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"I fear there is no foe worthy of my death."
Ungrim Ironfist, Slayer King.[6a]
The Slayer King

The Slayer King.

Ungrim Ironfist was the last of the Slayer Kings of Karak Kadrin.[1a][4c] There was never a Dwarf more torn between his duties than Ungrim Ironfist. As the King of Karak Kadrin, he was oathbound to protect his kingdom and his people. As the all-father of the Drakebeard Clan, he had to ensure that his blood relations succeeded, and as a sworn Slayer who had taken the oath, Ungrim was also bound to seek his doom against the most powerful foe he could find. Never content to sit back on his throne and wait, Ungrim looked for any opportunity to lead his throngs to war.[9c]

History

There are few kinds of monsters that walk the world that Ungrim Ironfist has not slain in battle. Armed with the enormous Axe of Dargo, Ungrim deals death — carving a path of red ruin before him while singing songs of old in a booming voice. Atop his head is a bright orange crest that rises above a sturdy horned helmet set with a golden crown. For Ungrim is both a Slayer and a King, more than likely the last of the line of Slayer Kings of Karak Kadrin.[5f]

The tale of Ungrim’s family, Clan Drakebeard, is full of woe, as those in the clan of royal blood bear a history of calamities. Many years ago, in -650 IC[1b][2b][4b][5c] King Baragor, Ungrim’s five times great grandsire, suffered a terrible loss which drove him to take the oath of the Slayers. What caused such a drastic decision is not recorded.[1c][5f] 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.[2a] It is commonly assumed that the cause was the death of his daughter at the claws of the Dragon Skaladrak while on her way to marry the son of the High King of Karaz-a-Karak. In any case, Baragor became the first Slayer King of Karak Kadrin.[1c][5f]

He was torn between conflicting vows: the Slayer oath to seek out death and the oath of a king to protect his people. In the end, good Dwarf sense prevailed, and he found a way to honour all commitments. He founded the famed Slayer Shrine of Karak Kadrin, the largest shrine to Grimnir. Thus, he established a haven for Slayers that continues to this day. His son inherited his vows and continued the line of Slayer Kings, of which King Ungrim Ironfist is but the latest.[1c][5f]

In his youth, when High King Alriksson called for a Council of Kings after the Great War against Chaos to choose a successor, Ungrim Ironfist was perhaps the most acclaimed candidate, after having the head of the Giant he had slain dragged forth (which took a score of Dwarfs) so that all could marvel at its size. In the end, however, it was Thorgrim Grudgebearer who earned the nomination by bringing back representatives of the isolated Norse Dwarfs and several long-lost relics.[5a]

Since he was crowned, Ungrim bears the burden of his forebear's vow. His very name, Ungrim, means oath-bound or oath-breaker, and is a reminder of his dual responsibilities. Like Baragor before him, he is possessed of sound Dwarf sense, a strong arm, and the complete loyalty to Dwarfkind which perhaps only a Dwarf king can understand. He is a great warrior and is acknowledged by even the High King as the best living battle leader and the most accomplished of generals.[1c]

Although Ungrim cannot seek his death in Slayer fashion, he grows ever more restless, leading the throng of Karak Kadrin into countless battles.[2a][5f] Inspired by his High King and seeking to avenge his lone son who was slain, Ungrim will march to war with the least provocation.[5f]

It was Ungrim who slew the Dragon of Black Peak, a beast that, by itself, had routed armies and devoured entire towns in the Empire[5e][5f], and who broke Queek Headtaker’s siege of King Belegar’s citadel in Karak Eight Peaks.[5f]

In 2500 IC[1b][4b], Orc Warlord Gnashrak Badtoof began a decade of constant raiding and pillaging in the central Worlds Edge Mountains, threatening Karaz-a-Karak.[1b] Gnashrak had joined forces with Golgfag Maneater, a mercenary Ogre captain.[3a] Three times, Ungrim’s throng defeated the greenskin host, but in each instance, the Orcs escaped, largely due to the bloody ferocity of Gnashrak’s hard-fighting mercenary Ogre contingent.[5b]

However, in 2510 IC[1b][2b][4b][5c], soon after the third battle, Gnashrak had a falling out with Golgfag, on account of the Ogres' appetite for Goblins, booze and raucous singing. After one particularly loud drinking session, Golgfag and Gnashrak got into a huge fight. Soon all the Ogres and Orcs were scrapping. Golgfag tore off the Orc's arm and used it to bash his way out of the encampment before leading his lads to safety.[3a]

Golgfag promptly offered his services to Ungrim Ironfist, showing him Gnashrak's arm as proof of his sincerity. In the face of such a convincing offer Ironfist was hardly able to refuse. Golgfag led his Ogres and a party of Dwarfs along a secret track to the Orcs' encampment in Broken Leg Gully - so called because of its impossibly steep and treacherous sides. The Orcs were trapped and horribly slaughtered. Gnashrak was captured and subsequently bound in chains and delivered to Ungrim Ironfist.[3a][5b]

This ended Gnashrak's threat to Karaz-a-Karak and undoubtedly saved the Dwarf High King's realm and earned Ungrim the eternal gratitude of his people. The High King, Thorgrim Grudgebearer, gave Ungrim a mighty heirloom in recognition of his deeds. This was the Dragon Cloak made in 685 IC[1b][2b][4b][5c] by Runesmith Heganbor for High King Finn Sourscowl from the skin of the Dragon Fyrskar.[1c]

All would have been well had Golgfag, a greedy and grasping Ogre, not betrayed the Slayer King. Before leaving for greener pastures, the Ogre mercenaries looted the Dwarfs’ baggage train, stealing all the ale for themselves[5b] and heading west into the Empire.[3a]

Although it took five years, Ungrim finally settled the score. While heading eastwards, Golgfag and his Ogres unwisely crossed the Worlds Edge Mountains at Peak Pass, a route which ran in the shadow of Karak Kadrin. While on that narrow trek, they found their path blocked by the Slayer King at the head of a hundred of his angry kin. Upon seeing that he had more Ogres than there were Slayers, Golgfag laughed, but his rumbling guffaws stuck in his throat when he saw the red ruin unleashed by Ungrim and his spike-haired crew. With his army massacred, Golgfag was summarily beaten and thrown into a dungeon to rot.[5b]

The Dwarfs no doubt expected Golgfag to die in this cramped and crowded dungeon, and probably thought this would be easier and safer than trying to kill the Ogre in some other fashion. When the Dwarfs finally opened the dungeon some months later, they were startled to find Golgfag still alive. He had eaten every other inmate of the dungeon, including the rest of the Ogres, apart from his oldest drinking buddy, Skaff - out of respect, he had only, so far, eaten one of his legs. When he heard of this, Ungrim was so impressed he ordered Golgfag to be taken a long way away and released[3a], claiming it would be more sporting to hunt him down later.[5c]

In 2519 IC, Greenskins attacked Zhufbar but failed to breach the defenses before Thorgrim Grudgebearer and Ungrim Ironfist arrived leading armies to destroy the foe. When a marauding Ogre force appeared — the true cause of the Greenskin disturbance — the throngs united with an Empire army from Nuln to destroy the Ogres in the largest concentration of artillery ever seen before, which was henceforth known as the Battle of a Hundred Cannons.[5c]

The Slayer King has also held off a Chaos army in the Battle of High Pass. Most Dwarfs are amazed Ungrim has lived so long, and none think that a mighty death in battle can be very far away.[5f]

As Ungrim’s only son, Garagrim, was slain, Ungrim is now without a direct heir — a fact not lost on the rest of the noble sons of the Drakebeards. The clan Thanes each seek 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.[5d]

Storm of Chaos

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When the Storm of Chaos struck, the Dwarfs honoured once again their oaths to Men and rallied to fight Chaos, just as their Ancestor Gods had millennia before. Ungrim Ironfist, the Slayer King of Karak Kadrin, led his orange-crested warriors to battle against the hordes of Vardek Crom, the Herald of Archaon. He held Peak Pass against numerous attacks but when the forces of the Chaos Dwarfs entered the conflict, he was unable to hold any longer. Hearing of the death of his son Garagrim, Ungrim took upon himself the Slayer Oath once again, thereby merging his oath as King and his oath to seek death.[4a]

The End Times

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Ungrim Ironfist, the Slayer King of Karak Kadrin, was always looking for battle, and so at the beginning of the End Times he readily obeyed the High King's wishes, even if that required marching in force out of his hold.[8a]

The Fall of Karak Kadrin

In 2523 IC, after the fall of Tilea and Estalia to the Skaven and their invasion of the Lizardmen Temple-Cities in Lustria, multiple Warlord Clans raced to seize a greater share of the spoils in terms of both riches and political clout within the Council of Thirteen, planning to attack Dwarf Holds all along the Worlds Edge Mountains. Clan Rictus joined with Clan Skryre to attack Karak Azul, Clan Moulder and Clan Kreepus assaulted Karak Kadrin, Clan Ferrik led many clawpacks against Zhufbar, and Barak Varr was targeted by Clan Krepid from the ground and by Clan Skurvy's fleets from the sea. It was Gnawdwell's intention that Queek Headtaker took Karak Eight Peaks as quickly as possibly, so that Clan Mors might 'aid' the others, and he had sent out thousands of warriors to infiltrate the other battle sites to sabotage and slow down the other clans' progress in the meantime.[9a]

By autumn 2524 IC, the Skaven had laid siege to Karak Kadrin for a year. They attacked from below, from the surface, and from all directions at once. Successes had been minimal, and twenty successive warlords had been killed or demoted as a result, prompting Master Warlock-Engineer Ikit Claw and Clan Skryre to take over the military operation by force.[9b]

Ikit had originally planned to blast Karak Kadrin open by building his most powerful doomrocket yet, but a key component, the warpbomb amplifier, had been stolen on his way north from Karak Eight Peaks. Instead, he began erecting a battery of enormous catapults to throw huge spheres of improved poisoned gas, designed to clear the upper halls of the Hold while the warlords launched further attacks and broke open the main gates.[9b]

Ikit, however, had not bothered to listen to the previous commanders or to spend any time amongst those who had fought in the siege over the last year. This meant he did not know that Ungrim Ironfist had made many sorties out of his impervious defences, remaining an aggressive opponent at every step of the siege. Thus, he was not prepared when Ungrim sallied forth to destroy his warmachines under the cover of scores of hidden cannons.[9b]

Ungrim Ironfist was angry. In truth, he was always angry, but the yearlong siege had rendered his temper white-hot. The sight of Skaven walking openly upon Peak Pass was enough to make the Slayer King livid. Having an entire verminous horde bold enough to dare encamping within sight of Karak Kadrin could not be borne. He had called for a mobile force to move out within the hour. Now, striding at the fore of his hastily assembled throngs, Ungrim Ironfist prepared to vent his rage.[9d] The Dwarf contingent that marched out to clear Peak Pass was an assault force especially chosen and led by the Slayer King. He wanted to strike the Skaven forming up in Peak Pass hard and fast, smashing whatever diabolical device they were building before it was completed.[9c]

Torn by conflicting duties and oaths, and enraged at his inability to fully break the long encircling siege of his people, Ungrim Ironfist found solace in but one thing. In the press and clang of combat, Ungrim felt only the joy of battle, the hot surge of dealing death to his hated foe - and none dealt out more punishment than the Slayer King. As his forced reached the Skaven lines, Ungrim singlehandedly carved a path of bloody ruin into the foe, winging the Axe of Dargo in sweeping arcs. With a mighty blow the king smashed asunder Skaven Warlord Rikcruk Sliceblade's palanquin of planks, scattering his guard. With his next stroke Ungrim cut his foe in twain. Shorn of their leader, the Stormvermin of Clan Rictus scampered away.[9d]

These were replaced with Stormfiend warpacks, which stomped the last of the fleeing Stormvermin and devastated the Dwarf lines with gouts of warpfire, poisoned wind shells and ratling guns. With more Skaven emerging behind them, Ungrim and his throngs faced the very real threat of being overwhelmed. The Slayer King, however, had not been so headstrong as to march out of his gates wholly unsupported. Timing their attack run perfectly, the trio of Gyrobombers known as the Thunderfist Squadron approached at maximum speed and released their grudgebuster bombs onto the massing Skaven, while Rordak's Rangers caused rock avalanches to fall bounding into the enemy troops as they unleashed fierce volleys of crossbow bolts into the slaves and engineers attempting to erect their great battery.[9d]

This was the reprieve Ungrim and his throngs needed. Although many Dwarfs had fallen, they surged forward, hewing down the raging-mad beasts with many axestrokes. Ungrim led the way, hacking apart the hulking foes, sending heads and limbs flying in wide arcs. At the height of his rampage, as he slew the last Rat Ogre before him, Ungrim's axe penetrated the storage tanks that fuelled the creature's warpfire throwers. Blackened flames erupted, engulfing the Slayer King in a blazing fireball.[9d]

For the Dwarfs it was as if time stopped and the battle stood still. Ungrim, who had survived battles and foes untold, was at the epicentre of that blast. The cloud of warpflame melted rock, blasting out a crater with its livid inferno. Even as the Dwarfs began their curses, out of the roiling smoke clouds strode their king. Flames singed the ends of his crest and beard, and the Axe of Dargo gleamed in that darkness. Protected by his Dragon Cloak, Ungrim Ironfist emerged unscathed and angrier than ever. No Skaven dared stand before his enraged onslaught, and the Dwarfs pushed onwards behind their indomitable leader into the construction camp, hacking down support beams and Warlock-Engineers alike.[9d]

After driving off one last Skaven counter-attack and slaying another Clan Rictus warlord, Ungrim paused, letting the heavily tattooed Slayers of the Lost Brotherhood chase the skittering remnants back to the caves. This was not because he no longer had the energy for war, but because he felt they had been led too far from the gates, and had left them unguarded for too long.[9d]

Even as the Slayer King bid his Thane to sound the recall, he heard the undulating shrieks of abominations and the roar of the main gate batteries. Ungrim's heart gave a lurch of misgiving. Although old and embittered - having lived to see the loss of his only son - Ungrim was utterly dedicated to Karak Kadrin. As the single clear note sounded the withdrawal, the Dwarfs left behind strewn wreckage and the Lost Brotherhood alike, double-timing back down Peak Pass.[9d]

A trio of Hell-Pit Abominations were charging straight for Karak Kadrin's main gates, weathering a veritable hellstorm of ordnance, bullets and bolts by virtue of their warpstone-hyped regeneration. One of their number fell, its death throes lost in a mushroom cloud of Ikit's improved poisoned gas. This shrouded the other two so they emerged, their many heads coughing and retching, directly before the gates, against which they crashed soon.[9d]

The crack of their mighty fists pounding the ancient portal again and again thundered in the air. The gates had denied many foes since the world was young, as neither strength nor magic had proven capable of denting their surface. This time, however, the runes of Valaya struck by masters of old did not glow in retaliation, but faded, one by one.[9d]

First one, then the other managed to squeeze through a gap, and within the entrance hall of Karak Kadrin they met another hail of fire. Their wounds began spewing jets of green gas that filled the hall, and then Ikit Claw activated a remote detonation device to blow the huge canisters of poison gas hidden within the dying monsters. With a loud whompf that sounded across Peak Pass, what remained of the gates was blown off and a toxic cloud rose up over Karak Kadrin.[9d]

The Dwarfs had fought ratmen too many times not to recognise the deathly mists of Clan Skryre's poisoned gas. Even at more than a mile away, half of Ungrim's throng fell, twitching in agony, gasping out their last. The remaining Dwarfs retreated to the mountain slopes, choking and coughing blood.[9e]

Realising there would be no return through that gate for some time, Ungrim and the survivors followed the trail picked out by Rordak, the old Ranger captain. If they headed up and around the peak of Karag Sunter, the Ranger knew of a remote footpath. By following that steep-sided way, the Dwarfs would eventually descend near a side gate back into their stronghold. All was quiet in the valley below, and the Dwarfs were surprised that the Skaven had not launched further attacks on Karak Kadrin. They little dreamt of the scale of the disaster that was even then unfolding within the mountain. There was scant time to worry about others, however.[9e]

Many Skaven had marked the Slayer King's escape from the gas-swept vale of Peak Pass. An entire Clan Rictus clawpack was soon on their trail. Their chieftain, Glzik, knew that promotion was assured if he could present Ikit with Ungrim's head. Battle and poison had depleted Ungrim's force, and with the exception of the Slayers, the Dwarfs were more concerned with returning to their fortress than continuing the fight.[9e]

What followed was a running battle along narrow tracks. The Dwarfs fought a rearguard action, leaving elements of their dwindling throng to hold some constricted place. The Axes of Grimnir held back the Skaven along Echo Ridge for three hours before a Stormfiend sent its cone of fire to engulf them. On that narrow ledge, none could avoid the blast. Several of the Dwarfs - their flesh dripping off their bodies like candle wax - made one last flaming charge. The still smouldering Slayers ruptured the fuel storage and the resultant explosion shook the mountainside.[9e]

By then, however, more clawpacks were in the high peaks. Ungrim's throng - really only a warband now - had been forced to take long detours amongst the peaks. After a few days of running battles, they at last found Hunter's Gate, which would lead them back into Karak Kadrin.[9e]

Walking down the long access tunnels to reach the inner gates that would allow them entrance, Ungrim assumed the gas had long since dissipated. Ungrim and some fifty Dwarfs that remained from the throng expected to find the stronghold heavy-hearted, but busy with activity. Doubtless there had been casualties, for the front gates were heavily guarded. In typical Dwarf fashion the repairs would already be underway. The first sign that they were wrong lay before the Bar-Zundak fortress gate. The Ironbreakers still stood guard in the narrow passage before the fortified gate, but theirs was now a silent vigil. They were dead, gassed, all of them.[9e]

Only the narrow passageway and their heavy suits of armour kept the dead Dwarfs still standing, although perhaps this was also their innate stubbornness, simply refusing to fall, even in death. In ominous silence a path was cleared. Their fear growing, Ungrim's throng waited for a response to their coded knocking. When no answer came, they retraced their steps to attempt another path. The results were similar at the next three fortified gates.[9e]

Without speaking, Ungrim headed for the main gate, a sickness growing in him. By the time the Dwarfs passed through the wrecked doorway the fumes had grown so strong that they had to wrap their mouths and noses with torn rags. They entered a waking nightmare. Their appearance drove off scavenging packs of gas-mask wearing Skaven. The sound of their scurrying feet was the only noise. Aside from that, all was grimly quiet.[9e]

The halls were as silent as a tomb, for that was all Karak Kadrin now was.[9e]

The tale of what happened could be recreated from the corpses. Gas bombs of vast potency had been secreted inside the Hell-Pit Abominations. The bomb had gone off just as the first creature pulled itself into the grand entrance hall. The gas cascaded out in unbelievable volumes, filling the enormous chambers and blasting down tunnels. The Dwarf defenders, the mighty strength of Karak Kadrin, had fallen where they stood.[9e]

The next Abomination, itself choking to death upon the noxious cloud, had dragged itself further down the halls before its own bomb had detonated. Yet from the slime trail it left behind, it could only be surmised that the unnatural beast had regenerated back to life. Still trailing a fuming canister of toxic poisoned gas, the horrific thing had crawled onwards, dragging itself down to seek the darkness of the undermines.[9e]

By the time its meandering death throes finally left it, the beast had crawled, died, and re-awoken to drag itself yet further. Some five miles down they found it, a faint hiss of gas still leaking from its foul carcass.[9e]

For days on end the king walked the despoiled halls, witnessing the horrors that had befallen those beneath his protection. There were too many to bury. Too many even for grief, for what Ungrim felt was something beyond that.[9e]

Amongst the survivors of his original throng, now there were only Slayers. Those that had not previously been part of that strange cult had since taken the oath. With newly shorn crests, they awaited their king.[9e]

It happened on the day they were to depart. Alone at the Shrine of Grimnir, Ungrim ran his hands over the sacred runes struck into that shrine of stone, steel and iron. It was a ritual performed by every Slayer before launching himself onto his doom quest. But this time was different.[9e]

The runes glowed. In a burst of light, they left the metal that bound them and entered into Ungrim himself. He felt the extreme heat bond to his swelling rage. Filled with red-hot anger, the Slayer King was sure he had just experienced his ancestors' spirits entering his body, granting him the godly power of Grimnir himself.[9e]

Flames curled and danced around Ungrim's body, his hair a fiery crest of living flame. The air about him shimmered and the Axe of Dargo glowed molten.[9e]

Ungrim's followers were amazed at this startling transformation. Their shock turned to awe when they watched their leader cleanse the halls with purifying fire - his anguished warcry a sheet of flame. Only when Karak Kadrin itself was a funeral pyre did Ungrim lead his followers out.[9e]

When he left the halls of his forefathers for the last time, Ungrim did not look back.[9e]

The Battle for Karaz-a-Karak

By late 2525 IC, Ungrim Ironfist and the last surviving Slayers of Karak Kadrin had marched through the Worlds Edge Mountains to join forces with High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer to defend Karaz-a-Karak from the swarms of Skaven.[9f]

Since the doom of Karak Kadrin, Ungrim Ironfist was a Slayer King without a kingdom. Ungrim believed he had been filled with ancestor spirits, but in fact what had bonded to him was Aqshy, the Wind of Fire. Freed when Teclis unbound the Great Vortex, Aqshy had raged across the world, at last embedding itself into the runes of vengeance upon the Slayer Shrine of Karak Kadrin. Now more than mortal, the Slayer King was literally burning for revenge.[9f]

Led by Josef Bugman's Rangers through a narrow game trail, Ungrim's forces entered the fray in the midst of the Silver Road just as Thorgrim had become surrounded by Clan Mors's hordes and Queek Headtaker had moved in for the kill.[9g]

The vengeful last Slayers of Karak Kadrin were very few in number, yet they fell upon the Skaven like a thunderbolt. None could match the savagery of Ungrim. In that unnatural gloaming, the Slayer King blazed like a beacon. Flames curled upwards from his bright crest and his battlecry was a firestorm. With each swing, the Axe of Dargo trailed fiery streaks. The Skaven died whether they stood to fight, or panicked, clambering over one and another in their frenetic haste to flee. All were slain by the incandescent rage of Ungrim.[9g]

Both his arrival and the death of Queek Headtaker at the hands of Thorgrim caused the Skaven army to rout. As the Skaven scurried away, each knot that attempted to reform was blasted apart by Ungrim's fire, or the swooping runs of the sky squadrons of Karaz-a-Karak. The Gyrobombers made dozens of bombing runs, blasting the retreating masses until they were driven into the safety of the distant tunnels.[9g]

In the aftermath of the battle, the High King and the Slayer King met, but the contents of their discussion are unknown.[9g]

That very night, High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer was assassinated by Deathmaster Snikch at the stop of the Stairs of Remembrance. This allowed for Verminlord Lurklox to be summoned within the Dwarf runic defences, and soon after an army of Gutter Runners opened Everpeak's gates from within to allow the lesser Warlord Clans to invade and destroy the Hold.[9h]

The Fall of Averheim

The Battle for the Eastern Ramparts

By the spring of 2528 IC, Averheim was the last standing city of the Empire. Its impressive defences were manned not just by veteran survivors from ten provinces, but also by the last knights of Bretonnia, who guarded the broad north wall under the leadership of Duke Jerrod of Quenelles, and by Ungrim's dispossessed Dwarfs, who stood alongside the men on the eastern battlements, where the tide of Skaven was ever at its thickest.[10b]

Alone amongst their kind, these Dwarfs forsook safety in favour of honouring the age-old alliance with the Empire. Thorgrim Grudgebearer, High King of Karaz-a-Karak, could perhaps have brought unity to the Dwarfs and salvation to men, but he had been dead for many months, slain by an assassin's blade. Those who fought beneath Ungrim Ironfist's banner did not do so out of expectation of victory - they sought only a glorious death before the last darkness fell.[10a]

Though the Dwarfs spoke little of the fate that had driven them to Averheim's walls, their mannish allies understood that the holds of the Worlds Edge Mountains had suffered a great tragedy. Like Duke Jerrod's knights, the Dwarfs fought at Averheim more out of defiance than from any hope of restoring their own kingdoms. Most had taken the oath of the Slayer, their dyed hair vivid even through the battle's smoke, and many of them met the glorious deaths they longed for.[10b]

At a certain point, the Skaven attacks followed by sustained bombardments from batteries of Hellcannons levelled a great stretch of the city's eastern wall. Hundreds of men and Dwarfs perished amidst the tumbling stones, and thousands more shed blood at the resulting breach to drive back the Skaven and hold the Chaos forces of Vilitch the Curseling at bay.[10b]

The hour was rescued from disaster only by the arrival of Averheim's greatest champions. Emperor Karl Franz's coming was heralded by Deathclaw's deafening screech, and Ungrim Ironfist quickly moved to reinforce him. Slayers flooded into the streets, their death songs drowning out the northlanders' harsh chants. Then there were Dwarfen axes cleaving Chaos plate, and the defenders began to reclaim lost ground.[10b]

Ungrim had endured a transformation not dissimilar to that which had swept over Karl Franz. Months ago, he had laid hands upon the runes carved into the Shrine of Grimnir, and welcomed his ancestors' spirits into his soul. At the same time, he had unknowingly embraced Aqshy - the Wind of Fire - which had anchored itself within those same runes. Ungrim was now a living force of destruction, his blood ever hot for battle. Fire danced across the Axe of Dargo with every disembowelling swing, and his battle cry was a torrent of living flame. Long had Ungrim yearned to be free of his king's oath, that he might embrace the Slayer's calling. Karak Kadrin had fallen, but Ungrim was yet bound by duty. The alliance between Empire and Dwarfs was an ancient one, and the Slayer King could not put his own desires ahead of an ally's needs. Whilst one corner of the Empire yet stood, Ungrim Ironfist was sworn to defend it. There was glory of a sort in that purpose, but still the ranklement of destiny denied added extra weight to every blow.[10b]

Caught between fire and lightning, between the rekindled hope of man and the unbridled rage of the Dwarfs, Vilitch's assault crumbled. As the northlanders retreated, the Skaven came forward again, led by a brazen Verminlord. Averheim could still had fallen there and then, were it not for the combined ingenuity of the Dwarf Engineers and the wizards of the Light College, who harnessed the Wind of Hysh to sweep up the fallen stones of the eastern wall and fuse them into a formidable bastion once again. The new wall was not so strong, nor so fiendishly wrought as the destroyed one, but it served to check the Skaven rush - though not before the Axe of Dargo had shivered the Verminlord's monstrous spine.[10b]

Thus ended one tale of Averheim's defiance against fearsome odds. Yet there would be many more before the siege was done, each one inked in the defenders' blood.[10b]

Archaon Arrives

Weeks later, right after Archaon's arrival to Averheim, the Chaos forces led by Skarr Bloodwrath launched an all-out assault against the northern walls that managed to make a bridgehead on the walls and forced Duke Jerrod of Quenelles to order the retreat.[10c]

Ungrim and the Emperor needed no warning of Jerrod's plight. For long minutes now, routed defenders had been fleeing east and west, desperate to escape the doom that waited to the north. These were peasants of Bretonnia and militiamen of the Imperial provinces - men who had fought well against terrible odds, but whose courage had at last deserted them. Nary a Dwarf fled with them. Valaya's children died without turning their backs upon the foe. Then Archaon struck down the battered gates, and the retreat began in earnest.[10c]

To the east there would be no withdrawal. There, the Skaramor had burst swiftly through the rout, cutting Ungrim Ironfist's line of retreat. Deeming the burning streets a poor place to make his final stand, the Slayer King had instead marshalled his Dwarfs about the bastions of the eastern wall. Fire licked the eastern sky, marking where Ungrim stood and, as the wind shifted, the death-songs of the Slayer host billowed across the beleaguered city. Whatever followed, the scions of Karak Kadrin would face it alone.[10c]

From the south wall, the Runesmith Gotri Hammerson witnessed the blood-mad horde flow about Ungrim's position. Ordering the Dwarfs of Zhufbar to abandon defences that would soon be overcome, he hurried north along the ramparts. The steel of Zhufbar would fight alongside the fire of Karak Kadrin.[10c]

As the Emperor loosed his final charge against the forces of Chaos, the Dwarfs held firm upon the eastern wall. They had chosen their killing ground, and would fight to the death in its defence - so swore the deeping kin of the mountains.[10d]

The crown of Karak Kadrin lay heavy on Ungrim's brow, for it was a reminder of those he had failed. With each day that passed, the king's need to fulfil his Slayer's oath grew. Only in glorious death would his honour, and that of his line, be restored. This fatalism did not go unmarked by the other Dwarfs in Averheim. By the time of Archaon's assault, some looked to the leadership of the Runesmith Gotri Hammerson, rather than Ungrim Ironfist - some, but far from all. Such had been the losses inflicted upon the Dwarf realms, that those who had taken the Slayer oath outnumbered those who had not.[10d]

Believing the fire-imbued Ungrim to be none other than Grimnir reborn, they had flocked to his side, certain that the king would lead them to honourable deaths. Many had found exactly such a demise, and the rest were certain their own absolution could not be far off. For those who had taken the Slayer oath, those days were undoubtedly the Kazakrendum - the Days of Warring Doom. Not one of them wished to meet the end without an axe in his hand a bellyful of ale (preferably Bugman's XXXXXX).[10d]

On the east wall, many of Ungrim's Slayers met the deaths they had desired for so long. They had done so gloriously, felling wave after wave of maddened Skaramor, with a skill that even the most battle-hardened of the northlanders would never have possessed. The Dwarfs fought upon the rampart of the Magnusspitze. Their ring of axes had begun ten deep, but now was a mere three or four at its thickest point. Crimson-clad corpses lay scattered across the Magnusspitze's stones, proof that the fallen Slayers had died well, but they lay never so thick as where Ungrim Ironfist's ancestral axe swung its wicked arcs.[10e]

Long had the Dwarfs held out, but now it seemed that their doom was at last come. Scyla Anfingrimm had followed his slaughterer's instinct to the Magnusspitze, and the truest savages of Archaon's host had come in his wake. Where the Skaramor had been held upon the Magnusspitze's stairs and fought a few dozen at a time, there was no way to contain Scyla's howling host. With gangling limbs and snapping maws, the wretches hauled their way up the tower's flanks, bursting onto the ramparts. The Sons of Kazakrendum fought back-to-back, death-songs swelling into low and beautiful harmony as the brutes came on. Axes hacked down into twisted flesh and were wrenched free. Even so, the Slayers died, crushed beneath the dying monsters, or torn apart by talons and snapping maws.[10e]

Ungrim Ironfist held his ground at the top of the Magnusspitze's stairway. The Slayer King's arms were weary, and the Axe of Dargo notched in many places. Yet still Ungrim fought on, his inviolate will buttressed by a power he did not truly understand. The fury of Aqshy, the Wind of Fire, bubbled and raged in Ungrim's flesh. Flame spun around him like a living cloak, burning unclean beasts to ash, but leaving nearby Slayers unmarked. Fire burst from his lips with every battle cry, flooding down the worn steps to sweep them clean of the brutes who gathered there.[10e]

Right after the Slayer King had buried his axe in a Chaos Giant's brain, Scyla struck him. Flames licked at the Spawn's black-furred arms, but he forged on, insensate to the pain, and slammed his massive fist against Ungrim's helmeted face while he grabbed his Dragon Cloak. Scyla brandished the king as an improvised flail, scattering Slayers left and right, until Ungrim succeeded in grabbing a fallen axe and throwing it at the monster's head. Its blade cut deep into Scyla's brow, prompting him to let go of Ungrim, who landed next to the fallen Giant. The Slayer King recovered his axe and cut the Spawn's muscled belly mid-charge, and Scyla plunged over the edge of the parapet into the smoke-wreathed sky beyond.[10e]

Soon after, Gotri's Zhufbarak arrived to reinforce his position. Whilst Ungrim's forces were still heavily beset, the arrival of the Zhufbarak had shifted the battle for the Magnusspitze from a losing proposition to a grinding stalemate.[10e]

The Slayers' rune-axes had flared into fresh life with Gotri's arrival, their ancient magic waking at the Runesmith's command. Moreover, the cunning mechanisms of the Dwarfen guns had yielded little to the rain, and their clockwork volleys had done much to keep the Skaramor at bay. Yet the warriors of Chaos still recklessly hurled themselves into the teeth of the leaden gale, uncaring of the lives lost in the striving. Axe-work was still the currency of survival on the Magnusspitze.[10e]

It was into this slaughter that Quicksilver bore Balthasar Gelt, and where he found Ungrim and Hammerson and learned the full horror of Averheim's fall. He urged the Dwarfs to march west, to aid his beleaguered countrymen, but met with stark refusal. It wasn't that the mountain folk were unwilling. Indeed, their ancient oaths of alliance practically insisted they do as much. But even Ungrim, his spirit filled with Grimnir's fire, could see no purpose in marching from the Magnusspitze to perish in the streets without ever gaining sight of the Emperor.[10e]

Gelt then resorted to try and cast the spell known as the Crucible, whose power was so great that no wizard had been able to harness it since the founding of the Gold College. When the next Skaramor assault broke apart, Gelt spoke hurriedly of his intention to Ungrim and Hammerson. The Dwarfs were suspicious, but willing. Neither of them had any desire to perish battling the horde's leavings whilst the real fight lay elsewhere, and if the manling could deliver them to another fate, then so be it.[10e]

As gunfire again rocked the Magnusspitze, Gelt took wing to the tower's centre and thrust the Staff of Volans deep between its stones. Closing his eyes, the wizard opened his spirit wide to Chamon, becoming its Incarnate. There was a blinding flash, and a pulse of heat swept over the remustering Skaramor. All across the Magnusspitze's summit, molten gold flowed into the cracks in the stonework. Of Gelt and the Dwarfs there was no sign.[10e]

At that moment, the fateful duel between Archaon and Karl Franz in the midst of the Steilstrasse was interrupted by a sudden golden flare that could be seen across Averheim. Before the flash had faded, molten gold came running up through the cracks in the cobblestones, rising over the dead and wounded, and reforming into hundreds of statues that stood silent amongst the raging battle. A second flash followed a heartbeat later, and the statues were statues no more, but Dwarfs ready and eager for battle.[10e]

This was the magic of the Crucible: the ability to turn living flesh to biddable metal, and back again without harm. Gelt had toyed with such magics for decades, but the results had never been less than fatal. Only that day, with Chamon's voice sharp and clear in his mind, could the wizard have achieved such a feat. Even so, the casting had been imperfect, and not all the transmuted had been restored. Scores of Dwarfs would never fight again, would last until the end of the world in their new, auric forms, but counting the cost would have to wait. For now, there was a battle to fight.[10e]

Under Hammerson's steady gaze, the Zhufbarak fought to relieve the embattled humans. Ungrim Ironfist was moving before the golden light had fully faded frm his body, the Axe of Dargo cleaving true through a Skaramor chieftain. The Slayerkin came behind their king, a blur of axes, foreheads and fists that swept over the northlanders.[10e]

Without a word, Archaon's warband shifted to face the new danger, clanging their shields together. But Ungrim Ironfist had fought in more shield walls than he could remember, and could spot their weaknesses as plain as gromril ore in worthless rock. The Slayer King's axe came down, cleaving apart two shields that were slightly less steady than those to either side, and left one of Archaon's warriors in two meaty halves upon the ground. Another northlander waited beyond, swinging for Ungrim's head, but the blade glanced off his crown, and its owner fell lifeless a moment later.[10e]

Slayers burst in through the gap their king had made, and the shield wall began to collapse from the inside. Ahead of them, Ungrim reached Archaon just as the Everchosen brought his sword around to end the Emperor's life. The axe blade bit into the Slayer of Kings daemon-steel inches above its guard, throwing the killing strike wide and sending Archaon staggering back. Ungrim pressed on, fire trailing in his wake, but the Everchosen's shield stood as a bulwark against every attack.[10e]

In the meantime, Gelt summoned Chamon again and raised around them a towering wall of steel from the weapons and armour of the dead, allowing for the men of the Empire and Bretonnia to trap the frothing northmen against the Zhufbarak Dwarfs without outside interference.[10e]

Neither Archaon nor Ungrim had eyes for the miracle working all about them, however. Each knew that to tear his gaze from the other was to invite death. Archaon's black armour was battered and dented in many places, whilst Ungrim's Dragon Cloak hung in tatters, but neither had yet truly gained mastery of the other, and nor would they at that hour. As Archaon drew back his sword for another mighty blow, Gelt's molten wall flowed silently up between the Slayer King and the Everchosen, separating them. Ungrim's roar of frustration was echoed from the other side of the barricade - Archaon was no less sanguine about a battle denied than was his foe.[10e]

While Ungrim protested and Gelt focused on keeping his wall of steel hale under the blows of the enemies left outside, the surviving warriors tended to the wounded and slaughtered the northlanders trapped within. As the enemy assault redoubled, Karl Franz suggested they could either die or flee, and Gelt responded he could cast the Crucible again, but not take everyone, nor far away. At this, Ungrim Ironfist demanded to be left behind with his Sons of Kazakrendum while the humans and Zhufbarak were taken away. Karl Franz hesitated, but eventually relented and offered him an old Dwarfen salute before the spell took him away.[10e]

Death
"Axes up, lads. We'll give these krinkaz a fight they'll not soon forget!"
Last known words of Ungrim Ironfist, last Slayer King of Karak Kadrin.[10e]

Away to the east, Vlad von Carstein arrived too late to save Averheim, but in time to witness Ungrim's fall. Soon after a flash of gold flared upon the hills to the west, a column of fire sprung up in the city's north-west corner, the fury of its birth deafening even in the distance. The orange flames rose up like a fountain, brilliant tongues flickering skyward.[10f]

For a moment, Vlad thought he saw a shape amongst the fire, a bearded face, mouth bellowing a challenge. There was a presence in the flames, a valiant soul striking one last blow before it passed into oblivion. Another vampire might have sought to snare that essence, shackle it to his will, but Vlad merely watched as the features dissolved amongst the thermals, and the flames smashed down upon the city below.[10f]

Roaring, black-wreathed flames tore hungrily through the streets. The buildings in their path collapsed like trees before a hurricane, their fall casting up clouds of dust and soot. This choking mass welled up over the city walls and spilled across the Aver valley, leaving the suffocated dead in its wake. Then the fires were gone, the soul scattered to the winds, and silence reigned across the valley. Turning his steed, Vlad began the long ride back to Sylvania.[10f]

Wargear

Ungrim wore heavy armour over which hangs his heavy Dragon Cloak. He carried the mighty Axe of Dargo, and upon his head he wore the Slayer Crown.[1c][5f]

  • Axe of Dargo - This runic weapon of monstrous size was made of the shards of King Baragor's broken axe, tempered with Dragon’s blood and iron-oaths of vengeance.[1c][5f]
  • Dragon Cloak of Fyrskar - Gifted to Ungrim by Thorgrim Grudgebearer after the Battle of Broken Leg Gully, this cloak was made from the skin of the fierce Dragon Fyrskar, offspring of the mighty Skaladrak. It became an heirloom of Karak Kadrin and a symbol of vows already fulfilled.[1c][5f]
  • Slayer Crown - This majestic helmet had been worn by every Slayer King since the time of King Baragor.[1c][5f] This was a sturdy horned helmet with golden crown, on top of which was a huge bright orange crest like a Slayer's hair.[1c]

Canon Conflicts

In Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st Ed.: Dwarfs - Stone and Steel, Ungrim is mentioned to be part of the Angrulok Clan and to be married with Queen Alrika.[2a] In Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition), however, his clan is stated to be Clan Drakebeard[5d][5f], while Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls says his wife is Queen Kemma.[7]

Also, in Warhammer Armies: Dogs of War (5th Edition), Ungrim ambushed the Orc army that Golgfag had joined in his return to the Worlds Edge Mountains by setting a cheap ale convoy as bait and then dragging the sleeping thiefs into a dungeon[3a], instead of simply barring Golgfag's way with a host of Slayers.[5b]

Miniature

  • 4th Edition.

Gallery

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (4th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 11
    • 1b: pp. 20-21
    • 1c: pg. 91
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st Ed.: Dwarfs - Stone and Steel
    • 2a: pg. 29
    • 2b: pp. 108-109
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: Dogs of War (5th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 30
  • 4: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (7th Edition)
    • 4a: pg. 15
    • 4b: pp. 17-18
    • 4c: pg. 23
  • 5: Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs (8th Edition)
    • 5a: pg. 16
    • 5b: pg. 18
    • 5c: pg. 21
    • 5d: pg. 29
    • 5e: pg. 45
    • 5f: pg. 53
  • 6: Warhammer Invasion Card
  • 7: Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls, by Josh Reynolds
  • 8: The End Times vol. I: Nagash
    • 8a: pg. 42
  • 9: The End Times vol. IV: Thanquol
    • 9a: pg. 60
    • 9b: pp. 108-109
    • 9c: pg. 110
    • 9d: pp. 114-117
    • 9e: pp. 216-217
    • 9f: pg. 222
    • 9g: pp. 226-229
    • 9h: pg. 232
  • 10: The End Times vol. V: Archaon

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