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For some time now, Tazarek has been dormant, but no longer. Now was the time for this nation of dwarves to expand their horizons, and so they looked eastward. Surrounding the Hidden Valley and Dark Forest were mountains, glorious monuments to the values the dwarves hold dear, and made the perfect position in their efforts. The southern portion was to be guarded with a grand fortress, to ensure that anyone who desired to go into the area on land, would have to pay the toll. To the north, a similar fortress was to be built, to guard the land in the seas, and provide similar tolls on what was going to be a thriving port of trade. All that was needed to resolve was one thing that could bring it all down. A burgeoning city known as Nesthome was home to both humans and ratmen, a fact which upsets a good deal of the more conservative minded dwarves. While small, they posed a threat, and so diplomatic relations had to be established in order to understand whether or not further action needs to be taken. Approaching the wooden gate was a group of dwarven soldiers, escorting an iron plated carriage pulled forward by strong horses. Each of the soldiers were heavily armed and armored, they didn't even look as if they were breaking a sweat. Making their way to the gates, the lead dwarf shouted in a thick accent. "Oi laddy! Get yer arse down 'ere and open up so we can talk to ya leaders abou' somethin' important! Come on now, we ain't got all day ya daft bastards." Certainly the dwarven people are known equally for their stoicism, and their inability to mince words. @Jotnotes
The Verm of Terrenus The Skarr Clan "They kill-kill our families, we burn-burn their homes! Vengeance! Revenge for Rats!" - King-King, Acting Matriarch of Skarr Clan, and head of the Verm Triad. General Overview The Skarr clan, one third of the Skaven Triad, refers to the diminished, but quick on the rebound band of Verm slowly putting their roots down into the Forgotten Woods. Once a single family of the warlike ratmen, the Skarr clan is now composed of multiple smaller families, and is united with two other, currently missing Verm clans to form a single, mighty Triad. Led by their oddly charismatic regent, King-King, the Skarr stand for unity among the multitude Verm clans, and seek to strengthen their numbers as well as their familial ties. Verm are often touted as being cunning, treacherous kin who stab each other in the back as soon as they shake hands, making and breaking alliances constantly. The Skarr--and by extension the Triad--seeks the opposite: Verm united, working towards ever loftier goals. Composition The Skarr clan comprises of the remnants of the former Skarr clan, the smaller family that King-King was born into. Following his ascent to power, and subsequent unification of the clans, he dictated that his element of the Triad would share the same name. Though their numbers once numbered well into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, over ninety percent of the clan's original population is gone. At the time of their arrival in the Forgotten Wood, the Skarr numbered in the hundreds; Seven hundred Verm strong, including their auspicious ruler King-King, and approximately a hundred brood mothers, tended to faithfully by their devoted servants. Through time, however, their numbers will swell rapidly. It will take a mere matter of months before Verm populations outweigh all others, which of course, means an increased demand for space and resources. Verm Brood-mothers are specifically fed and raised to become 'living' nests for their children. As a result of frequent feedings, a very specific diet and rigorous massaging, bathing and grooming, most Brood-mothers are capable of raising a litter of 8-15 pups every two to three weeks. Assuming food is readily available (including the corpses of other pups, dead Brood-mothers and even some deceased Clanrats, the mortality rate is so low that only a handful of Verm pups are lost in a Brood-mother's lifetime. A single Brood-mother raises anywhere between 16 and 30 Verm pups a month, can live for multiple years and typically gives birth to around 2 or 3 new Brood-mothers in her life. Goals The Skarr aim, first and foremost, to recuperate from their grand losses. Following this, they must expand downward yet again, and begin rebuilding their colossal subterranean city Nesthome. Nesthome is---was---the Verm Triad's crown achievement, a grand sign that King-King's vision of a united Verm society could become a reality. Prior to King-King's ascent to power, the Verm were largely at war with themselves. Verm clans were based upon their founding members, the Verm who were strong enough to claim their breeding rights and take several brood-mothers as their own. Even then, their claim was temporary, and Verm clanlords were forced to subjugate the weaker Verm in order to maintain some kind of control, which unfortunately still didn't keep backstabbing and conspiracy from running rampant among the fledgling clans. King-King was born into these circumstances under the name Gnaw Blackrot, another mindless Clanrat of the Skarr clan. Under his father, he served as a warrior, striking down his fellow Verm in merciless civil wars. He learned, firsthand, that the Verm knew only how to stab each other in the back, and seek their own ambitions mindlessly. He could see, even then, that the Verm lived fruitless lives, which prompted him to try and change something. He sought consul with the Verm's blighted omen of a God, the Pale Rat. Blackrot asked for the strength to not only claim the Skarr Clan for his own, but the Strength to claim other clans as his own, without murdering or subjugating any of his kinsmen. He argued that he could change how the Verm behave, and unite them under one name. The Pale Rat, amused with Blackrot's pleas, struck a deal with him. The Pale Rat would offer King-King not only the strength to do all he asked, but also offered him the ability to cheat death. No assassination plot, no matter how devious or cunning, could not be carried out by any Verm from any clan. However, the one catch was that the Pale Rat would come for him, one day. He would be born into the world Blackrot would build for his people, be raised in the streets like the rest of the Clanrats, and he would eventually murder the Verm King, and the peace the Verm once knew would rot, just as Blackrot's body would following that. King-King agreed. What King-King and the Pale Rat never expected, however, was that Nesthome, the grand achievement he'd worked so hard to see bear fruit, would not be destroyed by Verm or the Pale Rat, or King-King's ambitions, but rather the growing tension of a Terrenus bristling, ready for war, claimed the city of Nesthome, and the majority of his people's lives as well. Yet King-King reigns even now, though the terms of his deal have taken on a new meaning. Blackrot cannot be slain by any Verm assassin or coup, but Terrenus is filled with creatures that aren't Verm. Nesthome is far from finished, now, and King-King finds himself leading the Skarr into a world where his blessing may not apply. And, of course, the Pale Rat must surely be out there somewhere, waiting for a chance to strike out. It's only a matter of time before the Rodent King finds himself in danger. Allies King-King, and the rest of the Skarr, have very few friends in Terrenus to date. Their arrival was unexpected and shocking to the nearby factions, and the Verm have yet to make friends--or even acquaintances--with any of them. Once they have expanded their claim, however, surely there will exist the opportunity to trade for goods between neighbors, assuming traders can get past their...intimidating appearance. Prior to their arrival in the Forgotten Woods, the Verm lived much deeper in the earth, in their grand city of Nesthome. Under King-King's guidance, the three great clans that formed the Triad all lived in peace, for a time. However, the ongoing machinations of the world above them had unprecedented effects on the Verm settlement. Mines, dug far too deep, and the shifting of tectonic plates worked in tandem to bring about a cataclysm the Verm could not have predicted. The world crumbled around them--homes and stores and workshops were crushed beneath stone and rubble. Scarce few survivors fled in scattered groups, in all directions. At the present, it is not known what became of the other two Verm clans. Without King-King to guide them, do they still believe in the unity of the Verm? Foes Currently the Skarr face a much more pressing task at hand, however. Namely: the Forgotten Forest, its damnable sorcery and the fae that live within. Before the Skarr clan can continue to grow, the fae and the forest must be dealt with, one way or another. If the Verm can force the fae out, and cleave away the trees around them, perhaps they can establish trade roads through the Woods. This would make it far easier for the Skarr's influence to grow, and give them unique opportunities to make alliances with the factions around them. Before they can do that, however. They need to butcher or drive off the fae of the Forgotten Woods.
Beneath the walls and streets of Tradetown, through caverns deep and dark, the sound of nature, and the life of the human world is rapidly, dizzyingly replaced by the low, earthly hum of shifting stone and metal, as the myriad thousands of Skaven below in Nesthome, go about their lives. You could watch, for hours, as the ratmen, those skinny, unclean beasts walking upright like men bent in two scurry about nonstop at all times of the day and night. They sleep in shifts, working tirelessly, endless to move dirt, carve stone, and melt iron and clay down. Heavy hammer blows ring through the night, as the Skaven rebuilding effort carries on, forging implements of creation--and weapons of destruction. Staring deep into the embers so close by, Zhot twitched, watching as the heavy-rat nearby went to work, sparks dancing across coarse, singed fur as he lifted that ungodly-sized wooden mallet and brought it down again, with a shower of sparks. Clang! Clang! Again and again, the heavy-rat knocked the crude iron into shape, before pulling it free from the Anvil, and investigating it once again. The blade--an ugly metal thing, flat and long and jagged, gleamed in the embers of the forge. He set down the hammer, and went for a strip of leather, wrapping it tightly near where the blade ended. Satisfied, he handed it to Zhot, who staggered a bit upon accepting the weapon. "Glaive-rats need training-strong," He recalled the words from the cruel boss-rat, who'd drilled his brood in combat. Zhot had plenty of training with a staff, then, but the added weight threw him off. His glaive felt hard to balance, and the wooden shaft was too light. He choked his grip up closer to the tip, brandishing it like a walking stick. The heavy-rat had other weapons to forge, and Zhot was no longer needed. He fled away, towards the always-present light of the surface world. The pulley lift took him there quickly, along with a dozen other skaven, all bustling to get back to work, and when they arrived, they forced their way through another two dozen warring for a place on the lift. Nearby, another lift had similar lineups. The skaven glaive-rat made his way upwards, fresh air surging into his lungs as he emerged into the bright sunlight overhead, from a sun still hanging above the treeline for a few more hours. He wasted no time in gawking at the man-things of Tradetown, as none of them spared him a glance, either. Skaven hurried through the streets as quickly as man-things did, working, trading, setting up wagons. As he crept to the end of town, the Skaven numbers grew thickest, as nearly a dozen wagons were set up to muster. These wagons were all doubly wide as necessary, and built by man-thing laborers, sturdy and strong. The majority of them were wrapped up in wires and coils, burdened down with lumber, furs and chiseled stone, heading into the world beyond. Although Skaven clan-rats lined them, well-armed and numerous, humanoid traders operated the carriages from the driver's benches, and sickly-looking horses were strapped to the carts. The horses looked skinny and malnourished, a consequence of the rapid boom in population in Tradetown. Zhot's stomach grumbled, and he eyeballed the beast of burden hungrily. Skin and bones or no, he felt as though he could eat an entire horse-thing on his own! He trailed through the wagons, passing by more and more trading vehicles, until he found a singular wagon at the end. It was just was wide, but made from less wood, and unencumbered thus far. It appeared lightweight, but shoddily made, and the horse pulling it along seemed almost healthy. Most importantly, however, were the shields and banners strapped to the vehicle. They flew high, brandishing the Skarr Clan's sigil high above the wagon for all to see. He stared into the sigil, entranced, before hurrying to the wagon to join the only other Skaven available, a scrawny creature inspecting its weapon, a long, well-made human crossbow. It was big enough to pick up with one hand, for larger creatures, but to a Skaven it was about the right size to be wielded with both. He stressed the limbs some, as Zhot joined him. "Other Wagonses have many more rat-things." Skritch noted. Zhot climbed up next to him. "Many more of us?" He asked? "Not many." He nodded in understanding. "Man-things?" He wasn't asking if they were going to be joining them, and Skritch picked up on that. He shrugged, nonplussed one way or another. The wagon, and its meager crew that was slowly assembling was something of a desperate bid for supplies. With Tradetown and Nesthome's supplies dwindling, and farms still growing yet, the Skaven and Humans had worked together and come to the dreadful, but necessary conclusion that they needed food immediately--and other communities would have some to spare. Trade wagons were put out, laden with lumber and stone to attempt to make some small food in return. However, a few wagons--this one included, had a less pleasant purpose. The Skaven and Humans that had volunteered would not be trading for food. They would be finding choice sources of food, and other material wealth, and marking them for future raids. Food would be dragged back, by either the small party, or by Skaven raiding parties, just long enough to keep the communities alive. Now, they needed only the rest of the party to arrive.
Artwork belongs to Noah Bradley; found on Deviantart. Nesthome The crawling, creeping masses breed quickly in the dark. Outside of the sun's light, sheltered from the world in their great, dank halls, the Verm live and breed and die. Gaze upon it; the crumbling ruins of a grand city; the remnants of a once proud Empire, long forgotten below the world. Clan Patriarch: Gnaw Blackrot; King-King of Skarr Clan Population: > 24,700 (Grows by aproximately 1700 a month, and grows exponentially) Written by: Jot Notes General Overview: Deep beneath the dead, silent Forgotten Woods, the Skarr Clan work tirelessly to restore a lost memory of their ancient glories. Nesthome, named after their original city, is an ever expanding series of tunnels, chasms, natural caves and bored holes that serves as the Verm's capital city on Terrenus. The Verm population still needs time to grow, but as it does, the need for more space to live and work becomes more and more important. With each passing month, the tunnels grow deeper, the chasms grow wider, and the dark underbelly of the world lays bare, ready for exploitation. Geography: The underneath of the Forgotten Woods is composed primarily of clay, dirt and eventually, igneous rock deposits. While it doesn't boast an impressive amount of mineral wealth, healthy deposits of iron and coal can be found as the Verm continue to dig. As they grow deeper, they find ever more numerous materials, from time to time. The Verm have access to rich underground water deposits, and have even uncovered various unfamiliar ores they cannot identify. One such material includes Warpstone, which, while currently unusable, can be incredibly useful if properly researched. Cityscape: Nesthome must always expand, and in order to do so, architecture must be abandoned in favor of function over form. Prior to the collapse that destroyed it, Nesthome was once a marvelous, massive City-Empire that spanned kilometers in all directions, with stone-hewn buildings, massive spiked towers, ornate bridges and grand citadels. Now, Nesthome is a series of of tunnels and paths bored into the walls and sides of massive chasms and tunnels. Wooden bridges, supported by wooden trusses, span across long gaps, flanked by short wooden fences. Near the top-most part of the city, a large platform of dirt and soil, propped up by rickety wooden struts, leads up to the surface, and out into TradeTown, the other half of Nesthome's settlement. Population: The Verm population of Nesthome is a fragment of its former self. When the Collapse happened, over 90 percent of the Verm population was eradicated, buried under rock and dirt as the world collapsed on the Empire. King-King, and a small amount of his followers escaped deeper into unknown tunnels. Upon their arrival, they numbered only 700; King-King, a small fraction of Verm warriors and scouts, the eunuchs and their broodmothers that they took care of. The population grows quickly now, with reliable access to food and water, and soon they might recover their population, in a few decade's time. Economy: Nesthome and Tradetown's primary economic resource is their access to plentiful farmland and lumber. The forgotten woods, finally abandoned to the Verm at long last, are full of large, ancient trees made of rich, strong wood. Tearing these down and processing them makes for handsome product, which can be sold to nearly anyone for fine wage. The land leftover is arable, but growing food takes time, and while they might produce plenty some day, some day isn't today. Caste: The Skarr Clan is a Military Monarchy, where King-King rules with absolute power. His efforts to disrupt the conflict between Clans, and the forced Unity of all Clans under the banner of the Skarr Clan gave King-King nigh limitless control over the Verm masses. Beneath him is his Apothecary, a group of well-fed, educated Verm sorcerers, alchemists and seers, serving as his upper group of followers. You cannot move up into this rank; it is only available to those Verm who grow horns, like King-King himself. This, interestingly enough, is actually a matter of physiology and not a hereditary trait. Verm, in their ideal, natural state, grow to be 6 foot tall, on average. They often grow upright, have strong bones and healthy bodies, and grow plenty of horns, like hair. So, if the upper class is made of the well-fed and educated, and the lower class is full of those who are starving and stupid, perhaps something is incorrect within the Skarr Clan. Beneath the Apothecary is the Task Masters, Verm Slavers and Supervisors, well-fed and trained in combat, subterfuge and warfare. Task Masters, Gutter-Rats, Slavers and War Bosses make up this caste of specialized Verm aimed at performing special duties within the clan. Clan-Rats may move up into this rank through hard work and effort, given that all of them are merely underfed Verm given food after they've grown up. They're underdeveloped and weak at times, but have the opportunity to improve somewhat, at least. The lowermost rung of Verm society are the Clan Rats. Weak, ineffectual and malnourished, the Clan Rats is a short and painful one, filled with misery and violence. Verm live their entire lives slaving away in the mines or the woods, or on the battlefront if they're fortunate. Despite this, they live a life full of nostalgia for a world they've never seen, and great wonder at the world they get to explore. It's a newer feeling for the Verm masses, and almost threatens to upset their worldview; the world is vast, and its people different. Verm could easily integrate with the other races, and build a life of their own away from the clan. Clanrats, currently, do all they can for the clan, in the vain hopes that they might be rewarded with an opportunity to propogate themselves with the Broodmothers. Perhaps kept out of the caste intentionally are the Broodmothers and their eunuchs. Broodmothers are twisted, fetid, biological nests engineered to serve as Verm breeding stock. They are barely conscious, and merely serve as biological wombs to rear their young. It's a twisted, inhumane design, and not many Verm women can escape such a fate, although there are many, many exceptions. In the current, above the ground world, many Verm women find their way into work as Clanrats, and even a few higher-up positions more frequently now. Eunuchs, in that same vein, are Clan Rats that are castrated at birth, and designated to a Brood Mother, in order to protect and care for them and their young. These Verm are castrated in order to keep them from harming or breeding with the Broodmothers. History: Following a brutal coup between the Verm and the former residents of the Forgotten Woods, where the Verm emerged initially, The Verm received unexpected help from a series of travelers along the road, who offered to help the Verm resolve their conflicts, in exchange for lucrative trade routes. The Verm agreed, the Fae were routed and purged from the forest, and the trade routes were established, as well as Tradetown, a settlement above ground, where humans, Verm and other races interact, trade and coexist. As Skarr clan continues to grow, their ability to feed and raise their kin begins to falter, as the additional burden of the newly arrived human refugees threatens to diminish their already meager food storages. In order to maintain their growth rate, King-King calls for trade routes to be established, and for raiding parties to seek food close-by. One such raiding party, including a small handful of Verm warriors, including Zhot, a fledgling Glaive-rat, Skritch an obsessive Clan-rat with a human-made crossbow, Thril, one of Skarr's assassins and Seer Khrol, a member of Skarr Clan's Grey Seers. Accompanied by a number of human an nonhuman assistants, including a former member of Skarr clan, the raiding party successfully captures and controls a small walled town. The denizens of the town, enslaved, slain or recruited into Veron Blacktear's mercenary company. Returning with a wealth of food and valuables, the raiding party manages to keep Skarr clan fed for at least another month.