Prologue: Dust and Water
As a scholar of the Freeguild's of Azyr, the opportunity presented to me was something unlike any other had yet had the chance to do. This could land me in the history books, my published work in libraries among the Mortal Realms. Alternatively, this could lead to a swift return to Sigmar's embrace. I, Gerber Lichter, have been charged by my betters in the colleges with research of a most peculiar and unknown facet of one of the most terrifying races known to man. In short, I am to discover the intricacies of Greenskin society, their economic systems and those of hierarchy. An astronomically reckless task, all told. Despite what you might think, the college had, through contacts in Sigmar's cities of Ghur, actually discovered a large tribe of the creatures who maintain trade with other species of the Realm of Beasts. So it came to be that I am here, travelling towards the city of the Bloody Fang. Even the name compounds the enormity of this task.
After travelling through the gate to the realm of Ghur, me and my apprentice scribe, Nicolai, were introduced to our guides to the city. They were hulking men, of dark skin and piercing eyes. They wore skins, though I saw they also carried talismans of the twin-tailed comet of Sigmar. Despite my protests, they would allow no guards from the freeguilds to join us. I reluctantly agreed after they stated simply that the presence of any more outsiders may cause a stir in the Greenskins, and if that were to happen they would leave us to our fate as fast as they could. We mounted our steeds and joined them, making our way out into the wilds of the plane of Beasts.
What struck me first and foremost was the emptiness. Azyr is a golden wonder, with spires and bastions everywhere, thoroughfares and places of learning. Ghur, or at least this part of the realm, was dusty and empty. The land was of sand and stone, all a dusty yellow. Bushes pocked the landscape alongside pitiful trees and boulders. Our guides stated simply that we follow the wide, fast river that flowed near the city of Sigmar, and it would take us to their city – apparently named “The Bonefall Ruins”. I would tell you all the varied creatures we saw, but that is not the purpose of this account and much better scholars than eye have covered the animals of the realm than I.
The first sign of the settlement was on the horizon, when a colossal mountain rose out of the plains. It was of similar dusty stone, with veins of darker oranges, browns, and greys. The plateau had more green than I had seen so far, though it was only with squinting it was visible. When I could hear the roar did I realise that the “fall” part of the name was quite literal – something common among greenskins. The river must have fallen from the top of this wide mountaintop, which explained why it was so much more vibrant up there. It was at this point I saw my first true orruk. One of our guides grunted, and gestured to a figure partially obscured by bushes a mile or so away. It was a humanoid figure atop a large, tough, vicious looking boar. I couldn't make out much else, for it soon dug in it's heels and the boar darted away.
Approaching the city, I could feel eyes watching us from the brush at all times since our encounter with the orruk. The closer we got, the more I could make out. The mountain's cliffs stretched to both sides of the horizon, a huge natural wall, a rift in the land. This jutted inwards where the river had clearly carved it's way into the stone over time. The waterfall was spectacular. All manner of colours darted in the constant spray. It landed atop a shelf some forty feet above the city. Now the city's name made even more sense. The bones of a gigantic creature laid splayed atop this shelf. It lay as if it had fallen, the skull upside down, with ribs stabbing into the sky. I made out pieces of vertebrae in the falls themselves, creating the spray. One claw curled into the cliff's, as if meekly attempting to climb back to where it fell. It was only nearer that I spotted a second river, which fell also from atop the mountain to the left of the city. I surmised it must disappear into the ground close to the city, as it did not make an appearance whilst we travelled. The city itself was hard to describe. It was of stone and wood, all dusty and unkempt. The stone buildings were often low, or otherwise had been built up further in wood. The stonework was seemingly too uniform, too precise for such creatures to construct. It did not seem like anything I had seen created by the artificers and masons of Sigmar. The woodwork was chaotic. Planks and panels were everywhere, often shaped into fangs or other brutal shapes. Spikes were common. There were tents, flags, and other more grisly trophies. These spread away from the ruins, and as we drew closer and closer I saw so many things I thought I would only read of. There were other men, camped further from other beings, some nodding at our guides. We saw darting, small figures in long, dusty, sand-coloured robes. I caught sight of one's face, and saw a long, hooked nose, and a vicious fanged mouth. It had cunning, mean eyes that seemed to glow red. I knew from my studies that this creature was known as a grot – one of the smaller, diminutive greenskin species. We also saw more orruks. Closer, I could see that they seemed to have different groups. Some wore even less than our guides, more paint than clothing. They carried rough stone tools and weapons. There orruks in leather and metal. These ranged in size greatly, from the same as their unclothed cousins, to huge beasts as large as the next group of creatures we saw. Like the grot, these had skin coloured green, a rich deep colour, like that of grass. All orruks were impossibly muscular, and the implications of strength were terrifying. There was one group of large humanoid figures, all gathered around one massive horned beast. They were Ogors. Their skin matched our guides, though seemed to have tinges of grey, reminding us of their differences with us. As if their size wasn't enough.
We made our way into the streets of the city. I say streets, but truly it was madness. Brutish figures walked all around us, carrying anything from lumps of metal to raw flesh. A common motif I spotted was two red fangs, no doubt the tribe's sigil. The smell, of the smell. It assaulted you constantly, worse than any sewer. We drew some attention, and before long our guides stopped us inside an ancient square surrounded by ruined stone buildings, crowded in greenskin woodwork. A figure approached us.
Chapter 1: The Beast in the Skull
Our guides had bid us farewell with little more than a nod and a shove at the grot who approached us. He also wore a sand coloured robe, but it's hood was red. It had a few bags and a vicious knife at it's belt, and carried a staff of gnarled wood, topped with a skull. An evidently human skull. It was not the first we saw in the city, or the last. It seemed that our visit had been somehow arranged, that somehow the greenskins wanted us here. It was impossible to comprehend.
The creature looked us over, snorted, and beckoned with one clawed finger that we should follow. It led us through a building, which was full of all manner of scraps of a real society. Through a broken wall, we came into a tunnel which led uphill. The air was stuffy and torches sputtered from the walls. Before I could work out where we were, we came out into the open. The sun blinded me for a moment before I spotted it. The upside down skull of the great creature which had crashed from above. The roar of the waterfall was so much louder than it had been in the streets below, and made the air cooler. We walked a little, the grot giving us no time to observe the city from this vantage. Bridges of rough-hewn wood carried us over the many rivulets that ran from the waterfalls and continued to flow to the side of the city. There were skulls of all creatures mounted on poles as we approached, stacks of ruined, rusty weapons. Offerings. The grot stopped, and cleared it's throat, before pointing his staff at the red cloth covered the opening of the rough wooden structure created in the giant monster's skull. We stepped between the front fangs of this great beast into the darkness of the tent.
Inside, there were so many things. Dried herbs and meats hung from the ceiling. Braziers burned everywhere. Cloths covered the floors and walls, a riot of colours dulled with dust and sand. There was rough furniture of wood and bone, and what could be called a bed – furs and straw atop a frame of wood. There was a step, and we were led by the grot onto a platform further up. We faced an orruk. For it sat on something like a throne, low to the floor, with many bones and tusks jutting from behind. To the left a staff balanced against it. It seemed to be made of wood and bone, with a large, heavy-browed skull topping it. Light poured in through a hole in the wall, and I realised the throne sat in front of the orbit of the giant skull the tent was made inside.
For the first time, the grot spoke. “Dis is Grukk, da Dominata, da link to Gorkamorka!” The grot's voice was high-pitched and gravely, like it had spent it's life screaming and shouting. The orruk shifted as it's title was listed to us, and my eyes adjusted to the room. It seemed to be wearing a large hooded robe of black fabric, and a brown skirt. The black robe had red flames painted upon it, and many human skull and shards of metal and stone were attached to it's edges. Two long curved horns were tied next to the creature's face.
It looked at us with beady red eyes that seemed to glow with some fell magic, and finally said something. It had felt like we were waiting staring at each other for minutes.
“Welcum to da city, humies.” I felt it only proper that we show respect and I bowed. It grunted something of a laugh and continued. “It's da will of Gorkamorka dat you stinkin' weaklings know da troof of the strength of our boyz. I shall show you da tribe, and what strength we 'ave. I iz da great shaman of da god, and I tell dem what he finks. Der are two uvas: Wugnot tells da wild boyz wot gorkamorka finks, and Gitter” he pointed at the grot “tells dem grots what sneaky stuff dey should do. My boyz are the toughest, strongest, and meanest.”
I knew that these are recorded as referring to themselves as “Ironjawz”, due to the tendency for their armour to have jaw-like plates. This meant Grukk was not only possessing strange greenskin magic, but he also had the natural strength that came with his size.
“Follow me humie, I'll show you da city and da boyz. Den you can run back to ya stinking shiney city and tell 'em 'ow tuff we are!” He roared the last bit and laughed as we quivered. He grabbed the staff, and stomped to the tent entrance.
So there we go, an introduction to my destruction forces, the clans of tribe Bloody Fang. They are spiritually led by a triumvirate of shamans. Today I finally finished the first - Grukk da Dominata. So named for the weird look people get when they look into his eyes. Often shortly before head's pop. Somewhat special as he is a gift from my better half for my birthday, so really wanted to get him done. Helps that the model is really beautiful!
Unfortunately it is currently not a good time of day for light but I'll give you some photographs anyway. I am very pleased with it, and the base too (which has since been given the final coat on the edge). i will take pictures in better light tomorrow, unfortunately a lot seems to wash out in these, so if you have any questions on the process for any colours don't hesitate!
C&C is always welcome, and I hope you enjoy.