[Archive] Origins of the K'daai Oracle of Daemon's Stump


Written by: Admiral
Illustrated by: Hunter


[align=center]Origins of the K’daai Oracle of Daemon’s Stump[/align]

The Dark Lands nest in fire and desolation betwixt two mountain ranges. Like slave brands and scars, the fortresses and outposts of the Chaos Dwarfs defile these ashen landscapes with their towering walls, their open-pit mines and their smoke belching furnaces. Such is the malevolent empire of the Dawi Zharr upon the face of the earth. It is a cruel realm of slavery and constant sacrifice, ruled over by a devious caste of unthinkably powerful Sorcerer-Prophets, whose words are law yet whose judgements might be anything but intelligible or even sane.

Still, even these absolute rulers of the sons of Hashut are not always infallible in their choices or  wisdom, and where the reports of scouts and intelligence of mundane affairs cannot suffice, they must turn to the mysteries. Aside from their own prophecies, which are frequently attained through such means as occult trances and self-declared sudden revelations, these Sorcerer-Prophets sift through ancient prophecies and carefully read omens revealed in bloodshed, fire, ash, lava, molten metal, tectonic upheaval and much more besides. Many seek portents in the innards of sacrifices or in the roiling smoke from the pyre, yet amongst the more exotic forms of divination is to consult the ancient K’daai Oracle.

To presage the future in omens is a very common activity for all members of the Temple’s sacred priesthood, yet it normally takes extraordinary urgency or opaque prognostication for a Sorcerer-Prophet or one of his lackeys to confront the legendary soothsayer being  known as the K’daai Oracle of Daemon’s Stump. Other names include the Red Predictor, Breath of Hashut, Timeflame and the Fire of Riddles. This is not an ordinary bound fire Daemon, like those found burning on the battlefields and even in Chaos Dwarf forges for the sake of their dark overlords’ material and military needs.

This entity is shrouded in mysteries, not least in the tales and songs of the Dawi Zharr. Yet it is known that the Daemonic fortune-teller can only be invoked on special days of dire meaning to the Father of Darkness. It requires a bloody and meticulous sacrifice of many lives to ignite, and once aflame it will burn out quickly, yet not before offering riddling answers, prophecies or flashbacks to the past. The respect and even gratitude heaped upon the K’daai Oracle is evident in its very form, for its metal frame of elaborate armour and chains have grown over the centuries as Sorcerer-Prophets have added to it. Yet at the same time it is feared and shunned.

Its advice is much sought after, for few things in existence are truly hidden from its searing gaze, yet even so few Chaos Dwarfs would trust its counsel completely. To interpret the words of this flaming entity is fraught with peril as the fate of so many Sorcerer-Prophets will attest, yet these are potential hazards few Dawi Zharr would shy away from.

Their souls are already shackled and caged by high Hashut, and their servitude to Chaos has damned them for eternity. Deep down, they all understand that success for themselves and for their Bull God can only be achieved in this world, for torment alone awaits the Dawi Zharr in the afterlife, no matter what promises the fickle lies of revered Sorcerer-Prophets may contain. Then why wouldn’t they gamble and risk everything they have, to win everything there is? Disaster may wait around the corner, yet the temptation of ultimate triumph is sometimes too strong.

Such is the hunger for power festering at the heart of the K’daai Oracle stories of the Blacksmiths of Chaos.

This is the story of how it all began.

Portents: During one cycle of the hale moon did half the Dark Lands stand in flames as the Great Thunderbull roared across the underworld. Molten rock poured out, shot up glowing from the hot depths below, and ash fell like driving rain across the hellish landscapes. Day and night became as one, and night triumphed in the Dark Lands as volcanic smoke clouds overcame even the pollution of the heavens wrought by the vicious Chaos Dwarfs. Monsters and Greenskins cowered in their holes and caverns, and even the Dawi Zharr barred their doors and locked their gates against the dark and fiery torment of the world outside.

It was during this simultaneous eruption of sixty lesser volcanoes all over the Dark Lands that Balhutti-Zhurekar was born. The seventh son of a Daemonsmith, he was a sickly boy even as a young child, and it was only by the age of sixty that he could grow a beard. His disgusted parents considered to sacrifice Balhutti-Zhurekar to high Hashut in the Temple, yet first they consulted a shunned Chaos Dwarf Hellseer-witch who dwelled in coalbins and slag piles amongst the forges and furnaces deep below Mingol Zharr-Naggrund’s great ziggurat city upon the surface of the plain of Zharr.

Had they not done so, then Balhutti-Zhurekar would have died in the altar flames before mighty idols and a choir of doom-singing acolytes. Instead, his mother and father took the runt of a beardling to the Hellseer-witch, who divined his future in a trance after swallowing burnt Orc guts, narcotic ash and slag from tin ore. What she saw stunned the hag enought to cast her out of the trance. She laid herself flat on the ground before the confused child and proclaimed him to be the coming Knower of All and the King of Fire, chosen by Chaos and Hashut for great deeds. Yet he would have to choose between Chaos and Hashut in the end, and only then could he fulfill his destiny. Until then, he would rule with an iron fist as both sorcerer and prophet.

The delighted parents paid the Hellseer-witch sixty Goblin slaves (who went on to strangle and eat the hag in her sleep) and spared Balhutti-Zhurekar’s life from the Temple flames. He was introduced into the priesthood as an acolyte, and over the decades his influence, malevolent wisdom and power grew as much as his cruelty did. He became a Sorcerer-Prophet in the end, through arduous training, studies of the mysteries, arcane forging, warfare, sorcery, intrigue and not least prophecy.

It was he who prognosticated the fall of Great Bray-Shaman Rurkor Ungorthrower at the hands of Zoat tyrant Barakek far south in the Haunted Forest.  It was Balhutti-Zhurekar who  foretold the Great Decade Maelstrom, a freak ocean occurence that drained the sea floor outside the Straits of Nagash and uncovered a sunken city of the Old Ones, which some daring Chaos Dwarf expeditions partially looted against insurmountable odds. It was he who foresaw the coming of the new god Sigmar of the Humans and the slaughter at Blackfire Pass. All this he did, and Balhutti-Zhurekar boasted about his deeds and the blessing of Hashut. He had his prophecies carved into plates of silver and into the backs of imprisoned Fimir.

Everywhere he looked he saw a dark omen, and it was true.

Success Upon Success: Sorcerer-Prophet Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit’s capabilities as a predictor of the future of the world and of the turbulence within the Realm of Chaos made him wise and influential beyond his years. He was soon sought-after by older and more powerful Sorcerer-Prophets, whose bodies were already more stone than flesh, for they wished him at their side as an apprentice or ally, and for invaluable aid in unspeakable secret projects that they initiated him in.

This took Balhutti-Zhurekar to the Daemon’s Stump, a fortress stronghold and slaving centre where a great many Sorcerer-Prophets and Daemonsmiths to this day toil and study in secret chambers and forges, undisturbed by the hectic activity at the capitol. Daemon’s Stump is known to the Chaos Dwarfs as Mingoldhaos-Dragh, Fortress of the Daemon Slavers, and it is an aply chosen name. The skill and magnitude of the Daemonsmithing taking place in this stronghold rivals that of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund itself.

Besides unholy industry it is also a place of cryptic libraries and otherworldly study chambers. In Daemon’s Stump, Balhutti-Zhurekar both read the works of others and wrote his own treatises, prophecies and instructions in the arcane upon parchment of flayed hide from Ogre, Human or Greenskin, as well as upon obsidian and metal tablets. His works soon gained infamy for their piercing uncovering of Empyreal dynamics, and so did the Decrepit’s participation in ritual projects of possession and Daemonsmithing of the most heinous kinds.

Balhutti-Zhurekar was wise according to twisted Chaos Dwarf standards. He became rich and gained a large harem of many consorts and offspring. He gathered a great many followers and apprentice acolytes. He discovered and took for himself the truth of thousands of mysteries. He crushed enemies far and wide and strengthened the dark empire’s iron grip. He was a Daemonologist without parallel amongst the Dawi Zharr. Yet above all Balhutti-Zhurekar had a ravenous hunger for power rivalling that of Hashut Himself.

For this, he would pay dearly.

Flesh to Stone: One night, the ascendant Sorcerer-Prophet Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit awoke with a scream. A vision of horror had come to him in nightmares, and he had seen himself petrified into a statue out on a dark plain. Mischievous Daemons had built a pyre around him and ignited it, then they had poured icy water and vinegar upon his statue. His stone form had cracked and fallen apart in a thousand pieces into the fire. The renowned seer prayed, fasted and rambled dark mantras over and over again as he locked himself alone in his chambers for two weeks. Then he emerged, with a maniac glow in his eyes.

Balhutti-Zhurekar chose his hardiest and most able acolytes and warriors, and hired mercenaries of both Chaos Dwarf, Human Marauder and Ogre stock. They took with them a large caravan of slave porters and draft animals. They gathered supplies, arms, mysterious tablets, flasks and evil talismans and set off up into the soaring Mountains of Mourn. The Sorcerer-Prophet suffered not from the Sorcerer’s Curse at the outset of his journey, yet that would not be the case at the end of it.

The party negotiated their way through Ogre Kingdoms as best as they could, yet the hazards of nature, Ogre, Greenskin and monster were great, and many fell prey to the cold or the jaws of the mountain’s crude inhabitants. These casaulties, especially amongst the slaves, did not concern Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit, yet the challenges he faced most certainly did. His sorcerous powers were tested beyond breaking point by avalanches, howling mountain storms, monsters and enemies. Many died, yet he survived whilst his body bit by turned into stone through this torrent of hardships.

Grinding his teeth and calling upon Daemons and Bull God in all His holy aspects, Balhutti-Zhurekar pressed on to the northeast, until finally he reached the Hissing Pits with his followers. These are the lairs of Cockatrices, fell monsters whose very eyes petrifies men and beasts alike. This was the target for his expedition, to his followers’ dismay. With an arrogant word of command, he made his loyal Chaos Dwarfs and Hobgoblins draw blades and shackle up the surviving Human and Ogre mercenaries, who struggled in vain against their superiors. Solemnly, Balhutti-Zhurekar dedicated their souls to the Father of Darkness and set his men to work.

They planted mighty idols, carved runic wards of dark sorcery, sacrificed, made Daemons possess stone and generally performed secret rituals at certain locations around the Hissing Pits. These preparations took weeks to execute and cost the lives of many slaves who found their fate at the end of a Cockatrice’s gaze, yet they were carried out without failure. Thus it was that the Decrepit Sorcerer-Prophet created a great laboratory where he could observe the deadly Cockatrices in every detail. He wielded all his mystic knowledge, mastery of Daemonology and demented wisdom to this task, and he remained awake day and night as he oversaw and watched what unfolded.

Balhutti-Zhurekar had turned the criss-crossing valleys and rocks of the Hissing Pits into a grand arena, into which he sent his frightened or defiant slaves one by one, or in small groups. They were given no weapons or shields, for the purpose of this game was not to determine how best to slay a Cockatrice, but to observe the workings of the petrification of flesh down to a frighteningly exact level. As such, they were deprived of even their loincloths, for no subject was allowed any equipment which could block or avert the  lethal Cockatrice eyes from the outset of the experiment.

Many Gnoblars, Goblins and wretched Humans from the soft civilized lands soon met their end in weak despair without putting up much of a fight, yet the same could not be said for the other slaves. These were hardy, sneaky or outright devious men, Greenskins, Ogres and more exotic creatures who would survive at any cost. They turned on each other or they cooperated, set up traps and bait and tried to lure Cockatrices and stray beasts into their traps. Some showed the most ingenious cunning and managed to survive by the most primitive of means, clad in the furs of some poorly flayed creature, yet survive they did. The veteran survivors often turned on the newcomers as more slaves were released into the arena, and blood stained the mountain sides.

The most defiant of the experimental subjects shouted out curses upon Balhutti-Zhurekar’s god, name, lineage, wives and offspring. Surprisingly many of the unfortunate slaves eked out a meagre and harsh living for weeks, yet they were never able to get out. The strong wards arranged by their treacherous former master would last for several months more, and they ensured the correct observation of petrification as well as the arcane imprisonment of sapient beings within the Hissing Pits. They could not find their way out, for their minds and senses lied to them, and Daemons whispered honeyed promises that led only to damnation. It was possible to find your way in, however, as the bewildered refugees from a massacred Ogre tribe found out to their cost as feral slaves and Cockatrices descended upon them.

The scenes which played out up here in this corner of the Mountains of Mourn were horrendous. Most Chaos Dwarfs and Hobgoblins in Balhutti-Zhurekar’s retinue watched it with ravenous glee. This was a high form of entertainment to them, yet their master was not amused. As the last slave, a scarred Norscan shieldmaiden, was turned into a statue when charging at an angry Cockatrice mother, the Decrepit Sorcerer-Prophet threw down his hat on the ground, raised his fist into the air and cursed his own soul to eternal captivity. He did this out of pure wrath, yet he could not have foreseen how prophetic his words had been.

The experiments had been a great success, for they had worked better than anyone could even hope for. The intricate workings of petrification had been documented in detail, and even hitherto unknown omens from Hashut and other Chaos deities had been discovered when flesh turned to stone. Yet the experiments had been a grave failure, for what Balhutti-Zhurekar and his acolytes had discovered meant that there was no escape for him from the Sorcerer’s Curse. His body would continue to transform into stone until death, unless he managed to unlock the secrets behind Zhargon the Great’s fickle immortality.

No other mortal than Zhargon had even come close to that, and so it was that Balhutti-Zhurekar struck out with his surviving minions for a bold if not outright insane plan. For he would not baulk at anything to survive. He craved power above all, and power was worthless if you were dead.

And the Dark Gods laughed.

Stone to Fire: No one knew how they managed to do it, least of all the survivors themselves, but Sorcerer-Prophet Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit led his followers out of the Mountains of Mourn against insurmountable odds. His had not been deeds of bravery, but desperate deeds of bloodlust and sorcerous savagery. Death followed in their wake, and madness lurked in his eyes. Eventually, the battered and ragged survivors climbed down from the Mountains of Mourn and collapsed at the banks of the River Ruin.

They could have been beast food there and then, had not a squadron of Hull Destroyers steamed down the filthy waters for acts of piracy far to the south. The naval contingent took Balhutti-Zhurekar aboard, intent on taking the slaves for themselves and demanding a ransom from the Chaos Dwarfs’ clans, until they discovered that a Sorcerer-Prophet was among the captives. Fawning to the Decrepit, they loaded his survivors with fresh supplies and unloaded them quickly on the other side of the River Ruin before steaming on south. The crew of the vessels made dire finger gestures to ward off Daemons when the haggard party disappeared beyond the horizon, for they had known in their cruel hearts that dark events would unfold, and they wanted no part in it.

Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit counted his surviving followers and calculated the best course of action now that he had reached the Dark Lands at last. They had been unloaded an equal distance from Daemon’s Stump and the fiery lava wound in the earth known as the Bubbling Pits, yet the Sorcerer’s Curse had ravaged his body and soul so that his followers had to carry him on a stretcher. This lacked all dignity for a Sorcerer-Prophet, yet it did not bother the power hungry Balhutti-Zhurekar. Impatience got the better off him in the end, and he set out for the Bubbling Pits right away.

First, however, his veteran followers took a detour to the Red Maw Ogre tribe, north of Daemon’s Stump. They managed to overcome and enslave several Ogre Bulls, one Ogre female and a hundred Gnoblars before wandering north west to the Bubbling Pits. The group had to fight off giant wolves, ash condors and Goblins on their way, yet still they pressed on. What they didn’t know, however, was that they were hunted by the vengeful members of the Red Maw. These angered Ogres had declared a blood feud on Balhutti-Zhurekar and were out to kill and eat the kidnappers. Alive, if possible.

One moonless night of ill omens, the Dawi Zharr and Hobgoblins arrived at the vast lava pools of the Bubbling Pits and prepared the sacrifices meticulously. They had to carve new idols from lava rock, for the portable ones were either left back around the Hissing Pits, or abandoned in the Mountains of Mourn. Altars were constructed quickly, and pentagrams and mysterious circles of runes in both Dark Tounge and Khaozalid script were carved into the blackened ground. Sorcerer-Prophet Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit knew that the Hissing Pits had been part of the mass eruption at his birth, and this ominous connection to himself was to be ruthlessly exploited by heinous rituals and vile magic.

As the sacrificial rites started amidst smoke and dirges, half the Red Maw tribe climbed over the top of a lava rock ridge, and bellowed in fury as they saw the haggard group. They had tracked and pursued Balhutti-Zhurekar, and now they were out to get him. They charged with the sound of thunder down the slope, straight at the trapped Chaos Dwarfs and Hobgoblins. The cunning Sorcerer-Prophet, however, changed plans in the blink of an eye and used this to his advantage.

Balhutti-Zhurekar roared and ordered his subordinates to counter-charge. With a battlecry to Hashut on their lips, they stormed into their own deaths against an avalanche of tonnes upon tonnes of fat, muscle and iron. Balhutti-Zhurekar could barely walk, yet he performed the sacrifices himself in rapid order with two axes, skipping several time-consuming rites and drawing upon sorcerous power to trap the escaping souls of the dead. He then trapped the souls of all his followers and a few Ogres that died in the combat close by to him, and quickly chanted words of malevolent power. As the bloodthirsty Ogres rushed at him, he clumsily dove into the Bubbling Pits, and the lava devoured him.

The Ogres mocked the sorcerer’s cowardice and laughed. The Red Maw collected the corpses of the fallen and roasted them on iron spits above the lava pools. Much mirth, laughter and rowdy song was in the air as the tribe celebrated its nighttime victory on the spot. Suddenly, the Bubbling Pits erupted in a cascade of molten rock that scorched Ogre and Gnoblar alike. Out from this inferno rose a Chaos Dwarf swathed in flame, who breathed fire over the Red Maw and cut down anyone before him with flaming blades. The Ogres were terrified at this seemingly Daemonic fiend and soon fled as their casaulties started to ramp up.

Behind them, the vicious laughter of Sorcerer-Prophet Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit crackled like fire in the night. He had risked everything and won. He had bore the brunt of the Curse, yet now he invited it. He had never been able to avert the Sorcerer’s Curse, that much was clear from the experience of the Hissing Pit events, yet he had been able to transform it. His former stony flesh were now flames, and his flesh would turn to fire not stone. Since he had also made his body immune to the touch of searing flames, he had tricked the Sorcerer’s Curse.

Now, nothing would stand in the way of his rise to power.

Had it not been for his own crackling flames, Balhutti-Zhurekar might have heard the guffaw of malicious deities at the edge of his hearing.

Grasp of Dark Gods: Sorcerer-Prophet Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit returned in unholy triumph to Daemon’s Stump. His very appearance as a fiery son of Hashut made Dawi Zharr fall to their knees before him and praise the Father of Darkness. A new sacrificial feast was established in this stronghold, and his harem consorts were auctioned off since he could no longer touch them. With prophetic knowledge of others’ actions, brutal campaigns of war against feral Greenskins, and cunning political maneouvres, he made himself the most powerful of all Sorcerer-Prophets. This position was confirmed when Balhutti-Zhurekar was anointed as High Priest of Hashut. And the Mark of the Bull God was upon his flaming brow.

For some decades, the so-called Fire Prophet ruled the Chaos Dwarf empire in a way not seen since the days of Zhargon the Great, although he did not attain the same level of absolute power as Zhargon had. Clad in nought but metal, the Decrepit ruled with a hunger for power that saw the establishment of many lesser outposts on the outskirts of their territories, and he ruled with a might that saw any enemy warlord crushed when they opposed Balhutti-Zhurekar with their filthy hordes. The Fire Prophet’s resurgence of Dawi Zharr conquest seemed enough to satisfy any ruler’s ambitions.

Yet the appetites of High Priest Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit had only been whetted by his near-kingship, and upon the pinnacle of power he craved for more. He saw that Hashut was only a minor Dark God, and even His mighty empire in the Dark Lands was as nothing compared to the combined might of Chaos Undivided, in which Hashut was only a small fraction of the whole. Thus the High Priest plotted the unthinkable heresy, but kept it hidden from the watchful eyes of Bhaal of the sacred Bull Centaurs.

After many secret dealings with northman Sorcerers of Chaos and endless study of forbidden mysteries, the Fire Prophet divined the opportune time to become the next Everchosen of the Dark Gods. And when the appointed year arrived, he was prepared to fulfil the prophecies.

He attempted it, loaded with potent talismans and Daemonic flasks about his fiery person, yet he won something else as the capricious humour of the Great Four made them grant him immortality instead. Balhutti-Zhurekar the Decrepit forsook his lordship as High Priest of the Chaos Dwarfs and entered the Realm of Chaos in triumph. For now, he was content to plot from within the Empyrean to overthrow the Great Four, even if it would take aeons. And what need had he for Hashut? He could be his own god now.

And the Dark Gods fell silent with expectation, as if waiting for the punchline, and their Eye fell upon Mingol Zharr-Naggrund the Great.

Dark Vengeance Time: When the High Priest’s betrayal and heresy were revealed in the visions of every Sorcerer-Prophet in the Dark Lands, the scheming Dawi Zharr elite united for once. A cabal of the strongest Sorcerer-Prophets in the Temple of Zharr-Naggrund took it upon themselves to bring down high Hashut’s vengeance upon the arch-traitor. With thousands of sacrificial slave victims at their disposal, they scryed, divined and prognosticated the tumultous planes of the Realm of Chaos for years until they managed to pinpoint the Daemon Prince Balhutti-Zhurekar. He may have been the only Dwarf ever to attain Daemonhood, yet he would suffer for his transgression.

A massive amount of mystical scripture was both read and written in preparation for the rituals to come, and the Dawi Zharr empire geared much of its industry and slaving expeditions into supplying the Temple with the incredibly complex yet potent arcane artefacts required, as well as a stupendously large supply of lives. Devious pacts with Daemons were sealed, and other Daemons were forged into pillars, braziers and icons, as well as hammers, masks and hats. Sorcerous machinery was built and transported to Daemon’s Stump, where it was installed in the very best position to trap a Daemon in the mortal realm.

With all this equipment, and a titanic amount of other preparations which were all meticulous to the smallest detail, the sworn cabal of Sorcerer-Prophets initiated the largest possession and Daemonsmithing rite ever carried out succesfully. Blood ran in rivers and the smoke from live bodies sacrificed in flames and molten metal formed clouds that blotted out the sun. Greenskins and other creatures were killed in their thousands, and then thousands upon thousands more slaves were slain upon the altars before His mighty idols.

These sacrifices were all part of a vast and complex ritual involving dozens of Sorcerer-Prophets and hundreds of acolytes and Daemonsmiths. The lives of a sizeable chunk of the Chaos Dwarf leadership hung in the balance as they risked all in this dark vengeance time. The whole Dawi Zharr population of Daemon’s Stump, Zharr-Naggrund, the Tower of Gorgoth, the Black Fortress and northerly Uzkulak simultaneously undertook mass sacrifices, and the chanting to Hashut flowed out over the Dark Lands. It sounded otherwordly, like the choirs of Daemons. And in the lands of Daemons, fell sorceries hunted the renegade across the Empyrean.

Night turned to flaming day at Daemon’s Stump. The bloodletting was immense, and the new High Priest, Arkozor the Bale, made the whole event culminate when he sacrificed his own son in flames, just as Balhutti-Zhurekar’s parents should have done. The rituals reached their climax, and the traitor Daemon Prince was summoned as he tried to claw his way back into the Realm of Chaos. This was to no avail, and a rune-inscribed obsidian cage slammed down on him.

Now, the Decrepit was trapped. Faced with the thoroughly undertaken vengeance of an empire, he could not escape Hashut’s judgement. It is said volcanoes erupted all across the Dark Lands and both Taurus and Lammasu alike bellowed in cruel triumph when the Sorcerer-Prophets reforged Balhutti-Zhurekar’s Daemonic essence and power into a shackled metal frame deep beneath Daemon’s Stump. Ensorcelled hammers and cursed molten metals brutally worked themselves upon the Daemon Prince and subdued him. The torture and agony in his fallen soul was carried across much of the Dark Lands and Mountains of Mourn as the former Fire Prophet howled in pain, and the Dark Gods laughed like madmen at it.

He was enslaved, broken and reforged into the K’daai Oracle. Balhutti-Zhurekar’s fiery being would forever more be imprisoned within a chained metal armour frame, yet its blaze would only be awakened after complicated and very bloody sorcerous rites. The rest of the time it would lie locked for eternity in metal, a torment in a small pocket of hell for a Daemon Prince promised immortality and free-roaming power within the Realm of Chaos.

High Priest Arkozor the Bale and all his allies and minions inscribed fell runes of arcane power to control the imprisoned Balhutti-Zhurekar, for the mysterious Chaos Dwarfs are ever a pragmatic lot and won’t let anything useful pass by. Conscious of the former Dawi Zharr’s prophetic powers, they forged him into a burning oracle bound to answer the most dire questions truthfully. Yet even so the fickle nature of Chaos ensured it enough independence to give cryptic responses that could be so convoluted they might as well have been lies.

The K’daai Oracle is undeniably capricious in its ways of relaying messages to those who ask it for counsel. One common method (besides spoken words sounding like a furnace given a voice) includes dozens of mixed, live slaves branded with runes, yet to extract the correct meaning one have to put the slaves in the correct order to unc



ver the hidden message. One slave out of order might cost you your life as some devious nuance of the oracular reply is lost on you. Another way of answering is for the K’daai Oracle to shoot out winged fire imps, akin to lethal fireworks, who splash into the walls of its heavily guarded chamber, wards and all. The recepient of the answer must then catch a glimpse of each flaming rune which forms upon the imp’s impact, lest it is lost and crucial parts of the message with it.

But at that moment, when Balhutti-Zhurekar was forged into the K’daai Oracle, its words were the worst of curses on its captors. Since it could only speak in prophetic riddles, these curses turned into a horrific foretelling of the End Times, predicting the rise of Nagash, the Glotkin and much more concerning the coming doom of the world. These enigmatic words were eventually decoded, although the final interpretation of them will never be reached before the prophecy is fulfilled.

From then on, the K’daai Oracle have been kept captive for all eternity in secret chambers deep beneath that vile fortress, never taken out of its prison and only seen for the occassion of oracular consultation. Or so the Sorcerer-Prophets lording it over Daemon’s Stump would have us believe…