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    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Karak Norn

    Chaos Dwarf Sayings

    Do you have a proverb or mantra for the Chaos Dwarfs or their Hobgoblin henchmen? If so, be welcome to post it here and it will be added to the list! The goal is to eventually flesh out the verbal world of the Chaos Dwarfs to better grasp their enigmatic, greedy, ravenous, and above all cruel nature.

    The values and expectations of cultures can be glimpsed from their legends, their songs and their proverbs. Just like their songs do, the sayings of the mysterious Chaos Dwarfs reflects a worldview which to outsiders would appear twisted, fanatic and malevolent, if not downright evil to the very core.

    Chaos Dwarf Sayings

    "The weak's moan, the strong's throne."
    Meaning: Slavery, cruelty and the oppression of others is moral and right. This is an ingrained part of the Dawi Zharr psyche. Chaos Dwarfs believe that nothing great can truly be achieved without much suffering from lesser beings.

    "Like a volcanic eruption in an open-pit mine."
    Meaning: Something beautiful. Chaos Dwarfs detest nature and seek to dominate and ravage the landscape just as they do living creatures. The scars of industry are seen as positive and pleasing, as is fire, lava and smoke, even when dangerous to the Chaos Dwarfs themselves.

    "Thick like an Orc."
    Meaning: Someone stupid. This is a grave insult in Dawi Zharr society.

    "As tall as his hat."
    Meaning: There are several different meanings for this common saying. Depending on circumstance and tone of voice, it could e.g. mean a capable or manly individual, or someone who is arrogant or ambitious. It could also be humiliating words accompanied by brutality to Hobgoblins or lesser slaves. Strict hierarchy means this proverb is virtually never meant negatively when speaking of Chaos Dwarfs of superior rank, at least not outside the leading caste of competing Sorcerer-Prophets.

    "Deeds so rash will see your ash."
    Meaning: Foolish, premature and rash decisions will often have devastating consequences. This is especially true in the unforgiving Dark Lands, and particularly so in the portion of Chaos Dwarf industry involving Daemonsmithing. Despite the hazardous use of Daemons in their materials, the Dawi Zharr empire was not founded on precipitant strategies, but rather on a methodical grind requiring centuries or even millenia to fruition.

    "Better count the skulls than the heads of Goblins."
    Meaning: Slaves are a worthless rabble. It is futile to attempt any exact census of slave populations, even local ones toiling in quarries and mines. Their numbers are so large, and the constant death toll so huge, that it is considered folly by Chaos Dwarfs to count every slave. Indeed, Dawi Zharr scribes often gather estimates of the influx of fresh slaves, and deduct from this the rather rough numbers of dead slaves. By intervals the slave census begins afresh with a sweeping estimate inspection to clean out the records. Slaves are less than dirt, why should you care to count their every head?

    "A mask of mercy."
    Meaning: A fearsome face. Many Chaos Dwarfs use metal masks in work and war. These are fashioned to frighten, and some masks are forged as snarling Daemon faces or twisted skulls to drive home the point. Daemonforged enchantments (e.g. for glowing eye slits) to further improve psychological impact are not uncommon. A Chaos Dwarf with a truly dreadful face would as such instead use a mask to dampen the fear he or she instils in others.

    "Horns and tusks."
    Meaning: Either someone or something blessed by (Hashut's) fortune, or a kind of curse, usually spoken before a longer and specific curse is declared. The curse variant is usually accompanied by damning signs and gestures. Tusk, horn and even hoof mutations are common amongst the Chaos Dwarf populace, a visible link to their Bull Centaur cousins. Like all gifts of Chaos, these have a dark side of agony or threat of degeneration, insanity and worse.

    "Lasting like a Gnoblar."
    Meaning: Something worthless; something to be used intensively and then discarded. Gnoblars invariably make up a large part of the Chaos Dwarfs' slave hordes, yet Gnoblars are even less useful labourers than Goblins. The standard practice is to whip Gnoblars hard whilst they last to achieve results, then kill them.

    "Cracked like the ancestral anvils."
    Meaning: Something broken beyond any hope of repair. Chaos Dwarfs view their tumultous struggle for survival during the great Daemonic invasion as an abandonment by the western Dwarfs of the World's Edge Mountains. During this time, when the Dwarf settlers in Zorn Uzkul faced certain annihilation, all bonds with their ancestral ways where lost, and the cult of Hashut became ascendant. A common symbol of this decisive historical event is the cracked anvil.

    "Slave and oven fodder."
    Meaning: Snotlings. These, the smallest of Greenskins, are nearly useless as slaves, though they do fit inside many pipes too thin for Goblins to traverse. As a result, Snotlings normally end up as slave food in one form or another, or are shovelled (dead or alive) into furnaces and other fires like coal, wood and dead rats are.

    "Flay and slay."
    Meaning: A common Chaos Dwarf practice on battlefields, or when making an example of troublesome slaves, is to flay the victim and kill it, in that particular order. The flayed skin is usually showcased to inspire fear in slaves and foes alike.

    "A real treat for the Centaurs."
    Meaning: A cocky or inexperienced authority bound to lose his face or make a mess. Common saying among axemen under the command of a young Deathmask.

    "Under hat."
    "He is tenacious under hat."
    "Such a father have honour under hat."
    Meaning: Him. "Under hat" signifies a Chaos Dwarf male. Dawi Zharr often speak of each other in the roundabout way of "under hat", since they have worn large headgear for millennia, of which some are as tall (or taller) than the wearer himself.

    "Went up like a lead zeppelin."
    Meaning: An endeavour that meets with unprecedented success when it was thought it was doomed to failure.

    "Cold enough to freeze the balls of a K'daai."
    Meaning: A snarky (vulgar) commentary on how cold the weather is.

    "May your hat be tall and your beard ever coiled."
    Meaning: Common sign of curtesy; used as a parting.

    "Hat high in Taurus pats."
    Meaning: Circumstances are desperate with little sign of improving.

    "Might as well smith iron from ash."
    Meaning: The current (or proposed) task is impossible.

    "Shedu's breath!"
    Meaning: Damn! An expression of misfortune.

    "I doff my hat to you."
    Meaning: A sign of submission.

    "Tongue of fire; words of ash."
    Meaning: You're boastful; you make grandiose claims that you cannot fulfil; liar/lies.

    "Naught but slag and ash."
    Meaning: Worthless.

    "If you only eat a Halfling, you'll want a second breakfast."
    Meaning: Do not fribble with the food intake; a slaving expedition should endeavour to capture more slaves to satisfy demand. Also a joke about Halfling appetite.

    "Beards on fire!"
    "K'daai curling iron!"
    Meaning: A curse; a catastrophe. To have their beards burnt away is a recurring nightmare to Chaos Dwarf men.

    "Hashut wills it!"
    "The Prophet wills it!"
    Meaning: A command to submit to the will of authority.

    "Get Snotlings for pebbles and Goblins for stones."
    "Get Orcs for rocks and Ogres for boulders."
    Meaning: Apply the right slave or tool to the work.

    "Just because you've donned the hat of a Hobgoblin doesn't mean you should act like one!"
    Meaning: An insult and snarky remark. Chaos Dwarfs place great pride in their hats. To have it compared to the lice-infested headgear of a Hobgoblin, as well as one's behaviour compared with that of such a treacherous and incompetent scum, is a double insult. From superiors to inferiors it's a ruthless humiliation; between equals they are often fighting words.

    "May Daemons shrink his hat and beard."
    Meaning: A curse.

    "Wear out your whip and blunt your knife."
    Meaning: Never treat your slaves and enemies with anything else than brutality; don't lapse in discipline; be quick to punish; don't be shy of having to repair your whip and sharpen your knife.

    "Eaten by his hat."
    Meaning: The traceless disappearance of somebody; a Daemonic possession of a Chaos Dwarf's hat, usually following a faulty Daemonsmithing ritual, resulting in the actual devouring of the Dawi Zharr by his own hat.

    "They were Lammasu led by Grobi."
    Meaning: A salute to comrades who fought valiantly but who fell due to incompetent leadership; also used as a simultaneous condemnation of said leadership.

    "Keep calm and praise Hashut."
    Meaning: We're screwed. Chaos Dwarfs are expected to never panic and always remain devout worshippers of Hashut.

    "Mess with the bull and get the horns."
    Meaning: Pay the dire consequences of your foolish actions.

    "Some Dwarfs just want to watch the world burn."
    Meaning: Either a remark on particularly destructive and bloodthirsty Chaos Dwarfs; or a comment on the Dawi Zharr people's own nature and origins as fallen and corrupted Dwarfs worshipping a bovine Dark God of fire and might.

    "A warrior's blood boils before the fire is hot."
    Meaning: The martial spirit is quick to anger.

    "A coiled beard is a symbol of courage."
    Meaning: Like their uncorrupted western cousins, the Chaos Dwarfs value their beards a great deal. They are signs of age, respect, wisdom, experience and manliness. Last but not least, they're also symbols of courage and steadfastness, highly valued qualities amongst Dawi and Dawi Zharr alike.

    "One does not achieve honour while acting dishonourably."
    Meaning: As in the societies of other races, and indeed their western cousins, the Chaos Dwarf culture is saturated by a code of honour determining what is proper behaviour. However, unlike foreign cultures, the Dawi Zharr's sense of honour revolves a great deal around cruelty and domination. Kindness is seen as weakness. Weakness is dishonour. Dishonour is immorality. Therefore, kindness is immoral.

    "A warrior fights to the death."
    Meaning: Flight is not an option on the battlefield. Indeed, since many if not most casaulties in battle are sustained by the losing side when fleeing from pursuing winners, the ability to stand fast and hold your ground is likely to aid your chances of survival. This is especially true for Dwarfs of any kind, who are not renowned for their speed.

    "It is a good day to die."
    Meaning: Death comes to everyone, eventually. Therefore, you might die any day and should thus not be afraid to face death today.

    "I travel the river of blood."
    "I travel the road of bones."
    Meaning: We are at war, and I partake in it. Common saying when on campaign. Chaos Dwarfs' aims of domination often borders on the megalomaniac and grossly macabre. Their long history of warfare, cruelty towards captured enemies and military engineering have indeed seen actual rivers of blood and roads of bones.

    "We fight to enrich the spirit."
    "We fight in order to buy the spirit."
    "We trample in order to buy the spirit."
    "We do cruel deeds to enrich the spirit."
    Meaning: A Chaos Dwarf's character is improved by combat and cruelty. It is not uncommon to find a sense of inner worthlessness towards the mighty Father of Darkness amongst the Dawi Zharr, and some cults view their souls as hostages of the bull god, ergo to "buy the spirit" from Hashut by favoured deeds.

    "Keep the embers of the furnace glowing hot!"
    "Never leave the furnace dead and cold!"
    Meaning: Said to raise morale and fighting spirits when facing an overwhelming and stronger enemy force.

    "I feel like I've whipped a thousand slaves."
    Meaning: I'm in a good mood today.

    "Pull my tusks and call me a Dawi"
    Meaning: Exclamation of disbelief.

    "Measure once, cut twice"
    Meaning: A favourite saying of chaos dwarf executioners, basically a phrase to remind them to make sure they have beheaded their victims properly.

    "They chose to remain free."
    Meaning: Said for enemies who fought till death, rather than surrendering into slavery or torture.

    "Only the brave may die."
    "Only the strong may die."
    Meaning: Weak opponents should be taken alive and enslaved. Stronger/braver opponents may be killed, either because their body will break before their spirit, so they will be useless slaves; or they may be killed as a show of respect for said enemy.

    "The fire will burn them."
    Meaning: They are not followers of Hashut.

    "The fire will warm us."
    Meaning: Only for followers of Hashut.

    "The fire awaits (us) all."
    Meaning: Everyone will die, but given the former two sayings, the fate after death differs between individuals.

    "The fear of Prophet is the beginning of wisdom."
    Meaning: Chaos Dwarf society is strictly hierarchical, with the almighty Sorcerer-Prophets as the ruling elite, each with an army of warriors and servants at his disposal. Their cruelty have become legendary and manifests itself in their everyday life. To stay alive and prosperous in such a world, one must fear one's own master more than any enemy or supernatural horror.

    "The lazy still starves the besieged enemy, the industrious crushed him a year ago."
    Meaning: Hard work produce dependable results, and may in the end take less time than half-measures and short-cuts.

    "Great was the fall of Zhargon."
    Meaning: Noone, not even the most succesful and powerful man ever to rule the Dark Lands (Zhargon the Great), is truly safe in this world. It may as such be an indirect comment about a leader's arrogance or recklessness, or a general reminder of the fragility of strength and greatness.

    "The weak break when they can, the strong when they can't."
    Meaning: The weak will often break much earlier than the strong, because the former are inclined to give in, whilst the latter are inclined to persevere, beyond their limits if need be.

    "The clever behead the unruly slave, the wise flay him."
    Meaning: Simply killing a slave or enemy to set an example will not have the same moral impact like putting the victim through agonies, and still live afterwards to wail in pain.

    "Preparations are measured by the outcome."
    Meaning: Chaos Dwarfs, like their western cousins, believe in thorough work and despise shoddiness. Their empire would never have been possible without this fundamentally Dwarfen character streak.

    "The clever flatter his deity, the wise praise Him."
    Meaning: Don't overdo things, especially not in matters of religion.

    "The clever break backs, the wise break wills."
    Meaning: A crippled or dead slave will not be of much use, unlike a tamed slave without hope or will.

    "The mute wife is the safest in the harem."
    Meaning: Be careful with what you say. The men of the Chaos Dwarf elite possess harems, unlike their monogamous cousins in the Worlds Edge Mountains and beyond.

    "The foolish blacksmith destroy Daemons with weapons, the wise one forge them into weapons."
    Meaning: Recognize a resource when you see it, don't destroy it if it can be harnessed to your tasks. The Chaos Dwarfs are the inventors and masters of Daemonsmithing, a mystic craft which is the height of exploiting everyone and anything as a raw material.

    "Those foolish with the flames are scarred forever."
    Meaning: Act with proper respect and carefulness around fire (an element sacred to Hashut), or else do not act like a fool. One moment of foolishness may leave lifelong scars.

    "The poor man killed, the rich man enslaved."
    Meaning: Don't waste potential resources, don't destroy wealth needlessly.

    "The reckless man died by suicide."
    Meaning: Though decidedly more short-sighted and prone to dabble in self-destructive technologies than uncorrupted Dwarfs, Chaos Dwarfs still regard recklessness as a Mannish and feeble thing.

    "Gold does not rust, but steel does not yield."
    Meaning: Strength and function is more important than beauty and form. It may also mean you should use the right material in the right place, or indeed the right manner of speaking in the company of others.

    "A turning wheel does not always move forward."
    Meaning: Activity does not equal progress. Wheels, especially cogwheels, are very common sights in the Chaos Dwarf realm.

    "The safe hideout is a deathtrap."
    Meaning: Nowhere is truly safe; any fortress walls will become a prison for their defenders; no castle will withstand a sufficiently powerful siege bombardments; don't put your trust in mere walls.

    "The more cruel the deed, the more dread it bleeds."
    Meaning: If you are to set an example, then do so with excessive cruelty.

    "Destined for nought but chains and shackles."
    Meaning: A strongly humiliating remark. If used by superiors to inferiors, it will cause shame to the Chaos Dwarf of inferior rank. If used between equals, they are fighting words. Also a general comment on the character of other races.

    "The combined power of the wives of Hashut is not enough to challenge His left back hoof."
    Meaning: No revered figure in Chaos Dwarf mythology come even close to Hashut's greatness and power.

    "Touched by Matzhkra."
    Meaning: A saying about hysterical or insane Chaos Dwarf women.

    "The higher the hat, the greater it topples."
    Meaning: Equivalent of 'pride comes before a fall'; also an actual warning, since Chaos Dwarf hats are infamously tall.

    "Find a thousand and one idle slaves. Flay one slave alive, and you'll have a thousand industrious slaves."
    Meaning: Fear of cruelty motivates the slave labour.

    "When in doubt, blame it on the Hobgoblins."
    Meaning: Blaming the middleman slaves might at least free you from suspicion; or a remark to Chaos Dwarfs who do not confess their own responsibility in causing a problem; or a rule of thumb, based on centuries of experience with Hobgoblin behaviour, for whenever some problem, disaster or drop in productivity befalls the slave workforce or the mines, industries and quarries it toils in.

    "The bull have more than one hoof."
    Meaning: There is more than one aspect of Hashut to worship, and there are many cults and sects worshiping the same Father of Darkness differently.

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