Home > Dwarfen Holds > Dwarfen Holds ~ Karak Ungor

Dwarfen Holds ~ Karak Ungor

“I’ll not have the title of king until I sit on the throne of my ancestors and Karak Ungor is in dwarfen hands once more. I tell you now, to call me king is to insult the oath I have taken. Until that day comes, I’ll only go by the title of prince, and more to honor my ancestors than from pride. The Red Eyes will pay for the centuries of humiliation they have inflicted upon my ancestors. So long as there is a Stonehammer left living, the Redeyes will know no peace.”

~Ulther Stonehammer, Prince of Karak Ungor and leader of the Dragon Company

Karak Ungor was once famed throughout Karaz Ankor for having the largest and deepest mine network of all the dwarfen holds, larger even than the vast network of Karak Eight Peaks. In a time when the dwarfs knew not of the dangers from below, these mines were viewed solely as a source of wealth, and when their wealth was exhausted they were abandoned without a second thought. The fall of Karak Ungor would drastically change how the dwarfs treated their abandoned mines.

Karak Ungor was part of the second great expansion of Karaz Ankor after the departure of the ancestors, being on of four holds founded in -4119 IC, eighty one years after the first great expansion in -4200 IC. The dwarfen race had witnessed the horrors of Chaos and with the departure of the Ancestor Gods, and the relative peace and quiet from the Chaos Wastes, the dwarfs decided to found new holds along the length of the World’s Edge Mountains in key locations. Some holds, such as Karak Kadrin, were founded in strategic passes to control vital chokepoints, while others like Karak Ungor were founded upon rich ore deposits which could not only increase the wealth of Karaz Ankor, but also fuel the military prowess of the dwarfen race.

Karak Ungor was founded along the westerns slopes of the World’s Edge Mountains not too far from the forested plains of the lands that would one day become the Empire and Kislev. As far as modern political borders go, the snowmelt from the World’s Edge Mountains around Karak Ungor would flow into the lands of these two modern human kingdoms. South of Karak Ungor the meltwaters formed what would be known as the Talabec River, the eventual border between the Empire and Kislev. North of Karak Ungor the meltwaters flowed into what would be known as the Iron River which flowed into the Urskoy River of Kislev. It would be along the river Urskoy that a nomadic people would one day found a city that would become Kislev, but they did not found it on a barren site. No, these nomadic peoples would found their city upon the ruins of a bygone civilization – ruins which the dwarfs of Karak Ungor would leave behind.

While the geographic position and access to the headwaters of two great rivers may have value to other civilizations, it was a mere coincidence for the dwarfs, as they were not ones to travel by water much. They had walked up the length of the World’s Edge Mountains without the aid of any beast or vehicle. They would continue to trust their feet, for beasts are unpredictable and wood is unreliable. What truly attracted the attention of the dwarfs of Clan Durazgrund, or Stonehammer in Reikspiel, was the great deposit of a variety of ores under Karak Ungor. It was not a location rich in one particular ore, such as Mount Silverspear was for silver or Karak Varn for gromril, but it was rather a location where many metals existed. If variety is what gives life color, then Karak Ungor was the most colorful dwarfen hold as far as mineral wealth was concerned.

The dwarfs of Karak Ungor wasted no time exploiting the riches of the mountains as they dug deep and wide, forming a network of tunnels that resembled a beehive with all of its honeycombs. This wealth would help Karak Ungor’s population to surge, surpassing even that of Kraka Drak and Karak Varn, which were founded eighty years earlier. At its peak during the Golden Age, Karak Ungor boasted a population of two hundred and twenty thousand adults, making it the seventh largest hold in Karaz Ankor. This growth would not have been possible if it was not for the high level of trade, particularly for agricultural goods, with the nearby elven colony of Athel Numiel.

For over two thousand years Karak Ungor grew and prospered, its mines sinking ever deeper into the root of the mountains, unaware of what lay beneath. This would all take a sudden change when the War of Vengeance broke out. Karak Ungor was tasked with destroying their former trading partner, the elven colony of Athel Numiel. Karak Ungor and its neighboring northern holds marched to war, slower to act than Karak Varn given the distance and time required for news to arrive in Karak Ungor and further north. By the time Karak Ungor had mobilized, Karak Varn had already drawn first blood at Kor Vanaeth. The elves with their ships were quicker to convey information, so by the time Karak Ungor and its allies arrived in Athel Numiel, the elven colony was prepared for war. The dwarfs offered the elves their lives if they would surrender and leave, but the elves were filled with a desire for vengeance after hearing of the destruction of Kor Vanaeth.

The dwarfs did not record their deeds at the Battle of Athel Numiel, suffice that they won and left the settlement a ruin. The only account of the battle that was ever spoken of was the report given by Caledor II to Prince Imladrik, in which Caledor spoke of how the dwarfs mercilessly slayed even the children and infants. It is unknown whether Caledor II, who was known for his hot-headedness, exaggerated the events in Athel Numiel or if he spoke the truth. The dwarfs of Karak Ungor did not speak of the battle, nor did they have time to record their histories.

The course of the War of Vengeance would take the armies far to the west. Following their victory over Athel Numiel, the dwarfs of Karak Ungor would march on Athel Maraya where they joined Brok Stonefist of Karak Izril. Later they would take part in the countless sieges of Tor Alessi far beyond the Grey Mountains. By the time the War of Vengeance ended, the adult population of Karak Ungor had been severely weakened after centuries of fighting in some of the most bloody encounters. To add to the tragedy of this time period, when the Great Cataclysm struck and the mountains were torn asunder, the armies of Karak Ungor were still in the west on their way back home. They were not at home when their kin needed them, and this absence would weigh heavily on Clan Durazgrund.

Prior to the Great Cataclysm, the dwarfs had no reason to fear for attacks from below, for the world was not plagued by greenskins, trolls, and even the skaven had not yet made themselves known. As the earthquakes rocked the mountains, chasms opened up where there were none before, great pits ate portions of tunnels, walls of mines collapsed revealing other subterranean passages. Karak Ungor, with its deepest mines that were the source of its pride, suffered many structural compromises, particularly in the abandoned mines. As the dwarfs were scrambling to dig through the rubble and look for the living, a tide of unknown foes poured into the deepest mines. The dwarfen network of tunnels made it all the easier for these foes to travel up, slaying all they came upon before alarms could even be sounded. By the time the clamor of battle in the mines below was noticed and the dwarfs sounded the alarm, it was already too late.

The Red Eye night goblins had flooded into the mines by the hundreds, if not thousands, along with their swarm of squigs. With the bulk of their warriors still in the west returning home, the citizens of Karak Ungor could only mount a hopeless defense as they retreated. Small pockets of resistance were the best the dwarfs could offer against the swarm of night goblins. The surface defenses offered no protection from this new foe, for never before had the dwarfs faced an enemy from below. Handfuls of dwarfs managed to escape to the surface, where they braved the treacherous mountain passes which were unstable from the earthquakes before. In -1500 IC, within weeks after the earthquakes stopped, Karak Ungor fell and become Red Eye Mountain, the first dwarfen hold to fall in the Time of Woes.

By the time King Morek Stonehammer and the throng of Karak Ungor returned from their campaign against the elves, Karak Ungor had fallen. They expected to come home to be greeted by their kin, and instead were shocked beyond horror to see the banners of the Red Eye goblins flying from their defensive structures. The goblins snickered audibly behind the dwarfen battlements. Driven into a deep sense of dwarfen rage with no shortage of grumbling, King Morek Stonehammer and his throng assaulted the gates to their own home, only to be defeated by their own engineering. Fifty times the throng of Karak Ungor attacked their own gates, and fifty times the Red Eyes repelled them at great cost of life. Defeated and in despair, King Morek Stonehammer took the survivors of his throng and led them south to Karak Kadrin, where he hoped to recover from his defeat and retake Karak Ungor before he died.

King Morek Stonehammer would never set foot in Karak Ungor again. Nor would his heirs. Five hundred years later in -975 IC the dwarfs would mount their second attempt to retake Karak Ungor, led by King Skorri Morgrimsson. In what would be called the Battle of a Thousand Woes the dwarfs tasted success only to have it replaced by the bitter taste of defeat. In this battle the dwarfs managed to retake the southern gate and valley behind it, but could not get past the swarm of night goblins standing between them and the city itself. The southern valley would become awash in dwarfen blood and whatever green filth that flows from slain night goblins and pulpified squigs. Skorri Morgrimsson would accept that the battle was lost and he would not set foot in Karak Ungor. He passed the crown onto his kin Rogni Stonehammer, and took the slayer oath out of shame.

Clan Durazgrund, or Stonehammer, would carry the burden of the tragic loss of their hold throughout the centuries, and never would any of their ‘kings’ sit upon his throne. The last Durazgrund to bear the title of king was Ulfar Stonehammer, who was living in exile in Karaz-a-Karak. As he lay dying he summoned his sun Ulther to his side. Dwarfs are known to resist death if they have something important to do, so Ulfar clung to life long enough for his son to return weeks later from his ranging in the World’s Edge Mountains. On his deathbed King Ulfar made his son swear to retake Karak Ungor, and also to slay every chaos dwarf he ever came upon, given his extreme hatred for the twisted race. Ulther swore to his father and the king went to join the ancestors, though Ulther refused the title of king upon his father’s death – insisting that he would only become king once crowned in the great hall of Karak Ungor. Instead he would lead Clan Durazgrund in what became known as the Dragon Company, a band of guerilla fighters in the World’s Edge Mountains who practice unconventional tactics (for dwarfs) in the war against the greenskins, chaos dwarfs, ogres, and other foul beasts.

Red Eye Mountain remains to this day in the hands of the Red Eye night goblins, never have they been dislodged by any foe, though they have been close to losing their grasp on the fallen dwarfen hold. The main threat to the Red Eyes are not the dwarfs, or even the humans who grew to populate the surrounding lands of Kislev and the Empire, but rather the skaven of Clan Moulder. The skavn found the same tunnels and breaches through which the Red Eyes entered Karak Ungor and have been engaged in a centuries-long war in the mines of Karak Ungor. The only reason the night goblins have managed to hold onto their claim is due to the happen-stance arrival of a powerful orc warboss known as Grimgor Ironhide. With an intense appetite for bloody slaughter, Grimgor has taken intense joy in wintering in Red Eye Mountain and killing all the skaven he comes across in the mines. During the spring Grimgor leaves the mountain to look for worthy fights on the surface. Perhaps the day will come when Grimgor Ironhide and his Immortulz run into Prince Ulther Stonehammer and his Dragon Company.

The banner of Karak Ungor was seen in many battles during the War of Vengeance, particularly in the destruction of Athel Numiel and later in the Battle of Athel Maraya, and later yet in the many sieges of Tor Alessi. The unmistakable banner of Karak Ungor has for its central image a stylized pickaxe, which also has the dual image of a mountain peak rising above the surrounding mountains. The shaft of the pickaxe is also meant to represent the mines which sank deep into the earth, with the pommel of the pickaxe being the deepest cavern reached by the miners of Karak Ungor. The colors of the central image and border are white, on a field of black, referencing the light of the flame that descends into the darkest depths of the earth.

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