Chapter 2: Blood Beneath the Mountains – Autumn 2523 – Winter 2523
-Queek Headtaker, who it is revealed is actually ten years old, is beginning to feel the bite of age. Warlord Gnawdwell offers him the Elixir of Youth that keeps the Council young forever in exchange for a swift end to the Battle for Karak Eight Peaks. Queek assembles a massive army comprised of hundreds of clans, including forces from Clan Moulder led by Packmaster Grotoose, and with Thaxx Redclaw as one of his lieutenants along with Ska Bloodtail. Grey Seer Kranskritt, now one of the most powerful of Clan Scruten, also joins with a massive clawpack, though nobody is pleased to see him. Kranskritt is being guided by Verminlord Soothgnawer, a Warpseer, who wants him to help Queek win the battle so that Kranskritt can kill him and take credit for the victory, getting Clan Scruten back onto the Council.
-All the Dwarf holds are revealed to be under attack. Clans Rictus and Skryre are assaulting Karak Azul, Clans Moulder and Kreepus attack Karak Kadrin while Clan Ferrik leads many clawpacks against Zhufbar, and Barak Varr is attacked by Clan Krepid from the ground and Clan Skurvy from the sea. Gnawdwell’s plan is that a quick Mors victory at Karak Eight Peaks will allow them to come to the aid of the other attacks and claim victory for them as well. With the combined victories behind them Clan Mors will be able to claim the First Seat for themselves and gain a majority on the Council.
-Aside from the Dwarfs one other obstacle exists in Gnawdwell’s plan. Skarsnik. The Goblin King has seen off many attacks against his territory, and his army has been swollen massively with Orcs and Goblins from the Badlands and even further territories. Skarsnik’s WAAAGH! is now one of the largest ever assembled.
-The attack begins with an unprecedented act. Queek uses explosives to attack the mountains, the majority of which do not work at full effectiveness or fail to go off entirely, but Karag Nar is demolished and reduced to one half of it’s original height, while several other mountains are permanently damaged. Tens of thousands of Goblins and Orcs are crushed by the attack. Queek sends in the slave legions immediately after, swamping the City of Pillars and ascending the Great Stair in short order. However King Belegar anticipated this and the traps set for the initial attack claim “more Skaven than there were Dwarfs in Karak Eight Peaks.” Though there are “seventy-eight” ways into the Dwarven sections of Karak Eight Peaks, one of the key focuses is the Door of Bar-Undak, to get further into Karak Eight Peaks the Skaven must take the Door of Bar-Undak, but to get through the door they have to fight through the Hall of Reckoning. Protecting the Hall of Reckoning are the Norgrimlings, a Dwarf unit of Ironbreakers and Forgefuries from the Norgrim Clan, led by Thane Borrik. The initial battle goes perfectly for the Dwarfs with hundreds of Skaven killed and not a single Dwarf lost, but as the Stormvermin packs begin to attack, the Dwarfs start losing men. Queek begins to rage at the pace of the battle, the Dwarfs are not killing the slaves fast enough, the predicted four collapsed mountains only resulted in one, and there is no sign of Skarsnik’s death in the collapse. A brief respite comes for the Dwarfs when the Slayers of Karak Eight Peaks sally forth into the Underdark and slaughter thousands of Skaven, earning their glorious dooms in the process, and allowing Belegar to call an orderly retreat to the next line of defence. The Hall of Skalfdon.
-While Queek orders his forces to tunnel into the hall, Skaven forces take the Dwarven outposts and slaughter all within. Thaxx Redclaw is killed by Queek after the Warlord of Eight Peaks discovers Thaxx has been bribed by Clan Skryre to delay the attack for an unknown reason.
-Grey Seer Kranskritt is sent to deal with the Orcs and Goblins with his own clawpack. While he seethes at this, Soothgnawer is pleased as it means Kranskritt is in a position to greatly affect the battle for Karak Eight Peaks without Queek’s knowledge.
-The Assault on Skalfdon Hall is the largest battle yet for Karak Eight Peaks. The Skaven attack begins brutally with tens of thousands of Skavenslaves sent to their deaths against the Dwarf lines. Though the Dwarfs have superior armour, skill, weaponry and the superior position, they are outnumbered by a factor of 10-1, and as Queek directs the battle it is clear that the current clawpack the Dwarfs face is only one of five, while the Dwarfs entire force is already embattled. The battle begins to swing in the Skaven’s favour as Grootose of Moulder unleashes two Hell Pit Abominations that savage the Dwarf battlelines while a regiment of Rat-Ogres annihilate an entire Dwarven Clan, leaving the way open to Belegar’s Iron Brotherhood. Queek and the Redguard swarm forward to murder the king, claiming many Dwarfs along the way. This forces Belegar to call in his trump card, the Ogre mercenaries of Golgfag Maneater who charge the Skaven and inflict massive casualties. Queek, stuck in the thickest of the fighting, misses this unwelcome development and battles Belegar’s elite guard, killing ten Dwarfs in as many seconds to reach Belegar himself. The two warriors finally meet in a battle that sees Queek inflict a savage wound to Belegar’s side. However Queek cannot capitalize on this brief victory as the Ogres force the Skaven to retreat or be trapped behind enemy lines as the main Skaven army retreats, though before falling back Queek kills the King’s cousin and standard bearer, Thane Notrigar, and takes the Dwarf’s head for his trophy-rack. Belegar turns to deal with one of the two Hell Pit Abominations, the other is swamped by Dwarf and steadily hacked into pieces, and after a lengthy battle brings down the monstrosity. However before the battle can continue a new party arrives, a massive force of Goblins tunnel into the battle with stolen Skaven equipment and attack both sides, Skarsnik himself leading them into battle. And as the Goblins arrive, the Ogres turn without warning and attack the Dwarfs they fought alongside only a moment ago. It is revealed that Kranskritt and Soothgnawer have made an alliance with Skarsnik, telling him where the tunnelling devices were located with the understanding that he would attack both sides. This would allow Kranskritt to return with the fifth clawpack, save Queek’s army and earn the Headtaker’s gratitude, which would make their overall goal of killing him, taking credit for the victory over the Dwarfs and regaining the First Seat for Clan Scruten. However Skarsnik made a side-deal with the Ogres, giving Golgfag the lost Crown of Vala-Azrilungol and the promise of half of Belegar’s treasury rather than the one-tenth that Belegar promised. Cursing the Ogres Belegar moves to return to the battle, but before he can the slain Hell Pit Abomination rises again and forces the Dwarf King to deal with it once more. Golgfag and his Maneaters slaughter many Dwarfs, killing Durggan Stoutbelly, the Master Engineer for Karak Eight Peaks, but after this decide that the battle has become too mad for them and leave via the side-tunnels, taking their payment with them. Kranskritt arrives shortly after and lays waste to the Goblins and many Dwarf units, causing Belegar to order that the charges placed in the hall’s supporting pillars be blown. The resulting explosions cause the Hall of Skalfdon to fall in on itself, claiming thousands of victims from each army and forcing each side to retreat. The battle ends as the doomed among each army fight to the death as the Hall falls in around them.
Chapter 3: Götterdämmerung is next.