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Scribe's Contest VIII - Winners!
Winners of Scribe's Contest VIII: Beyond the Grave - Chaos Dwarfs and Afterlife
"Yet the truth revealed will be far worse than the dreaded lies that keeps it hidden..."
Just like all the other rounds, we had a fantastic turn-out of entries, with submissions spanning from holy to blasphemous. The eighth Scribe's Contest had a lot to bring to table, from humour and cruelty to ambition and glimpses of resistance against oppressive might. It was great to see such professional work written upon dry parchment! No doubt the texts were all written in spilt blood with trembling hands, or carved into the skulls of foes.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the winners!
Entry #1: Ikkred Pyrhelm (1st)
A Lost Rune
Dark whispers and even darker promises. Our kind has fallen prey to these time and time again. I know the truth of these whispers and promises; I have seen what awaits all of us.
It was only meant to be a simple ritual. My master Drekkfra had only recently perished in battle against a migrating tribe of Ogres. As his adept, I was meant to take his place as Sorcerer. Yet the old coot had fed me precious little knowledge and his tomes were locked by a rune I could not fathom. In my lust for knowledge and trusting not to consorting with daemons yet, I decided to cast my spirit into the fabled Halls of the Dead. If I could find my master then maybe I could learn how to unlock his rune, even if I had to torture his spirit to do so.
Ten slaves and a young bull carved with runes of death and afterlife were sacrificed within my master’s altar room, the dying bull’s blood pooling into a goblet that I drank whilst invoking the words engraved on the gates of Hashut’s Halls. What happened next, I do not know, but I must have passed out for I awoke in darkness.
I rose to my feet and looked around warily as my eyes began to adjust. I was within a stone chamber marked with the runes and dark signs of Hashut. I muttered an incantation and a small sphere of light grew from my hand to float beside me. I knew I did not have long before my spirit would be drawn back to life.
There was a large stone passageway that opened up and I passed through it. Of the souls of my fellow Dawi Zharr, I at first saw nothing. I have heard tales of pits of fire and flame where the weak of my kind are eternally tormented, and I have heard other tales of great halls with warm hearths where our greatest eternally feast and toast our lord Hashut. None of those tales hold truth. The oppressive stone around me was dark and cold. There was little sound, as if these halls were truly empty.
I then heard a pained gibber. I turned quickly at the sound, words of destruction forming within my mind. A face had appeared on the stone wall. It was the face of one of my fellow Dawi Zharr. It gibbered, eyes slackly turning. It did not seem to notice me, too lost in agony and madness. I took several wary steps away and continued down the tunnel, noticing more and more faces appear and disappear upon the walls. Males, females, and children. Some were nobleborn, some Sorcerers, some guards, and some mere underlings. They gibbered, gnashed, and groaned as they painfully crawled across the walls. I tried to entreat some of them whom seemed familiar to me, but none answered.
The tunnel grew colder, ice crystals seemed to form upon the walls. Still the faces swam.
Finally, a stone portal loomed ahead and I quickly passed through without looking back. An ancient and haggard Chaos Dwarf leant against the back wall, muttering and shaking. It was my master. Not five days had passed since his death, yet he had aged so much. I strode to him with purpose, though my heart was already chilled with what I had seen. He looked up with confused and distant eyes.
”Lost...lost...lost...” he murmured in a faded voice.
“Master. Drekkfra. It is I, your pupil” I replied. He looked at me strangely with unfocussed eyes.
“Lost...lost...lost...Hashut...It’s so cold...” he gibbered.
“What is the rune you used to hide your secrets? Tell me!”
“Cold...cold...cold...” he whimpered.
Snarling, I seized him. Yet I was unable to move him. He was becoming one with the cold stone. He dragged a finger nail across a slab of stone beside him, almost absentmindedly. I looked on, brow furrowed. It was the rune that I didn’t recognize. I reached out to touch it but on contact it burnt worse than any flame that has licked my flesh. I reeled back in pain and turned angry eyes to my master.
“Lost...lost...lost...” he murmured again, unaware of me. I turned to leave and as I did so my master and the cold stone walls seemed to fade into the darkness. I heard a laugh. The laughter of Hashut.
We are fools. In our greed we have surrendered our souls. We are the building blocks for Hashut’s Hall. There is no reward for our service, only the cold stone. It is our fate and something we shall all face.
Even now, I look to my hand and the rune burned into it. I realize now what it is, forlorn, misplaced, or impossible that it may be.
Entry 8#: Admiral (2nd)
"Gather around me, brethren, and heed my words, for they are all born out of wisdom blessed and cursed by Dark Gods and Daemons alike in nightmares and fire and orgiatic visions. Heed these words, for they were grasped at the price of insanity and damnation eternal by mystics and seers and priests, while foul spirits and unholy confusion tried to snatch these secrets away at every turn as the ancients struggled to haul home their forbidden plunder of lore. Heed the words, for herein lies the mysteries of death, afterlife and fate itself. Spoken above fire under heaven, as witnessed by the searing eyes of deities and mighty idols alike, I hereby confess to know that which is beyond sight of lowly mortals.
Witness Hashut rise!
In the beginning there was fire and darkness, and fire and darkness there will be in the end. What passes between them is the living's struggle for domination over one another, where the cruel, the strong, the cunning and the best win through. Dark glory shall be theirs in life and legacy, and mastery they shall hold over others, yet in the end death will claim all the living, be they lord or slave.
Darkness be. The filthy souls of unbelievers and slaves will all be cast into the towering furnace beyond light, to fuel the flames of the Father of Darkness, and so too shall be the destiny of those damned to exile and shameful servitude in the dread Infernal Guard. Spit upon their fates!
Shadows be. Every righteous sacrificer of the chosen tribe of the fiery Bull God must utter in full the Last Praise to Him on high when they lie dying, lest the gate to the Realm will be closed, and they will be cursed to wander the world as ghosts, as do so many revenants of infants and mutes and weaklings who died quick deaths.
Fire be. Baleful be the woe after death of whoever has their corpse cast into impure water, for eternal drowning of the soul in the Unknown Abyss will be theirs forever.
Smoke be. The correct rituals of death must be observed. Let the omens decree if burning or burial must take place. Sacrifice to Him, and send the deceased into the afterlife with grave goods and mourning rites aplenty. The niggardly endowed will find his bribes and arcane passwords and otherworldly weapons and armour insufficient to pass through the long line of travails and hardships and perils awaiting the wandering soul on its winding path to the one true Father, for Daemons will surely ensnare or lure or overpower the one buried for a miser, and his soul shall be carried away into oblivion and torment.
Cinders be. The souls of sacrificers not lost on the long way to afterlife will face the sixty mighty Gates of the Father, and at each gate they must answer the twelve times twelve Questions of Devotion, or be torn apart beneath the cloven hooves of its guardians. Those who answer in truth will pass.
Pain be. Those who enter the Gates of the Father will be judged by high Hashut and His court of shackled Daemons within His divine and unholy abode of shadow and flame. There no falsehoods will long withstand the burning gaze of the Father of Darkness, and uncloaked truth shall be had by torture and torment until all the soul is laid bare like a flayed animal, and only then shall judgement be passed.
Hell be. The heretic and wrongdoer and failed usurper who breaks His sacred commandments shall be plunged into the hungering flames, to be roasted for all eternity and to be trampled and split in two and shredded by His hallowed K'daai tormentors, and the screams of the unworthy will echo across creation.
Ashes be. The righteous sacrificers and fertile mothers and stalwart warriors and diligent craftsmen judged worthy shall be spared the flames of eternal torment, and their shackled souls shall instead be cast into cage and gloom, to eat dust in dreary limbo, forever longing for the bliss of their betters.
Slag be. The unfailingly devout sacrificers and greatly fertile mothers and surpassingly skilled craftsmen shall know eternal labour and dark glory, and the supreme warriors shall stand guard over the roaring forges of the Artisan of Chaos, and their works shall be eternal.
Metal be. The blessed spawns of the Bull God and those gifted with stoneform and prophecy and those truly superior amongst the Blacksmiths of Chaos shall know might and pleasure. Vast shall be their harems, grand their armouries, glittering their treasures. They shall attend the dark and fiery court of the Father of Dakness, and forever more adulate Him who is Hashut.
- The Way Past Death sermon of the Slaghoof sect
Entry #10: Dînadan (3rd tie)
"...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.
Entry #11: Fuggit Khan (3rd tie)
Just a young beardling coming of age, Sin-shar-Ashkad was now allowed for the first time to accompany his father and the other patriarchs of his clan to their family mausoleum in Zharr-Naggrund. His clan was preparing again to march to war against the lesser races of the west, and per tradition for the past 400 years, the leaders of his clan would visit the great ziggurat mausoleum of their clan, in order to reclaim a mighty token of war. It was the family heirloom of the mighty Ashkad family, and tradition was that this heirloom was the reason that their clan had never lost a war.
The numerous petrified stone statues of long dead Sorcerer priests from other clans lining the streets in Zharr-Naggrund had made an impression on the young Sin-shar-Ashkad... and while ascending the 666 steps to the top of their family mausoleum, he asked his father about them. His father, an undefeated veteran of numerous wars against the weaker races, laughed in contempt.
“They would have you believe in an afterlife,” he said. “I will tell you this: there is no afterlife. No heaven, no God, no paradise after death.”
Sin-shar-Ashkad was puzzled. ”But there are Gods! Hashut, Khorne, numerous others!”
With a grin that reflected pragmatic wisdom, his father replied: “They are not true Gods in any sense of the word... They are beings of immense power when compared to us. Nothing more. If you were marooned on a small island, and the only other inhabitants on the island were ants, you would be the God of that world. One stomp of your foot would devastate their anthills, killing thousands of them in a single whim. A swipe of your hand would topple their great forests, but just mere weeds to you. They would fear you and offer you any sort of appeasement that they could muster, to gain your favor. And they would only want to buy your favor, so as to promote and strengthen their own wants and needs. With their needs fulfilled, does that make you a God? Or does that make you easily bought with mere words and their pittance of offerings? Are you so weak that you need smaller beings offering prayer and appeasement to you? That does not make you or anyone a God.”
Sin-shar-Ashkad could not find fault with his father’s logic, and asked: “So there truly is no afterlife?”
“Perhaps you should reflect more on what happens to you after your life, as opposed to the idea of an afterlife itself,” his father replied.
Sin-shar-Ashkad thought about this as they reached the top of the 666 steps, and watched his father unlock the massive stone-cut doors to the mausoleum with an ancestral key made of obsidian and copper.
Looking to his father, Sin-shar-Ashkad asked: “If I am dead, and there is no afterlife, then what choice could possibly happen after my life?”
His father looked at him, and replied: “Wealth is fleeting. It cannot be taken with you once you die. Let the weaker Dawi Zharr clans covet wealth. Let them line the streets with stone statues of their dead kin, only to be shat upon by the black ash pigeons that perch atop them. Ask yourself... how do you want to be after your life?”
Sin-shar-Ashkad thought for a moment, and then answered: “The weaknesses of our enemies are an affront to my family, I live now only to see them killed. So my wish after my death would be to continue to see them killed by my kin and descendants.”
His father smiled approvingly.
His father then unlocked the mighty obsidian casket of their family founder, the great warrior Zharr-Ashkad himself. Reaching into the casket, Sin-shar-Ashkad’s father lifted out the family heirloom... the skull of Zharr-Ashkad himself.
The skull gleamed with inlaid runes of copper, the eye sockets stared contemptuously with pupils of polished obsidian. Mounting the skull atop the family battle standard, Sin-shar-Ashkad’s father and the other clan patriarchs all read aloud the runes embossed upon the skull, the final words of their founding father: “To see my enemies slain before me, in my life, and after my life.”
And Sin-shar-Ashkad knew then the true meaning of “afterlife.”
There was life after death, it was the memory of your life and deeds, carried forth with honour by your family.
1st Place - Gold Scribe Winner: Entry #1 - Ikkred Pyrhelm
2nd Place - Silver Scribe Winner: Entry #8 - Admiral
3rd Place - Bronze Scribe Winner: Entry #10 - Dînadan
3rd Place - Bronze Scribe Winner: Entry #11 - Fuggit Khan
The Entry Key!
You can share your love for each entry (found here) by donating slaves to the owners of the entries!
01 - Ikkred Pyrhelm
02 - Rakkzul
03 - Steven
04 - Jackswift
05 - Abecedar
06 - cornixt
07 - Enjoysrandom
08 - Admiral
09 - Carcearion
10 - Dînadan
11 - Fuggit Khan
Slaves and medals are incoming! If you wonder how many votes your entry received, PM me.
And now for the Gold prize, donated Admiral
. Ther Gold winner receives one unpainted kit of War Booty of Ancient Times
The winner will be contacted shortly via PM or E-mail.
has participated in 5 rounds of Scribe's Contest, earning him this tin Participation medal. You can do the same!
A big "thanks" to everyone who participated and voted!
Can't wait to see the entries in the blogs of everyone who entered. Also, please post them as new threads in the Stories and Background section
of the CDO Forums.
That concludes the eighth instalment of Scribe's Contest. It is a most valuable addition to the growing mass of Chaos Dwarf and Hobgoblin culture texts accumulated on CDO. Well done, everyone!
Next up: Golden Hat!
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Chaos Dwarf Writings: Fables. Songs. Proverbs. Quotes. Monumental Inscriptions. Religious Texts.
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This post was last modified: 07-18-2016 03:58 AM by Admiral.
The Eye of Hashut
Posts: 1,928 - Apr 2013
Market Rep: 8
RE: Scribe's Contest VIII - Winners!
"Where there's a whip, there's a way!"