|THE DISCIPLES SERIES
|ART BY ME
THE LOST RUNES - I
A decade had passed since the infernal gate was sealed, ten years of relative peace for the Mountain Clans. From the twelve Clans, only seven emerged from the Great Wars, and many feared yet another encounter with the perfidious Undead Hordes.
When High King, Stummir Thunderhammer, was slaughtered, the surviving Clans elected Morok Cloudkeeper as ruler. Stumnir had reigned for many decades and the grieved this terrible loss. Morok was a brave warrior, but he failed to foster the unity and in time some Clans departed to find refuge in higher mountains.
Wotan, god of the dwarves, had granted his disciples twelve ancestral runes to protect their races. Before the First Great Wars, each clan had guarded one of the runes. Now, with five of the Clans annihilated, the runes were scattered. Morok ordered his forces to search the rumbles of the dead Clan cities for the lost runes.
After numerous bloody battles, three of the lost runes were recovered.
But the death of Gymner tormented the High King; all wondered what traitorous force had slaughtered him for his corpse was savaged beyond recognition.
THE CHARMED CHILD - II
Emperor Demosthene send a plea for help to the Clansmen... a revolution was brewing. Demosthene needed the Clans to help squelch the unruly nobles who threatened his rule. Morok had agreed to help, and commanded his armies to march towards the Empire.
The only way to reach the Empire was to travel through the Devil Mountain range... Morok's troops cowered at the thought of traveling through such treacherous territory. Legends told of demons and devils patrolling the area, and no race had ever settled within five leagues of that forsaken place.
Clan Loremasters warned Morok of the cursed mountain. Morok laughed at their fears, believing in his warrior hearth that a well-honed sword could overcome any foe. Thus, Morok commanded his army to aid the Empire.
The Mountain Clans courageously defeated the demonic fiends.
The emperor Demosthene was overjoyed at the return of his only heir and Uther bravely fought those who sought to usurp his father's realm. This boy was surely a miracle; it seemed he could survive any arrow.
WAR SPIRITS - III
When the mourning High King learned that an exiled Clan was bringing back the fourth Rune of Wisdom, blood seemed once again to flow through his veins. For the fourth rune was Freega's Healing Rune, which could revive dead warriors.... Morok had refused to grant Gymner the honorary funeral-pyre and had kept him in a cold dungeon below his keep.
Clan Loremasters were fervently opposed to using the rune thus, but Morok was impossible to stop. He resolved to perform the rites to revive Gymner himself.
The Loremasters saw that Morok could not be deterred... They complied with their Sovereign's wishes, hoping that Wotan would not be offended at their unwise actions.
When Morok realized what he had done, he spiraled into madness. In his dementia, he lashed out at his people with all of his warriors' might. Killing Morok was not an easy task but it had to be done, an insane monarch would surely destroy the realm.
NEW LEADERSHIP - IV
When the ancient Horn of Taymaryl trumpeted the name Yataa'Halli, daughter of Morok, has new regent of the Mountain Clans, many elders were apprehensive. How could this young girl possibly control the unruly Clan ? With only a few thousand weakened soldiers remaining to defend her land, the new Queen prepared to restore dignity to her Nation.
Five Clans were presently in the High Council... but there were tribes who had traveled afar and now lived under their own rule. Each Clan guarded one of the twelve runes of wisdom. Yataa'Halli sent scouts to seek out the vagabond tribes and remind them of their duty.
Yataa'Halli was determined to bring together her populace. The Loremasters urged her to make haste : they spoke of the return of the Undead and the Legions as heralds of Ragnarok. Doomsday was fast approaching...
At last, the Circle of Wisdom was completed; the three retrieved runes were safely secured in Yataa'Halli's fortress.
THE UNHOLY SIEGE - V
Darkened times now demanded a new right to calm the impending Ragnarok.
Yataa'Halli now took heed of her affairs outside her realm. Alas, while the dwarves were bringing the Clans back together, vile beings had crept within their borders. Legion's armies had approached from the Western plains : and the Undead expanded their borders dangerously close to the Clans' northern frontier.
The young Queen gathered the reins of her rule. She alerted all of the approaching danger and instilled in her forces the inspiration to fight bravely.
With her nation ready to stoutly defend her, Yataa'Halli heralded a new epoch of war. The Clans proudly gathered under the dwarven banner to ward off the encroaching evil, for the surrounding lands had to be won back.
The Dwarven nation's unity was strengthened after the victorious battle against evil. The Clans united under the leadership of Queen Yataa'Halli had defended their lands. With danger now at bay, the Clans prepared the celebration in honor of Wotan.
THE CEREMONY - VI
The Valkyries revealed to the Loremasters the presence of others seeking to steal runic knowledge. The King's guards kept constant watch over the coveted runes. The Dwarves were unwilling to risk delaying any longer the ceremony which Wotan required of them.
The words that Wotan revealed in the scroll threw the Loremasters into confusion. They studied the sacred text deep into the night, seeking an explanation for Wotan's weakening spirit. They marvelled at the news that a deity should request their mortal help.
The Loremasters urged Queen Yataa'Halli to prepare a Ceremony to honor Wotan and thus avert the approaching of Ragnarok. The runes had been collected from far corners of the Realm, and the time was ripe for communion with the gods.
Mage Huggin and his hordes of mercenaries could not acquired the runes from the Dwarves. The ancestral ritual of the Wisdom Runes' Circle was completed.
Upon exploring the den of Mage Huggin, the Dwarves found strange writings and cryptic runes. It appears that Mage Huggin was attempting to modify Wotan's magic to suit his evil designs.
Yathaa'Halli declared that all runic laws will be protected from this time forward, thus, even in time of extreme confusion, the runes will protect the Clans.
THE DAYS BEFORE RAGNAROK - VII
The mountains had always been the refuge and home of the sturdy Dwarven folks. Now, when the strength and shelter of the sacred peaks was most needed by the Clans, they were forced away.
No Dwarven magic could calm the angry earth... the only choice was to flee. The masses fled their beloved homes, escaping the violent rock slides and hot ash which demolished cities, roads, and all the ancient hallmarks of their culture.
Thousands of refugees crowded into the shelter of Morok's Keep. The uprooted citizens prayed for Wotan to end their trials...
The Dwarves had not cherished the wisdom so graciously given to them, paying no attention to the ancient teachings.
Thus, the invulnerable Great Wyrm Niddhog rose from his millennium long slumber and hunted those who dare to disturb his rest, slaughtering these miserable creatures and eradicating all living things in his paths.
The Dwarves did claimed victory over the wyrm but many were slained before Niddhog was silenced.
Yataa'Halli fought bravely and their forces survived faith punishment. Her skills at handling all the charges of her holy role proved she will be a venerable high queen for the Clans. Yataa'Halli triumphed from the great wyrm Niddhog became a dramatic chapter in the Clans' history. The Ragnorok was thus prevented, the loremasters began carving the tale on the Mountain Clans on the granite wall. Future generations would never forget the great peril that awaits those who do not honor the secret Runes of Wisdom.