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Karak Kadrin, which means "Hold of the Mountain Pass" in Khazlid, known also as Slayers Keep is a Dwarf stronghold which guards a region of mountainous passes known simply as Peak Pass, an important trading route which runs through the Worlds Edge Mountains from the distant east to the Old World. A mighty and well-known kingdom, Karak Kadrin benefits from its position, having become both a wealthy trading center and the largest, most populous and most powerful Dwarf kingdom in the Pass. Peak Pass is also an invasion route for the creatures plaguing the lands to the east, who, unchecked, would be free to rampage into the Old World. Despite being besieged countless times, Karak Kadrin has never fallen. Its impregnability is probably due to the fact it has become the home of the feared Dwarfen Slayers, who are naturally attracted to such a contested place. On account of this, Karak Kadrin is commonly known as "Slayer Keep", and is an important centre for the worship of Grimnir, the Dwarf Ancestor God epitomizing fearlessness and fighting spirit.

The Dwarfs and the many outposts they garrison along the route provide welcome security to the caravans in what would otherwise be a dangerous region, as well as keep a vital trade route open. In return, the Dwarfs collect much gold in tolls, paid willingly by merchants.

Following the tradition of his ancestors, Ungrim Ironfist, the king of Karak Kadrin, has taken the Slayer oath himself and must serve both as king of his realm and as a Slayer. However, bound by his duties as a monarch, he cannot leave and seek a honourable death in combat. Therefore he fulfils his Slayer oath by providing for other Slayers as they seek to fulfil their vows. At Karak Kadrin, a weary Slayer may find lodging, food, and hospitality for as long as he needs it before resuming his quest for death. In return, those Slayers who remain at the keep are expected to help the King uphold his pledge to guard Peak Pass.

The Slayer Kings

King Ungrim Ironfist of the Angrulok clan, a direct descendant of King Baragor, is the latest in Karak Kadrin's long line of Slayer Kings. Baragor took the Slayer's Oath centuries ago, but his duties as King prevented him from seeking redemption through a heroic death; the burden has passed down through his descendants. The nature of Baragor's shame has been forgotten by his people as a sign of respect, and the secret is passed down from one Slayer King to the next, until one of them can make atonement.[3a]

Baragor founded a great shrine to the Slayer God Grimnir, and welcomed all Slayers to his realm. They came from far and wide, and to this day Karak Kadrin is home to the largest population of Slayers in all the Karaz Ankor. Located near a side gate of Karak Kadrin, the Shrine of the Slayers stands at the heart of a hold within a hold, known as Khaz Drengi, the Slayers' Hall. The Slayers keep to themselves, and avoid interaction with other Dwarfs. A second shrine to Grimnir, open to all Dwarfs, can be found in an underground gallery below the Slayers' enclave.[3a]

King Ungrim honours his Slayer's Oath and his Oath of Kingship by waging almost continuous war against the Dwarfs' many enemies. He is regarded as the best living general in the Karaz Ankor; in the recent Battle of Broken Leg Gully near Karaz-a-Karak, King Ungrim and his army annihilated a Greenskin army and captured the feared Orc Warboss Gnashrak. King Ungrim's campaigning keeps him away from Karak Kadrin for much of the year, and in his absence the hold is ruled by Queen Alrika, who enjoys the full support of the clans.[3a]

The Hold

Besieged many times, Karak Kadrin has never fallen. Many invading armies have broken upon its walls. Karak Kadrin has also benefited from its location near Kislev and the eastern Imperial province of Ostermark. Since the time of Sigmar, Humans have controlled these lands, protecting the western flank of the Dwarf realm against Greenskin invasion.[3a]

Karak Kadrin draws many advantages from its proximity to the Human lands. It carries on a lucrative trade with the Empire and Kislev, and has always been able to count on the assistance of nearby Imperial forces against their mutual enemies the Orcs, Goblins, Skaven and Beastmen. The road from the Empires makes Karak Kadrin a natural stopping-place both for expatriate dwarfs returning to the Karaz Ankor and for adventurers in search of lost Dwarfholds and mines. Outsiders find a warmer welcome at Karak Kadrin than any other Dwarfhold, and a host of merchants eager to supply them with any equipment they might need - for a price.[3a]

Karak Kadrin's mountain is not the tallest or most impressive in its vicinity. It rises from a river valley surrounded on both sides by ranges of higher, grander mountains.[4a]

As in other Dwarfholds, the current population of Karak Kadrin is much smaller than it was in the Golden Age. However, its garrison, together with its large population of Slayers, has allowed Karak Kadrin to repulse many attacks even in the absence of King Ungrim and the hold's army. Non-Dwarf guests usually lodge in chambers within the upper hold, although visiting Dwarfs or those honoured as Dwarf-friends may be given accommodations below ground. Protected by cannons from the Karak-a-Karak foundry and locally made stone and bolt throwers, the walls of Karak Kadrin stand against all enemies.[3a][3b] Standing in contrast to the ornate workmanship of other dwarf holds, Karak Kadrin's defences are made of rough-hewn, lichen-encrusted stone blocks. The grim and imposing aura lent by this style is likely meant to make some sort of statement.[4a]

While not as spectacular as Karak-a-Karak, the lower portion of Karak Kadrin is still impressive. The grandeur of the stonework reaches its height in the King's audience chambers and the Great Hall, where the hold's populace meets in assembly twice a year.[3b]

A strong and heavily guarded gate at the south-east end of the lower levels blocks the entrance to the Underway. The Underway from Karak Kadrin to Zhufbar and Karaz-a-Karak remains broken in many places, and is rife with dangerous creatures. Large crevasses and massive cave-ins have blocked the part of the Underway running north towards the fallen Karak Ungor, known as Red Eye Mountain to the Greenskinned invaders. While these obstacles give Karak Kadrin a measure of protection against attack from below, work is under way to clear and repair the underground highway, in preparation for the liberation of Karak Ungor. Parties of Slayers set out northward along the Underway quite regularly, and refugee clans of Karak Ungor are contributing a great deal of wealth and labour to the restoration project.[3b]

Assaulted many times on the surface, Karak Kadrin has never been breached underground.[3b] Its mines, some of the deepest and most dangerous in the dwarf realms,[4a] are protected by frequent garrison patrols and wandering groups of Slayers, making it highly unlikely that an attack from below could succeed. The mines of Karak Kadrin contain many of the metal ores and precious gems found in Zhufbar and Karak Varn (except for gromril). The extent of these deposits ensures that Karak Kadrin remains one of the wealthier Dwarfholds.[3b] In particular, seams of coal and iron are mined, providing the raw materials for the manufacture of Kadrin Steel. This metal is renowned throughout the dwarf realms and beyond as one of the finest materials an axe head can be made out of.[4a]

Locations

  • Human Quarter: This small district within the hold has architecture more suited to beings of human size. It mainly consists of services for merchants travelling High Pass.[4a]
  • Khaz Drengi: Also known as the Slayers' Hall, this district is mainly inhabited by Slayers, who tend to keep to themselves.[3a]
  • The Iron Door: The Iron Door is one of the least reputable taverns in Karak Kadrin. It is frequented by slayers; tunnel fighters; and renegades, lowlifes, and outcasts of all sorts.[4b]
  • Library of the Slayer King: Karak Kadrin's library is stocked with a great many books and scrolls. Most are in Khazalid, but a few are in human languages. In addition, it contains many maps of the mountains.[4b]
  • A second Shrine to Grimnir, less exclusive than the one in Khaz Drengi, is located beneath the Slayers' Hall.[3a]

Gallery

  • Warhammer: Age of Reckoning Karak Kadrin Slayer Keep Door.

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 24
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (4th Edition)
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Dwarfs: Stone and Steel
    • 3a: pg. 29
    • 3b: pg. 31
  • 4: Dragonslayer (Novel) by Wiliam King
    • 4a: Chapter 6: A Hero's Welcome
    • 4b: Chapter 7: Preparations

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