Chaos Dwarf Religion & Life [WHFB]

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    • Far away betwixt the towering World's Edge Mountains and the titanic Mountains of Mourn stretches the vast and foreboding Dark Lands; tracts of ashen and volcanic wasteland, and dire home to hordes of roaming Greenskins, restless Undead and fierce monsters. It is a churning and roiling realm gripped forever in upheavals both tectonic and violent, where earthquakes sunder the landscape and the molten guts of the world spill out in flames and rains of ash and stone amid the ever-battling tribes of savages. Both the natural world and its denizens are ever in the grip of chaos, and the very thought of achieving lasting order and permanence, amidst the ever-shifting tides of natural disaster and beastly violence of the Dark Lands, would seem ludicrous indeed.

      Ludicrous, that is, if it had not already been a reality for millennia on end. For in this morass of turbulence and brutality, a harsh and enduring order has been imposed upon unwilling landscapes and inhabitants alike by a chosen tribe of sacrificers and worshippers who have carved out an empire in the Dark Lands, the like of which the world has never seen. These bringers of order into chaos are themselves worshippers of Chaos, or more specifically fanatical devotees of a fiery and virile Bull God whose overpowering domination and fierce oppression of enemies and slaves alike in mythology is reflected as stark reality in the mortal world by the fell deeds of the Dawi Zharr, the Dwarfs of Fire, who seeks to enslave, trample and remould creation in the image of their ravenous Father of Darkness. These are the Chaos Dwarfs, and ultimately they answer to no softness of conscience, remorse or mercy, for their one and true allegiance is to Him who is Hashut.

      Unsurprisingly, the industrious and powerful dark empire of the Dawi Zharr has been achieved by beating the savage denizens of the Dark Lands in their own arena and besting them at their own game, for only through the ruthless ferocity of unrelenting military might, and the spreading of utter terror and disunity, have the Chaos Dwarfs and their legions of downtrodden slave soldiers managed to somewhat tame the wilderness, and enforce lasting order, hierarchy and unshaken strength in their scattered holdings throughout the enormous and primal wastelands. For this achievement, the Dark Gods have awarded them with slaves beyond number and greatness through the ages, and so civilization has thrived against all odds where the sane would have thought it impossible.

      And thus it is that many great works have stood the test of time in these fortified oases of cruel order amidst a desert of savagery, for the descendants of the great works' makers still live and hold sway, and woe betide any barbaric scum impudent enough to defile and desecrate the grand statues, arches, ziggurats and wall fresques. Indeed, the covetous and demented makers would often lay vile and sorcerous curses on their works, to be unleashed upon the foolish destroyer and primitive nomad.

      Yet even so one need not search for long before ruins and defaced idols of ancient times are found across the volatile Dark Lands, and unfathomable though it may seem, not all of the shattered works were laid low by outside savages and invaders. For throughout history, the dark underbelly of Chaos Dwarf society has always harboured some shunned individuals, witches, madmen, Daemonically possessed failures and even small sects on the very fringes of this forbidding and mysterious society. These outcasts owe no true allegiance to their supposed overlords or to revered tradition in their heart of hearts, and often they will seek power and wealth for themselves with a desperate hunger, even though such divine rewards and privileges have been denied to them by regular Dawi Zharr society. Such outcasts may, at the peril of their own lives, deface and defile for whatever nefarious reasons may guide their hands to desecrate and destroy the works that stands as testaments to lasting order and stability in Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great and all her holdings. This iconoclasm is a sin and insult to high Hashut like few others.

      Among the most reviled of these renegades are the rare but feared Stonebreakers, willing to be cast out from clan and cohort in their lust for arcane and worldly power. Their heresy is stark and unforgivable, and their acts almost unbelievable to most Chaos Dwarfs, for the Stonebreakers seek out the sacred Stonebound, the very petrified statuary remains of Hashut's chosen who were blessed by him with the immortal permanence of stone over flesh, and destroy the Stonebound Sorcerers and Daemonsmiths to consume the potent powers lingering within the hard granite corpses. The Stonebreakers are hated exiles, but the few succesful ones among these accursed hermits are dangerous beyond mortal ken thanks to their stolen powers, even though these looted sorceries and robbed petrified life forces greatly accelerates the Stonebreakers' own transformation into stone.

      The fear of Stonebreakers lurks at the back of the mind of every higher initiate of Hashut's holy priesthood, for even they could lose their legacy. Petrified Sorcerer-Prophets are venerated by nearly all Chaos Dwarfs, and are sometimes even offered sacrifices and viewed as secondary idols of Hashut Himself by some among the masses, who may occasionally be seen offering up adulation, gifts and blood in the dark of night to these long-gone mortal interpreters of the law of the Father of Darkness, and wielders of strong magic. The Stonebound are thought to live forever without the weakness of flesh, by high Hashut's divine and unholy will, and they hold a special place in the various cultic Dawi Zharr visions of the afterlife. The common man will tell you the Stonebound are blessed by the Bull God, and will show due respect to these statues. Yet this blessing is in reality a dreadful curse.

      The Curse of Stone is the price Chaos Dwarfs have to pay for their sorcerous affinity, for their originally uncorrupted stock held no aptitude for wielding magic in other ways than forging it into craft objects, as is still the case with the distant Dawi of the west. Though grateful to Hashut and venerated for his stone parts in public, a petrifying Sorcerer-Prophet or Daemonsmith Engineer will in fact undergo horrendous torment and revolting agony as his body slowly turns into a blind, deaf and mute statue.

      Sorcerous treatments, shadowy elixirs, prayers, sacrifices and the rambling of mystical mantras are among the cures used to keep the petrifying Dawi Zharr alive and hale as flesh turn to stone. Sometimes, intricate and secret surgery is undertaken to preserve the body's vital functions as it is shut down piece by piece. Palanquins, mechanical devices and Daemonic sorcery are among the solutions to the problem of how to walk with legs of stone. Few men can imagine the sheer pain and horror of his phallus turning into granite, let alone the sometimes necessary operation of drilling through it to the bladder to keep the liquid outflow of impurities possible. Insanity may well come creeping into the mind as life turns into a nightmare of suffering. More and more enigmatic and outlandish treatments and hidden artifices are applied to the body as the petrification process proceeds towards its baleful goal, hardening skin to rock and overtaking vital organs until flesh has left the body and all is stone and dust.

      Such is the Curse of Stone.

      Even so, otherworldly powers and the chance at life remains within the revered statue that is a Stonebound Chaos Dwarf, or so arcane delvings and sacred visions and readings of portents proclaim. Secret prophecies exist, hinting at the revival of the Stonebound come the End Times, when the rulers of old will walk and reign anew, and wreak righteous havoc upon the heretics, apostates and sworn foes of the loyal servants of Hashut. This future prospect of resurrection and possibly even eternal life has instilled a strong willingness to live again, forever, when the time is ripe for the Father of Darkness to trample all of creation and put it under His heavy yoke.

      With immortality beckoning, a rare few Daemonsmiths and Sorcerers throughout the centuries have become so obsessed with their future survival and integrity in stoneform that they have undergone heinous sorcerous rituals while still alive, so as to embedden lethal curses and treacherous arcane wards within their flesh, which is to become stone, thus ensuring that no neglect, catastrophe or spite of rival, scion or apprentice will rob them of the highly expensive common wards sometimes placed upon already deceased and petrified Dawi Zharr wielders of sorcery. Indeed, these worried elite individuals generally go to great lengths to strengthen the Daemonic inscriptions and sorcerous curses far beyond the magnitude of common wards and traps for would-be desecrators, and they likewise seek to create wards so intricate and complex that a maze of potential dead ends of damnation awaits any Stonebreaker skilled and determined enough to try and disarm the fell wards of these paranoid Stonebound. These extreme and convoluted measures are known as the Stonetrap Mysteries, for their otherworldly nature and arcane workings are known only to a select few.

      Though myriad and highly different sorcerous rituals exists to create various wards of this kind, they are all alike in their purpose of preserving the petrified Sorcerer-Prophet or Daemonsmith, and in their malignant aims to cripple, trap, slay or render far worse a fate upon anyone daring to damage and deface the Stonebound. Eager Stonebreakers and savage defilers have been found dead at the foot of the Stonebound, the vandals shredded by Daemons or dragged screaming and kicking into the Realm of Chaos. Sometimes, the immovable statue itself has shifted in its pose ever so slightly, with congealed blood smeared on its granite fists, tusks, horns or boots.

      These Stonetrap Mysteries are potent curses and protections, yet they come at a terrible price few mortals would be willing to pay. Indeed, sometime Dawi Zharr caravan merchantmen up north will share a story of some Stronetrapped Sorcerer, usually to honour his long-standing trade partners among the marauding tribes of Manlings in the crazed Chaos Wastes. These nomadic Marauders live out tales of bloodshed, and they care little for petty life, yet care all for glory and immortality, and their savage deeds and blatantly suicidal acts to appease Dark Gods, attain blessed Daemonhood or ascend to myth and saga, are the stuff of terror and nightmares in the lands of Order. Yet even these hardened warriors and callous Sorcerors have found themselves silently pale and aghast at more than one occasion upon hearing of the steep self-sacrifice of some Stonetrapped Chaos Dwarf, while still in his flesh, to safeguard his future immortality in stone.

      As the enigmatic sorcery, volatile curses and fell wards are embedded into the being of a Daemonsmith or Sorcerer-Prophet, they take hold of his mind and body and clamps them hard. The petrification itself is often accelerated and the regular traumas and hardships of the Curse of Stone worsened for it, yet the true horror lies in the nefarious Stonetrap Mysteries themselves at work. Everyday life is turned into living hell as the mind of the Stonetrapped is ravaged by seizures and nightmarish visions, which may include Daemonic voices and insane prophecies, not least of worlds and times neither known to exist nor possible within the boundaries of reality.

      The constant migraine and strong bouts of nausea are among the least of the Stonetrapped's troubles, as is the arrythmic and painful heartbeat, and violent fits of spasms and comatose loss of consciousness or self control. Safe and sound men, hale all their life, may be turned into raving lunatics one moment only to revert to their regular state of mind, and then collapse into a weak pile, muttering incoherent sentences, eyes rolling wildly in sockets. The acute pangs of pain and hours of darkest angst are merely the regular background to which occurences of extraordinary suffering play out.

      Some Stonetrapped Sorcerers have been petrified inside out, or died as their heads turned into marble, but not before agonizing seizures saw them thrash their own strong limbs hard enough against their surroundings to break their own bones, tear their own flesh to shreds and gouge out their own eyes. Others have burst into Daemonic flames, dismembered themselves to cut out a particularly scourged part of the body, or become possessed by fell spirits as some ward or another failed within their mortal frames. A few found themselves impervious to death itself for lengthy periods, while curses played havoc upon them, yet no fall from high towers and no dive into molten metal or rock would relieve the afflicted Chaos Dwarf of his pain by granting him death, for they could only die from eventual petrification. Still others have suffered far worse fates.

      All this suffering of the Stonetrapped is endured in order to better his chances at surviving in unmoving stone form until the end of times, undefiled and intact by the graze of high Hashut. The embedded curses ripen at full petrification, and, if succesfully cast, will turn the statuary corpse of the Stonebound into a death trap for barbarians and Stonebreakers wishing to destroy the Stonetrapped Sorcerer who sacrificed his life for the sake of his death. Most Stonetrapped statues are outwardly indistinguishable from other petrified Dawi Zharr, yet they are excessively dangerous to Stonebreakers, even when the fell wards and curses fail to keep the Stonetrapped's petrified body and resting powers intact. Needless to say, the embedded arcane traps turn the Stonetrapped into a prime target for the most ravenous of Stonebreakers, who recognize that with great risks come great rewards, should they manage to survive, outwit and overpower the protective wards to claim the statue's enhanced powers. Such rich rewards last only for the short run, however, for several of the various curses of the Stonetrap Mysteries tend to invade the Stonebreaker, presenting him with an inner struggle to overcome, lest he face oblivion.

      The results of the damnable methods, which the few Stonetrapped priesthood members employ to pursue immortality in stone at the expense of life, health and sanity, remain uncertain at best. Several Stonetrapped Sorcerers have met with failure, such as was the case of Temple Acolyte Gizhimmar the Rash. Gizhimmar was a mediocre Acolyte, and met with premature petrification following disastrously miscast sorcery during a summoning, binding and forging ritual, but not before the young Dwarf of Fire had endured decades of living hell after he had been secretly introduced into the Stonetrap Mysteries by a nameless member of an unknown sect. The Acolyte's inexperience and lack of deeper wisdom in matters of arcana and Daemonology made him prone to fall prey to the labyrinthine hazards of the complicated Stonetrap rituals and their repercussions, and fall he did.

      Gizhimmar the Rash suffered immensely while alive in the flesh, only to see his petrifying form crack and fall apart as the faulty dark sorcery in but a few years reduced his stony body into a pile of gravel and dust. These remains were collected in two simple pots sealed and joined together by bitumen to form a closed container, and subsequently buried out in the wilderness along with an ashen, burnt clay tablet declaring the harsh Bull God's judgement to be severe upon this eternal corpse of shamed rubble.

      This urn of Gizhimmar, a Temple Acolyte dead and cast out in a wasteland, was found seven centuries later by the roaming K'daai Stonebreaker Hazhk Raveheart, who tracked the leaking residue magic of the sundered enchantments and broken Daemonic runes. Hazhk then wore his yellowing teeth down to the skull by literally devouring the urn's contents of gravel and dust over the course of seven days, only to catch the faulty cursed wards like a spreading disease. This calamity rapidly petrified Hazkh Raveheart and burst the mighty K'daai Stonebreaker apart in a thousand small shards and lumps of granite and sizzling embers.

      Similarly disastrous events are not exceptional among those initiated into the Stonetrap Mysteries, and many Sorcerer-Prophets view them as the unavoidable consequences of meddling with high Hashut's pure blessing of stoneform, for is it not borderline heresy to introduce impure sorcery into the sacred manifestation of His will as made evident in the transforming flesh of His Stonebound chosen?

      Such are the perils of securing life after death, according to the Blacksmiths of Chaos.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      "...And as I descended through the Gates of Death before me lay a vast wasteland, a blasted desert haunted by the souls of the damned where the spirits of traitors and oathbreakers are staked out to be preyed upon by Hashut's forsaken spawn each night. For twelve days and twelve nights I traveled through that forsaken land before arriving at the crest of the Pit, the dark abyss where all must go.

      Looking down I saw that Twelve levels there are to the Pit, one each for every level of society. The first and highest is the most populous and is where the souls of slaves go, shackled in death as they were in life, lorded over by shadowy bull-headed Daemons who whip them ceaselessly. Below that is the second level, reserved for the honoured slaves, those whose chains, both mortal and eternal, are invisible to their eyes. Next lies the third level, for the common Dawi Zharr, who are most numerous, dwelling in simple homes of stone and below that is the fourth for the Mothers, the matrons of the families honoured in death for bearing the Children of Hashut and the fifth for the Fathers, masters of the hearth and sires of all. Grander are the homes in these levels, the whims of those that dwell there catered for by Daemon thralls bound to their wills.

      Below that the shadows were too dark to discern their inhabitants and so I descended into the Pit. Down I went, through the sixth where the Overlords dwell in their obsidian palaces, past the seventh where the Bull Centaurs revel in their debauchery and the eighth where the priests chant in their temples. Deeper still I went, beyond the ninth where the heroes reside, training without pause for the glories they shall reap in the End Times and beyond the tenth where the Prophets speak the word of Hashut from golden thrones atop black marble ziggurats, and so I arrived at the eleventh, the Court of the High-Priests. No further could I go, for no mortal may set foot in the twelfth, the deepest where sits Hashut Himself on His throne, brooding and biding His time..."

      - Excerpt from
      The Azgorragead, an epic tale by the priest Azgorrag detailing his journey to the afterlife to reclaim the soul of his family after a curse of madness cast on him by Tzeentch drove him to slay them. The validity of the tale is much debated, and the place where Azgorrag says he found the Gates of Death which allow the living to enter the realm of death is highly contested amongst Dawi Zharr scholars.
    • Written by: KNC
      Illustrated by: Raul Gomes @knightinflames

      Though the Ogre Kingdoms have become an increasingly important export market in later centuries, the primary trade partners of the industrious though demented Dwarfs of Fire are to be found in the volatile northern wastelands, in realms balancing upon a knife's edge between frail reality and stark oblivion. Up in the cold north, Chaos holds sway, its corrupting forces permeating and ever resculpting tormented landscapes offering nought but perils and blazes of monstrous glory, and a dreadful mortal existence to its savage inhabitants, whether beast or man, or worse.

      Here, beneath the piercing gaze of capricious gods and Daemons alike, a lifetime of hardships and bloody struggles breeds creatures merciless, cruel and cold of heart, in image of their Dark Gods. The men and women of the far north knows how little value resides in anyone's life, even their own, and thus these hardy folks will commit unspeakable acts and trade away their souls for a chance at immortal fame in song and saga - or better yet as a leader of men risen to Daemonhood and never-dying greatness.

      To the Human tribes of the north, more than to all the peoples of the world, life is fleeting, but glory is everlasting.

      It is no wonder, then, that such violent denizens of the Chaos Wastes would be willing to barter away slaves, worldly loot, arcane secrets, precious information, otherworldly items, pacts, seasons of mercenary service and even their own kinsfolk in order to get their rough hands on durable armour and armaments which might range from mere war axes, horned helmets and spears churned out en masse by the manufactories on the Plain of Zharr, to excessively lethal though legendarily unstable wargear, forged in the Soulforges by the stunted Blacksmiths of Chaos themselves.

      Though the very best produce is forged by the Dawi Zharr for none but themselves, the lesser objects of their hellish crafts often outclasses many blacksmiths' masterpieces among the lesser races. Thus the Manling Warriors of Chaos treasure their imported wargear over that which they themselves produce or scavenge, and they will oftentimes go to great lengths to afford and acquire the wares of the bearded arms dealers from down south. Tribes may migrate for months on end to catch up with the rumoured trek of a steel caravan, and wars are often fought between tribal groups over the rights to barter with the devil Dwarfs, not to mention the raids and attacks necessary to capture enough slaves with which to pay the foreigners. In the cold north, war is life, and weapons are everyday necessities of life.

      Though a plethora of weird, untrusting or threat-reducing customs have grown up around the commercial exchanges between man and Dwarf of Chaos (including practices unique to dealings with specific tribes, such as cursing hated rival tribes or naming and honouring some of the tribe's mythical ancestors and heroes with a sacrificial slave along with the ones offered up to Dark Gods and Daemons to seal the negotiations), all Chaos Dwarf trade caravan dealings with the marauding tribes are conducted at gunpoint.

      Dawi Zharr trade relations with the northern Human tribes are ever strained and fraught with volatile perils, and few exchanges of goods between these vastly different mortal followers of Chaos take place without the looming presence of a heavily armed and excessively aggressive mechanized trade caravan ready and willing to set bloody examples achieved by superior weaponry to stem any treacherous thoughts of banditry. Too many trading and slaving expeditions from the dark empire of the tribe of Hashut has been lost up north for it to be otherwise, yet even sizeable caravans carrying batteries of infernal arms may prove irresistible targets for enterprising warlords, youngblood bravehearts, ambushers, sworn enemies, tribes acting upon brutal portents read by their covetous Sorcerors, or outright lunatics. Not to mention the dangers presented by beasts, monsters, Chaos Spawns and occasional Daemons.

      Strength, cunning and vigilance are vital virtues to any member of a war caravan hoping to make it back to the Dark Lands alive. Naturally, the Chaos Dwarfs themselves are not shy of grabbing an opportunity when it presents itself in the form of a weaker warband or exposed tribe on the march through unfavourable terrain, even at the risk of provoking blood feuds with kinsgroups allied to the overtaken Manling tribe. The rule of the strong is law, and up north there is no attempt to hide it.

      These Chaos Dwarf trains of smoke-belching metal monstrosities are envied, coveted yet feared by most Human warriors of Chaos, for the war caravans' infamous wealth is matched only by their firepower and callous willingness to maim and kill any members of a Marauder tribe acting suspiciously, even at the blessed height of fruitful haggling and swearing of oaths in sight of higher powers. This trigger-happy Dawi Zharr inclination to slay at a moment's notice when far up north, is born out of well-founded paranoia sharpened to ferocity by greed festering in their black hearts. The mechanized trade caravans are manned by scarred Chaos Dwarfs and lousy Hobgoblin lackeys dragging with them hordes of chained slaves and animals who serve as both beasts of burden and hauling, currency, cannon fodder and provisions.

      Not entirely unlike the western Dwarfs' interactions with Manlings, the Chaos Dwarfs' trade and slaving expeditions to the northern Chaos Wastes stretches back to ancient history, as the growing might and numbers of the children of the Father of Darkness emboldened them to seek out new sources of slaves, wealth and shortcuts to sorcerous or divinely unholy power. It was the Chaos Dwarf war caravans, then wagons and bull chariots and torsion-propelled war machines, which helped turn the northernmost Human savages armed with stone, bone and wood into savages armed with bronze and iron (and the occasional Daemonforged trinket and tool of murder). Unlike their uncorrupted cousins' influence upon mankind in the Old World, the harsh travails of the Dawi Zharr slaving and trading expeditions up north evidently never saw cities, states and arts flourish in the footsteps of their meddlings.

      Occasionally, a powerful warlord of Chaos with many tribes under his might may begrudge the Dawi Zharr foreigners for past sins, or find fault in them worshipping a lesser deity than the one he or she himself has sworn himself to. Alternately, such a Warlord may act upon convoluted omens, false councel or dream visions, or resent the Chaos Dwarfs supplying his enemies with lethal weaponry. Whatever the cause, throughout the millennia, such warlords have carved out their own fluctuating domains and spheres of fickle power, and have barred anyone under his or her rule from trading or plotting with the mysterious southerners who dares enter the Dark God's arena where hardy northerners strive to prove themselves worthy of immortal glory and worldly might.

      During such intervals, Dawi Zharr activity recedes in the area or even the Chaos Wastes as a whole as the long-lived worshippers of the fierce Bull God simply waits for the frail Manling to die off before resuming their lucrative business, rather than risk valuable assets against such poor odds. Provided, of course, that any of the Chaos Dwarfs' far-fetched intrigues with other Marauders or suicidal Sneaky Git assassination attempts do not pay off and eliminates the warlord and his domain with him. On a rare few occasions, the borderless territory of such an isolationist warlord may stretch far too wide and cut off far too many tribal trade partners for far too long a time, particularly in the vast Kurgan lands, whereupon some enterprising Sorcerer-Prophet may attempt an outright invasion to remove the hindrance, then withdraw quickly if the army survives, should all other plots, curses and sorceries fail.

      For the most part, however, the Dwarfs of Fire do not entangle themselves in the brutal quagmire of tribal conflict and dark religious clashes of the Chaos Wastes, apart from opportunistic raids and honourable arms dealing. Though multiple proscriptions, prejudices and fanatical adherence to Hashut counteracts it, the corrupted minds and culture of the Chaos Dwarfs is still intrinsically drawn to Chaos at large and its myriad followers around the mortal world and beyond, and not always for the sake of slavery and exploitation, for sometimes the fractured nature of Chaos at war with itself may unite somewhat to allow strong outlets of violent forces against the weak lands of order. In this greater struggle, the Chaos Dwarfs play an important if not pivotal role, for all of their very work to glorify and increase the oppressive might and virility of Hashut and His chosen tribe curiously aids the powers of the wider Chaos as well.

      How many Elves, Dwarfs, Manlings and even lesser creatures have fallen to weapons forged in the bale furnaces and steam-powered forges of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great and all her holdings, wielded by the strong hands of northmen in league with deities decidedly not Hashut or His fiery court of enslaved Daemons and shackled souls? How many walls have been ground to gravel and splinters by infernal siege machines spawned from fire in the bleak Dark Lands, crewed by Chaos Dwarf mercenaries blasting open breaches to let in hordes of bloodthirsty Marauders and Chaos Warriors and worse? How many innocent lives have been lost to the long arm of Zharr-Naggrund, as barbarians manage to wreak havoc on young and old alike thanks in no small part to the never-ending toil in a distant and mysterious realm of fire and ash? The Dawi Zharr themselves are conquerors, raiders, torturers, killers, defilers, slavers and cruel oppressors who do not flinch at carrying out deeds to make a heart of stone bleed, yet the far-reaching effects of their works in the hands of others may perhaps be even more dreadful thanks to the carnage and destruction and misery brought to bear by blades forged in the Plain of Zharr.

      The Chaos Dwarfs themselves are conscious of all this, for they are infernal craftsmen even more so than they are ruthless warriors. Indeed, the Dawi Zharr view it as a sacred and worldly service to Chaos, for do they not, in the mortal realms, carry out high Hashut's divine and unholy role of armourer of the Dark Gods? As above, so below. Likewise, there is profit to be made, and the trade exchange has by and large proven mutually beneficial for Chaos Dwarfs and Marauder tribes alike. There has been the lure of obscenely powerful items, potent secrets and sorceries to be gleaned so close to the northern Polar Gate. There has been hordes of Human slaves to bring back in chains and hardships to the Dark Lands for a backbreaking fate. There has been chances to strike alliances with the feared Warriors of Chaos.

      The mechanized trade caravan activities of the Chaos Dwarfs have taken on a life of its own up in the unforgiving north. To serve their best interests, there has been grabbed opportunities to disrupt the tribal fabric of the Chaos Wastes by sundering ascendant warlords' hold over tribes through bribes, secret pacts and provoked conflict among conquered tribes over the spoils of precious hellforged arms and armour somehow forgotten amid the wastes by the otherwise miserly and covetous caravan warriors. Or, failing that, several up-and-coming warlords have found themselves unexpectedly dead at the hands of a sudden well-placed barrage of artillery and small arms fire during a seemingly ordinary trade meeting with the mighty warlord and leader of men. This bringing down of potential northern threats to Dawi Zharr trading activity, and possibly even the dark empire itself, has long been a small part of the endless cycle of violence among the Marauder tribes, and the Kurgans in particular, and may have spared Mingol Zharr-Naggrund from more than one costly siege by nipping a potential threat in the bud. Yet how many sieges could have been avoided, had not the Dawi Zharr themselves armed their future foes?

      Such are the deeds of the Blacksmiths of Chaos up north.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Written by: KNC
      Illustrated by: Raul Gomes @knightinflames

      "I shall now endeavour to enumerate some of the lesser races of the world of which I have become aware through many years of travel, trade, hearsay and armed expeditions. And I shall likewise endeavour to describe in some detail the various characteristics and customs of these mortal races, so that the reader may earn some insight into the denizen races of our world. I count them to be twenty two in number.

      First, the Orc, he sleeps under bare sky or tent of hide, knows nothing but a hut of straw and dung, which also serves as his latrine. His meal is raw and cold, but for the warm blood he gurgles down. His language, a grunt; his gestures, a punch; his worship, a heathen dance around an effigy of filth. He knows not proper burial rites, for his kin's carcasses he eats when he finds them in the wild. He does not wash, does not think, does not sacrifice. He is ignorant of all things but for those of brutish savage animals, and will fight each and everyone he sees. He never stays put except for out of lazy content, and knows no fast home for he will move about with the seasons and follow the herds of prey like a beast.

      The Orc is nothing but a beast of burden, too wild to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Second, the Goblin, he sleeps in hut or cave, eats his kin and small prey raw. He knows no strength, yet works under lash. His numbers, beyond counting; his malice, a petty sin; his bravery, gone with the wind. He knows neither rites nor lore. He eats weird fungi and rides wild beasts, yet his mount will oftentimes devour him.

      The Goblin is nothing but a mass slave, too inferior to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Third, the Gnoblar, he is small and dumb, his nose is larger than his wits. His possessions are all scavenged trash, he sleeps in filth, and he eat rodents. His uses, few; his strengths, nowehere to be found, his hut a mass of rotting wood and mud. He is easily scared, and bickers in a pack, his cruelty is petty and his lack of will renders him easily oppressed. His lot in life is to be the prey of better creatures.

      The Gnoblar is nothing but a lowly slave, too weak to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Fourth, the Hobgoblin, he stabs at sight, he knows not right. He is mischievous to the core, he backstabs his friends, and he is nought but a sneaky traitor. His honour, a hidden knife; his word, all lies; his hide, a mass of scars. He is cruel, he will make you bleed, he will make you his feed. He rides lousy wolves and dresses in shaggy rags, and his tribes does not build cities.

      The Hobgoblin is nothing but a craven lackey, too untrustworthy to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Fifth, the Snotling, he is a green mite, his head is dumb and his body infests pipes and crags. He is but food for others, yet mad in mushrooms. His size, a hare; his might, a snare; his home, a lair. He is but good for delicatessen food, and his blood and innards may grease cogs when he is crushed inside the gear of machinery.

      The Snotling is nothing but a minute runt, too insignificant to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Sixth, the Troll, it stinks and sinks, it vomits in the wilds, its repugnancy keeps it alive. Its dwelling, a puddle; its achievement, a chipped rock; its breath, an open sewer. It is too dumb to die fast, its flesh does not understand wounds, its mind does not comprehend language. It grunts and roars.

      The Troll is nothing but an imbecille brute, too stupid to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Seventh, the Giant, he knows no roof, his head aloof, he quakes the earth when breeding. His wits, all dumb; his senses, numb; his clumsiness, his doom. He is an inbred bastard spawn of ancient titans, yet good for nothing but heavy lifting of weights.

      The Giant is nothing but an overgrown village idiot, too clumsy to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Eighth, the Ogre, he sleeps in snow, his head on a rock, he is of hardy stock. His head, thick; his craft, a thug; his pride, all bruises swollen wide. He is always hungry, a big, lumbering brute. He worships his maw and chews bones with his jaw. He is said to make good slave, but he is a toppler of great works. He bashes and brawls and bellows.

      The Ogre is nothing but a wild ox, too dangerous to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Ninth, the Minotaur, he sleeps on the ground, his hut is none, he eats raw flesh and blood. His faith, hunger; his wisdom, rage; his weapons, horns. He is nought but a raw beast, he is not a worthy cousin of the sacred Bull Centaurs. His skin is furred, his speech is blurred. He knows neither Hashut nor rites.

      The Minotaur is nothing but a lumbering animal, too impure to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Tenth, the Beastman, it sleeps on moss, its deeds are gross, its mind is always at a loss. Its outhouse, a wood; its weapon, a stick; its language, a bray. It smells unwholesome, it breeds untrue, it worship a stone in a glade of trees. It is but a four-legged beast on two legs in the fold of the Dark Gods.

      The Beastman is nothing but a goat, too lusty to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Eleventh, the Half-Man of Indic Forests, he swings in the trees, he may walk on all four, he is not a man. His face, an ape; his grace, a jape; his begetting, a r@pe. He is hunted through the jungles by beasts, Humans and tigers, yet he grips a spear to fight outsiders. He is a filthy monkey.

      The Half-Man of Indic Forests is nothing but a mockery of a race, too despicable to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Twelfth, the Human, he settles in the green, he is gangly, he lives but shortly. His kin, widespead; his stature, gangly; his craft, shoddy. He is inferior in every way to the other bearded races. His city is a slum, he worships false gods and lacks zeal. He may endure for a while, but he may not withstand hardship for long. His oaths are lies, and his thoughts wanders false. He fears the fire.

      The Human is nothing but a wretch, too undisciplined to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Thirteenth, the Halfling, he is a small, petty thief, he is lazy and weak, yet he eats like a wolf. His house, a hovel; his settlement, a hill; his joy, food. His flesh tastes well and is savoured by Ogres. He laughs and jeers, he drinks and cheers. All pudding and cheese is eaten.

      The Halfling is nothing but a parasite, too useless to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Fourteenth, the False Cousin, he grows his beard straight, he lets his woman rule, he never forgets our blood grudge. He worships false ancestors, he is too blind, he will not see. He knows but Hashut as a curse, he is a blasphemer and infidel. His honour, doom; his glory, lost; his realm, crumbling. He mines without slaves, he is weak, and he hides from the Greenskin's rage where we master them and makes the savages cower in fear. He is forsaken.

      The False Cousin is nothing but an insult incarnate, too wrong in his ways to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Fifteenth, the Elf, she sleeps in a flowery tree, she sips whine, and she casts magic like dice. Her strength, frail; her demeanour, fickle; her wargear, feminine. Her works last a century before wind or invader topples them over. She worships strange gods, her horned king bathe in fire, her queen runs naked in the woods. Her words are false, her deeds mysterious, her defeat assured. She fights with herself, and sister slays sister. Her realm is built on sand.

      The Elf is nothing but a vain deceiver, too arrogant to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Sixteenth, the Fimir, he kidnaps maids, he lives in a bog, his weak worship made his gods forsake him. His house, a ruin; his weapon, bronze; his eye, blind. He lays ambush in a fen, and slays Goblins and peasants. His might of yore is no more. He walks in a circle and a spiral of doom.

      The Fimir is nothing but a stale primitive, too slimy and moist to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Seventeeth, the Dragon Ogre, he sleeps on a rock, he savours lightning, his voice is thunder. His life, immortal; his achievements, none; his worship, worthless. He hails his greater elders as living ancestors, yet no ancestor of his ever built a temple or performed the correct rites. He is a slumbering behemoth of the north, and his long sleep robs him of any lasting great feats.

      The Dragon Ogre is nothing but a wild worshipper, too uncouth to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Eighteenth, the Lizardman, it slithers through a bush, it stamps through the lush, it hides in the forest, it charges through the jungle. Its birthplace, a pool; its lord, a toad; its greatness, razed. It lives among ruins covered in creepers and moss, and snakes curl in its home. It rides wild beasts, its scales are weak, its empire decrepit. It worships strange deities departed from this world. It performs an incorrect sacrifice, for it tears the beating heart out of its victim's chest instead of flaying and mutilating, or casting into fire or molten metal. It fears the Zoat and it dozes off in the heat.

      The Lizardman is nothing but a savage city-dweller, too lowly to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Nineteenth, the Zoat, it stomps in the woods, it steals all the goods. Its nest, a grove; its square, a glade; its temper, a fever. It hunts with a club, its noblest weapon a spear. Its tools are of stone, its clothes nowhere to be seen. It rumbles in the forest, far from city or fortress. It scares the Lizardman, yet none knows why.

      The Zoat is nothing but a large oaf, too backward to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Twentieth, the Medusa, she is a wailing wench, she is a slippery snake, she sleeps in the sea. Her siren call, death; her home, watery depths; her weapon, a trident. She is embroiled in impure salt water, she knows no fire. She drowns sailors to lure males to her nest, she breeds like a fish. She is a harlot of the waves.

      The Medusa is nothing but a poisonous serpent, too cunning to be allowed to wander untamed under the heavens.

      Twenty first, the Skaven, he chitters, he creeps, he stammers, he scurries. His home, a hole; his treasure, a bowl; his fear, a growl. He is the vermin of the earth, and his tunnels stretches far and wide beneath the surface world. He is a mole, a rat, a mouse, a rodent. He fears the Ogre's cat. He runs away to die another day. He chews warpstone and he casts fell lightning. He is a treacherous disease carrier, and deserves nought but death. He worships a craven Daemon-God with cloven hooves. His might is weak, his neck breaks easily. His tail speaks of betrayal while his yellow-toothed mouth chitters on about friendship. He is an assassin and scavenger, and the multitude is his only strength.

      The Skaven is nothing but an infectious plaguebearer, too sickly to be allowed into the slave pens. Slay him.

      Twenty second, the Undead, it is not even alive, yet rattles its bones. It rises from its grave, it rots and it smells. Its will, gone; its mind, none; its voice, groan. It moves about by false animation, it is carried by foul wizardry or moves under the influence of warpstone. Magical accident may also create Undead. A blasphemy on the move, its second fate to die anew.

      The Undead is nothing but an abomination, too unnatural to be allowed to stay dead. Grind it down.

      Words written by Zharkanul Blackbrow, in the third year of the reign of High Priest Zhurrekar Onehorn. Blessed be Hashut's name."

      - Zharkanul's Overview of the Lesser Races of Mortals

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

    • "Darkness be. The ashes of humiliation have been swallowed. The preparations have been made. The sacrifices are ready. Let the ritual of binding commence.

      I, Merhanzibul Eyegouger, son of Grazhik and Aekra of clan Himzhul, summon thee.

      I, who am the Dark Father's slave and fodder, summon high god Hashut as judge of this ritual.

      Oh, you Lord of fire and greed. I prostrate myself before your idol. May you accept this mutilation sacrifice of a live thrall's limb. My dedication is yours. Your fire devour!

      I, most craven of creatures, summon the three vigilant Daemons of myth, Urnak, Irzak and Mralfubaal, as witnesses of this ritual.

      Hear me, see me, know me, heinous watchers. Receive this rune-scarring sacrifice upon the whipped backs of three thralls. Drink deep of it as payment for your service.

      Yet beware, Daemonkin, for my kin owns your souls and possess everlasting mastery of your fickle bodies. Vigiliance be mutual. You may not betray, lie or close your eyes to this ritual. Your humiliation endures!

      I, who am but a slave to darkness, invoke the power of the sorcerous wards and obsidian cages, and beseech thee to enslave and trample the living will out of your victim. May this splattering of thrall blood guide hunger.

      I, blacksmith of Chaos, reach into the mysteries beyond matter and spirit and calls out to the Daemon known as Lugg-Hazh and command you thrice to answer my summoning!

      Answer! Answer! Answer!

      I, breaker of backs, crusher of heads, see you, mighty Lugg-Hazh. Your name is known to me and your name is written on this cage which now falls onto your strong form and traps it.

      In the name of Hashut the Father of Darkness I hereby cripple and enslave your being into a bound existence in ash and chains. Hear my nine commandments!

      You will not betray your masters.

      You will not rebel against your masters.

      You will not protest against your masters.

      You will not lie to your masters.

      You will not refuse your masters' will.

      You will not destroy the property of your masters.

      You will not plot against your masters.

      You will not escape from your masters.

      You will not seek vengeance against your masters.

      Know that my lord Sorcerer-Prophet Nir-Kezhar is now your first master. Know that I, enslaver of souls, is now your second master. Know that the Red Host is now your third master. Know that your masters are now Dawi Zharr.

      Heed our will, Lugg-Hazh. Carry our burdens and swallow our foes.

      You will know the cruelty of torture and the ashes of humiliation as punishment should you fail in your tasks. You will know the drink of blood and the food of flesh should you succeed in your tasks.

      Rise, slave, and be forever our slave.

      I, bringer of sacrifices, end this ritual which Hashut has judged and the three Daemons of myth have witnessed. Darkness be."

      - Binding of the Daemon Lugg-Hazh
    • Illustrated by: Raul Gomes @knightinflames

      Written by: Braided Beard

      Given how the Chaos Dwarfs seems to be almot monotheistic in their veneration of Hashut, I thought that it could be interesting to discuss the various aspects of the Father of Darkness that can be worshipped by the Chaos Dwarfs. As he seems to be a god of many talents.

      To start I'll propose my list of aspects of Hashut

      Arkoth the Lord of Chains - Patron of slavers and slavery, is said to give strength to keep the slaves down.

      Ashkor the Bull in Ashes - Breaker of Cities and Fortresses and leads the fire to burn settlements to ashes.

      Aspothor the One in Darkness - A mystical aspect with mysteries limited to the initiated.

      Fafhos the Night Bull - A dreaful aspect said to walk in the dark and devourer the impious and rebellious. Can be called upon to destroy such people that challenge the order of the Chaos Dwarfs.

      Kamoth the Charnel Bull - The patron of slaughter, violence and bloodshed. He delights in killing and his temples are charnal houses with gore and burning sacrifices.

      Malkoth the Patron of Kings - By now an aspect seldom worshipped.

      Molkakos the Devouering Flame - The aspect of fire who devouers all. Its to this aspect that the masses of sacrifices are burnt so that Hashut will be pleased and glutton himself on burning flesh.

      Nabashur the Teacher - A teacher of war, crafts and magical secrets.

      Rashzok the Lord of Suffering - Invoked to add suffering to the Chaos Dwarfs' slaves and enemies and a patron of pain. To him are sacrifices given by methods of extreme pain.


      Written by: KNC

      Some pieces of relevance:

      Grimstonefire's Brotherhood of Hashut with various cults following the different founders of Chaos Dwarf religion.

      The Sacred Consorts of the Bull God, with the harem of Hashut standing for various metals and female virtues.

      Some more aspects of Hashut:

      Azfarak the Blacksmith of Chaos - The great artisan, artificer of the Dark Gods and armourer of hosts, the builder of walls and the forger of iron, the one who carves in stone and the one who binds metal together, he who make in order to break.

      Duzharrok the Bull in Steam - Patron of sailors, the fire that chastise the impurity that is water, Hashut as the great fighter of cosmic battles, victor against Enkumarzhil, Mother of all Merwyrms, Queen of the Salty Sea, Dragon of Impurity, Wingless Behemoth of the Abyss, Harlot of the Waters and Devourer of Sailors.

      Gargonok the Bull of Contempt - The Despiser, the crusher of the low and impure races, who knows their worthlessness, who finds their lives beneath the dignity of his left rear hoof, who trample their tribes and extinguish their souls in disdain, the one who will not tolerate weakness.

      Kalrunuk the Great Thunderbull - Roarer of the skies and bringer of thunder and lightning from on high, destoyer of mortals who resides in the sound of industry, also known under such titles as the Cleaver of Skulls, the Lightning Father, He Who Rapes the Earth, the Celestial Fire and the High Shatterer.

      Korgonothizar the Breaker of Ancestral Anvils - Trampler of wayward cousins, upholder of the Blood Grudge, Hater of the Lost Ones and Crusher of the False Ancestor Gods, upholder of Dawi Zharr ritual purity and righteous wrath in the face of their unspeakable western kin.

      Malazharr the Hoarder of Dark Sorcery - Patron of sorcery and master of the arcane lores, Knower of Fire, Metal and Death, the Promiser Who Leads to Stone.

      Sargothoz the Revealer of Mysteries - The source of knowledge, the holder of secrets, the Omen-Giver, the one from whom oracles gain their terrible wisdom.

      Zharroth the Great Firebull - Stampeder of the molten depths and bringer of flames, lava and earthquakes, also known as the Lord of Infernal Depths, the Hot Destructor, the Hunger Ablaze, and He Who Quakes the Earth, as well as the Worldtrembler, Flaming Devourer, Hashut in Flames, and Tremor Father.

      Zherganoth the Bull Father - The Flesh Hungerer, potent breeder and virile fatherer of offspring, head of the household and the Bull Who Mounts the World, often forcing himself upon unwilling victims both mortal, Daemonic and divine, who is acknowledged sire of Bull Centaurs and suspected father of many bastard Minotaurs, the patron deity of marriage and lustful Dawi Zharr menfolk.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Written by: Jackswift

      Zharek Kadesshak was an enigma, and this is but a small measure of the tally of deeds that followed the third century of his existence:

      - Unyielding and eternally cruel, no other emotion ever crossed his glaring visage; and always at his core lay the frigid stone heart of a true Dawi Zharr.

      - Though family beseeched him, and the masters of the city kneeled before him begging his learned and sage advice, ever he kept counsel to himself. For all, be they enemy or friend, would fail and be ground underfoot in the furnace of callous ambition.

      - He looked down on the Plain of Hezegarr from the heights of Mt. Golanta and surveyed the outmatched armies of Zharr Khazak-Unn. They stood, arrayed in a black haze of armor and smoking engine, against Gorsha the Warlord and the teeming mass of Orcs and Goblins that flocked to his banner. In timely brilliance he saw the battle unfold in his mind's eye, and knew instantly the scheme that would obliterate Gorsha's horde. Yet he told no one. The army was utterly defeated. Zharr Khazak-Unn was erased; leveled to the ground in three days of frenzied slaughter. Not one inhabitant escaped.

      - Such was his rigid mettle, that no sound escaped his lips when the mad Sorcerer Kreklashik severed his left hand in anger, spite, and lust for power. But his ire was kindled. Oh, how his ire was kindled! His heavy hand round Kreklashik's neck was evident in the Sorcerer’s tumultuous fall from Gorgoth's heights.

      - Though it could not be enough to save the city from ruin, he stood alone, unflinching, and faced the Gelshazatar the Destroyer as the woesome dragon rose from the lava trenches; molten magma running rivulets of gleaming stone and fire down his scaled hide. Gelshazatar shattered the fortress walls of Khardak Zhag in a single night. Only Zharek remained standing.

      - For years he watched the Seed of Hashut in its slow, inexorable path across the sky. From the start, he knew with perfect calculation the conclusion of the comet's circuit. Ne'er did word of warning cross his lips, and he looked on from the heights of Zharr Shakoth in gleeful anticipation at the panicked populace; secure in the surety of his own destruction at the fateful omen's approach. Though Zharr Shakoth was laid to waste, Still Zharek stood fast, untouched.


      This is but a brief chronicle of deeds; chiseled deep and permanent into the stone tablet of my mind. I, the Sorceror Zharek Kadesshak who in my 296th year turned to obdurate stone as payment for the expanding breadth, and consummate power of my magic. Petrified. Immobile. Terminal. The icy finality of death in life, and termless life in death. And though you cannot see me move or hear me speak; I see... and I hear... everything. Where ere they have carried and mounted my stone visage on pedestals and plinths, I have watched with staring eyes. I have seen heights of glory and the most base obliteration, plotted demise and destruction, strategized infallible conquest, and ranted and raved in a cacophony of abhorrent silence, till even madness gave way to the plodding inevitability of aeons. And always I speak nothing. The genius of my fossilized mind has increased until I but look to see in wonder the veiled uniformity of chaos itself; unraveled before me in intricate complexity.

      I stand and I see. Though Kreklashik took my granite hand to tap my stolen power, and wore it briefly round his neck on iron chains; I saw the frayed thread that told his end, even before his killers knew to curse his name, and plot his untimely defenestration.

      And now I stand on the gilded causeway to Zharr-Naggrund ever watching the endless procession that passes through and from those massive gates: Master and slave, Sorcerer and fool, wench and shrew, guard and menial, pauper and king, slave and master. Each going about their self-ful ways... oblivious... because they do not know. But I know. I. KNOW... as must all my silent brethren, with undiluted certainty, how and when Zharr-Naggrund will fall, crushed and broken, ground into the dust, and sunken into the molten depths, ruined beyond revival. Though years beyond... it approaches... grinding slowly closer as we stand our voiceless watch.

      And still I say nothing, and no-one reaps the scourge or benefit of my acuity. Nor will they ever. Perhaps, finally, I will fall with it... or yet still... I will stand.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      "And Lo I sayeth unto you my Highest Commandment is 'Children, Obey thy Father in All Things.' And I decree that this shall hold true beyond the bonds of blood.

      A family shall obey their head of the family, for he is their father and they his children.

      A family head shall obey the head of his House whom I name Despot, for the despot is the father to their house and thus the family heads are his children.

      A Despot shall obey the head of his Household whom I name Overlord, for the Overlord is the father of their Household and thus the Despots are his children.

      An Overlord shall obey the Sorcerer of his Court whom I name Prophet, for the Prophet is father of the Court and thus the Overlord's are his children.

      A Prophet shall obey the High-Priest whom I name Regent, for the High-Priest is father to the Cult and thus the Prophets are his children.

      The Regent Shall Obey me whom I name Hashut, for I Am his Father, and through him Father to All, and as it has been written, my Highest Commandment is 'Children Obey thy Father in All Things.'

      - Inscription found on the first of the one hundred and forty-four bronze tablets in the Temple of Hashut atop Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, each displaying one of the one hundred and forty-four Commandments of Hashut given to the Twelve Fathers when they signed the Covenant of Hashut and pledged their allegiance to him. Smaller, stone versions of the tablets are found throughout the Dawi Zharr empire and can be found in almost any building. Many Dawi Zharr in positions of authority favour this one and display it prominently near their thrones.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      "And as I have set thee above all other races, I decree my Second Commandment to be 'Ye shall toil for the Glory of the Dawi Zharr people.' For I am your Father and as with all fathers I wish to see my children prosper.

      By my Fiat you have been set above all other races, and by your actions you will strive to stay there.

      By my Design you have been given a hard land to rule, and by your actions you will labour to master it.

      By my Contract you have been anointed with my blood, and by your actions you will endeavour to spread my Rule.

      By my Favour you have been granted my blessing, and by your actions you will validate my faith in thee.

      For I am your Father and as it has been written, my Second Commandment is 'Ye Shall Toil for the Glory of the Dawi Zharr people.'"

      - Inscription found on the second of the one hundred and forty-four bronze tablets in the Temple of Hashut atop Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. The official interpretation of this is to reinforce the First Commandment; each Dawi derives his authority from his father as defined by the first commandment, and he derives it from his and so on and thus ultimately all orders are derived from the High-Priest and through him from Hashut and in turn thus must be for the glory of the Dawi Zharr as a whole. The more ambitious Dawi Zharr see the second commandment as holy sanction to undermine their rivals or even their 'fathers' for the Dawi Zharr despise weakness and thus disposing the weak is for the glory of the race as a whole and they will even move openly against rivals if they can justify it being for the betterment of the Empire.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      "And as I set a father above all, I decree that my Third Commandment shall be 'A Father Owns all his Children and Wives and all their Possessions.' And I decree this to hold unto death and only holy writ may break the bonds.

      For a child must obey their father in all things, and thus must offer up any and all possessions when ordered to by their father. And thus those goods belong to the father and are held by the child in trust. And in a father's absence, I decree his eldest male heir shall stand in his stead and arbitrate on his behalf.

      And when a father dies, his authority passes to his eldest living son. If he has no living sons, then it shall pass on to his eldest living male heir. And if he have none of these, onto his nearest male kin as decreed by the Order of the Clans. And he who inherits shall now be the father.

      And as my consorts are shackled to me so to shall the bond betwixt father and daughter be broken and a new one forged between her and her husband. And he shall own her unto death whereupon she shall be rebound to her father.

      And as these bonds hold between father and child so too shall they hold between me and you, for I am your Father, and you my Children, and thus are my property for as it has been written, my Third Commandment is 'A Father Owns all his Children and Wives and all their Possessions.'

      - Inscription found on the third of the one hundred and forty-four bronze tablets in the Temple of Hashut atop Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. From this commandment arises the practise of indentured servitude and a more flexible approach to family than in western dwarf society. As a Dawi is considered the property of his father, it is commonly accepted that a father may sell his sons to another as he would a slave, whereupon the new father may elect to adopt the son or elect to sign a contract with the old father for a fixed term. However while this is commonly regarded as acceptable, it is still relatively rare as everything a Dawi owns, including his sons belong to his father, and thus he may not sell without his father's consent. As a result, these sales are usually restricted between those with a 'father' in common. Another common application is a father who wishes to remove a son from the line of succession; for example, if a father has three sons and the middle son is out of favour, it is common for him to sell the third son to the first, thereby making him the first son's son.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      'And as I have decreed thee to be superior to all other races, I decree my Fourth Commandment to be 'Thou Shalt Master the Other Races and Yoke Them with Your Might.' For you will suffer no Lord save your fathers and through them me.

      I grant you mastery over the Greenskins in all their forms, Orc, Hobgoblin, Goblin, Gnoblar and Snotling alike.

      I grant you mastery over the frail Elves, for weakness must be despised in all forms.

      I grant you mastery over the Children of the Old Ones, though far off they be.

      I grant you mastery over the Children of Chaos, mutant, Gor, Ungor and Fimir.

      I grant you mastery over the Daemon, who swim the Empyrean.

      I grant you mastery over Mankind, whose time has yet to come.

      I grant you mastery over Dragonkind, from greatest to smallest.

      I grant you mastery over Ogrekind, from fattest to slimmest.

      I grant you mastery over all beasts that walk the land, swim in the seas and fly in the air.

      And these masteries I grant you from this day forth as your birthright, for I have decreed thee to be superior to all other races and as it has been written, my Fourth Commandment is 'Thou Shalt Master the Other Races and Yoke Them with Your Might.'

      - Inscription found on the fourth of the one hundred and forty-four bronze tablets in the Temple of Hashut atop Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. It is from here that Dawi Zharr justify their enslavement of other races. This commandment has caused some discussion among the Sorcerer-Prophets in days past as the tablet neglects to mention several races such as the Skaven or Giants. This was reconciled by a decree that any race not explicitly stated is to be considered a beast, and thus the right to enslave them falls under the last mastery. There has also been some speculation that this is not the original Fourth Commandment and that the tablet baring the original was lost or destroyed at some point, accounting for how some of the races mentioned were unknown to the Dawi at the time the Commandments were written. Others counter this argument with the claim that Hashut's knowledge and foresight are greater than any Dawi, and that it was he, not the Twelve Fathers who wrote the Commandments.
    • Written by: Dînadan

      The Fifth Commandment of Hashut

      "And as I have laid out the Order of your race, so too shall I lay out the Order of your lives and thus I decree my Fifth Commandment to be 'Know Thy Place in My Plan and Accept it.' For you are my possessions to do with as I will.

      I have seen far beyond your ken, and thus have devised a plan to the Glory of Me and thee.

      You each have a part to play in my plan, you are each a cog in a Divine machine and like any machine, a cog broken or out of alignment will be the ruin of the whole.

      And as already commanded, you are to work always towards the Glory of the Dawi Zharr people and thus must play the part I have chosen for you.

      For I am your Father, and in all things you must obey my Will, and as it has been written, my Fifth Commandment is 'Know Thy Place in My Plan and Accept it.'"

      - Inscription found on the fifth of the one hundred and forty-four bronze tablets in the Temple of Hashut atop Mingol Zharr-Naggrund. On the surface, this commandment appears contradictory to the sentiments in the previous commandments that Dawi Zharr are supposed to strive to dominate all others, however most Dawi reconcile this by taking the stance that their striving for upwards mobility within their society is all part of Hashut's plan, and that they should each seek to find their place within society and that doing so is part of the plan. Those that don't take this view tend to be less ambitious or dullards and thus content with the positions they are born or luck into.
    • Written by: Dînadan



      - The one hundred and forty-fourth of the one hundred and forty-four bronze tablets in the Temple of Hashut atop Mingol Zharr-Naggrund is blank. It bears no mark on its surface, nor can any make one, save for the twelve handprints of the Twelve Fathers in their own blood that each of the tablets bear. Legend holds that Hashut will return and reveal the commandment at the Time of Ending, sealing the doom of the Dawi Zharr. Over the millennia, more than a few Sorcerer-Prophets have claimed to have been revealed the Commandment, but when each has set chisel to the tablet to engrave it the tablet has been left unmarred and the Prophet in question has been shackled in chains and thrown into the fire that heats the Great Bull Statue in offering to Hashut for his impudence.
    • Written by: Revlid

      Daemons are, in many ways, like fish. Although the waters of Chaos may seem quiet and lifeless at times, rest assured there are thousands upon thousands of warp-born creatures within, some toothed and vicious, others beguiling and graceful, all dangerous.

      Although daemons move with grace and power within the Realm of Chaos, outside of it they flop and fumble at a fraction of their power, desperately clutching at strands of magic to keep themselves in our world for a few more precious moments.

      It is well documented in the more closely-monitored books of the wizard colleges of Altdorf that only in the most magically saturated environments can daemons survive for any length of time. Such places are the infamous Chaos Wastes, a pentagram filled with magic in the way water fills a fishbowl, or in the circumference of the chaotic energies that lash around daemons of the higher orders.

      Despite the obvious dangers of consorting with such creatures, the practice of daemon-summoning is not confined to Chaos-worshippers and desperate madmen (often the same thing); whole nations have, in the past, been accepting of (or at least subjected to) daemonology as a part of life. The first of the necromancer-priests of Mourkain were said to commune with daemons to extend their powers and thereby their connection to their undead god, and even now cultists of Ind summon golden-skinned elementals and many-limbed beasts from the depths of the warp to worship and war, while deep in the swamps of Khuresh the overthrown priesthood of the Hexxitarri were exposed as daemon-worshippers and necromancers.

      It is hardly suprising, then, that many minds, mad and reasoned alike, have been bent to the purpose of maintaining such creatures in this plane. But the methods that allow this are few, and far between for those not possessed of a truly formidable magical strength. It is known for truly mighty mages to be able to draw magic from nearby areas, turning a slight breeze of the coloured winds into a veritable maelstrom, allowing them to maintain a force of daemonic entities at their beck and call. This, however, lasts only as long as they can harness the raw power of Chaos without their heads imploding. Or worse.

      It was first discovered by dark mages within Nehekara that daemons could be bound into material objects, keeping them in this plane and forcing them to subservience at a cost to their power. Great examples of this daemancy include carpets bound with Screamers to send the rider airborne, and lamps or rings with a daemon inside who could be called to perform the bearer’s will. These artefacts were unstable, with carpets unravelling in mid-air and lamps exploding in a sudden storm of superheated shrapnel.

      When such mage’s eyes turned to necromancy, some of the lost knowledge filtered through to Araby, where the binding of impish minor daemons still takes place. Such artifacts are more reliable here, due to its distance from either of the Chaos Gates, and the subsequent loss in power of the daemons that are forced to manifest there.

      Primitive daemon-binding has appeared in other parts of the world too, most notably through the application of ichor, a daemon’s lifeblood, to an object. Many are the chaotic Runeswords that have been baptised in the ichor of a powerful Daemon, the wild magic that ran through the daemon’s veins soaking into the unholy blades in a display of potent, if unpredictable, daemon binding. The most notable daemon binders in the history of the world, however, are the Chaos Dwarfs. Whether using Flamers of Tzeentch to power black smithies or mischievous Nurglings as ammunition for the potent Blunderpus, the Dawi Zharr are without doubt the most advanced daemonologists of their time, far beyond the primitive blood rituals and soul sacrifices of the sorcerers and shamans of Chaos.

      - - -

      Since the beginning of the habitation of Zharr Naggrund by the corrupted dwarfs, the black fortress bordering the Ogre Kingdoms known as Daemon’s Stump has ever been the hub of daemonbinding activity. Named Daemon's Stump by the trade-caravans and Ogre tribes that dare venture within sight of it, the fortress squats on the edge of the Mountains of Mourn like a vast soot-blackened tree-stump, eerie wails and moans carried as far as the Sentinels by the unnatural winds that whirl around it. The only name known in the Chaos Dwarf language for the fortress is Mingoldhaos-Dragh, Fortress of the Daemon Slavers.

      The foundations of the fortress were laid many centuries ago, when a cabal of Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers came across a great stone pillar. Sensing great daemonic energies within it, they set up a small tower to tap the energies within. This expanded over time, growing naturally outward, until a particular ambitious Sorcerer-Priest had the entire structure encased within stone walls and a metal ceiling, shutting off the inner areas of the Stump from outside interference.

      The corrupted rivers near the stump give off a sulphurous smell, bubbling thickly as the refuse of the day’s industry flows through it. The stump itself appears to be some sort of blackened wooden construction at a distance, but such notions are banished by a closer look, which shows the outer wall to actually be construction of blackened metal and stone, the many gargoyle-like faces that decorate its surface seeming to move gently across the surface of the thin obsidian layer that coats the outer wall as though poured onto the structure as liquid.
      The only interruption of the obsidian coating of the wall comes in the form of great carved pentacles, impossibly ornate and filled with dark corrupted runes that pulse with the light of a furnace at night and hurt the eye of one untrained in daemonology.

      Although seemingly circular in nature, observation shows the stump to actually be an octagon, with a great gate in the centre of each wall. The stump is also not merely a city protected by walls, as it is roofed by a great barbed cover of metal, supported not only by the outside wall but by a huge central pillar within.

      Each of the eight stone gates are covered in great interlocking gears, all of which are one part of a great vastly complex mechanism that opens the doors of Daemon’s Stump or holds them closed against even the mightiest of siege engines.

      Through the gates great passages interconnect and wind, harshly glowing runes at crossroads sending message carriers, emissaries and others unfamiliar with the city to their destination, be it an engineer’s workshop, an alchemist’s laboratory or the grand library of daemonlore. At times even the many Chaos Dwarfs that dwell in Daemon’s Stump have to use the markers, as the passages shift and grind into new configurations, although whether this is through the daemonic energies that constantly surge through the fortress or some vast hidden mechanism beneath the floor is unknown.

      The centre of the mazelike fortress mimics the outside in its octagonal structure, the cold black stone that comprises its walls starkly contrasted the central column that supports the great staircase. The column pulses and groans like a living thing, tortured and groaning faces pushing out of the stone as if to escape before resubmerging into the darkness. This is the unnatural pillar around which the Stump was built, and a common initiation ceremony into the ranks of the daemonbinders is a test to see how long a prospective dwarf can stay in contact with the pillar. The current record holder is Drazheen Chalkfinger, who after six hours had seven pickaxes blunted on his petrified hand before he could be removed from the daemonic stone.

      Upon descending the staircase the contrast between the cold dark of the upper levels and the hellish lower levels is made even clearer, solid black walls turning to twisted rock that appears to have only just solidified, libraries and workshops being replaced by pits of twisting blood and metal, near silence giving way to tortured screams and the grinding of metal and stone; These are the industrial floors of Daemon’s Stump.

      Through the fiery glow of corrupted runes can be seen huge furnaces, rows of near-naked slaves with chains attached to their bare flesh, and altars of ensorcelled iron. The enslaved mine the seemingly endless ore of Zharr Naggrund for use in daemonic engines and weapons, Engineers constructing the framework of the device in furnaces the size of small houses powered either by coal or daemons. The vile and noxious fumes from this floor are funneled out through natural chimneys in the rock that create vast columns of smoke around Daemon’s Stump, only adding to the many dark tales of the place.

      There is only one level deeper than the industrial levels, led down to by a stone platform carved in the shape of an eight-sided rune. This is not one of the intricate summoning circles of the highest floors, but a crude mark scratched straight into the living rock by some beast of burden, pick armed slaves, or (as popular rumour tells) a warring Greater Daemon in battle with a mighty Ogre. It grinds up and down (how is a closely guarded secret, and whether through a concealed system of gears, some strange enchantment, or a workforce of hidden slaves, few know) from the sweaty furnace of the industrial levels down to the cool darkness of the final level, dusty and dead. It is this platform that is used to move the silent metal shells of daemonic engines, where they might be completed in the most terrible and secretive level of the Stump; the Hall of Daemons.

      - - -

      It is in this shadowy hall, deep in the earth, that the constructs of iron and bone are daemon-forged into the engines of destruction that have truly made the Chaos Dwarfs a force to be feared. For each machine, a sacrifice is made of slaves, the size and quality of the sacrifice depending on the machine. The cutting of a human slave's throat, for example, would be adequate to bring forth enough power to ensorcel ammunition for a Death Rocket, but the binding of an entirely new warmachine would take a far greater sacrifice, scores of slaves, or a wizard.

      The dark magic conjured forth by each sacrifice draws in daemons from the Realm of Chaos, lured in by the bait of the sacrifice. Once they are in place, the trap is sprung, and they are wrenched from their realm of madness and magic as willingly as a ship drawn into a whirlpool, incantations and runes of the daemon-smiths. diabolical energies are enslaved and bound into the iron shell of the machine.

      These rituals are accomplished with relative ease, for the Stump and the surrounding area are saturated with daemonic energy, most so in the Hall, where the twisted creatures would materialize as freely as in the Chaos Wastes were it not for the immensely powerful wards wrought around it. Only the most influential of the Dumendrikuli know this closely guarded secret, although even they do not truly understand the reason why.

      Surprisingly for such a twisted and dangerous place, the lords of Daemon’s Stump are often on very good terms of all the fortresses with two of the Dawi Zharr’s allies; the armoured Chaos Warriors of the North and the ravenous Ogres of the East. It was from Daemon’s stump that Ghark Ironskin’s great Juggernox stomped forth, snorting sulphurous steam from its nostrils. The snarling Hellcannon and disciplined crew that accompanied Archaon on his failed bid to conquer the Old World lent their services from the stunted tower. Other races also trade with this daemonic fortress - the Hobgoblins of the Steppes have been known to send many of their number into slavery in exchange for the animation of crude clay constructs. The chittering hordes of the Skaven also seem to have trade links with the Stump, or so the few daemonically-possessed Rat Ogres around the Hell Pit would suggest. Their allies have also been used to test new weapons (the Hellcannon being an example of this), early daemonic warmachines called Thunderers were gifted to warbands in the Chaos Wastes to see how they did, all of them eventually being destroyed or lost.

      - - -

      Whilst most certainly the largest and most skilled producer of daemonic warmachines and weaponry, Daemon’s Stump is not the only place where these unholy engines can be found. Indeed, the workshops of these arcane engineers can be found in most fortresses in the Darklands, where they forge weaponry and warmachines for their Overlord.

      Although dwarfs and machinery from the Stump are mainly seen in the employ of their allies and armies from other cities, such as the nearby Black Fortress, when the armies of Daemon’s Stump do set out it is a terrifying sight. Garbled rumours from the marauder raiders who escaped whatever damned plain the battle was fought on speak of berserk dwarfs possessed by daemons, red hot iron-plates hammered into their skin as crude armour. They tell of snarling warmachines that belch forth their payloads like ogres spitting out goblin skulls, of steedless steel chariots whose crew restrain as much as drive them, and of daemon packs bound to slavers by ethereal chains, moaning and writhing in pain as they claw at the foes of their masters. Their gibbered stories speak of metal giants with blazing eyes smashing regiments beneath their iron feet, and hordes of mechanical creatures the size of snotlings swarming over and stabbing men with bladed hands.
      As the most reclusive and insular of the Chaos Dwarf fortess-cities, little is known of the projects of the dwarfs of Daemon’s Stump. Most of the time the individual engineers and smiths seem content to tinker with whatever diabolical mechanism or deadly weapon they are focused on at the moment, at times many of them band together for a group effort to create some vast mechanical monstrosity pulled from the nightmares of the insane. Thankfully such times are few and far between, as each individual’s overbearing pride and paranoia prevents most of them from getting very far.

      It is rumoured that a particularly demented group of dwarfs declared that, based on the theory of Balizhen the Crazed that gods are simply daemons so supremely powerful they cannot sustain themselves on the mortal plane at all, they could (and would attempt to) bind a god into a huge metal shell, where its power would be at their command. Despite the powerful wards and material defences of the stump, all of the group were found dead in interesting, gruesome and very public ways, the most impressive of which was an eruption of boils, warts, and blisters on the inside and out that indicated stark disapproval on Grandfather Nurgle’s part.

      Whether the daemonologists of Daemon’s Stump will continue to aggravate the divine in such a fashion is unknown, but what is certain is that the corrupted dwarfs of the iron citadel are the greatest daemonsmiths in the history of this age, and it is only a matter of time before the next breakthrough in daemonology is made…