The Dwarven Games
-by Korranis Edgemaker
As always, it is my particular delight to bring you the tales of the different Tourneys of my Dwarven kin. This year I received the great honor to be allowed to attend the Dwarven Battle Games, for which I must publicly thank Lochas Marook, a stockholder in the Herald, as well as members of the Dwarven Journalistic School.
For those of you not familiar with the Games, they are held every six years in a secret location, and open only to Dwarves of noble blood. The entry fee is incredibly high, and all combats are to the death. Besides being a great honor to win (or die) in Swords, Axe, Mace, Hammer & Warclub, these championships are also used as an opportunity to settle a few clan “rivalries”, without the financial inconvenience of war. Magic of any sort; weapons, enchanted items, even defensive spells are forbidden in these contests
The first duo to take up Swords were black bearded M’rak Deepcoal, a former Ducal Knight against Dainek Copperhall, head of the Gemcave clan. The instant the Battlewarden sounded the iron and silver Battle Gong, the two sword players called forth all their skills to strike mighty blows, and just as quickly each parried the incoming attack. Clanmaster Deepcoal recovered more swiftly, and smote his opponent twice before they separated once more. Copperhall’s armor was tattered, but he gamely recovered as the two circled each other probing for flaws in their competitor’s defense. Time and again, one would strike, only to clash off of blade or battle-board, leaving him hastily fending off a riposte.
Eventually, Dainek Copperhall managed to work around M’rak’s shield, and landed a rapid series of blows to his ribs and back. As the black-beard’s armor shredded, and the first spray of noble blood honored the arena floor, Copperhall again attempted a great blow. Deepcoal not finished yet, avoided the blow twice, and drew blood before having to parry the incoming attack. Both dwarves wore grim grins of pleasure, satisfied with the challenge they had given each other. Hampered only slightly by their wounds, they abandoned their earlier finesse, and stood toe-to-toe hacking and stabbing at each other, Lord Dainek breaking into an old Dwarven war-chant, that many in the crowd immediately took up. The swordpair continued their reckless assault, trading strike for strike, until Clanmaster M’rak struck with another great blow. This time however, Lord Copperhall seemed to have no answering parry. Moving to a purely defensive style, he blocked several blows with his shield, but eventually Lord M’rak struck true with a stop-thrust, and Dainek was felled. In a curious gesture, Deepcoal shook his unconscious opponents’ hand before slicing his head off. Copperhall’s body was then placed on the ceremonial Golden Couch by the servitors, where he was allowed to dissipate.
The next match before the assembled dwarven spectators was Maces, which pitted Baron Tregvar Ironplate against Clanmaster Gavin Spearhall. Tregvar, a red bearded dwarf with a ruthless history, was far larger than his opponent, but Spearhall was a veteran of several prior Dwarven Games. At the outset the hulking Baron charged in with a scream, but Clanmaster Gavin, unfazed, calmly blocked this initial blow. He feinted and gave some ground, and they traded hits to the thigh area. The Baron seemed to have the better of this exchange, and continued to press Spearhall. Spearhall however pulled a fancy bit of footwork, and got behind his red bearded rival, delivering a blow with much more power than before.
Tregvar muttered something I cannot print here, and returned to his straightforward style of charge and hack, while Gavin continued to dance away, and slash at his back. Baron Ironplate grew red-faced with rage as he missed Spearhall several times only to receive more hits from his nimble foe. In a fit, he called upon his slays all in row, but all were either parried or avoided at the last second. It took a few more minutes of snake-like attack, but finally Gavin felled his larger rival. Gavin declined to deliver a deathblow, a sign of considerable contempt. Tregvar was then lifted, bleeding out, from the ring,
During the two-day event, single pairs fought before the enthralled crowd. Duragon Foesmith killed his son Beragon as he climbed his way towards the Hammer Championship. Jhegga Goldsmeller, a dwarf woman from Blackstone made it to the quarterfinals in Axes. The championship battle between Hurg of Stonehollow & Kren Rockgut lasted for nearly an hour, until Hurg’s warclub snapped and Kren finished him off. Blood, chunks of meat & armor flew like rain. A few times, enraged spectators had to be disarmed or killed as their kinsman lost battles, or more likely, they lost their shirts.
Battling their way to the final fight in the five weapons categories were Nothas Clanpick besting Dreg’n Firebeard in Swords, Balkog Ogrespear was defeated by Dolme Redmines in Maces, Hammer winner Duragon Foesmith overwhelmed Greng Bloodstone. Wilgas Oretracker took the Axe championship over Greff Twincaves, and as mentioned above Kren Rockgut felled Hurg of Stonehollow in Hammer. All in all, it was dwarven battle-pride at its finest, an exciting display of muscle, speed and courage. The enthusiastic crowd and traditional ceremony added to the atmosphere tremendously. It was an honor to be allowed to bring this tale to our readers.
Dwarven Battle Games: Top Five Competitors
The Dwarven Games©, Author: Paul Fajkowski, 1999