Idly twisting the coils of his oiled beard around his finger, Kurgan Grudgebearer surveyed the aftermath of the battle. The slavemasters were directing the stripping of the enemy dead and the sorting of the loot, the hobgoblins were skulking about the field, trying gather petty treasures to make their short pitiful lives easier. The heavy, measured tread of bronze shod boots contrasted with the shuffling of the newly shackled prisoners. The guttural sounds of Khazalid brought the column to a halt. Looking down from the back of his Great Taurus, Lord Grudgebearer glanced at the once proud Dwarfs.
�?oKinslayin�?T scum! Ye�?Tll nae git awa�?T wit this. Yer names�?Tll be inscribed inna Dammaz Kron fer all time!�?� a former Thane shouted from the head of the coffle, �?oDwarfs makin�?T slaves a�?T Dwarfs �?" it�?Ts aginst the Ancestors.�?�
A mighty bellow from Marduk, Avatar of Hashut drowned the suddenly small voice of the noble dwarf. Startled, the sneaky gits looked up from their pillaging of the enemy dead.
�?oDwarfs do not make slaves of Dwarfs!�?� Kurgan�?Ts cultured voice slid down from the back of the great beast, �?�We are kin, and even though you are the Betrayers, we remember the obligations of kin to kin. In recompense for the closing of the Holds to my ancestors your lives are forfeit to our Lord Hashut, your goods will swell our coffers and your banners will decorate the Temple. The grudge our people owe yours is too great to be paid for with your labours, only your lives can start to settle the Dammaz Kar �?" the Enduring Grudge.�?�
Stunned, the dwarfs were lead away in silence - all of them seemingly smaller now that they had been stripped of their armour, and their pride.
Lord Grudgebearer dismounted from the Great Taurus, handing the reins to his nephew and instructing him to feed and groom him, after tending to wound on the beast�?Ts chest. �?oCome scribe, while memories are fresh we must inscribe our report to the Council. Our scouts brought word of a camp of the Betrayers in the hills to the south and west of our landing. Our engineers knew the lands would support mines of tin and lead and I directed our forces to move to secure these resources for our use. Our riders burned several villages of the feral humans on our line of march, and this regrettably informed our kin that we were on the move. It is hoped that decimation will serve to remind our servants not to go against instructions. The remaining scouts bought word of the composition of Betrayer�?Ts army and their deployment. I recognized this particular hold as one that I had particular success against several years ago and deployed my forces to encourage them to acts of foolhardiness.
�?oI put the sneaky gits on our left flank, with directions to swing around to the flank of the foe. Surprisingly, they remembered their instructions and even refrained from squabbling during the battle, although there will likely be some �?odiscussion�?� of the division of spoils in their camp tonight. I took up a position behind a ruined building, so as to surprise them and to encourage our client troops to carry on despite any casualties they might take from the organ gun opposite them. At the direction of their engineer, the Earthshaker crew set up a position to my right, with their hobgoblin servants establishing a battery of bolt throwers beside them. The Immortals were next in line, and they prepared to march out and engage the Longbeards across the valley floor. Akkad the Grim marched his regiment in line and began to taunt the foe with reminders of their earlier defeat. Your servant Ozymandias Ironbeard marched with Akkad, but kept to the flank of the formation so that he could still keep watch over his black orc janissaries. Sargon and his blunderbussiers held our right flank screening their movements with the hobgoblin servants.�?�
�?oBattle commenced with the hobgoblins and sneaky gits moving quickly towards the flanks of the enemy line, and the rest of our infantry advancing in line just behind. Marduk�?Ts wings carried me to a position where woods screened myself from unnecessary fire. The Earth shaker opened up, and while the shell fell short, the rumbling of the ground would prevent the Thunderers from shooting, and interfered with the Organ Gun. The hobgoblins with their ballistas took aim at the Betrayer Lord�?Ts bodyguard and slew two. Your humble servant Ozymandias was able to fry the Gatekeeper in his own armour. Our kin, unable to stand the taunts of Akkad�?Ts Raiders, let loose with their own bolt thrower and their other Thunderers fired, adding two more souls to the eternal grudge.�?�
�?oTaking advantage of the stunned thunderers and the distracted crew of the organ gun, I directed Marduk to fly in behind both, releasing the fires of vengeance over both. Three thunderers and a crewman were roasted, and the gunners fled, but the thunderers remembering their dwarfen pride, even if they are foresworn, held. Our infantry advanced and our mighty war machines fired, the ballista sending five Longbeards to their ancestors, but the earthshaker misfired. The betrayer lord led the Longbeards and his bodyguard forward, while their missile troops concentrated their fire on Akkad�?Ts regiment to little effect.�?�
�?oSeeing the opportunity to give glory to Hashut, I charged Marduk into the rear of the leftmost Thunderer unit, dedicating our 6 kills to the Father of Darkness. The quality of Dwarf blood, even that as debased as that of our foresworn kin, showed and they initially held firm in the face of the dead, but later fled like dogs. Seeing his Doom approach, my opposite froze in fear, allowing the ballistae to send three more hammerers to the Hell they deserve.�?�
�?oAgain, the chance to capture souls for Hashut overcame me and I guided Marduk into the flank of the Longbeards. One of the misguided Runesmiths tied to challenge our might, but the Black Hammer crushed both his helm and his spirit. On the flanks the hobgoblin vassals lived up to their obligations �?" the sneaky gits eliminating the rallied organ gun crew and the hobgoblins taking the Hammerers in the flanks. Had they remembered to flee after initially engaging the hammerers they would have drawn the fools into the sights of Sargon�?Ts regiment. Instead they paid the price for not listening and died in place.�?�
�?oThe Immortals, lead by my nephew Meggido Fireforge, charged into the longbeards to assist their Lord in their rout. Their thane, holding their Hold�?Ts standard lost heart and ran with the Immortals capturing the survivors and the standards, now being sent back for you to decipher the runes. At a shout from Ozymandias, his Janissaries bellowed and charged into the Hammerers, slaying some, but being greenskins, were unable to stand before even renegade Dwarfs, and fell back. Sargon moved up, shooting at their opposite number, but having little effect.�?�
�?oAt the end, our mighty earthshaker fired, knocking the hammerers to the ground. I took the remaining thunderers in their flank, while Sargon came to my assistance and we lifted their torn banner from the dirt where it had fallen. We have claimed many suits of fine armour, and will be returning with sacrifices for the Volcano Forge of Hashut.�?�
�?oYour most obedient servant, Kurgan Grudgebearer.�?�