It's been 12 moons since last we met, fellow neckbeards. All Hallows is upon us again, an' Armok's Eye is as focused as ever. Slide on up to the hearth, lads, an' fetch yer pints because what better way ta fight off th' spooks an' witcheries of the season then by bringin' glory ta Armok with our time-honored annual /tg/ tradition of sharin' TALES OF DWARVEN RELEVANCE! Before we get ta the meat n' plump helmets tale that is th' signature of our tradition, "The Hamlet of Tyranny", we gots a new opener this time that our newbeards might not 'ave heard yet. It took place some time ago in grand Flarechannel, a fortress-city renowned for its giant eagles.
>>28043563In the days of th' founders, Flareclannel was visited by elven *spit* traders who were often accompanied by th' giant birds. After decades of tryin' to trade fer a breedin' pair, th' elves caved in, the birds did the nasty an' the first natural-born clutch of baby eaglets was hatched there. Ever since, they have gracefully adorned the halls of th' fortress. They tend to hang around the meeting area, but occasionally one can still see them backin' up military dwarves in takin' down enemies or even jus' venturin' out into the sky to spread their wings a bit. One eagle even decided ta stand guard over the glass dome above the throne room. Why, we will never know. He could have easily flown away, and yet he did not. He stayed steadfast until his dying day, years later. Some say he was standing guard over the weak, watching constantly for those who would prey on lone dwarves. Some say he chose to perch up there, knowing that upon mid-day, when the diplomat would meet to discuss trade agreements, his giant shadow would projected onto the throne room floor. Nothing helps convince a lone human to heed your subtle warnings than what appears to be a 100-foot eagle waiting above! Ah-HAaa... But, anyways... the tale of Catten and the Eagle.
>>28043573Th' story begins 100 years after th' first hatchlings wandered the halls of Flarechannel. In the past, giant eagles have been creatures of their own, almost never befriended by dwarves and only then when a rare dwarf who can sympathize with the beasts is born. They are a species of creature who, in the wild, feast upon the sweet alcohol-infused flesh of dwarves for fun. This is their legacy, and every dwarf is well aware of it. However, Catten and the Eagle are unique. Catten was a dwarf who prided 'imself in his legendary skills: Masonry, Weaving and Clothing, not ta mention bein' a well-rounded dwarf in general. Perhaps he 'ad even earned his smugness, having created an artifact in his youth. He was a prime woodsman in the forest clearing which led to war with the Elves. Truly he was a dwarf of pride. When it came to the local giant eagles, Catten had absolutely no opinion on the beasts. It is well known that dwarves must enjoy a creature to be motivated enough to tame it as their own, but Catten couldn’t care less about the masses of feathers, claws, and beaks which flew among the halls an' towers.But, sometimes, fate doesn’t ask fer our wishes, and it was such in th' case of Catten. Recently born in Flarechannel was one unspectacular giant eagle. She was bigger an' hardier than most hatchlings as one always is, but nothin' any dwarves were surprised by. Yet already destiny had woven a fate which bound this eagle with threads stronger than steel. As soon as she grew past childhood, this eagle should have waited for a suitable master to come along (which happened so very rarely, as you know, lads). She did not. She went out and found one. Catten. This had never happened before in all of Flarechannel’s history. Catten may not have cared one bit about her, but that didn’t stop her from pickin' him as the dwarf she would stand guard over against all dangers. And thus began the story of unrequited love between dwarf and eagle.
At first, it was merely one of the many mysteries of th' fortress. Other dwarves would stop and stare as Catten hurriedly passed between jobs. Collectin' spider silk, weavin' thread, makin' clothes, gatherin' rock, constructin' blocks, makin' mechanisms, gatherin' plants, plantin' seeds all before finishin' a few odd jobs. Catten was no stranger to the busy day, and had no time ta entertain a foolish eagle that mistook him for her master. What did he care? Dwarves work, and drink and kill things if possible. Dwarves don’t sit around entertaining delusional creatures, especially not those who have been known to slaughter dwarves by the dozen! A less determined eagle would have long since left Catten to his duties, but not this one. The eagle knew that one day, Catten would find himself in trouble. She would 'ave to be there to protect him. His disinterest was not such a crime that it justified leaving 'im to the horror which lay in his future. And like this, a decade passes.Catten, now old as th' hills, still rushes from task to task with the persistence of a dwarf half his age. He now finds himself clad in the finest silk of his own making. Even after all these years he occasionally turns to pick up a piece of silk or rock and catches the outline of an eagle faithfully waiting nearby. Catten was by no means an unpleasant dwarf to be around, but nonetheless even he scoffs at the foolhardy behavior of his eagle follower. Assuredly there are more important things ta be doing than following an old beardie who can take care of himself! A dark raincloud loomed on the horizon and Catten retreated back into his workshops, to once again shut out the world in the endless stream of garments he produced now. But... the next day...
>>28043600For the first time in countless years, death incarnate approached Flarechannel. Alarms sound and the military scrambles into action. From the south, smoke rises and a scout gives the report nervously. A dragon has once again taken its eyes to Flarechannel. This time, it is Tusnung Heatedgilds the Spark of Warmth. Luckily, all dwarves are safely inside the walls not even a dragon can pass, and the military assembles on the main bridge, some who have not seen such a beast stand fearful. In the eyes of others one can see the gleaming of latent blood lust in their veins. You can smell it in the air. Armok watched intently.As the final few warriors catch up to the group, a single order sends them down the spiral tower to intercept the dragon, which is finishing up slaughtering a lone human pikeman who straggled to long after the caravan left, th' poor bastard. But the dragon doesn’t head to the fortress proper, no, no, He heads East. The military still pursues, perplexed at the change of focus of the beast. When they realize the dragon’s target, shivers run up their spines. It has been decades since a dwarf has been lost to an enemy. Catten Shoraster is the lone dwarf who ignored common sense and remained outside. Stubbornness does come with old age, but this was insane! Only Catten would be so lost in his work that he would miss the alarm bells. The military would have no way to catch up with the dragon in time.
>>28043623By now Catten had realized what followed him to the silken-laden hills. The screams of th' human as he was ripped limb from limb made sure to that. As unemotional as he is when he works, Catten pulls out his axe and prepares to die as any dwarf would choose – fightin' rather than runnin', even if it means death. But Catten is not alone in his choice. The eagle 'ad also accepted her fate.Its likely she had accepted it 12 years before when she chose Catten to protect. Destiny 'ad ensured she would be in the right place and the right time. Diving between the dragon and Catten, the eagle attacks with a ferocity that echos through the legends of all dwarven lore. Spendin' all them years around the dwarves an' seein' many battles had taught the eagle a thing or two. Like the champions of Flarechannel, the eagle dived fearlessly, directly into the dragon, knocking them both to the ground in a stunned daze. Now that the dragon had lost its footing, the eagle knew it had to act quick. Driven by determination that any dwarf would respect, it rose before the dragon and attacked it in the one place they were on equal footing – the eyes. In a 'eartbeat the eagle had ripped both eyes from the dragon’s face. Rare is the sound of a dragon screaming in agony, and all dwarves shuddered at the piercing wail. Still the eagle attacked, destroying piece after piece of the dragon’s head until eventually it was able to reach the brain through the now mutilated face, which was promptly mangled. RIP AN' TEAR, LADS! Keep that in mind fer later!
>>28043642A wounded, blind, insane dragon is still a beast to be feared, and Catten finally realized – that eagle was th' closest thing to a family he ever had. If he left it to die, then what would he 'ave left? Pride? Masterful silk clothes? He 'ad never met a wife, and he was too old now. His bloodline would die with him. Perhaps this was why Catten drove himself out of the real world and into has work. The rare happiness Catten felt was when he got a chance to help another. He had always valued the dwarven spirit in them. But now, he was seeing the spirit in a mere eagle. No, not a mere eagle - his friend. Catten rushed in, wielding his trusty axe that had felt the sturdy skin of countless trees. No stranger to the swing, Catten and the Eagle slowly took down the dragon, working together to keep each other safe from any injury. By the time the military had finally caught up, it was already over.
>>28043659Catten and the eagle both died a few years later, peacefully in dwarven terms. They were buried together and immortalized. From that day fourth, eagles were no convenient guests, or bothersome birds that were looked down upon as inferior. No, lads, from that day fourth they were guardians and embodiment of the spirit of FlareChannel. And what of Catten and the Eagle in their final years? They still went everywhere together, and Catten looked back at her with a smile of comfort instead of disgust. But much of these details are lost to the ages. What we do recall, however, is that during the finishing of Flarechannel's Temple to Armok, Catten’s clothes were mysteriously found on the roof, where no stairs led. Additional constructions had to be built just to retrieve them. Some say it were magic, or th' joke of some dwarven child. Still, others say that every now and then, on a rare night when others were asleep, Catten would climb aboard his old friend, strip naked, and fly around the towers, admiring the view that no other dwarf was ever privileged to see – laughing as he had only as a child, without a care in the world.-----A fine tale If'n I say so m'self. But 'ere's one we wait all year to tell on this date per tradition. The one first told 'ere half a decade ago on there very eve...
>>28043693The Hamlet was founded by seven of our finest, ne'er will this be put to question. It lay at the base of a mountain of which today only remains a hill. Ha-HA! Dwarven engineering saw to that! Aha... ah, but, I am getting ahead of myself, lads.The Hamlet grew from just a palmful of our people to a sprawling community in just a few seasons. This alone would have remained a mystery in itself forevermore had The Hamlet not fallen to ruin. Surely ye know why. Is it not a common tactic for the greenskins or those filthy elves to attack a fledgling band of dwarfs while they are busy toiling the land without rest or shelter? Aye. So why then did only the most desperate or bravest of their number shy into the shadow of th' mountain? Because they knew what our clan did not - the land was a prison for a deadly evil that plotted in its depths. And his name was Ashmalice, a fire demon lord.
>>28043720T'was not the founder's knowing that the very mountain they carved their settlement into were the seat of his evil empire. Nay. If anything it were Armok Himself who guided their picks, each swing bringing them closer to the beast of the pits below who had took the lives of so many of our number, including one of our ancient kings of lore. His evil 'ad lasted for untold millenia and his flames consumed all he gazed upon. No stories tell why it were that he and his brood decended into the glowing pits, but I can tell you this true: it were not by the will of any being that he did but 'is own.And thus did those living in The Hamlet wander through their lives with little care. They drank and fought and danced and built a grand dwarven fortress with luxurious finishing and magnificent dining halls. But a dwarf is only as hardened as the battles he fights in, and thus did their defenses grow soft. And sure as the beard on m' face they paid for their hubris. Were a miner who broke the seal between the world above and the world below. Whatever 'is name was is lost to us. The demons that surged forth saw to that. The grimm carvings from this time tell that it took only about an hour for half of the mountain to be wiped out by the unholy 'orde before the main gate was sealed. A dwarven heart is stalwart and courageous, true, but when faced with such loss and overwhelming odds even the mightiest of heroes would seal themselves in their homes and pray to Armok for mercy.
>>28043745But even if they had, Armok would not listen, for He 'ad His own design. A grand chain of events that only Armok could weave was about to be set in motion and the catalyst was the death of one of the founding seven, the glassmaker, Doken. Her violent end by the claws of the foul creatures sent her 'usband, Stuvok, another of the seven, into a blind rage so great that none of his clan could withstand him. He lashed out at friend and foe alike, slashing through his brothers in arms just as easilly as the gnashing monsters about him. Only when he found himself sealed in his smithy with his exit barred by his terrified clansmen did his temper subside and leave him broken with grief.T'was a dark time that settled over The Hamlet, lads. The demons had set up camp outside the mountain and basked in the fumes of fear and death that wafted from it. The few survivors within could not rally themselves from their stupor. Ashmalice would 'ave total victory. And every dwarf who commit suicide in the long months that the seige endured would tip the scale ever closer to this fate. One of the few dwarfs who still retained a shred of his sanity was another of the founding seven, Sil, a master engraver. It were from his very carvings that the whole of the legend of The Hamlet might be told today, for none of their clan survived the seige. Oh, but Armok, they did not go quietly!
>>28043761It takes a lot to break a dwarf, lads. You can beat him and torture him and burn off his beard and he will still rise to the challenge e'ry time. But even at the very edge of oblivion that dwarf can still find his will to press on. And that's what ol' Stuvok did. See, in his time of mourning he prayed to Armok for a reason to go on. And one night 'e found it. The spirit of his lovely Doken appeared to him and placed a vision in his mind that instantly consumed 'is every thought. For days he scrambled about his smithy with the spirits of the dead guiding his calloused hands through the forging of an instrument of Armok's will and his ultimate redemption: an artifact blade he named The Endless Death of Tears, for from that day forward he had no tears left to weep only a burning sense for justice.T'were a blade fit for a king. From the moment it were unveiled, within that very day infact, Stuvok's firey passion rekindled those in the hearts of his clan and they resolved to not quietly disappear into the mists of history but to write their epitaph in the blood of their enemies! The survivors equiped themselves with what tools they had and set about to rebuild their home into a battleground. Levers were erected, traps were laid, all examples of dwarven ingenuity were implemented, no expense spared. And when the moment were right, haha, the grand hall doors were unbarred and the demons invited inside. And they came with a smile.
>>28043775Our brave archers fired into the oncoming tide of hate but they were just sacrificial lambs to lul the enemy into a false sense of victory. When the bulk of the beasts had breached the fortress proper a masterfully placed lever that had yet to have been pulled was yanked into place with a vengeance. And the entire mountain came crashing down through the opulent dining hall crushing nearly half the horde! Aha-Haa!The remaining ones, though, they were whipped into a frenzy by the bloodshed. Oh, and did they ever show it. They ran strait into the trap-lined hallways, jamming them with their number which only incited the remainder of them. The dwarven defenders held their own and may have withstood the storm had Ashmalice not survived the rockfall and the traps. He and his demonic toad retainers shredded through the survivors. One of his victims was Stuvok, unable to avenge his beloved. And within moments the population of the fortress was reduced to two.As the demons pushed their way into the final chamber of the fortress they encountered Sil the engraver as he stood on a bridge overlooking the cavernous belly of the fortress and a sizable construction project that was never to be finished. Here the demons saw him shoulder to shoulder with a creature even more fearsom than themselves. The more careless of the demons called him "fool" before they were bisected by him. Our legends, however, call him Daneken.
>>28043783Ahh, yes. Brave Daneken. He alone had defended the rear entrance of the fort for months leading to the final assault. But he was no mere dwarf. He was a legend. In 'is short but violent lifetime Daneken had led the guard as their captain, defending The Hamlet from the greenskins. They say he once took down a cyclops singlehandedly and had helped wrestle a dragon to death. A dragon, lads! He was nothing to turn your nose at lest you wanted to 'ave it clipped off! But 'ere at the end of all he stood valiant as ever. T'was only fitting that Stuvok chose he to weild The Endless Death of Tears, for in Stalwart Daneken's hands it shed just as much demon blood as had been spilt by dwarf.As his retainers were hacked to shreds by Daneken, Ashmalice flew out onto the bridge to deal with matters himself. Daneken threw himself at the monsters with the entire collective rage of his people but Ashmalice had laid waste to civilizations, had executed royalty and was not impressed with the antics of a lowly soldier. Daneken was blasted with demonic flames and sent hurtling back across the bridge. Were it Armok's divine will or just circumstance that poor Sil had been in his path. Softening the blow and slowing down his travel with his body, Sil had bought Daneken a few more moments of life at the cost of his own - for Sil the engraver, whom this tale we owe, stumbled backwards off of the bridge.Oooh, to be Daneken as he rose to his feet as his flesh scorched and his blood boiled only to see Ashmalice looming over him. With but the lightest of touch the battle would be over and the demons would have wiped our clan from history for all time. But, then, lads, I wouldn't be telling the story then would I?
>>28043798Resolute Daneken slashed off one of Ashmalice's arm-wings in one deft stroke and plunged Endless Death of Tears strait into 'is evil heart. Such was the force of the blow that the seemingly immortal evil was thrown backwards off of the bridge and sent hurtling down into the unending darkness below, spouting curses the entire way. With his clan and his king avenged, Valorous Daneken shakilly held his blade skyward, lurched towards the edge of the bridge step by searing step and tumbled from it, his ravaged body following his enemy into the darkness as his killer's unholy flames finished consuming him. Legendary Daneken, like a candle in th' wind was gone. Aside from the distant confused chatter of the demons who were removed from the battle by a planned ridirection of river water that flooded the arteries of the fortress, the entire battlefield grew silent.So 'ow do our clan know this story then, eh? If the last of the dwarves of The Hamlet of Tyranny had plumeted into the abyss and the demons abandoned it then who were left to tell the tale? Aha... this here is a DWARVEN TALE, lads! No matter how bitter or crushing the defeat a dwarf will always leave 'is mark.
>>28043823Do ye remember when Sil fell from the bridge into the chasm? He didn't meet Armok just then, 'e was spared by Him so that he might witness the climax. Far, far below the bridge on a ledge in the chasm lay Sil broken and bleeding but alive and awestruck. Blood poured from his mouth with every choked breath and his hands trembled as he worked his chisel into the stone beside him to memorialize this victory. Though his body was failing by the second, his mind was sharp and his thought focused and pure - a true artisan working on 'is final masterpiece.And what was it he carved, lads? Moments before he bled to death? Alone on a ledge? The final testament to the dwarves of The Hamlet of Tyranny?A picture of a demon and some dwarves. The demon was in a fetal position. The dwarves were laughing.And that, my neckbearded battle brothers is the tale we tell every year on this day. Many fine stories await to be yet told, though, lads. Let us sing the names of those who have passed into Armok's domain and let us vow to join them there! Raise your pints, lads, and drink to a death in battle just as glorious! PRAISE ARMOK!And see you next year, lads...
>>28043847Strike the Earth, Brother.