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Karaz-a-Karak

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Karaz-a-Karak
Karaz-a-Karak Gates 6th Edition
Vital statistics
Inhabitants Dwarfs
Type Capital fortress city
Location Central World's Edge Mountains
Population Unknown
Allegiance High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer
Industry Multiple

Karaz-a-Karak is the Dwarf capital city and High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer's seat of power. In Khazalid (the Dwarven language) Karaz-a-Karak translates into Everpeak, although the name holds a much greater significance to their kind. This age old capital of the Dwarf empire is the largest of the Dwarf strongholds and one of the most magnificent pieces of architecture in the world. Within its halls the history of the Dwarf people is carved in stone along what is most likely the greatest concentration of wealth in the world. However Karaz-a-Karak is hidden from the world's view by a winding pass that cuts its way through the World's Edge Mountains. If you manage to make the long trek through the steep treacherous pass to see the marvel of a city, the full splendor of the gates of Karaz-a-Karak will loom before you.

Standing at over four hundred feet tall, the gates appear to be carved into the mountainside. The sheer size is overwhelming to those who have never witnessed such a sight. At the top of the gate a solid flat bastion of stone reaches up to embrace the clouds, and if you turn your head towards the sky you can just make out the glint of a multitude of armored figures patrolling it. Carved into the gate is the symbol of Valaya, the Dwarf Ancestor Goddess. Her image on the gates is said to protect the city from harm and evil magics.

Dwarf karaz

The Halls of Karaz-a-Karak

This mighty and populous stronghold holds many of the noble Dwarf Clans that can trace a direct lineage to the Ancestor Gods themselves. Only in Karaz-a-Karak can you find the traditions of the old Dwarf empire kept alive in its purest form. One such being the worship of the Ancestor Gods, and the Dwarves being a very pious people have created many temples inside Karaz-a-Karak dedicated to them, especially Grungni, Grimnir, and Valaya. Also in Karaz-a-Karak is kept the ancient Great Book of Grudges and Book of Remembering, objects of awe and veneration in their own right.

The High King of the Dwarfs holds a court in a vast vault large enough to engulf a small human town. The Forest of Pillars which forms the mile-long nave is of truly colossal proportions. The whole vastness is illuminated by shafts of light, glowgems and great braziers so that the glint of gold, the gleam of bronze and the warm glow of the rock is everywhere. It is in here that the High King discusses matters of politics, war, grudges, and defense.

The Dwarf language is complex and cannot be literally translated into the languages of Men. Karaz-a-Karak can be roughly interpreted as 'Pinnacle of Mountains'. The Dwarf word for mountain also means 'a thing which endures', so an alternative translation is 'The Most Enduring'. Men call this city Everpeak, which is a good compromise in meaning.

Nobody approaches Karaz-a-Karak unannounced. Miles before even a lone traveler reaches the gates his progress will have been spied by the many hidden watch posts that overlook the Everpeak pass. A lone Dwarf in full clan regalia will await visitors on their arrival. He bears the title of Gatekeeper and it is to him and him alone that one must state their business. Few these days are allowed access to the great Dwarf city. Once, the gates stood open to all visitors and the Dwarf race was more than welcoming to strangers in their realm. Years of war and devastation have changed that forever and now they do not encourage contact with other races. Should a visitor have good reason to enter the kingdom of Karaz-a-Karak, the gatekeeper will knock rhythmically on the door five times with his intricately carved rune hammer then trace the sign of a secret rune into its flat surface. Silvery seams once invisible to even the closest inspection of the smooth granite surface suddenly appear. Seemingly from out of nowhere a doorway no more than four foot high and three foot wide opens. 

It has been many centuries since the High King gave instruction to a Gatekeeper to open the main gates. In the year following the terrible earthquake that shook many of the Dwarf realms to their very foundation, Morgrim Ironbeard, the High King of the time, ordered the gates to be closed. This dour period of Dwarf history is known as the Time of Woes. Many of the Dwarf strongholds were under attack from hordes of Greenskins and Skaven that flooded out from the caverns to take advantage of the devastation that the earthquake had unleashed on the Dwarfs. In his wisdom the King shut off access to the great city. In doing so he also shut off the Dwarfs from contact with the outside world and it has remained much this way to the current day. The gates are only opened to allow the High King's army to march to war. In the rare event that this happens, the gates are opened in silence with no ceremony. Dwarfs do not celebrate war and a Dwarf army on the march from Karaz-a-Karak whilst a sight to behold, is a solemn affair.

The gates of the city have only ever been besieged twice in its long history and both times the besiegers have been forced to abandon their attempts. Even the largest of the great war machines that the Orc Warlord Ugrok Beard Burner brought to bear on the gate barely caused an indentation into the thick stone. The Orc Warlord himself realized the futility of trying to break down the gate with the giant battering ram he had contracted, and the Dwarfs sallied forth and destroyed his horde as he lifted the siege. It is said that amongst the defenses of the city great rivers of molten lava can be poured from the mouths of the carved stone dragons that sit atop the upper wall of the gate. Also, it is claimed that the hills around the approach to the gates are filled with powerful steam engines, which can cause avalanches and rockslides, and even drop lengths of the path into hidden chasms and crevasses. That is not even including the array of artillery, crossbow, and gunfire that the besieger would receive while trying to destroy the gates.

Since the rise of Sigmar's Empire and the end of the Goblin Wars Karaz-a-Karak has been the focus of the Dwarfs aim to restore their empire to its former glory. The lands around the Dwarf capital are the safest and have the greatest concentration of Dwarfs in the World's Edge mountains. Here they have forged their strength anew and have pushed back their enemies the hardest. Karaz-a-Karak has the largest and most well armed and armoured Dwarf army in the Old World, which has defeated the greatest their foes have thrown at them. It is here that Thorgrim Grudgebearer is determined to build a mighty army to retake Karak Eight Peaks from the Goblins and restore it to its former glory.

Sources Edit

  • Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (6th Edition) pg. 58
  • Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (7th Edition) pg. 25

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