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Dwarfen Holds ~ Karag Agilwutraz

“Clan Gunnisson has bled for the High King time and again in every struggle since the Time of Woes, yet the High King is not sympathetic to our cause. Once Karag Agilwutraz held a respected position in Karaz Ankor. Now it is but a memory of the forsaken east. How much more will Clan Gunnisson have to bleed before the High King honors our sacrifice, and our common ancestors, and marches to cleanse Karag Agilwutraz of the urk filth that occupies it?”

~ Matriarch Helgrid Gunnsdottir of Clan Gunnisson of Karag Agilwutraz

Karag Agilwutraz, or Mount Silverspear in Reikspiel, was once one of the wealthiest mines in all of Karaz Ankor, second only to Mount Gunbad. So great was its wealth and economic weight, that Karag Agilwutraz’s citizens were exempt from taking part in the War of Vengeance. The hold however was precariously located along the eastern face of the World’s Edge Mountains, and when the Time of Woes came, the dwarfs of Karag Agilwutraz would be among the first to witness the destructive power of the greenskins.

In dwarfen society, lineage bears a heavy role in the hierarchy of social values. Every ancient dwarfen hold in the World’s Edge Mountain was ruled by a royal clan which could trace its lineage to the Ancestor Gods. Though Karag Agilwutraz was not a proper hold with tens of thousands of residents, but rather a mining settlement, it still ranked highly in prestige due to its first king and founder – King Gunn, son of Morgrim and grandson of Grimnir. A more direct lineage to the mightiest warrior of the Ancestor Gods could not be claimed by any other clan.

Perhaps it was destiny that the grandson of the warrior Ancestor God would establish his hold upon the eastern face of the World’s Edge Mountains, with the desolate Darklands spanning the eastern horizon. Gunn, son of Morgrim, had his grandfather’s blood in him, and it would take the lineage of a warrior to hold back the darkness to the east. The founding of Karag Agilutraz is not noted in the annals, though it can be assumed that the event occurred around the departure of the Ancestor Gods from the mortal realm in -4420 IC, one hundred and thirty years after the founding of Karaz-a-Karak – or to put it in dwarf terms, one generation later.

Karag Agilwutraz, or Mount Silverspear, is located at the eastern end of the pass that became known as the Silver Road. Coincidentally, it was the wealth of Karag Agilwutraz that gave the Silver Road its name, for the dwarfen mining settlement was founded by King Gunn on a mountain with immense silver ore deposits. As the World’s Edge Mountains become smaller, turning into foothills towards the eastern slope that meets the Darklands, one peak stood defiantly tall amongst the others. It was as if the elements, try as they may, could not erode the mighty peak of Karag Agilwutraz. Thus it was, for lack of a creative name, that King Gunn founded his settlement. Though many attribute the founding of Karag Agilwutraz to the mineral wealth within the mountain, the hold severed a second purpose – that of the eastern bastion guarding Karaz-a-Karak.

King Gunn would join the ancestors peacefully, leaving the duty of safeguarding the eastern approaches to Karaz-a-Karak to his descendants in Clan Gunnisson. Thousands of years would pass before Karag Agilwutraz was put to the test. During the War of Vengeance, the silver produced in the mines of Karag Agilwutraz was deemed far too important to take away what few fighting-age dwarfs resided within its halls. At its peak in the Golden Age, Karag Agilwutraz had around ten thousand adults who called it home, making it the smallest major settlement in Karaz Ankor. The descendants of Grimnir would have to wait until their time came for war, but they would not have to wait for long.

Throughout the centuries of Karag Agilwutraz’s existence at the eastern end of the Silver Road, overlooking the bleak Darklands to the east, the east was not yet a seething cauldron of destruction. This all changed during the Great Cataclysm. When the earth itself turned against the dwarfs in -1500 IC, Karag Agilwutraz did not immediately feel the effects of nature’s wrath. The first to fall were those who were undermined from below, for the dwarfen surface defenses were nearly impervious to a frontal assault. While the dwarfen holds were busy examining structural damage to their lofty halls and sturdy columns, the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions caused a massive migration from the east, a rolling tide of green which would crash upon the World’s Edge Mountains.

Of the three great mining settlements, Ekrund would fall first, as the outposts of Mad Dog Pass were not enough to contain the greenskin onslaught. The next wave would strike the Silver Road. When the greenskin horde arrived at the Silver Road but a few years after the Great Catacylsm struck, they were met with the steely eyed defenders of Karag Agilwutraz. Major encounters by the orcs of the Darklands and the dwarfs of the World’s Edge Mountains had not yet occurred so in many ways both races looked upon each other for the first time wondering what their plan of action would be. The greenskins however are not ones for planning and rather rush into smashing and bashing. This was the beginning of the Silver Road Wars.

The Silver Road Wars are what some deem a forgotten chapter of dwarfen history. So much emphasis of the Time of Woes is laid upon the great fallen holds, while little is given to the decades-long struggle over the eastern end of the Silver Road as the greenskins tried to overtake yet another pass to reach west of the World’s Edge Mountains. Karag Agilwutraz was, as mentioned before, a relatively small dwarfen settlement compared to the Golden Age peak populations of the great holds. What were the ten thousand dwarfs of Karag Agilwutraz compared to the three hundred and fifty thousand of Karaz-a-Karak. The dwarfs of Karag Agilwutraz however were not battle-weary after centuries of truly bloody slaughter with the elves. When the greenskins came and dared to enter the Silver Road, the descendants of Grimnir were ready to face the challenge – this was what their ancestors had envisioned as their destiny.

Karag Agilwutraz was built not only upon a rich deposit of silver, but also in a position which had on realistic approach – a pass known as Deadrock Gap from the north. The dwarfs quickly learned that the dimwitted orcs were easily baited into foolish head-on attacks, and using this knowledge the dwarfs fought on their terms and on terrain which nullified the numerical advantage the orcs had. The short-sightedness of the orcs allowed for the Silver Road Wars to drag on for decades, with the occasional relief column from Karaz-a-Karak giving the defenders of Karag Agilwutraz a bit of time to rest, only to notice that the defenders of Karag Agilwutraz were none-too-battered. This would be the first element of a false sense of security that would bring about the demise of Karag Agilwutraz.

Unfortunately what the dwarfs did not yet know about the greenskins, and orcs in particular in this case, was that they were a race that quickly gave into boredom. When the fighting got rough, the defenders of Karag Agilwutraz would simply retreat back behind the gates of their Hold and weather the storm, until the orcs could be caught off-guard. This worked for a time, until the boredom of the orcs let whispers of greater wealth lure them away. The orcs marched to the north, to Mount Gunbad, which they had heard from black-robed goblins was a far wealthier prize. The dwarfs were unaware that this temporary reprieve from war would only lead to far worse things, once again ushering the second false sense of security.

As the War of the Silver Road dragged on with constant minor skirmishes, almost always resulting in dwarfen victories over the poorly organized orcs, the fate of Mount Silverspear’s sister-hold to the north was being sealed. To the orcs despair, they were fooled by their night goblin allies and swindled of the lion’s share of the spoils. Fortunately for the orcs they had some miniscule sense of memory that told them of a ‘stunty-filled mountain where there were lots of shinies to be had.’ So it was that orcs, under the new leadership of Warboss Urk Grimfang, returned to Karag Agilwutraz. For almost on hundred and forty years the Silver Road Wars were waged to maintain some control over the eastern holdings of Karaz Ankor. During this time, the defenders of Karag Agilwutraz were slowly whittled away in a battle of attrition. Whereas the tide of orcs seemed endless, the dwarfs were not as prolific a race to quickly replace their losses.

The fall of Mount Gunbad had signaled the first great defeat in the Silver Road Wars, but for seventy difficult years the dwarfs fought on to hold Karag Agilwutraz. Seventy years of attrition had taken its toll on the defenders of Karag Agilwutraz. The orcs, led by Warboss Grimfang, attacked the dwarfen mining settlement with renewed vigor as they sought for a prize for themselves. The orcs cared not for losses as they pushed beyond Deadrock Gap towards the gates of the hold. As the dwarfs were driven back into their hold, not even the relief column from Karaz-a-Karak could reach them, for now they found themselves on the other side of Deadrock Gap. The orcs, driven by a lust for wealth that had no real value to them, assaulted Karag Agilwutraz and scaled the mountain looking for any vulnerability so they could get in. The sustained siege and constant breaches in outer defenses began to take a greater toll on the dwarfen defenders, until finally the orcs succeeded in breaking into the hold.

In -1387 IC, a little over a hundred years from when the Great Cataclysm changed the course of history for the dwarfen realm, Karag Agilwutraz was deemed lost by its defenders. The assault led by Urk Grimfang was taking too great a toll and it became apparent that the dwarfs would not weather the storm. For this time span of just over one hundred years the Silver Road Wars were waged to safeguard the eastern holdings of Karaz Ankor, but it was not to be. The survivors of Clan Gunnisson lead the refugees of Karag Agilwutraz through hidden passes around the orc army and back to the Silver Road, from where they marched west to Karaz-a-Karak.

Clan Gunnisson was unsure as to how to approach their new role in Karaz Ankor. They had been a royal clan, descended from the lineage of Grimnir himself, and they had failed when war reached their doorstep. Despite the effort of the elders, Clan Gunnisson was split onto what course of action to take. Unable to reach a consensus the clan split into three factions, each seeking to honor their ancestor’s name, King Gunn, in their own way. A sizable portion opted to remain in Karaz-a-Karak in the High King’s service, with the assumption that one day their loyalty would be rewarded by the High King sending a throng to reclaim their lost hold. A second faction was led by rash decisions and opted for a direct attack on Karag Agilwutraz, now renamed Mount Grimfang for its new owner. This faction would perish in the assault and cease to exist within a few years. The last faction also opted to take the war to the orcs, but not in a direct frontal assault. They opted for a guerilla-style war in the World’s Edge Mountains as they hunted down orcs specifically, and now they exist as a ragged band of battle-hardened warriors owing allegiance to none except themselves.

The fall of Karag Agilwutraz in -1387 IC ended not only the Silver Road Wars, but also ended the major dwarfen presence in the eastern World’s Edge Mountains. Though Clan Gunnisson would seek to reclaim their hold, their numbers were insufficient to overcome the orc host that had settled into their home. The loss of Karag Agilwutraz substantially affected the security of Karaz-a-Karak. No longer would the Everpeak feel protected from eastern incursion, now it would have to see to its own defenses.

The banner of Karag Agilwutraz was seldom seen in the Old World as it flew mainly escorting caravans of silver to Karaz-a-Karak down the Silver Road. Nonetheless, the dwarfs of Karaz-a-Karak knew the banner well, particularly the High King who to this day looks upon the banner with a pang of shame that the Everpeak could not come in time to save Mount Silverspear. The central image on the banner is of a stylized spearhead also standing in for the mountain itself. The central image is silver in color referencing the wealth within the mountain, while the background is a dark grey indicating the location of the mining settlement with the Darklands looming large to the east. Though it is against this dark background that the brilliance of the Silverspear shines out.

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