There are many Dwarf strongholds scattered throughout the Grey Mountains, though none are as wealthy or as magnificent as the surviving karaks of the Worlds Edge Mountains far to the east. The Dwarfs of this region are called Grey Dwarfs by their eastern kin, which is a reference not only to their location, but also to their dour outlook and the relative austerity of their holds.
Karak Azgaraz is one such Grey Dwarf stronghold, nestled among the flinty peaks southeast of Übersreik. It has stood here since long before the Empire was founded. Until a few centuries ago, it enjoyed rich resources of gold and silver, but now these veins are largely mined out, forcing the hold to rely on trade with the Empire to make ends meet. Its treasure stores are modest in the eyes of Dwarfs, but to men the wealth of Karak Azgaraz is legendary, and attracts Human merchants willing to brave the highlands.
Karak Azgaraz’s new king, Thuringar Orc-hewer, realises that fresh seams of gold and silver must be found if the hold is to survive economically. However, the lands around the karak have long been at the mercy of hostile Greenskin tribes, who quickly burn down any settlements and mining works constructed beyond the hold’s walls. Meanwhile, Ratmen and Night Goblins scurry in the labyrinths beneath Karak Azgaraz, threatening destruction from below. Thuringar has taken the battle to these foes, both to avenge past grudges and to pacify the region.
The king’s daring counter-attacks against his enemies have given Karak Azgaraz a reputation for boldness, much to the chagrin of many Longbeards who dislike ‘rashness’ of deed and thought. However, despite the muttered disapproval of the elders, the new king is keen for the karak to live up to its name as the “Hold of the Fearless Axes.”
Karak Azgaraz is situated within Eyrie Peak, high amongst the Grey Mountains. The road from the hold’s great gate skirts a small lake, Copper Tarn, at the foot of the mountain, and runs west, reaching Grey Lady Pass after two days. Another two days’ north, Übersreik guards the head of the pass, while four days’ south lies the Bretonnian city of Parravon. A precipitous highland track leads eastwards from the hold, reaching Karak Norn after two weeks, passing a handful of smaller holds. Rock falls are common and sometimes the path crumbles away to a dizzying drop of thousands of feet. Greenskins, Trolls, and other highland monsters regularly prey on travellers.
Travel is impossible for all but the hardiest Dwarf Ranger in winter, when the mountains are blanketed in thick snow, and ice storms howl through the peaks.
Iron, copper, and tin are plentiful below Eyrie Peak, providing Karak Azgaraz with the basic resources it needs to sustain its workshops. However, in recent centuries the hold’s seams of gold and silver have dwindled, and it has increasingly relied upon trade with the Empire for the supply of these precious metals. Übersreik is the main gateway for master-crafted metalwork, powerful ales, and furs from the karak.
Since King Thuringar’s successful campaigns against the greenskins of the region, Dwarf prospectors have struck a few encouraging seams of gold in the peaks surrounding the hold, although Orcs and Goblins continue to be a menace.
The Annals of Azgaraz Edit
All dates translated into the Imperial Calendar.
- -2000 to -1560 - Three kings of Azgaraz are slain during the War of Vengeance. The faithless Elves shall settle their debt only when they restore the three lost crowns.
- -1500 - The Time of Woes. Karak Azgaraz welcomes survivors from the ruined holds of the Worlds Edge Mountains.
- -1499 to -1 - The greenskin tribes encroach on our karak. Their atrocities fill a thousand pages in our Book of Grudges.
- -1 - King Gullin Flamemane and his throng fight at the Battle of Black Fire Pass. Gullin’s rune-axe settles six score grudges against the greenskins.
- 1111 - Karak Azgaraz endures the Black Plague. Our warriors scour the Skaven from the Underdeep. Ten thousand grudges upon their kind!
- 1522 - The last of our wutroth groves succumb to rootrot. Axe-parties seek timber in the wilds south of the mountains, but none return. Our first grudge against the woodfolk of Athel Loren is recorded.
- 1707 - Our throng musters to help defend Übersreik against the Ironclaw tribe. Alas, superior numbers force our throng to retreat and the Orcs raze the city.
- 2302-2304 - King Zaladrin Strife-axe marches to Kislev to fight Chaos alongside Magnus the Pious. In his absence, Übersreik is ravaged by Orcs. Our karak can spare no warriors for the city’s defence. In recompense, Zaladrin sends our finest craftsmen to rebuild its walls.
- 2318 - The dead perturb the Dwarfs of Azgaraz. King Zaladrin lays siege to the ruinous Blood Keep and slays there a Blood Knight to lay rest his unliving horde.
- 2452 - King Zaladrin routs the greenskins at the Battle of High Mere. The ravens feast well on grobi flesh. Alas, Zaladrin and Gunrig, his heir, are murdered by a Goblin assassin. A heinous grudge indeed! Thuringar Orc-hewer succeeds to the throne of Karak Azgaraz.
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd Edition: Book of Grudges
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