Hello, Heresy, it's been awhile since I've written anything for the forum, so I thought it was good time to jump back in and see what I could do. This is just something I've written, I'll admit, I don't have the details ironed out, but it could be something. We'll see, in any case, here is...
Hall of the Forgotten
The snow-capped peaks of the World’s Edge Mountains loomed impossibly high over Bjorn and seemed to surround him in an endless sprawl. The fell wind reached a frightening pitch and became an overwhelming gust. It threatened to hurl him over the narrow ledge chiseled along the mountainside or backwards into the countless thousands of armored Northmen clinging to the path for dear life.
The very air was thick with impenetrable fog. A deluge of sleet and snow whipped through the storm so biting that armor felt like nothing more than rags. Constant were the screams of those who could hold on no longer and hurtled to their deaths amongst the razor-edged rocks. Yet there could be no turning back. Their objective was in sight.
“Bjorn!” Kirkegard bellowed over the moaning wind. “This is madness! Worse than that, it’s suicide! Your entire army will perish at this rate!”
Loki bellowed with maniacal laughter. “The Hold is close, Kirkegard! Steel that trembling heart! Slaughter and glory shall yet be ours!”
Ymir shouted from behind the pair of Chosen. “No one dare call me a coward, but I must throw my lot in with Kirkegard! The path is too treacherous! The Orcs are leading us nowhere!”
Something big, black, and green shouldered its way through Bjorn’s Chosen until it came face to face with the leader of the Blood Host.
Black Orc Azgor the Brute shook his armored helm. His whole body appeared to rattle from the sound of his voice. “Stik to da’ path, Spikies! Almost dere’ now!”
As the Orc hefted his crude hand hammer and shield, Bjorn cradled the Axe of Bleak Tides greedily against his chest. Azgor shrugged his shoulders, sniggered, and strode past Bjorn around the corner of the mountain. Bjorn made to move, but Azgor’s bodyguard detail shoved their way through at the same moment and slammed him back against the mountain wall. A thought occurred to Bjorn in that moment, that his axe could split open a Black Orc’s head like a rotten fruit should he will it.
Bjorn pushed the thought from his mind, his Chosen stared at him, awaiting orders, but he shook his head. He gestured with his chin that they follow Azgor and his Orcs, they continued into the unforgiving wrath of the mountain. He walked around the corner of the mountain only to find Azgor laughing triumphantly, his guard detail cheering throatily.
Azgor caught Bjorn in the corner of his eye and pointed to the massive fortress of granite carvings and walls that jutted from a distant mountain. Black banners billowed from the highest battlements, but Bjorn could not make them out. It mattered little, he knew what they had found.
Azgor must have had a wide grin beneath his fanged helm. “Wha’ I tell ya’, Bjorn! Heheh, Ginger Stunties, ‘ere we go!”
“Karak Kadrin.” Bjorn sighed. “The Slayer Keep. It’s as magnificent as the legends say. But our forces are in no condition to fight. And that is exactly what the dwarfs will want to do once they see us coming up the mountain pass.”
“No problem.” Azgor said in almost-flawless-common. “Hidden tunnel somew’ere around ‘ere. Come on, Spikey.”
“Ah!” Bjorn cried and pressed an armored palm to his mouth. “By the Gods, what’s buried in here?”
The claustrophobic passage was barely enough to hold three warriors shoulder-to-shoulder, but somehow thousands had managed to squeeze themselves into the dark caverns beneath Karak Kadrin. Dark was an understatement, Bjorn realized. Literally no point of light existed from the surface above and kept the entire army suffocated in squalor and darkness. Eventually, the first torches were lit and revealed an unending tide of rats infesting the tunnels.
“What is this?” Kirkegard lowered his torch toward a strange lump protruding from the earth until the rats scurried away from it. He recoiled suddenly when several more spilled from what appeared to be a dusty old maw. “It’s an Orc!”
“Some of da of old lads.” Azgor rumbled with reminiscent laughter. “Back when Grimgor Ironhide wanted dis’ place for himself! Dos’ were da’ times!” He paused in his laughter. “Be careful down here, Spikies! Stunties come down ere’ all da’ time! No doubt spoilin’ for a fight.”
“Azgor.” Bjorn called after the Orcish giant as he made to walk away. “Please don’t tell me that the tunnels are only this large.”
“Don’t ya fret,” Azgor nodded. “I know dese paths. Stunties like fightin’ undaground, some nice spots ‘ere and dere.”
Ymir whispered the moment Azgor was out of earshot. “Can we truly trust the word of these beasts? I had a bad dream the night before we climbed the mountain. An ill omen. We were all swallowed by darkness… and something far more sinister. Yes, Bjorn, you know not to underestimate the power of dreams.”
“Aye,” Bjorn said. “But I also know when not to place too much stock in them. You worry too much, Ymir. Come, sating your bloodlust on some Dwarves shall do the trick. And their riches! The rest of the Chaos Wastes will turn green with envy!”
Kirkegard scoffed. “I envy our kin across the Sea of Claws more than anything right now. At first, you were right, Bjorn! The riches you promised us in Kislev were granted. And our victories were unending. But what did you do with them? You shipped them off to some undeserving shits who did nothing to earn them! And sent us up this damnable mountain on a suicide mission!”
Loki patted Kirkegard on the shoulder. “As much as I am hard on the boy, sometimes he speaks the truth, Bjorn. I sincerely hope you know what you are doing. The Dwarfs will not give any of their treasure up without a serious fight. And I am not certain if it will be worth the price.”
“Gah!” Bjorn cried. “Will you all listen to yourselves! You sound like superstitious old hags, constantly nagging what life flows through these bones! Ymir the Implacable, whispering in my ear about whom we should trust? I remember when you used to say nothing, but spoke with your axe and your heart! Kirkegard and Loki, afraid of the price of retribution? I remember when my friends were thrilled by the thought of adventure and were never afraid to give their lives for their tribe!
“Am I the only one willing to brave the horrors of the deep?”
“Of course not.” Loki said. “I was on your side at the mountain path and I am on your side now!”
“I admit.” Ymir confessed. “I did not think we ever lay eyes upon Karak Kadrin. But now that we have, my resolve is bolstered.”
Kirkegard rolled his eyes. “I would, just for once, enjoy our plunder instead of sating our thirst for ceaseless fighting. But if the rest of you must go on…”
Bjorn clapped his metallic fist. “Then it’s settled. Come on, let’s not get too far behind Azgor.”