[The inspiration for these stories were a series of games against a friends Ogre army that caused me no end of grief, he was a good player and the games were hard]
Of the many tales told by the Eldars of Karak Thorinkin those of the Lost, the exiled kin of Clan Hūndholm, are among the most reverred. Small in number those that can be counted as true, or at least true enough, are treasured beyond all things. Even after 1400 years the wounds caused by the Sundering still fester among the Thorinkin. It is to honor the memory of the Lost and to ensure that no other Usurper wears the crown of Karak Thorinkin that these tales are told to all children within the Hold. It is to one small group that the one such tale is now being told...
"... gather my children and hear of the tale of Gloric the Ogresmitter of the Lost Lord of Clan Hūndholm. Of all the tales of the Lost it is the most reverred and the most sorrowful for it tells of perhaps their greatest triumph after exile and of their death."
"How old is the story Uncle?"
"It is very old my child. It has been some 1000 years since it was first told in these halls and we believe its events took place. It was in the time of King Stellaz Grudgebearer the Long Lived (1524 - 1609) that this tale was first heard. A traveller from the East, kin from our ancestors refuge of Karak Azul, came to these very halls and stood in the very spot where you now sit and told our Thanes what he knew. Of the exact time his tale tells we do not know but of the truth of the tale we have some evidence"
"What evidence Uncle?"
"Hush child, once again you interupt me... but that is good... questions are the sign of a bright keen mind. The evidence we have is the blood of Gloric Ogresmitter himself returned to us by that traveller some 1000 years before you walked these halls. Blood that you can see there upon the great wall, there upon the Ogre banner near the Centre."
"But that banner is from the Battle of Skull River it was..."
"Yes my child it was, but not originally for it was only carried by our warriors in that battle and later retrieved along with the dead Kings body. Its origins though are far older for it was first brought here over 1000 years ago by the traveller of whom I speak. The blood you see upon it is that of Gloric, of that much we are sure..."
"Griminar and Thorin himself have told us the truth of this my child, and it is through their blessing that the banner is today as it was 1000 years ago, and will be so forever, their blessings and their runes perserving it and Glorics blood."
"So what is the tale Uncle, what did the traveller tell us?"
"Be patient child, this is what the traveller told the Thanes that day...."You remember dont you children of the how the Sundered kin of Clan Hūndholm returned to our ancestral home of Dru Grimthorn to rebuild it from the ashes we left behind millenia before, and how long after they returned there they were destroyed, by the Ogres. For centuries prior to the Battle of Skull River the Ogres had been entering the lands of our kindred in the Worlds Edge Mountains, butchering and plundering settlements, destroying caravans and attacking small holds. The Sundereds long quest to rebuild Dru Grimthorn was, we know now, a constant struggle against the incursions of Ogre Marauders and it is from these truths that Clan Hūndholms Oath of Vengenance against the Ogre Clans was born.
A sickly and cancerous child it was too and the reasons for it have been almost entirely lost, but we know for certain that the purpose of the Sundered became warped and twisted by hatred for the Ogres. Banished from Karak Thorinkin by the treachery of Llad TunnelCut the Usurper they had sought self-exile and redemption in the rebuilding of our ancestral homeland. But the Oath of Vengence they took against the Ogres would consume them as into they directed all of the spite and venom held by their people for Llad the Usurper and his kin. Unwilling to unleash it upon the faithful within Karak Thorinkin it became twisted and warped on the long march back to Dru Grimthorn to eventually it became all they knew.
"But Uncle the old tales, the Book of the Lost, it tells us that Clan Hūndholm were brave, that their deeds stand among the greatest of all Dwarves?"
"Yes my child they do, but underlying all of their great works, or at least those we know of was the Oath of Vengenance. Behind all of their great deeds it lurked and over time grew until it became all the Sundered knew. It was this Oath that gave birth to Gloric the Ogresmitter the Lost Lord of Clan Hūndholm and it is his tale I tell you now..."
The Curse of Dru Grimthorn
What I am about to tell you has been heard only as whisper upon rumour, a tale lost to us during the Sundering when its tellers choose exile rather than slay their kin. It is of the true Lost Ones, those we all remember but have, to our shame, failed to recall. The ones we left behind on the long march. We recall with honor those who fell on that march. Those whose lives were sacrificed to preserve our people and allow the building of our home here in these mountains. But we fail to recall those who stayed behind or who were left abandoned on the long march. This is their tale. It is a tale, the truth, of the Thorinkin's first return to Dru Grimthorn. Not the return of Clan Hūndholm recalled by all, but of those we have forgotten but who you will now enter into the annuls of the hold.
It has taken many a year to piece this tale together and their is still much we do not know and cannot know. But this I am certain is the truth. This tale tells of the origin of the feud and the curse that would destroy 'Clan Hūndholm'. It is a tale of darkness, despair, courage, fear and loss. It is one that reaches to the core of the soul of our people to a place we all fear exists and pretend does not. It is the tale of 'Those who remained' - 'The Silent Killers' - 'The Flesh Eaters' of Dru Grimthorn, and these are its words.
The original tales of the long march and the origins of Karak Thorinkin tell that on the journey from Karak Azul to the lands of Tilea in the years -265 to -250 none of the people of Thorin stayed among the ruins of Dru Grimthorn, their ancestral home. This however was not the full truth, for some did remain small groups and stragglers left behind by the main body of the march or who became lost and separated in the Worlds Edge Mountains, did come to dwell there.
It was only centuries later that word of these groups reached Karak Thorinkin, or rather only after centuries did we admit that we left some of our people behind. Over time the rumours about this forgotten people became stronger. Many among Karak Thorinkin ignored the rumours preferring to focus on their new home, treating them as myth, stories to be forgotten as substantial as the morning breeze. Many others choose to forget to hide the truth, that many of those left behind were abandoned deliberately. Their hearts and souls were corrupted by darkness and Chaos, their minds warped and for the good of the people many were culled from our ranks. But of those who knew the this truth few survived and none now remain save myself.
While the truth did not persist the rumours did and among some, notably Clan Hūndholm they became strong and entrenched. Among the Hūndholm it is they that laid the foundation for the Sundering and the eventual exile of Clan Hūndholm in the reign of King Ntahd Ogreender f. The tales of 'Those who remained' the 'First of the Lost' or as they would later become known by their enemies, and the Dwarves of the World's Edge Mountains 'The Silent Killers' & 'The Flesh Eaters', are few but tell clearly of the origins of Clan Hūndholm's eventual destruction at the hands of the Ogres and of Gloric OgreSmitte, whose blood remains with Griminar's grace untouched upon his banner.
In the years -260 to -255 small groups of our people found their way to the ruins of Dru Grimthorn. There they would settle or at least try to settle, hiding as they did from the remnants of the Orc invasions and the Skaven whose plague had begun to infest that region. Of their early years we know little and most of what we do comes from the Orc Shamans who tell of the 'Valley of Death' the place were all things end. That Valley was the valley of Dru Grimthorn, and a place of death it became for the last of the Orc invaders banished forever by the Thorinkin who had found refuge there. Among the Dwarfs first word of the resettlement of Dru Grimthorn came to Karak Azul some two centuries after the long march. Captured Orcs told of the 'Valley of Death' and of the silent killers. They considered them to be ghosts, the shades of our ancestors slaughtered by the horde of Orc Warlord Ugrok Beardburner.
But shades they were not. Scouts from Karak Azul reached Dru Grimthorn and found the 'Silent Killers', found them to be kin of the exiles who once resided in their halls but who left on their long march to a new home. No contact was maintained though. For the people of Karak Azul sensed as some of us had that a shadow lay over the souls of those people. The valley and the Silent Killers were left behind to fend for themselves, the King of Karak Azul forbidding his people to travel there.
For centuries more the 'Silent Killers' lived in that valley. Increasingly isolated and secretive the myth of the Valley of Death peopled by the Ghosts of Dwarves long past grew. Orcs & Skaven also avoided the place. A few travellers made the journey to that Valley to find the ghosts but those few who returned, most did not, saw nothing but shadows, signs of life, signs of settlement, but shadows only. Soon no travellers ventured there at all, none were brave enough to do so. For all those who looked to deeply into the Shadows did not return.
In what we think was the year 400 the Ogres invaded the lands to the South of Karak Azul, and first entered the Valley of Death, home to the Ghosts. We know of this from the annuls of Karak Azul which tell of the Ogre Incursions, and of the mysterious destruction of an Ogre army in the year 402. Marching south and west from Karak Azul a force of Ogres was said to have entered the Valley and failed to return. The sons of the Lord of that force were following some days behind. The annuls of Karak Azul record what happened next.
Ogre Shamans tell of how the Ogre Lords Son's and their army marched toward Dru Grimthorn. As they did so Ogre Legends tell of the Sky darkening, the air becaming heavy and putrid, and of the very ground itself trembling with fear. No sign of their fallen father and their kin did they find. No sign that is until on a small hill a banner was sighted. Upon first sight it appeared to be the banner of their father its symbols and protections bloodied, torn and burnt but still recognisable. But it was not...
...the banner was the skin of their father. Flayed from his corpse our kin, the Ghosts of Dru Grimthorn, the Silent Killers had used it to remake the Ogres banner. At its feet they had pthe Lord's head, cooked among the ashes of the real banner, burnt and mutilated in a manner even the Ogres found hard to stomach. Alongside it was a Dwarven Axe left so they would know who was responsible for the deed, and a message - Leave our Home of suffer your Lord's Fate. On that day the Sons of this Lord and all their kin and people swore a blood oath against any and all Dwarfs who resided in Dru Grimthorn, their kin, their descendants. For the next 60 years they hunted the people all were now calling 'The Flesh Eaters' among the Worlds Edge Mountains. In the year 485 Karak Azul tell us they succeeded and Dru Grimthorn was once again destroyed, the darkness lifted from the valley.
But that was not the end of the tale. For Ogre Shamans and the annuls of Karak Azul told of how each of the Ogre Lords 5 sons, those who swore the Blood Oath, would eventually die. Killed and their skins flayed. Over centuries many of their descendants would suffer the same fate, until their line became cursed with Death. For not all of those who remained were killed. Some survived and for 300 years they hunted the Ogre Lords kin. For 300 years these survivors enacted their vengenance, until no more was heard of them save myth. But while they did not survive the Blood Feud did and its curse would remain forever binding the descendants of the Ogre Lord and his sons, and of any who resided in Dru Grimthorn.
..."that my children is the tale of those who remained, and it is why Clan Hūndholm was doomed from the moment it first sought to return to Dru Grimthorn. Doomed to become victims of the Blood Feud and of the Curse of the Flesh that now binds our ancestral home. No more will I tell you tonight..."