Wednesday, April 21, 2010

They're blaaaack.

Spray primed them all black this morning. Super busy day, hopefully tomorrow I'll get through the bases.

In the meanwhile I wanted to give you the back story of Etako Ironfist and his clan of Dwarves from the South. (No Australian bias towards things from the south at all, honest!)

This is a rough summary of the history of the clan...

Etako Ironfist.

In times of yore, in the far East of Middle Earth there did Dwarf fathers awaken in the mountains called Orocarni, the Red Mountains. The Ironfists were one such group. They mined and dwelt in the southern parts of the Orocarni, far to the East of the Ered Lithui, the Ash Mountains.

Sometimes traders with the Rhun people, more often they fought to protect their metalcrafts and precious stones from raiders. Etako I of the Ironfist dwarves was a trader, and would often journey as far to the West as the great inland Sea of Rhun.

The locals there were often referred to as Easterlings, which became a joke amongst the dwarves that folk to the west would be called such. The Easterlings, particularly their leaders, prized highly the strong, gleaming armour that the dwarves could construct.

On one trade journey, Etako I and his retinue (numbering almost one hundred) were betrayed, drugged and captured by an Easterling King, who wished to enslave them and force them to create armour for his armies.

The mountains to the south-west of the Sea of Rhun was mined and the dwarves forced to smith the metals into fine suits of mail. The trading had been going on for almost two centuries and had been deemed safe enough even for the dwarven womenfolk to accompany their husbands. The Easterlings held the women hostage, allowing the menfolk to meet with them once a year at “The Reunion”.

Etako I was 255 when captured, in about the year 1950 (some years before Durin VI was slain by balrog). He swore that they would wreak revenge on the men and free themselves. Patient, but with a hidden fire within, the dwarves worked hard. Etako had his craftsmen engineer a single flaw in amongst the thousands of chain links and scale plates of each set of armour. As well as this, at the yearly Reunion, each dwarf husband would secretly give to his wife a small amount of poisonous metal. The dwarves were searched thoroughly at each meeting, but held the metal under their tongue.

In this way they worked, toiling for nearly thirty years. Etako was old, made still older by the yearly poisoning. For the poison worked on dwarf as well as man, and the dwarves were feeling the effects. When Etako knew that he would not survive another trip, it was time to act. At the Reunion he had his married men instruct their wives to use the small stockpile of poison. While the dwarves Reunited, the human men would come together from their various places of power to feast.

The dwarven wives slipped poison into the food and wine of the feasting humans. The dwarven men, many well past their prime and weakened from years of slow poisoning, took up what weapons they could. Etako had secretly crafted for himself a mighty gauntlet, for he was a powerful smith among his people.
Slipping easily from their locked quarters (what lock can hold an angry dwarf?), the dwarven men spread out around the feasting halls of the Easterling Lords. The dwarven wives slipped away to the mines and smithing halls to rouse the unwed and younger dwarves.

The Ironfist Gauntlet (for Etako was not a powerful wordsmith) was raised and then lowered in signal. Breaking into the feasting halls, the Easterling Lords, resplendent in their shining dwarven made armour rose to their feet, only to feel the room swaying around them – the effects of the poison.

The battle was brutal and short. The dwarves knew the weak links in the armour, but were old and infirm. The Easterling Lords were in their prime, but poisoned and surprised. Etako himself rose against the Great Easterling King and with one mighty blow, the Ironfist Gauntlet smote the ruler to the ground. Having avenged himself, he threw himself into the combat with scant thought for safety. The Ironfist Gauntlet sent men flying through the air, often crashing into one another.

By the time the womenfolk returned with the rest of the dwarves the battle was over. All were dead and dying. Sounds were coming from the rest of the Easterling Camp, the retinues and armies that accompanied their leaders.

Taking up weapons and what armour fit them, the dwarves fled to their mining tunnels. There Etako II led his folk, still keening his father’s death, and the deaths of the many other elders. For he had been tunnelling more than mining and had broken through to an underground system of rivers and caves. Etako II wielded the Ironfist Gauntlet, taken from his dying father’s hand. He slew many Easterlings with no weapon but the gauntlet, clad in mighty mail that his father had wrought for him in secret.

While he fought at the rear of the dwarves, those at the front found Etako’s tunnels and stores of provisions, squirreled away over the decades. Reaching a singular doorway, carved by his own hands, Etako II kept the Easterlings at bay while others from his fighting band used secret tunnels and hidden mechanisms to bring the tunnel system collapsing down.

Etako II was lost beneath the rubble, but was dug out from beneath it. Crippled for the rest of his life, Etako Shieldborne was lifted from the rubble and hoisted onto a shield, carried by his dearest comrades. He led his people through the underground tunnels.

The tunnel system led south, towards Mordor. And far below the ash wastes the dwarves travelled. There were many perils, often toxic water, orcs, spiders and worse, unthinkable horrors in the dark. Still the dwarves travelled onwards, always believing that they would soon surface, knowing that they could not while such evil lay above them.

Eventually the tunnel system did start to trend upwards and although water seemed much scarcer, it was cleaner. The evil beings that had plagued them for so long also seemed to attack much less frequently.
Eventually, in the 2200s after more than 200 years underground fighting and surviving, Etako II, now an old, frail dwarf, led his people to the surface. They had travelled far to the south and emerged in a deep chasm in the Nafarat. There was no great mountain range, rearing upwards into the sky either. Instead, the land about them was desert, sand, hills, dunes as far as they could see.

The chasm that they emerged into was part of a great canyon system, invisible from the surface as it was all carved into the ground. In many places it was more than a mile deep. There was water here too, cool pools of it, small rivulets that had slowly been carving their way through the rock and stone.

In many places the waters, having travelled far, rushed in torrents and exposed gemstones and seams of metals and minerals in the walls. In other places, the detritus left by the water was gold and other precious things.

Etako Shieldborne lived long enough to see the sky and the glittering bands of metals on the high walls on either side of him before breathing his last.

The Ironfist dwarves discussed long and hard whether to trek back to the north and their ancestral homes or stay and carve a new life in the South. Legend has it that Etako III is to have settled the argument by settling the Ironfist Gauntlet on his mighty fist and driving it hard into a chasm wall, when he withdrew his fist and opened the gauntlet, there inside was a gem the likes of which they had never before seen, turquoise in colouring, yet it seemed lit from within.

Since that day the dwarves have made their homes in the deep canyons. In the hundreds of years since settling there they have cautiously dealt with the aboveground human Harad people. Often this has been in the form of warfare, occasionally trade. In recent times the Harad seem more bent on battle than ever before.

In the depths of the tunnels, evil creatures once more are stirring, raids with goblins, emerging from previously vacant tunnels are becoming more common.

Etako VII now leads, called Etako Ironfist, Etako Trollbane or Etako One-eye. Slayer of a great Cave Troll, he found that the only thing harder than a cave troll’s skull was the Ironfist Gauntlet. Gauntlet in one hand, throwing axe in the other, he flung the axe with all his might, then leapt towards the troll. The throwing axe bounced off the cave troll’s thick head and rebounded into Etako’s face. Pain lending fury to his blow, he felled the troll with one enormous punch, knocking the mighty beast into the air before it crashed to the ground several meters away! He lost an eye, but gained two names and decided to call it even.

A mighty warrior, with the strength leant by the master crafted gauntlet. Unfortunately his depth perception never recovered enough to use throwing axes or bows ever again.

Etako Ironfist: 95 points
F/S/D/A/W/C  M/W/F 
6/5/8/2/3/6  3/2/1

Etako is clad in specially crafted mail and wields the Ironfist Gauntlet which makes him particularly hardy and strong. He also uses a one handed weapon in his other hand. He may not use a two handed weapon or any ranged weapon.

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