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As Dwarfs are an ancient race with a long history, scholars occasionally uncover references, in dusty old tomes or the bas-reliefs adorning the walls of ancient ruins, to lost holds and forgotten clans. Strange beings, distant gods, and unknown conflicts lie hidden, awaiting rediscovery by some explorer, some adventurer with a willingness to brave whatever lies in the cyclopean depths of the world beneath the mountains. Such was the case with the founding of the Gorlaz Cult.[1a]

Hegakin Rokrison was always a little off. An ambitious scholar working to make a name for himself, his entire life he knew there was something more, something other than the dogmatic teachings of the established Grungni cults. But his searches took him into forbidden places, earning him ostracism and eventually exile. Defeated, he fled to Karak Azgal and took it upon himself to explore some of the deeper ruins beneath the hold. To his pleasure, he discovered an old shrine to a god he had never before encountered, though it was clear to him Dwarfs never visited this place, for the craftsmanship was slipshod and decidedly non-Dwarf. Intrigued, he approached the altar, still sticky with unspeakable fluids even after centuries, and reached out with a trembling hand to touch it. When his thick fingers came into contact with the stone, he forever after became a creature of Chaos, a minion of Slaanesh.[1a]

Fearing discovery, the scholar fled the warrens to return to the city. For weeks, he suffered strange dreams and stranger fantasies, working to resist the taint that spread through his body. He watched with horror as his skin assumed a leathery cast and drew tight around his bones. He had to do something quickly, so he fabricated Gorlaz. After a month he began to preach of this newfound deity at the Silver Fountain, spreading the message of wealth, luxury, and glory. By night he murdered adventurers, stealing their treasures so he could purchase the vestments appropriate for a god of wealth. But despite his best efforts to found a new cult to bring glory to great Slaanesh, the Dwarfs mocked him, ridiculing his foolish message as nothing more than the product of a feverish brain.[1a]

Undaunted, Hegakin continued his work, and one day his persistence paid off and attracted the attention of Elgrom Dragonslayer, a Dwarf believed to be a descendant of Skalf himself. Each day for weeks, Elgrom came to listen to Hegakin preach and eventually joined the scholar, sensing the path to his glory lay through the teachings of this new god. With Elgrom's support, Hegakin and the cult of Gorlaz earned some measure of credibility, and soon after more people flocked to the fountain to hear the words of these prophets.[1a]

Elgrom converted to Slaanesh after a year of working with Hegakin. The scholar instructed his pupil that the path to claiming the throne of the hold was through wealth and power: two things Slaanesh could provide to the pious. The two Dwarfs journeyed into the ruins and approached the temple, where Elgrom himself touched the moist stone, condemning himself to a life of slow corruption and mutation.[1a][1b]

After 20 years, Hegakin and Elgrom established themselves as a presence in Karak Azgul. Not only are they the centre of a new and expanding cult, but they also serve as the premier banking centre in Karak Azgal, holding coin and other treasures for a modest percentage (5% for Dwarfs, 7% for Humans and Halflings, and 12% for Elves). With the funds earned through banking and donations, they purchased an old building in the Temple Quarter and refurbished it with white marble, replete with a gilded roof and columns. In time, they installed double doors of solid gold and a ten-foot-tall golden statue of the false Dwarf god Gorlaz holding up a coin in front of him to be admired. Hegakin and Elgrom preach the ways of Gorlaz, reminding their congregation wealth is good and urging them to hoard as much gold and jewels as they can to revel in the beauty of Dwarf creations. The members are expected to make holy pilgrimages into the ruins to bring up as much treasure as possible to honour Gorlaz, to keep as much of that treasure as possible away from non-Dwarfs. They are told that by doing these things a member glorifies and honours his ancestors.[1b]

Though the Dwarfs have amassed a large congregation that indirectly glorifies Slaanesh by worshipping the idol of Gorlaz, few, if any, realize this. Most honestly believe Gorlaz is a true god, gladly absorbing the teachings of the lunatics leading the cult. However, as the cult has grown, things are becoming dangerous. The cult has started to attract powerful nobles of Lord Thordin's court. Even the head of the Jewelsmiths' Guild, Zarador Svenginson, now belongs to the cult. Worse, Hegakin and Elgrom's mutations worsen, becoming more pronounced, making it harder to conceal their true natures. They have taken to wearing heavy long robes to better hide their corruptions, but people are starting to get suspicious. Elgrom, who’s quite mad, encourages the growth, coveting the lordship of the hold, believing Slaanesh will grant him the throne.[1b]

Twenty temple guards serve the cult leader, ten of which are on duty at all times. They wear Full Plate Armour with the golden coin symbol of Gorlaz emblazoned on the breastplate. Of these, only four know the truth about the cult, gelding themselves in service to their dark master. The rest honestly believe they serve the cause of this new and ancient god. In any event, they are subservient to Elgrom and follow his commands to the death. Even if presented with the truth they deny it, attacking to preserve the integrity of their faith.[1b]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Karak Azgal: Adventures of the Dragon Crag
    • 1a: pg. 14
    • 1b: pg. 15

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