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Duardin and Darklings




Due to being laid off at work I am having to get rid of a lot of my collection.  I’m not happy about it but you gotta do what you gotta do.  I was thinking about the history of my little project and came up with this.  Hope you enjoy.

Deep under the surface of Arranoc a mutual bargain was struck between Darkling exiles and Duardin prospectors.  The Thrall hosts would dwell close the the surface and aid the Duardin in protection against their mutual foes as well as ample trade.  The Darklings interact with the surface races acting as trade intermediaries between the Duardin and Sylvaneth whose ancient Oaths date back farther than the Darkling occupation of the upper reaches.  Lumber and foodstuffs move down as rare and potent magical minerals move upwards in an ever moving economy.  The desire for ostentation among the noble house of both the Druid kingdoms and Sylvaneth groves has ever driven this industry as the Duardin ceaselessly mine the ever regrowing earth as it bathes in the potent life Magics of the Wellspring.  

Darkling Covens worship forgotten twin aelven goddesses of magic and seduction Hekarti and Atharti whom bestow the sorcereseses with dominion over the Darkling thrall lords and the darkest of magics.  They use the worship of these Goddesses to hold the Darklings in a state of theocratic militarism that breeds fanatical devotion from their followers.  Seen as holy emissaries whose words and actions are divine writ.  In truth these cabals of sorceresses use the gifts bestowed upon them by Twin Goddesses to manipulate and control their followers.  

The Duardin Clans view these practices with suspicion and work hard to keep a fair distance from the foul workings of the untrustworthy aelven sorceresses.  Priding themselves in their craftsmanship the Duardin of the Lower Reaches make some of the finest jewelry and cut gemstones in all the mortal realms.  Given the nature of Duardin perseverance the ever regrowing earth in which they dwell has become a source of ludicrous wealth.  Most Duardin who do not pursue a life as a craftsman or artisan become one of the gromril covered warriors of the Iron Breaker Corps.  These warriors excel in the close range warfare of the tunnels as they must also contend with several tribes of grots and occasional incursions from the surface realm in which the island deposited itself.  Seen as their Oathbound duty to the Sylvaneth who saved them during the Age of Chaos the entirety of the their military strength  is based in defensive emplacements along the lowest levels of the mighty Karak situated around the massive lodestone. The lodestone in which the ancient Sylvaneth wizards imbued the power that causes the island to transition from realm to realm.  Considering this their ancestral duty they zealous defend their home time and again as flights of gyrocopters make strafing attacks aided by slightly Sylvaneth who move in great flicks on wings of leaf and branch.  Often these aerial conflicts last for only a short time before the would be attackers are repulsed but occasionally the Gyro-Corps become overwhelmed and the Sylvaneth take too many losses and retreat and it becomes the job of the Duardin to defend their halls.  Often times working in tandem with Darkling Hosts to out maneuver their foes and pin them into narrow corridors or into specifically designed chambers that allow for large formations of infantry to assemble which in turn is surrounded with dozens of levels of firing platforms from which the combined range might of both Duardin and Darkling are rained onto the would be attackers.  It is here that most incursions are repelled and broken.  

Though in the rare occasion a force will make it to the surface as is what happened when the Change Hosts of the Feathered Lord assaulted Arranoc four hundred years before the return of Sigmar to the mortal realms.  The Feathered Lord had turned his eye to Arranoc after the island-continent had passed through Chamon in a blinding display of alchemical reaction torn arcoss the skies above the Fell Labyrinth, a Silver Tower ruled by the Gaunt Summoner know as Prince of Stolen Breaths.  It was through this proxy that the Greater Daemon rallied a massive horde of followers both mortal and unborn to assail the glittering font of magic pouring into the Realm of Metal.  As the myriad hosts of Tzeentch converged upon Arranoc, the natural chaotic nature of these forces hampered their initial approach.  As the Druid-seers and Darkling sorceresses went mad in their droves, often bursting into spontaneous mutations that roiled until they expired the daemonic screams of the Aether-Eaters could be heard from the highest boughs to the deepest caverns.  The skies around Arranoc tore asunder as a flood of daemonic entities poured upon the surface as the disc riding warriors and bands of Tzeentch warriors clinging to larger daemonic discs assailed the defenses of both the Upper and Lower reaches.  Never had such a foe fell upon the island during its travels and the Darklings, Druids, and Sylvaneth were unprepared as their homes were burned with mutating changefire and the innocent were butchered, tortured, and mutated beyond recognition.  The Sylvaneth rallied quickly and forced the Changehosts back wherever the drew closest to the Wellspring.  Locked in here they were unable to help the Druid-Kingdoms as they were ravaged by the Aetherguard-Eaters and the cabals of insurrectists who have permeated the Druid orders all over Arranoc ran anarchically over the kingdoms leaving wanton destruction in their wake.  These bands moved so sporadically that that hit and run attacks sallied forth by the Druid kings were met with ravaged desolations and no sign of an enemy to being completely outmaneuvered and over run my hordes of cackling daemons.  

In the Lower Reaches the Duardin drove the attacks back time and again until a massed formation of daemonic flesh bound to metal harnesses moved its way in from all directions.  The remaining flights of defenders were quickly over run and the war in the tunnels began in earnest. Using the masterful defenses designed into their Karak the Duardin performed a slow retreat threat saw many brave warriors fall but brought the greater number of the invaders into the central bastion before the gates of their inner city.  Here with no where else to retreat the Duardin rained death upon the screaming beastmen and chanting acolytes.  As smoke and blood filled the battlefield the Ironbeaker Corps advanced from hidden tunnel entrances and the entrance of the mighty cavern was demolished by a team of irondrake sappers, encircling the greater part of the changehost.  As the walls of gromril shields slowly made their way into the mass of panicking enemies the back of the attack was broken and a hasty retreat from the chaos forces cause pandemonium as foam mouthed tzaangors trampled entranced acolytes and steel clad Barbarians hacked their way trough the press to the entrance.  With the general route the fighting went on for days as the Ironbreakers cleared the tunnels and work began to rebuild.  As they made their way upwards to aid their Allies the Duardin came across scenes of horrifying struggle every where as evidence of the cruelty of both the Chaos worshippers and Darklings alike.  They finally converged on the Darkling stronghold are which the last of the Thrall Hosts were making bloody sport of captured invaders.  After a tense exchange was made both folks mobilized for war and marched upon the surface.  From the Outer Kingdoms the combined forces worked in tandem clearing daemonic forces and biting vast stretches of tainted forest.  The destruction intensified around the last hold of Tor Anlieador.  Here the majority of the Prince of Stolen Breaths forces had converged.  The final holdout of the once mighty kingdom was a flame wreathed shell but still the Magic’s of its defenders held.  In a rushed assault the duardin and Darklings drove deep into the rear of the chaotic host.  Lead by thousands of Executioners and a flight of dozens of black dragons the Darkling broke the back of the daemonic host as the duardin rained death on the flanks and pressed forwards to form the center of the battleline.  The chaotic change fires ravaged both sides of the conflict forcing holes in the shield wall of duardin and aelven warriors as they were taken down by mutated and tainted friends.  The madness of the battle outside the walls drove the last defenders of Tor Anlieador sallied from their gates as thousands of mounted warriors charged headlong into a barrage of mutating fire.  Druid warriors flew above protecting their warriors were they could though many a rider was wracked by change often becoming a single mass with their mounts, flailing and smashing into the daemonic lines.  Duels between Tzeentchian daemons and mounted Mages tore across the sky as their natural powers became imbued with the growing flux of power from the Wellspring.  To the magic users present they knew what this foretold.  As the fighting reached its apex and the High Sorceress forced her way through the last of the Daemonic Herald bodyguards of the Gaunt Summoner, the Wellspring poured forth a font so great that the Aelven mage began to glow with infused power.  With a whispered curse the daemon sorcerer was cast in dark fire it’s very essence feeding the flames.  As it’s souls stuffs were quickly burning away the creature spit an evocation and in a blinding flash attempted to escape back to its tower but at that last potent moment Arranoc shifted to Ghur disconnecting the daemonic creatures from their master in Chamon.  I’m hysterical mania the horrors and flamers threw themselves at the last of the defenders.  Driving the last of the Darkling Sorceresses to the ground and breaking the back of the Demi-gryph charge that had driven so far into her enemy host.  As the daemons seemed only to replenish their ranks and in some areas swell in such numbers that they over ran the shield walls, a keening shriek peeled across the field.  The changefires that had wracked the fortress of the Druid King died down and the last vestiges of order fell away from the lines of battle a great host of trees poured from the horizon.  Bursting from the earth like a maddened cornered beast the forests of Arranoc attacked.  As the forest moved in the Sylvaneth burst forth in their tens of thousands.  A wholesale slaughter began in earnest as the island moved to purge the taint from it self.  Whole communities were put to the torch and whole populations impales upon vengeful talons.  Eight of the nine High Druids were executed in their collusion and vast numbers of aelves, humans, and duardin were slain for every the suspect of taint.  It was this devastating invasion that has led to the current politics and economics on Arranoc.  It’s peoples existing in a tense peace as various secret policing forces purge chaotic cults, Nagashi death cults, and greenskin infestations in the dark.



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