The savage saga of the beast known as Mordrak is a chilling tale and one that resulted in a number of grudges over a long period, spanning generations. It is typical of many such confrontations between the Dwarfs and one of their oldest foes - dragons.[1a]
Let it be known that in this year that the overground farms at Kragvarn, Brakkzhuf and Gakzorn suffered ruination by fire. Herdmaster Kruzdil reports the loss of two score hruk and three fields of crops including wheat, barley and parsnips, rendered to ash. Of the goatherds, Jorli, Rukinn and Vagrik no sign could be found. A grudge is hereby entered against all three and the line of their clan is summarily besmirched until recompense is made for this negligence. Grobi is suspected of starting the fire. Kruzdil adds in his testimony that he did lead an expedition into the outlying lands, beyond the shadow of the karak, and discovered a small tribe of Greenskins encamped in caves to the south of Brakkzhuf. A grudge is hereby lodged against the Yellow Fang tribe. Kuzril vows to return with clan warriors to exact summary vengeance.[1b][1c]
On this day does Kruzdil doscer an entire herd of hruk bone carcasses at Kragvarn. A throng of warriors from Thane Burrdrik's clain accompanies Kruzdil. This act satisfies an old debt incurred for a spate of hruk bothering by the thane's kin. The Yellow Fangs are suspected of the slaughter but upon approaching their lair are the grobi's corpses discovered, similarly bereft of flesh and meat. The grobi are burned. The aformentioned grudge against the Yellow Fangs passes to the Red Tooth tribe, known associates of the Yellow Fangs. Than Burrdrik hereby lodges a grudge against Kruzdil and his clan for the needless expense of boot leather and an outbreak of kruti amongst his kin. Fifty pieces of izor are entered into the reckoners' log.[1c]
Collapse at Grunspire
Let it be known that on this day the northern mines of Grunspire collapse. Lodewarden Borri Threkkson records the loss of several rich veins of ore and no less than four tunnels. Kraggi Svengeln, Dorki Baddrikson, Vorlkin Kakki, Drenk Fykison and Yorik Varnskan are all slain. May Grungni watch over them. A grudge is lodged against prospector Svengeln by the Threkkson clan on account of braces described by the accuser as "umgak" and their failure to shore up the tunnels. Recompense is set at two hundred pieces of silven. The Svengeln clan lodge a counter-grudge against the Threkkson clan on behalf of their departed kinsman, Kraggi, for wrongful besmirchment of honour in referring to previous works as "umgak". Recompense is unset until the veracity of the claim can be upheld.[1c]
Besmirchment of the Svengeln Clan
Upon the clearance of the tunnels at Grunspire, Thane-King Kazgar's clan engineer, Fydor Ungulfson, accompanied by a throng of ironbreakers, does conclude that the braces used by the Svengeln were made of stout wutroth, but weakened by aggressive gnawing. The Svengeln clan's (hereby referred to as the "wronged") grudge against the Threkkson's is hereby upheld and thusly the wronged are awarded two hundred pieces of izor and two hundred pieces of silven as recompense for the aforementioned besmirchment by the Threkkson clan. Thane-King Kazgar hereby records a grudge against the rat-kin, clear instigators of the tunnel collapse at Grunspire. Fifty rat-kin tails for each of the slain is set for the promise price as recompense for this fell deed.[1c]
Retribution for Grunspire
Ungaz Ironhammer, ironbeard of the Ironhammer clan does lead a throng of ironbreakers and warriors into the re-established tunnels at Grunspire. A dishevelled horde of rat-kin is discovered easily, whilst harvesting frongol in one of the larger caverns. A great battle erupts as many more of the filthy vermin emerge from hidden Ungdrin tunnels. Badrikk Stoneheart and a group of tunnel fighters of his clan do slay over thirty of the rat-kin, pressing the creatures back with their broad-shield and long-mattocks. Alas, Badrikk is slain whilst reloading his pistol, in a frenzied attack by the vermin. He Will Be Remembered. A hundred rat-tails for his passing.[1c]
Ungaz accounts for thirteen of the wretched rat things himself, whilst a tally of sixty-three tails is reaped in all, for a loss of three more warriors. Kurik, Badin and Ilfrik Will All Be Remembered. Thirty tails each as recompense for this act. Ungaz notes that the creatures are "petrified" at the appearance of his warriors, their fur "scorched" as if by fire. A further foray into the hidden tunnels from where the vermin launched their ambush reveals rat-kin bone carcasses, at least four-hundred and thirty-one by the count of Loremaster Ruzik.[1c]
Calamity at the Cave of Mordrak
Engineer Godrikson and a party of miners and sappers do venture forth into the tunnels around Grunspire. Many miles into the earth do the dawi dig, many blessings to Morgrim, leading to the discovery of an ancient, long forgotten Ungdrin road. Godrikson describes a mighty girt with walls ground smooth, first believed as if by the frequent passage of some large drilling engine or other such device but clearly not of dwarf manufacture as the tunnel is crudely made and seemingly without function. A mile further and the truth of the girt is revealed upon discovery of a cavern some ten-thousand beard spans, filled with rhun and gorl and galaz.[1d]
A grudge is lodged against Rittik Halfhand and Beldour Krunnson, rendered insensible by sudden gorl fever, by the Halfhand and Krunnson clans. Rittik falls foul of a sulphur pool, hidden behind a vast treasure pile. Plunging head first into the foul smelling liquid, all that remains of Rittik are his stout boots; both his armour and rhun-pick - an heirloom of the clan - are lost. Beldour, churning through a vast pit of ghalaz, disturbs a mighty mound of gold and is crushed to death as it falls upon him, ignorant of the warnings of Godrikson, so intent is he upon the treasure hoard.[1d]
Overcoming their own gold lust, Godrickson and his party explore the great cave. The engineer provides the following testimony as to what was found there.[1d]
- "Grungni's oath, never had these old eyes beheld such a horde: gorl, galaz, grenzil, silven, and izor piled higher than the magnificent columned halls of Karaz-a-Karak. Rhun was everywhere, heirlooms of a dozen or more clans, so old the memoy of them was lost to me. Such a prize could not be uncoveted and true as the wisdom of Valaya I saw a great many skulls and scattered uzkul: dawi, manling and elgi all in klad, their weapons clutched in bone fingers. Lesser beings, their remains chewed and bit, tarnished the cavern too: grobi, urk and more of the rat-kin.
With a prayer to Smednir, great shaper of ore, I felt the rock of the cavern. Twas warm; the blood of the mountain was close. The stench of gold was thick but so too was a rank odour emanating from the many pools througout the cave - brave Rittik lost his life to one. I was forced into wielding my hammer to drum the gorl lust from the rest of my kith and kin.
Crags, worn and scratched by the tooth and claw of some mighty drakk - for now I had no doubt this was the lair of such a beast - rose up out of the hoard like the many spiked peaks of the mountain. Several more tunnels stretched out from the cavern, all of them wrought smooth by the passing of the creature.
We did not linger, not for lack of courage, but out of urgency at bringing such dire news to the king."
- —Engineer Godrikson
Edict of Kazgar
This day does Kazgar, Thane-King of Azul declare the drakk, discovered by Godrikson, be found and slain, and the stolen treasures of its horde brought back to the vault of the king. A grudge is also made against Engineer Godrikson for failing to return the treasure horde to the karak. The shame of this deed is set at the worth of four of Godrikson's finest cannons.[1d]
Thane-King Kazgor does name the beast Mordrak for it is surely a mighty creature, and old beyond reckoning, given the evidence of its hoard and the size of its lair. An expedition of the clan's mightiest warriors is gathered immediately to avenge the deaths of those dawi slain by Mordrak and a grudge is hereby entered against it and all its kind for this fell deed.[1d]
By the reckoning of ancient Runelord Varic Forgehand tis the very same beast that caused much damage to the former realm of Eight Peaks and a further grudge is lodged against the creature on behalf of the Eight Peaks clans. As such, Thane-King Kazgar has deemed it fitting that warriors representing the wronged clans of Eight Peaks be allowed to join the expedition.[1d]
Dreng Tromm! A horn is sounded in the deep this most bleak of days for the loss of twenty-five warriors of the Silvenback, Stonecutter and Stoutpeak clans of Karak Eight Peaks; seven slayers of Kadrin; thirty-one brave dawi of Karak Azul from the Dunrakin, Firehand and Ironfinger clans; and for Thane Durik Kaznagar whose oath it was to slay the dragon, Mordrak. None returned from the expedition. Their fates are unrecorded. May Grungni watch over them and Gazul guide them back to the Halls of the Ancestors. A grudge is writ against the beast for the loss of all. May its foul flesh adorn the walls of the Hearth Hall of Azul and its skull be mounted above the great Zhar![1d][1e]
Let it be known that upon this day, Thane Kaznagar is entered into the great kron for failing to uphold his oath to slay the beast. May the weight of this deed and the shame of his failure be passed down to his kin and the oath be fulfilled before he may sit at the grand feast table of Grungni.[1e]
On this day does Thane-King Kazgar order a second expedition into the Ungdrin to discover the fate of Thane Kaznagar and his warriors. Thane Borri Brakkson and some thirty of his most veteran warriors venture into the unknown deeps, together with twenty ironbreakers of the Ironbeard clan and engineers from Clan Flinthand who bring with them an organ cannon drawn by six stout lode ponies. A mere twenty-five winters, Kaznagar's only son, Kurik, was made to stay behind by King Kazgar himself in an effort to becalm the wailing of the long-departed thane's maiden-queen. The journal of Norgrin Nagsson, a lorekeeper who had joined the expeditionary force and submitted for consideration, makes for grim reading.[1e]
- "We followed the route scribed upon Godrikson's map to the cavern of the beast and the last known destination of Kaznagar thane and his clansdwarfs. As the Ungdrin opened wide before us the air became thick with the stench of sulphur and soot, the walls back and fire-scorched. Lodefinder Ungafel muttered an oath to Grungni, remarking on the condition of some of the rocks around us as if the very blood of the mountain had flowed here and cooled. In places there were great furrows ripped out of the stone - claw marks of the drakk - as long as a hammer haft and as broad as a hammer head, with space enough between for a great axe blade.
We reached the edge of the cavern at last - a deep glow bathing the wall from the gold lustre within. Here, the stink of the drakk was at its strongest - the creature had returned.
Stood upon the threshold of its lair, I saw the beast and muttered oaths to Valaya, Grungni and Grimnir. Ancient evil flowed from eyes as black as tar pits. Its gnarled and thorny hide was like the razor crags of the karak, red and luminous as the blood of the mountain with thick lines run through it like veins of black ore. Claws the length of swords, twice thick, scraped the ground, pulling the glittering hoard in piles of hundreds. Seeing us, the beast reared up on its haunches; its bloated gut, filled with dawi dead, was yellow and barrel-ribbed.
Thane Borri bellowed orders, with Grimnir's courage. Ten of the Ironbeard clan came forward and made a thick wall with stout shields. The Flinthand clan dragged the mighty organ cannon into position behind them - for the ponies drawing it had long since slipped their hands and fled, doubtless spooked by the presence of the drakk - and more warriors moved left and right. Some wavered, the lure of gorl filling their senses but Borri's voice was a hammer strike and their purpose was renewed. The shield wall came forward, locked tight like the Great Grimgrong, advancing upon the drakk. The beast gave no ground but spread its tattered and torn wings, great spikes curving from each. At once the sulphur stink of its breath was no more and the air was sucked away. Its bloated gut filled. Thane Borri cried out a warning but his voice was crushed by a roar of flame. Those of the Ironbeard clan were engulfed. Black-red fire surged through them and once it had abated the Ironbreakers were no more, their flesh flayed, muscles cooked and bones turned to powder within the smoking husks of their fire-scorched armour.
Without delay, the beast came down onto four legs, and a tremor wracked the cavern. It roared a challenge, assailing us with its sulphur breath but no fire came this time. it was enough for the Flinthand clan, Grungni curse them. They fled their war engine with not a shot fired, scattering from the cavern. May their beards be hewn and kruti afflict their nethers!
Borri and his veterans would not be denied and charged the beast. Three of the Brakkson clan were crushed immediately beneath the drakk's claws, another three swept away by its tail. Borri barked orders and slowly the beast was encircled. Dawi blades fell against drakk hide but oft rebounded such was its thickness.
For an hour did they battle the beast, Borri and his kin, but it was to no avail. I watched as the last of the clan warriors was bitten in two and only Thane Borri remained, his armour dented, the great rhun helm of the Brakkson clan no longer upon his head. Borri bade me flee, take word back to the Thane-king, "I have failed, send others to avenge me!" At that the beast lunged at Borri, but he dodged aside and struck a mighty blow, the blade of his rhun axe tasting flesh as it carved out the drakk's eye. A geyser of black blood erupted from the wound and for a moment, I thought Thane Borri had at last the besting of the creature. But it turned quickly, with a deafening roar of pain, and Thane Borri was unbalanced and undone. He fell, his axe clattering far from his grasp. The beast blew an inferno from its broad nostrils and Borri was no more. I fled, heat searing my eyes, the stink of burning meat in my nose. The drakk did not follow - I shall honour Valaya for that."
- —Norgrin Naggson, Lorekeeper
A grudge against the beast, Mordrak for the slaying of no less than fifty-one dwarfs of the clans Ironbeard and Brakkson. A lament is sung in the Third Deep for the passing of Thane Borri Brakkson. For the loss of an organ cannon, the Engineers' Guild does hereby demand five hundred pieces of gorl and two hundred of izor from the Flinthand clan. A further grudge is lodged by the Flinthands against the dwarfs of Grey Mountains and the Goldhoarder clan for the supply of weak-willed lode ponies. Recompense for this deed is set at five hundred pieces of izor and a grudge by the Engineers' Guild, formerly the responsibility of the Flinthand clan, deferred to the Goldhoarder's for the loss of the aforementioned organ cannon.[1f]
Kurik makes his Oath
Kurik Kaznagar does on this day take the slayer's vow and swear to avenge the death of his thane and father by vanquishing the beast, Mordrak, and fulfilling well-remembered oaths. He is joined at the shrine of Grimnir by dwarfs of the Flinthand clan as penance for their lack of courage when facing the drakk.[1f]
Thane King Kazgar does agree to an expedition, led by Kurik, into the Ungdrin beneath the karak to at last destroy the beast. After meeting with the Council of Elders, it is decided that the rhun vaults of the karak be opened. Venerable Rune Lord Ganngrim Ironforge awakens the fabled Drakkaz-treng, and invoking the favour of Thungni does present it to Kurik. May it taste dragon-flesh again![1f][1g]
- "And lo did Kurik, son of Durik reach the nest of the great beast, Mordrak. With Drakkaztreng in hand and the wards of great Grimnir as his klad, did the slayer step before the drakk's terrible glare. Grimnir's war cry in his mouth, his fellow slayers at his side, Kurik did charge the beast without fear in his heart.
A gout of fire, thick and hot like mountain's blood, and two slayers fell; a third to the swipe of a mighty claw, a fourth swallowed whole into the sulphurous pit within the beast, 'til only Kurik remained. Drakkaz-treng flashed, its wicked edge promising blood and pain as it carved a slab of dragon scale. The beast roared its anger and sought to smite the slayer with its barbed tail, but Kurik was its equal. Cunning was this warrior, as well as brave. Planting his feet at the beast's ill-favoured side - where the axe of Borri had ruined its eye - he raked wing and forelimb.
Enraged, the beast cast another sheet of searing flame all around it and Kurik would have been slain were it not for the dragon scale he had hewn. Taking up the creature's hide and hefting it as a shield, did Kurik endure the drakk's hellish breath.
Into the inferno did Kurik stride, and when the dark pit of its remaining eye loomed large, Drakkaz-treng spoke again, cleaving down upon its nostril. So torn, Mordrak could no longer spit flame and death, and so it was that slayer and beast fought az, tooth and claw atop the highest peak of lustrous gold.
There upon the peak did the battle rage for three days and three nights, until finally, body broken, cut and smashed, did Kurik strike his last. Mordrak, bleeding, great patches of scales ripped from its hide did prepare to deliver Kurik's final doom and by so doing, the fulfilment of his father's oath. But as the blow was about to fall, the slayer cried out. Thunder answered his call. Casks of blackpowder, carefully placed by engineers when the beast only had eyes for slaughter and not caution, nor wisdom, did rage with fuses lit. By the will of Grungni did the cavern fall, all ways in and out buried beneath the weight of the mountain. And so was the beast Mordrak forever entombed, Kurik with it and Drakka-treng."
- —The Saga of Kurik Kaznagar.
- 1: Grudgelore