Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Savage Orcs vs Dwarves: The Fate of Gazarkhame

Big Pikkle blew gently on the slow match, bringing the burning tip to a bright orange glow. "How long before the charges detonate?" Little Pikkle asked him.

"Grungi alone knows," said Big Pikkle. The dwarven expedition had fought hard to get to the depths of Gazarkhame, suffering many defeats on the way.

Already the warp-spawned daemons controlled the upper levels, having beaten off every other contender. But if the dwarves could seal the entrance to this accursed hold, then their work would be done. It was only a matter of time.

"Holy greenskins!" shouted Little Pikkle. "Orcs!"

"Thrice-cursed savages!" Big Pikkle tore at his beard. The bitterest of their foes had chosen a fine moment to offer battle. He picked up his axe. "I shall lead out the hammerers to delay them. Our war machines will cover us. You must stay and defend the mining tower. Keep out the Grobi until the fuses blow, no matter what."

The Dwarves girded themselves for the final battle. Even at the cost of their lives, Gazarkhame must be buried.


"Kapture dat tower!" Bonekrunk shouted at the top of his lungs. "I want dem stunties outta there!"

Displaying all the obedience he had come to expect from his Waaagh!, none of them obeyed him. The chariot raced along the flank, heading for a unit of crossbow-wielding dwarves, Busta loped towards a unit of dwarf hammerers and Da Brave 'Arts, who were the only unit trying to get to the tower, ran a couple of yards then decided they couldn't be bothered.

"Gork 'elp me!" Bonekrunk shouted with exasperation. Suddenly a big green claw materialised from nowhere and picked up Da Brave 'Arts, hauling the slovenly orcs towards the tower until their bone-skewered noses were pressed against the sides of the dwarf-hewn stone.

Unable to shirk their duties any further, the Da Brave 'Arts began their assault on the tower, surrounding the structure and beating down every stunty they could lay claws on. The dwarves were rock-solid in their defiance, and refused to abandon their post. But the fury of the orcs' assault had already inflicted twice as many casualties as they themselves received, and the dwarves could not hold out forever.

"'Fanks Gork!" Bonekrunk called cheerfully to his god, then beat his own Big 'Uns in action. They would stop those hammerers from reinforcing the tower, or somebody was due a thumpin'.

Busta, da Big Green, was already ahead of them. Sprinting across the battlefield, shrugging off a rock to the forehead and a great arrow in the chest, the giant hurdled over an abandoned mining track and smashed into the hammerers.

Da Big Green was clearly full of beans today, because Busta then started to jump up and down on the elite bodyguard, flattening both armour and flesh with no sign of tiring. But the surviving dwarves were unmoved. Their heavy hammers swung back at the giant, bringing him down like a shattered pillar.

"Get moving', yer lazy slugs!" Bonekrunk shouted, furious that the stupid giant had charged ahead without them. Da Bone 'Eads moved towards the dwarves, then ambled to a halt. He turned to Grunt, the mob standard bearer, "Wot's the matta wiv you runts?"

"I shouldn't be running so soon, boss," Grunt rubbed his belly. "I've just 'ad a very big tea."

Then a cannonball speed past them and smashed the chariot to pieces.

Bonekrunk headbutted Grunt, then smashed his elbow into Holla, the musician, just for good measure. "If I see any more shirkin', then Gork 'elp me..."

Suddenly a big green claw materialised from nowhere and picked up Da Bone 'Eads, flinging them halfway across the battlefield until the whole mob of Big 'Uns landed behind the dwarf hammers.

"'Fanks Gork!" Bonekrunk said again. The dwarves were hastily turning around, but his lazy mob was now in a perfect position to charge them. The stunty war machines were still behind them, but they were far too close to their own troops to risk a shot...

On the far end of the mob, one of the savage orcs suddenly vanished into a puff of bloody mist. The headless orc dropped to the ground, and when the mist cleared, Bonekrunk saw the dwarf cannon commander looking directly at him: one eye half closed, his thumb stretched out in front of him, gauging the range.

"Zog this!" Bonekrunk spat. "Charge - Waaagh!"


Ramgut peered around the side of the tower. Da Bone 'Eads had smashed into the dwarves, and the stunty cannons had fallen silent. A pity - he had thought that using his magical Hand of Gork to drop Bonekrunk directly in front of the war machines would have ended him for certain. Still, the shaman had his own problems, and turned back to the tower assault.

Another dwarf warrior was being dragged through the broken stones of the wall, where he was promptly clubbed to death by the furious Brave 'Arts. The savage orcs were bashing away at every entrance to the building, and a heaps of stunty corpses was piling up on both sides of the wall, but the zoggin' dwarves wouldn't give up the tower.

There couldn't be more than a handful left alive in there, yet every fresh assault was met with stabbing blades and cunning axes. Ramgut reckoned the only way they were going to take this tower was by killing every single stunty inside. And something told him that he didn't have much time left.


"Won't fight me?" Bonekrunk picked up the dwarf champion by the leg and smacked him back and forth against the ground like a snared rabbit. "Wot do you mean 'ee won't fight me?" he demanded of the bloody rag doll in his hands.

At the back of his regiment, the whitebearded stunty general watched as the Big 'Uns tore into his bodyguard. In return, the hammerers beat down the great orcs, refusing to abandon the defence of their general.

Discarding the dwarf champion, Bonekrunk turned his attentions to the hammerers, slaughtering every last one of them until the general had nowhere left to hide. The general turned and fled away from the tower, luring the massive orcs away from the main contest as they gave chase and ran him down.

"Them next!" stamping the dwarf into the dirt, Bonekrunk's blood was up. Forgetting all about the tower, he fixed on a unit of quarrellers that had marched before him. "Kill them next!"

"Crossbows, boss?" asked Grunt, and then quickly joined the charge before his warboss decided to dole out some discipline, Black Orc-style.

The cowardly dwarves jogged away from the savage orcs, drawing them further away from the tower before halting and turning to face them again.

"Charge again!" Bonekrunk was fixated on the only living foes he could see. "I wants them stunties dead!"

"You want us to charge them crossbows again?" asked Holla. The Big 'Un musician looked warily at the stunties, who were coolly reloading their crossbows. This time, they didn't seem in the mood to run.

"Only... there 'ain't many of us left," Grunt added, looking at the handful of orcs who had survived the fight with the hammerers.

"Cowardly runts!" Bonekrunk broke into a run towards the dwarves. "Crossbows ain't dangerous!"

A volley of short bolts flew towards the handful of savages. No less than five flights struck Bonekrunk directly in the chest, forming a neat circle. The warboss looked momentarily confused, then toppled over backwards.

Grunt and Holla looked at each other, across the space previously occupied by their chief.

"Wot do you reckon?" said Holla.

"I reckon we're getting a new boss," said Grunt.


Ramgut mopped his brow as he kicked the last stunty corpse from the battlements. Those dwarves had put up a good fight for this station. But now the defenders were all slain, and the treasure of the dwarf hold was open and ripe for plundering.

Even better, from the view up here Ramgut had seen the fall of the idiot Bonekrunk. No more was that boneheaded warboss going to be leading the Waaagh! That responsibility would fall to someone more atuned with the will of Gork and Mork. A shaman perhaps.

Everything was going Ramgut's way. It was like them special days those 'oomans talked about - their birffday.

"'Ere boss," shouted Bunka. The orc was holding a short piece of black rope, which was fizzing at one end. "Wot's this?"

Ramgut shrugged, then took a guess. "Maybe it's a candle. A candle for my birffday..."