Posts: 7,282 - May 2011
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Scribe's Contest V - Voting!
Welcome to the voting thread for the 5th Scribe's Contest writing competition, sponsored by Titan Wargames!
"And when the signs of the Ending are revealed, a great and ancient empire will be brought low by the death spasms of the work of the gods, and its fall will come about by civil strife, slave revolts and barbarous invasions toppling the Order of Things. Should this happen, the doom of all cannot be evaded. Should it not, then Chaos will continue to clash with Order for supremacy over known creation. The empire bespoken straddles the Dark Lands like a rapacious bull. Great is the realm's dark glory, and great is its wicked might. Great indeed it is, yet who will mourn the fall of Zharr-Naggrund?"
How to vote:
Please submit 3 numbers as votes by sending a PM to Scribe
account (a special account all Staff members can access). We had 8 entries this time, which means each entrant will receive 8 slaves once the winners have been announced. There will be Gold, Silver, and Bronze Scribe's Contest medals to be awarded!
You are not allowed to vote for your own entry.
Each (more or less) anonymous entry is numbered ranging from 1 to 8. There is no need to specify which one you think is 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Simply list the three that you like most and we will do the rest.
Voting will close at 11:59 PM October 25th, 2015 EST (Eastern Standard Timezone).
Once the votes are tallied we will post the results.
Subject Matter: Blackest Infamy - Chaos Dwarfs in the Eyes of Others
“Quiet! They're returning.”
The Dwarfs, previously animated, paused. Their hurried whispering turned to silence. The mechanisms on the other side of the great iron door, bound in brass and engraved with terrible runes of hatred and spite, began to creak as a series of levers and bolts sprung into life. The eight Dwarfs, all master craftsmen, could not help but secretly acknowledge that their hated, twisted kin had lost none of their races' aptitude for engineering. The cell door was an exceptional work of twisted craftsmanship. It was also impregnable.
Even after years of toil in the seemingly infinite network of mines, after years of beatings and torture, after being worked to exhaustion daily and fed scraps for sustenance, the Dwarfs had lost little of their pride. They would not bow their heads. They would not look away. They glared defiantly at their captors. The Hobgoblin gaolers entered first. The Dawi Zharr had learned long ago that it was safer to have worthless Greenskins open the cell doors. The first to enter, the Hobgoblin known as Ghrashk, glared balefully at the prisoners. The nearest Dwarf winced as a barbed lash struck him across the face, lacerations cutting to the bone. He remained still. Enduring the blow was necessary.
Emboldened, Ghrashk approached the next prisoner. He drew the lash back for another blow. The Dwarf wasted no time. He leapt forward and punched the Hobgoblin squarely on the jaw, killing him with a single blow. At this signal, the other Dwarfs attacked their captors, wrenching weapons from mangled Greenskin hands. The Dwarfs knew there was no escape, only the chance to regain their honour. They had already sworn their oaths to Grimnir: They would die, and they would take as many Hobgoblins and Chaos Dwarfs with them as they could.
The remains of the city brooded squat and evil, beyond the broken causeway. Weathered behemoths of rough-hewn basalt stood before me… centuries abandoned… defiant still… awaiting the return of their masters. Jagged onyx spires on their crowns reflected hellish molten light across the tumbled ruin of their brothers.
Blistering wind howled between intricate carvings that lined the hanging path, jutting crumbled and forgotten over the abyss. Some long dead artist had rendered row on row of statues, capturing the ancient Dwarf inhabitants in absurd, grotesque detail. My eyes drunk in each perfectly wrought wrinkle and stitch on ornate robes, the myriad of arcane symbols on strange towering hats, every pore of their skin, even individual stone eyelashes where time and entropy left them intact. Faces leered at me. Expressions of malevolent hunger, unending hatred, and numbing boredom frozen in rigid caricature on every face. Row on row, in masterful lifelike poses, they watched me.
The wind calmed and a quiet grinding sound caught my ear... stone against stone... reminding me of the precarious perch I stood upon.
I could not cross. The sculpted bridge ended abruptly; eroded supports long since fallen, taking the path with them. Forty paces of nothing. Foul vapor and a steep plunge into the burning chasm lay before me. The heat and fumes took my breath. I languished before the gap, falling hard against a statue. It rocked backwards and shattered against the edge of the causeway; head and torso tumbling into the magma below. A whispered scream rent the air in amplified silence.
Heat flexed the poison air like a folded curtain. The ghastly sculptures seemed to move. Stone rasped and crackled; granite mice skittering down the walls. Nothing moved. Everything moved. They were here all along. They never left… as I would never leave.
“East from the lands of our glorious Empire,
Beyond the grim Mountains of World’s Edge,
Lies a place of desolation – plain, wide and blight,
Where unimaginable evil thrives in plain sight.
In these scorched and soiled lands,
Without the holy blessings of Sigmar,
Lives an abominable and accursed race,
Reigning in blasphemy, for all our souls disgrace.
Short and broad and bearded like a Dwarf would be,
Black is their blood and souls - blackest could not be,
At their will - metal and fire and daemons - all bend,
Pray to the Emperor and Sigmar's strength to save us, for they may be our end.”
Tales from Ostermark Vol. II,
by Theodricus Hausfoog (Altdorf University Library, 2533)
Manifested in the Realm of Chaos, the Daemon Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht raged his hatred as he was pulled to the earthly world against his will, finding himself summoned and bound to the iron of a Hellcannon.
“Foul flesh!” he screamed. “I will escape this forged iron shell! I will wear your skin! I will taste your entrails!”
Smiling, the Daemonsmith replied “Silence”. And Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht fell silent.
The Daemon-bound Hellcannon went to battle after battle. Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht lost count of the years…whispers from the Realm of Chaos taunted him. “Fool! You’re the embodiment of my will, yet you are bound by sorcerous iron?” …the whispers became shouts, but Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht couldn’t answer, still bound to silence.
That hated Daemonsmith! His hatred for the Dawi Zharr grew year by year, and by sheer will, he vowed to break free. But the hated Daemonsmith was never far, always tending to the iron chassis, always smiling.
And then Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht saw his opportunity during the heat of battle. The hated Daemonsmith was not present and a Siege Giant was close, mortally wounded and starting to fall. Breaking free of the restraining chains, Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht’s Hellcannon charged forward as the massive weight of the siege giant fell upon the chassis. The iron shell cracked… and Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht returned to the warp.
But, in the blink of an eye, he was pulled back to the earthly world once again.
Within the stone cut quarters of the hated Daemonsmith, Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht screamed “YOU?!” as once again he was bound to iron.
“A Siege Giant?” said the hated Daemonsmith. “Ah, I wish I had seen that… but you did want to taste my entrails, right?”
And Agrat-Bael-Mahlaht realized that he was bound to an iron bedpan.
The beardling had been found lying under a dead pony. Delirious he was, raving about Dwarven Daemons attacking them. Cruelly standing on Dwarves' necks in iron clad boots or hanging them upside down to slowly bleed dry.
He tried to tell what had happened. They disbelieved him. Grobi had done it, they said. Later they began to laugh at him because of his tale. Soon after he began to be punished for mentioning them. Beaten and shunned in his own home. Finally he understood. They didn’t care that the Cursed Ones did exist; his brothers would never listen to the truth. They feared it beyond reason and were too scared to admit it.
Decades passed but the warriors begrudged him entry into the regiments. He prayed to the ancestors for help. A rumble came from the mountain. The gods had answered him. No, the elders dismissed him with finality. It was the ancestor’s anger at his apostasy and they banished him.
Slowly he drifted to Human lands always listening for word of the evil ones. But he only heard old tales coloured with fear. He decided to let the greed of Humans help him get his revenge. With a tale of a hidden tomb, he lured a band of humans to his side then waited until the Greenskins had gone south to cause trouble, leaving the way across the waste-lands clear.
Now he stood alone. The Humans lay dead all around and he was surrounded, ringed by those he had sought for so long.
“What have we here?” one rumbled. A voice he remembered too well. Full of power, arrogance, hatred and disdain.
“I am he who would… woo.” His voice broke as his fears and nightmares crashed and tore through his mind, leaving only stark terror behind.
Hordes of Greenskins stretched as far as the eye could see, screaming and tempting our soldiers to fight them, and backing them up, a legion of Chaos Dwarfs covered in dark armour carrying their steaming and cursed war machines.
Suddenly, the ground trembled, and rock fragments were thrown into the air, a whole regiment of lancers disappeared, while the evil creatures laughed and pointed to the place where the cannonball had hit the ground. That was all which men could bear. With a single roar, the swordsmen charged toward the enemy while the handgunners fired a hail of lead. Surprisingly, the Greenskins weren’t scared at all, and raised their rickety shields, ready to receive the charge. When both troops collided, the Dwarfs started moving and they quickly wrapped the flanks, mowing the swordsmen as if they were mere wisps of wheat, and revealing something much more disheartening if possible, a sorcerer was summoning what looked like a Daemon created from pure iron lava that oozed evil.
The man at my right screamed in panic and started to run back. That was the trigger, soon all the soldiers ran for their lives… In vain, because a jet of steaming magma hit the bulk of the squad, killing them right off. But not me, I managed to avoid it by rolling on the floor. I ran away with all the strength that I could press into my tired legs, trying to escape, trying to stay alive so I could warn the Imperial armies. And I almost made it. When I was less than a hundred feet to the forest that could be my salvation, a strong wave of wind hit me, I looked up and saw the sorcerer that was summoning the demons riding a giant winged bull surrounded by fire. He lifted his hand.
They were coming.
Among the Hellforges
The Skaven heaved another mound of charcoal into the furnace, ignoring the harsh grunts of the dark bearded Dwarfs as they worked the forge.
He fought the urge to twitch his tail in joy; few creatures other than these Dwarfs of Chaos had ever been permitted this far into their dark warrens. Though the number of slaves gifted to the hold’s forgemasters had helped gain him entry, it was their respect for his genius mind that had gotten him this far. No, he corrected himself, it wasn’t respect. The Dawi Zharr seldom viewed their lessers with anything more than contempt. If anything, the Skaven considered, he was still alive because he interested the black bearded creatures. Should he fail to extend this interest, he would be joining the slaves that were so hungrily sacrificed to this Hashut quicker than he could say Clan Skryre.
The Skaven shovelled yet more charcoal into the growling fire. He bit back the niggling sense of annoyance that crept through his mind. He knew the Dwarfs should have held him in awe, been stunned by his vast intellect, and cowered before his majesty and the power of the Horned Rat. Instead, he had spent what felt like years merely feeding the fires. The cool rational voice in his mind quelled this smouldering anger, had he not travelled the known world in search of knowledge? He had to adopt their way of thought rather than cling to his Skaven instincts. The Dawi Zharr never rushed, their brooding dark eyes were watchful and exacting, if he was to progress in the forges he would need to adopt patience.
The art of the forgemasters was exquisite, their daemonology unmatched. Their knowledge would further the Skaven’s ambitions and forge a legend amongst Skavenkind.
Ikit Claw raised his shovel again and smiled.
Deeds of Ragnar
Thirst. Darkness. Hunger. Pain.
A mind so numb and dull,
of toil and drudge,
of bleakest grudge,
in pit of sludge.
Woe. Shackles. Terror. Scars.
A wrath so long oppressed,
of bitter fate,
of vilest hate,
it will not wait.
Whips. Fury. Struggle. Slay.
A deed so raw and great,
of strongest will,
of love to kill,
in blackest mill.
Break. Speech. Muster. Lead.
A chief so filthy low,
of host of scum,
of wretched slum,
now beat the drum!
Rise. Carnage. Murder. Glee.
Thrice Ragnar chose to stand not flee,
led unknown thralls in lands afar,
for warrior would nought die but free,
now raise the mighty Chaos star!
War. Bloodshed. Omens. Flame.
Lift your axe and brandish spear,
forget your maiden's home,
see Hobgoblins run down in fear,
their master but a gnome!
Pride. Valour. Hubris. False.
Praise Dark Gods and hail,
build shields of scrap,
and lethal flail,
fall into trap!
March. Cruel. Power. Hell.
Hear the thralls be torn apart,
know fell ranks arrayed,
see bale Daemon iron cart,
feel your hide be flayed!
Steel. Horns. Ashen. Might.
Burn living flesh to cinders,
and crush man's bravery,
no god their triumph hinders,
the lords of slavery.
Maim. Panic. Torture. Geld.
A wretch so broken down,
of eyes cut blind,
of ravished mind,
his fate to find.
Chant. Occult. Secret. Rite.
A bull so fierce and hard,
of bronze and smoke,
of flames and coke,
to victim stoke.
Knife. Heinous. Idol. Death.
A glow so hot and strong,
of its molten gold,
of flesh thrown cold,
into altar old.
Name. Fame. Saga. Told.
A man so rash and strong,
of gods' caprice,
of whip to cease,
for only thralls wish peace,
war for Ragnar,
and sacrifice these geese.
- Norscan war poem
Remember, the Gold winner's prize will be one unpainted miniature of Grulka Blackhand
Great job folks and good luck!
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This post was last modified: 10-26-2015 03:11 AM by Admiral.