- "Do not worry, father, I will fight for the both of us. And if the time is right, I will gladly die for the both of us as well."
- —Garagrim Ironfist.[4d]
His beard was woven into five thick plaits and golden discs stamped with the scowling faces of Dwarf Ancestor Gods dangled from each. His scalp was surmounted by three large crests of orange-dyed hair. He smouldered with a visible resentment and his gaze was hard.[4a] He was considered the Slayer King's left hand. He spoke always in a snarling and resentful tone[4b] - Garagrim was a brave warrior and regal, but he was lacking in social graces, to say the least, garnering either glares or wary respect from other Dwarfs.[4h] Nevertheless, Garagrim was not as hot-headed or as pig-blind as he acted - he had merely taken on the role of a Slayer, and played it to the best of his ability. But he could think when he needed to.[4k]
As a child, Garagrim had pored over the maps displayed in Karak Kadrin's library, tracing the expansion and eventual retraction of Dwarf civilization from the Golden Age until now, seeing what had once been and what now was and wondering if there was some way to make it the way it had been again.[4j] Thus, Garagrim felt enthusiastic about making sacrifices to ensure the Dwarf race, and Karak Kadrin in particular, recovered their former might.[4f]
Prince Garagrim Ironfist became Karak Kadrin's War-Mourner when he was still a beardling. This title made him responsible for choosing those Slayers whose turn it was to die when the great throng of Karak Kadrin marched forth - a duty that originally was carried out by the Priests of Grimnir.[4e] A second part of Garagrim's duties as War-Mourner was making sure that whoever had been chosen to die reached his final doom. This sort of guidance rankled against the anarchic Slayers, which in turn infuriated Garagrim.[4f]
That no one had taken the office of War-Mourner in some centuries had not caused Garagrim to hesitate at the time, though in time he saw why it had remained vacant for so long. Slayers chafed at authority, even that imposed by one of their own. Not that they truly saw him as one of their own. He had no shame of his own, no right to take the oath, as they saw it. Yet taken it he had and he would do it again in a heartbeat, to spare his clan and his father the doom that haunted them. For the good of Karak Kadrin, Garagrim had taken the Slayer’s oath and though his father sought to deny him, he would garner a noble doom and free the clan from the weight of their ancient oath.[4j]
Privately, King Ungrim Ironfist agreed with his Hearth-Warden Snorri Thungrimsson that he should not have let Garagrim take the War-Mourner's vow, fearing that what he had taught his son had made him less than he should be. But Garagrim had insisted, thinking he'd buy his father's freedom with his death, and Ungrim could deny his only son nothing - not even the decision to take on an oath that would doom him. Ungrim, however, would never pay that price, although he never told his son that. His hope was to die before his son did, thus allowing Garagrim to be relieved of his Slayer Oath and become the first "proper" King to rule Karak Kadrin in centuries.[4f]
Ungrim reproached Garagrim that he took his burdens on himself, making them his with neither the right nor the warrant to do so - including the Slayer Oath taken by the successive generations of Karak Kadrin's Kings. He could not afford to feel pity for his son, who defied the proper order to win glory like a warrior instead of considering necessity like a king.[4h] While Ungrim considered that by taking the War-Mourner oath, Garagrim had rashly deprived his mother Kemma of a son and Karak Kadrin of an heir, Garagrim insisted he had done so to remove the stain of their shame and free his father. This angered Ungrim, who understood that a King's debt to his people could never be paid in full, and this responsibility outweighed their own desires.[4i]
War of the Road of Skulls
At an unknown date, a Khornate horde of Chaos Warriors and Chaos Marauders led by Chaos Lord Grmr the Gorewolf marched down from the Northern Wastes by the ancient Road of Skulls into the Peak Pass, and then laid siege to Karak Kadrin. This drew the Slayer Gotrek Gurnisson to the hold in search of his doom.
Garagrim detained and disarmed Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger at the Engineers' Entrance of Karak Kadrin after they defeated an attempt of the Chaos Warriors to bomb their way into the lower levels of Baragor's Watch, although he gave them back their weapons as the surface forces breached through the outer wall of the bastion. Once the assault's momentum was broken, he led them to see his father at the palace in the central plaza of the inner keep.[4a]
At the start of the second assault against Baragor's Watch, Garagrim claimed the enemy leader as his doom by right of his title of War-Mourner, although Gotrek disputed it. As the Chaos Dwarfs supporting the Khornate army sent their Siege Giants to the fore, he threatened a visibly shaken Dwarf warrior with one of his axes, in contrast with Gotrek, who defied him by calmly reminding the Dwarf of his duty. Later he fought one of the Siege Giants, causing it several wounds on the arms and shoulders, but soon he was swamped away from the creature by the numerical superiority of the Chaos Marauders until the Slayer known as Biter came to his help. In the end, the final wall of Baragor's Watch fell to the enemy, and the Chaos marauders poured through the gaps into the inner keep.[4c]
Seeing this, Garagrim ordered the retreat across the bridge into Karak Kadrin proper. He and a group of Slayers, including Gotrek, Biter and their human Remembrancers, held the bridge for a time while the Dwarf Engineers prepared its demolition. As King Ungrim Ironfist crossed the bridge back into his hold, Garagrim assured him he'd fight for both of them, and even die for both of them as well if that was his fate.[4d]
During the fight on the bridge, Garagrim paired with Agni Firetongue, a Slayer that spat fire water at his enemies to burn them alive. When Gotrek and Agni started to argue about who was to stay on the outer end of the bridge to find his death, Garagrim intervened declaring this doom was Agni's, much to Gotrek's chagrin. With the War-Mourner’s declaration, Agni’s final fight became less a personal moment than a public rite - it was almost a religious affair, and Dwarfs up and down the edge of the plateau began to sing a dirge and their voices met and matched the bloodthirsty cries of the horde with inexorable strength.[4d]
Hours later, Garagrim was reasserting his authority over the Slayers still in the hold, as they desired to make a sortie, when Gotrek and Oleg Axeson, Priest of Grimnir, interrupted the argument by announcing that the King had authorised the sortie and put Garagrim in charge, with Gotrek accompanying him as an aide. In the end, Garagrim selected twenty Slayers for this mission, seemingly at random.[4e]
With the support of Dwarf Miners, Ironbreakers, Rangers and Engineers, Garagrim and Gotrek led the force through the tunnels beneath the ruined Baragor's Watch.[4e] After demolishing the ceiling of the abandoned Karak Kadrin market hall to create an opening for his forces in the midst of the occupied outer keep, Garagrim jumped into the fray with abandon, albeit staying close to a young Slayer to guide him into the thick of the battle, almost herding him into combat. Once he was killed by the Khazag chieftain Yan the Foul, Garagrim avenged his death after a short duel. Then Garagrim joined the Slayers' charge against the Chaos Dwarf war machines that kept pounding the Hold, and challenged Hell-Worker Khorreg while he tried to fire his mortar again, managing to damage his armour and throw him off the firing platform. This defeat and the arrival of a second sortie from other hidden tunnels convinced the surviving enemies to retreat and break the siege.[4g]
After the victorious counterattack, Garagrim led Gotrek, Felix and Axeson back to the inner keep through one of the Dwarfs' secret routes, and they made their way to the Temple of Grimnir. At the shrine, Axeson explained the portents that had drawn both Gotrek Gurnisson and Garmr the Gorewolf to the Peak Pass and Karak Kadrin - Khorne intended to undo the Road of Skulls once opened by Grimnir as he marched north to his doom, and in this way allow for a new Chaos invasion to sweep the world. The only solution was to send "the truest Slayer" north and repeat Grimnir's feat, finding his doom in the process. This caused an argument between Garagrim, Ungrim and Gotrek, as the three of them wished to take this opportunity to attain a worthy death. Since Gotrek refused to swear he would not go north while Ungrim led the hold's throng to battle, the King had him and Felix Jaeger imprisoned in a high balcony overlooking the mountainside.[4h]
While his father left Karak Kadrin to pursue the fleeing besiegers and face his doom against the Northmen, Garagrim had to take over the King's duties, which frustrated him to no end. Fortunately, his mother the Queen soon convinced him to talk to Gotrek and took over the bureaucratic minutiae of running the hold.[4j]
When he reached the balcony where the Slayer and his Remembrancer were locked in, he found they had escaped by scaling the cliffs around it.[4j] Garagrim had suspected Gurnisson would try and escape through the storm flues, as he had done the last time my father tried to imprison him, and he had warriors stationed in the sewers for days. Instead, Gotrek had scaled up to the Gyrocopter aeries and stolen one of the flying vehicles with Oleg Axeson's help.[4k]
Garagrim had hoped Gurnisson would escape and give him cause to pursue. Indeed, he had been going to see Gurnisson to propose just that. Despite their mutual dislike, he’d been certain that the other Slayer would have taken him up on his offer. This way was better - there was no guilt for disobeying his father or for helping Gurnisson, for any of it. A Slayer would die, that had been the prophecy. And that Slayer was going to be him, even if he had to hamstring Gurnisson to do it.[4k]
Garagrim led a smaller throng after his father's, and his departure was not accompanied by fanfare, rolling drums, groaning horns or cheers. Instead, silent faces watched and murmured oaths. It would take Garagrim several days, even travelling as lightly as he was, to reach the north-eastern edge of the Peak Pass, where Ungrim was to face Garmr's horde.[4l]
Garagrim's hundred-strong throng reached the battlefield right after Ungrim was defeated and captured by the Chaos Warriors, and set up a camp further back to regroup the survivors and stand in the foe's way if it pushed again towards Karak Kadrin. He ordered his Rangers to find Gotrek and bring him to the camp, in chains if they had to.[4m]
When Gotrek was brought in, he proposed challenging and killing the enemy Chaos Lord to cause his army to fall apart in the ensuing struggle for power, which would leave them vulnerable for the Dwarfs' counterattack. Garagrim agreed to this audacious plan, but refused to let Gotrek do it - with his father fallen, he considered it his duty to do what he could not. Gotrek, however, knocked him unconscious (as he had sworn before Queen Kemma to never allow Ungrim Ironfist or any of his line to meet their doom), and told the gathered Thanes to attack at dawn.[4m]
Garagrim's throng did as Gotrek had intended, arriving at the battlefield right as the Slayer took advantage of the havoc his challenge and that of other leaders of Garmr's horde had wreaked to free King Ungrim and tell his surviving warriors to take him by force back to his son's lines.[4n] In the end, the Dwarf forces attacked the vastly reduced and disorganised Chaos force just as Gotrek defeated and killed Garmr the Gorewolf. The outcome of the battle is unknown, but it is very likely the horde was destroyed that day.[4o]
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article contains information regarding the End Times, the actual canon ending of Warhammer.
At some point before the End Times, Garagrim finally found his doom in unknown circumstances. For reasons also unknown, his father decided to keep or renew his own Slayer Oath, as he retained his title of Slayer King until his death.
As King Ungrim's only son, his death left Karak Kadrin without a direct heir — a fact not lost on the rest of the noble sons of Clan Drakebeard. The clan Thanes each sought to lead throngs to glory and thus catch the eye of their warrior king. As they are a grudge-ridden folk, even for Dwarfs, and Peak Pass is full of perils, there is no shortage of foes, presenting constant opportunities for the fiery-hearted Thanes to prove themselves.[3a]
Storm of Chaos
Attention, Empire Citizens!
This article may contain older content that is now considered non-canon
For five generations the Slayer Kings of Karak Kadrin have laboured under their dual vows. However, the son of Ungrim Ironfist, Garagrim, devised a means by which these burdens might be lifted. After consulting with the oldest and wisest Dwarfs of the Hold, Garagrim made an important realisation. If he could fulfill the Slayer vow that would pass to him on the death of his father, then future generations would no longer have the debt upon their honour. With no kingly vows to hold him back, Garagrim embraced the life of the slayer, leaving the courtroom of his father to live amongst the hard stone halls of the Shrine of Grimnir.[1a]
Garagrim took the ancient title of War-mourner, an old rank that was once used by the High King's champions. It is the duty of the War-mourner to act in the King's stead in battle, accepting the King's honour as his own, and vice versa. As far as honour and tradition were concerned, Garagrim's Slayer vow was the same as his father's.[1a]
Now all that remained was for Garagrim to meet his death in battle against a worthy foe. With the expansion of the Realms of Chaos, all manner of twisted, mutated beasts came south from the Chaos Wastes and the Troll Country. Vicious fanged spawn, two-headed dragons, mighty Shaggoths and all other manner of monstrous creatures now roamed Kislev.[1a]
Slayers in their thousands gathered at the Shrine to Grimnir, the normally solitary warriors drawn together by the promise of a truly glorious death against the bestial hordes from the north. As they marched north to meet their destinies, Garagrim marched at their head, chanting praises to Grimnir for this fateful occasion.[1a]
As War-mourner, it was Garagrim's duty to tend to the Shrine of Grimnir, allowing him to open up the temple's store of ancient rune axes left as tribute by Slayers making a pilgrimage to Karak Kadrin.[1a]
Reaching Praag, Garagrim met his avowed doom, slaying a monstrous Chaos Giant and achieving the death in battle that his oath demanded. His father heard the news soon after being repulsed from Peak Pass by the advance of Vardek Crom and the Chaos Dwarfs, and took upon himself the Slayer Oath once again.[2a]
Garagrim Ironfist fights with the Axes of Kadrin. Chained to Garagrim's wrists so he will never lose them, these twin axes were given to him by his father on his coming-of-age. Each is inscribed with a Grudge Rune and the Master Rune of Skalf Blackhammer. Not only can these axes be wielded in the normal sense, but they can also be whirled upon the end of their chains, much like those of the crazed Slayer Doomseekers.[1a]
- Garagrim's background was introduced for the first time in the Storm of Chaos worldwide campaign, but his final fate was not revealed until the release of Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (7th Edition), in which the results of the battles of both Garagrim and his father Ungrim were officially stated. During the 8th Edition, however, the Storm of Chaos storyline was retconned to return to the previous timeline and allowed for the later publication of The End Times - but Garagrim was still confirmed dead by Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition). This makes Garagrim's cause of death technically unknown.
- 1: Warhammer: Storm of Chaos (6th Edition)
- 1a: pp. 62-63
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (7th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 15
- 3: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 29
- 4: Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls, by Josh Reynolds