- "I am a Dwarf! My honour is my life and without it I am nothing. I shall become a Slayer. I shall seek redemption in the eyes of my ancestors. I shall become as death to my enemies, until I face he that takes my life and my shame."
- —Gotrek Gurnisson, swearing upon the Oath of the Slayer[2a]
A Dwarf Slayer is the ultimate warrior, the perfect personification of death and destruction, and bringer of doom to the enemies of the Dwarf race. Slayers are the strangest and most deadly of all Dwarf warriors. They are outlandish doom-seekers, individuals who have wholly dedicated the entire fiber of their being to the hardest and most destructive life of battle that they can possibly find. Dwarfs are a proud people, and none of them cope well with failure or personal tragedy no matter how small. The loss of a single family member or a hoard of treasures is inconsolable to a Dwarf, a fate that can seriously unhinge their obsessive minds. Eventually these burdens become far to heavy to bear, and a Dwarf would eventually snap, making him forswear the fellowship and comforts of family, clan, and hold, opting instead for a life of self-imposed exile. Having broken ties with everything they once held dear, these Dwarfs leave behind all possessions save for their own axes.[1a]
To become a Slayer is to become an engine of mass destruction, a warrior that seeks nothing more in life than an honorable and glorious death that shall expunge the shame that has pushed him upon this path, and to be remembered in the saga's of his people for all time. To first become a Slayer, the Dwarf must make a pilgrimage towards the holy Shrine of Grimnir located within the treacherous peaks of Karak Kadrin, also known as Slayers Keep. There the Dwarf would ritually shave his head save for a solitary crest -- a fearsome plume which they dye bright orange and stiffen with pig grease. The larger the crest, the deadlier the Dwarf. After the ritual, the Dwarf would cut a name upon a pillar, where the names of many other Slayers have been carved over the millennium. With his pilgrimage finished, the Dwarf would march upon the treacherous wilderness and deliberately seek out mighty battles towards fearsome foes and against overwhelming odds.[1a]
The life of a Slayer is a solitary existence of battle after battle. Most Slayers would die upon their first or second battle against their enemies, but those that survive these battles are considered the unlucky ones. Whether by their sheer martial skills, toughness or determination, these Dwarfs, though unsuccesful in their quest, have inadvertently been molded into a magnificent warriors. This natural selection weeds out all but the most exceptional of their kind, meaning that any Slayer met is most likely psychopathically dangerous. As a Slayer continues to carve a massive toll of beast upon his axe, they often take the names of the beast they slay. Such names includes becoming a Trollslayer, or a Giantslayer. The greatest of these already formidable warriors are the infamous Daemonslayers or Dragonslayers, warriors who have managed to survive the encounter with two of the most ferocious creatures to ever live, slaying it and surviving to tell the tale.[1a]
In times of war, Slayers would often arrive from the wilderness to join a Dwarf throng into battle, lending their considerable combat skills in an effort to further the Dwarf cause. Many desperate wars have been won by the ferocity and sheer determination of these Slayers. Even when bloodied and battered after battle's end, they will pause only long enough to slake their thirst before beginning their deathquest anew. Probably the greatest Slayer to have ever lived is Gotrek Gurnisson, bearer of the legendary Axe of Grimnir and a Slayer that has killed the greatest number of enemies known in Dwarf history.[1a]
Dragonslayers and Daemonslayers
- "‘Hold back your fire and let us pass. We have taken the Slayer’s Oath and would pit our axes against those beasts. If we come back, have all your ale ready. If, instead, it is our time to take the Path of Grimnir, then may our doom be a mighty one. If we do not return, remember us to our clans and kings."
- —Rekthor Redaxe, Giant Slayer, who led a band of Slayers against the Troll horde of Og the Mighty. None returned
Some Slayers, despite their best efforts to find and fight the most formidable of foes, still fail at their task of dying in battle. By dint of constant fighting, these rare Slayers become ever more scar-riddled and dangerous. In order to survive for so long against such terrible odds requires either luck or martial skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge, and perhaps both. Now known as Dragonslayers or Daemonslayers, these angst-ridden fighters are honour-bound by their oaths to continue their death quest, but now they must seek out and battle ever more ferocious enemies.[1a]
A Dragon or Daemon Slayer is often joined on his journeys by a swarm of younger brethren from the Slayer cult. They flock towards such renowned killers, as they can be assured that, as he seeks his ultimate destiny, he will lead them straight towards foes against whom a worthy end might be made. This attraction is not altogether appreciated by the irascible and laconic Dragon or Daemon Slayer, for while they realise word of their deeds or great death might now be brought back to the Dwarf holds, they are loners by nature and resent any distraction. They are committed to die gloriously fighting monsters, not to leading others or looking after newcomers. Also, although none would ever admit to it, these veteran Slayers do not want to dare chance one of their following of new mavericks getting in a lucky stroke and robbing them of the glorious final blow upon some epic beast whose death would be worthy of a song.[1a]
- 1:Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 44 - 46
- 2:Gotrek and Felix: Slayer (Novel) by David Guymer
- 2a: Chapter: "Kazad Drengazi"