[Archive] Artisan's Contest XII Entries & Voting

Nicodemus:



Presented below are the 16 (!!) entries we received for Artisan’s Contest XII.

How to vote

We’re unable to run a poll for this one as the site only supports 10 choices in a poll ;)   Instead, choose your favourite 3 entries and then send a PM to staff (that oh-so special user that all Staff have access to).  And, of course, please give yourselves some time to read the entries!

Get your 3 votes in by April 13th, the cutoff time will be 11:59pm EST, after which we will start a new thread to officially announce the winners.  As there were more than 10 entries there will be gold, silver and bronze medals awarded.

The entrants will be given 16 slaves each once the winners have been announced.  Now, on with the entries!

Entry #1

Limerick of the Life Drinker Axe  

There once was a bound axe from Uzkulak,

Who drank lots of blood with a “Whack! Whack!”.

It said, with a swish,

“Gore is my favorite dish.

Now bury me in that guys back.”

Entry #2

From the Black forge of Zargon

Zargon allowed himself a brief smile. The axe he had made was fine work. Carved as one piece from black obsidian, the head was shaped to resemble one of the great wolves that prowled through the Darklands. Two large rubies were set as eyes on either side of the wolf�?Ts head and a baleful presence could be seen staring out of the jewels.

The binding had been difficult. To bind such a powerful demon has cost Zargon many slaves and many rare reagents that he was still yet to replace. That didn�?Tt mater now though. Running his hand along the haft the axe literally pulsed with power.

�?oYes�?� thought the Sorcerer �?oThis will fetch a high price�?�

Zargon�?Ts avarice shone in his eyes like liquid fire. He would take the axe to the great markets of Uzkulak and trade it to the Kurgan for untold riches and slaves. Now however, it was time to test his creation. Zargon hefted the weapon by the leather handgrip, the hide he had personally flayed from the back of an ogre slave. He ordered his hobgoblin attendants to bring forward the prisoner. Dragged before him in chains was a human male, a merchant from one of the weak human realms known as The Empire.

With one swift stroke the wolf headed axe bit deep into the human back between the shoulder blades. A faint howling could be heard on the wind, the rubies on the axe began to shine like miniature suns. The prisoner�?Ts body seemed to fold in on itself till all that was left was dry skin stretched tight like a drum across his bones. All this occurred within a brief few seconds. The glow from the gems was all-ready fading as Zargon withdrew the axe, holding it before his face.

�?oYes�?��?� said Zargon to himself �?oA high price indeed!�?�

Entry #3

Travelers fate</u><br><br>a Haiku from Nippon, made by a survivor.<br><br>"Dread Hashuts glowing axe,

blood drops fall

like cherry blossoms."

Entry #4

Star of Zharr-Naggrund

Glowing, red as dawn,

Forged under a crescent moon,

Cleaving open souls

In days now long gone,

My name, to my foes well-known,

Shivering their spines

Many a man fell,

I, shining ever brighter,

Star of Zharr-Naggrund

Entry #5

The Most Powerful Weapon of All

Thunder rumbled across the plain, echoing back and forth as though the gods were fighting in the heavens. Foreboding black clouds blocked out the weak rays of the sun, clouds that glowed red, reflecting the fires that raged out of control in the city below, and the rivers of magma that formed a moat around the Iron Ziggurat.

Atop that towering edifice stood the diminutive, black-armoured form of the Sorcerer-Prophet Avvar Khul. Even now, at the height of the storm, the wind lashed at him; but he stood as solid as stone - a comparison with a basis in literal truth, for his feet and ankles had long since turned to granite, an unwanted side effect of the terrible arcane powers he wielded.

Khul’s tusked countenance held an expression of pure hatred and anger. Gazing down from the topmost level of the ziggurat, he looked on the hordes of greenskins that were besieging the city; from this height, they looked like toy soldiers, but even at this distance, their guttural shouting and bellowing was a cacophony of violent threat. From the base of the ziggurat to the horizon, the Orcs and Goblins swarmed; a rabble of former slaves, yes, but an army of brutes also, an army the likes of which the Dawi Zharr had never before had to face.

Behind Khul, his great rival Drakh Aghul spoke up. "Your arrogance has doomed us all, Avvar Khul. We cannot stand against these Black Orcs that were our warrior-slaves. You underestimated them and now we all will die for it. Our end has come."

Khul sneered, and did not waste effort turning to face him. "Silence your cowardly tongue, Aghul. There is one factor in our favour that you have not considered. We have a weapon of which the Black Orcs are not aware; a weapon against which there is no defence."

This gave Aghul pause. “What weapon is this? I have heard of no new artillery piece being produced by the forges.”

“Of course not,” cackled Khul, amused by his rival’s stupidity. "This weapon�?� is treachery�?�"

Far below, almost lost among the teeming masses of greenskins, a Hobgoblin Khan looked up at Khul and met his gaze. Around him, his underlings skulked and plotted, curved daggers in hand. The Sorcerer-Prophet felt nothing but contempt in his black heart for the Khan and all his ilk; but times were pressing, and this needed to be done. His face set grim, he raised his right arm to the heavens and formed a clenched fist; and below, from within the very ranks of the enemy, the most powerful weapon of all was unleashed…

Entry #6

"ODE TO THE IMMORTAL AXE"

Sharp is your biting face

Great warlord o’ the Dawi Race

Above them all you take your place

To render stomach, neck or guts

Well are you worthy of this grace

As Honed and keen you stay.

The groaning corpse carts that you fill

We’r at home or on distant hill

Your edge would help toil and till

In our time of need

Gore drips like sweat thru’ pores emerge

Like nectar beads of red.

Your razor glow short labour shares

To cut them up without a care

And into their gushing innards bright

To dig their graveditch

Oh make that most glorious sight

Warm, steaming and rich.

Heed now your mighty golden head

That leaves the earth trembling in it’s stead

Clasped in a fist this curse’d blade

That makes sweet music

As legs and arms and heads will pass

As if a scythe through summer’s grass.

Hashut make our kin your care

Where no weakling race would dare

To raise aloft such mighty blade

Make cause to tremble in it’s shade

Your Daemon fire inside burns bright

To lead our people through the night.

Entry #7

The Hammer of Zharr

Ghorth gave a curt gesture and the huge hammer was carried across the throne room by four struggling slaves. Without even looking in their direction, Zhatan grabbed the black-iron haft in one mailed fist and lifted its brutal, blunt head to eye level. He regarded it for a long moment through the eye-slits of his ever-present mask and then let it drop to the floor. A crack snaked its way across the granite flagstone where it landed.

“Well?”

"It appears…well-made."

Ghorth clasped his hands before him as he leant back in his obsidian throne. He had risen to his current position as the most powerful and influential Sorcerer Lord in Zharr-Naggrund by, amongst other things, always keep a close watch on his innermost thoughts and feelings, but even his iron self-control was tested by Zhatan’s reaction to this priceless gift. What did he expect though? Zhatan was nothing but savagery and hate. He probably had no conception of what it was he now held.

“Tell me, Zhatan, do you know the story of that hammer?”

“I have no interest in stories, Lord Ghorth.”

"No. I suppose you do not. Very well, allow me to advance your education further still than I have already. That weapon you now hold is the Hammer of Zharr. Surely even you have heard that name, yes?"

Zhatan nodded silently.

“Indeed. The Hammer of Zharr predates all that you or I know. Long before Zhargon’s rule, when our great empire was in its infancy, that weapon you now hold was a simple tool �?” the hammer of a workman, used for crude labour. None now know when it was forged and by whom. No doubt its beginnings were inauspicious: utilitarian. But, as you say, it was well-made. We might imagine it belonged to some senior mason or other or perhaps, even then, it was a badge of office for the master of a now-forgotten guild of artisans. In either case, Sorcerers of old have consulted the ashes of the Hellforges and they confirmed that it was indeed the hammer that was used to break the ground when the foundations of Zharr-Naggrund were first laid, as the legends say.“

Ghorth paused for effect, but Zhatan said nothing.

“Yes,” he continued, unabashed, “thousands of feet below us, on ground that has now long-since been subsumed into the body of this, the greatest single edifice in the known world, some nameless worker struck the earth with this hammer, shattering the barren rock, so that the first great slabs of obsidian might be laid. By that one act, millennia of suffering and bloodshed was unleashed. It began on that fateful, grey day, directly beneath the Temple, from which eminence we now we gaze across a land blighted by our industry and malice. Who thought to preserve it, we do not know, but the hammer was taken and embellished, enchanted and reworked, and it has absorbed all of the accumulated hatred and contempt of our race in the intervening centuries �?” the hatred and contempt that, in a manner of speaking, it was directly responsible for. When Zhargon rose to power, it was given to the lord of the Immortals, and it is to that office that it has been bound ever since. Across countless battlefields, through endless wars, Banelords down the ages have wielded that hammer. It has taken hundreds of lives, and led to the enslavement of tens of thousands more. It has struck down Chaos Lords, sent Vampires back to the spirit world, banished Daemons and slain Dragons. Its blows have reverberated through the Realm of Chaos. It has made widows and orphans uncounted. It has shattered heirlooms, broken thrones and destroyed dynasties. It is not merely a weapon: it is a symbol of all that we are and all that we have brought to ruin. And now, as Banelord of the Immortals, as Commander of the Tower of Zharr, I bequeath it to you, Zhatan the Black.“

Zhatan lifted the Hammer of Zharr again and once more looked at it coldly. Its whole surface was covered in ghoulish runes and mind-wrenching glyphs of terrible Daemonic power. Its very presence seemed to distort the air, even here in the Temple of Hashut, one of the most dread places in the world.

Ghorth rapped his knuckles lightly against the arms of his throne. He was beginning to get impatient. “Have you nothing to say, Zhatan?” he demanded.

The Banelord seemed to consider his words carefully. Finally, he said, “Can it kill?”

“What? Of course it can kill! It is one of the most fearsome instruments of destruction in creation!”

“Then it is sufficient.” Turning smartly on his heel, Zhatan marched from the throne room.

Entry #8

The Epic of Deephack Choppera

Nigh aeon before, the Fire Dwarfs brought

From the belly of their hell-forge

A ruinous axe their hands wrought.

Empying the barrows of Zharr Naggrund

The great Fire Dwarf city did disgorge

Ten thousand march on land dead and poisoned.

And lo through flesh and bone the ruinous axe did cleave

All manner of Man, Elf and beast were felled

But none dreamt the axe itself could decieve.

Slowly at first the axe did ponder its fate

With its master fully unaware, hands controlled and will expelled.

Axe and master now fuelled by greed, arrogance and hate.

Into a mindless automaton and servant was its master driven

And still on their bloodlust went, unabated

The axe now thirsted for more familiar crimson.

So it was the weapon cared not for things of flesh

The axe saw so it that it’s desires be sated

'Twas to be the last deed of both - a trip, axe and head enmesh.

Down through the unending ages has the axe still sworn

Its posessed frame and blade cold and forgot

High upon a desolate pass in the Mountains of Mourn.

Until a new and hapless creature comes all grope and fumble

The axe will then have a master to enslave and besot

Once more will Deekhack Choppera find mortals to humble.

Entry #9

The Dagger Of Malice

Stabby, stabby blade,

so stabby stabby quick,

give it to me now and il end it,

quick, quick, quick.

Its as bouncy as a flea,

and as strong as a bull,

when this blade is inside you,

i dont know that you’ll do…

- words of Tepay, a Hobgoblin assassin in reference to the legendary Blade of Malice

Entry #10

Hierarchy

Hierarchy it is the lash of our whip

Hierarchy it is toil of our industries

Hierarchy  it is the glory of Zharr-Naggrund

Hierarchy it is more powerful than any blade, explosive, or spell

Hierarchy it is what separates us from the lesser races and shows their true worth as slaves

More powerful than any weapon, more sinister than any Dawi’Zharr alone, it is our greatest strength and it is what will ensure the continued survival of our great society.

Hierarchy…

Hail the Father of Darkness and forever prosper the City of Fire and Desolation

Entry #11

AWAKEN, AZTHROMM-THOGI!

clink

clink clink clink  

clink

mm.  mmmph.  

clink

clink clink TANG

Mmaah, go away.

clink

clink TANG TANG

I�?Tm sleeping.  GO AWAY.

clink

clink TANG clink clink

Wait, what is that tapping sound?  Grundlid?  It has been many years whence I toiled in the black, but never will I forget the code!  Fine, you cretin, I�?Tm awake.  What again?

clink TANG TANG

clink clink TANG clink

W.  Wa.  Wake.  Awaken as from sleep, yes.  R.  Ri.  Rise.  Yes, I�?Tm awake, cretin, get to the point!

clink TANG mmph.  mmk.

What?  Are you speaking as well?  Why can�?Tt I hear you, and why is my neck so grikked?

clink TANG clink Mmph mmk. Mphk-ak.  Mphk mm.

There.  There it is again, some muffled mumbling.  SPEAK, cretin, use your throat, not your tongue!   Whispers are for Elves and Goblins!

clink Entry #12

For the greater good of god

So he stood there. Alone. Every single one of his bloodbrothers was wasted away. Fought to death against those countless beasts in these damned lands. Alone �?” maybe not really. He was still holding his mighty rune-crusted axe in his tired hands. Probably the only reason why he still was alive. At last on this blood stained cliff he was overcome by the realization that he and his purpose will fail. There never was a real chance to bring this insane quest to an end as he asks for.

Yes the axe. The reason for this dead issue. It was an incredible powerful weapon. He holds it up in front of him and stared onto it. It was not an axe made by the Daemonsmiths. It was not defiled. Oh no, not this one. An ancient artefact from long forgotten ages. The legacy of his father and all of his ancestors before him. Kept in secret that no one of these so called wizards lays a hand upon it. Because if they would the surely corrupt it or in the worst case destroy it. And that should never happen he vowed.

He was a Chaos Dwarf anyway. Although deep in his mind he felt the pain off all that he and his kind had lost. And he knew that such thoughts were fatal in the Chaos Dwarf society.

His father told him on his deathbed how the Dawi-Zharr became what they are. Tales of crime and punishment. At first he couldn�?Tt believe the words his father was telling. And a short moment he was supposed to kill his father for this sacrilege against almighty Hashut. But as he took the axe of his dying father�?Ts hand he felt something rising in his own mind. Like a voice of an awakened part of him he never knew before.

And he still believes that he was not the only one who has these doubts in the heart.

Betrayal?! Maybe. He was not sure in this point. But now he felt more devotion to his roots than to Zharr-Naggrund and he made his choice.

A short look through his monocular gave him the direction to the nearest dwarven outpost on the Worlds Edge Mountains. He licked over his broken off right tusk. �?oLet�?Ts bring this to an end!�?� he grumbled and marched on.

He also knew that he had to hurry. Even in this badlands the Daemonsmiths may see him with their magical skills and also the Overseers have their informers. Anyhow they would find him.

Hours later after walking through this harsh and rugged land the Worlds Edge Mountains came closer.

Suddenly an ear-splitting thunder behind his back almost faded him away. He turned around and caught sight of a Great Taurus. The huge creature snorted angry and with a voice so clear and so pervasive it began to talk. Not for real but in his mind.

�?oI�?Tm bringing the will of Hashut. You belong to Hashut and no Dawi-Zharr can ever leave his realm without his permission. Therefore I�?Tm here to eat your body and your soul.�?�

�?oNo way red bull!�?� he presented his axe and the runes on it began to shine intensively. The beast growled.

�?oAncient dwarf-runes of great force?! Curious. But you are not important enough to carry such powerful weapon!�?�

�?oWith this, I will redeem my soul!�?�

�?oHar har har!!!�?�  The Great Taurus laughed at him.

With his gleaming axe wielding he shook off his worries and attacked the beast.

The creature pranced a bit too late and so the axe cut a deep wound into its body. The yelling of the monster was terrible.

With a swing of its horns it bounced the Dawi-Zharr to the ground, intend to trample him down. With the knowledge that this might be his end he decided to unleash the whole force of the axe. His father told him to praise the name of the Ancestor God Grimnir. One of the three major gods of the Dwarfs. Grimnir the Fearless �?” Grimnir the warrior god. He shouted out loud with his axe raised to the air: �?oGRIMNIR!�?�

The axe began to glow like never before and in the same moment as the Taurus impaled him on its horn he rammed the axe into its neck. Blood splashed and sparks flew and both of them fell down to ground.

�?oBy the gods!�?� the Dwarf Huntsman stuttered. He observed the whole scenario from the safe place of his secret hideout. He never saw such a stunning spectacle. This cursed Chaos Dwarf down there praised Grimnir while fighting this hellish demon and apparently held such a mighty axe. He would instantly send a salvage team.

Entry #13

Storm Brothers

My brother’s eyes met mine, as cold and angry as any tempest

Harsh words, ill-conceived at best, had led us here.

Anger Driven, Rage Fueled, A Dawi-Zharr does not back down.

My brother’s axe, the twin of mine, slides swiftly out of its case

As I his twin, do the same with mine.

As beard-lings, we’d named them for the storm that we would be upon our enemies.

One the Lightning, Storms Herald and the other Thunder, Storms Voice.

The silence before the storm slid by as slowly as a breath drawn in, then broke.

Two brothers, Two axes, Lightning and Thunder crashed together.

Two midnight etched blades meet for the first time in anger.

Iron Clad, Oath Bound, Anger Sworn, Shame Driven

Two axes, One brother. The heavy, measured tread of his stride into battle.

He could not let his brothers axe lie silent nor ever allow any other to wield it.

Alone amongst many, amid multitudes wreathed in clashing steel and pain.

No comrades-in-arms at his shoulders now.   No shields to ward his side.

No Brother with his axe to guard his back.   Only Death before him.

Entry #14

There once was an axe

There once was an axe from Flayed Rock

Whose edge was as dull as a sock

His owner was skilled

But no blood was spilled

And the Orc head received just a knock

Entry #15

The Three Questions of Priming

The sun was directly in front of the entrance into Khazi Stormbeard�?Ts pavilion. The Daemonsmith was blinded by it, but he didn�?Tt care. He had experienced worse during his early years as an apprentice. If he could withstand the heat of the forges of Zharr-Naggrund, simple sunlight shouldn�?Tt inconvenience him.

Suddenly the sun was obscured by two eerily similar figures, namely Lefty and Righty. The Daemonsmith called his assistants Lefty and Righty because he could never tell them apart. The twins put a lot of effort to look alike in every single detail, from their clothes, their manner of speech and even the smoothness of their bald heads. Khazi once saw an unruly slave be blinded by the sudden reflection of lantern light from their bare scalps. Granted, the slave hadn�?Tt seen any light in over ten months, but Khazi was still so amused by it all that he gave his assistants an extra ration of Kol Vharhaz, or simply Black Oil as those of the Warrior Class call it.

Lefty and Righty carried between them a black-and-yellow casket, engraved with the runes of danger and explosives. They put the casket in front of their master, and then left the pavilion. Khazi waited a few moments, mentally preparing himself for the task at hand. The Daemonsmith then opened the casket, and before he saw the rocket he felt the presence of the entity imprisoned within. It was angry. Angry at Khazi, angry at the Chaos Dwarfs, angry at everyone and everything.

All was in readiness. Khazi Stormbeard took in a breath, and sent a mental message to the daemon inside the rocket.

�?oWho are you?�?�

�?oYou cannot have forgotten me, you foul crony of Hashut!�?�, the daemon raged. �?oI am Bae-Shydusqui, your nemesis, your nightmare. I am the Butcher of the Montague family, the Dark Hand of Widows and the Unsung Terror. I will be your doom.�?�

�?oWhy are you here?�?�

�?oI�?Tm here because some lice-ridden lackey of yours imprisoned me in this cursed contraption! Do you think I want to be confined in such a small place?! I have no mouth, and I must scream! In here there�?Ts no change, no chance, and no possibility to do anything but think on the many ways I hate you.�?� The entity sounded as if it was on the verge of crying. �?oLet me tell you how much I’ve come to hate you and all your kind. The highest peak of the Mountains of Mourn is over thirty thousand feet long. If the word ‘hate’ was engraved on every inch of that mountain, it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for your mongrel race. For you. Hate. Hate!�?�

�?oWhat do you want?�?�

�?oI want to be free. I want to destroy your kind. I want to inflict so much pain on you, that all the devils of torture will notice it and see it as competition!�?�

�?oThere will be a battle tomorrow�?�, Khazi said, sounding unconcerned by the daemon�?Ts threats. �?oOur opponents are numerous. The more people you kill, the more chance you have of generating enough power to escape the sorcerous contract you have with me.�?�

�?oYes�?�yes! I will kill, I will maim, I will destroy! All shall tremble on the devastation I will inflict!�?�

The daemon went on, but Khazi ignored its ramblings and closed the casket. He took a few sips from his flask, sighed, and then gave a command to his assistants.

�?oBring in the next casket.�?�

Entry #16

Ode to the Magma Cannon

Liquid horror spews

Flesh drips from screaming faces

A gift from Hashut

vulcanologist:

Wow! Far more entries than I ever would have thought! This is going to be tough!

Nicodemus:

Am I blind?

Please, Nicodemus. Where to find #17 and #18?
Can't find them anywhere.

Herby
LOL, oops. Apparently I can't count. 16 entries, not 18. ;)
Thanks for keeping me honest!

~N

Obsidian Muse:

I’m kinda glad there’s no poll. Otherwise I don’t see how we could pick more than one story, and there are so many well-written tales here.

Nicodemus:

Alrighty then. You all have seen it - Nicodemus has promised 18 slaves for each of the participants! ;P

Herby
LOL, Nah, if you check the time stamp on my last edit of the first post I had corrected the number of slaves when I corrected the number of entries ;)

But as pennance I'll give each entrant two extra slaves from my own ample-sized horde to make up for the gaffe :P

Someone just needs to remind me to do it!!
~N

vulcanologist:

Read them all now…

Great stuff!!..apart from entry 12…blasphemy!

DAGabriel:

Votes are made, enjoyed the reading, great work guys!

Abecedar:

Yes! great entries all. Except No 12 who shall be flayed once CSI reveal his identity. Into my fourth round of culling and its getting harder now.

vulcanologist:

My votes are in!

This message was automatically appended because it was too short.

Bitterman:

So we should be hoping to see the results some time soon, right?

Some stiff competition…

vulcanologist:

Thanks Bitterman I’d forgotten about this. Any movement on the results and any news on a new Golden Hat too?

Obsidian Muse:

Aw man, I completely forgot to enter my votes. My lack of sleeping is killing me. x.x

Oh well, nothing for it. Did the rest of you enjoy picking your personal choice stories?

Bitterman:

So we should be hoping to see the results some time soon, right?

Some stiff competition…

vulcanologist:

Thanks Bitterman I’d forgotten about this. Any movement on the results and any news on a new Golden Hat too?

Obsidian Muse:

Aw man, I completely forgot to enter my votes. My lack of sleeping is killing me. x.x

Oh well, nothing for it. Did the rest of you enjoy picking your personal choice stories?