The Saga of Belegar Ironhammer
Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Posted: 05 Jan 2015 at 05:18
High Lord Belegar Ironhammer, Ruler of Karak Eight Peaks
The Saga Of Belegar Ironhammer
Born deep within a mountain stronghold, Belegar was the only son of Thronir Ironhammer and heir to the throne of Karak Eight Peaks, ancestral home of Clan Angrund. Once a proud and powerful Clan, the dwarves of Angrund had fallen, brought low by the ravages of war and famine.
As a young beardling, Belegar trained in all forms of combat, growing quite skilled with the sword, axe, and hammer. He studied the history of his Clan, immersing himself in the triumphs and tragedies of his ancestors. Even as a young dwarf, he gloried in his Clan's rich heritage and swore vengeance for every defeat.
One sad and cruel day, while Belegar was still young, a savage plague swept through Karak Eight Peaks, claiming the lives of many good dwarves, including his father Thronir. With that, Belegar become sovereign ruler of both his Clan and Karak Eight Peaks.
The young lord was determined to lead his people out of the shadows of their past and into the bright dawn of a new era, resolving to wash away the misfortune that troubled his Clan. He set about with a spirit of optimism and determination, renovating the old and empty halls of Karak Eight Peaks and turning them to secure homes for his fellow dwarves.
Lord Belegar knew that he could not fight this struggle alone so he sought out other like minded dwarves in Elgea. His scouts searched far and wide throughout Elgea, bringing back tales of a legendary alliance of Dwarf Clans known as the Dwarven Lords. The young dwarf called a special session of the Elder Council Of Karak Eight Peaks. He longed to journey the capital of this alliance and seek out an audience with King Belargyle, the mysterious ruler of the alliance of Dwarf Clans. The aged council was in agreement with the young dwarf. Some of them had heard whispers of this King Belargyle and knew of his great wisdom and his unparalleled leadership abilities. They told of great victories the King had won, and countless enemies cast down in defeat by his unstoppable legions.
Planning all night, Belegar left at dawn, taking a small cadre of his most trusted bodyguards, and caravans laden with gifts, including several kegs of the finest dwarven ale fresh from the breweries of Karak Eight Peaks. The journey took weeks and was perilous. Three times Belegar's small party was attacked by bandits, but three times Belegar and his noble dwarves fought them off. They were even attacked by a group of feral orcs, who launched an ambush as Belegar lead his wards through a narrow mountain pass. Quickly drawing his namesake hammer and bellowing his war cry, Belegar launched an immediate counter attack at the marauding orcs rampaging down the steep-sided mountains. Green-skinned warriors fell before him, organs pulped and brains splattered across the rocky soil. Belegar spied the orc war chief, watching the battle from above, and he ran for the orc, knowing full well that if he could slay the orc leader, the other orcs would falter.
The battle swirled all around Belegar and his dwarves, who followed their leader in his wild charge up the mountain side. The mountain was steep, and the going was tough, but step by step they pounded their way up the rocky incline, leaving ragged heaps of greenskins in their wake. Belegar soon broke away from the main body of dwarves, his relentless advance as unstoppable as a winter avalanche.
The orc was a cunning brute and rather than meet Belegar's frenzied attack, he coldly sent his own orcs into battle first. Belegar killed them all, but he would soon be buried under a tidal wave of foul green flesh if this kept up. He hurled insults at the orc, cursing him in Dwarfish, hoping to goad him into a fight. Unmoved, the orc merely stared down the dwarf lord, a grim sneer on his cruel lips.
But Belegar's tutors had taught him well and he knew some choice words in the barbaric tongue of the Orcs.
"Coward!" he yelled, so loudly that the mountains rang with the clamor. His mouth stumbled over the uncouth Orc language, but he managed to keep shouting the words until his lungs burned with exertion. His hammer caught an onrushing orc in the chest, shattering his ribcage like it was made from porcelian. Jagged bits of bloody bone richocheted off his plate armour.
The orcs ugly face twisted into a wicked howl and the beast came charging down the mountain side swinging his war club, and bashing his own followers out of the way in its haste to attack Belegar. The young dwarf stood his ground and met the orc's charge with his shield and a lowered shoulder. The orc crashed into Belegar, knocking him back a few steps, but the dwarf stayed on his feet. He traded blows with the orc war chief, hammer clashing upon club. Belegar continued to spit insults, infuriating the orc, who descended into a red fury. At last the orc overreached, aiming a wild two-handed blow at Belegar's head and missing badly as Belegar side stepped, and launched his own attack, which caved the orcs skull, crushing it like rotten fruit.
Toppling over, the ruined carcass tumbled down the hill, the crimson trail of blood a visible sign of the orcs defeat. The remaining orcs fled away, melting like snow in the sunshine as their cries faded to nothingness. Amazingly, Belegar's group had suffered no losses though several dwarves were badly wounded. These were his sworn bodyguards after all, and many of them had served his father before him and were fearsome fighters.
They gathered around their lord when the battle was over, battered but alive. Nearly one hundred orcs had been slain, and impressive tally for the small group of dwarves. They gathered the bodies of the foul greenskins and burned them. Then they marched a short distance and made camp for the night, too waery to travel further.
Meeting King Belargyle
The rest of the journey proved uneventful and Belegar and his companions soon reached the glorious halls of the esteemed King Belargyle. Even Belegar was awestruck by the immense pillars of gold and stone, and gatehouses so mighty that they blotted out the sun from the sky. Brawny warriors greeted him, clad in shimmering plate and mail, and bearing massive, two-handed axes across their backs. Granted entrance into the hallowed halls, Belegar found the interior no less impressive than the exterior. A veritable forest of ivory pillars awaited him, buttressed by thick supporting columns of dark granite. Polished marble floors glowed in the torchlight. Well-dressed dwarves milled about, talking and laughing.
A steel armoured soldier appeared and offered to take Belegar to King Belargyle's audience chamber. Leaving his caravans at the gate, Belegar complied, and followed the dwarf into the depths of the mountain fortress. Belegar vastly underestimated the size of the stronghold and he walked with the guide for nearly fifteen minutes before stopping in front of a pair of doors fashioned in pure gold. King Belargyle's royal seal was affixed to the doors, etched in the gold. Belegar recognized it from the description his scouts had given him.
"The Hall of Kings, sire," the dwarf soldier said, bowing deeply.
High King Belargyle
The golden doors swung open noiselessly and Belegar was ushered into the Hall. Silver coated the floor. A pathway of gold led to the raised dias front, where King Belargyle sat upon his royal throne. Statues of gold lined the walls, Belegar guessed that they were all the Kings who had ever ruled here. Stout warriors flanked the throne.
Belegar boldly approached the royal throne, overjoyed to finally meet the mysterious King Belargyle. His soldiers followed behind him.
King Belargyle greeted Belegar warmly and inquired about his journey and the battles he had fought. Belegar answered his questions and asked the King about the nature of his alliance and if the Angrund Clan might find refuge there.
Belargyle replied that in time Belegar's people might find refuge in the Dwarven Lords, but first they need to prove themselves and to grow and become stronger. Belargyle offered Belegar a place among some smaller dwarf lords, where he could still find protection for the numerous threats that abounded in Elgea, but where he could also prove himself worthy of the title Lord.
Belegar was disappointed at being denied a place in the Dwarven Lords, but the wisdom and sagacity of King Belargyle was undeniable. Belegar agreed to the proposal, determined to expand his kingdom for his people's sake. Last, but not least he presented the King with his gifts though they seemed a paltry affair compared to the magnificence of the regal Hall of Kings.
Lord Belegar spent three days in the mountain fortress, studying and learning all he could. Before he returned to Karak Eight Peaks, King Belargyle appointed two of his most trusted advisors, Lord Jack Aubrey, and Lord Mordok, to oversee Belegar's tutelage.
Belegar spent the next several years among the smaller dwarf lords, learning much. His city grew and he soon sent settlers out to build another, called Karak Drazh. He expanded his armies and launched many successful sorties against the wild beasts of the surrounded countryside.
His armies saw combat in a tourney proclaimed by the so-called King Sigurd, a tyrant whose authority Belegar does not recognize, slaying over one thousand enemy troops in a single battle. Near Karak Drazh, Belegar had a darker task for his soldiers. He had learned firsthand and read accounts and bitter tales of the Great War and the exploits of the Dwarven Lords. When enemy soldiers from VCrow occupied a nearby tourney square, Belegar ordered his army to attack and launched wave after wave of assaults, killing hundreds of enemy soldiers in the process, and gaining a small measure of revenge for his brothers.
His first successful siege followed soon after.
Belegar personally led the final attack over the enemy ramparts and put the city to the sword, burning it to the ground. The cowardly elf overlord had long ago fled the city, and his disillusioned citizens were no match for Belegar's disciplined troops.
Several other cities fell to Belegar's victorious army, the young dwarf leading from the front as always. With each victory, Belegar gained valuable experience, and made the land safer for his people and his clan.
On his sixth such siege, Lord Belegar was overseeing a catapult bombardment, when a messenger rode from the city gates begging for mercy on behalf of the ruling lady of the city. Proving that he was wise as well as just, Belegar saw fit to grant mercy to the city and allowed the humans to live in peace.
Not once but twice has Lord Belegar granted mercy to a city when its ruler asked for it. Just as his father had taught him, courage must be accompanied by mercy. A dwarf without mercy has no honor. And honor is more important than life.
His cities grew as did his armies and soon he added a third, fourth, and fifth city. His engineers conducted much research and study and he soon began to move his cities, resettling them in Turulia, the ancient homeland of the Dwarven Lords. Several more years passed and Belegar grew ever stronger. His loyal troops hunted and killed exotic beasts, including many dangerous elementals who haunted the land.
He delved fully into crafting and his smiths continue to produce the finest weapons in Elgea to equip his ever expanding armies. He sent merchants far and wide, seeking exotic goods and new markets for trade. His mages become quite powerful and cast powerful wards to protect his city. Only once has anyone been foolish enough to attempt to steal from the storehouses of Karak Eight Peaks. Four hundred thieves were killed during that attempt and the theft failed. Belegar ordered their bodies burned like common criminals to set an example. Lord Belegar does not take kindly to thieves.
One day Belegar decided to go visit an old friend, Captain Kindly, a true man of honor, and to have a large feast. The trip was long, but the springtime weather was fair and Belegar did not fear the petty bandits that roamed the countryside.
But it was not bandits that Belegar would come across. Belegar and his companions had just cleared Witchfire Pass, emerging onto the Plains of Zarr, an ancient battlefield of two long dead kingdoms, when anguished cries reached their ears and they could see a caravan of humans moving quickly down the dirt road.
A hulking, oversized giant was chasing the humans, running awkwardly on its clumsy feet. The brute wieldy a spiky-balled club in its meaty hands. He smashed the club down like a mallet, seeking to crush the poor humans flat as pancakes.
Belegar beckoned his loyal dwarves to his side and drew his warhammer. Charging, he soon closed the distance between himself and the giant, who failed to notice him. Wasting no time, Belegar ran for the giant's right leg. His dwarves fanned out around him, attacking from all sides.
The giant's club appeared out of nowhere and nearly killed him. Belegar rolled our of the way, cheating death by the finest whisker of his lengthy beard. His somersault carried him to his feet again and he was off and running. The giant was big, but for once, the dwarves outnumbered their enemy. A steel bolt from a crossbow caught the oaf in the torso, and the giant roared in anger, red blood trickling down his side. Belegar hit the giant in the foot with his hammer. Unfortunately, that only made the giant kick out with his leg and send the dwarf lord tumbling to the ground. Belegar landed on his back, skidding across the dirt.
With a shout he was on his feet again, hammer at the ready. Another dwarf sailed through the air and crashed heavily into the ground, spitting curses. Belegar renewed his attack. The giant was distracted from the other dwarves, and Belegar dealt another savage blow to his foot, aiming for the ankle. A backwards kick with the heel nearly knocked Belegar senseless. When he sat up, his head was ringing.
He needed a better plan. Fortunately, he had just the idea.
The human caravans were scattered and some had been overturned in their haste to get away. One of those vans was carrying several coils of stout rope.
"Get to the ropes! We need to trip him up and tangle his legs!" he shouted. He ordered a handful of warriors to distract the giant, which they did with their crossbows, keeping up a steady hail of fire and peppering the giant with bolts. The overgrown brute roared so loudly it felt as if the mountains shook.
Belegar directed five of his soldiers to take one end of the rope while he and another four took the other end. He didn't know if they had the strength to pull the giant down, but they had to try something.
"Go left, we will go right," he said, pointing. His dwarves obeyed instantly. They spread out pulling the rope tight, and advanced on the run.
The giant saw them coming, but he stared dumbly at the approaching dwarves unsure as to what they were doing. The rope slipped over the giants toes and cinched tight against his ankles. The giant kicked in response.
Belegar suddenly felt like he was being pulled by a team of bulls, and was quickly pulled off his feet. He dug in his booted heels, but to no avail. The giant was just too strong. He and his dwarves were overmatched. Then the giant picked up the rope, lifting Belegar into the air. Several of the dwarves let go, tumbling to the grass. Belegar gritted his teeth and hung on.
The giant opened his mouth, and for three long heartbeats, Belegar stared directly into the reeking maw of yellowed teeth and rotten chunks of flesh.
The dwarf kicked his legs, causing the rope to swing. He kicked again, harder this time. It would have to do, he was almost in the giant's mouth. He leapt for the giant's swarthy face.
He crashed into the giant's bulbulous nose, landing awkwardly. The giant's giant eyes squinted at him as his mouth clamped shut without anything inside. The giant hit himself in the face, but Belegar had already scrambled to the giant's forehead.
Belegar's hammer flashed in the sunlight; not once, not twice, but three times. At the final blow, the giant's eyes rolled back in his head and he began to fall. The dwarf grabbed on to a piece of the giant's lanky hair and held on for dear life as the giant collapsed.
Lord Belegar does not remember how he survived the fall, but when he came to his loyal dwarves were gathered around him. They congratulated him and pulled him to his feet. His armour was battered and worn, but he was alive.
"Next time lets use a catapult," Belegar quipped. His warriors laughed heartily at his joke.
The humans were extramely grateful for the rescue and thanked Belegar by giving him some of their ale. No finer gift exists for a dwarf, except for gold.
Belegar continued on his way and reached Captain Kindly's castle without further incident, where they feasted long into the night.
Culling the Deep
Karaz-A-Karak was Lord Belegar's third city. It was a magnificent city, located on a breathtakingly tall mountain in the depths of a forest, perfect territory for his stalwarts. The forges rang with the sound of hammers day and night, and dwarf soldiers drilled incessantly, practicing their swordplay and axework. Belegar established a crafting guild in the city and the fortress soon began to produce some of the finest arms and armour in his kingdom.
But the budding stronghold hid a dark secret in its cavernous depths. Some unknown civilization had drilled deep mineshafts into the mountain and had tunneled out a complex network of ventilation shafts and irrigation canals. The dwarf engineers there had only just began to probe the true nature of the forgotten people's work. Then they began to hear strange noises in the tunnels. Silent whispers tugged at their ears. Unseen feet pattered in the night. Tunnels collapsed inexplicably. Workers began to disappear. Cryptic messages appeared on the cavern walls, but the dwarves could not decipher them.
When Belegar was told of the disturbances he ordered the tunnels sealed immediately. Something was down there, he knew, and whatever it was, it wanted the dwarves to leave. He was determined to find out what it was and kill it.
The journey to Karaz-a-Karak was short and uneventful. When he reached the city, Belegar could feel a palpable sense of unease that had descended over the mountain stronghold. Inside the fortress, the dwarves huddled in groups talking anxiously among themselves in hushed whispers. Despite the bright shining sun, the city seemed dark.
Belegar was determined to get to the bottom of this immediately, but his first stop was with the scholars and mages of the city to see what they thought. The scholars were the first to speak, and a careful study of ancient dwarf texts revealed that the mysterious tunnels beneath the city were known as "The Deep," an ominous name. The mages confirmed that something very evil was lurking in the cavernous depths. They could sense a great disturbance in the winds of magic. They were worried.
Next, Belegar spoke to the engineers and some of the tunnel workers, who had first hand experience with the evil lurking below. They spoke of pale, mutated beast that stalked the tunnels, resembling giant, humanoid rats. The beasts were numerous, and would often attack from all directions.
But the engineers had come up with a plan. They had developed special shields, that protected both a dwarves front and sides. When enough dwarves packed a tunnel, they formed an impentrable wall of steel and muscle. The formation and shields was untested, but they has thought it would work.
Belegar liked the idea immediately. He ordered his engineers to make enough shields to outfit every warrior in Karaz-a-Karak. The engineer guild set to the task with relish, and soon the forges were alive with the measured drumming of hammer upon steel. The smell of the forge, sweat and ash, fire and steel, was the smell of home to Belegar. It took three days of non-stop, back breaking work, but the engineers and blacksmiths finished the shields in record time. Lord Belegar rallied his warriors, and departed for the tunnels.
When the tunnel gates were open, a stinking cloud of rotten flesh wafted across the threshold. Some of the dwarves gagged. Torches were brought forward.
"Form ranks!' Belegar shouted from the head of the column. His warriors obeyed instantly and grouped together, forming a shield wall. Glittering swords and axes flashed in the torchlight, cold and deadly. Belegar held his warhammer in his right hand. He was ready.
Belegar and his dwarves marched over the threshold, leaving behind the warmth and comfort of the hold. The iron gates boomed shut beind them. The dwarves marched for a solid two minutes and saw not one other living thing. The stench did not improve, it smelled like a million rats had died somewhere in the darkness. Belegar nearly retched at the sink.
Suddenly a whitish blur burst into the orange glow of the torches and slammed into the battle line ten paces to Belegar's left. A sword flashed out, stabbing the mutant creature in the gut. It had the face of a man and a rat, which twitched in pain, wriggling its snout, and making some gurgling sound with its mouth. A dwarf in the second rank stepped forward and split the creature's head with his battle axe. The twitching stopped, and the creature slumped to the ground, claws raking ineffectually at the dwarf's shield.
Thunderous silence descended upon the dwarves. Nobody moved. Belegar opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a piercing, unearthly scream. Then all hell broke loose. White, fleshy mutants burst from the darkness, roaring and screeching like banshees, slamming into the dwarf shield wall with hurricane force.
Dwarf battle cries and foul oaths erupted from the dwarf battle line. Swords and axes cut the air in glittering arcs of shining steel, slicing flesh and severing limbs. A number of the grotesque monsters began leaping over the front rank, and crashed into the ranks beyond.
Belegar smashed the first mutant in the face, which exploded in a hot, sticky mess. The headless body toppled to the tunnel floor. A white wave of mutants followed the first attack.
Dwarf mages had accompanied Belegar's host and now they leapt into the fight, filling the tunnel with multi-colored bursts of arcane energy. The sulphur stench of burnt flesh filled the tunnel.
Slowly, but surely Belegar and his warriors fought their way through the Deep, hacking and bludgeoning legions of mutant horrors that assailed them from every side. Eventually they reached the final chamber at the heart of the Deep. There a great fleshly mass of putrid muscle awaited them. Having six eyes, three mouths, and too many appendages to count, the oversized monster was clearly the source of the corruption.
Belegar's mages began to prepare a powerful spell, but they needed time to enact the powerful enchantments. To buy his mages time, Belegar ordered an immediate assault. The great beast could hardly move and indeed did practically nothing as Belegar and his loyal dwarves stormed forward.
But it must have had some sort of psycich power over its fellow mutants, because the chamber was suddenly flooded with them; hacking, clawing, biting, and screeching like mad devils. The dwarves meet them with courage and cold steel, their axes and swords running red with blood.
The dwarf formation broke apart under the onslaught, torn asunder by the attack from all sides. Belegar lashed out with his hammer, roaring with ancestral fury, enraged at the prospect of defeat when he was so close to victory.
Just when defeat seemed imminent, a blinding flash of purple light lit the chamber, then green, then blue. Thunder like the voices of the gods exploded in Belegar's ears, making his head ring inside his battle helm.
When the world stopped trembling, Belegar opened his eyes. The mutant overlord was dead, ripped to pieces by the mages powerful spell. All his minions were dead around him, flesh cooking on the eldritch breeze. Belegar could taste the ash on his tongue.
His exhausted mages stood in a circle, robes tattered. Belegar smiled grimly at them. He had culled the Deep.
Slaying the Dragon
On one blistering summer day, a group of terrified elf merchants came pouring into Karak Eight Peaks, gibbering like mad about some insane tale of a dragon that was loose on the main highway. They had lost a dozen horses and many of them suffered burn marks and other nasty wounds. Belegar turned the elves over to the care of his skilled physicians, donned his armour, and set forth to determine the truth of this seemingly fictional tale.
Scarcely an hour had passed, when Belegar saw an ominous shape approaching on the horizon. The black skinned dragon quickly flew into view, belching gouts of orange flame that outshone the midday sun. The dragon had more teeth than a dozen alligators and claws fit to rip apart a castle wall.
Belegar knew he must fight this creature and for the good of his people, he must prevail. He ordered his body guards to spread out and attack the dragon from all sides. They obeyed with haste, axes and swords flashing silver in the sunlight. Belegar readied his warhammer.
The ebony-scaled dragon swooped low and released a pillar of fire at Belegar, who sprinted and rolled forward, somersaulting beneath the flames. Even so the hot breath scorched his skin beneath his armour. The dragon whipped his tail at Belegar, forcing the dwarf to spin out of the way.
Crossbow bolts fizzed through the smoldering air. Roaring dwarves charged in, bellowing like mad. The dragon circled in the sky and crashed back to earth in a spray of brown soil, spawning a miniature earthquake that knocked half the dwarves off their feet. It lashed out with its head, biting and snapping its teeth. Steel rang upon claw, echoing shrilly.
Belegar stood his ground against the dragon and when the beast attacked, the dwarf swung his hammer with all the fury he could muster. His fierce blow caught one of the dragon's sharp teeth and shattered it like glass in a hailstorm. The dragon recoiled, screaming in pain and anger. The dwarf pressed his attack, driving the dragon back. His dwarves surrounded it, hacking from all sides, tearing great chunks of flesh from the bony carapace of its armour.
But the dragon was far from dead. Roaring with millennia old fury, the ancient beast shook itself and spun in a circle, dragging its tail through the dirt. Belegar failed to move in time and the tail knocked him over. He landed heavily, weighed down by his armour.
Lord Belegar rolled to his feet and spat the dirt from his mouth. His brothers-in-arms were down as well, staggering to their feet, and redrawing dropped weapons. The dragon continued to flail. Scarlet blood pooled beneath the beast.
"Bring him down!" Belegar yelled, knowing that this was the moment to strike. He charged.
An expert shot from a crossbow caught the dragon in the right eye, blinding it instantly. Belegar would later learn that a young dwarf named Thorek had fired the shot.
The black dragon swung its head around crazily, trying to keep all the dwarves in its vision at once, a task which proved impossible. Flames shot from its mouth, setting the grass on fire in some places.
The hot stench of smoke burned Belegar's nostrils and the bitter taste of ash filled his mouth. Gritting his teeth, he ran straight for the dragon's mouth. He lifted his runic shield as the fire washed over him, singing his beard. Wards sparked and fizzled on his shield, keeping the flames at bay.
Suddenly the flames stopped and the dragon lunged in, jaws gaping, throat glistening. Belegar hit the beast in the nose with his hammer. The shock of the blow raced up his arms, numbing them temporarily. The dragon recoiled, stunned and shaken. It turned its head, trying to keep Belegar in view with its remaining good eye. It lashed out withs its thick legs and tail, flailing blindly at the surrounding dwarves, and sending some flying through the air.
An idea sprang into Belegar's mind. Dropping his shield, Belegar drew his sword and ran for the dragon's neck on its blid side. Three paces away he leapt and stabbed the dragon, his sword piercing the chitinous hide. Blood spurted from the wound. Using the sword as an anchor, he pulled himself up until he stood on the back of the dragon. The rough dragon scales cut his palms, but Belegar ignored the pain. He nearly slipped as the dragon shook itself, but he just barely managed to keep his balance.
Raising his hammer over his head with both hands, Belegar whipped it down in a crushing overhead strike. The blunt-nosed hammer punched through the dragon's skull and into the soft meat of its brain. The dragon went limp beneath him and collapsed to the ground, landing in a ragged heap.
Belegar stood atop the dragon, victorious.
His comrades cheered loudly, splitting the air with shouts of triumph. The dragon was dead!
Lord Belegar did not have to walk back to his castle because his men carried him all the way back, armour and all. The dwarf ruler had the dragon's massive head affixed above the gates of Karak Eight Peaks, so any passerby would know that the land was safe from the scourge of the dragon.
Promotion to Dwarven Lords
Belegar's victory did not go unnoticed by the Lords of Elgea and word of the dragon's slaying soon reached High King Belargyle. At once the High King requested an audience with Belegar. The young Lord did not hesitate to obey his King's command and quickly made the journey to Belargyle's mountain fortress. No orcs troubled him this time.
The fortress seemed even grander than Belegar remembered. Rune-etched gates loomed large, buttressed by thick stone walls that could hold ten ogres side by side. Not they ever would for no ogre was foolish enough to approach the city and the fierce dwarven warriors within.
The Herculean gates opened before Belegar, revealing the interior of a proud and noble city. When he had journeyed here before, nobody recognized him, and the towns folk had paid him no need, for he was just another dwarf passing through the city. But now the dwarves gathered about and spoke of him in hushed whispers. Several dwarf maidens smiled brightly at Belegar as he walked by.
A heavily armoured dwarf soldier ushered Belegar into the Hall of Kings. Belegar was nervous, but hopeful. The hall was just as impressive as before, lined with regal statues of long-dead kings. His feet walked steadily across the golden tiles leading to the Royal Throne, upon which sat Belargyle, arrayed in his finest kingly robes of deep purble and gold.
When Belegar reached the front of the hall, Belargyle commanded him to kneel. Belegar obeyed. A rough looking stone was brought out and set before Belegar, who recongized it as the Sacred Oath Stone, the very stone upon which all dwarves swore their vows of allegience to the Dwarven Lords. His heart soared when he saw the ancient Oath Stone. He placed both hands on the stone, palms rested firmly on the rough stone.
King Belargyle stood to his feet and unrolled a yellowed scroll. "Say the oath," he commanded. The words on the scroll were written in Khazalid, the sacred language of the dwarves, passed down to them from the Artefores, the Ancestor Gods and creators of Elgea.
Belegar repeated the words on the scroll. The ancient language spilled reverently from his mouth.
"I swear by this sacred oath stone that I will support and defend my fellow Dwarven Lords against all enemies; that I will obey High King Belargyle as the one true soveriegn of all Dwarves; that I will obey the sacred Eleven Commandments at all times;and that I will be prepared to give my life in the defence of the Realm."
Belegar's words were still echoing through the hall when Belargyle spoke again.
"Rise, High Lord Belegar. Welcome to the kingdom."
Belegar stood to his feet, joy in his heart. He was finally in the the Dwarven Lords, and a member of the most powerful alliance of Dwarven Clans in all Illyriad. An immense feeling of pride washed over him.
High King Belargyle presented Belegar with two gifts of immense value. First, the King gave him a golden suit of battle armour with dragons carved on the shoulder pauldrons. The armour shimmered brilliantly in the lurid torchlight. The armour also came with a winged helmet, made from gold, and a pair of gold-covered gauntlets. It was a panoply fit for a dwarf lord.
Secondly, Belargyle awarded Belegar with a fearsome looking sword that had a ruby-encrusted hilt. Pure silversteel had been used in the forging of the blade, which had occurred hundreds of years ago during the Golden Age of the Dwarves.
"The sword is called Soul Splitter. Use it well," Belargyle said, his voice like thunder.
Belegar accepted the gift with a bow, his eyes mesmerized by the glittering blade, the finest weapon he had ever seen. His other weapons seemed like poor playthings in comparison.
When the ceremony ended, Lord Belegar was congratulated by Lord Jack Aubrey and Lord Mordok, the two dwarves who had recommended Belegar's promotion to the High King.
A massive feast was thrown in Belegar's honor. Tables were piled high in ham, beef, mutton, seven types of bread, and some other meats from exotic lands that Belegar had never heard off. Stout Dwarven Ale was as plentiful as stone in a mountain and flowed freely through the night. It was the finest ale Belegar had ever tasted. At the feast, Belegar met all the other lords of Dwarven Lords. It was a truly glorious occasion.
Belegar returned to his hold of Karak Eight Peaks and to a hearty welcome from his people. He was determined to serve the will of High King Belargyle and to lead Clan Angrund to even greater heights, surpassing even the Golden Age of the Dwarves.
The Undead Scourge
Not long after his promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Dwarven Lords, word reached High Lord Belegar of a strange apparition that was launching zombies across Illyriad, vomiting forth a plague of undead minions to destroy the land of the living.
His scholars reported that the undead had something to do with the legendary lost keep of Duraz Kurag. Belegar at once swore to do all he could to protect the land from the undead and to get to the bottom of this incredibly mystery. He prepared his armies and sent his scouts to scour the land in search of the zombies. Another dwarf, the powerful Epidemic, a friend to the Dwarven Lords, was also undertaking the quest. At Epidemic's request, Belegar dispatched over one thousand Halbardiers to defend Epidemic's city against the ruinous onslaught of the zombies.
Soon, Karak Eight Peaks came under assault by the undead filth. Belegar promised his people that no zombie would reach the walls of his beloved city. To honor his vow, he rallied his troops and prepared for war in the dense forests surrounding the stronghold. He did not have to wait long.
The zombie hordes were endless, but Belegar and his dwarves fought them with courage and a resolve bordering on suicidal. Using the forested terrain to their advantage, his troops launched ambush after ambush, killing hundreds of zombies on the first day alone. They built cleverly disguised stake pits and felled great trees to halt the advance.
It was dirty thankless work, but hour by hour, day by day, the forests were cleared. Belegar led from the front, personally commanding attack after attack and killing nearly one thousand of the undead beasts. After two weeks of fierce and unrelenting combat, the forests grew silent again. The undead were vanquished!
Belegar returned to a heroes welcome. His most skilled mages scoured the battlefield and collected various strange tentacles that were left over from the battle. They claimed it was necessary for the mystery of the undead scourge. Belegar trusted his wizards, but was still a bit unnerved by it.
His troops returned from Epidemic's city of Karak Drak empty handed. After consulting with his scholars and wizards, Belegar sent his troops back to Karak Drak, and told them to prepare for a long campaign. His troops are still there, waiting patiently for the expected assault.
Lord Belegar is the proud ruler of seven cities, all refuges for Dwarves everywhere agasint the ravages of the wild. His merhcant caravans search far and wide, seeking good trade deals, and doing business all across Elgea and even the Broken Lands; they do not fear the perilous journey for they are dwarves and fear nothing.
His armies are on the move, protecting the weak, and setting his enemies to flight. Lord Belegar has razed over a dozen cities and one day hopes to top even the mighty dwarf Epidemic in number of successful sieges. His commanders are skilled and brave, and Belegar himself still takes to the field regularly for the joy of battle cannot be denied. His most recent siege target was an elf, a common target for his armies.
Belegar extends friendship to all dwarves of Illyriad and invites them to join the bearded fellowship of the Dwarven Lords. To all other races he offers peace and health. But like any dwarf he does not shy away from war. His armies are ever expanding and his swords are sharp. He does not run from conflict.
All this is but a small part of the saga of High Lord Belegar Ironhammer, the rest of the story, as they say, is being written every day.
It is said that when the dwarves die, their spirits return unto the stone. This is not a reference to some mythic ideal but rather to the actual stone that surrounds them. It is the roof over their head, the ground under their feet, the very matrix from which their statutes and architecture is drawn from. Is it an wonder that they feel such a reverence towards it?
- Rikard Kan, historian, "Chronicle of the Dwarves: Volume IV" year 723
They are as unyielding as a mountain and as strong as the stone beneath their feet. Their anger burns like a forge, hot and fierce. Not even all the waters of the Bitter Sea could quench their thirst for vengeance. To wrong a dwarf is more foolish than slitting your own throat.
- Bronn Lyad, explorer, "The Mountain Folk: A History" year unknown
Official Clan Angrund Battle Hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqqaHBRRvus
Joined: 23 Dec 2014
Location: Real - life
Love this story, even though I have read it like 5 times and it is making my computer lag.
Player Council - Geographer
Joined: 17 Jun 2011
Wow, this is amazing. Thanks Belegar.
Joined: 29 Mar 2014
Thanks, all. The same story appears on my profile.
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