- "‘Make sure you tell all those humies, humie, make sure you tell ’em good, make sure you tell ’em about the king in da mountain. Tell ’em all about me, Skarsnik, tell ’em all about my life, leave nuffink out. "
- —Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks.
Warlord Skarsnik, known by his official title as King of the Eight Peaks[1b] or simply just the King under the Mountain[2b] is the chieftain of the Crooked Moon Tribe and the most powerful Night Goblin Warlord in the whole of the southern Worlds Edge Mountains. All the other Orc and Goblin warlords acknowledge his overlordship of the mountains around the ruined Dwarf hold of Karak Eight Peaks, for none could ever overcome Skarsnik's incredible cunning and ruthlessness. Since his rise to power, Skarsnik has since been singled out from all the other Goblin Warlords before him for possessing an incredible intellect that is wholly unexpected from such a primitive race. Skarsnik is an expert ambush strategist who is able to plan out strategic battlefield plans and guide and command the ferocity of the Greenskin hordes to feats of organization that has never been accomplished by any Greenskin in recent history since the time of the infamous Orcish Warlord, Azhag the Slaughterer.[1b]
Perhaps one of his greatest exploits was during the year 2498 IC, where the Crooked Moon Tribe under the command of Skarsnik ambushed a Dwarf army crossing the treacherous valley known as Mad Dog Pass, which later became known as the Battle of the Jaws, named after the Greenskin formations that enclosed upon the surrounded dwarfs. In the following Battle of East Gate, Skarsnik was able to also wipe out about half of the dwarf troops, but the other half managed to get into the citadel hold of Karak Eight Peaks.[1a]
Since the Dwarfs returned to occupy their ancient hold, Skarsnik has virtually kept the Dwarfs prisoner within their tiny citadel. When the Dwarfs try to enter or leave the stronghold, he hunts them down and hangs their beard scalps on long poles within sight of the citadel walls. He is remarkably cunning and is constantly luring the Dwarfs into ambush after ambush. Under Skarsnik's leadership, the Crooked Moon Tribe became the most important tribe within Karak Eight Peaks. As they increased in power, so too did the fighting with nearby dwarf and Greenskin armies alike.[1a]
Along with his immense intellect and powerful magical staff, Skarsnik is accompanied by a Great Cave Squig named Gobbla. Gobbla is an enormous, very smelly, and mindlessly vicious creature that Skarsnik had saved from death when it was a mere Squigling. Ever since then, Gobbla had become an eternally loyal companion to Skarsnik, for although his other Goblin Chieftains and Warlords loyalty can be put into question, Gobbla had since saved Skarsnik's life many many times before. As a sign of their close companionship, Skarsnik feeds Gobbla regularly with the tasty flesh of Dwarf, Skaven and any Goblins careless enough to stray too close to its murderous maw.[1b][1a]
- "‘Good, good! Dat’s what I want, a good story. Because I am going to tell you a good story. An’ I want you to take it wiv ya, and I want you to tell all da uvver ’umies out dere who the biggest and meanest and bestest goblin in the world is, you got dat? And if you don’t do it in pretty words den I’ll come and eat your liver while you watches, got dat?"
- —Skarsnik as he commands the playwright Bickenstadt to write the story of his life.[2b]
The life and story of Skarsnik can all be traced by the recorded accounts of a once-famous playwright by the name of Jeremiah von Bickenstadt, a son of a minor family that had dreams of making himself famous and wealthy through the writing of plays. However, his father originally wanted him to be a famous professor at the University of Altdorf, but Bickenstadt refused to follow the path his father laid out for him. This choice had since changed Bickenstadt's life forever, for after refusing his wishes and breaking his father's once-kind heart, Bickenstad went about his life as a freelance playwright, where he would eventually journey to the hostile lands of the Border Princes.[2a]
From there, Bickenstadt and the merchant caravan he was with had been attacked by a large Warband of Night Goblins during their stay at a local fortified inn. Bickenstadt was later captured and sent to the domains of the Greenskin infested stronghold of Karak Eight Peaks. There, Skarsnik, the Warlord of the Eight Peaks had both offered and threatened Bickenstadt to write down the story of his life. Without any real choice on the matter, Bickenstadt was forced to obey and began writing down Skarsnik's life on paper.[2b]
The Spawning of Skarsnik
- "I was different, see...Oh, dey called me da Runt and dey beat and hurt me, but I was always quicker than them. You know what I mean? Da chains we had, ‘dey was so easy to get out ov. When da runtboss told us to work, I’d set me gang up and sneak away. We’d be down dere days, sometimes, and as long as I came back wiv da goods, it didn’t matter. I’d see fings… incredible fings."
- —The Life of Skarsnik.[2c]
On the accounts given by Bickenstadt, Skarsnik was born like any other Greenskin born into existence. The goblin that would later be known as Skarsnik started out life by clawing his way out of the dirt, and into the darkness of a glowing mushroom-lit cave, along with the birthing of his brethren. In time, these small Goblins began to venture into the domains of the Backstairs Boys, a small tribe that is a faction of the larger Crooked Moon tribe. Even upon his birth, Skarsnik showed an aptitude of intelligence by being able to spurt out his first words moments after birth and being able to command his brethren through the dangers of the caves.[2c]
As these small Goblins ventured into the central camp of the Backstairs Boyz, the small Goblins were forcibly integrated into the Tribe. Forced into slavery, these Goblins were given the task of harvesting the many mushrooms that infest the lairs of the Backstairs Boyz. Skarsnik during this time was known simply as Runt, for unlike his other brethren, Skarsnik was significantly smaller than the rest of the other Goblins. Even as years have passed, Skarsnik was still a lowly runt in the tribe's slave pens, while his former brethren have since grown up and left him.[2c] His small stature, however, did not stop him from rising through the ranks of his tribe. After a few years of personally leading the newer spawnings by himself, Skarsnik was finally elevated to the position as a true member of the tribe, and was renamed as RuntGit, for he still was fairly small.[2d][2e]
Due to Skarsnik's uncommon intellect and cunning, Runtboss Grobskab gave Skarsnik the task of slavemaster, or Runtboy to his own Warband of little Goblins. Using his now prestigious position, Skarsnik had been able to curry favour from the tribal leader's, Big Boss Tarkit Fing-Finger and Master Shaman Duffskul.[2e] Skarsnik had also been able to gain a powerful ally amongst the Skavens that infest the mountain by helping to reinstate Skreekrit Yellowtooth, a former captive of the Backstairs Boyz, as Fangleader of Clan Mors.[2f]
In return, secretive trade between the Skaven's and Skarsnik had made his tribe, and more specifically Skarsnik, incredibly wealthy.[2g] However, Skarsnik's personal nemesis, Runtboy Snotruk, had revealed Skarsnik's secretive dealings, which angered Big Boss Tarkit and forced him to order for Skarsnik's execution. However, thanks to the timely arrival of a Dwarf expeditionary force attacking the camp of the Backstairs Boyz, Skarsnik had been thrown into an underground river and taken to the outskirts of Karak Eight Peaks.[2h] It is from there that he became a slave to a marauding Warband of Goblin Wolf Riders.[2i][2j]
The Enslavement of Skarsnik
- "An’ I was in there for a long old while. The Griff’s boys went from place to place on the plain. Sometimes, a whole load of ’em would rush off into the hills, mostly they stuck together. They were traders, see, going from da Howlers to da Broken Teef, to Crooked Fang and da Stinkin’ Geezers, wheelin’ and dealin’ sellin’ and buyin’ and stealin’. The Griff was good at dat, real good. But what did he want wiv me? And why was I in dat cage? No! Don’t answer, it’s a right-orcical question, innit? I’ll tell you why…"
- —The Life of Skarsnik.[2k]
When Skarsnik was taken away by the nomadic caravans of the Wolf Rider tribe, Skarsnik's cunning demeanour had once again saved him from a horrible end. The leader of the Wolf Rider tribe, a grotesquely fat Goblin known by his official title as the Great Grillzer-Griff Makiki da Cunning, saw potential within Skarsnik, but he wanted to make sure by seeing what Skarsnik might do during his time in captivity. As such, Griff Makiki ordered Skarsnik into a small wagon-cage where he was forced into confinement for a few years. During his confinement, Skarsnik studied the habits of the Wolf Rider tribes and hatched a cunning plan that would grab Griff Makiki's attention.[2k]
As the Wolf Rider caravan went from place to place within the Badlands, Skarsnik instigated a brawl between himself, a Dwarf, and an impolite gesture about the Dwarf's mother, her sexual habits, and a mountain pony. The ensuing scuffle had gained the attention of Griff Makiki, where he found the full extent of Skarsniks cunning demeanour. Griff Makiki was impressed with Skarsniks ability to learn and speak both Reikspeil and Khazalid, the language of the Humans and Dwarfs during his time in captivity.[2k] As a reward for his cunning, Skarsnik had been released from captivity and became a spy for the Griff. Like in his former tribe, Skarsnik quickly rose through the ranks of the Wolf Goblins, even going as far as to be feared by the other members of the tribes.[2l]
Also like in his tribe, Skarsnik had a rivalry with a Goblin named Gulbash, a clever Goblin who held the position of Second Boss and was protected by a massive armoured Goblin named Gur. In an effort to get Gulbash out of the picture, Skarsnik gained a powerful ally by helping a lowly Goblin Boss named Kruggler in killing the bodyguard Gur in a staged pit-fight, thus gaining Kruggler a new prestigious position as the Griff's new personal bodyguard. Without the protection of Gur, the cowardly Gulbash no longer stood in the way of Skarsnik's ascension. After slowly gaining himself enough allies within the tribe, Skarsnik first took out his rival Gulbash and in time, hatched a plot to acquire rulership of the entire tribe for himself.[2m]
Originally, Skarsnik didn't want to become chief of the Wolf Tribe, for he simply wanted to come back home within the tunnels and caves of Karak Eight Peaks. But Skarsnik grew ambitious, and after Skarsnik tried fruitlessly to convince Griff Makiki to join him on his journey, Skarsnik ruthlessly took control and personally slit the throat of his former Boss with his brand new sickle sword. With his death, Skarsnik became the new Chief of the Wolf Rider tribe and soon made ready for his long journey back home.[2m]
The Rise of Skarsnik
- "I seen him, you know? I seen him. The second time he talked to me, I was out dere on the plains. I was all drunk one night, and da stars swam and went all green. And this big orc made of stars, he said, “You!” – ’e shouts lots. “You! Little greeny! Go home! Go home and be da biggest and bestest gobbo since Grom da Paunch flattened da pansies! Go on! Go on home now!” You might fink dat’s nonsense, but it ain’t, oh it ain’t!"
- —The Life of Skarsnik.[2m]
After months of trailing, Skarsnik led the Wolf Goblin tribe into the foothills of the Worlds Edge Mountains, where he set his sights upon the ancient Dwarf kingdom of Karak Eight Peaks. With his now sizable army, Skarsnik subjugated all the Greenskin tribes that stood in his way, as well the Orc tribes that occupied the lands around the East Gates. Since the kingdom's downfall, the titanic gates of Karak Eight Peaks had always been open to all, but when Skarsnik came upon the gates himself, he found it closed. Skarsnik was both confused and scared to find the door closed, for its closing simply means that Karak Eight Peaks had recently changed hands since his departure some time ago. After questioning his new Orc subordinates, he quickly realized that the Skaven's have recently conquered the upper reaches of Karak Eight Peaks in a lightning-fast invasion.[2m]
Skarsnik ordered the army to encamp themselves during the night while Skarsnik would sneak in and talk to the Big Boss of the Crooked Moon Tribe. Entering a ventilation shaft that Skarsnik had discovered when he was a mere runt, Skarsnik snuck back into the domains of his former tribe, the Backstairs Boyz. It was from there that he discovered that his old rival, Snotruk had become the new Big Boss of the entire tribe.[2m] Still having lingering resentment for Skarsnik, Big Boss Snotruk threw his rival into a massive fighting pit where Skarsnik had to fight off packs of ravenous Cave Squigs all by himself. It was just then that the largest Cave Squig, Skarsnik had ever seen came after him, but the creature stopped just short from him and curiously sniffed him. Out of the purest luck, Skarsnik had met the same Cave Squig he'd saved from the cruelty of Snotruk many years ago. After gaining the loyalty of his new companion, and the timely arrival of Kruggler and his Wolf Goblins, Skarsnik allowed the Squig, now named Gobbla, to devour his former rival and took back control over the Backstair Boyz.[2n]
After taking control of the Tribe, Skarsnik took his army deep within the mountain where he began to realize the full scale of the situation. The Greenskin tribes are in disarray, the Skavens have launched a massive invasion that literally split the tribes of the Crooked Moon in half, with the other half being cut-off to the east by the emerging Skaven armies. Skarsnik's plan was originally to gather around him all the remaining tribes as he can, as secretly as he can. Without proper leadership since the Chieftain of the Crooked Moons was isolated to the east, many of the shamans and sub-chiefs quickly bowed in submission to Skarsnik's command. He used cunning traps and ambushes to halt the Skavens from pressing deeper into his territory, whilst also making sure that they don't know that he was gathering his new army for a sudden counter-attack. After plotting long and hard, he was finally ready to set his plan into motion.[2n]
Skarsnik's first plan was to enact a series of bluffs, betrayals, staged retreats and cunning counter-attacks to confuse the Skaven leadership of his true intentions. The greatest difficulty was making sure his new subordinate Big Bosses, Shamans and Chieftains knew how to properly follow his brilliant battle plan. After some explaining and a lot of bashing, his subordinates finally got the picture and they all cackled madly for the inevitable slaughter that is to unfold.[2o]
The Naming of Skarsnik
- "We was careful, though. I never told them runners much at all, so if they got caught by the ratties, then they couldn’t squeal. Any fights wiv da ratties were done by da different clans, here and there, tit and tat, so dey wouldn’t figure we were linkin’ up like. And anyways, we was still fighting each uvver. Da ratties fought dey had won, dat dey could take a whole load of greenie land away and we’d just go back ta normal, bashing each uvvers brains out in da teeny bits dey let us keep. At da same time, dey fought we was beat, or maybe dey were fightin’ each uvver again, cause dey do that a lot. Anyways, when dere wasn’t dat many of dem, and dey was getting all, com-play-sunt, yeah, when dey was dat, dat was when I made me move. Dem ratties never knew what ’it ’em..."
- —The Life of Skarsnik.[2o]
Before the battle began, Skarsnik tricked his former acquaintance, Skreekrit Yellowtooth, who is now High Chieftain of Clan Mors into an ambush that saw the total destruction of the Skaven military leadership. With his death, Skarsnik lead his troops to the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, where the final battle over the dominion of Eight Peaks shall be decided. At the centre of this titanic chamber lies a Skaven fort, located around a Throne that the King of Karak Eight Peaks once ruled. Behind a thin wall of rock within the walls of the chamber, Skarsnik ordered for the attack to begin.[2o]
A horn sounded across the chambers, then another, and another, until all the ruins of Karak Eight Peaks rang to their long, mournful songs. Squigpipes and drums joined their call. The dwarf city reverberated to Greenskin war music. Explosions rocked the city as openings were made within the walls of the chamber using stolen Dwarf blackpowder kegs. The Skaven armies line of retreat were cut-off as their tunnels were also sealed by explosions. Skaven infantry regiments began to rush to the other side of the chamber as Greenskin warbands surged through the gaps made within the walls.[2o]
As the Skaven's rush to one side, Skarsnik and his own personal warbands appeared from the other side, opening another gap within the chamber walls. As the Greenskins attacked from opposite flanks, another Skaven army appeared from the north-east. Through one of the great arches, a column of Skaven were marching down the slope. They came from the second of the ratmen’s main camps, ready to reinforce their brethren within the Hall of a Thousand Pillars. Panic rippled through Runtgit’s warriors, but his bosses and chiefs slapped heads and pointed to Runtgit and Gobbla. They fought on harder, their faith in Runtgit urging them to supreme effort.[2o]
As the battle rages, teams of Goblins were able to infiltrate the gate-house that guards the East Gate, and upon opening the gate, Boss Kruggler and his Wolf Goblin Riders entered the fray and attacked the flanks of the Skaven relief force. Surrounded on all fronts from the rampaging hordes of Greenskin warriors, the Skaven's were defeated. Knots of them fought grimly on, knowing there would be no quarter, but inevitably, all the Skavens within the chamber were dead. The camps to the north-east were razed to the ground as Kruggler and his Wolf Boyz killed the stragglers.[2o]
In the ensuing aftermath, Goblins began to slowly whisper amongst themselves. Whispers went around the goblins, they turned into shouts, and then songs. Goblins did little dances, kicking pointy-toed shoes high. For the first time in many years, the Goblin tribes have retaken Karak Eight Peaks. Skarsnik, still known during that time as RuntGit was propelled high up in the air from his brethrens as they chant his name to the heavens. It was at this time that Shaman Duffskul finally gave him his true and destined name; "Skarsnik".[2o]
For miles around, the caves echoed to goblin cheers and the roars of cave beasts. As Skarsnik took his new name, all over Karak Eight Peaks, the Skaven's were butchered mercilessly. Goblins in Skaven skins approached checkpoints, knifing surprised guards. New breeding chambers were doused in squig oil and set ablaze. Several towers collapsed simultaneously, as goblins pulled pit props from shafts undermining them. Everywhere, hordes of laughing goblins descended on the newly conquered Skaven territories, hacking furred bodies to pieces in vicious tunnel fights. In every corner of the upper city, the Skaven's were ambushed and destroyed. Skarsnik’s genius had been to assault the Skaven outposts simultaneously. Isolated, unable to reinforce each other or bring their numbers to bear, the Skaven armies panicked, and were cut down by the hundreds.[2o]
- 2: Skarsnik (Novel) by Guy Haley
- 2a: Chapter 4: "A Gentlemen Kidnapped"
- 2b: Chapter 5: "King under the Mountain"
- 2c: Chapter 6: "A Runt Spawned"
- 2d: Chapter 7: "Two Heads are Better"
- 2e: Chapter 8: "Runt No More"
- 2f: Chapter 9: "No Job for a Goblin"
- 2g: Chapter 10: "Fight-Fight"
- 2h: Chapter 11: "Exit Thieving-Git, Enter Mountain Folk"
- 2i: Chapter 12: "Out of the Fire and Into the Fire"
- 2j: Chapter 15: "In Truth, a Brave Little Goblin"
- 2k: Chapter 16: "The Great Grizzler-Griff Makiki the Cunning"
- 2l: Chapter 17: "The Way of Coin"
- 2m: Chapter 18: "Gur, Gulbash, the Griff and The Way Back Home"
- 2n: Chapter 19: "Enter Gobbla, Stage Centre"
- 2o: Chapter 20: "I am Skarsnik!"