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The Great Book of Grudges


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nbeUSyzfXv0QssSG29WI-GDvMlMGQxMH5bns-9UqEmwiXk0CsO0eG7mW54H0Fez7xsrybUN5dTMHs0gNrrGkVAWLXDQmQcPbkh9g8SDkZxNhEdtjLzCjpjgnbvWPXucPPw3oh7XuAnd so down from the throne came High King Freysteinn Forlavovich, his face marred with a grim scowl. In one hand clasped an axe, blazen with runes of fire that caused the horses to neigh in fear as they came alight. In the other clutched tight was that most hallowed Book. 


“Come then, Princelings! If you wish to play at being kings, you shall pay for your father’s crimes!” - The Age of the Dwarves, Chapter 14. ‘The Iron Crusade’


The Book of Grudges


Ingrained within Drachev society is a sense of pride in one’s ancestry rivaled by few others. This is not alien to the world of men, in fact it is a trait they share in common. Yet those who compare the two fail to truly understand the severity of it. There is a deep-set bitterness among the Drachev, whose glory days have long since passed. Dwarves do not forget a slight against them, nor does a word for forgiveness exist in their language, when one makes an enemy of a Dwarf, they have made an enemy that will last longer than a lifetime.


 Every ruling Clan possesses a Grudgebook, a book which records the wrongs done against them since their inception, but few rival the sheer weight of wrongs, or hallowedness of the first book, the Great Book of Grudges, dating back to the birth of their race (Or at least, so they claim, as there is no Drachev alive to remember a time where such a book did not exist) 


During the Dwarven golden age when the holds were united under a single High King, it would be the duty of the ruler of their race to record the most grievous wrongs done onto their race within the book. It would then be the subsequent duty of later High Kings to see these wrongs righted, no matter the tally. 


A Grudge can be inherited, and never is it to be struck from the ledger until it has been righted. Minor grudges can be struck out by peaceful measures, and if hard pressed, the Dwarfs can suffer cooperation with a grudged party under extreme circumstances. 


However, if a Grudge has been written within the Great Book, there can be no peace. Only death or recompense and even then, if the affront is particularly grievous, that might not be enough. However, due to the severity of the measure, a Great Grudge may only be entered with the approval of the High Grudgekeeper at the time. 


Origins


The Sorrow of Belekar 


The origin of the Book of Grudges is mythical in nature, and while none doubt the fervor with which the Dwarves revere the book, it is not incorrect to say its true origins are in the modern day, completely unknown, as they are prehistoric in nature. 


The Drachev claim the tradition of Grudgewriting began with Belekar ‘The Breaker’ Bronzeshield, firstborn son of Karmeny and second High King of the Dwarfs. It is said that none were prouder of their children than Belekar, whose two sons were industrious and proud beyond measure, and that his daughter Karka was beautiful beyond measure, even by the standards of the other races. And yet with all things, fate was fickle, and after being caught within a winter storm, Karka fell deathly ill. Her parents wept, and her brothers watched in disbelief as the sickness sucked the life from her. Thus it was so that Kargrim, firstborn son of Belekar, began seeking whatever method he could to save his sister.


Just as he had begun to lose hope, a stranger came, shrouded in a black cloak. He claimed he could renew the life in Karka, but only at the expense of Kargrim’s own soul. Raised selfless and brave, as a future King ought to be, he took the deal without first considering the consequences. Yet the Stranger did not adhere to the same strict code of forthrightness that was familiar to Kargrim, and he had deceived the Dwarven Prince.


 As life left Kargrim’s body, Karka was indeed saved from death, but she had become sick and twisted in the process. Her beauty left her, and her form became that akin to a corpse, cruelty replaced her kindness, and a malevolence was set upon her in such measure that she had to be restrained.  Aelrikkar, the second born, attempted to take control of the situation, even as he still wept for his brother’s passing. He tried to plead with what little of his sister remained to return to them, yet it was for nought. She snarled like a beast, and broke her bindings, nearly killing the prince with gnarled teeth, before being struck down by his Hammerguard. 


Aelrikkar told his father Belekar what had occurred, and the High King roared in sorrowful rage. He would take the bodies of his beloved children, and shroud them in silver sheets, before taking them to his own father, Karmeny, to be entombed within his hold. The Father of the Cave Dwarves looked on in horror as Karka’s body was revealed to him, and in an instant he recognized the foul taint of Necromancy.  


The Elder told both son and grandson what had occurred, and they were both appalled by the trickery that had occurred, Belekar especially. Not only had he lost two of his three children, but it was to foul sorcery which no doubt brought the storm that broke Karka to begin with. It was that which finally broke the father, who broke into sobbing. Karmeny looked on in grief as his son’s spirit was shattered, but it was Aelrikkar who first spoke up. He helped his father to his feet, and looked on to Karmeny, asking the elder Dwarf how they might avenge Karka and Kargrim, and asked his assistance in doing so. 


The trio descended three thousand deeps, into the deepest chamber of Karmeny’s own hold, and it was there they, in the heart of the world, were brought to the Godforge. Karmeny took a simple book, and upon the binding inscribed runes of unimaginable power. Upon the cover, further runes were inscribed, intensifying those that already were wrought.  These runes ensured that the book would last until the mortal and immortal realms were unmade, so that as long as the Drachev existed, in this life or the afterlife beyond, they would never forget the crime done onto Kargrim and Karka.The final step in the runemaking came, and so the first grudge was inscribed in the kingsblood of the trio mixed with ink. 


For as long as Undead walked the Earth, for as long as Necromancers practiced the Dark Arts in abandoned halls, and for as long as Covrudurth existed, there would be no rest for the line of Karmeny. Every undead would be scoured from the face of the world, no matter how high the cost. 


And so, thus was the first grudge lodged within the book, where it remains to this day.


Grudgelore and Grudgekeeping 


Since the dawn of Dwarven society, the Book of Grudges has been a constant, always urging the Dwarves into action, always commanding them to see ancient wrongs righted. Only a rare few and determined High Kings have crossed out more grudges than they have written, and so, after thousands of years of such grudges being inscribed within the book, to keep tally of them becomes a truly daunting task.


Whenever a High King was chosen in the past, it was through how many grudges he had personally righted prior to his ascension, and how much of a bane he had been to the foes of the Drachev race. During the height of the Dwarven Empire, the only thing more dangerous than a young princeling determined to prove himself, was a vengeful High King who had sworn to exact a bloody toll on the foes of his people.


 Many scholars theorize the Book of Grudges is in fact, the origin to the Dwarven tradition of recordkeeping, as the memorizing of ancient grudges required fluency in Old-Yazyk, as well as the Runic language, in such capacity it remains nearly a complete record of the pre-fall Dwarven language, though only those allowed access to the book are permitted to read it, thus stunting the flow of this information. 


As such, whenever it is not held by a High King (as has been the case since the splintering of the Dwarven realm, nearly four thousand years ago) the Book remains in the hands of an elected official known as ‘The High Grudgekeeper’. The appointment of such individual requires the universal agreement of the many Dwarfen holds, and he must be as much of a warrior as he is a scholar, for as well as being a master of Grudgelore (The Study of Grudges) he is required to have righted one grudge himself. 


When a High Grudgekeeper is appointed, he is allowed four ‘Lesser-Grudgekeepers’ who serve as his personal servants, and during battle, his retinue. The cultural significance of this role cannot be understated, and in many holds, the word of the Grudgekeeper carries as much weight as a King. If he were to dictate a ‘Grudge-War’, it is without a doubt certain that at least the majority of strength in the Dwarven race will back him, if not its entirety. 


Such wars can only be compared to the Crusades conducted by many human kingdoms, and even then the comparison does not quite do justice the fervor with which the Dwarves fight. A human might spend his whole life as a pious and zealous individual, fighting for his gods. But a Dwarf is honorbound by the thousand generations before him to see their race’s grudges struck out, it is as ingrained in their society as the concept of honor itself.


One such example often used when describing the intensity of Dwarven fury can be found in the records of the High Kingship of Freysteinn ‘Firebeard’ Forlavovich of Clan Durkarling. During war with the Armusian Kingdom of Ealhan, the nephew of King Freysteinn, Arne was captured in battle. Rather than treated with dignity, his beard would be shaven, and he would be tortured before being returned to the Dwarves as an example. 


Such was the fury of the Dwarves that the High King declared no peace would be had until the royal lineage of Ealhan had paid a bloody toll. Beginning with the slaughter of King Athelthred and his Housecarls, the High King led a personal invasion of Ealhan, cutting down all seven of the King’s sons during the battle of Varchov plain. Every city, village, and hamlet known to the Dwarves was razed to the ground, to ensure no descendants of the royal line remained, and the land itself was devastated to such a point where the only remaining records of Ealhan’s existence within the Grudgebook, and the Saga of King Freysteinn’s life.


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Grudgecraft

The Runic Art of Hate 


From the first runes inscribed by Karmeny, it has been obvious to all that the Great Book of Grudges possesses abnormal properties. In numerous occasions, when Kings and High Grudgekeepers have died in battle while in possession of the book, it has found itself back in the hands of Dwarves when, by all rights and accounts it should have been destroyed. Such cases include being burned by Dragonfire, or thrown into the sea by looting Carribards. It is theorized that the Great Book is indestructible, though the Dwarves themselves claim the Book may only be destroyed when there is none among their kind left to right the wrongs within it.


While all clans hold at least some ledger of the wrongs against them, none possess the same supernatural properties. 


On occasion, the book has vanished, seemingly winked from the mortal realm, some claim held by Vykovat the Wanderer, until a worthy individual arises to claim the mantle of Grudgekeeper. When such individual surfaces (often the leader of the Dwarves) they will stumble upon the book in the oddest of places, such as the deepest of caves, or foulest of dungeons. Here it waits to be claimed, and it is said that being deemed worthy to hold the book is the truest mark of rulership. 


When in the direct presence of the Book, the Drachev fight with an unmatched fury comparable more akin to a force of nature than an army. In such a case, so long as a Grudgekeeper carries the book in battle, the Dwarves will not, under any circumstances, break. Retreat and cowardice become foreign concepts. With the High King or Grudgekeeper reciting ancient wrongs in their ears, even the scrawniest Glubokiy will have the courage to face down the greatest horrors of the world. 


Even magics of the mind cannot affect the Dwarves when they have entered such a state, and an attempt to do so will only sunder the spirit of the mental invader instead, their sorcery reflected back upon them. The only way to rout the Dwarfs in such an instant is to kill the one who bears the book, at which point the ‘Trance of Courage’ as it is called will falter. However, should the book be retrieved by one of significant willpower before the trance falls, it will be renewed with the same fervor possessed as it had when it began. It is said this is the true duty of lesser-Grudgekeepers, not to protect their Lord in battle, but to ensure the grudebook does not fall.




Redlines

  1. Any grudge written in the book must be ‘approved’ by the current holder in order to take effect, this is to prevent people from declaring grudges whenever they wish.

 

  1. Should a player go inactive while in possession of the book, the LT may, at the behest of the Dwarven playbase, remove it from their ownership. This is to prevent inactive players from holding onto an item integral to Dwarven culture.

 

  1. The Book of Grudges is functionally indestructible, this also extends to vandalization. The book does not run out of pages, since that would defeat the purpose.

 

  1. The Book of Grudges must be represented MCly for it’s ‘trance’ to take effect.

 

  1. The Trance of Courage only affects full-blooded Dwarves. It’s effects only last so long as one is within shouting distance, or has line of sight on the book holder.

 

  1. If the holder is killed, the trance will last for five emotes. After the fifth emote, if the book is not retrieved, Dwarves in range will be required to make a morale roll(1d20). Anything beneath a 15 and the Dwarf will immediately lose courage.

 

  1. If the book is lost in battle, one or more events must be conducted to retrieve it.

 

  1. The loreteam must be informed when the book transfers ownership.

 

  1. The ‘Lesser’ Books do not possess any of the aforementioned magical effects.

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 OOC Purpose The importance of the Midget Hate Bible™ is something I feel is not properly empathized on other servers. The book is the most ancient and revered artifact of the Dwarves, and I feel like it should be treated as such, not just like some particularly hateful phonebook.


This post was written by Seo who is no longer apart of the lost fables community for the time being but it felt appropriate to post none the less. - Fostrel

 

 

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  • 5 months later...

Noticed this little baby was put on the wiki recently, and therefore I will be moving it to Accepted! I mean like it is nearly identical. Glad to see it exist for real and not just playerbase. 

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