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Karaz-a-Karak

Karaz-a-Karak

Karaz Ankor, translated as "The Everlasting Realm" is the primary homeland of Dwarfen kingdoms, the holds and cities of the Worlds Edge Mountains that they have inhabited since the earliest days of their recorded history. Their original homeland was located in the mountains of the Southlands, but they migrated northwards in search of new veins to mine, gradually settling in the Worlds Edge Mountains. At their peak, Dwarfen lands encompassed nearly the entirety of the Worlds Edge Mountains, in addition to settlements in the Grey and Black Mountains and many smaller hill settlements in the lands of what would become the Empire. However, their Pyrrhic victory in the War of Vengeance, combined with the vast destruction of the Time of Woes and the onslaught of the Goblin Wars, resulted in the loss of several holds and hundreds of smaller settlements and mines. The Dwarfs still rule nine major holds and countless smaller kingdoms.

HoldsEdit

  • Karaz-a-Karak - (From Khazalid the language of the Dwarfs) - Karaz-a-Karak simply translates into Everpeak, although the name holds a much greater significance to their kind. This is the age old capital of the near-mythical ancient Dwarf civilisation, the Pinnacle of Mountains, the Most Enduring. It is the first, most powerful and largest of their holds containing within its halls the history of their people carved in stone. Karaz-a-Karak has withstood many attacks through the ages, but it has never fallen to an invader. It is the seat of the High Kings, the site of the temples to the ancestor gods, and here are kept the Great Book of Grudges and the Book of Remembering, works of almost sacred significance. It is the mightiest and most populous of all the Dwarf kingdoms, and its deep rock-hewn vaults stretch for many leagues under the mountain, with the largest halls resembling colossal forests of carved pillars. Karaz-a-Karak has endured for ages past and will endure in ages future until the very end of times.
  • Karak Kadrin - known as the 'Stronghold of the Pass'. This hold is situated south of Peak Pass which in ancient times allowed the Dwarfs greater ease of travel between the western and eastern edge of the Worlds Edge Mountains; this declined in importance after the Dwarfs abandoned the eastern edge during the Time of the Goblin Wars. Now the Dwarfs guard the pass against marauding tribes of Orcs and Goblins who travel through on their way to the Empire and Kislev. Though it has been besieged many times it has never fallen, and remains a wealthy centre for trade. The most famous characteristic of the hold is that it is the home of the Slayer cult; within its walls dwells the Shrine of the Slayers, where the names and deeds of all Slayers are kept and remembered. The lord of Karak Kadrin is known as the Slayer King, as he and his predecessors are bound both by their desire to seek out a glorious death against the forces of darkness, but must also honour their duty to their kinsfolk; they balance this problem by acting as the patrons of the Shrine, which also worships the Ancestor God Grimnir, known as the first Slayer. The current Slayer King is Ungrim Ironfist.
  • Zhufbar - known as the 'Torrent Gate'. This hold is located around a deep chasm and by a vast waterfall which runs to the Black Water lake. Around the waterfall, the dwarfs have constructed thousands of water wheels and forges to help smelt ore and build new weaponry. It is the principal center and shrine of the Engineer's Guild and is famous for the quality of its war machines. In the past, the gromril of Karak Varn was smelted here and forged into powerful armour and weapons. The current king is Baraudin Stoneheart.
  • Karak Azul - known as 'Iron Peak'. This hold is located in the south of the Worlds Edge Mountains, and is the only southern hold still ruled by the Dwarfs. Within its lands lies the richest deposits of iron ore in the whole mountain range, as well as other rich veins of other minerals and gemstones. It is known as a centre of metalworking and for its weaponsmiths, who forge some of the most powerful weapons of the Dwarfs, which it supplies to many of the other holds. The current ruler is King Kazador.
  • Karak Hirn - known as the 'Hornhold'. This hold is located in the Black Mountains, and its name derives from an especially large cavern which, when the wind blows through, creates sounds like a mighty warhorn. Over the years, the dwarfs have built chambers and doors to create different sound effects. It is a smaller and younger hold, founded later after the great kingdoms and settlements of the Worlds Edge Mountains, and has only limited quantities of veins and minerals to mine. The current king is Alrik Ranulfsson.
  • Karak Norn - this hold lies in the Grey Mountains , above the forest of Athel Loren. It is a small and somewhat poor hold, with very few mineral deposits and veins, all of which are hard to mine. Like with Karak Hirn and Karak Izor, it has grown in importance and power since the Time of the Goblin Wars, as many dwarfs have come to live in its isolated lands, though likewise many young dwarfs from the hold journey eastwards to become prospectors and miners. The current king is Brokk Ironpick.
  • Karak Izor - known as 'Copper Mountain' in the tongues of Men. It is located near the Vaults at the junction between the Black and Grey mountain ranges, where there are many deep valleys and inaccessible peaks. Despite its isolation, there are many rich lodes of iron, copper, tin and other metals, and as such it has some of the deepest mine workings outside of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Many of the Dragonback Dwarves came to inhabit these lands after the loss of Dragonback Crag and the mines of Ekrund, where they use the seclusion to work and plan their return.
  • Barak Varr - known as the 'Gateway to the Sea'. This hold is located in the lands of the Border Princes and is unique as the only Dwarf hold built by the sea. It is built deep into the vast caves and cliffs where the Howling River joins the Black Gulf. It is the principal trading hold of the Dwarves, remaining open to trade all throughout the centuries and enabling the dwarves to enjoy a more cosmopolitan lifestyle compared to many other holds. Merchants from all over the world come to both trade for dwarven items, and enjoy dwarven hospitality. It is also the home of the Dwarf Navy, which houses the powerful steam and paddle-driven Ironclads and Dreadnoughts. The current ruler is King Byrrnoth Grundadrakk.

Destroyed/Overrun HoldsEdit

Beginning during the Time of Woes and continuing throughout the Time of the Goblin Wars and ever since, there have been ten holds that have fallen to the Goblins, Skaven and forces of Chaos:

  • Karak Ungor - Known as the 'Delving Hold'. This hold is located to the north-east of Karak Kadrin, built upon a great natural fault line in the earth. Vast seams and veins of minerals, gems and precious metals reside in the earth beneath the hold, and as such the dwarves built the deepest and most expansive network of mines and workings throughout the whole of the Worlds Edge Mountains. However, such was the extent that they dug that eventually even they lost track of the entire layout and numbers of their mines. In the immediate aftermath of the Time of Woes, in the Imperial Year -1500, after suffering extensive damage in the huge earthquakes, the Night Goblins invaded the lower workings and abandoned mines, eventually driving upwards and overwhelming the Dwarfs before they could organise their defence. After the Dwarves were forced to abandon the hold, it was fully taken over and renamed Red Eye Mountain. At the current moment, it is the home of the Black Orc warlord Grimgor Ironhide.
  • Karak Varn - Known as the 'Stronghold of Lake enclosed by Mountains'.
  • Ekrund - Located on the Dragonback Mountains specifically on Mount Bloodhorn. The Hold was lost to a tide of Orcs from the darklands during the Time of Woes.
  • Karak Eight Peaks - Known as the 'Queen of the Silver Peaks'.Karak Eight Peaks is known for the eight immense mountains surrounding it: Karag Zilfin, Karag Yar, Karag Mhonar, Karagril (also called Silverhorn) in the east, and Karag Lhune, Karag Rhyn, Karag Nar, and Kvinn-Wyr - the White Lady - in the west. In the past, it was known as the Queen of the Silver Depths, and it was a great city of the Dwarfs. They spent many generations carving architectural wonders into the solid mountain rock from which the city was constructed. The Dwarfs tunneled deep into the roots of the surrounding mountains, excavating countless halls, galleries, plazas, mines and tunnels, shrines and temples, and tombs where mighty kings were laid to rest, and designed a great staircase called the Silverway that included approximately one thousand steps. However, all things must come to an end, and eventually tunnels began opening that were not made by the Dwarfs. Endless hordes of Goblins and many worse creatures stormed the depths of its mines by the thousand, overwhelming the unsuspecting stronghold. The Dwarfs had created massive walls to keep out enemies at ground level, creating a fortress mightier than any other, but had never expected an attack from below. All of the underground excavations were lost to the invading Goblins and Skaven, and the Dwarven inhabitants were forced back to the highly fortified citadel at the heart of Karak Eight Peaks.
  • Karak Dum - A dwarf hold that lies in the depths of the Chaos Wastes. Once a mighty hold, it is now hold by all manners of daemons and Chaos worshippers, for this is the base of operation from which ores can be hauled in to make armor for the thousands of Chaos warriors in the waste. It is such that it is being contested by all four powers for total control that has raged for centuries.
  • Kraka Drak - Meaning "Dragon's Hold" in the Khazalid of the Norscan Dwarfs, this great city lay in the northern reaches of Norsca, hidden amidst the mountains of the Aesling tribal lands. Kraka Drak was the capital of the Norse Dwarfs, in spite of being highly isolated from the rest of Dwarfen society like its people. The Norse Dwarfs are highly distinct from the rest of the Dwarf nation, and possess strange customs, and a dialect of Khazalid highly distinct from most southerly Dwarfs. They are noticeably even more warlike than their cousins to the south, and their veneration of the Ancestor Gods emphasizes the warrior aspects of each god. Kraka Drak was destroyed by the armies of the Norse Chaos Lord and then Norscan High-King, Valmir Aesling, in 2390 after a war of almost 88 years. (Note: The destruction is not 100% verified as there is a mix of contradictory information, so Kraka Drak may still be held.)

There is also the lost hold of Karak Zorn, considered to be the very first Dwarf settlement. Located in the mountains of the Southlands, it is fabled as a highly wealthy settlement, with towering ziggurats made of gold. However, all contact with the hold was lost around the Imperial Year -2000, with the last messages being of large armies of Lizardmen attacking the city. Any expedition that has set out to find the city has never returned.

SourcesEdit

  • Armybook: Dwarfs (7th Edition) pg 3 - 134
  • Sigmar's Heirs (RPG) pg 8 - 9
  • Grudgelore: A History of Grudges and the Great Realm of the Dwarfs pg 2 - 126
  • Gotrek and Felix Novels

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