((OOC: This is just a dramatization of yesterday’s event from the perspective of my character. Some details like exact dialog might not be 100% accurate because of memory but I did my best. Other details are completely omitted based off what my character didn’t see/notice/think was worth mentioning. For a proper post-event report, check out this neat lil post. Credit to Tha_Mystery_Man for the best event I’ve been to yet.
It is in this realm the light of Yemekar does not touch, nor does his hammer sound in the deep. Only an eternity of darkness, and the laughter of ever-thirsting gods.
Deeper they descended down that taunt rope, Jorvin’s concern mounted as he looked above. As more and more people grabbed on, he feared the rope would split, but it did not and for that he was thankful. Still though his mind did not rest, a creeping sense of dread grabbed at his heart as further down they went. He shook it off, and soon his feet found the ‘ground’, if the visceral meat beneath their feet could be called such.
They had entered a chamber, and there they waited for some time. Long enough that many slept, aiming to keep their strength for the day ahead, Jorvin couldn’t join them. According to the oldest legends of their kind, here in the void dwelt Khorvad the Betrayer, It was to this realm he was cast to by their All-Maker when he made his treason. Khorvad only lusted after the souls of those who had been damned, every good Dwedki knew that from their lessons within the clergy halls of their kin, but...
Jorvin was hateful, he was ambitious, he was a kinslayer, and oft did he wonder if he was already damned.
Yet carry on he did regardless, to leave his father and brother in such a place would be a sin that, unlike the others he could not bear. As they remained in that chamber for half a day, he dwelt on many-a-thing. What would become of his Clan if the Starbreakers assembled today did not return? Without it’s leaders, would their clan wither into obscurity once more? Or would the enemies Jorvin made in this life see his line annihilated with him no longer present to protect it...? Foul thoughts indeed plagued his mind on that eve, fear for his immortal soul only one among many, though selfishly it was the chiefest. His Brother was Azdal, a mason as much as he was a shaper of metal, he was a truer son of Gotrek than Jorvin, something Jorvin knew well. His father was Kazrin the Remembrancer, one of the wisest Dwarves who drew breath, and who not once raised his blade against his kind, when he died Jorvin would not be surprised if he would be made a Paragon.
But what of Jorvin...? Whose leadership had seen the clan prosper to be sure, but at a cost. What would his name be? Jorvin the Treacherous? Jorvin the Child-Murderer? Or would his name be forgotten by the time his corpse was cold? He did not know, and attempted to shake free his mind from these thoughts.
As their party arose, he clasped his amulet tightly and issued a prayer to Yemekar and Dungrimm, and a prayer to Anbella to protect his daughters, and Ogradhad to guide them. He issued a prayer to Armakak to give them luck, and a prayer to Grimdugan to shield them in the Dark where foul things dwelt.
But as they marched on, and his iron boot squlched against the visceral ground, he realized that they were in no realm where the firelight from Yemekar’s forge touched, or the pale glow of Dungrimm’s moon. This was a realm that was alien to the Brathmordakin save all but one, and he hoped above all that he was not watching them.
And then there was calm.
A Party sounded inside their home, and half the realm was invited. They had come to make merry and to celebrate a joyous occasion, and though he could not particularly remember what, he did not care. He turned to the window, and his eyes scanned the wheat-fields as they were washed in the light of a setting sun. It was in those fields he, Azdal, and Ketlin would play as Dwedki, while the newborn Kazarath rocked with father in his chair. Many-a fond memory he had in this place, and he soon descended from his room to the kitchen, where mother had made dinner.
His kindly mother set the table, and the arrayed foods made his mouth water. Slabs of fresh beef and pork, rarer than father liked, but ideal to Jorvin. Hot buttery bread with cold beer, and fresh apple pie to finish it all off. Jorvin was tempted to start without his siblings or their father, but managed to fight the urge as his family made the meal all the better eating. Setting out the door, he went off to find their father in his usual perch.
Kazrin rocked in his wicker chair on the porch, as he had every night since Jorvin could remember. A book was in his hand, as it was just as common. He approached.
”What’cha readin’ da’? Looks loike ah’ good’n.” Jorvin had always taken after their father, his thirst for knowledge chief of all. Since childhood, Kazrin read with him, be it fiction or history, as Kazrin and his son alike were avid historians. Kazrin, whose brow was furrowed had a puzzled expression, as if on the cusp of a realization before he set the book down. Jorvin took the seat beside him.
”It t’was....Just a fiction, and a strange one at t’at.” Jorvin nods at Kazrin’s reply, before coming to a realization of his own. He’d yet to go get his siblings, hadn’t he? It was rude of him, Kazrin and mother had raised him better than that. He gets up, but as he does he hears through the open window, mother talking to their assembled guests in her usual, sing-song voice.
”What was that sweetie? No, Father isn’t home right now, only mother~”
The statement had confused Jorvin, after all was not father right here? “But moth-“ He is cut off by a swift hand at his mouth. Kazrin looks up at him, his expression not one of befuddlement any long, but deadly serious. He shushes Jorvin, and slowly shakes his head.
Something was wrong, that much had dawned on the elderly Starbreaker, and Jorvin soon realized as well, something...Wasn’t right. He staggers back, and takes a second look around. This was home, was it not? Then why could he see the sky, or setting sun? Where was the cavern’s roof, or the bustling shops that lined the chamber’s walls, within their district, in the halls of Kal’Tarak? Where was the gilded gate...?
As Azdal staggered onto the porch, his expression shifts into frantic terror, rushing forward he grabs Jorvin by the shoulders, and stammers out something Jorvin couldn’t make sense of. ”W’at did’ja jus’ say...?” He asks, and the reply that follows sent a shiver down his spine.
”Jorvin! When did ah’ lose my eye?!?”
It hit Jorvin like a truck, the illusion waning before his eyes, and the light cast from the sun is a crisp yellow no longer, yet blood red. Jorvin kicks down the door into the house in his haste, and what he saw shook him.
There mother stood in the center of all her ‘children’, back turned to him, dress stained in various shades of crimson and brown, the air he breathed in was no longer a pleasant smell, but that of death and decay, and horrid above all was the sight that met him on the table. The food was food no longer, and in it’s place, bloody visceral slop and organs, and fetted flesh, writhing with maggots. Yet still people ate happily.
It made his stomach churn, and it was a good thing he chose not to eat prior to this engagement, otherwise he most certainly would have emptied his belly’s contents on the floor. He was no stranger to the gore of war, but this...This was monstrous. His ‘mother’ turns to him, and her face was one that should not be. Fetted, flaking flesh that seemed to split at the seems, bulging veins which popped, spewing blood and pus on those situated nearest to her, and a smile that stretched from ear to eye, a gaping maw.
”KHAZADMAR! KHARVULTHREIN!” Jorvin screamed in horror, reaching for his weapon, at his bellowed shout the other Dwarves rushed in. The phrase ‘Dwarves! A Demon!’ seemed to shake them free of their illusions, though they held their constitution no better than he, save Kazrin, whose expression hardened. With the assembled party of Dwarves drawing their weapon, everyone who hadn’t broken free of the illusion seemed to then. Jorvin’s memories returned to him.
His name was Jorvin Kazrinsson, eldest of his siblings. His Father was beside him now, his presence keeping the other’s spirit, and his mother was Maeven Blackhammer, a Dwarf of pale grey skin and paler hair, a guard service of Kaz’Ulrah, who died upon the battlements of Nordengrad. Her body was naught but bones now, perhaps under a Black Iron suit of armor had it not been looted, there she lay in Atlas, under the frozen tundra that was once the only continent Jorvin had known.
This being was not his Mother.
And so, the fight commenced.
Their party rushed outside with the rest to partake in this battle, the battle which would see their souls forever in torment should they fail. Jorvin ahead of them at his brother’s side, the realm made of that foul, fleshy substance had enclosed on them, as if they had been quite literally thrown into the belly of the beast...A fitting place for the realm of hunger he thought. The tiger-like creature which mother took the shape of approached their party, Jorvin’s eyes locked on her for a moment, before being cast upwards, a beating, writhing heart pulsed. It’s light casting a red sheen across the chamber.
As his sight was locked on the heart, he knew what to do even before Azdal shouted to him, shouting for him to knock out the heart with his hammer. His hand slipped to the leather strap at the end of it’s hilt, and soon he begun to spine the weapon. As others charged, he feared for his brother, leading the diversion...But the heart was obviously the source of the beast’s lifeforce. If it was slain...
This grudge would be settled, either by killing this creature, or if all who issued the grudge lay dead. With a bellowed warcry, he sends the hammer flying through the air. It homes in on it’s target, and soon thereafter connects...A thunderous boom sounds through the chamber, then...Nothing.
Darkness consumed his vision, the chamber giving way to empty nothingness...A true void. It gives shape to an open field. Battle had recently occurred there, weapons lay strewn about, and the grass was charred. Face up were the corpses of his brother and father, Azdal’s face had been split from his missing eye socket, it looked as if a sick mask threatening to fall from his skull, yet the amount of blood told Jorvin he had bled out. His kindly father lay disemboweled, his intestines spilled from his torso. Drag-marks marred the ground from several feet away, indicating he had pulled himself forward with his remaining strength to die beside his son.
A distorted shriek sounded throughout the field, and Jorvin’s vision returned to him.
Jorvin’s hammer struck true, wounding the beast! It’s heart writhed and swelled in pain, blood trickled form where his blow had hit. Jorvin rushed forward as he saw his hammer fall to the ground. Outstretching his arm, the hammer returns to his hand with such force it nearly threw him off balance, but Jorvin steadied himself in time, and looked towards the heart above his head.
He took aim once more, and flung his hammer. Another crack of thunder sounded throughout the chamber, and his vision contorted once more.
He returns from patrol to find Kal’Azgaryum a smoking ruin, fear for his home overtakes him and he rushes under the broken gate. He descends down the twisting cave and winding staircase, nearly falling in his haste. As he reaches the bottom, the sight in front of him caused his spirit to break. Before the steps of gate lay the remains of the once-proud Dungrimm’s Legion.
Utak Ireheart lay atop a mountain of corpses in his own right, he had clearly fought to take a thousand with him, but in the end his corpse lay defiled, and his beard shaven.
Fimlin Grandaxe laid upon the ground, his body surrounded by the scores of dead who fought to protect their King. His head was severed from his body, mounted to a nearby pike which bore the frost-capped mountain sigil of Clan Frostbeard as a banner hanging from it.
Worst of all yet were the Metalfists, Gimli and Dain fought valiantly, their pile nearly as high as Utak’s, but in the end they had been overtaken. Dain had died first, having took a Great-Axe’s blow to his shoulder, which cleaved down to the center of his torso before it was stopped. Gimli died second, a dozen arrows lodged in his chest as he seemingly battled to defend his son’s corpse from defilement, a final arrow found it’s mark in his neck, no doubt the killing blow.
With a panic Jorvin realized....What of the Starbreaker compound? What of Lulubelle and Stromnikar? But before he could rush to see what had happened to them...
Kazrin slammed into Jorvin, knocking him out of the way as the beast came down upon them, both narrowly missing being crushed. Kazrin and Jorvin were ragdolled to the side, though Kazrin, whom Jorvin once thought a frail old man was even quicker to rise than he, his hand extended.
”Tha’ hammer son!”
Jorvin nodded, and extended a hand himself. What little charge the hammer had left was spent sending it flying back towards it’s wielder, who caught it, and handed it off to his father. Kazrin spent several moments tightly holding the weapon, muttering in a language Jorvin made little sense of...But sure enough, the hammer’s glow returned to it. Jorvin picked up Kazrin, preventing him from falling over. Charging the weapon as much as he had, as quickly as he had, along with everything else he had done that day had spent the elderly Starbreaker, but he had done enough.
Mother would die
Jorvin spines the hammer once again, locking his eyes on the heart, even as Mother’s body nearly slams into him once more. Screams pierced his mind, Jorvin could not make out to whom they belonged, but they pleaded with him to stop. His vision darkened once more, a single burning eye pierced his vision...His daughters clasped in the hands of mother, on in each, their innards dangling as they had been mauled...Jorvin shook the image quickly though, for paying this one any heed would more than any other cause him to falter if he dwelt on it. His daughters would be safe, he would ensure that as he returned home.
The burning light from the eye however, did not fade with the rest of the vision...It barred down on Jorvin from where the heart once was, a voice impossibly ancient spoke.
”You do me great honor, Starbreaker. How long before you walk the path your kin had in ages past? You will serve in my throng in life, and in death your soul will be mine.”
His eyes burned, overpowered by that devilish glow...But through the flames, he could see an outline, and that was enough. He threw his hammer a final time, and as it sailed through the air, through the illusion before him...It made contact with something, ringing as it did so, before falling to the ground.
The vision disappeared, and Jorvin looked around...His father had risen to his feet, but his brother across the battlefield had fallen, and MOTHER collapsed beside where he lay as the heart fell. Recalling the hammer a final time, it was without any charge, all of it having been spent in that final throw, but he did not need it. As the beast fell, Jorvin rushed forward, leaping into the air as he came close...He brought all of his weight, along with his hammer down on her skull.
A sickening crack told Jorvin all that he needed to know. A second being came to gloat, the one known as Grief, Jorvin barely registered it and rose his weapon to the sky, uttering a single cry...A threat.
”Conjure w’at ye may, it cannae be wors’ t’en what weh’ve faced t’dae...Yeh’re next.”
The being uttered something on the topic of fate, but Jorvin wasn’t listening. He rushed to his brother where the Grandaxes had already begun tending to him, by the time the being left a portal had opened. Jorvin was the last one in, only entering once he had made sure the last of the Dwarves had done so.
They exited on a still smoldering beach, with a rising sun in the distance. With his distaste for sunlight being the last of his worries, he tossed his helmet off, and looked up. The burning eye had returned, casting the horizon in a red light, as the sea turned as red as blood, and beach was spattered with gore....But Jorvin merely shook his head, and focused on pulling Azdal towards the rest of the wounded, by the time he looked back it was gone. The sight shook him to be sure, but he had come to a conclusion. If Khorvad truly did desire his soul, he could come claim it. But until then, Jorvin would not be dying anytime soon.
After all, there was still one more to kill...