Chaos Dwarf Myths & Legends [WHFB]

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    • Beyond the soft lands of green hills and blossoming river vallyes, in between two gargantaun mountain ranges, stretches semi-arid wastelands watered by sporadic falls of acidic rain and the floods of toxic River Ruin, and little else. Despite the many eruptions of volcanoes, the soil of these lands remain largely hostile to life, and thus this part of the world is believed to be cursed. These landscapes are ones of shadow and flame, of lightning and earthquake, of ashes and desolation, of warring tribes, savagery and one monstrous empire of harshness and cruelty that have withstood the test of time through its cunning, its brute strength, its insane crafts and its ruthless slavery. This is the realm of the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

      Here, backs and minds alike are broken, and souls are shattered in a fiery realm of Chaos and death.

      Here, life is lived out in a land that is nothing short of hell on earth.

      Here, in the Chaos Dwarf empire amidst the Dark Lands.

      Some of the most excessive works and exploits of the Dawi Zharr have become legendary even in civilized lands of men, distant though they are. For their monumental architecture, grim warfare and unspeakable cruelty have made the Chaos Dwarfs infamous in some faraway lands as devil craftsmen and death-dealers. Yet, no matter the strength displayed or the wonders erected, no empire will last without food to feed its people, whether slaves or masters.

      The Dawi Zharr empire's acquisition of food is achieved through such means as the hunting for beasts, lesser races and monsters, and the gathering of roots and plants, as well as stock-raising and herding, some minor trawling for fish in the oceans, and the eating of slaves on a vast scale. Some foodstuffs are acquired as loot, or as tribute from Greenskin and even immigrant Ogre tribes in the Dark Lands (usually this tribute consists of the weakest or slowest Greenskins around). Major food production also takes place in large, underground industries usually located in depleted mines or quarries, where nutritious though distasteful fungi are grown, and where mutant cattle are raised in hellish conditions amongst arcane machinery and bloody butchery caverns lined by fiery ovens.

      Perhaps the most important of all food production within the realm of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the great and all her holdings, is the agriculture which takes place on grand latifundia, primarily clustered on the Plain of Zharr close to the heavily polluted River Ruin, where large-scale systems of irrigation canals make up for the semi-arid climate of the accursed Dark Lands. Some of these slave plantations are partially mechanized to free additional thrall hands for the mines and quarries, yet even on the estates which operates the most machines, the large majority of the farming toil is still carried out by hand, by slave labour.

      These plantations are scarcely less nightmarish places than the open-pit mines and smoke-belching manufactories of the Chaos Dwarfs. Farmhand slaves are often selected from the brighter specimens in the slave work force, with a sizeable percentage of Humans toiling in the fields, yet their lives too are short, brutish and harsh.

      To be a latifundium thrall is to be one downtrodden soul amongst thousands other. To be a plantation slave is to toil with backbreaking and mindnumbing tasks all day, while chained to a whole gang of other slaves subject to hunger and sickness. To be a farmhand slave in the worldly realm of Hashut is to breathe toxic air and wade and work in water so polluted so as to be poisonous. To be a latifundium slave is to endure a harsh regime where Chaos Dwarf and Hobgoblin taskmasters and overseers will whip you to work harder until your heart breaks. To be a thrall in the fields beneath Zharr-Naggrund is to be a constant victim to overseer cruelty and brutality for the sake of capricious whims, religious dictates and punishments alike. It is to live in terror and agony, just as the case is for any other lowly slave in the Dawi Zharr empire.

      The worshippers of Hashut are generally disinterested in the food production, for their minds are rather fixed upon such things as mining, blacksmithing, building, sacrificing and the dark arts of Daemonsmithing, than upon the dirty drudge of agriculture and pastoralism, tainted by impure water as they are. Food production is a necessary evil to most Chaos Dwarfs, a strategic asset bereft of mysteries and fit only for slaves. It is as such no surprise to find many fewer slavedrivers and other Dawi Zharr involved in food production, than are found in such areas as mining, quarrying and construction work. Estate owners are absentee masters to a man, with but one exception in the long history of the Dawi Zharr...

      The Folly: The man known as Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath was once a Sorcerer-Prophet of meagre influence and relatively weak magical powers. His talents for the crafts and arts were limited, as were his skills as a Daemonologist and Daemonsmith. His knowledge in the mysteries of Chaos and Hashut was not at all deep or profound, yet Aku-Lu-Zharrubar did display some prowess as a strategist, warrior and battlefield general, and these abilities were to be exploited to the hilt as the Sorcerer-Prophet increased his power through the centuries. His drive was that of eccentric ambition, a trait not uncommon among the demented elite of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the great and all her holdings. Yet that very drive would manifest itself in a way that was entirely unique among the great Chaos Dwarf men throughout the ages.

      During its first overseas campaign, the host of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath defeated two Human armies in rapid succession and came across the palace of a wealthy Rajah ruling over a long stretch of Indic coastline and some hinterland areas. As the newly-elevated Sorcerer-Prophet stormed the marble complex to plunder it and put it to the torch, he came across the luxurious gardens and menagerie of the Rajah. Confused by the wide variety of beasts and plants on display, the curious Aku-Lu-Zharrubar briefly tortured the chief gardener to make the man explain the purpose of it all. Surely, that snow leopard could not be living in the same climes as the lion tailed macaque, out in the wilds?

      The imagination of the Dawi Zharr warlord was ignited when the lowborn chief gardener explained that the wealth and extent of the ruler's power was put on display in these gardens, where disparate plants and animals from across the realm and beyond were collected and kept alive, even during years of starvation when the fields of the peasants dried up outside the palace walls. What better way to show off your control over nature and the lands of men alike, than by treasuring samples from all over your provinces in your palace?

      Mesmerized by the story, Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath absent-mindedly cut the man's throat and only remembered to torch the palace because his victorious warriors eagerly asked for his permission to do so. His fleet and army would travel much of the world and raid many distant shores in the coming four years, yet the Sorcerer-Prophet's mind would always wander somewhere else, except in the thick of battle, where he would instead undertake some insanely daring attacks and yet always claim victory by the grace of high Hashut.

      A new fire seemed to burn in the maniac eyes of Sorcerer-Prophet Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath, and he sent for more cargo ships to carry the loot back to the Dark Lands. Though his warriors and Daemonsmith subordinates hailed their numerous petty victories across the world as great triumphs, they were more than a little perplexed and reluctant at their new orders, yet still carried them out slavishly as befits he who serves under a master. Why, they asked themselves, why did the sacred decrees of the Prophet include an order for the slaves to dig up a whole shipload of fertile topsoil from several of their raid targets? Why did he capture old peasants and landlords, and then torture them to make them point out a patch of fertile earth close to the coast or river in which the fleet had anchored itself?

      Why did Aku-Lu-Zharrubar take the very land of others with him as war booty, when there were so many more slaves and valuables which he could have plundered and carried off instead? Why limit the precious cargo hold volume by filling so much of it up with mud and clay? How could the capricious will of Hashut and His mighty idols call for such an act? This was more than a symbolic, ritual humiliation and r@pe of the raided land, this was outright soil theft. The question was raised in hushed voices, time and time again, beneath the decks of the Dawi Zharr warships:


      The Ridicule: After several years of raiding out at sea, Sorcerer-Prophet Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath returned with his victorious forces in a great naval procession which steamed up the River Ruin. The sustained losses had been unexpectedly small, and already many cargo vessels had arrived at Zharr-Naggrund well in advance of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar, some carrying slaves, raw materials and valuables while others carried a secret cargo which was kept concealed and guarded over constantly in the docks lining the River Ruin south of the great ziggurat capitol. Rumours had abounded for years as to the hidden contents of the locked-down cargo ships, and many a skulking Hobgoblin had paid with his life as he tried to break into and enter the cargo holds of the guarded vessels.

      Strange rumours of Daemonic sand dunes, molten metal which never cooled, possessed beasts in hibernation and slimy mud ridden with disease and omens, all inside the locked cargo ships, made several thousand Chaos Dwarfs wager objects of value and gather at the docks with their attending slaves when Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath returned home in petty triumph. His spoils of war were paraded past the people, in a stream of both riches and prisoners from distant lands. Sacrifices were undertaken and rituals of thanksgiving and appeasement of Hashut and His mighty idols were carried out in front of a large crowd. At last, as dusk set in, the returned Sorcerer-Prophet revealed the secret of the locked cargo ships.

      They contained robbed soils from across half the world, ripped from fertile land and carried back to the worldly realm of Hashut, to cover the fields owned by Aku-Lu-Zharrubar. Slowly at first, a great laughter rose from the multitude, and it is said that even some clansfolk subservient to the returned Sorcerer-Prophet joined in the guffawing, even though they would have to fear for their lives for as long as their master lived. It is said that the Dark Gods laughed with them. Unique in Dawi Zharr history, this was an event when the populace laughed in the face of one of the feared and revered Sorcerer-Prophets, so foolish did the megalomaniac appear at the docks. The crowd dispersed quickly before the victor's wrath was turned upon them, and soon all Chaos Dwarf settlements rang with scoff as both high and low ridiculed Aku-Lu-Zharrubar for his folly. Henceforth, he would be forever known as the Soil-Prophet, though none of his minions dared speak this moniker aloud.

      The Works: Sorcerer-Prophet Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath was undeterred by the abuse heaped upon him. He had not really expected anything more, and he would let the idiots who could not see his grand scheme remain blind in a world where he had eyes. Over the decades and centuries to come, the arrogant Aku-Lu-Zharrubar sent out or accompanied his fleet on expeditions of plunder and pillage, to capture slaves, loot riches and carry shiploads of fertile topsoils back to the Dark Lands.

      These soils were then distributed on his growing agricultural estates in the Plain of Zharr, clustered close to the River Ruin. Here, new irrigation systems were created and new techniques and crops were invented or introduced by the visionary Sorcerer-Prophet. The slaves on these plantations toiled hard to cover fields with the different types of soil, and many slaves were buried under the new topsoil as they collapsed on the spot out of hunger, disease and exhaustion. In between the lava rifts, manufactories, open-pit mines, quarries, chemical waste pools and slag piles in this landscape did the thralls labour and die to realize their master's vision of a garden of conquered earth and crops.

      Akin to how foreign imperial rulers collected wildlife and plants from all across their empires in menageries and gardens to show the width of their power, so did Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath exhibit his far-ranging raids and conquest of slaves and resources by the plethora of various topsoils found on his core latifundia. On the fields of these slave plantations were found loess from northern Cathay, Bretonnian clay, peat from Albion, black earth from Kislev and red soil from the ferrous plateaus of Ind. Likewise, alluvial soil deposited by the River Mortis of dead Nehekhara could be found here alone in the Dark Lands, as could tough, grassy prairie soil from the Grasslands of the northern New World, as well as the artificially created black soil of Lustria, which is created from organic waste in the outskirts of the Skink barrios in Lizardmen cities.

      There were even special fields of mud infused by corrupting energy from the northern Chaos Wastes, and a single patch of land covered by a sickly mud layer from the Marshes of Madness, dotted by the bones of Skaven and sharp shards of dangerous Warpstone. Toxic silt desposited by the River Ruin periodically covered these outlandish topsoils, as if to illustrate the predominance of Hashut. These fields of foreign soil were but the core parts of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath's expanding estate, for he purchased fields and water sources from other Sorcerer-Prophets as he sought power through control over both food and water supply. Most of his land expansion were to the north of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, where the River Ruin is not so heavily polluted by Chaos Dwarf industry, for the original fields owned by the Sorcerer-Prophet were downriver, to the south of the titanic ziggurat capitol, and he jealously craved for the more productive northern farms.

      The great plan of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar was to use his military skills to accumulate more might and wealth to become the master of foodstuffs in the Chaos Dwarf empire. Strange enough, he was eventually succesful in this life-long endeavour of his. At the height of the so-called Soil-Prophet's power, immediately prior to his death, Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath controlled over half the grain supply, one third of meat production and one quarter of underground mushroom plantations supplying Zharr-Naggrund with foodstuffs. This was a feat unrivalled even by Zharrgon the Great.

      Still, none of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar's rivals could take him seriously, for such despise held these elite Dawi Zharr at his power play and vested tampering in agriculture and water systems. The rest of the Temple Priesthood viewed it as amateurish, soft behaviour and as an outright weakness. What did it matter that their eccentric rival held power over the food production when their proverbial muscles of industry, Legions and sorcerous power could rob Aku-Lu-Zharrubar of it all in a matter of weeks? They could neither hate nor fear someone they all held in contempt. Still, the plantation overseers of these very Sorcerer-Prophets imitated many of the new developments on the Soil-Prophet's estate (though not the import of foreign soils), and some of the new crops and techniques introduced by Aku-Lu-Zharrubar are still grown and used by the banks of the River Ruin to this day.

      The Infamy: To counter the widespread disdain for himself, Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath invested some resources in a propaganda campaign of rumour-spreading and the erection of monuments and steles, dedicated to Hashut on the surface, but beneath that, to his own dark glory. The Sorcerer-Prophet claimed to be blessed by both the Father of Darkness and Ulkzhana the Golden Fertile, one of the Bull God's Shackled Consorts. Just as Aku-Lu-Zharrubar's many fields were fertile and bore rich harvests, so did he beget an abnormally high number of offspring on his moderately large harem of wives and concubines. Indeed, high Hashut even deemed him worthy enough to spare his manhood from petrification, and the Sorcerer-Prophet lived an unusually long life.

      On the one hand, these accolades to himself proved partially succesful during the life of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath, because their point about plentiful offspring struck a chord with Chaos Dwarf views on marriage and reproduction. On the other hand, the Sorcerer-Prophet also gained a reputation as a miser, for he built almost his entire rural ziggurat palace out of slagstone. In the end, the common folk of future generations would know him only as the Soil-Prophet.

      The Death: Sorcerer-Prophet Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath had been preserved from heavy petrification throughout his long life, yet no one lives forever. Legend has it that the demented and miserly Soil-Prophet once propped up the living body of a harried old Hobgoblin Khan, who had served his master all his life as a warrior, to act as a scarecrow upon one of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar's fields, among the crops, the chained farmhand slaves and the cruel taskmasters. Though not an unusual treatment of the rare veteran Hobgoblins, this so inspired the Chaos Dwarf, that he wished to replicate it on all his fields and not just one of them. Yet it would cost many Hobgoblins or other slaves to do so, and the tightwad did not wish to spend his property.

      The Sorcerer-Prophet's grasp of the arcane powers and mysteries had never been strong, yet still he pressed on by summoning a handful of acolytes to sacrifice as few slaves as possible in a sorcerous ritual to create duplicate Hobgoblin scarecrows on field after field on his slave latifundia. Few wizards in the world would dare to copy or create lifeforms of flesh and blood as if out of nothing, yet still Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath attempted this very thing, with lethal consequences. Predictably enough, the sorceries miscast, killing everyone involved in the ritual, bar the twitching Hobgoblin scarecrow who somehow survived the magical barrage unscathed.

      Morrslieb eclipsed the sun, and the guffaw of Dark Gods was heard echoing over the Plain of Zharr for a brief time, while an intesnse yet short-lived firestorm spread across a great many of the plantation fields. Slaves died in their thousands in the fields, and both Hobgoblins and lowlier slaves in Mingol-Zharr Naggrund the great faced a year of starvation and utter horror as tonnes of crops burned to cinders in the lowland. This all happened in the span of twelve minutes, and loose fire Daemons jumped like lightning bolts from field to field, seemingly at random and without burning all the crops in the fields, but rather creating twisting lines of searing flames across the landscape. When the firestorm suddenly abated, cryptic signs with a vague resemblance to the Dark Tounge script had been burnt into most of the grain fields in the Plain of Zharr. Dawi Zharr mystics and scribes still labour to translate and interpret them to this day, for it is believed they contain dire portents and vitally important instructions from both high Hashut, Daemonkin and the Great Four Dark Gods of Chaos.

      Though the statuary stone corpse of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar stand guard over the Road to Zharr-Naggrund along with the other Sorcerer-Prophets, legend has it that Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath was turned into mud not stone, forcing his surviving retinue to undertake a heinous secret ritual to dress up and petrify a male Chaos Dwarf of low breeding and status into the likeness of the so-called Soil-Prophet.

      Whatever the truth, the patchwork of fields covered in outlandish soils still remain, and are still tilled where the old core slave plantations of Aku-Lu-Zharrubar Darkbreath lay.

      Such is the legacy of folly.
    • Written by: DAGabriel

      From the teachings of Hashut
      Temple Archives of Zarr Dareis

      Hear ye followers of the Dark Lord!

      In the Dark Land Hashut gave to the Dawi Zharr there lived two mighty Sorcerer-Prophets.
      One was the mighty Htharikk Darkheart, the other one the mighty Veshnabanipal.
      Both were blessed by Hashut with a rare gift, a daughter,
      and both, without knowing from each other, gave their daughter the name Winanna.

      But while the realm and wealth of Htharrik Darkheart prospered, the realm of Veshnabanipal withered, his wife taken from him by Hashut and his daughter wasting away.
      One dark day a vile daemon visited Veshnabanipal and the mighty lord trembled as the creature of hell spoke to him:
      “Behold Lord Veshnabanipal, I can save that which thou lovest. Thou only have to give me a temple full of gold and I will take the curse from thy daughter!”

      Veshnabanipal called for all the gold in his mighty realm, but lo, the temple was only half filled.

      Veshnabanipal called for his fellow lords in the Dark Land and he promised to send them cohorts of his mighty army for gold and since they all knew of his plight they offered pitiful small sums for the service of his mighty warriors. When he filled the sums in the temple the amount was still lacking and the daemon gloated over him.

      Blackheart looked at his Winanna as he read the desperate words of Veshnabanipal and since his realm was wide and prosperous he sent word to him.

      “Dear brother, in the name of our two Winannas I will send thee my treasures and instead of thy warriors I only beg thee to promise me a singe leaden figure for my palace shrine when luck has returned to thee.”

      Such the daemons price was met and behold, Winanna was made whole again and luck returned to the realm of Veshnabanipal.

      The time passed and again and again the realm of Htharrik Blackheart was assaulted by the hosts of other Sorcerer-Prophets, their army strengthened by the warriors sold to them by Veshnabanipal. But the promised idol never arrived in his realm.

      Bitterly he prayed at his palace shrine and his eye fell at the empty place waiting for the promised leaden figure, and Hashut did listen to his lamentations.

      These were the words the Dark Lord sent to his faithful servant:

      Listen to my wisdom, Htharrik. Rejoice and be thankful to Veshnabanipal for he gave to thee what no other Dawi Zharr could give thee. He gave to thee what thou did ask of him, a promise. For thou didst ask for such and not for the real thing.
      So learn that as the magic I give to thee will turn thy body to stone the teaching he gave to thee will turn thy heart to stone as is befitting for a real son of the Dawi Zharr! So even as it is painful to thee it will strengthen thou and make thee a better ruler.
    • Written by: Fuggit Khan

      In aeons past, the Old World was inhabited by Titans, beings of immense size and power. They were akin to Gods, in a time before the Gods themselves were born. The Titans decided to impart a sliver of their consciousness to the world, giving spirit and life to every stone, every river and every tree.

      But amongst the Titans stood one who raged fury and contempt at these actions. His name was Dakgron.

      Dakgron argued for “the Will to make power over others”, while his Titan brothers believed in “the Will to make life”.

      Dakgron confronted the first Titan, calling him feckless. The first Titan smirked in disagreement, and thus Dakgron tore the head off his brother Titan, tossing the dead Titan's head into the ocean, which became the island of Ulthuan.

      Dakgron confronted the second Titan, calling him unstable. Hearing this, the second brother fell to despair and insanity, and committed suicide, giving birth to the Chaos Wastes.

      Dakgron proceeded to confront the third Titan, calling him cowardly. The third Titan fought back, but Dakgron ripped the spine and ribs from the third Titan. Casting them aside, the spine formed the Worlds Edge Mountains, the ribs to become the Rib Peaks.

      The fourth Titan was then killed, its bones ground to dust, forming the deserts of Araby.

      The fifth Titan had his jawbone and teeth ripped out, tossed to the sea to become the Dragon Isles.

      And so it continued, until all the other Titans had been killed, and only Dakgron stood.

      But even in death, the dead Titans' “Will to make life” flourished, and from their corpses sprang the lesser races of Man, Elf, Dwarf and Greenskin.

      And in a final rage to consume all the life that sprang from his weaker siblings, Dakgron consumed even his own life force. The Dark Lands sprang from his final Will, lava boiled from his blood, ash breathed from his lungs and iron from his heart. And in his death his name was corrupted to what we now call Dharkhangron, the Dark beneath the World.

      Because of this, only a race who can have “the Will to make power over life” can flourish here in the Dark Lands, a race who understands that the true nature of this Will is to enslave the lesser offspring of the lesser Titans.

      The true inheritors and subjugators of this world: Our race, the Dawi Zharr.

      - Chaos Dwarf Cultural Tradition
    • Written by: Roark

      The Dirge of Awakening

      In Zorn Uzkul's black heart, 'neath the eldritch, nameless peak
      We toiled at the stony roots, axe cast aside for pick and auger
      Despair clawed unceasingly at our hearts, all pride was ashes
      Bent-backed sworn brothers shouldering a burden of terror
      Beards shorn in shame - ancient, beloved clan annals thrown to flame
      Outside, the agony of worlds was made manifest, ineffable hunger
      Tempests of gibbering madness shrieked wordlessly all around
      Howls pierced each kinsman's soul, duty and honour forgotten
      Desperate hands clawed at obsidian, ironstone, warp-ore
      We pulled away the pieces of our past, torn free of the mountain
      Until silence surrounded us, the echoing null of insignificance
      Grungni spoke not. Grimnir stayed his tongue, Valaya her counsel
      We were nothing in that moment of nothingness. Yea, less
      When stone gave way to a yawning void, steaming darkness
      And the sun a memory of a dream, and the world annihilated
      In Zorn Uzkul's black heart, 'neath the ancient, nameless spire
      Our souls were reforged when two burning eyes opened.
    • Written by: Ikkred Pyrhelm

      The hearth crackled as hungry flames licked already blackened logs, throwing up a dirty yellowish light over the Chaos Dwarfs. They paid it no mind, nor even the drinks now forgotten beside them. The Chaos Dwarf ancient and his companion had arrived earlier that day, his accent strange to them. He wove them stories of their ancestors, of forgotten glories, of bloody deaths. The fire crackled again, casting an almost daemonic aspect on the old Chaos Dwarf's craggy face, he had yet another tale to tell.

      "'I’d give my eyes for knowledge, my skin for wealth, my bones for power, my soul for immortality,' the long forgotten Dirszki once claimed that, for which of us would not want such boons despite the sacrifices? Yet dark fates await those who would reach for such ends. Such as F’kari and the Eternal Flame.

      F’kari was an adventurous son of our kind, his blade was always sharp, his eye keen, and his stein forever empty. Here was a Dawi Zharr that seemed destined for great things.” The ancient’s companion snorted at this as if he’d heard the same line one too many times, the mask covering his face seeming to shimmer in the glow. The ancient ignored him and continued.

      “Indeed, the hearth would be colder than a spurned Rinn before I could cover the legends of F’kari.” His companion grunted something about the old coot exaggerating everything but was ignored. “But his last great adventure,” continued the old Chaos Dwarf, “dealt him the greatest treasure yet the most ill of punishments. Our story begins, as many stories do, on a lonely barren road. F’kari had returned from a great war against our soft ‘cousins’ and was making his weary bones along the path home when he happened to come across an old pedlar. He was mending a pair of boots whilst whistling a tune, F’kari stopped and began to dance to the tune in merriment. The tune finished, F’kari noticed that his jig had worn away his boots to nothing. The pedlar smiled and proffered the boots he was mending, 'may your dance never leave you barefooted,' he chuckled and left without further word. F’kari hesitantly tried the boots on and found them a perfect fit, and he walked onwards noticing how they did not seem to wear.

      “He came upon another pedlar whittling away at a piece of dark wood and smoking a pipe. F’kari lit his pipe and joined the pedlar, watching him work. When the pedlar finished, F’kari removed his pipe only to find it crumble away in his hand. The pedlar smiled and gave F’kari his pipe, 'may your pipe never empty,' he chuckled and left without further word. F’kari placed some pipe weed into this strange pipe and found it burned for as long as he wished, and he walked onwards, plumes of smoke around him.

      “Then he came upon a third pedlar who sat there weeping, for he had neither boots nor pipe. F’kari would have left the fool as he was, and yet he was unnaturally moved by the Chaos Dwarf’s plight. Before proper sense returned to him he had given the pedlar his boots and pipe. 'It is a rare Dawi Zharr who gives such riches,' the pedlar smiled and gave F’kari a set of strangely crafted dice. 'Go to the ruins to the south and meet with the Daemon of fire. May your luck never run out.'

      “Taking the dice, F’kari made his way south and found a long forgotten ruined keep. He made camp there and waited. As darkness fell there was a plume of fire and a great Daemon appeared before F’kari. The Daemon cackled and prepared to feast on the foolish Chaos Dwarf when F’kari held aloft the dice. 'Very well,' hissed the Daemon, 'what do you wish to gamble your soul for?'

      F’kari thought hard and responded, 'I have seen much in my years and wish to see much more, I wish for life eternal.' The Daemon smiled and the two began to gamble. To the Daemon’s dismay his every roll was bad and F’kari’s perfect, and by the light of dawn he conceded defeat. 'You seek the Eternal Flame,' the Daemon whispered, touching F’kari’s brow. With the path in his mind, F’kari began the long and perilous journey till he stood before the flames eternal. Filled with dreams of immortality he stepped into them and his wish was granted.”

      The old Chaos Dwarf smiled as the flames crackled. “Of course, the Daemon (nor the pedlars he pretended to be) never told F’kari that the fire would scorch his flesh and he’d be cursed to forever travel...always burning...never dying...”

      “So what happened to him?” spoke one of the listeners.

      “He still wanders...isn’t that right, F’kari?” smiled the storyteller.

      His companion stood and removed his mask.

    • Humiliation. Dominance. Obedience. Strength. Worship. Chaos Dwarf religion and its everyday life carries with it a mixture of humbling subservience to Hashut and His rigid hierarchy on the one hand, and ruthless displays of power and cruelty to slaves and foes on the other. This is not a contradiciton to the various cults and sects that make up Dawi Zharr societ. It is simply the moral and right way of the world to be as is manifest all around and as is taught by the Sorcerer-Prophets of the Father of Darkness' holy Temple in Mingol Zharr-Naggrund.

      Even so, amongst a people fanatically devoted to Hasut and Chaos there are bound to be the odd deviants who cannot come to terms with the established world-view. Caste obedience and descent from Dwarf stock might make them rare, yet even so they exist. These are what other races would call the witches, hermits and holy men; religiously engrossed fools and oddballs acting outside of the Temple's jurisdiction. They are often shunned, or choose themselves to live outside Dawi Zharr society, and they will invariably turn insane if not sudden death claims these wayward individuals first.

      For there is no place for independence, ideals or ascetism to be found in Chaos, only malignant struggles, falsehoods without end and the damnation of your soul. However respected the rare hermit, Daemon-seer or witch may grow in the eyes of the common populace, all Chaos Dwarfs believe that these castaways are ultimately doomed.

      In songs and legends they often carry dire portents and demands, like the witch who halted Zhargon at the Gates of Zharr, and their very presence usually signals disaster ahead. They are exiles amongst their own people and some are even strangers to the nature of their own god. They are mad, and they are shunned, yet even the most powerful Prophet cannot afford to ignore their offers and warnings.

      At the altar, they are pariahs. At the throne, they may be the messenger of some Dark God, and woe unto him who would disregard those tidings...

      Such are the stories told of outcasts by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

      This is one of these stories.

      The Feral Hermit: One dread Night of Mysteries, terrors were visited upon the Dark Lands when a Chaos Dwarf baby boy was born to the world in a clan settlement outside Zharr-Naggrund. His name was Koldumzhtrol Redeye, and even as a child his demeanour was marked by eerie depressions into religious contemplation and fits of maniac rambling. He was thought to be marked by Matzhkra the Leaden Trampled consort of Hashut, and all uprighstanding folks shied away from Koldumzhtrol and scared their children to hate him and shout down his blasphemous gabble.

      He was shunned by all, even the lowliest slag pit slave and the legless Hobgoblin who cleaned the gutter in the settlement. It did not take more than seven decades of life before Koldumzhtrol disappeared into the wilderness at the fringe of the Plain of Zharr to lead a life of self-denial, meditation and introspection. In the ashen wastes he wandered and lived in caves, and as an ascetic hermit he sought the inner meaning of Hashut's will. Yet all the while he was tempted by Daemons.

      Nightmares haunted the wretched hermit during the Night of Mysteries on the ninetyninth birthday of Koldumzhtrol Redeye, and the man did not wake up for twelve days. By then his frame was wasted, horns had grown from his head and his feet had become cloven hooves. Koldumzhtrol had dreamed of terrible revelations, and had reached the conclusion in a fever pitch, that he must imitate the ravenous Bull God and stop to deny his inner fire spark. This he did with a fervour and virility bordering on Daemonic possession.

      Run-away slaves, Hobgoblin outriders and hostile Goblin scouts alike all met their end at the hands of a frenzied madman armed with nothing but a sharp stone. Koldumzhtrol the hermit stalked the lone unfortunates amidst the lava crags and rock formations, and jumped them with a horrifying bellow that echoed and soon was thought to be the voice of a Daemon.

      The insane Koldumzhtrol did not stop there in his rabid quest to mimic the Father of Darkness. Somehow the cunning wretch sneaked into outlying settlements and raped seven married women without getting caught. One of the husbands yelled that he would hang the hermit in his own beard. The enraged clans of Koldumzhtrol's bruised victims soon united their forces in a hateful hunt for the feral hermit's head. This pursuit, headed by the sneakiest of Hobgoblins, went on fruitlessly for months out in the wilderness, yet eventually it met with success thanks to high Hashut's intervention.

      Once when escaping his pursuers, the maddened Koldumzhtrol howled and ran on all four into a volcanic crater. Miraculously, the crater erupted all of a sudden and the rabid hermit was swallowed in a cascade of molten rock. The clans declared this to be divine punishment and returned to their dwellings with upheld honour and hymns on their lips.

      That would have been the end of mad Koldumzhtrol Redeye, yet the Father of Darkness had a twisted plan in store for this heretic. Once the volcanic eruption ceased, a horned, ragged shape emerged out of hot lava in the glowing crater.

      Clad in hooded, black robes and bearing neither hat nor mask, he was to be known thereafter as the Black Wanderer. In his right hand he held an icon of Chaos Undivided, and in his left he carried an always freshly decapitated slave head which he argued with in gibberish. The head was never the same on different sightings of the mysterious being, yet it was always fresh. The Black Wanderer's flesh and beard was burnt, his eyes were nothing but empty sockets, and he would haunt Chaos Dwarfs for centuries to come.

      The Bargain: Chill winds whistled in the armour of a crestfallen column of Infernal Guards retreating over the Howling Wastes. They were the handpicked men of Daemonsmith Engineer Thurnukaz Ironbull, and they had failed him in combat against the Orcish Crushed Face tribe. Their banners and war machines had been abandoned, and most of their slave troops had scattered or been captured by the triumphant Greenskins. Thurnukaz cursed his foes and his outcast warriors, and he lamented his defeat to high Hashut at the head of the column, when suddenly a lone Chaos Dwarf appeared.

      It was a black, horned shape carrying an icon of Chaos. It spoke to a cut-off Gnoblar head which it held in one hand, and it rose out of the wind-swept ground, from out of a lava crack that had not been there before. At its feet stood a rusty iron chest. When Thurnukaz Ironbull came near, it spoke. The Black Wanderer's voice was ragged and hoarse, yet the Daemonsmith could clearly make out the words which offered him the ensorcelled chest. Apparently, so long as Thurnukaz' and only Thurnukaz' hands reached into the chest, they would always produce hunks of fresh meat. All the Black Wanderer wanted in return was an oath to Hashut on never letting himself be defeated in combat.

      Thurnukaz swore this oath upon his grandmother's pickled heart, and received the chest and its key. The Black Wanderer disappeared back into the ground, and Thurnukaz changed his route. The Infernal Guard could return to the Black Fortress all they wanted, for he had no need for their worthless services. Instead, he brought with him his apprentices and slaves, and headed for the Ogre trading outpost, the Sentinels.

      At the Sentinels did Thurnukaz Ironbull gain the attention of every Ogre in town by producing endless piles of fresh meat from out of his chest. He gave it away for free to anyone willing to follow him, obey him and fight under his command. In no time at all had he amassed a monstrous army of Ogre mercenaries with a horde of Gnoblar cutthroats and hangers-on. All he needed to pay them was fresh meat hunks out of his magical chest, which never drained.

      Thurnukaz plotted malevolent plans for his newfound power, yet his first aim was to avenge his defeat at the hands of the Crushed Face Orcs. The Daemonsmith led the thunderous charge at the head of one thousand Ogres, and the Greenskins' fates were sealed as tonnes upon tonnes of lard, muscle and metal hit home and stampeded over the Orcish horde. Many slaves were captured that day, yet even more Orcs were turned into unrecognizable gory pulp.

      The magical chest continued to give him and his Ogre army meat, and thus Thurnukaz Ironbull sacrificed to Hashut in thanksgiving and marched far south, into the Plain of Bones where Ghoul tribes were smashed apart and taken captives. They made poor food to the Ogres, unlike the chest's meat. Thurnukaz then marched north, sold his new slaves in the Tower of Gorgoth, and headed west to Crookback Mountain, where vile ratmen makes their lair.

      This time, the blunt force of the Daemonsmith's mercenaries proved insufficient against the Skaven in their myriad tunnels and undergound traps. The Ogres grew frustrated with hunting fleeing ratmen in the labyrinthine tunnels. Their willingness to fight diminished as they ran into ambush after ambush. The Skaven fought tenaciously and with deadly cunning. Eventually, only the prospect of fresh meat from Thurnukaz' chest prevented the Ogres from deserting him in this Maw-forsaken place, yet the mood was nigh-on mutinous.

      One day, a Gnoblar named Ba stole the key to the chest from the drunk and sleeping Thurnukaz. Ba was far down in the pecking order of Gnoblars and always received the worst, stinking scraps of meat left over. Starvation had made Ba desperate to get some of the best meat for himself. Metal creaked in the camp tent as the Gnoblar turned the key and opened the dark chest. Ba reached inside it, but produced only rotten meat and maggots that crawled on his arms. The Gnoblar shrieked in terror or surprise, and then resolved to eat the maggots.

      The Ogres were not content with this cuisine, however. One of them peered into Thurnukaz' tent at the sound of the shrieking Gnoblar, and roared in desperation. Soon, all eight hundred surviving Ogres had gathered inside and around the Chaos Dwarf's tent, and stared in utter horror as one Ogre Bull after another approached the chest, reached inside and produced chunk after chunk of rotten meat and maggots.

      An Ogre Butcher named Hak Bigeater rushed in wrath to Thurnukaz Ironbull's bed and threw the drunken Daemonsmith high into the air. The startled Dawi Zharr fell back onto the ground and cursed his attacker venomously. Hak roared at Thurnukaz and demanded to know where he had hidden the fresh meat. The Chaos Dwarf went pale as he realized what must have happened. He elbowed his way past the Ogre legs, cast down his arms into the chest yet could only draw forth rotten hunks of fly-infested meat.

      Too late did he realize that he had already broken his oath by swearing it, for had he not already lost once in battle, shortly before meeting the Black Wanderer? Thurnukaz Ironbull saw the rage in the Ogres' hungry faces and sold his life dearly. The Daemonsmith drew upon all his sorcerous power to unleash an inferno into the hostile mercenaries around him. He succeeded in this, but only because his sorcery went horribly wrong and unleashed Daemons that tore both him and fifty Ogres limb from limb before dragging their screaming souls back with them into the Realm of Chaos.

      And in the midst of the uproar, the ground cracked in front of the chest that was filled with nought but rotten meat. The Black Wanderer rose from the lava rift, stole the meatchest and disappeared with it forever.

    • In betwixt two titanic mountain ranges stretches the nightmarish realm known as the Dark Lands, where fire, ash and molten rock is ever present. To live amidst these bleak landscapes is to experience hell itself, for it is a harsh world of roaming monsters, restless Undead, teeming hordes of brutish Greenskins, migrating Ogres and utterly ruthless slavers and industrialists bent on upholding and expanding their nightmarish empire in the Dark Lands. The latter ones are the Chaos Dwarfs - or Dawi Zharr, the Dwarfs of Fire as they are also known - and to foreigners, foes and slaves alike they will appear to be incomprehensible enigmas to their very core.

      The Chaos Dwarfs will seem like nothing more than vicious villains whose cruel acts of Daemonsmithing, warfare, savagery and domination are but the manifestations of corrupted minds twisted into demented malignancy. And indeed they are, though these minds of the Dawi Zharr are not always necessarily insane, despite what the opinions of foes, slaves and uneasy allies alike would like to claim.

      To understand the Chaos Dwarfs is to fathom that this wayward race is fundamentally Dwarfen at its core, as is evident in its stubborn toil and greed, though this Dwarfen nature is corrupted and mutated. On top of this fundament stands the component parts that makes the Dawi Zharr tick: Such as their fanatical devotion to the fiery Bull God, Hashut, and the decrees of His sacrificial religion; their extreme drive to survive and conquer at any costs in an unspeakably hostile world; their consequent will to dominate and trample, to burn and flay; and their important bonds to, and belief in the wider pantheon of Chaos. The latter aspect is crucial to grasp the Chaos Dwarf mindset.

      Though the Father of Darkness has chosen them to be His tribe, and though He is mighty and great, Hashut is still a lesser Dark God within the Realm of Chaos, one malevolent spirit of divine and unholy power alike, amongst countless others. Though far mightier than mere Daemons and demigods, He is still beneath the power of the Great Four. The recognition of this fact does neither breed inferiority complex, nor does it lead to deep worship of the major Dark Gods amongst the vast majority of Dawi Zharr. Instead this recognition helps to fuel a hellish ambition to conquer and dominate, to toil and expand, to rise and carve out an empire in the name of the Bull God.

      Likewise, the Chaos Dwarfs' recognition and partial, minor worship of the wider pantheon of Chaos do not only provide them with unparallelled insights into the nature of the Daemons of Chaos for the purposes of Daemonforging; it also means that the Dawi Zharr's plethora of characters and spirits in mythology share many of the legendary Daemons known to other Chaos worshippers around the world.

      For the worshippers of Hashut owns an intricate knowledge of the different faces of Chaos, mysteries that are often shocking and revolting to other mortals. Their lore and their stories tell of these secrets. These are not tales of benevolent fairies or gold at the end of the rainbow, but gruesome and bizarre sagas of savage deeds, insanity and devious cunning. They are narratives in which Chaos Dwarfs and other mortals may challenge Dark Gods and Daemons alike, yet more often than not they are mere victims. These tales are also accounts of hideous characters, bottomless hunger for power and occult secrets of uncaring deities best left hidden from mortal ken, lest the Daemons in the tales prove to be true...

      These are the stories of servants to the Dark Gods, as told by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

      This is one of these stories.

      To Trick Time: The quest for immortality may at best result in everlasting infamy, eternal torment, or both. Even so, in ages past, the insane Chaos Sorceror Hy-Rass Snakebiter was willing to attempt the impossible and steal immortality from the grasp of gods and time alike. The Hung man Hy-Rass Snakebiter, of the Tu-Ka tribe, was neither a very powerful Sorceror, nor was he a warrior, pillager nor warlord of great renown. His potential and might could never earn him Daemonhood as a prince at the right hand of some of the Great Four, nor could his strength and sorcery achieve deeds that would grant his name immortal glory in the tales of the common folk in the Chaos Wastes. No sane man could see an alternative path for the Sorceror to tread in order to attain eternal life, yet insanity granted Hy-Rass that vision which others lacked.

      During one night under a full bale moon and numerous fell portents, the Chaos Sorceror stole away eight children from his tribe's encampment and dragged them into a large, hidden hole in the ground. This was his dwelling and stage to achieve immortality, the abandoned underground lair of some unspeakable monster. Hy-Rass Snakebiter had adorned it with bones, teeth and intestines arranged in arcane patterns all over the earth floor, roof and walls. Each bone, tooth and organ was covered in wild carvings of script in the Dark Tounge. As the insane Chaos Sorceror sacrificed the human children one by one, he read out every single carving aloud, in an unintelligible tirade of an incantation.

      The blood of Hung children had to be shed because no mortal tounge could ever empower the spell without bloodletting, and children were always easier prey than adults. Hy-Rass knew himself to be a weakling and coward, yet in his madness he did not care. His barbed knife hewed and hewed as his magic incantation reached its crescendo. And so it was that Hy-Rass Snakebiter earned immortality of a sort with his newly discovered spell, for he tricked the flow of time itself into forming a loop. This would allow him to live forever, again and again experiencing the same event for a short duration of time in a neverending cycle of repetition and the visions of the insane, without aging or decay.

      The time loop went on an on, over and over again, until finally it reached its nine times ninetynineth cycle. Then, the Changeling, the Trickster of Tzeentch, appeared out of the Realm of Chaos at a critical moment. The Changeling was disguised in the shape of the Chaos Sorceror himself, and this sight so disturbed Hy-Rass Snakebiter that his concentration slipped, and his tounge fumbled with a single syllable of the incantation. Catastrophe struck immediately, and the insane Sorceror aged nine thousand years in an instant. The time loop was broken, yet the spell was not lost forever. The Changeling transformed himself into one of the dead child victims of Hy-Rass' blade, stole every spell concocted by the mad Sorceror, and went out into the mortal world on a bewildering tour of arcane trickery and deceit, in many disguises.

      A Once in a Lifetime Offer: Some years afterwards, in the Dark Lands, the aged and petrifying Sorcerer-Prophet Kar-Astralittu searched in vain for a remedy to his far advanced Sorcerer's Curse. After all his triumphs and inventions, no success in life could soothe Kar-Astralittu's yearning for flesh as his body turned evermore into stone. Had the Chaos Dwarf been able to, he would have forsaken everything he had achieved in order to reverse the petrification.

      To this end the old Sorcerer-Prophet scoured the archives and sought the lost secrets of Zhargon the Great, the Accursed Golden One of ancient times. Kar-Astralittu invested much of his wealth in this quest for flesh and possibly even immortality, yet failure followed upon failure. Pacts were struck with Daemons, portents were read everywhere, in everything. Vast quantities of worldly possessions were sacrificed, both at fiery altars and to ask the dreaded K'daai Oracle of Daemon's Stump for advice. Sleepless nights were spent in trance as the Sorcerer-Prophet meditated on the mysteries of Hashut. The old man prayed, offered up sacrifices and even scoured the feeble mysteries of foreign races for clues on how to change his grim fate. He even dabbled into foreign arts of herbalism and magic lores forbidden or unobtainable to Dawi Zharr sorcerers. Yet all were to no avail, and neither Kar-Astralittu nor his labouring acolytes could find a cure.

      Eventually, the once-mighty Sorcerer-Prophet's skin had almost completely turned into stone. Life was a tragedy to old Kar-Astralittu, and the Bull God would not answer his call for aid. Eventually, the old Sorcerer-Prophet sacrificed an Ogre Bull in molten iron, and secluded himself in the loneliness of his inner sanctum. There, in the darkness of his high halls, the petrifying Chaos Dwarf prayed fervently to whoever god or Daemon that would listen. Kar-Astralittu begged for youth, immortality and escape from petrification at whatever price any saviour deity would ask for. He would even chisel off his beard if necessary.

      At that moment, a cloaked human wanderer appeared out of the shadows in the Sorcerer-Prophet's inner sanctum. He was clad in black, and his face was concealed in the shadows of his hood, although a strange beard of teal feathers was visible. The man's arrival was unannounced by guards and wards alike, yet the aging Kar-Astralittu did not shout out to his guardians.

      The human figure walked up to the Sorcerer-Prophet and offered him a sequence of three spells to achieve both immortality, youth and freedom from the Sorcerer's Curse. The trio of spells were each written in cryptic Dark Tounge script on three scrolls. Kar-Astralittu inquired what the cloaked man demanded in exchange for such a treasure, yet he did neither need to offer any sacrifice, nor barter away his soul nor forsake the Father of Darkness. The only condition was that the Sorcerer-Prophet read the three scrolls in the correct order. When he heard this, the old Chaos Dwarf was so relieved that he cried tears in his face of cracked stone, for the first time in his life since he was a toddler. Kar-Astralittu thanked the cloaked man vigourously and wasted no time to cast the spell. As the mysterious wanderer disappeared into the shadows of the inner sanctum, the Sorcerer-Prophet offered a quick prayer to high Hashut and read out the scrolls aloud, one by one.

      Immortality: At the reading of the magic incantation of the first scroll, twin Daemons appeared out of thin air in front of the Sorcerer-Prophet. The Daemons were a couple of Blue Horrors mounted on a Disc of Tzeentch, yet they were overloaded with parchment, quills and ink vessels. They cackled and argued in confusion as the one named P'tarix scribbled down the very spell used to summon them. The other, named Xirat'p, read out the freshly-written magic incantation aloud, causing the pair of otherworldly spellcasters to disappear and immediately reappear right in front of their former position, now hovering above the high hat of the Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer-Prophet below. These Daemons were the Blue Scribes, Tzeentch's Quaestors, spell-hunters and record-keepers of sorceries throughout eternity. One of them can transcribe any spell to parchment, but cannot read, while the other can read any spell, yet cannot understand it.

      The aged Kar-Astralittu took heart at the sight of these beings, for he believed the next spell to be one of control, to wrestle the immortality incantation from the surly Blue Scribes. With a commanding gesture to the chittering Daemons over his head, the Dawi Zharr read out the next spell, from the second scroll. It was a long and cryptic spell, and the Sorcerer-Prophet read it out aloud with great care. When he reached the end of the parchment, nothing happened.

      Over his head, the Blue Scribes repeated Kar-Astralittu's second spell in their odd relaying way, yet again nothing at all occured. In fury, the stony Chaos Dwarf ripped open the third scroll and barked out the one word which stood written in the Dark Tounge's script at the very top of the parchment: "Again." The Blue Scribes reapeated after him, without any effect whatsoever. Kar-Astralittu unrolled more and more of the long scroll, and a large blank area stretched out over almost its entire length. The parchment seemed to be empty.

      At last, the Sorcerer-Prophet reached the end of the scroll, found a single word, and growled the last word of the incantation: "Now!" Once again, nothing happened as the Chaos Dwarf read out the word, but when the Blue Scribes repeated it after him, the inner sanctum was filled with crackling bolts of sorcerous energy, and the sound of an hourglass being turned upside down. At first, Kar-Astralittu believed himself succesful, yet in the next instant he realized what had happened when he caught a glimpse of a teal feather falling out from the unfurled end of the third scroll. He had been utterly deceived. The aged Sorcerer-Prophet had just enough time to yell a heinous curse. In that very moment, time rewinded, and the time loop devised by Hy-Rass Snakebiter began anew where the cloaked human wanderer, the Changeling, disappeared into the shadows.

      This cycle repeated itself for countless times, over and over again, effectively halting the march of history in the mortal world, until the Great Schemer, Tzeentch, dispatched the Lord of Change, Uzuzap, to pull his Blue Scribes out of the trap so that their cataloguing work could continue. The Lord of Change, Uzuzap, broke the time loop by pulling Kar-Astralittu into the Realm of Chaos, where the Sorcerer-Prophet at last was granted flesh, youth and immortality. Yet the fated Chaos Dwarf suffers an eternal punishment inside a giant hour glass made of crystal, which is filled by life-size statues of Kar-Astralittu rather than sand. Forever and ever is the Sorcerer-Prophet pummelled and mauled into a gory mess by the falling stone likenesses of himself, in a torrent of stone crushing both flesh and bone, and thus it shall be for as long as the might of Tzeentch remains.

      Such are the fickle ways of Chaos.

    • The divinely appointed Sorcerer-Prophets of the Dawi Zharr interpret the convoluted and malignant will of their Father of Darkness, and are oft blessed with otherworldly visions and may speak the words of divine command, or so they claim. Yet the occult is steeped in peril and mystery, and even those most learned in dark lore, most attuned to the arcane and those who believe themselves to be the masters of Daemonology may find their souls led astray. For in the maelstrom that is the Realm of Chaos dwells many more spirits than the fiery Bull God and His shackled court, and the malice and trickery of Daemons and Dark Gods alike present a trial to be overcome by faith and wisdom.

      Some are laid low by these harsh trials. Indeed, even the mighiest have failed.

      One such failure was Nebirudnuzhak Thunderhoof, High Priest of the Temple of Hashut and earthly ruler of the dark empire of the Chaos Dwarfs, a nightmarish realm built in the image of the merciless Bull God, the worldly domain of the Father of Darkness where His will was made manifest by whip, weapon and tool in the hands of fanatic sacrificers. Nebirudnuzhak was one of the mightiest mortals alive in the whole world, yet when staring into the oracular flames of the inner sanctum, his eyes and mind and heart were lured away from the true path of Hashut by a thrice-accursed Flamer of Tzeentch, and his fate was sealed in that instant by false visions acted upon.

      Nebirudnuzhak Thunderhoof gathered the highest members of the cult of Hashut, and declared that he had heard the voice of the Father of Darkness Himself more truly and more intensely than any worshipper alive, dead or not yet born, and that it was his sacred duty to cast off the mundane troubles of the world and venture into seclusion to fully fathom the innermost meaning of his Dark God. His heretical words rang out in the great Temple, yet no other Sorcerer-Prophet ever spoke up against it, for all they saw was a powerful rival abdicating in their favour. And Hashut saw that it was ill.

      Accompanied by but a few loyal servants, Nebirudnuzhak set out for the remote Hell's Eye, a sunken lava pool in the Blasted Wastes, to glimpse his deity in the molten rock. Needless to say, High Priest Nebirudnuzhak's grip on power turned to dust in his absence. His rivals plotted against their overlord and a clique of the most powerful Sorcerer-Prophets in Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great crowned themselves regents without the divine and unholy approval of high Hashut, only to see their might and dark splendour drowned in blood and ashes when the great Black Orc Rebellion erupted a scant month after the unworthy oligarchy's ascent to power.

      As for Nebirudnuzhak himself, his stay at Hell's Eye lasted but shortly. He had sought out one of the remotest lava pools in the entire Dark Lands to hear his cruel deity clearly and to escape the crowded noise of the grand capital. His few servants had brought with them dried rations to last for years on end, yet the scent of this food led a massive feral pack of giant wolves to descend upon the retinue of Nebirudnuzhak with fang and claw. Their howling and snarling, and the frantic yelling of their prey echoed in the sunken pit of Hell's Eye as the wolves chased the Dawi Zharr round and round until their short legs could carry the doomed no more. The last shrieks of the High Priest of Hashut passed unheard upon the vicious winds which wailed across the Blasted Wastes, and the bones of his corpse remain lost to this day and age.

      Such was the judgement of the Father of Darkness upon His children for the sake of their folly, according to the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

    • In travail were heaven and earth, in travail, too, the hungering abyss. The Ash Ridge Mountains rocked, quaked, cracked and broke apart. The travail held in the fiery depths a surging pillar of magma, striking through the veil of ground and unleashing rivers of molten rock and geysers of ash and cinders upon the Desolation of Azgorh. Through the breach came forth smoke, came forth flame. And out of the flame a naked bastard demigod sprang, fiery was his hair, ablaze was his beard, of hot lava rock his hide, and his eyes were like suns. Born from a hidden womb of magma, the untrue son of He Who Rapes the Earth, the golem demigod was, and he possessed vast strength akin to one hind leg of that Father of Darkness who begot him in fury.

      Out of the raging volcano he ran, horned and wild, tusked and sturdy, frothing molten copper and thirsting for blood, a spirit on fire destined to burn itself out. The name of the frenzied one was Vazharrukur, and this name became feared far and wide as he went on a ravenous rampage without course, without rest, stamping forth and leaving fiery footsteps behind amid the carcasses of scorched Greenskins, monsters and other beasts. Yet the bastard demigod met his match in the eastern Howling Wastes, but miles from defiled River Ruin, for upon a black marble hillock reared great Muzharrshushu, primordial mother of the fell and mighty Magma Dragon race. Scarred and glowing, they roared challenges at each other, and both charged the other at the same time, spewing forth flames that would have melted granite, yet barely scarred the foe.

      In savage wrath did Vazharrukur and Muzharrshushu fight, unrelenting and bereft of mercy was their clash, and so ferociously did they set upon each other that the crust of the world underneath the behemoths wore thin, pounded as it was by monstrous combat. And west of defiled River Ruin did the face of the foundations of the world creak and crack and crumble, and at last did it collapse, swallowing them both into the infernal depths of the earth. Thus were the Bubbling Pits created, gashed upon the frail earth akin to a festering wound aflame which never healed.

      Yet their fall into the lower depths of flame did not cease the battle of titans for one moment, for beneath the facade of the surface realms are the bastard demigod Vazharrukur and the great Magma Dragon Muzharrshushu still locked in an everlasting struggle, neither gaining an advantage decisive enough to slay the other. It is said, that the vicious combatants may be glimpsed on rare occasions, rising out of erupting volcanoes across the cruel Dark Lands, or leaping from out of the towering Fire Mouth among the freezing Mountains of Mourn. Then, they are invariably showered in fire and sparks, wreathed in smoke and billowing ash as they clash, claw and tear each other. Whenever they emerge from the infernal realms they are carried upwards on strong currents of molten rock, and will always spread havoc around them before sinking back into the hellish guts of the world once more, striking blows, kicking and biting in a blaze of fury without even noticing the surface world stretching out around them.

      The sight of Vazharrukur and Muzharrshushu locked in their fiery duel to the death is regarded as a potent omen indeed, which could signify impending disaster or great success to be reaped amid terrible perils.

      Such are the fates of the Bull God's bastard progeny, according to the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

    • It is no coincidence that the tribe of the Father of Darkness aesthetically values dark objects highly. The soot and black smoke which blows from Chaos Dwarf manufactories, furnaces and Iron Daemons is not an ugly tarnish upon the face of the earth to the Dawi Zharr, but rather a beautiful manifestation of dark domination and industrial power. In a similar vein does some Chaos Dwarfs colour their light beards and hair black to better please Hashut, especially those with some dubious uncorrupted Dwarf ancestry due to enslavement of Dawi females and concubinage. Likewise, ashen or dark building materials are favoured among the Chaos Dwarfs, and foremost among them is obsidian.

      Obsidian's nature as a volcanic glass would in itself have been a reason for its high value among the Blacksmiths of Chaos. Yet it is the black colour of the opaque glass that truly sells it to the Chaos Dwarfs, as does its usefulness in Daemonsmithing rites. Obsidian is everywhere in the Dawi Zharr world where prestige and power is to be found. Similarly, obsidian features frequently in their myths and legends.

      It is often associated with soul-crushing oppression, the subjugation of Daemons, the power of Hashut, evil masterminds and cruel twists of fate. To a people so interested in minerals and geology as the Chaos Dwarfs, the different kinds of obsidian all have their own devious meaning. In stories, this volcanic glass usually signals malignant events ahead, such as treachery or disaster.

      Such are the obsidian tales told by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

      This is one of these tales.

      The Spear: The ashen desert known as the Blasted Wastes is not devoid of life, just devoid of soft life. Its close proximity to the Plain of Zharr makes it a given target for slaving expeditions against the small yet tough Greenskin tribes that inhabit this wasteland. It was one such routine venture that saw Daemonsmith Engineer Hazhubrat Blackmaw at the head of a small Chaos Dwarf force facing down a tribe of Goblins in an unknown canyon. Roiling clouds promised storm and thunder ahead, yet for now the only thunder was that of the Chaos Dwarf artillery.

      It roared and spat and shrieked. Maimed Goblins collapsed around the flaming craters, their severed limbs flung everywhere whilst panic set in amongst the horde. It was a quick affair as usual. Before the battle, Wolf Raider parties had moved to flanking positions to prevent nasty surprises, charge if necessary and hinder the enemy's retreat. Then, a small band of slave rabble had been sent in towards the onrushing Goblin mass, pinning it down long enough for the Dawi Zharr artillery to devastate their foe and send them packing.

      Likewise, the shattered cannon fodder slaves were on the run. They scrambled back towards the Chaos Dwarf lines, for there was no escape up the steep canyon walls. When Daemonsmith Hazhubrat saw this, he lead the line of Hobgoblins and Chaos Dwarf warriors forward, nets, shackles and whips ready to recapture the panicked slaves. When the first slaves crashed into the line of warriors and tried to push their way through the thin ranks, the Hobgoblins and Dawi Zharr stopped them with bonebreaking brutality. Slaves screamed in agony as they were subjugated yet again by these devils out of hell.

      These screams caused some of the slaves to turn back and run after the fleeing Goblins whilst others just handed themselves over. Yet a few steadied themselves to sell their lives dearly. At least now they were armed, and their fierce spirits would rather die fighting than face slavery once again. This pathetic gaggle of eight thralls were mostly Marauder northmen sold into slavery by enemy tribes. Hazhubrat laughed at the sight of this, ordered his warriors to set after the Goblins and not interfere, and then he charged the Humans himself with a roaring battlecry.

      Six of the eight wretches attempted to face his charge together in close combat. It was a mistake. Hazhubrat cut off their thin spear shafts and then their legs with savage swipes of his scimitar. They tried to stab, kick, punch and bite him, yet his Blackshard armour made him nigh invulnerable to their attacks. One of the men managed to scratch his cheek and almost toppled his hat as the man collapsed with his feet cut-off, but otherwise the Daemonsmith reigned supreme like a god in the close quarters fighting. This was just an amusing game to him, merely a training session or even a rigged sport where he couldn't lose.

      The two other Marauders tried to dance around the Chaos Dwarf, jabbing with their spears and dodging his blows. Despite their starved condition, they were faster and more nimble than him. Filled with wrath, Hazhubrat Blackmaw burnt one slave to crisps with a fireball and lunged for the other one. He was met by a hurled spear that took his right ear clean off. The slave was cut down in short order, yet the Daemonsmith was bewildered that a mere slave's spear would have wounded him more than any Daemon had ever managed to do before in his Soulforge.

      Hazhubrat picked up his ear and the spear that had cut it off, removed his armoured gloves and fingered the spear tip. It was just an obsidian shard, a waste-product from some building project. There were heaps and heaps of them on the Plain of Zharr. It was also sharper than any razor blade...

      And that was how Hazhubrat Blackmaw got the bright idea that would cost him his life.

      The Wall: Back in Zharr-Naggrund, Hazhubrat Blackmaw did not sell his booty on the slave market, but kept the slaves instead and went on to purchase a huge amount of obsidian that he at great cost and effort transported through the naval tunnel to the northern port stronghold of Uzkulak. He was inspired by his encounter with the rebel northmen slaves and wished to test his newest invention on their kinsmen.

      North of Uzkulak he invested much of his fortune in erecting a small fortress outpost built out of obsidian. The construction work took place by day, yet by night the Daemonsmith would stalk the building site, inscribe heinous signs, sacrifice and perform mysterious rituals on the obsidian. This went on for months until the fort was finally finished. Here, he settled himself with his slaves and only a handful of Chaos Dwarfs. The Dawi Zharr of Uzkulak thought him crazy and talked among themselves of how the outpost would be perceived as a raw insult and a challenge to the northmen tribes. In fact, Hazhubrat Blackmaw counted on it.

      True enough, the nearby Kul tribes one by one soon assaulted its walls with grappling hooks and rickety ladders, yet each time they met a horrible surprise as the obsidian walls came alive and calfed monsters of black glass that smashed men and spat sharp shards that tore flesh better than any metal could. The tribes ran away with their tails behind their legs, and the weird beings melted back into the smooth walls without a trace left behind other than a spattering of shards. The Kul tribes united in coalitions and under local warlords, and the assaults began anew in large numbers.

      This time, the Humans counted on the sorceries of the tribal witches, Daemon-callers and shamans to aid them, but to no avail. The Chaos magic had little effect on the obsidian golems, and the weapons of men proved futile against their might. Atop the dark walls stood Daemonsmith Engineer Hazhubrat Blackmaw and laughed with the full force of his lungs as the Kul Marauders were defeated and had to flee the field.

      As planned, this only attracted the attention of yet more tribes and Chaos Warriors to test their mettle against the volcanic glass behemoths. So they did, and so they died. Aspiring Champions of Chaos challenged the obsidian golems yet succumbed under their heavy fists. Beasts and monsters brought by the Marauder tribes were smashed, ripped apart or shot full of deadly shards. This cycle of ever stronger assaults on the fort continued, until finally Hazhubrat declared himself invincible from his gatehouse. He yelled this to the stormy skies, and the Dark Gods punished him.

      Perhaps it was one of the Great Four. Perhaps it was some Daemon Prince or lesser deity. Perhaps it was the Father of Darkness Himself who did it. Divine punishment was delivered one night of fell omens and bale moon rising, when the obsidian golems all climbed up on the walls and assaulted their creator in the main tower. He fought furiously, yet he had made his golems too strong, too resistant.

      Obsidian flakes chipped off their hulking frames as he shot at them with pistols and cast spells at them in desperation. With a yell that could be heard to Uzkulak, Daemonsmith Engineer Hazhubrat Blackmaw were killed by his own creations. The obsidian golems then went on to kill all the slaves and the few Chaos Dwarfs who did not make it out of the fort in time. The survivors' ill tidings spread far and wide across the region. To this day, northman and Dawi Zharr alike avoids the haunted fort at all costs. Even though its ensorcelled crafting has ensured its pristine condition to last for ages, no Human warlord have claimed the Obsidian Fort for himself.

      There it stands, a citadel of black glass, waiting for a Sorcerer-Prophet foolhardy and ambitious enough to garrison the fort or take up residence himself there.

      Waiting, and watching.

    • In misty days of olden yore there clanged and banged a hammer. Wrought with runes, strong to strike, it forged nails, arms and wonders alike. Upon doom-laden anvil, it struck hot matter again and again. Sparks flew. This hammer was Irongrip of the Depths, and it was wielded by leathery hands that could tear rocks apart. Those powerful hands were the Ancestor God Grungni's, praised be his lore, craft and works until the world ends and the mountains come crashing down.

      One midwinter night, dour Grungni struck and struck again at the red-glowing matter upon his anvil. He turned it hither and thither, and so hardened was his thick skin that he did not even need tongs to turn the hot matter. And thus, whenever a fine angle was sought, he dropped the tongs and clenched the sizzling metal between his fingers, keeping it as steady as the ancient heart of the mountains while he struck the matter with his mighty hammer. Yet this frosty night, curses were upon the wind, and Grungni slipped with his hammer. He struck his own thumb, and he yelled and swore, driving his reddening hand into the water pail into which the hot metal is lowered to cool and harden.

      Yet as Grungni moved his pained hand to the water pail, a single drop of glowing, hot blood fell from his thumb down upon the Anvil of Doom. So furious was Grungni in his anger that the blood caught fire in mid-air, landing in flames upon the anvil. And from those tiny flames sprang a tiny spark-being shaped like a dark bull, running off into the world. And so the Accursed One who shall not be named was created by the blacksmith's wrath.

      - Excerpt from the forbidden Dwarf tome
      Blood Grudge
    • Written by: Dînadan

      "Long ago in Ages past, the Gods of Chaos did not make war upon each other. And in this Time the Gods did dwell in Grand Houses atop Mount Khaosus at the heart of the Realm of Chaos, and from there commanded their armies to make War upon the Heavens. In this far off time they did not war upon each other, merely quarrel as brothers are wont to do. At first there were Four; martial Khorne, bilious Nurgle, passionate Slaanesh and deceitful Tzeentch, but in time came more.

      All were jealous of Khorne's strength, for in matters of the arm none could defeat him. One day Tzeentch devised a plan to steal it for himself for he sought to set himself above his brothers. After a glorious battle in which Khorne had won much renown, Tzeentch declared a toast to his brother and raised his goblet high. Unbeknownst to Khorne, through slight of hand Tzeentch had replaced the wine in his skull goblet with a vintage spirited from Slaanesh's private cellar and when the Lord of War received the toast and supped the wine he felt a great weariness come upon him, for none other than the Prince of Excess could drink that wine and not fall into a deep sleep. As his brother slumbered, the King of Sorcery cast a net over him and bound him tight. Chanting a spell of transference, Tzeentch held an orb of crystal fashioned from his own eye to Khorne's lips, each breath filling the vessel with his strength. But in that moment of triumph, he was betrayed for foolishly he had entrusted Korne's binding to a legion of pink horrors who did squabble amongst themselves and awoke the Blood God. In his anger, he broke his bonds and battered aside the Great Mutator who did drop the orb. Infused with a breath of Khorne's strength and a sliver of Tzeentch's magic, when it shattered on the marble floor and a new God was borne. Strong as an ox, cloven of hoof and horned of head was the godling and Khorne's anger did turn to grim mirth, for he saw not his brother's treachery, but instead saw a son to set at his side and he named him Hashut.

      Hashut learnt craft from both his fathers; at Khorne's right hand he learnt the Arts of War, and at Tzeentch's knee he learnt sorcerous secrets. And being keen of mind he saw how he could meld the domains of his fathers just as he himself was a melding of they themselves. Taking up a hammer, he sequestered himself in a vault deep within Mount Khaosus for twelve days and nights. With each hammer strike the Mountain shook and gouts of polychromatic flame burst from its sides. On the twelfth night as the clock struck midnight he emerged from his seclusion and went before the Great Four bearing gifts. For father Khorne he bore a bronze sword, for father Tzeentch a golden staff, for uncle Nurgle an iron cauldron and for uncle Slaanesh a silver mirror. So enamoured were they by the gifts the four brothers did declare that from thence forth Hashut was to be the Smith of the Gods and they rose up a house on the slopes on Mounth Khaosus below and betwixt the palaces of Tzeentch and Khorne.

      Long Ages passed, and under his hammer, countless daemons toiled at the Forge, churning out armaments for the Gods' armies to fight their unceasing war. From Hashut's mind sprang many ingenious devices and machines and it is said by some that it was he who first devised the idea of the Soul Grinders and bound a Prince of each of the Four to make the first ones. In time the Great Four grew apart and became more hostile to each other, though none yet had openly moved against the others. In this Time, Tzeentch did go to his son Hashut under the guise of reconciliation with Khorne and whispered in his ear. Hashut, ever the loyal son did listen to his father enamoured by the scope of his plan. Knowing that Khorne would need mighty troops for the War against the Old Ones, Hashut lured the mightiest daemons below the Bloodthirster's in Khorne's army, the Bloodbrutes, into his forge and did slaughter them. For ninety-six days Hashut hammered away at his forge, fashioning bronze armour and bound the souls of the Bloodbrutes to them and thus the Juggernauts were born. Pride in his heart, Hashut went before the Skull Throne with his new work and showed it to his father. But instead of gratitude, the work kindled wrath in Khorne's heart, for he saw what his son did not; the transmutation did not enhance the Bloodbrutes' powers, but contained them and if the armour were ever to be destroyed utterly, so too would the daemon bound to it.

      Blind Rage descended on Khorne for the first time and in his anger he did grasp his son by the hoof and cast him out of Khaosus. Through Time and Places beyond mortal ken Hashut fell to earth where he smote the land and shattered it beyond repair. And thus came to be that which in Later Ages is known as the Plain of Zharr. And in his bitterness did Hashut vow to never truly trust his Infernal Kin again, for doing so had lead to his ruin. Spite filling his heart he vowed to raise up Children of his own and become Master of All. In time his anger cooled, for he was the son of the Hatemonger, not the Hatemonger himself, but the bitterness never faded..."

      - One of the myths laid down in the scrolls known as The Khaosiad. These heretical texts containing various myths which Dawi-ise the Chaos Gods and their daemons are among the forbidden artefacts contained within the White Archives of Zharr-Naggrund. Other myths include the births of Nechoho, Zuvassin and the Horned Rat, and how the Doubter came to turn his back on the Gods, how the Great Undoer was undone himself and how the Verminking was expelled after devouring Nurgle's favourite crops. Yet another speaks of how the downfall of the Lesser Four was the doing of Malal, although this is contradicted by the next which blames Tzeentch. The scrolls are also notable for containing multiple versions of the same myth, or expanding on parts of one of the myths by creating a full blown narrative. Trying to comprehend the truths behind the Khaosiad has driven more than a few Sorcerer-Prophets mad and these days most now dismiss it as an elaborate hoax by Tzeentch, though there are still those who search for the lost scrolls.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Written by: Dînadan

      "In the distant times long before the world there were many Gods of Chaos and each had his own domain. In this time they lived in relative peace with each other, but there was one who could not abide the others. Malal despised the others and sought to see them brought low. Taking the form of a great two headed serpent, one head black as obsidian the other white as the driven snow, he did make war on his kin and consumed them. Four only escaped his betrayal, Khorne the God of Honour, Nurgle the God of Vitality, Tzeentch the God of Magics and Slaanesh the God of Beauty who was but a child. Malal could not abide the thought of them living and pursued them to the ends of the Realm of Chaos where upon he ensnared young Slaanesh. The Serpent took the Prince back to his lair, a rock in the centre of the Broiling Sea, for in that time the Gods did love their brother dearly and thus did Malal seek to use Slaanesh as bait to draw them to him so he could consume them.

      Enraged by the kidnapping of their beloved brother, Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch vowed to slay the Serpent and rescue the child. They took refuge in the Forge of Souls, hoping to find weapons to aid them in their venture where they found that one other had escaped Malal. Hashut, Smith of the Gods and their uncle, gifted them with gear; to Khorne a bronze breastplate to guard against the Serpent's fangs; to Nurgle a bow with ten arrows dipped in the blood of the God of Poisons and the Tzeentch a cloak wreathed in Shadows. The brothers pleaded with their uncle to come with them and fight alongside them, but he refused and turned back to his forge, vowing to craft a mighty weapon to slay Malal if they would but tarry. But the brothers, consumed by worry, did not listen and set out immediately.

      In the dead of night they snuck up to the shores of the Broiling Sea, hoping to catch the Serpent as he slumbered, but to their dismay, one head slept while the other watched the shore with lidless eyes. The brothers took shelter in a cave to make a new plan whereupon they found two more Gods to have escaped Malal. Grievously wounded, the God of Doubt decried their plan as doomed to fail and refused to help but his brother, the God of Unmaking, pledged his knife to their cause. And so on the morn they set out on their quest.

      Standing on the shore, Khorne bellowed a challenge, but the Serpent remained on his island. Nurgle standing high on the cliffs, drew his bow and let loose an arrow and then another. Hissing in anger, the Serpent plunged into the Broiling Sea and swam to meet Khorne's challenge. Drawing his bow once more, Nurgle loosed six more arrows, striking true with each. As he drew the ninth, the God of Unmaking struck, plunging his knife deep into Nurgle's breast, felling him, for the knife was seeped in the venom that dripped from the fangs of Malal's white head. The God of Unmaking had been entranced by Malal's hypnotic gaze and was in his thrall. He raised the knife to strike once more, but at that moment the eighth God to have escaped the Serpent's betrayal revealed himself. The God of Opportunity had gone unnoticed for he had taken the form of a lowly rodent, a form beneath the notice of the prideful Gods of Chaos. Seizing the chance to curry favour with the four brothers, he lunged at the betrayer and drove him over the cliff and into the Sea.

      With his brothers distracting the Serpent, Tzeentch used his new cloak and his sorcery to fly out to the island and spirited Slaanesh away to safety and thus did not see the God of Unmaking's betrayal. Nor did Khorne, for though he was a mighty warrior, he was hard pressed by the Serpent's assault. They duelled for hours and Khorne grew weary. Seizing the opportunity, the Serpent coiled around him and crushed him with his bulk. Thinking himself done for, Khorne struck with his axe, but lightning quick, the Serpent snatched it from his grasp and tossed it aside.

      Then, unlooked for, Tzeentch arrived once more on wings of shadow. He had spirited his two brothers to safety, taking them to their uncle's forge for safety whereupon he had found Hashut had finished the weapon he had been working on. The God of Magics handed the enscorceled sword to his brother and withdrew once more. Filled with strength anew, Khorne shirked off the Serpent's coils and hewed at him. Malal recoiled hissing, for never before had he felt such pain. Bellowing in rage, Khorne did strike once more slicing both heads from the body with one blow. Cursing the name Malal, the God of Honour cast the heads into a deep pit and hurled a mountain atop it to seal the traitor in forever.

      His strength spent, he collapsed at the foot of the mountain where he was found by his brothers and uncle who hewed four palaces from the mountaintop for his nephews before returning to his forge. The brothers named the mountain Khaosus and declared themselves the Kings of the Realm. They cursed the God of Doubt for his naysaying, the God of Undoing for his treachery and the God of Opportunity for his cowardice, for though he had helped them, he had only done so to try and win their favour. Seeing that they four were now the only Gods, they cast lots for the domains of their fallen kin. To Khorne went the Sky, to Nurgle the Land, to Slaanesh the Sea and to Tzeentch the Aether.

      And hence forth they did rule and were changed. Khorne embodied the wrath of the raging wind; Nurgle the resilience of unyielding rock; Slaanesh the dichotomy of the ocean that rages above yet is calm beneath the waves; Tzeentch the fickleness of the netherworld. And their rule did last for Ages beyond count, but in time darkness gnawed at their hearts for in their dreams Malal whispered to them and in time they did come to make war upon each other and Malal did smile for in doing so they sealed their Doom for from thence forth it became the Nature of Chaos to be self defeating and to turn upon itself and ever since Chaos has been fated to always sabotage itself in its moment of triumph and doomed to always lose."

      - One of the earliest myths in the heretical text the Khaosiad. This myth is notable in that most of its features are not mentioned elsewhere unlike many of the other myths in the Khaosiad which reference each other or repeat another myth but with minor differences. It is also notable for its contradictions with later myths, most notably the existence of Hashut which is of particular interest to Dawi Zharr scholars. The accepted reconciliation by those who have read it is that due to the original scrolls being written in a very archaic script and tongue that it is in fact a mistranslation and that the mentioned God should be Haz'hūt rather than Hash'ūt and it is believed that he was an earlier God whose domain was subsumed by Hashut at some point. However there are some who doubt this explanation as there is no record of such a god and thus the myth is either in error or is a forgery. Others still point out that within the Realm of Chaos, time, as mortals understand it, has no meaning and thus it is entirely possible for Hashut to be born later and still help out the Great Four at an earlier point.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      "...and so Hashut was cast out from Khaosus and smote His ruin upon the land, split in tern. Three gods and yet one there were. And so Hashut came to be known as the Twelve-hoofed God to mortals. The three brothers piled the rubble from their ruin high, building a mighty black mountain that in latter days came to be called Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. A gross of years it took them to build and when it was complete they stood atop the summit and surveyed the land, claiming it as their Kingdom.

      Though one God, they were also three and quarrelled over who should rule. Each claimed that he should be supreme and set out to prove it.

      Rudharazgorlok, the Red Fire Bull journeyed West and then South, and everywhere he trod flames leapt up and great volcanoes rose. In the south he warred with dragons and slew a gross, for his fires were too hot even for them.

      Dronstokgorlok, the Thunder Striker Bull journeyed South, for he had seen the sun glinting off the waters of the sea and it enraged him for it reminded him of the fires of Rudharazgorlok. He raced along the mountain tops, striking sparks with each hoof beat and cast himself into the sea over and over until the waters boiled and the steam blotted out the sun.

      Uzgulmhornargorlok, the Death's Shadow Bull journeyed North. In those days the land there was fertile and great beasts roamed everywhere. Everywhere he cast his shadow crops withered and beasts keeled over and when he left, a cold, dry, desolate plain strewn with skulls was all that remained.

      The three Bulls ascended the mountain once more and bragged of their exploits, yet still they could not decide who was greatest. They fought for supremacy for a tweleveday nonstop, wreathing the peak in fire and shadow that could be seen for miles. Exhausted they each took a step back, too tired to continue, but too stubborn to submit. Knowing none could claim supremacy, they agreed to a truce and decided to cast lots, leaving their fate to the Weaver. They agreed to divide their Empire into three domains, the Land, the Sky and the Dark Places.

      The lots were cast and to Rudharazgorlok went the land, the premier domain, and he filled it with his magmatic blood and stands of copper and iron hair from his hide; to Dronstokgorlok went the second domain, that which is the sky, and he called forth storms across the sky to cow any mortals that dared look up at his majesty; the last and least, the Dark Places, went to Uzgulhornargorlok, who bore the slight stoically, claiming the souls of all mortals under their domains as recompense.

      And thus Hashut was one God and yet three and became known as the Twelve-hoofed God. Thus, though He is worshiped as one Father, His children will invoke one of his aspects when dealing with one of His domains; miners, smiths and prophets call upon Rudharazgorlok in their duties, mariners will sacrifice to Dronstokgorlok, now called Stromfels by some, to placate him before setting sail, lest in His anger one of his storms sink them, and the morticians of the Cremitoria bow to Uzgulhornargorlok at funerals and place a gold coin on each of the deceased's eyes so that their soul may pay the toll to enter His Kingdom."

      - Extract from the heretical text
      the Khaosiad. Though worship of Hashut is of many faces and varied, and Dawi Zharr sailors do sacrifice to Stromfels and the temples of the Funerary Cult do depict Hashut as a skull-headed bull, the view of Hashut as a trinity deity as depicted in this extract has never been popular and most see the aspects as just different names for Hashut rather than of gods which are disparate from and yet simultaneously part of Him.