Origins of the Thorinkin

Imperial Year -335

The Orc Invasion of Karaz-a-Karak
It was the invasion of the lands of Karaz-a-Karak by Orc Warlord Ugrok Beardburner and his horde that laid the seeds for the foundation of Karak Thorinkin in millennia past. The Orc horde destroyed numerous Dwarven settlements on its march north, countless mines were overwhelmed and many, too many, Dwarfs were killed. The High King himself, Logan Proudbeard, was captured by the Orcs and suffered great humiliation. Driven into a fury by the seizure of their High King, the Dwarves, led by Gorazin Silverhorn, finally drove the Orcs away from their capital. Over the next year remnants of the Orc horde continued to rampage over the surrounding land until they are eventually defeated at the Battle of Black Water.

Many of the refugees from the settlements, mines and small holds destroyed by Ugrok's Orcs find sanctuary in Karaz-a-Karak and other Dwarf strongholds. Among those refugees were the survivors of the settlement of Dru Grimthorn a thriving mining town located near the hold of Karak Eight Peaks. Unlike many of their neighbors the Dwarves of Dru Grimthorn had been able to see off the initial Orc assaults on their homes. But their valiant defense could not last long. As more and more Orcs moved north even the high mountains and strong walls of Dru Grimthorn could not save the settlement from destruction.

The fall of Dru Grimthorn and the long retreat
In the final months of the year -335 the walls were finally breached and the settlement overrun by the Orcs. It was at this point, when all hope seemed lost that the fabled Thorin Metalturner rallied the few survivors and broke out of the surrounded settlement. Waving his mighty hammer - Hornthang - Thorin led a small band of survivors on a desperate fighting retreat deep into the Worlds Edge Mountains. Days of terror and courage followed, and then weeks as Thorin led the survivors south toward his kin’s hold of Karak-Azul, hoping that it had not yet fallen to the Orc hordes.

The Legend of Thorin Metalturner
Fighting bands of Orcs, Goblins and even Giants the entire length of their journey the band of survivors lost many more of their kin before the walls of Karak Azul were reached. By that time Thorin Metalturners deeds had taken on the aura of legend. Time and time again he rallied the few surviving warriors to fight off bands of Orcs and Goblins, his strength never seemed to fade and in every battle Hornthang spilled more and more Orc blood. Luck seemed to ever be with him, Orc blades and arrows could not touch him, and his armor after weeks of battle remained untouched. But it could not last...

... in the dawn light at the end of the year -335, some 4 months after the retreat from Dru Grimthorn, the remaining survivors looked down on the walls of Karak Azul - a Karak Azul that still proudly flew the banners of the Dwarfs. Already scouts from the hold had reported their approach and as the survivors wept silently at the sight of their destination free from Orcs groups of Warriors marched from the gates of the hold toward them. Walking, limping and even many cases dragging themselves and their kin down the mountain slopes the survivors drew closer and closer to Karak Azul's main gates and safety... It was then, as they neared their final destination that the Orcs struck...

The bridge of Karak Azul
Shadowing the survivors over the final last week had been a band of orcs and goblins led by the Giant Ozgod Bonecrusher. Intelligent and cunning Ozgod had known that the survivors would be at their most vulnerable here near the gates of Karak Azul, thinking themselves safe their guard would drop, and it did. As the long line of survivors stretched out toward Karak Azul's gates and as the holds warriors closed on the leading survivors Ozgod's forces hit the rear and centre of the column on two sides. Taken completely by surprise scores of the Dwarves were cut down while the others, exhausted beyond belief, simply fled for the safety of the hold and the approaching warriors.

Only a small group of Dru Grimthorns surviving warriors stood their ground, and at their head was Thorin Metalturner his armor still unscathed and his mighty hammer Hornthang shining bright in the morning light. Bravely these few warriors established a rearguard defending their kin as they fled toward Karak Azul's gates. Some luck was with them this day as the road to the hold led over a deep ravine passable only by a single bridge. As the remaining Dwarves of Dru Grimthorn struggled across the bridge Thorin as his small band of warriors stood firm as Orc after Orc smashed against them.

Their bravery could not be matched that day as somehow they held the Orcs back long enough for the refugees to cross the bridge and reach the safety of the warriors of Karak Azul on the other side. Those same warriors would have marched to the bridge to fight the Orcs but Thorins voice rang clear across the ravine - "Save my people we will hold here. Save them". Weeping at the bravery of Thorin and his small band the warriors of Karak Azul and the refugees, the majority women and children, hurried to the gates of the hold.

Ozgod Bonecrushers challenge and Thorins fall
Behind the refugees the battle was turning against Thorins small group. Scores of Orc and Goblins lay dead at the foot of the bridge, but now as the last of refugees entered the gates of Karak Azul only Thorin and a single warrior remained. Looking back from the walls atop Karak Azul the surviving refugees could only watch in despair as the Orcs and Goblins fell back to allow Ozgod Bonecrusher himself to step forward. Eager to protect his Lord the remaining warrior rushed forward to challenge Ozgod only to be crushed beneath his club and thrown into the ravine. Thorin was now alone...

... the battle between Thorin and Ozgod lasted long and was as brutal as it was magnificent. Only now near the end did Thorins armor give way. On the walls of Karak Azul the surviving refugees could only watch as Thorin and Ozgod traded blow after blow. Time and again Thorin was smashed to the ground, his armor dented and his limbs broken. But time and again he regained his feet and struck back at Ozgod. Finally, with the last of his strength Thorin's mighty hammer struck Ozgod a fatal blow. The mighty Giant dropped to his knees a look of disbelief on his brutal face before falling dead at Thorins feet. Seeing their leader killed the remaining Orcs fled...

... Turning Thorin stumbled and fell to his knees. Pushing himself up with the aid of Hornthang the survivors in Karak Azul saw him take one long look at its walls before collapsing to the ground. Thorin was dead, but his people were safe.

Stories from the Goblin wars 1608-1692

Hammerfist and the Drunken celebration
West of Hochstadt 1645

Gargrim Hammerfist surveyed the ground before him his breath misting up in the clear morning air joined the low lying fog that blanketed much of the area around him. His force of Dwarfs had marched from
Karak Thorinkin days earlier to confront a large Orc warband that had been burning and pillaging through the lands of the holds human allies to the south.

Hammerfists refused flank deployment. The human village acting to funnel the Orcs toward the killing ground in front of his warmachines and missile troops.

The humans, while too hasty at times, had proved valuable allies in the holds and the Hold felt honor bond to respond to their calls for aid. Besides it had been some time since Hammerfist's axe had tasted Orc blood and after culling so many frail pointy eared elves he longed for a more worthwhile opponent.

"Verminous greenskins I thought we had culled the last of them from our lands centuries ago."

"They return like the plague they are my Lord - Skaven below, Orcs above as it always has been - and you should thank them for giving you a chance to dull your axe blade. It has I fear become rusty with old age and unuse."
Scowling Hammerfist turned to his young Lieutenant Thugrim Lockbeard not yet past 150 summers. Hammerfist was about to scold the beardling when he saw the mischevious gleam in his kinsmens eye.
"Your sense of humour will get you into trouble one day Lockbeard. Still it has been too long since I got to take an Orc's head indeed I was younger than you are now barely old enough to grow a decent beard"
The Dwarfs humour was broken though by the sound of alarm calls from the forward scouts. The fog around the Dwarven force was now lifting and large shapes could now been seen moving in the far distance.

"Tell the scouts to stay their report Lockbeard I can smell what approaches. Return to your unit and tell that grizzled drunken old bastard Brengist to wake up we may need a Runesmith this morning." "Yes my Lord although I think the Orcs will regret not letting him sleep off his ale this morning."

As Lockbeard ran off scores of Dwarven Warriors and stout hearted Longbeards began to tighten their armour, buckle on shields and take their axes to one of the many smiths for sharpening. Hammerfist's force was small but powerful. His own regiment of Clan Longbeards flanked by two smaller units of younger Warriors was weak in infantry. But he had strong support from the Warmachines of Clan Ragnell and the Thunderers/Quarrellers that accompanied them. Two Bolt-Throwers were already being readied as was a rune inscribed Organ Gun.

These Hammerfist had deployed along his left flank, his infantry on the right in the classic refused flank deployment, creating a killing ground to his front through which the Orcs would have to march.

The battle opend with a scream as a Goblin Doom Diver screached overhead its living missile crashing harmlessly into the ground in from of his Longbeards where it was dispatched easily. Soon Goblin Spears Chuckers began lobbing missiles at them all of which missed, much to the amusement of the Engineers behind him.

The noise of the Orc Horde increased in tempo as two large units of Big Uns began to rush forward toward the thinly scattered ranks of Thunderers & Quarrellers. Their advance was halted though as squabbling broke out among one unit. Hammerfist smiled grimly as a large unit of Black Orcs waded through the Big Uns crashing heads together, and occasionally chopping one off, in an attempt to restore order. The squabbling had held up the Orc advance long enough for his Longbeards and Warriors to move forward into a reasonable flanking position. This, Hammerfist knew, would force the Orcs to either offer their flank to his missile troops or to his Longbeards Axes. Either choice would not be good for the Orcs.

He was cautious however, the Black Orcs were a formidable opponent and it had been some 200 summers since he had last faced them. Experience hard won by his many kin also told him that such creatures were always accompanied by Goblin Shamans and fearsome Warbosses which could prove deadly to his small force.

A fanatic whirls its frenzied path toward Hammerfist but stops short before being gunned down

The Orc charge begun to gather momentum as a swirling fanatic sped past the Longbeards before being skewered by a hail of Crossbow bolts. More Thunderer bullets, Quarrels, huge bolts and shells from the Organ Gun flayed the Orc ranks decimating unit after unit but not quite stopping advance. Hammerfist marched forward steadily with his Longbeards angling toward the flank of a Night Goblin unit. Goblin Doom Divers continued to screach overhead and were now finding their mark as a number of Longbeards were felled behind him. Shaman magic also battled with Brengists runes, the Runesmith obviously awakening from his slumber more eagerly than Hammerfist had expected. Goblin lightning disapated overhead but eventually got through the Runic protection and more Longbeards and Warriors screamed as their armour turned red hot burning them alive.

Night Goblins flee the flanking Dwarves as the Black Orcs move into position .
Most of the Black Orc would be shot down by missile fire.

To his left the few survivors of a Big Un regiment all but destroyed by missile fire took their frenzied revenge on a unit of Warriors chopping through them without stopping and charging into the Quarrellers who had killed so many of their comrades. Dwarven missiles continued to tear through Orc ranks. Night Goblins fled the charge of the Longbeards refusing to stop even for the large unit of Black Orcs and their Warboss that stomped through them.

Big Uns smash into the Quarrellers who killed their comrades.
They would later be destroyed by the Organ Gun

Raising his axe Hammerfist charge with his Longbeards at the Orc Warboss yelling in triumph as a volley from the Organ Gun ripped the Black Orc unit to pieces in front of him. Orc and after Orc was shredded by Dwarven missile fire as Hammerfist and his Longbeards smashed into the surviving Black Orcs. Orc head after Orc head fell at Hammerfists feet until, climbing over the bodies of his fallen foes, he came face to face with the Orc Warboss himself. Snarling, his teeth filled with the flesh of recent meals the Warboss's Blades passed harmlessly over Hammerfists head - his Runic armour deflecting the blows as though with an invisible forcefield. Hammerfists axe blade then bit deep, once, twice three times and the Warbosses head fell from its shoulders.

Hammerfist meets the Orc Warboss

Dwarfs cheered and surged forward as the few remaining Orcs fled the battlefield harried by Missile fire and by Dwarfs filled with ancient bloodlust versus their natural enemy they stood little chance and were systematically cut down. Soon few remained and the battlefield which was once green and lush became soaked with the refuse of battle.

"A great victory my Lord and it appears that your axe has been well used, I imagine that your a feeling somewhat tired after the mornings work"

"Lockbeard you scoundrel even at 300 summers I can swing my axe longer than you here a trophy for us to take back to the King"
Throwing the Warbosses head to his Lieutenant Hammerfist surveyed his remaining troops and then smiled as the sound of drunken singing floated across the battlefield. A troop of Thunderers lead by Brengist were marching toward him cheering loudly and singing a victory chant. Hammerfist was about to scold them for it was unseemly given that many of their kin had fallen, but then it had been many many years since an Orc band of this size had been defeated.

"Get me an Ale Lockbeard I need a drink before we bury our kin... and wipe that smirk off your face I am not too old to put a beardling like yourself over my knee." "Yes my Lord"

The King marches forth: Druchi incursions 2989-96

It had been many a long year since the armies of Karak Thorinkin had emerged to do battle, and many more since the King himself had led them forth. The last instance was in 2959 when King Druegar Stromnisson had fulfilled his oath and satisfied his Grudge against the oath breaker Baron Northover [Read history]. In a short, but brutal, campaign in the human lands known as the Empire a series of increasingly larger skirmishes [Read battle reports] culminated with the King himself drawing blood on the field of battle [Read battle report]. Thirty years had passed since those events and now a new threat had emerged to the lands of the Thorinkin - Druchi or Dark Elves - had begun to encroach onto their lands. A series of border clashes, raids and attacks on outlying settlements had now culminated in the advance of a large Elven warband into Thorinkin lands. Approching his 70th on the throne of Karak Thorinkin King Druegar had begun to hope that the dark cloud that had shadowed much of his early reign had finally passed. It seemed that once again his people were to be tested by Grungi. With a heavy heart he doned his army, called forth his bodyguard of Hammerers and marched from Karak Thorinkin to do battle once more. Looking back at its gates as his army marched past him he could not help but think that it would be many a year before he returned, change was coming and the dark cloud was returning the Druchi were but the first step.

Dwarven artillery and Quarrellers deployed on the large hill dominating the battlefield with the infantry spaced in front in a typical castle formation. The only exceptions were the Organ Gun and Gyrocopter of Clan Ragnell. These King Druegar ordered positioned on the right flank behind a small forest. From there the Gyrocopter could aid in march blocking the Elven cavalry preventing any outflanking of the Dwarven line, while the Organ Gun would have a clear field of fire at the flanks of the advancing Elven infantry.

Thorinkin Longbeards deploy with Gimury Loffson Thane Goronhad assumes his position on the hill behind

Organ Gun & Gyrocopter on right flank You can see the Elven battleline in the distance

The battle opened with Dwarven Bolt-Throwers and Quarrellers taking a terribly toll on the Cold One Chariot and Crossbowmen opposite them. With five of their number dead the Crossbowmen are forced to flee while the Chariot which failed its stupidity test (along with the Cold One Knights) takes 3 wounds as a single Bolt lances through it. On the right the Gyrocopter flies forward to screen the Organ Gun from the approaching Elven cavalry.

King Druegar watches the Elven advance atop his Shield

Recovering from their initial loses and stupidity the Elven battleline marches boldy and quickly across the field. King Druegar can only watch as the missle units on the hill continue to take a bloody toll on the forces arranged before him. First to fall is the Cold One Chariot struck down by yet another bolt before it can move. Further damage is done to the Elven Warriors who are now closing in on charge range of the Thorinkin Longbeards, while the Organ Gun & Gyrocopter make short work of the Elven cavalry forcing it to flee in panic. Druchi magic beings to crackle across the battlefield but is dispelled causing no damage although repeated fire from their Bolt-Thrower cuts down several of King Dreugars accompanying Hammerers.

The Dwarven battleline tenses as the Cold One Knights approach

The Longbeards charge the Druchi Warriors & their General

Hand to hand combat sees the Longbeards victorious

Run Druchi Run

Foolishly advancing into charge range the Druchi General and her accompanying Warriors are rushed by the stout Longbeards who proceed to butcher them with ease. Panicing due to their losses the Warriors flee from the might of Dwarven steel. No pursuit is offered though as the frail pointy ears run to far and as King Dreugar orders the Longbeards to hold as the Cold One Knights are now dangerously close.

King Dreugar meets the Cold One charge and challenges their Champion

In the mintues that follow the panic of the Druchi spearmen the Cold One Knights charge into the massed ranks of the Hammerers, calmly ignoring the threat of King Druegar atop his Shieldbearers. Issuing a challenge King Druegar calls out the Cold One Champion whose puny weapons are unable to penetrate his Runic Armour. King Druegars mighty axe then cleaves the Cold One Champion in two hacking through his armour with ease and into the body of his mount, both fall dead at his feet. Around him though his bodyguard are not so lucky as two of their number are cut down. Outnumbered and having suffered terrible loses the Cold Ones however remain steadfast.

Longbeards flank charge the Cold One Knights
In the background the Gyrocopter fresh from killing Crossbowmen attacks the Warriors

Mintues later though the Cold Ones regret their decision to stand as their flank is charged by the Longbeards. Together they and the Hammerers tear the Cold Ones to pieces the scattered remnants fleeing only to run into the Gyrocopter which has taken up position behind them.

The 2nd Druchi warrior regiment coming to their aid finds it has arrived too late to be of assistance - perhaps distracted by the Organ Gun to their rear exploding as it misfires - but they arrive early enough to be charged by the Hammerers and King Druegar. They are literally torn to pieces as battle rage takes over the King and he wades through their ranks. Victory his in sight but is at this moment that a fateful decision is made, Gimurt Loffsson in leading the Longbeards chooses not to pursue the fleeing Cold Ones. Forgetting about the Druchi Warriors he has earlier routed he leaves his flank open to their charge. And charge they do. In the ensuing melee the Longbeards resolute as they are flee in panic and only just manage to outrun the pursuing Druchi. The Hammerers who had been locked in combat with the 2nd Warrior regiment are shocked as wounded Longbeards stumble through their ranks in panic.

But it is too late for King Druegars bodyguard to assist their kin they have given chase to the fleeing Druchi Warriors and are now badly positioned in the middle of the battlefield. Without the Longbeards to protect their flank King Druegar is now open to attack from the all sides by Druchi Crossbows and their Bolt-Thrower. In his rear the Longbeards are charged again by the Druchi and are overrun as their paniced flight sees them mill around in confusion almost failing to move any distance at all. On the hill above Tholim Goranhad can only watch in shock as the Longbeards and Gimurt Lofsson are cut down. He gives the order for his warmachines and quarrellers to open fire on the pursuing Druchi. One bolt from the thrower to his right punches through an entire rank of 6 Druchi killing them all and exacting some revenge for the Longbeards loss. The remaining Druchi break and flee to all corners of the battlefield, their unit cohesion utterly destroyed.

As darkness falls over the battlefield King Druegar wisely orders his Hammerers to fall back toward the safety of the hill and the Dwarven gunline. Druchi missle fire has destroyed the Gyrocopter that offered him some protection as well as several more of his accompanying Hammerers. While the Druchi army including its General has been largely destroyed King Druegars own losses have been higher than expected, the loss of the Longbeards are cruel blow to his pride and his people lessening their victory. While the threat of the Druchi warband has been ended the King senses that change has definately come to his lands, the Dark Cloud that has plagued his people throughout their history is now clearly visible in his mind. The loss of the Longbeards serving only to reinforce the ill luck that has plagued many of his hold and his kin.

The Chaos Wars 2523-2525: a narrative tale

A Kings dilemma: Karak Thorinkin 2525

[This narrative is based on an endless series of 5-10,000pt games with a friends WoC army, before their new book came out. It seemed fitting to end them by facing off against Archeon despite this departing hugely from the official GW fluff. These stories are taken from my principle blog not the historical one hence the last half reads more like a battle report rather than a true historical archive.]

Deep in his mountain hold of Karak Thorinkin King Druegar Stromnisson read with growing unease the reports of the latest Chaos invasion of the Old World. Advancing south through the lands of the Humans Archeon the great lord of Chaos had swept all before him and was now fast approaching the homelands of the Dwarves. As his old eyes swept the list of forces available to him for meeting the Chaos horde a messengar arrived.

"Lord... they are here"
"The Army of Chaos my Lord they have approached the gates and are preparing to attack the hold"

King Druegar was shocked beyond belief. Every report out of the lands of the Sigmarites thus far had indicated that Archeons forces were marching towards Middenheim. There was no possible reason that they should have reached Karak Thorinkin, and no manner other than dark magic in which they could have done so without passing by at least 4 other Dwarven strongholds (including Karak Varn) before doing so. Nevertheless the King reacted quickly Druegar issued a string of orders sending messengars running to every part of the hold as the call to battle went out. All over Karak Thorinkin doughty warriors donned their heavy armour and sharpened their axes, crossbowmen and thunderers readied their weapons and raced to firing positions on the holds defensives, and the stout and deadly Hammerers and Ironbreakers (of which there were never enough) all prepared to meet the oncoming demon spawn of Chaos. Their preparations were marked with concern though. The news of the Chaos armies approach could not have come at a worse time. Druegar's kin Kurgan Hadrinsson and a significant part of the Hold's army had marched away from the hold some four days before to support clansmen further north. Now more than ever Druegar needed this force to return.

From a look out high on Karak Thorinkins huge walls Druegar looked out to the plains below into a sea of Chao Knights, Warhounds, Demons and other foul beasts. But numerous as they were, something was wrong... Archeon was not present... despite all reports to the contrary he had not marched directly to the gates of Karak Thorinkin.

"Send out the Gyrocopters - find Archeon, where is his main force, and find Kurgan Hadrinsson we need him here"
A Hold waits for news

A full day had passed now and there was still no word, the first assaults of the Horde of Chaos had been easily beaten back Dwarven warmachines taking a terrible toll on the foul beasts as they launced attack after attack against the hold's defences. But still no news of Archeon and more importantly no news of Kurgan and his force, a force which would end the battle in the Hold's favour smashing into the rear of the Chaos horde acting as the Hammer against the Hold's defensive anvil.

Suddenly, a whirring noise was heared. Overhead, a Gyrocopter battered and torn raced toward the lookout and the King. Looking on with concern Druegar could only watch as it crashed not 10ft from him. Racing to its cockpit Duregar saw with horror the hideous burns over the face and body of the pilot, burns that could only have come from the mouth of a Dragon.

"My Lord... I have found Lord Kurgan he marches toward the Hold even now."
"But what of Archeon, and where are the other pilots who set out with you?"
"Alas my Lord I.... I am am all that remains... the crossroads the roads that lead from Bretonnia to the Hold... ambushed... Archeon himself... Chaos Demons and a Great Dragon..."
"What of them in what direction does Archeon move?"
"He... he doesn't Lord he is waiting, waiting for Kurgan in ambush... Spies saw him march away... we... told Lord Kurgan, but his force will not... I have failed my Lord...."

With that the pilots last breath left his body. Silence descended upon the look out broken only by the sounds of battle coming from far below.
"So it is done then. The attack on the Hold is but a fient. Chaos intends to keep us here while our army is destroyed marching to relieve us."
Standing and looking Northeast Duregar's old eyes scanned the distant horizon seeking out the small range of forested hills that marked the Brettonian crossroads seeking some sign of the battle he knew must be raging there.

"Griminar protect them... there is nothing we can do for them now."
At the Crossroads

Meanwhile many leagues to the Northeast Lord Kurgan Hadrinsson sighed gently as the body of another Gyrocopter pilot was taken away to be buried. He had died bravely to bring him the news that Karak Thorinkin was under attack, and that Archeon himself was waiting to ambush him on the road back to the hold. He knew now that his march North some four days previously had been a trap, he and his army lured out of the hold by Chaos traitors within Karak Thorinkin seeking to get the Hold's main force out from under its defensive positions. Looking over his accompanying Thanes Lord Kurgan tightened the buckles on his armour and called for his ShieldBearers.

"Deploy the army and prepare for battle we have no choice now but to face Archeon here in the open on ground not of our choosing. Our brothers wait for us in Karak Thorinkin, where even now the Hordes of Chaos assualt them. We will win through here today, we have no other choice, for we are all that stands between the Old World and Darkness ever lasting."
With those final words Kurgan grasped his mighty Battleaxe, mounted his shield and marched out to do battle against Archeon and the Hordes of Chaos.

Kurgan Hadrinsson deployed first placing a strong guard around the 1st minor objective in the bottom left hand corner, including 2 units of Quarrellers, 2 warmachines and 2 units of Warriors. The right flank was guarded by a unit of Slayers and another war machine, and also included the armies Runesmiths who were positioned deep within the forest to protect them from Chaos magic.

In the centre of the Dwarven line were the strongest units - the Hammerers each accompanied by a Lord, including Kurgan himself on the left - a unit of Ironbreakers and 1 of Longbeards. A Flame Cannon and 2 units of missle troops accompanied the central group. At the top of the board, Archeons forces while numerically smaller in number were far stronger in combat power and especailly magic and deployed in typical style. Fast units on either flank and strong melee units in the centre, flyers in between.

Before deciding initiative and the first movement of the battle, Kurgan Hadrinsson made his first and perhaps biggest mistake of the battle. Enacting the Strollaz's rune held by his armies Battle Standard Bearer, he advanced the centre of his army directly toward the key crossroads, with the Slayers abandoning their right flank position to move out with the main force. Perhaps, spurred into action by the frightening presence of Archeon before him, and worried by the large number of mages/warlocks on Chaos side Kurgan abandoned his initial battle plan in favour of closing rapidly with the enemy.

Chaos responded immediately and in the manner expected. Their fast units raced forward on either flank, and the mighty Chaos Dragon - which had caused the death of the brave Gyrocopter pilot at the feet of King Druegar Stromnisson some hours previously - winged its way over the battlefield. Before the Dwarven artillery and missle troops could respond the first wave of Chaos magic began to hit the battlefield. Hidden in the forest, the Dwarven Runesmiths bravely attempted to dispel its effects but with 17 Chaos power dice to their 7 dispel dice and 3 dispel scrolls they couldn't last for long.

On either flank the Dwarven warmachines and missle troops responded, scoring key wounds on the Chaos Dragon and various Demon's advancing rapidly toward them. But in the centre the Dwarven troops could only look on in horror at the size and strength of the advancing Chaos horde, and in particular the imposing figure of Archeon Lord of Chaos. Deep in his heart Kurgan began to realise that by abandoning his initial battleplan he may have doomed his army. As Chaos Warriors advanced toward him in the centre of the battlefield, he issued the only order left to a true, brave and stout Dwarven Lord.


Battle is joined and the Day of Blood begins

The battlecry of Lord Kurgan Hadrinsson rang out across the battlefield and the Dwarves of Karak Thorinkin charged forward straight at Archeon and his accompanying Chaos Knights. Bravely accepting Archeons challenge Lord Kurgan is struck down almost immediately, the Chaos Lords maelstrom of attacks proving too great even for this battle proven Dwarf. Around his body his Hammerer bodyguard fight valiantly against the Chaos Knights and Archeon, but are no match for them. One-by-one they are ritually slaughtered and are trampled beneath the hooves of Chaos horses.

To their right the Thanes leading the other Dwarven have no time to mourn Kurgans death or that of his bodyguard, as they are charged by Chaos Warriors and Chariots and drawn immediately into combat. Attacked on multiple sides by faster Chaos units the Dwarves of Karak Thorinkin rally around their Thanes Oath Stones and opt to fight to the last, realising as they do so their now dead Lords initial mistake in advancing so far forward so quickly.

Only on the right is some success to be found with the suicidal bravery of a small group of Troll Slayers sees them destroy 2 units of Warhounds and a Chaos Chariot before running full tilt into the imposing bulk of a Chaos Demon. It is only their bravery, that prevents their comrades in the centre being fully surrounded, their unbreakable spirit stopping the Chaos left from fully enveloping them.

Behind them the remainder of the Dwarven army can only watch on in dispair as their Lord and the bulk of their infantry are slowly surrounded, battered by Chaos magic and decimated by repeated Chaos attacks. The war machines counted on to protect the main Dwarven units have been destroyed or are themselves fighting for their lives against Chaos Spawn, Dragons and Screamers. In the forest the Runesmiths have expended their last Runes of Spellbreaking leaving the Dwarven army almost unprotected against the might of Chaos magic.

Nightfalls and an army is defeated
Bravely the army of Karak Thorinkin holds on, grinding out minor victories in combats across the board. A brief respite is found when one of the Gyrocopters dispatched from the hold returns and launches a series of successful attacks on the Chaos cavalry. However, it is too late to save the Dwarven army from defeat. Knowing that they have no place to run too, and unwilling to run even if they did, the remaining Dwarven forces fight on into the darkness.

Night falls and Chaos is triumpment. Lord Kurgan and the majority of the Dwarven army have been destroyed. The battlefield is littered with Dwarven corpses that shine horribly as the setting sun baths the entire field in red as crows begin to feast on what remains after the army of Chaos has had its fill. To the rear of the cross-roads those few Dwarves left alive rally around the surviving Runesmiths and the Battle Standard and under cover of Darkness begin the long march back to Karak Thorinkin. Behind the night echoes to the vile sound of Archeons laughter as he and his army feast on the souls of their dead comrades...

... many leagues to the Southwest, the Chaos fient against Karak Thorinkin has been destroyed and King Druegar Stromnisson now looks northward toward the Brettonian crossroads. The setting sun is turning the sky blood red and still no word has come about the fate of his kinsmen Kurgan. Sighing he turns back ready to return to his hall to await the dawn. As he does so the sound of demonic laughter echoes through the surrounding mountains. Bowing his head he weeps, knowing that his kinsmen and his army are dead and that now the sun will not rise again over Karak Thorinkin.

The Lustrian Expedition 1297-1300

Lustria, gold and Smednirs Curse

[The origin of this story is the huge number of games my Dwarfs had against Lizardmen at a series of tournaments in 2010]

During the 13th century since the foundation of the Empire Karak Thorinkin had entered a period of rapid population growth and stability under the reign of King Kalderbek Gadanrin (1197-1300). While a strong King in many of the ways valued by Dwarfs his one failing, kept hidden for many decades, was his almost psychotic lust for gold. While gold lust was a common trait among Dwarfs Kalderbek was afflicted with its most severe form a need for the precious metal so strong that it eventually consumes the Dwarf in question. Many Dwarfs sucumb to this disease and they are unfortunately less rare than credited by most Dwarfs, who hide the true nature of the psychosis by referring to its victims as Smednirs Children after the Lesser Ancestor God of Ores. Only on rare occasions of honesty is the lust given its true name 'Smednirs Curse'.

King Kalderbek gold lust, unlike that of many others, served him well throughout the first decades of his reign but it would ultimately lead to his death and the deaths of hundreds of his kinsmen on far away shores.

The expedition to Lustria
In the year 1297 the 100th of Kalderbek's reign word spread through the Old World of a gold rich empire across the great ocean, whose strange jungles, steep mountains and deep rivers were paved with gold. Many humans from the lands bordering Karak Thorinkin had already left for this land, known as Lustria, but while few returned the stories continued to grow. As they did, so to did the strength of Smednirs Curse in the heart of King Kalderbek. When allies of the Karak Thorinkin from the Border Princes called for help in sending a great expedition to the fabled golden Empire King Kalderbek shocked the hold by announcing the full fledged support of its people. Dissent rocked the hold as many of the clan Thanes refused to give the king their full support. In the end the King called for the hold's Warriors to vote individually essentially splitting the clans and undermining the legitimacy of Thanes who the King represented as an equal only. For the 2nd time in 200 years the Thorinkin were wracked by internal dissent. King Kalderbek and warriors from across all five ruling Clans of the Thorinkin and some from the Clan of Shopkeepers volunteered to join the human expedition to the fabled land of Lustria. After a year of preparation they set sail on a human fleet from the shores of the Border Princes in the winter of 1298. They left behind them a hold seething with anger and a throne that would perhaps not be empty when, or if, Kalderbek returned.

Arrival in Lustria
Ignorant of the lands ahead scouting parties were sent ahead of the main expeditionary force on faster ships. Only a few returned telling tales of fetid jungels, constant rain, steam, giant insects and strange dragon like creatures that walked like men. Landing on the continents eastern shores a base was established on island just off shore. Offering a safe harbour it was linked to the mainland by a low level estuary that could be easily and safely crossed when the tide was out. Leaving the fleet and a small guard force with the fleet the combined human/dwarf army marched inland following the course of a major river.

Early scouting parties had provided maps of the land around the landing site and identified that it sat within a large area enclosed by mountains (see Maps section). At least 3 major mountain passes followed the river through the mountain barrier and ruins had also been found pointing the past existence of some form of civilisation. It was around one such set of ruins that the combined army set up it is main on-shore encampment. The ruins were buried under decades or even centuries of undergrowth but were still impressive in size and scope.

Small expeditionary forces of Dwarven Rangers and Human Scouts set out from the army camp following the river. Soon old roads and overgrown trails were found leading through dense jungles to other overgrown ruins. It was around several smaller ruined areas that the first of the strange lizard creatures were encountered. Human scouting parties began taking casualities from small fast moving creatures hidden in the undergrowth. These were found scavenging among the ruined sites and offered scant resistance to the human and dwarf forces.

Smednirs Curse & an Expedition splits
After 6 months onboard ship Smednirs Curse had taken full hold of King Kalderbeks mind. His thoughts and dreams were now turned to one and only one end finding the fabled gold of the new continent. With human scouting parties returning empty handed arguments broke out between the King and the leaders of the human forces. With three passes through the surrounding mountain ranges to choose from none of the leaders could reach agreement on which to take. The humans were wary, too many of their initial scouting parties on prior expeditions had failed to return from the interior of the continent. Now attacks by the small lizard creatures were increasing and their leaders urged caution. King Kalderbek was by now consumed with gold lust and impatience in his 101st year as King his sanity was now all but gone.

Raging against the humans caution he bullied them into agreeing to march into the interior of the continent. With the Dwarfs providing the majority of the armies infantry and all of its warmachines the humans were faced with a stark choice. But now many Dwarfs were beginning to question the King, just as the Royal Thanes had done back at Karak Thorinkin. Elements of the Dwarven army now sided with the humans, while others sought their own path to riches. The result... the expedition split into 3 columns. The first, and largest, led by King Kalderbek marched northward following a river through a line of foothills. With it went the majority of the Dwarven infantry and nearly all of the armies war machines. The 2nd dominated by the humans and accompanied by a few Dwarfs marched Northwest, while the third consisting of the remaining Dwarfs marched Westward. After only 4 short months on the continent the expedition was already facing disaster.

The death of a King and burning ships
What happened next has been pieced together from the accounts of the few battered and bloodied survivors of the columns that managed to return to the expeditions encampment and harbour many many months after they marched off. From the survivors who returned only the following information could be taken for certain as most refused to talk about those years. The human and Dwarf columns that had marched North and Northwest both found passes through the mountains and reached a large grassland plain on the other side. At the foot of each mountain pass stood a town and beyond them, equi-distant from both columns, out across the plain could be seen a huge city - larger than anything seen in the Old World.

Driven by avarice, blinded by dreams of wealth and led by a cursed Dwarven King the two columns marched boldly forward toward the towns and cities before them. Swarming from the walls of those cities came a horde of dragonmen and huge beasts whose like had not been seen in the old world for millenia if at all. Waves of magic turned the sky red with fire, and the ground red with blood. Sword, axe, mail all cleaved by lightning, spear and serated sword. Dwarfs and men fell but achieved small victories as the Lizardmen retreated toward the giant city. But a trap had been set. Both armies now faced a horde uncounted, giant dragons, ancient lizards taller than buildings, thousands of small two legged lizards, giant flying creatures whose cries tore the air. Greed though had blinded all of them and unthinking they marched into battle and into slaughter. Among those that fell was the King. His madness was now a thing of potent and visible malice. Burned into his every expression it filled him with battlelust and gave his axe power unmatched by the enemies that assailed. But it could not last. As Dwarf after Dwarf around him fell, as their human allies fled from his sight, the madness slipped for an instant. In those few moments Kalderbek wept as he realised that death his desire for riches had caused. His axe fell from his hand and with arms wide open he accepted the blows of the enemy who faced him. As the King died his sole remaining shieldbearer, Glodreg Steelhammer, leapt to protect his body. Gathering what few Hammerers remained to him he bade his liege farewell and taking his crown ordered the retreat.

The bravery of Glodreg Steelhammer
Only those Dwarfs who rallied around the banner of Karak Thorinkin and Glodreg Steelhammer remained steadfast during that long bitter retreat. Around that the banner Hammerers gathered, Longbeards mixed with beardlings bolstering their courage as they fought mile by mile back to their ships. Slowly day after day, night after night, they inched closer to the mountain pass. Higher and higher they began to climb, plains giving way to hills and then to mountains, and finally the cold snow bound pass and safety. By now only 60 Dwarfs were left, led by Glodreg they alone had managed to survive the hordes of creatures that had assailed them for so long. Only upon reaching the snow bound valley did the earn as respite. The strange creatures unwillinging or perhaps unable to follow them through the snow the survivors marched wearily toward the waiting ships.

Grim faced, broken and scarred dreams of wealth had long ago been replaced with constant nightmares of the countless dead and the endless ordeal of the long retreat. Reaching the remains of the old army encampment the survivors did not find the salvation they longed for. The dead were all that was there to greet them. During the long march into the interior and the longer retreat the encampment had been weakened by disease, boredom and infighting. At the very moment that Glodreg and his small force had reached the entrance to the mountain pass the Lizardmen had struck.

Destruction of the encampment and Glodregs return
Approaching from the West a large force of Lizardmen, the very same force which had destroyed the small force of Dwarfs that had marched that way, had assailed the encampment. Dark magic swallowed entire regiments of Dwarf and Human alike in pits of shadow and darkness. Giant beasts crushed spear and axe underfoot as fire, javelins and blow dart pierced mail and shields. The scattered survivors retreated through the rising tide to the island where the expeditions ships were beached they found refuge saved only by the Lizards unwillingness to cross the rising waters. The majority of the ships that remained they burned, not all, but enough to cover their retreat and prevent dark magic from doing further damage. Of the scores of ships that had landed on the island some 12 months previously only a handful were left to sail back over the ocean. Into this carnage Glodreg and his surviving Dwarfs marched, carefully avoiding those Lizards that had remained behind to scavenge among the dead. Reaching the ships they joined with the few surviving sailors and set sail for home, the battered banner of Karak Thorinkin and a burned battle scared crown of a mad King all that remained of the doomed expedition.

Karak Thorinkin & its neighbours

Relations with other Dwarfs

Ankor Thorinkin or the Kingdom of Karak Thorinkin like all Dwarf holds maintains links with the various Dwarven holds and kingdoms scattered around the old world. Many of those links are due to blood relationships, others from long held vows of friendship and honor, while others are a matter of convenience only.

However, the rise of the Skaven throughout the Vaults and the Worlds Edge Mountains, the Chaos Wars, and constant incursions by Ogres, Orcs and Goblins have reduced the ability of many holds to communicate with eachother. Many have been cut off from their brethren for centuries and exist only as myth or rumour. Others as a result of the grudges that often come between Dwarfs do not communicate out of long held hatreds.

Karak Thorinkin nearest neighbours are the Dwarven kingdoms/holds of Karak Izor and Karak Narn, and like all Dwarven holds they maintain allegiance to the High King at Karaz a Karak although they have not had any contact with Karaz a Karak for nearly a 1000 years.

Karak Izor
The Thorinkins closest Dwarven neighbour located to the east of Karak Thorinkin past the Human settlement of Hochstadt. Karak Izor is regarded as friendly enough and more recently its relationship with Karak Thorinkin benefited after they allowed the throng of Karak Thorinkin to march through their lands on the way to the Barony of Bromley in the Southwestern region of the Empire in 2559. This was so the then King Druegar Strominisson could avenge a Grudge.

Karak Izor also joined with the Thorinkin in sending troops to the Empire during the Chaos incursions. However, relations overall have remained strained (despite the events of 2559) as members of Clan Morgral, kin of Lord Kurgin Hadrinsson killed by Archeon at the Day of Blood in 2525 suspect that his death was Karak Izor's fault. Clan Morgral believing that Karak Izors King cowardly delayed sending his forces to join those of Lord Kurgin thus leaving him to face Archeon and his Chaos horde alone. These suspicions though are kept quiet and solely within the Clan itself primarily as King Druegar Stromnissons Wife is a sister of Karak Izors current King.

Karak Narn
Located in the mountain range that extends northward between the Empire and Brettonia Karak Narn has maintained minimal contact with Karak Thorinkin. Only recently in 2559 when the Thorinkin marched into the Empire to resolve the Grudge with Baron Northover was more regular contact established. The northern Dwarfs though are viewed with suspicion due primarily to their habit of drinking slightly weaker ale than the Thorinkin.

Dwarves of the Worlds Edge Mountains
Aside from Karak Azul the Thorinkin have no real contact with the eastern Dwarven holds. Even with Karak Azul (the ancestral refuge of the Thorinkin) contact is sporadic at best the last recorded official contact with the holds of the Worlds Edge mountains occured some 1000 years ago. Only stories of the lost of Clan Hundholm have reached the Thorinkin since then and it is suspected (quite rightly) that Skaven and Grobbi are to blame for the Thorinkins isolation from their ancestral home.

Relations with other minor holds in the Apuccini Mountains & the Vaults are more frequent. Numerous small Dwarven settlements and holds are scattered across these areas with at least a dozen are within 1-2 weeks march over the mountains from Karak Thorinkin. However, Karak Thorinkin remains the largest and strongest Dwarven Hold in this part of the Old World and as such the majority of these smaller settlements owe their allegiance to the Thorinkin and their King.

Relations with Humans

There are a huge number of human settlements surrounding Karak Thorinkin (the humans breeding like rabbits compared to Dwarfs) which is also bordered by several large human realms: Border Princes to the South, Brettonia and Tilea to the West & Northwest and the Empire to the Northeast. Relations with the humans are largely indifferent with the exception of those settlements within the Border Princes region, particularly those located around the River Skiros. These are very strong and the Thorinkin have a number of important treaties with various settlements in the area. Key human settlements with which the Thorinkin regularly deal are:

The closest major settlement to Karak Thorinkin and the only major one actually found within the mountain ranges themselves. The Thorinkin maintain a fortress (Khazad Thufill) near to Domatburg helping guard passes through the mountains and the trade road that links the town and the hold together. Relations between the two peoples are very strong with the Thorinkin actually constructing Domatburgs defences and providing support for the humans against Grobbi that infest the area. The relationship was strong enough that an area between Domatburg and Khazad Thufill was chosen by King Druegar Stromnisson as the site for the Holds new Brewery. Unfortunately this site was also close to forest areas that were home to nearby Wood Elf Kingdoms. Conflict between all the races over the Brewery would eventually lead to a major war between the Dwarfs and the Wood Elves into which the Humans of Domatburg were unfortunately drawn.

A large settlement and part of the trading network that links Karak Thorinkin with the Border Princes region.

The port city which now sits over the river mouth at which a large number of the Thorinkins ancestors landed on the long march from Karak Azul 3000 years ago. Decades of slow painful travel through the human lands of the Border Princes region gave the Dwarfs of Karak Thorinkin a more "open" approach to relations with humans than other Dwarfs. Indeed a number of Thorinkin remained in this area during the Long March and over 3000 years many more have settled permanently among the human population.

These Dwarfs are an important part of the Thorinkins realm. While not officially listed as a Clan of the Thorinkin they are regarded as ancestral members of the hold and a recognised part of the Kingdom. Known among the less polite Thorinkin as the Clan of Shopkeepers, these more-human Dwarfs help oversee the strong trading links between Karak Thorinkin and the many settlements in the Border Princes region.

A minor human settlement notable only for its location equi-distant between Karak Thorinkin and Karak Izor and its location on the only proper road between the two holds. As a permanent human settlement it has struggled as it sits at the centre of a major Orc & Goblin infestation made up of at least 5 major Grobbi tribes. From time to time forces from Karak Thorinkin and Karak Izor make forays into the area to keep the Grobbi at bay and to keep the road open. However, over the last 200 years this has proved harder and harder and the Chaos Wars eventually put paid to any real hope the Dwarfs had of removing the Grobbi menace for good.

Origins of Karak Thorinkin

Imperial year -335 to -250

New beginnings: Karak Azul -335 to -265
70 years had now passed since the arrival of the survivors of Dru Grimthorn at Karak Azul and the death of Thorin Metalturner. In that 70 years the survivors had grown in number and made new homes for themselves among the Dwarves of Karak Azul. Among those survivors Thorin was still honored. After the flight of the Orcs his body was buried near where he fell so his spirit could continue to guard the bridge that he died to defend, his mighty hammer was buried with him. Over the years his tomb became a shrine and a place of pilgramage for the survivors of Dru Grimthorn, who know called themselves 'The Thorinkin' or 'Thorins Kin'. While Karak Azul made them welcome the Thorinkin were not content. News of the defeat of the Orc army at the battle of Black Water had reached them not long after they had reached the hold, and many now longed to return to their old home. In the Imperial year -285 the Thorinkin announced their decision to leave Karak Azul and return to their homes at Dru Grimthorn, or perhaps form their own hold in a new place far from the lands whose memory held such sadness for them.

The King of Karak Azul was gracious and granted the Thorinkin many gifts to enable them to build and defend their new hold. The brave retreat of the refugees to Karak Azul and the legend of Thorin Metalturner were held in high esteem at Karak Azul. Thorinskin had work hard in their new home and their skills and efforts had advanced the holds power and standing in the Worlds Edge Mountains. It took 20 years for the Thorinkin to prepare themselves for their journey, 20 years before they were ready to leave and start a new. Finally in the Imperial Year -265 they left. A top the walls of Karak Azul the King and his people watched with some sadness as the Thorinkin marched from the hold their long caravan moving west and northwest toward the memory of home.

The Long March: Karak Azul to Karak Thorinkin: Imperial Year -265 to -250

The trek northward took the Thorinkin back through the Worlds Edge Mountains and to the ruins of Dru Grimthorn. Afte 70 years nothing remained of what had once been their home and none of the Thorinkin wished to remain there. Among their number were Dwarves of Karak Azul married into the Thorinkin during their short time there. They told of lands to the West near those of the humans that would be welcoming. With no thought of returning to Karak Azul and only the burning desire to rebuild their lives and honor still further the memory of Thorin Metalturner the Thorinkin marched on. For 15 years they marched through the mountains, across the badlands, then via ship from Barak Var to the coast of Tilea. From their the Thorinkin marched northward toward the human empire of Bretonnia. Many Dwarf settlements they passed on the way, and many a hold that would have welcomed them with open arms. But at none did they stray.

Only at one point did they stop a Mountain they named Karag Gloin, there a small group stayed and formed the mining settlement of Dulgwidor that would soon serve the new hold of the Thorinkin. Onward they marched until at last in a small valley, bounded by tall mountains and fresh water they stopped. To this day none know why this place called to them, some legends say that Thorin Metalturner himself lead them to it, others that the spirit of Griminar spoke to them. Whatever the reason, that small valley became their new home. Amid its deep fresh steams, forested hills, the Thorinkin found caves and rich mineral deposits. Using all their skills they began to delve deep and true into the mountains, and built the first homes in what would be called the Dwarven hold of 'Karak Thorinkin' the Fortress of the kin of Thorin.

Book of the Lost & Clan Hundhom the Exiles

Of all the dark events in the history of Karak Thorinkin none has scarred the collective memory of the hold more than the years 1125-1135. It was then that the Usurper took the throne from the rightful King Ntahd Ogreender murdering him in his great hall, and Clan Hūndholm chose exile rather than fight their brethern. While the many great deeds of the Clan were restored to full honor and memory under the reign of King Stromni Tholiksson the 'Righteous' the are, and will forever be, known by one name - 'The Lost'. In the 1400 years since the Sundering many a Dwarf has sought to locate 'the Lost' but none have succeeded, and only whispers and rumour upon rumour have been heard of their ultimate fate. But of those whispers there are some that remain true and strong, some are shared by other Holds within the World's Edge Mountains. These are carefully recorded and preserved by Karak Thorinkin as lasting memories of the exiled Clan Hūndholm in a great tome known as Book of the Lost.

The Sundering & time of Exile 1025 - 1135

Around a fire high in the mountains near Karak Thorinkin, a small group of Dwarven children sat and listened enthralled to the tales of a Clan Elder. The tales were part of every Dwarfs education, the oral history of the Hold passed down from generation to generation, remembered, recited and honored by all. Some tales were of bravery and happiness but many, too many it seemed, were of despair, darkness and sadness. It was to one of these tales that the Elder now turned...

"Now my children it is time for the tale of the Sundered people, the lost ones of the Thorinkin, do any of you know this story?"

"I have heard of it Uncle, but... but it is always talked of in hushed tones as though our kin are afraid of its memory? It is from the dark time the year of the black death."

"You are right Drulak it is a tale from that time, when the great plague swept the Old World and the lands of the Thorinkin. But we are not afraid of its memory only of the failing to heed its lessons. For at no other time in our history since that of Thorin himself has the Hold been in such peril."

"Not even during the Goblin Wars Uncle?"

"No my child, not even then for it was during this time that the greatest danger to our people came from within not without. A time when kin turned against kin and the people were nearly torn, their bonds of kinship destroyed but for the sacrifice and one part of them - the Clan Hundhōlm, the Sunderers the Lost ones. This my children is their tale."
The origins of Clan Hundhōlm

In the year 1111 a great plague swept the Old World, its vicious curse swept the lands of the humans to the North the Seafarers to the South and West and all through the Worlds Edge Mountains. Our people suffered greatly, during this period, many of our bravest and most skilled were struck down. The plague knew no boundaries striking all clans. At that time tClan Hundhōlm had ruled in Karak Thorinkin for the two centuries after the death of Kuhali Stonecutter in 935. The clan was once greatly honored, they like Clan Theolik were descended from the warriors who defended the bridge of Karak Azul with Thorin Metalturner. It is rumoured, though the truth has long been lost, that some could lay claim to being Thanes of Dru Grimthorn and if true it is perhaps that which led to their tragic downfall.

On the long retreat to Karak Azul they like all the clans suffered and lost many kin. Followers of the old religon they set themselves apart from us in Karak Azul and joined with refugees from Holds and settlements to the East of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Over time the Clan gained greater kinship with these people than with the Thorinkin although they were still honored among them. On the long march it was Clan Hundhōlm who fought the hardest for us to remain at Dru Grimthorn and to rebuild our lives there among the ruins, to start anew. But they were overruled as the sadness of that place was too much for most to bear. Some stayed however, a small number remained at Dru Grimthorn to try to rebuild it...

"What happened to them Uncle, I thought that no-one strayed on the Long March... I..."
"Be still, as you will learn there are many truths that are based on lies, and many lies based upon truth and that which we often hold most dear is not to be trusted... be patient and you will learn what you wish to know.."
It is true that the annuls tell us that only at one point, at Karag Gloin, did some of our people stop and forsake the Thorinkin on the long march. But this hides many a tale of sorrow and much of the discord that marred that trek. Many were the number of Thorinkin who were lost on the march from Karak Azul to disease, famine and war, and many to despair. Still others in small groups stayed at places they felt safe, many a settlement we passed on the way and at those some of the Thorinkin remained. But Clan Hundhōlm's people, those who had not stayed at Dru Grimthorn, remained with the Thorinkin until we came to this valley and built Karak Thorinkin. They laboured long and hard and shared equally in the burdens of all the clans, wearing no colour of their own they called themselves 'Kin to all', and so it remained until the time of the plague.

The Great Death & the Great Restoration

The plague of 1111 killed many of our people, and it took time for the Thorinkin to recover. In the Imperial Year 1025 Ntahd Ogreender of Clan Hundhōlm had assumed the Kingship of Karak Thorinkin. Throughout the long centuries since the Long March Ntahd and Clan Hundhōlm had never lost faith in the restoration of Dru Grimthorn. Most still believed that their ancestors, those who strayed from the Long March, remained alive and had prospered among the ruins of our ancestral home. Ntahd saw in the aftermath of the plague a chance to rebuild the Hold yet again and to aid his long lost kin. He ordered that the Hold prepare to march again, this time back to Dru Grimthorn in what he called the Great Restoration. A restoration to rebuild our people after the calamity of the Great Death. But his desire and that of his clan were not shared by all of the Thorikin, and for the first and only time in our history Thanes plotted to overthrow the king.

"You mean to kill him, kill their liege Lord, but..."

"Yes my child, and it is for this reason that we do not speak of but always seek to remember those days. But please let me finish."
Among those most opposed to Nthads plans was Llald Tunnelcut the Usurper. Thane of a minor clan, he saw in the Thanes opposition to Nthads Great Restoration a chance to seize power. While other Thanes opposed Nthad all would follow him honor bound as they were to obey the King, only by reason would they seek to change his mind. Llald sought another way, the way of blood and death and he was joined by many of the impure among us.

The Bloodletting and the time of Llad the Usurper

Strong willed as he was Nthad could not fail to see the rifts his Great Restoration was causing in his people. In 1125 a conclave of Thanes from the other clans sought to change his plans, with only Clan Hundhōlm and those of the other clans who wished to leave for Dru Grimthorn doing so while he hold of Karak Thorinkin remained. None now know if that conclave would have succeeded, as Nthad never made it to the Great Hall where it was to be held.

"Why Uncle... I mean..."

"Hush child I will not tell you again, let me continue."
The conclave was never called as Nthad did not live to hear it speak. Upon arriving at the Great Hall the other Thanes did not see Nthad on the Throne but Llad flanked by warriors from his clan, and many from their own. At this feet was Nthad's head and in his hands the remnants of Nthads beard cut from his face before he fell. Many lies were told that day, many untruths spun by Llad to convince the Thanes of the righteousness of his act and of the need for Nthad to die. To our great shame those lies were believed.

The Hold was threatened with the possibility of civil war Clan Hundhōlm would claim blood vengence upon Llad and all those who supported him. But they did not. Rather than fight their kin, for Clan Hundhōlm were linked to all the ruling clans of Karak Thorinkin, they choose exile. Unwilling to spill the blood of their brothers as Llad had the Clan left Karak Thorinkin for Dru Grimthorn never to return, their only act toward him was to curse him, his lineage and all those who would kill their kin for power for all time.

The Great Sacrifice

Surprised by the voluntary exile of Clan Hundhōlm the remaining clans failed to act. The years that followed are now remembered only in sorrow, a sorrow that runs deep within our people. To consolidate his power Llad had assassins kill those who opposed his will, and any who even questioned his act in seizing the throne. The annuls were culled of any reference to Clan Hundhōlm and for 10 years he controlled Karak Thorinkin through fear. But while all feared Llad most feared the curse of Clan Hundhōlm more, the curse placed on all who would kill their kin for power. All therefore feared their fate if they followed Llads path and attempted to overthrow him. But not quite all, the sons of Ardak Redfist feared the curse true, but they feared the loss of the honor of the hold more and the retribution of Thorin himself in the afterworld. In an act of sacrifice Ardak and his sons overthrew Llad, beheading him and removing his beard as he had done to Nthad. They then banished his kin from the Hold, and also themselves sacrificing their own honor to remove the curse of all oath breakers from Karak Thorinkin.

"What happenened next Uncle, who became King?"

"Clan Theolik assumed stewardship of the Hold. They and the other ruling clans shared power. It was only when the wounds caused by Llad had healed suffuciently that a King returned to Karak Thorinkin."

"And of the Hundhōlm what happened to them"

"That is another story my child and alas it is equally as sad as that of their exile. The returned to Dru Grimthorn it is true, but only to find their long sundered kin dead. What we know we know only in passing from travellers and from half remembered tales. What we are certain of is that the Hundhōlm were destroyed by Ogres and are no more. But when and how we are unsure of, but I will tell that story another day

Gloric Ogresmitter Lord of the Lost

The Blood of Gloric Ogresmitter

[The inspiration for these stories were a series of games against a friends Ogre army that caused me no end of grief, he was a good player and the games were hard]

Of the many tales told by the Eldars of Karak Thorinkin those of the Lost, the exiled kin of Clan Hūndholm, are among the most reverred. Small in number those that can be counted as true, or at least true enough, are treasured beyond all things. Even after 1400 years the wounds caused by the Sundering still fester among the Thorinkin. It is to honor the memory of the Lost and to ensure that no other Usurper wears the crown of Karak Thorinkin that these tales are told to all children within the Hold. It is to one small group that the one such tale is now being told...

"... gather my children and hear of the tale of Gloric the Ogresmitter of the Lost Lord of Clan Hūndholm. Of all the tales of the Lost it is the most reverred and the most sorrowful for it tells of perhaps their greatest triumph after exile and of their death."
"How old is the story Uncle?"
"It is very old my child. It has been some 1000 years since it was first told in these halls and we believe its events took place. It was in the time of King Stellaz Grudgebearer the Long Lived (1524 - 1609) that this tale was first heard. A traveller from the East, kin from our ancestors refuge of Karak Azul, came to these very halls and stood in the very spot where you now sit and told our Thanes what he knew. Of the exact time his tale tells we do not know but of the truth of the tale we have some evidence"
"What evidence Uncle?"
"Hush child, once again you interupt me... but that is good... questions are the sign of a bright keen mind. The evidence we have is the blood of Gloric Ogresmitter himself returned to us by that traveller some 1000 years before you walked these halls. Blood that you can see there upon the great wall, there upon the Ogre banner near the Centre."
"But that banner is from the Battle of Skull River it was..."
"Yes my child it was, but not originally for it was only carried by our warriors in that battle and later retrieved along with the dead Kings body. Its origins though are far older for it was first brought here over 1000 years ago by the traveller of whom I speak. The blood you see upon it is that of Gloric, of that much we are sure..."
"But how.."
"Griminar and Thorin himself have told us the truth of this my child, and it is through their blessing that the banner is today as it was 1000 years ago, and will be so forever, their blessings and their runes perserving it and Glorics blood."
"So what is the tale Uncle, what did the traveller tell us?"
"Be patient child, this is what the traveller told the Thanes that day...."
You remember dont you children of the how the Sundered kin of Clan Hūndholm returned to our ancestral home of Dru Grimthorn to rebuild it from the ashes we left behind millenia before, and how long after they returned there they were destroyed, by the Ogres. For centuries prior to the Battle of Skull River the Ogres had been entering the lands of our kindred in the Worlds Edge Mountains, butchering and plundering settlements, destroying caravans and attacking small holds. The Sundereds long quest to rebuild Dru Grimthorn was, we know now, a constant struggle against the incursions of Ogre Marauders and it is from these truths that Clan Hūndholms Oath of Vengenance against the Ogre Clans was born.

A sickly and cancerous child it was too and the reasons for it have been almost entirely lost, but we know for certain that the purpose of the Sundered became warped and twisted by hatred for the Ogres. Banished from Karak Thorinkin by the treachery of Llad TunnelCut the Usurper they had sought self-exile and redemption in the rebuilding of our ancestral homeland. But the Oath of Vengence they took against the Ogres would consume them as into they directed all of the spite and venom held by their people for Llad the Usurper and his kin. Unwilling to unleash it upon the faithful within Karak Thorinkin it became twisted and warped on the long march back to Dru Grimthorn to eventually it became all they knew.

"But Uncle the old tales, the Book of the Lost, it tells us that Clan Hūndholm were brave, that their deeds stand among the greatest of all Dwarves?"
"Yes my child they do, but underlying all of their great works, or at least those we know of was the Oath of Vengenance. Behind all of their great deeds it lurked and over time grew until it became all the Sundered knew. It was this Oath that gave birth to Gloric the Ogresmitter the Lost Lord of Clan Hūndholm and it is his tale I tell you now..."

The Curse of Dru Grimthorn

What I am about to tell you has been heard only as whisper upon rumour, a tale lost to us during the Sundering when its tellers choose exile rather than slay their kin. It is of the true Lost Ones, those we all remember but have, to our shame, failed to recall. The ones we left behind on the long march. We recall with honor those who fell on that march. Those whose lives were sacrificed to preserve our people and allow the building of our home here in these mountains. But we fail to recall those who stayed behind or who were left abandoned on the long march. This is their tale. It is a tale, the truth, of the Thorinkin's first return to Dru Grimthorn. Not the return of Clan Hūndholm recalled by all, but of those we have forgotten but who you will now enter into the annuls of the hold.

It has taken many a year to piece this tale together and their is still much we do not know and cannot know. But this I am certain is the truth. This tale tells of the origin of the feud and the curse that would destroy 'Clan Hūndholm'. It is a tale of darkness, despair, courage, fear and loss. It is one that reaches to the core of the soul of our people to a place we all fear exists and pretend does not. It is the tale of 'Those who remained' - 'The Silent Killers' - 'The Flesh Eaters' of Dru Grimthorn, and these are its words.

The original tales of the long march and the origins of Karak Thorinkin tell that on the journey from Karak Azul to the lands of Tilea in the years -265 to -250 none of the people of Thorin stayed among the ruins of Dru Grimthorn, their ancestral home. This however was not the full truth, for some did remain small groups and stragglers left behind by the main body of the march or who became lost and separated in the Worlds Edge Mountains, did come to dwell there.
It was only centuries later that word of these groups reached Karak Thorinkin, or rather only after centuries did we admit that we left some of our people behind. Over time the rumours about this forgotten people became stronger. Many among Karak Thorinkin ignored the rumours preferring to focus on their new home, treating them as myth, stories to be forgotten as substantial as the morning breeze. Many others choose to forget to hide the truth, that many of those left behind were abandoned deliberately. Their hearts and souls were corrupted by darkness and Chaos, their minds warped and for the good of the people many were culled from our ranks. But of those who knew the this truth few survived and none now remain save myself.

While the truth did not persist the rumours did and among some, notably Clan Hūndholm they became strong and entrenched. Among the Hūndholm it is they that laid the foundation for the Sundering and the eventual exile of Clan Hūndholm in the reign of King Ntahd Ogreender f. The tales of 'Those who remained' the 'First of the Lost' or as they would later become known by their enemies, and the Dwarves of the World's Edge Mountains 'The Silent Killers' & 'The Flesh Eaters', are few but tell clearly of the origins of Clan Hūndholm's eventual destruction at the hands of the Ogres and of Gloric OgreSmitte, whose blood remains with Griminar's grace untouched upon his banner.

In the years -260 to -255 small groups of our people found their way to the ruins of Dru Grimthorn. There they would settle or at least try to settle, hiding as they did from the remnants of the Orc invasions and the Skaven whose plague had begun to infest that region. Of their early years we know little and most of what we do comes from the Orc Shamans who tell of the 'Valley of Death' the place were all things end. That Valley was the valley of Dru Grimthorn, and a place of death it became for the last of the Orc invaders banished forever by the Thorinkin who had found refuge there. Among the Dwarfs first word of the resettlement of Dru Grimthorn came to Karak Azul some two centuries after the long march. Captured Orcs told of the 'Valley of Death' and of the silent killers. They considered them to be ghosts, the shades of our ancestors slaughtered by the horde of Orc Warlord Ugrok Beardburner.

But shades they were not. Scouts from Karak Azul reached Dru Grimthorn and found the 'Silent Killers', found them to be kin of the exiles who once resided in their halls but who left on their long march to a new home. No contact was maintained though. For the people of Karak Azul sensed as some of us had that a shadow lay over the souls of those people. The valley and the Silent Killers were left behind to fend for themselves, the King of Karak Azul forbidding his people to travel there.

For centuries more the 'Silent Killers' lived in that valley. Increasingly isolated and secretive the myth of the Valley of Death peopled by the Ghosts of Dwarves long past grew. Orcs & Skaven also avoided the place. A few travellers made the journey to that Valley to find the ghosts but those few who returned, most did not, saw nothing but shadows, signs of life, signs of settlement, but shadows only. Soon no travellers ventured there at all, none were brave enough to do so. For all those who looked to deeply into the Shadows did not return.

In what we think was the year 400 the Ogres invaded the lands to the South of Karak Azul, and first entered the Valley of Death, home to the Ghosts. We know of this from the annuls of Karak Azul which tell of the Ogre Incursions, and of the mysterious destruction of an Ogre army in the year 402. Marching south and west from Karak Azul a force of Ogres was said to have entered the Valley and failed to return. The sons of the Lord of that force were following some days behind. The annuls of Karak Azul record what happened next.

Ogre Shamans tell of how the Ogre Lords Son's and their army marched toward Dru Grimthorn. As they did so Ogre Legends tell of the Sky darkening, the air becaming heavy and putrid, and of the very ground itself trembling with fear. No sign of their fallen father and their kin did they find. No sign that is until on a small hill a banner was sighted. Upon first sight it appeared to be the banner of their father its symbols and protections bloodied, torn and burnt but still recognisable. But it was not...

...the banner was the skin of their father. Flayed from his corpse our kin, the Ghosts of Dru Grimthorn, the Silent Killers had used it to remake the Ogres banner. At its feet they had pthe Lord's head, cooked among the ashes of the real banner, burnt and mutilated in a manner even the Ogres found hard to stomach. Alongside it was a Dwarven Axe left so they would know who was responsible for the deed, and a message - Leave our Home of suffer your Lord's Fate. On that day the Sons of this Lord and all their kin and people swore a blood oath against any and all Dwarfs who resided in Dru Grimthorn, their kin, their descendants. For the next 60 years they hunted the people all were now calling 'The Flesh Eaters' among the Worlds Edge Mountains. In the year 485 Karak Azul tell us they succeeded and Dru Grimthorn was once again destroyed, the darkness lifted from the valley.

But that was not the end of the tale. For Ogre Shamans and the annuls of Karak Azul told of how each of the Ogre Lords 5 sons, those who swore the Blood Oath, would eventually die. Killed and their skins flayed. Over centuries many of their descendants would suffer the same fate, until their line became cursed with Death. For not all of those who remained were killed. Some survived and for 300 years they hunted the Ogre Lords kin. For 300 years these survivors enacted their vengenance, until no more was heard of them save myth. But while they did not survive the Blood Feud did and its curse would remain forever binding the descendants of the Ogre Lord and his sons, and of any who resided in Dru Grimthorn.

..."that my children is the tale of those who remained, and it is why Clan Hūndholm was doomed from the moment it first sought to return to Dru Grimthorn. Doomed to become victims of the Blood Feud and of the Curse of the Flesh that now binds our ancestral home. No more will I tell you tonight..."