So I never posted this bit of fluff that I wrote for the Core Competency Tournament. I finally realized that I never posted it, so here it is. It’s not great, but I wanted to keep it to a page. I’m thinking about expanding on it, as a Dwarf Lord slowly going mad might make for a good story. Comments/critiques welcome.

The Army of Lord Grimgaze Blackhammer

Snorri Fellhammer was the most promising Engineer in the last thousand years.  Every weapon he crafted was deadly accurate, and the Master Engineers who saw his creations were astounded by his talent.  His talent for creating new weapons and the genius of his innovations was exceeded only by his love for his family, especially his daughter whom he doted on as if she was Valaya herself.

His name quickly circulated throughout the Engineer’s Guild, and it surprised no one when he was given his Master’s assignment almost 100 years before most students would even be considered for Mastery training.  For his Master Piece, he designed a new black powder weapon that would revolutionize Dwarf warfare. For months he slaved over his work, his hammer ringing out at all hours of the night, with his sons Gurni and Thorek assisting and learning the secrets of Engineering.

One morning, as his task neared completion,  his wife and daughter surprised the hardworking Snorri and his sons with a beautiful meal they had prepared themselves. It was then that disaster struck. Nobody knows exactly what went wrong, but at that moment that the family came together to witness the completion of Snorri’s work, a horrible explosion shook the area and Snorri was knocked unconscious. When he awoke, he found his wife and daughter dead, and  his son Gurni lying in a pool of blood, his face horribly scarred.  Only Thorek was relatively unharmed, suffering three broken ribs and a fractured leg. Snorri himself had suffered a heavy blow to the skull, and awoke to find his Engineering genius gone. He then did the only thing a Dwarf in his position could do. He shaved his head and became a Slayer, and was never heard from by his family again.

Gurni recovered, but was then on known as Grimgaze, because of his scars and the fact that he never again was seen to smile. He took his father’s hammer, now blackened from the blast, and swore an oath that he would never again use, or trust anyone who used, black powder weapons. His father’s hammer became the weapon through which Grimgaze made a legend of his own. He threw himself into battle with a reckless abandon, felling Orcs, Trolls, and Ogres with the zeal of a Slayer, though he never shaved his head. His fame as a warrior grew, and the enemies of the Dwarfs learned to fear the black hammer, and the disfigured Dwarf with the piercing stare who wielded it. Eventually, Grimgaze was named the Lord of his hold, and his people adored him.

His brother, meanwhile, had become an accomplished Runesmith, who stood beside his brother in battle, advising and aiding him where he could. The other Dwarfs knew of Grimgaze’s hatred of all things black powder. All who knew him had heard him say that he would trust no Dwarf in battle that didn’t fight his enemies hand to hand, but instead cowered at a distance, attacking their foes as one would hunt deer. They found it odd when he stopped allowing Quarrelers to join his ranks as well, but since he had never been bested on the battlefield, no one questioned him. Only his brother knew the depths of his mania. Only Thorek saw how unhinged his brother had truly become. Grimgaze’s hatred of ranged weapons continued to grow, until one day he told Thorek that he would no longer allow heavy artillery in his army. Grimgaze had decided that the Dwarf war machines were nothing more than oversized versions of the weapons he had banned from his army.  Thorek know that even the reputation of the Blackhammer wouldn’t convince his people to abandon their war machines. Strife and conflict within the dwarfhold seemed inevitable. Yet, Thorek had a plan. His knowledge of runes and the power they imbued upon the war machines gave him an idea. He took Grimgaze to show him the two war machines in their army that Thorek had personally put runes upon. These, he insisted, were not truly war machines, but runic weapons similar to the ones that were carried into battle by many honorable Dwarfs. In the end, Grimgaze relented, but only allowed those two machines that Thorek had personally inscribed to be used. The others would be left behind.

And so, as morning approaches, Lord Grimgaze Blackhammer sets out to war once more, his brother at his side, and a host of strong armed Dwarfs at his command. Thorek can only hope that the single Grudge Thrower and single Bolt Thrower will lend enough support to his brother, so that the Blackhammer may see victory again this day.

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