel has been built not one Frurndar ship managed to sail through or upon the Frozen Seas or to the Seas of Chaos.  I think the solid pack ice thwarts their attempt at any raiding for slaves with their northern fleet.”

 

“We are most fortunate that Kraka Ravnsvake is much closer to the High Pass Road and is able to monitor those who travel that pass.  King Haarkron Vikramson keeps us informed of any Chaos Horde or the Frurndar invasion force,” Drazhgrund added.

 

“Which leaves the fallen Karak Vlag,” Thorgard added, “which is just west of Zorn Uzkul in the northern reaches of the World’s Edge Mountains which disappeared totally during the last Chaos Incursion in 2302 I.C.”

 

“Our cousin sent Rangers and Troll Drengi to searched for Karak Vlag but they found not a trace of it, it is like it had never existed; not even the Loremasters know for sure though some have suspicions about its fate.”  Both shook their heads, Thorgard continued, “I read one Kron that says Karak Vlag is Zharr-Naggrund and in another Kron they say a Chaos Dragon; Galrauch destroyed the Karak.  In any case our wondering will not solve the problem of just what our Imperial cousin intends for us to do.”

 

“What we have always done, no more no less to remove a grudge,” Drazhgrund replied.  Send him this, “The Frurndar are already Uzkular they just do not know it yet; and we in Norsca with our axes and hammers will remind them when they cross our paths.” Drazhgrund said in all seriousness.

 

 

 

Note:  In the Dwarf timeline - The Tainted or the Frurndar were sighted in the norther Worlds Edge Mountain, who is to say that Norsca was not notified.... Have a pint on my tab.

 

 

*        *        *



#455 Skull Krusher

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Posted 25 April 2021 - 02:20 AM

Kraka Draka – Part Three Hundred Seventy Eight (378)

 

Note:  Is a pot just a pot; depends what you are cooking in it.  Have a pint on my tab and I hope you enjoy this little tale.

 

*        *        *

 

Chapter Once Hundred Fourteen

A Pot by Any Other Name is Still Just a Pot

Year 5515 or 2515 I.C.

 

 

As in any community: be they Dawi, Elgi, or the barbaric Umgi there are always disputes over whose craft is better and more worthy to be sold or even purchased.  Within the Archives is a report of such a disagreement.  This time it is between two Guilds; Pottery and Stone Mason.  It was not over who crafted the better coffin or sarcophagus, no that particular discussion is an ongoing dispute between the Carpenter and the Stone Mason Guild.  No this argument was who crafted the better pot; but also that the Pottery Guild is under contract with the Endrinkuli or (Engineers) Guild and the Stone Masons are no longer.

 

The Stone Masons argued that the Potters just shaped, baked, and then painted muddy excrement!  The Potters countered that the Stone Mason are so poor they do not have even a pot to p.i.s.s.-in.  That was when the fight broke out eventually involving some twenty-five of the cliental in the Rusty Harpoon.  The staff were not happy nor was Florin who had to wade into the fray and crack a few heads with tankard pottery which shattered, a stone tankard would have shattered a few heads instead and a leather tankard would have been worthless.   Last of all; fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at the events only one weapon was used, which caused  Drazhgrund’s righteous anger since he was having a quiet dinner with his Kvinn, Kari who had to use a weapon to defend herself against an unruly belligerent drunkard who is not a member of the two feuding guilds unwittingly attacked her; which infuriated her uncle, the King. 

 

Two Thanes; Ulther Morekson of Kalan Zharrheart and Logan Algrimson of Kalan Burrdrik who in a planning session with Garil Hadrason also of Kalan Zharrheart who happens to be the Guild Master of the Metal Smiths Guild, noted that their guild members had not been drawn into the dispute about pots.  After all their guild did supply every thing a cook would need; kettles, griddles, skillets, bread pans, etc, etc, etc and even pots in all shapes and sizes made from either good solid iron or copper.  Every Kalan and their families within who ran their own kitchens needed cookware from the Metal Smith Guild and that included every tavern, inn, and brewery within Kraka Draka.

 

Those who were in the Rusty Harpoon that evening and heard the arguments dissolve into taunts then violence say that the fight seemed to breakout along Traditionalist versus Innovation among the various craft-halls in attendance.  Some say that the traditionalist Kalans and Guilds have shown little respect over the millennia for those Guilds, saying that those whose Gromthi did not make the long journey from (mythical) Zorn are suspect; that the Dawi of these upstart Guilds are not Dawi enough.  Further, the traditionalist see no need for innovation like those of the Shipwright, Sailing, Sailors, Chandler and Fishing Guilds despite being essential to the safety and not to mention the economy of Kraka Draka and Norsca Ankor.  The traditionalist only give a grudging tolerance to the Kalans that make up the Merchants Guild.  What the traditionalist seem to forget is that every Dawi are the descendants from those who came forth from Karaka Zorn.  Of course it may be that those Kalans that make a living upon the Varr think those that shun fresh air, the sun, and them as nothing but Umgak Khazukan.

 

The archives show that someone in the King’s Council of Thanes suggested that Stone Masons and the Potters demonstrate how a stone pot is made from start to finish and then the Potters do the same.  First off, the Mining Guild showed what it took to cut a block of stone out of the bedrock. Most think that the only tools a Stone Mason needs to create a pot is a Grund and a Klinka; but not so.  There are three types of Klinkas; point, tooth or rake, and straight flat and these three categories of Klinka are in many different sizes.  Then there is the wooden mallets and the Grund.  But the Pottery people say all that is a moot point without the Miner Guild who remove the stone from mountain in order for the Stone Masons to carve.  Then there is the Pottery tools; a rotating table and one’s hands as they manipulate the spinning mound of wet clay.  If one made a muddle, you mash it back into a shapeless lump of clay and start over.  Not so with the Stone Mason; one fatal error and the carver needs to obtain another undamaged stone and start over.  There was a grudging agreement that both disciplines took a great deal of skill.

 

Traditionalist did not like the fact that within the King’s Throng the Pottery Guild  is under contract with the Endrinkuli Guild to provide perfectly round pots with a flat base and with lids to be used by Endrinkuli who are crewing the Barag (warmachine).  Ammunition wagons carry far more pots than round stone to be used by the Grudge Thrower Barag.  The Apothecary/Alchemist Guild have created two distinct mixtures; the first mixture is of distill natural tar oils or lamp oils the second is distilled resin from the sweetgum tree.  Those two become a volatile flammable gelatinous goop when combined.  The pots are filled; lids sealed but not before adding a fuse through a small round hole in the lid.  Fuses could be cut for various lengths by the Barag crew.  When the fuses are lit just before the Barag Grudge Thrower lobs the clay pot towards any enemy.  Pots would then explode depending on the fuse length and distance to target to explode either on contact or just above the enemy covering them with fiery paste that was nearly impossible to put out.  Some of these exploding pots additionally are filled with small sharp pieces of metal causing further inflicted wounds upon the enemy.  Traditionalist did not like the fact that Grudge Thrower Barags were no longer just using Dammaz stones carved by the Stone Mason Guild.

 

The other Endrinkuli Barag did not even consider using perfectly round Dammaz stones for ammunition is the Cannon Barag.  It took too much time for the Stone Mason Guild to make suitable rock ammunition.  Ammo wagons could not carry very many; instead the Engineering and Metal Smith Guilds created suitable ammunition molds that could be used again and again, all they had to do is pour liquid metal directly from the forges into the molds.  No Endrinkuli in his right mind wanted to fire a stone out the barrel of a cannon for fear that the rock would disintegrate inside the barrel or perhaps become lodged in the barrel and have the barrel explode.  It seemed to the Stone Masons that they are no longer relevant in the defense of Kraka Draka and this further embittered them.

 

Then it came down to food storage.  The size of stone pots versus pottery came down to ease in moving and transport; not to mention long term storage.  Stone cistern carved into bedrock is great for storing water to be used during the hot summer months but it is not very portable.  Such cisterns used to store large amounts of grains is preferable since it is rodent proof and the stone keeps the grains at a cooler temperature which prevents spoilage.  But in both cases not portable.  The Farmers and Herder Guilds prefer cisterns for long term storage for what they harvest.  Once created cisterns last a millennia.

 

The Pottery Guild produces pottery in all shapes and sizes; whatever the patron requires whatever the event be it a Barazdeg, Navnsdeg, Brodag, Guzulmore Grungni, or Kumenouht, etc, etc, etc.  Which made for repeat business.  Some pottery is made only for decorative purposes just to hold flowers or a bowel of fruit.

 

On the other hand, the Stone Mason Guild or Stoneshapers as some within the guild like to call themselves excel in the design of fortifications and Dawi style of architecture.  Their legendary skill at shaping rock and the knowledge of the earth is without equal. However there is not a lot of repeat business and nearly all their contracts is subject to the King’s approval when it comes to expanding Kalan family areas, fortifications, and security to Kraka Draka.  The Guild had to be reminded by the king that it was the Mining and Stone Mason Guilds that had built all of Kraka Draka and not the Pottery Guild; there was no reason for a Ruck to break out, no reason for his niece to be attacked as a result of their clash while eating dinner with her husband; the patriarch of his Kalan.

 

It is also noted in the Royal Archives that only one Drengi Oath had been sworn over the incident by Ragni Alricsson a member of the Warriors Guild.  Shamed that he mistakenly attacked Kari “Kazhunkidrengi” Katrindottier youngest child of Katrin, and the niece of Queen Vala, and wife of Prince Alrik “Drazhgrund” Kartinson.  But the stories that circulated within the Rusty Harpoon and other taverns within the Ankor say that if Kari had not knocked Ragni unconscious “Drazhgrund” would have broken Ragni in half and there would be no Okstal or Bludgald; Ragni Alricsson would have been dead to his Kalan, one way or another Oath or no Oath.

 

 

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Edited by Skull Krusher, 29 April 2021 - 03:32 PM.


#456 Skull Krusher

Skull Krusher

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 05:30 AM

Kraka Draka – Part Three Hundred Seventy Nine (379)

 

 

 

 

*        *        *

 

Chapter One Hundred Fifteen

 

The Feast

Norsca -1420  I.C. -4420

 

This section of the Royal Archives is ancient; despite the Master Rhuns of Preservation upon the Kron Ori handled it reverently, and with the utmost care.  Very few Loremasters have mastered more than the most common picture Rhuns.  These few are conversant with the more intricate Aldrunr picture Rhuns written in the ancient Kron; which is why it had been translated into Khazalid.  Still both the Aldrunr Kron and the Khazalid Kron translation are well over six millennia old and the Rhuns are still as strong as the day they were cast.  The young Loremaster apprentice from Kalan Ironspike was curious and wondered just what this Kron held.  He looked toward where the senior Loremaster is for this section of the archives and saw that he is busy researching something.  Carefully the apprentice opened the cover and read the date of this particular Kron; I.C -4420 which told him that it was written two hundred twenty-five years after the founding of Kraka Draka during the 1st King’s rein.  Reading further; “on this date High King of Karaz Norsca and Kraka Draka; King Snorri Drak Slayer Cromson held a Trogg in honor of Grimnir and Morgrim prior to Grimnir’s departure to the Chaos Wastes.” 

 

Ori Grungson very nearly dropped the Kron to the floor but did not; he slowly sat at the nearest table as sat.   Though the archives are not dark it is not satisfactory for reading and grudgingly set the Kron aside and lit the lamp in the center of the table.  Adjusting the wick for utmost radiance Ori then began to read; but what caught his eye was the inclusion of the Royal Kalan’s head cooks menu and noted that menus have evolved very little over the past millennia or two and intended to bring Ironspike’s  master chef to the Royal Archives to copy the dishes on the menu. 

 

Ori’s mouth watered as he read the first item on the menu sausages and taters; the memory at his grandmother’s table being served a platter of steaming bangers (sausages) and mash (baby taters) sprinkled with fresh sea salt, wild mountain wee tomatoes and leaks.  The memory of that smell made Ori yearn for his faraway youth sitting at her table.  He read on, and the salvatory flavors of meatballs made from beef, pork, onions served with a  heaping helping of mountain berries all covered with a dark gravy made from the mash of rich ale.  All this was ladled over thick dark bread.  Ori continued to read and came across mention of Miner’s Pie.  It had a mashed tater bottom crust which held sweet corn, peas, onions and large amounts of venison then it was covered with more mashed tater with melted mountain goat cheese.  Tater-Leek soup Ori noted was also served, a stalwart at any Kalan table.  Then here is the main course; smoke sausages served with juniper berries, and sour-apples and smothered in thick mustard sauce; and Black Pudding, Flat Bread, Mountain Duck; the list of food went on and on.  Ori had a curious thought and wondered if this was the first and only Guzulmor ever held for Grimnir.

 

Ori would have kept reading about what was served at the Trogg but a scrap of what might have been an ancient bookmark drew his attention and he carefully opened the Kron to that section of the book.  He was shocked and proud when he read the words of Grimnir; “Cold winds throttled the barren land of steep rock and windswept pines that bow-down at the edge of the mountainous peaks. It was there that I battled and slew Glammendrung the pillaging Drak.”  Then Ori read further; that Grimnir showed to those at the Trogg a large claw cut from Glammendrung and wondered what happened to it.  Did his son, Morgrim take it with him or is it in here in some forgotten Thindrongol.

 

In his youth when still a Garazi, Ori had been taught about the oldest mythologies where Grimnir’s brother; Grungni foretold the coming of Chaos.  Grungni along with his sons Thungni and Smednir forged weapons and armor of great power; then Grungni and Thungni inscribed them with powerful Rhuns.  The finest armor and most powerful weapons were bestowed upon Grimnir while others were distributed to the greatest warriors  in each distant Dwarf hold.  Ori knew for a fact that within the Royal Kalans of Norsca Ankor those artifacts are guarded as Kalan treasure.

 

Ori set the Kron aside and scanned the shelves where this one had been shelved.  He had wondered about Morgrim; the ancestor god of the Endrinkuli when he saw an ancient scouting report and wondered why it is shelved here.  He carefully opened it and saw it was dated from the same time period.  As he read Ori is stunned; “Drong Burlokson, Alrik Grimlison, and I; Oinn Stromnison did as our King ordered us to do.  We followed Morgrim and his father at a discrete distance.  The winds of Norsca carried to us Grimnir’s death-song.  Despite being ordered by his father to turn back Morgrim continued to follow his father; and we followed them but we were are stopped at the very edge of the Chaos Wastes by a demon.  For three days Grimnir and Morgrim fought the scion of the Chaos god; Khorne.  Grimnir looked to be on the verge of collapsing from his wounds and we wanted to join them in battle but before we could take a step forward, Grimnir struck a mortal blow.  We would have stayed away but Morgrim spotted us and waved us forward.  We shared our food and ale with them as they rested.  Grimnir ordered his son to return home to take his place as protector of all Dawi.  We watched as Grimnir disappeared into the perpetual haze of the Chaos Wastes; sadden but proud we four then turned our back on the Chaos Waste and made our way back to Kraka Draka.”  Ori Grungson read further but this time there was an insertion to the scouting report saying that the Grudge Keeper gave a copy of the Dammaz Kron to Morgrim to take back south; so lost in thought that he did not realize that the Loremaster Gorril Balinson of Kalan Drakdrengi stood beside him. 

 

“What have learned today young Ori Grungson?”

 

Startled, Ori looked up; “Gorril, the Gromthi; they were really here.”  Looking back down at the Kron before him.  “Grimnir was here…” then saw that Gorril nodded in the affirmative.

 

“Aye lad,” then pointed to a shelf; “there sits Karak Draka’s most treasured Kron, a duplicate mind you as the original sits in a Thindrongol.”

 

“Who is allowed to read the original Kron in the Thindrongol” Ori asked?

 

“All seven of the Gromthi Priesthood, but mainly those priests of Grimnir and Morgrim,” then added; “and of course the Loremasters for each Kalan,” Gorril answered. 

 

 

“The Endrinkuli are always here in the archives searching for anything Morgrim may have said and or described.  They know more about this section of the archives than most Loremasters,” as Gorril smiled.  “Read the next page of the Kron,” he suggested to Ori.

 

Ori did so; “Morgrim reluctantly returned home when the forces of Chaos were contained in the Chaos Waste.”   When he finished reading that line of the Kron he looked puzzled.

 

Gorril gave Ori what he thought that line meant, “I believe that Morgrim stayed here for a time after his father disappeared.  Hoping I imagine that Grimnir would return.  How long Morgrim stayed is not really known.  Perhaps just one season; as he waited Morgrim trained and taught our Endrinkuli.  Who knows if I am right or wrong, but if you ask anyone within the Endrinkuli Kalans they our extremely quiet on this subject.”

 

 

“The Endrunkuli can search all they want, but to me, the most important Rhun ever devised was by Valaya; and that all important special Rhun was created to protect every Dawi and while underground from the dangers of Chaos warp.  Her Rhun is what protects the four holds within Norsca Ankor from the corruption of Chaos Waste,” the senior Loremaster concluded.

 

“But like you; when I was your age as an apprentice, I also found the details of the Guzulmor or Trogg held for Grimnir and Morgrim very interesting.  I especially liked the names and descriptions of the elixirs and ales that were served,” Gorril informed him.  “Ask Florin “Keg” Grothson who operates the Rusty Harpoon “I know for a fact that the Rusty Harpoon has been serving this food for countless years because he has a copy of menu of the food and drinks that was served at that Trogg for Grimnir and Morgrim.”

 

“I have an idea, return the Kron to the shelf and we will have lunch at the Rusty Harpoon,” Gorril suggested.  “I am buying.”

 

For over a candlemark the Loremaster and the apprentice made their way through the corridors of Kraka Draka until they reached the winding stairs that brought them to hidden seaport inside Mount Sjoktraken.  The fresh smell of the ocean was apparent and it was at that moment young Ori Grungson spoke, “I wonder what our Gromthi would say if  they could see what our ancestors have built.”

 

“Valaya would be pleased,” Gorril replied.  A short time later the smell of food and drink from the Rusty Harpoon drew them in like bees to nectar.  As they walked through the double doors Florin looked up, smiled warmly and pointed to an empty table not to far from the fireplace.  When they were seated, Florin left his position behind bar counter and joined them.

 

 

He nodded at Gorril, his dislike for the Loremaster never showed even though it mirrored that of Lord Drazhgrund and with good reason for Florin had participated in the same battle; but his dislike did not stop him from treating all customers nearly the same, politely, “What is your desire besides getting away from those dusty Krons in the archives?”

 

Ori looked at Gorril and is not sure if he was joking about buying his lunch, but spoke up first. “Master Florin, I would like a steaming plater of Bangers and Mash, a plated of griddle fried Flatbread smothered with cheese and fire lichen spread, a bowl of Black Pudding and lastly a pitcher of your Mulled Wine,” hoping he had enough coin to pay if Gorril was joking.

 

Florin smiled then looked to Gorril, “I will have the Miners Pie, a Plate of Gold, and a small keg of Oakenstave’s finest ale,” Gorril asked, then asked Florin, “Why the smile?”

 

Florin chuckled and shook his head side to side, “Loremaster Gorril, for as many years as I have been running this establishment you have always brought your first-year apprentice here after they discovered the Kron detailing the Guzulmor or Trogg held for Grimnir and Morgrim.  It seems to be a tradition,” Florin answered.  Having taken their orders he headed to the kitchen, there was a sampling of the Trogg to prepare.

*        *        *

 

Note:  There is resently published; a Dungeons & Dragons Heroes’ Feast, The Official D&D Cookbook which is where I got the menu from.  It is an actual cookbook with meals for humans, elves, dwarves, halflings and orcs.  Check it out.






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