The Dark Night of Karak-Hirn

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In a time before the memory of any Beastman that lives in the spider-haunted Black Deeps, there occurred a peculiar battle the tale of which has been told by uncounted generations. The story concerns the Wargor known as Skarr Black-Horn and his warherd, who one grey morn hunted through a wooded pass in search of an enemy upon which to enact their cruel hatred.

It is told that the morning mists still clung to the trees when the Black-Horn was granted his desire. Looking down from his vantage point atop a craggy outcrop, the Wargor spied a mile­ long caravan of over a hundred wagons snaking its way towards him. Each wagon was guarded by a company of stout Dwarfs. The Wargor knew little of this foe, for most of his wars he had fought against Men and Goblins, but he knew all about ale. His mouth watered in anticipation of washing down the gristly flesh of these foes with great draughts of the intoxicating liquid.

The Dwarf guards fought like warrior kings in the defence of their cargo, but as the last died with Black-Horn's serrated cleaver lodged in his skull, the scene changed from one of savage battle to unruly celebration. Black-Horn selected the largest of the barrels, one as large as a herdstone it is told, and raised it above his head. In minutes, the Wargor had drained the entire barrel, which he flung to the rocky ground, shattering it into uncounted splinters. Loosing a resounding belch that echoed amidst the crags all about, Black-Horn allowed his warherd to claim their share of the remaining barrels.

As impressive a spectacle as this might have been, it was what occurred next that seared Skarr Black-Horn's name into history. Driven into a berserker rage by the potent Dwarfen brew, the warherd of Black-Horn rampaged drunkenly up the mountain pass, far beyond the territory into which a lone warherd would normally attack. By evening, the Beastmen had reached the foothills about the Dwarfen stronghold of Karak-Hirn, and there they commenced a night of bloody slaughter. In a single night, the Dwarfs' holdings all about Karak Hirn were reduced to ashes, their ancestral lands trampled and burnt and their finest warriors laid low by the rampaging Beastmen.

Drunken Bestigors competed with one another to shatter the mighty stone statues of ancient Dwarfen lords that lined the mountain roadways, using only their horns. The Gars took hundreds of decapitated heads to bear aloft on their savage totems, tying them by the beards to the branches of hag trees, and making war horns of precious heirloom drinking horns. The Ungors, unused to the effects of such strong and intoxicating liquor, unleashed terrible wickedness that night. Many fought with one another to claim the horned helmets of any Dwarf they could kill, thereby gaining some drunkenly imagined status within the warherd.

The Dwarfs were utterly unprepared for the slaughter unleashed upon their settlements, the clansmen slain, the livestock butchered, the ancient buildings ruined. As the black sky turned to grey and dawn approached, refugees from the outlying mountain communities flooded to the safety of Karak Hirn, driven before the thousands-strong horde of drunken, marauding Beastmen.

It is said that Skarr Black-Horn and his warriors awoke the next morn, even more dishevelled than normal, the hateful sun glaring painfully down upon them. They found themselves before the very gates of Karak Hirn, bleary heads ringing to the sounds of its defenders mustering for what the Dwarfs must have feared would be a prolonged siege by a mighty horde. Knowing, even if the details alluded him, that the previous night's work had been plenty to earn the favour of the Dark Gods, Black-Horn ordered his warherd to return back down the mountain pass to the Black Deeps, noting with dark­ hearted satisfaction the devastation wrought upon the lands of the Dwarfs.

And so the deeds of Skarr Black-Horn are told by the warherds south of the Black Mountains, and who can naysay them? Only the Dwarfs of Karak-Hirn know the true extent of what occurred that night, the entire saga recorded in detail for all time within the crumbling pages of the Great Book of Grudges.