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Your bid is the same as or more than the download It Now price. It took several centuries for the Chaos Dwarf population to recover — though low birth-rates prevented the population from reaching its former level — when another calamity struck.
Large numbers of slaves had died in the mines beneath Zharr-Naggrund in the millennia of its existence, and the Chaos Dwarfs let the corpses rot where they fell. Their indifference was nearly their undoing.
On the. The Chaos Dwarfs and their allies were nearly overwhelmed. As in the earlier Black Orc rebellion, the Chaos Dwarfs were driven back to the upper tiers of Zharr-Naggrund, with the loss of many lives. Only the intervention of the Sorcerer-Prophets and the coming of dawn saved the Chaos Dwarfs from obliteration. From this experience, the bodies of slaves are now either tossed into lava pits or pools of highly toxic wastes.
Some are even dismembered and sent to the Ogre Kingdoms as foodstuff rancid meat being considered a delicacy among the monstrosities. The waters of the River Ruin began to run low, and it was no longer able to cool the huge Chaos Dwarf forges to power the steam-driven engines.
Troops sent to scout the headwaters did not return, and the Sorcerer-Prophets read disturbing portents in the entrails of sacrificed slaves. As Praag fell in the west, a vast Khornate army besieged Zharr-Naggrund. Battles raged across the Plain of Zharrduk as Chaos Dwarfs from other mines and factories came to the aid of the obsidian ziggurat. The Chaos Dwarfs unleashed their fearsome war machines upon the Blood God's ravening horde.
The slaughter continued for two years, with neither weather nor weariness lessening its desperate intensity. Then, abruptly, the borders of the Chaos Wastes retreated to the north, and the Khornate army weakened. In one final surge, the Chaos Dwarfs were able to break the siege and obliterate their foe.
Victory was once again theirs — but again at a terrible price, for the Chaos Dwarf race was decimated. At the great river crossing over which, like an obsidian dagger thrust into the burning, smokeladened skies, the Black Fortress of the Chaos Dwarfs stood sentinel, was the only place a force as large and unwieldy as Tamurkhan's horde might cross into the Dark Lands for many leagues.
Lord Drazhoath the Ashen, master of the Black Fortress had drawn up his army. Here Tamurkhan's thousands were matched with rank after rank of compact regimented figures encased from head to toe in thick ornate armour woven from smouldering steel scales and thick blackened plates; brutal blades and strange ornate weapons beating a deadly rhythm in unison against brazen shields. All throughout their lines were batteries of nightmarish war engines, daemon fused cannon and gaping-mouthed mortars.
At the flanks great mobs of Hobgoblin slave. Tamurkhan knew that he had the power and might to force the crossing, even against the legendary wrath of the Chaos Dwarfs of Zharr Naggrund, the sheer fury and monstrous power of the horde would see to that, but the cost would be high indeed. As for the commander of the defending force, Drazhoath knew that he faced a battle of a kind unwitnessed in the land of Zharr since time immemorial and his reason calculated the odds poorly in his favour.
Though death and destruction were inevitable, he would not disgrace the Chaos Dwarfs of Zharr nor sell cheaply the legacy of Hashut, his Father in Darkness. Each perhaps had the echo of some other outcome of the confrontation than mutual destruction in mind from the start, but first both pride and the desires of the Dark Gods must be borne. There would be blood. For many hours the tide of Chaos crashed upon the army of the lords of Hashut.
In wave after wave it advanced upon the thin line of Chaos Dwarfs only to be beaten back under a hail of arrows and gunfire. Strange missiles leapt from the Chaos Dwarf ranks and fell upon their enemies with great resounding crashes like thunder. Warriors and beasts were blown into so many pieces of shredded flash and mangled iron or burned, the flames charring their flesh even under the waters of the black River Ruin. Yet, like the tide, the army of Tamurkhan came on relentlessly.
As one warrior fell another stepped into his place and soon by storm and winged beast the supply trains oldie army of Zharr began to come under attack from above. Rottingwing corpse-vultures and daemon-furies struck from the skies, while sorcerous lightning arced down to burn and blast, causing powder kegs to erupt in lethal fireballs incinerating all around them. The dragon-rider Orbbal Vipergut led the aerial assault behind the Chaos Dwarf lines, scattering Hobgoblin caravan guards and butchering screaming slaves bound in their tracts and unable to lee.
Soon enough however, the Chaos Dwarfs' guns slowed and many were struck silent, their ammunition and powder spent.
Of course some sacrifice had been necessary: That the path to glory was awash with blood no one would ever deny. Drazhoath the Ashen was neither fool, nor inexperienced as a general, and saw immediately the peril his forces were in. Swiftly he commanded a detachment of his Infernal Guard to hold the line until slain and ordered his fellow Daemonsmiths to work with fear and mind-clouding magics to hurl the Hobgoblin slave-soldiers at their command into the teeth of the foe to delay them while the greater and more valuable Chaos Dwarf force and its engines of war sought a retreat.
The plan however did not survive the charge of the ground-shaking war mammoths across the causeway, and even the Infernal Guard could not hold back such a weight of muscle and fury and rise centre of the line on the far bank was shattered id the huge beasts' first mighty assault.
The retreat became a disarrayed rout, as the weapons of the Kurgan fell mercilessly upon the Orcs and Hobgoblins who made up the greatest part of the slave army, and many more of the cowardly creatures died in the rush to escape as the panicked Hobgoblins fought and clawed over each other in their eagerness to flee.
Those not trampled to death by their comrades were simply buried and suffocated in the press. Isolated blocks of Chaos Dwarfs stood their ground rather than face the ignominy of being cut down in flight, both at their war machines and in defensive squares of steel-shod warriors.
They fought savagely and bravely, but they stood little chance as the horde washed over them. Slowly the horde regrouped to renew the attack, and this time the Dolgan war mammoths were to lead the assault, and behind them heavily armoured Chaos knights and warriors were taking up key positions before the foe. The morning's battle had simply been a preliminary attempt to draw the enemy's fire.
The Chaos Dwarfs had unknowingly wasted their cannons and powder on the most expendable parts of the horde:. But his wicked heart leapt as he thought of the legendary riches of the west, of iron and stone and gemstones, of the plunder of slaves, of gold and flesh and blood. But most of all the lore he might glean. For many years now stories had reached the dark empire of the Chaos Dwarfs of the powerful battle magic and war - engines that had risen in the human lands of the west — tales spoken of by caravan-masters seeking to curry favour and confessions extorted under torture from captives and freshly bought slave stock.
No doubt was in Drazhoath's mind that these purely human creations would prove inferior to the craftsmanship of the Daemonsmiths of Zharr, but there would be great merit in their measuring. Should he lead an expedition and match the might of his legion against the humans of the west in victory and take their secrets for his own, then among Hashut's dark priesthood his star would rise anew, and so the flames of glory to come were fanned in Drazhoath's cold and spiteful breast.
None of this reasoning the lord of the Black Fortress allowed to slip before the baleful Chaos Sorcerer before him. Drazhoath would ensure the bargaining would prove long and arduous before at last a pact was sealed. It was Sayl the Faithless, he of the twisted flesh and serpent's tongue, that was chosen as emissary in Tamurkhan's stead to deliver his word to the Chaos Dwarfs, now holed-up in their near-impregnable fortress — a great hollowed-out and sculpted mountain surrounded by cinder-pits where molten magma flowed like water at the whim of its masters.
Tamurkhan's message to the Chaos Dwarf Lord was thus: Would you Lord Drazhoath, perish knowing that your land will be despoiled and your fortress plundered? By all witness of the Dark Gods you have fought with honour and brought glory to thy Master — now yield without shame.
Our war is not with the Lords of Hashut but with the lands of Men. Join us, grant us the blessing of steel and thy fell arts of war, and the spoils of victory shall fall to all alike. As it has been before between the Kurgan and the sons of Zharr, let it be again and a pact struck between us.
Although the decline of their population has lessened since the Chaos Incursion of , the Chaos Dwarfs are still fewer in number than at any time. Despite the fact that they are a dying race, the power of their Sorcerer-Prophets and the prowess of their warriors ensure the dominance of the Chaos Dwarfs throughout most of the Dark Lands. Still, there is some speculation among the few who know of their existence that they may well become extinct in the next several hundred years.
The Chaos Dwarf demand for slaves remains insatiable, though they are wary of any new slave rebellions. A repeat of the revolt on the scale of the one led by the Black Orcs would surely cripple, if not end, the Chaos Dwarfs and their Empire.
Though brutally suppressed, a recent uprising in Uzkulak exemplifies the danger to the Chaos Dwarfs' way of life. Chaos Dwarf slaving bands have recently expanded their operations to include the Worlds Edge Mountains and the western foothills. In many cases, the Chaos Dwarfs employ a number of agents to lure the unwary into forced servitude. Additionally, the Chaos Dwarfs have cemented a trade arrangement with the Hobgobla-Khan whereby the masters of the Dark Lands would supply the Steppe Hobgoblins with higher quality arms and armour to stave off the encroachment of the Dolgan tribes and the remnants of other wild Human tribes roaming the steppes in exchange for the slaves captured from the Wheatland colonies and caravans on the Silk Road.
Knowing the Chaos Dwarf preference for Human and Dwarf slaves, the Steppe Hobgoblins extracted a heavy price from the Chaos Dwarfs and use their gains to. Strangers to any of these regions may find themselves set upon by the inhabitants and traded to the Steppe Hobgoblins.
If not for the decimation of the Orc horde that followed Grimgor Ironhide into The Empire, the greenskins might well turn their attention to their erstwhile trading partners. In recent years, the Sorcerer-Prophets detected ominous signs in the entrails of sacrificial victims as well as the increase in activities of the wild Human tribes of the steppes.
These portents indicated that changes were coming, none of which boded well for the Chaos Dwarfs if they grew too careless. The Sorcerers of House Blackhand had long preferred to enslave Daemons captured in battle rather than summoned into their hellforges, believing that such creatures, already given the taste of blood, prove more vicious and powerful.
House Blackhand had enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Hothgar Daemonbane, and provided many of the Daemons bound into the engines that he constructed and eventually sold to Archaon the Everchosen. It is even rumoured that Krunngar was part of the delegation with Rykarth that brokered the original deal with the Lord of the End Times.
When Archaon marched to war, Krunngar went so far as to provide him with Chaos Dwarf troops and, in what some in Zharr-Naggrund considered a fit of sudden madness, joined them too. He was never heard from again. However, his sons succeeded him and, though House Blackhand was now without a Sorcerer Lord to lead it, they had other resources. House Blackhand's lust for fresh Daemons to enslave had for generations led to them contributing their Warriors to the so-called Embersworn Clans.
These elite Chaos Dwarf Warriors specialise in hunting Daemons, travelling many hundreds of leagues in search of powerful entities to bind in obsidian cages and bring back to Zharr-Naggrund for the Daemonsmiths to use in their dark experiments.
Many members of the Embersworn go on to serve in the Onyx Guard, Immortals trained and equipped to destroy Daemons. The two sons of Blackhand, Kromlek and Marrog, are both captains of the Embersworn, and it is rumoured that Marrog may possess the spark required to one day become a Sorcerer, and that Hothgar Daemonbane has taken a special interest in the son of his old ally.
The two brothers are currently somewhere at large in the Dark Lands at the head of a band of Embersworn, allegedly in the service of Ghorth the Cruel, but doubtless with some aim of their own in mind. Marrog Blackhand is known to harbour the ambition of a true Sorcerer, and seeks to restore House Blackhand to its former glory with the aid of his Daemon hunters.
Sorcerer-Prophets felt the winds of Chaos blowing ever stronger from the north and realised that the Northern Wastes would soon expand southward as it did over years before.
In the Chaos Warlord Archaon was crowned the Everchosen by the Ruinous Powers, a champion amongst champions charged with the task of bringing about the End Times of the realms of Men, Dwarfs and Elves. Rallying all the Chaos Warbands of the wastes to his side, as well as countless tribes of Beastmen and hordes of Daemons, Archaon plans to descend into the lands of Men initiating his bloody campaign against the civilized world.
Archaon personally rode to the Plain of Zharr, seeking parley with the Council of Hashut. Archaon accounted the details of the inevitable End Times and how the Chaos Dwarf Empire would have a place in the new mortal Plane of the Realm of Chaos. Ultimately a bargain was reached between the Everchosen and the High Priest. In exchange for an innumerable amount of prisoners and precious quantities of gold and silver, the legions of the Lord of the End Times would be supplied with the Daemonforged war engines and weapons of the Chaos Dwarfs.
Additionally, the Chaos Dwarfs would allow safe passage for the Chaos hordes through their territory in the Dark Lands. No written records of these times survive although legend tells of the gradual colonisation of the Worlds Edge Mountains by Dwarfs.
The Dwarfs of the west believe their eastern kin have perished, destroyed by the tides of Chaos from the north. C Abandoned by their gods. C The first High Priest is completely turned into black obsidian resulting from the use of sorcery.
C Legend tells how the mighty ziggurat Mingol Zharr-Naggrund lit. Within the great Plain of Zharr, the culmination of Chaos Dwarf Sorcery and Goblinoid thralls build the massive weapon foundries and armouries of the Chaos Dwarfs. A loose alliance of Greenskin tribes to the west are broken in an almighty slaughter that lasted for eight days. C The Goblin Wars. Many Dwarf holds fall to their enemies.
In an attempt to break the strength of the Greenskins, who had grown vastly in number, an extended campaign is undertaken to kill or enslave as many as they can.
The survivors are enslaved and forced to build the fortress of Vorag to the east of the Plain of Bones. Whilst besieging the mountain hold of some nearby Goblins, Vorag is killed by a Bolt Thrower and the army disbands. After leading an armed revolt that ravages the lower levels of Zharr-Naggrund they are purged from the ziggurat.
The Ogres are defeated and routed as they attempt to cross the River Ruin, which runs red for a week after the slaughter. To date they remain the greatest artistic achievement of the Chaos Dwarfs, their incredible level of intricacy and flawless details remain unsurpassed. During this brutal war the Dwarfs and Chaos Dwarfs demonstrated previously unthinkable acts of vengeance upon each other, enough to fill several volumes in the Grudge Books of both races.
C Rich volcanic deposits first mined at Gorgoth. Slave raids begin in the land of Cathay. A great sea canal is constructed linking the Falls of Doom with the Sea of Chaos giving the fleet an exit in the north. However just before imprisonment within the chariot, Ulrishta breaks free for a mere instant and slays all of his summoners. The Daemon-bound chariot remains forgotten for centuries.
Afterwards the lands to the south are known as the Desolation of Azgorh, for the ruination left by the vile Overlord would never fully recover. Hundreds of Dawi Zharr are slain or captured, but the unforgiving environment eventually forces the besieging Hobgoblins to retreat. Within weeks a Skaven invasion force from Hell Pit arrives.
After numerous defeats by a never ending swarm of Skaven, Arcane Engineers collapse many miles of tunnels in an enormous explosion, effectively bringing an end to the war. After a fighting retreat to barges on the River Ruin, a coven of Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers led by Ghorth the Cruel bring the ruins of the city crashing down upon the Ogres. A quick brutal war and a merciless hunt of survivors see off any potential threats. Barbarian raiders are fought back as they attempt to besiege Zharr Naggrund from the Eastern shore.
The trail of blood follows the River Ruin all the way to the sea. There the Lord Brakuz razes many outlaying settlements to the ground before engaging in battle with the Celestial Dragon Monks of the Dragon-Throne Empire.
The Chaos Everchosen is slain by Magnus himself. After a two-year expedition, two thousand Black Orcs are brought before the Altar of Hashut inside the Tower of Zharr and sacrificed into great roaring furnaces for the glory of Hashut.
The mountain had been a stronghold of raiding Greenskins for thousands of years. Tamurkhan the Maggot Lord, bodythief and favoured of Nurgle, leads a mighty incursion of Chaos in a great scything arc down the Mountains of Mourn and sweeping across the Dark Lands, laying all desolate in his wake.
With the Chaos Dwarfs as his allies, he lays waste to the Border Princes and strikes at the Empire's under-belly. Chaos Dwarf Overlord, Gharkzarch smites the vile Vampire in single combat causing the Undead horde to collapse and the Daemons vanquished. Crom the Conquerer meets the assembled Chaos Dwarfs outside the walls of Zharr Naggrund, striking a deal to have the use of Hellcannons for slaves. This vile realm is home to hundreds of tribes of Goblinoids and other menacing monsters such as appalling Magma Trolls and horrifying Ripperbeasts.
The Dark Lands is a wasteland, devoid of natural plantlife except for pitch black thorns growing out of the cracks in the ground, inexplicably growing larger with each year, strangling any inquisitive animals that come too close, their spines digging into the animals throats, their dark liquid dripping into the animal, infecting their body with their seed, allowing these dark plants to reproduce.
Thick black clouds permanently hang over the sky, blotting out the sun, affording the land with no light, providing an eternal night from one stretch of mountains to another.
This is not helped by the fumes constantly thrown out of the volcanoes that stretch the entirety of the Dark Lands, ash plumes never dying, settling on the land, compressed so much that not even the wind can move, staining this dread land in all shades of black and grey.
Mountains of tuff exist around each and every volcano, most existing on top of one another, forming parasitic cones, having never ceased in their eruptions since the day they were formed, lava continuing to dribble out vents. Rivers of lava lead from these volcanoes, some having melted through the land, some seeping through the cracks creating underground lava flows, with some others being artificially made by the Dawi-Zharr, dug out by thousands of slaves before being killed by the lava flow filling up the newly dug up canal.
Some are ablaze as a river of molten lava has run into them, while others have had all their liquid extracted by the Dawi-Zharr for their dark machines, leaving holes in the landscape, sometimes even miles deep. Many of these excavations and volcanoes have given rise to all kinds of valuable materials and gems hidden beneath the earth: Here, the twisted Dwarfs of Chaos dominate the desolate realm from grim, obsidian fortresses and black temples of evil.
The Chaos Dwarfs rule an empire like no other. Unlike the merciless sadism of the Dark Elves or the insane barbarism of the followers of the Chaos Gods, the Chaos Dwarf slave empire functions like a giant carefully crafted machine. Within this Dark Empire the Chaos dwarfs have grown accustomed to the hellish nightmare that is the Dark Lands. Excluding the area inhabited by the Dawi-Zharr, known as the Plain of Zharr, this infernal land is split up into three distinct, but very similar areas: Desolation of Azgorh.
Each is the same desolate land as the rest of the Dark Lands, life appearing to have given up on trying, leaving this cracked and broken ground thousands of miles wide. At the centre of these three areas is the Tower of Gorgoth, high above the land on a complex of mines and volcanoes. These mines are the largest complex of artificial caverns in the entire of the Dark Lands, dug underneath a mountain monolith, completely flat, like a titan had taken up his axe and cut completely clean slice through the entire mountain complex, leaving this formation as it still stands today.
To the west of this complex is Mount Grey Hag, a Goblin Lair that the Dawi-Zharr use periodically to gather slaves for any of their insidious projects.
Leading from the Tower of Gorgoth to the north-east is a road that leads directly to Zharr-Naggrund, capitol and the only major city of the Dawi-Zharr Empire. Directly halfway between the two is a massive gateway known as the Gates of Zharr.
They are a giant monolithic gateway leading to Zharr-Naggrund from the Tower of Gorgoth. Though there are numerous mines. The Tower of ZharrNaggrund is built of obsidian, black volcanic glass whose light reflects the flames of the myriad furnaces that burn both day and night. The entire city is built in a series of tall steps, like a ziggurat, each step hundreds of feet high and surmounted by battlements that jut upwards like a row of ugly fangs.
Each step is square, and the bottom step is pierced by four huge stone gateways bound in iron. The gates are almost as high as the walls and massive beyond any obvious need. From the east and west gateways roads paved with slabs of gold and brass lead to the Mountains of Mourn and the Dark Lands.
The north and south gateways are the river sluices through which the waters of the River Ruin pour. The cold river enters the city from the north and it is put to use cooling the huge forges of the Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers, powering the steam-driven engines, and flushing the effluent of industry out to the south.
Where it leaves the city the river is stained red and yellow with filth, laden with noxious sediments and its steaming water is thick and poisonous. A foul yellow cloud hangs about the river and its banks are choked with drifts of spectacularly coloured pollutants.
Massive cauldrons of bubbling metal pour out their molten contents into twisted moulds of intricate construction. The roaring of furnaces, groaning of huge wheels and grinding of arcane machines fills the oily air.
The noise and the labours never cease. The Dark Lands are shrouded in thick volcanic clouds and smoke from the workshops of Zharrduk.
The succeeding step of the ziggurat houses an ascending level of Chaos Dwarf society. The third and fourth highest steps are the sanctuary of the SorcererProphets, open only to members of their harems and their most trusted servants. The lower levels house the bulk of the clan's population. The Hobgoblin overseers also reside in the lower levels, but closer to the workshops, forges and slave pens. This ensures that the Hobgoblins can respond quickly to any trouble.
It also places them between the slaves and their Chaos Dwarf masters in the event of a slave revolt. Huge doors, guarded by massive Bull Centaurs, bar entry to the uppermost tiers.
A separate passageway, with heavily-guarded doors, bypasses these tiers and leads to the very top of Zharr-Naggrund, and the Great Temple of Hashut.
The immense temple can accommodate the entire Chaos Dwarf population of Zharr-Naggrund. A thousand massive furnaces burn within the vastness of Zharr-Naggrund, smelting the metals that are the lifeblood of the city. The city is a huge living workshop full of smoke and noise, illuminated by its inner fires and driven by machines of vast size and power.
Gigantic steamdriven hammers stamp out sheets of iron. His temple is guarded by Bull Centaurs, creatures mutated from Chaos Dwarfs long ago. They have the body of a bull but the torso of a Chaos Dwarf, with long snaggly tusks and exotically curled beards.
Inside the temple its guardians perform bloodthirsty rites, throwing captives into cauldrons of molten metal to the echoing laughter of the assembled Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers.
On top of the temple stands the iron statue of Hashut. Its hollow iron belly contains a furnace heated by coals so that the statue glows red hot and anyone who touches its surface suffers searing wounds. The god is the embodiment of the city, its deity and its master, whose power flows through the Chaos Dwarf Sorcerers, and for whom thousands of slaves are sacrificed by fire and furnace.
A gilded, ogresized altar stands before the statue, with two sunken vats of molten metal flanking it. The temple walls depict battle scenes where the victorious Chaos Dwarfs march their captives to the mines. Sacrificial slaves are usually dropped into one of the vats of molten metal. A few, mostly mighty warriors vanquished in battle, are held on the altar as they are ripped from sternum to waist and their heart removed before their eyes.
The presiding Sorcerer-Prophet then honours the fallen foe by eating the still beating heart. The carcass is dropped into a chute behind the statue of Hashut, which falls away to a river of lava thousands of feet below the surface. The Hobgoblins, afraid to incur the wrath of their masters, have not reported the worsening situation; instead, they have done their best to seal off these sections, and avoid them whenever possible. Occasional heavily armed raiding parties venture in with the aim of recapturing some of the renegade slaves.
Many thousands of years ago when the Dwarfs first migrated into the Dark Lands, they chose to settle within the gigantic walls of a long extinct volcano to build their first city. Here the marauding Greenskins could easily be fought off and stone for building was plentiful.
When later they arose from the darkness as Chaos Dwarfs they set about building a huge fortress city from within as the capital of their dark empire.
Over several hundred years of planning and a thousand years of building, the city of Zharr Naggrund has become one of the most heavily fortified cities in the known world. It rivals even the unassailable fortress of Karaz-a-Karak in the West with the ingenuity of its construction. Long before reaching the city itself, enemies approaching from west of the River Ruin will have to overcome the many strongholds located throughout the Plain of Zharr, each a mighty bastion in its own right.
Around these lie many deadfalls, tar pits, and other natural obstacles that can be turned into traps with ease. Each of these bastions are connected both to each other and to Zharr Naggrund itself through a vast network of tunnels, allowing the defenders to withdraw to the city in safety if needed. Should an enemy overcome these outlying defences, they will then have to break through the immense outer wall of the city itself.
Arising from the old volcano walls, and standing over a hundred feet tall and forty feet thick with towers containing deadly war machines to provide crossfire, it would be a strong enemy indeed who could break through.
Should besiegers overcome this defence they will then have to break through an inner wall almost as strong, but with many more war machines and Devastators positioned to create killing zones.
As the enemy feebly attempts to breach this inner defence yet more traps will be activated; the ground below them collapsing down hundreds of feet, or erupting into a sea of alchemical fire as flames spew forth from the mouths of statues to Hashut. Within the city itself are countless citadels and temples surrounded by thick walls and poisonous moats. Beneath these run a network of tunnels allowing the Chaos Dwarf army to strike into the heart of a besieging enemy and take them completely by surprise.
Should an enemy attempt to tunnel into the city they will come up against the labyrinthine mines and passages that spread out across most of the Plain of Zharr.
The construction of the network is so intricate that no single Dawi Zharr has a complete knowledge of them, all being filled with natural traps and fortified strong points. Across this gargantuan industrial city of iron and stone the Chaos Dwarfs work unceasingly. Huge workshops with mechanical forge hammers work night and day beating out a cacophony of noise that can be heard from many miles away. From all across the city towering chimneys rise to pierce the sky, spilling out their black smoke and covering the lands in a perpetual choking darkness.
Hundreds of ziggurats built from black obsidian stretch as far as the eye can see, each illuminated ominously by flaming torches. Travelling towards the centre of the city and the immense Temple of Zharr the Chaos Dwarfs have built four roads of bronze, aligned exactly to the points of a compass. Each passes over several bridges, under which the Chaos Dwarfs use a network of roads and steam wagons to live and work.
The Temple of Zharr itself is by far the largest ziggurat in the city and is surrounded by a wide chasm that stretches down into darkness.
The cacophony of wails and machines erupting from below enough to strike fear into hearts of the bravest of individuals.
Along with the Tower of Gorgoth, it vies for prominence and power as the second most important fortress-citadel of the Chaos Dwarfs beyond their heartland on the Zharrduk Plain. But while the Tower of Gorgoth exists to stand watch over a slew of deep mines and caverns, the purpose of the Black Fortress is as a purely military outpost, and is headquarters for the Legion of Azgorh. The legion is a mighty standing army which ranges across the desolation of the southern Dark Lands, escorts the farflung slave caravans through the Howling Wastes and stands as a bulwark against frequent invasions of Ogres, Orcs and worse from the east.
Even among their own kind, the purpose of the Black Fortress are renowned for their brutality and warriors warlike nature, and far removed as it is from Zharr-Naggrund and the favour of the great temple it is often a place of in internal exile for those who have suffered in the savage politics of the empire. For many centuries the lord of the Black Fortress and commander of the Legion has been the Sorcerer-Prophet Drazhoath the Ashen, bitter rival of Lord Astragoth, feared and respected in equal measure by the Chaos Dwarfs bound to his service as a ruthless general and powerful wielder of Hashut's sacred fire.
Like Gorgoth to the west, the Black Fortress marks the southern frontier. On the opposite bank of the River Ruin the towering Flayed Rock casts its ominous shadow.
With spiralling stairs cut around its sides, the monolith is stained red with the blood of countless thousand sacrifices. Such sacrifices help to sustain the dread the Chaos Dwarfs are so keen to inspire in their enemies, for upon its sides are representatives from every known race.
The Black Fortress has a terrifying reputation that spreads far beyond the Dark Lands. Rising from an extinct volcano the razor sharp obsidian around its base forms an impenetrable natural defence against any that would dare attack. From this bastion the Drazhoath the Ashen surveys the lands to the East, ready to halt any attacks the denizens of those lands may dare. The River Ruin is marginally less polluted here than at any point since it passed through Zharr-Naggrund.
Most of the heavier toxins have already seeped into the ground by this point. South of the Flayed Rock, the River Andun emerges from the east and mingles its clean water with the polluted and sluggish River Ruin. This mixing dilutes the remaining poisons, and the lower River Ruin flows more freely to the sea. The Black Fortress is the smallest of all Chaos Dwarf settlements. Few, if any, threats to the Chaos Dwarf Empire pass through this way. Other than providing supplies of obsidian and basalt, the mines at Black Fortress are rather marginal.
The small amount of wealth they produce is just enough to keep the remote outpost viable and supplied. The surrounding land is so desolate that even the Orcs and Goblins from the nearby Mountains of Mourn shun it. Deep within the remains of the long extinct volcano Azgorh, the Dawi Zharr found there to be vast seams of precious minerals. Untold numbers of slaves have been brought here over the centuries, and the mines have developed into an extensive network.
They kept together, but each part was to follow lead of Karandin, Laggur and Sigrun. To the very end. As the journey continued, Laggur have decided it was impossible to breach the mountains during winter.
He fought long fights with his siblings over what do to and wanted to go under the Gorgon - mountain that legends have called 'Firepeak'. Old tales warned to never venture into it's dark and deep caves, for within lies horror itself. Stories warned of fiery deamons, gargantuan bulls and stranger mythical creatures dwelling inside the guts of Gorgon.
But Laggur considered them to be no more than tales and tales alone. Karandon and Sigrun didn't want to put the fate of all remaining Dwarfs on risk, even if tales were likely to be no more than stories. They wanted to soldier on through the passes. And so Laggur left them to their fate, bitter and with a feeling of abandonement. The dwarfs of his tribe went into the bowels of the legendary mountain Karandon and Sigrun's tribes went on, fighting for every inch, every day looking death straight into the eye.
Each day brought new nightmares and sorrow, but each drew them nearer the edge of the mountain range. Closer to the south.
To new life. After some hard days they have encountered a mighty river. It was covered with ice, but in most places it was not thick and safe enough for all to go at once. Karandon and Sigrun agreed for the fate do decide who should go first. They rolled a silver dice and the fate of the remaining Dwarfs was decided then and there, by such a small and insignifficant event.
From this day on, whenever a Dwarf decides to do a risky action, he mutters under his nose 'dice is rolled'. Karandon's tribe was to cross the river first. It took a whole day to let all Dwarfs, their carts, livestock and other belonging on the other side. Then it was Sigrun's turn to go. As soon as she stepped into the ice she felt a tremor unde her feet. A great thunder roared through the sky and air swoop Dwarfs on both sides from their feet.
Sigrun raised her head into the mountains only to see a horrible vista of Gorgon in the far distance. The peak was spewing red and orange streaks of fire and a river of molten rock was coming down from the slopes. A humongous cloud of black clouds - like a mushroom formed over the mountain and lightnings were striking all around it. As she turned her head to the river her heart sank - the ice was gone.
Crushed, mangled and already flowing. She knew there was absolutely no way to cross it now - her people were doomed. The Gorgon 's eruption have awoken asleeped beast and monsters who already began howling and roaring to the fading sun. They were so close to the bretheren - yet completely alone. Karandon knew there was nothing they could do - the river was wide and black ash began to form on the flowing ice pack, and fell to rest on their helms and shoulders.To alleviate the tensions, those Dwarfs who pushed the limits of the newly developing Rune magic travelled north, seeking out new lodes of gold, gemstones, and other precious metals, whilst the rest remained behind to proceed more carefully.
They built a fort in the open badlands they had dubbed the Plain of Zharr, and sent forth expeditions to mine the lodes from the stone. Realising that a Chaos Gate had opened at the polar north, Caledor began to devise a plan to trap the power of Chaos in a vast vortex, and returned to Ulthuan to plan his endeavour.
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With this new era of stability established, the Chaos Dwarfs continued to expand. Longbeards on the field of battle are very powerful and do not suffer distress about minor shifts in the battle situation which might panic a younger dwarf.
Item Information Condition:. Diminished, the Dwarfs survived, but they were changed, altered in mind and spirit.