Lordship in Heaven

In distant quarters of the world lies the vast and accursed Dark Lands, sandwiched between towering mountain ranges to the north, west and east, and ending in a chapped coastline against the Sea of Dread to the south. These elements of earth and water have a companion in fire, for the rolling wilderness is but a volcanic desolation of ash, flames and molten rock spewing forth from the bowels of the earth, constantly reshaping the terrain to the detriment of its hardy and merciless denizens and creatures. And then there is the element of air, choked by smoke, ashen storms and thunderclouds, opening up into the endless skies above where portentuous celestial bodies may occasionally gain a glimpse of the smoke-shrouded, ruddy hell on earth below that is the Dark Lands.

Wild though they are, the Dark Lands are not wholly untamed, for large stretches of them lie burdened and ravaged under the heavy yoke of the dark empire of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great and all her holdings; the worldly realm of the Father of Darkness; the forbidden territory of the Chaos Dwarfs. These Dwarfs of Fire are bloodied sacrificers and fanatical worshippers bereft of mercy and kindness in their ravenous black hearts, for they are torturers, murderers, harsh slavers and baleful artificers of the Dark Gods, wreathed in mystery and dread and believed to be little else but the fanciful stuff of horrible legends by most of the inhabitants of the far-flung realms of order who are even dimly aware of their existence.

These enigmatic Dawi Zharr have myths and legends of their own, for their beliefs and folktales make up a plethora of weird and terrible, and often contradictory or outright insane stories explaining the world to the worshippers of high Hashut. The origins of all creation, of the gods and creatures which reside in it, are detailed in a number of parallel myths, cherished by various schismatic sects within the Cult of Hashut. These creation stories are narratives of bloodshed and of making through breaking, of unrelenting labours and monstrous deeds, of villainous figures locked in brutal contest for domination. The children of Hashut have verily crafted their sagas in their own image and that of their infernal deity, for they all speak of a world of Daemons and Dark Gods, of dire secrets and heinous acts, of ruthless cruelty and an insatiable hunger for power bordering on madness and worse. They are a testament to the demented creativity of the forgemen of hell, pieces crafted of words mirroring their nightmarish creations of matter and arcane forces which maim, slay and devastate all in their path.

To partake of the twisted mythology of the Chaos Dwarfs is to gain a glimpse into their convoluted and malignant minds, minds which drive strong arms to undertake monumental labours and to perform misdeeds to make a heart of stone bleed. In some sense, much of Dawi Zharr lore consists of creation myths of some sort, for even the lesser tales usually details the source and roots of some custom, creature, construct or phenomenon both natural and otherworldly.

Unsurprisingly for a race of strip-miners and industrialists, many such stories explains where minerals and rocks of the natural world come from and why they are found in their particular locations and strata, especially those seemingly out of place in the turbulent geology of the Dark Lands. These tales of ore and stone and crystal are more often than not interwoven with mythological characters, Daemons and Dark Gods, all scheming, crafting, betraying and destroying according to dark intrigues, which eventually results in some observed distribution of minerals. These stories about rock and metal feature sorcery, struggles and gutsy details, played out by figures of bloodcurdling conduct stalking each other through a primordial haze of fire and smoke, in a world not dissimilar from the real one, where might is right and mercy is for the weak.

Above all, they are tales of ambition, shattered hope and monstrous deeds. They are tales of cruelty moulding the stuff of creation like clay and firing it in the kiln of domination. They are tales of hardships and plight, of blood and flames and fiendish triumph reaped atop the broken bodies of one's enemies.

Such are the stories of dark origin as told by the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

This is one of these stories.

Conquest: It is said, that in the olden days, the dark and fiery heavens were not one and whole, for the high abodes were lorded over by a thousand and one petty Daemon Princes, seated in a thousand and one petty chiefdoms and waging a thousand and one petty wars for sovereignty in the roiling sky realms. This all changed with the coming of the Father of Darkness, for in the guise of the Great Thunderbull did He who is Hashut storm the heavens in a great stampede of lightning, sundering and scattering the wretched rival lords and their hordes, goring and trampling all underfoot, claiming their consorts for His own subdued harem and mightily vanquishing His foes. Where once there had been a thousand and one thrones, there was now but one seat of power on high.

Thus did the lordship in heaven pass to the fierce Bull God.

Yet four remained.

Betrayal: Early on in His divine invasion of the dark and fiery heavens, the Father of Darkness saw fit to accept eight weaker Daemon Princes as allies and vassals under His heavy yoke, and in this role did they aid Hashut. The treacherous manners of Daemonkin rang true in their heart of hearts, for all and one among the free vassals secretely planned to side with the Bull God for the moment being, only to stab the conqueror in His back at an opportune moment. Yet so swift and ferocious was the Great Thunderbull's skyward charge, that not all false allies had time to betray Him, and thus it was that four cunning Daemon Princes serving under the Fiery One bit their tounges and bided their time.

Outwardly, the four spared Daemons humiliated themselves and rejoiced in Him as He wisely claimed their chiefdoms for Himself, yet rewarded their services and seeming loyalty by appointing them to be His cupbearers. In this high office of exalted prestige and honour did the craven Daemonic vassals conspire to bring down the mighty ruler of the skies, yet they plotted each for himself and none trusted the others, and distrust and disunity sealed their fates. And so it was, that one of the courtly tasters, Iz'Jaenhyssch, ate part of the bloody meat, and fell dead before the cloven hooves of thunder, for the cupbearer had swallowed poisioned sustenance intended for Hashut. In high wrath did the Bull God burn the perpetrator, Khorlok, to cinders with snorting lightning bolts, whereupon He Who Rapes the Earth cast out the two remaining cupbearers into desolation.

Thus did Daemonkin prove itself unfit for reciprocal pacts, and nevermore would the Father of Darkness take any Daemons into His service without first chaining them and breaking their wills completely.

Yet two remained.

Struggle: In shame did the former cupbearers crave their old power back, and in realms of oblivion did they blame each other for the loss of what rank they had left when still at His court. Spite turned to hatred, and blood spattered upon ash and rock as the two fallen Daemon Princes turned upon each other. In twilight did they struggle in vicious combat, yet the one known as Mzerak overcame his rival, Kartun, seizing him and bringing him low. And in the cruel moment of victory did Mzerak trample his foe into the dust, gouge out his eyes and cut off Kartun's manhood to gulp it down. Mzerak roared to the high heavens in triumph and praised his own strength as though it was divine. The bodily essence of the defeated Daemon drifted away at death like smog, yet the spirit of vanquished Kartun lingered and taunted his victorious rival for a fool.

Inside the dark gut of the lone surviving cupbearer did the swallowed phallus of Kartun impregnate its devourer as if it had been the womb of a female. Mzerak tried to vomit and defecate at all costs, and in desperation did the Daemon reach down with both his arms inside his own throat to rip out the growing foster, yet the offspring eluded its host body's frantic attempts at murder by following the vehement advice of its defeated and gelded father, the spirit of former cupbearer Kartun. Fell words were whispered to the progeny, who followed the advice and ate away into the heart and lungs of the victor Mzerak, where it hid inside the ribcage and nurtured itself on bloodied innards.

Mzerak Groineater writhed in agony and shrieked and clawed as the offspring within grew and grew until it ripped apart the fallen Daemon Prince from inside, bursting through his tortured hide and leaving nought but an empty shell of a corpse behind.

Thus one remained.

Dynasty: Awash in the blood of torn Mzerak did the hatched progeny of gelded Kartun name himself Karezm of Claws. The lingering spirit of Kartun offered him toxic advice as the offspring matured. The gelded one told his impure son of bygone might and splendour. Karezm listened well, and learnt from the lingering spirit of his own heritage and destiny, for Kartun's fell spirit revealed Karezm to be the sole and rightful heir to lordship in heaven. Yet to claim what was rightfully his, the progeny must first overcome this usurper and betrayer called Hashut, a brute bull. This was a monumental task, for the bovine deity was too strong, virile and powerful, and Karezm of Claws could only hope to succeed should he challenge the usurper with great allies at his side.

Karezm set out to gather his might, heeding the words of gelded Kartun. The lingering spirit spoke, and caused his offspring to seek out three giant rock godesses slumbering deep within distant lands. The first stone behemoth was of diorite, the second of flint and the third of granite. All three did Karezm of Claws ravage in a frenzy, for, acting upon instructions given him by the lingering spirit of Kartun, did the Daemon imagine the rock godesses to be Daemonettes in order to kindle his desires. Thus it was that Karezm took the godesses by force, his manhood flowing into them only to become flayed inside diorite rock, shredded inside flint, and crushed inside granite.

The violent ordeals of this bastard begetting exhausted and mutilated Karezm of Claws. And he collapsed in a pathetic pile, groaning in agony and crying blood as he wasted away the remainder of his days, until the vengeful mothers converged, pounded and utterly destroyed the Daemon Karezm, upon waking to pain prior to giving birth to their unwanted offspring. The rock godesses wandered far and wide to put out their newborn progeny into the wilderness of the distant Dark Lands to die off, exposed to the fury of elements and monsters alike. Yet the lingering spirit remained with its grandsons.

Thus was the line of Kartun the gelded established.

Bastardry: Half rock god, half Daemon. Undesired, outcast. Such was the nature of the three monstrous half-brothers, who knew not how to survive on their own and would surely have perished if not for the advice given unto them by the lingering spirit of the former cupbearer. The three bastard titans were kept alive by the remnants of Kartun, and they came to trust and venerate the helpful spirit as the titans grew up, nourished on lies. They were told, that they had been robbed of their rightful inheritance, the very lordship in heaven, by the pretender Hashut who killed Kartun, their father, and would have killed the offspring too had he not already hidden away the three titans to keep them safe. Had he not loved and nurtured them all this time? Would they not avenge the ill deeds of the usurper and claim what was in truth theirs?

As the bastard titans grew, their legs shot up from the ground like mighty pillars, and their hard heads touched the firmament itself. Seeing them grown strong indeed, the lingering spirit of Kartun the gelded urged the offspring to act and avenge their father. Emboldened by their ripening strength and colossolal size, the three titans climbed into the heavens and attacked the Thunderbull on His majestic throne of darkness and lightning. The onslaught of the invading titans was furious, driven as it was by the lingering spirit's battlecries, and thus a mighty battle raged which shook all of creation to its foundations and caused the skies to rend themselves asunder. The heavens covered the world in blackness and roaring thunder, striking forth lightning among the turbulent clouds and spitting forth glowing rock debris falling in flames to the ground.

The battle for the heavens raged day and night, and day turned into night and night turned into day as gods clashed on high. The Father of Darkness was pressed hard, outnumbered as he was by lumbering titan bastards who had been raised for this moment alone, this very combat. He charged and trampled and dove and gored, yet on the foe came and no force in existence seemed capable of laying the enemy low. The Bull God's flaming breath lit up the world and burnt everything in its path to cinders as Hashut fought the titans. He bellowed not only in righteous fury and cruel might, but also in torment, for the vicious clashes spilled forth droplets of the fiery blood of molten metal which pulses within His divine and unholy veins, and they fell as hot drops to the earth, leaving surface deposits of pure metal fallen from the sky.

Yet in the end, high Hashut stood victorious though not unscarred, roaring in ruthless triumph after extinguishing the lingering essence of the shamed cupbearer, Kartun the gelded. In wrath, the Father of Darkness shattered the Daemonic bastard titans, toppling their vast rock corpses from the firmament and showering them in small pieces uncounted upon the Dark Lands below. Boulders crashed through the skin of the world, tearing up fiery wounds, and smaller chunks of rock scattered like hail upon impact, cartwheeling madly before landing heavily and embedding themselves as part of the landscape. And that is how the foreign rocks of diorite, flint and granite came to be in His hellish realm on earth, while the fierce Bull God remained lord in heaven.

Such are the violent origins of things, according to the Blacksmiths of Chaos.