16 March 2010

Eric the Red

For a long time now I have been creating short pieces of fluff about some of my models.  Like my  tribe of Pygmies and their Blitzer they take care of.  One of those pieces of fluff that has emerged in my battle reports is about one certain Hero, "who until recently had not yet been named' and his seemingly futile efforts to get the attention of Grissel.  So without further ado, here is my newest painted model and some fluff on where he came from.


(Excerpt from the writings of the Privateer Press book, 'Metamorphosis')
For hours he held his ground until the very earth was soaked with the blood of their dead. I lost count of how many fell before they ended him.
~Helgin Kith Elder Bortas, after fighting in the Thornwood

Trollkin heroes are great champions whose deeds have spread by word of mouth throughout the kriels.  They are living legends amongst their people, and just as the regular warriors of kith and kriel stand aside in awe as the champions walk into their midst, there are those few whose glory makes even proud champions bow their and kneel in respect. 

Hardened by countless battles, these heroes' shoudlers have held the weight of entire kriels, and they have offered themselves as sacrifices for those who rely on their strength.  They know death awaits them every time they step into the fray and must content themselves with the knowledge they will live on in the memories of those for whom they have fought and bled.  It is some comfort to know that song and stone will immortalize their deeds even as the crows pick at their bones. 

This is not to say all trollkin heroes are the same; to be sure they are as different from one another as all great leaders must be.  Some are bloodthirsty berserkers with sour tempers whose presence in times of peace is a strain on their kith.  Other are brooding and introspective, speaking little and avoiding all company. Still others are vain chieftains filled with pride and arrogance, suspicious of the young who emulate them.  Yet each of these heroes is alike when life and death is on the line, for they put aside all thoughts except waging war to protect kith and kriel.  They find it impossible to turn from battle, for it is only there that they can stand side by side with their brothers in arms and prove that one axe in a strong hand can make a difference even when opposed by a hundred swords.  (Hordes * Metamorphosis, 2008)

Erik Knucklebrew a.k.a. Eric "The Red" was born outside Pt. Borne on the Edge of the Thornwood Forest.  He spent his childhood among the human children of Cygnar in Pt. Bourne.  As he grew in size he worked as a lumberer.  His daily job was to put the oxen yoke over his shoulders, pull the cart to the forest edge, fill it with lumber and pull it back.  Who needs beasts of burden when you have Eric Knucklebrew.  During this time Eric found that prolonged exposure to metal changed his skin color a little.  Something about the property of metal made his skin absorb whatever was on it, like paint.  Other than being neat, it didn't do much else for him.

One day Eric was returning from a long day felling trees when Pt. Bourne was literally under attack.  Khadorians were trying to overrun the town.  As he began to run to help his townfolk a small group of four heavily armored trolls wielding an axe in each hand entered the fray on the Khadorians flank.  That small group of Trolls utterly decimated the Khadorians, save a few that fled the battlefield,  and not one of the Trolls fell in battle.  Eric was in awe, but his fellows from Pt. Bourne would not grant the Trolls entry. Confused Eric agreed to go converse with the Trolls and bid them thanks for their help.  As he approached their camp they were drinking and singing to their glorious battle. Eric sat watching them in awe until one of them spoke, "so what are you some tame Cygnarian beast of burden? Begone, only real Trollblood warriors drink our ale at this fire." Eric's Awe changed to anger as he grabbed his axe and turned to stalk away swinging at a nearby tree.  The Troll Warriors fell silent stopping Eric in his tracks, he turned again to face them.  All four of them hand their hands out with a full mug offering it to Eric when the one who had spoken before spoke again, "Not one of us can cut a Tree that thick down in one swing, especially without breaking a sweat.  And we all four are no stranger to cutting down men and beasts wearing armor."  With that Eric drank with them all night, and in the morning found himself an offer to join their small group of what he learned was Champions.  They honed his skill with the axe as they traveled the borders of the Thornwood, "killin bad guys Eric," is what they always said. Which seemed true as they always went after the side of the battle they seemed to be 'wrong' from their point of view of course.

Time with them was good, and for the first time in his life Eric felt like he belonged.  His group had never fought directly for any of the great clan chiefs, but Eric longed to met them.  His kithkar entered their camp somber, "Chief Ironhide requests our aid, there is a Cryxian raiding party in our neck of the woods and we are asked to slow them so he can move a large group of gathered tribes out of their path. Our death will be the glroy of Dhunia, and with no scribe to chronicle our deaths we shall have to settle for Dhunia as our scribe." And that was that.  They came upon the raiding party in their typical fashion, which is to say they waiting until their enemy was engaged in battle and then joined it.  In this the raiding party looked to be overwhelming a Khadorian Warcaster... which was impressive since the Cryxian party didn't seem to have one with them.  The Trolls hit them hard and fast from the side and the fighting was furious.  Eric didn't remember much as the fight went on, he just kept hacking away until everything went black.

When he awoke he was chained to a wagon with a small handful of Khadorians only half guarding him, mostly they just let the huge steamjack behind Eric do all the watching so they could look to their perimeter for more enemies.  The warcaster turned to Eric and spoke to him in Khardic to which he responded in Cygnarrian that he didn't understand Khardic.  To Eric's and the warcaster's surprise they both spoke Cygnarrian.  "I am called Strakhov, and I have a problem.  You see, you and your Troll brothers have saved us so I do not wish to kill you.  But I cannot let you free as you are an enemy to Khador.  You and your brothers crushed their flank allowing us to overcome them though what you see is all that is left. You cannot go unless you wish for more bloodshed, but if you stay with me outwardly you will be a slave and will act as such.  But when the situation permits it, you will eat drink and fight alongside my men."  Not seeing much choice in the matter Eric agreed.  Strakhov found a solution to the problem of him being a Troll by outfitting him with Man-O-War armor he could hide behind when necessary.  After wearing the armor for months in the 'service of Khador' his skin turned the deep red hue of Khador armor, that and his unmatched ability to cut down rows of enemy infantry earned him the nick-name Eric "The Red" from some of the other Man-O-War men in the service of Strakhov and privy to his secret.

After gathering intelligence that Madrak was indeed still gathering all Trollkin tribes together Eric felt the tug of blood calling him.  He approached Strakhov to ask that he be released to which Strakhov responded, "You have been a good friend and warrior to me and my kinsman, but if you leave and I encounter you in battle as an enemy I will have no choice but to treat you as such." Eric responded with a bow, "It will be a sad day then when my axe will take you into the hands of your gods." Strakhov chuckled and retorted, "I knew this day would come, I have comissioned you more suitable armor befitting that of a Trollkin Hero.  Wear it with pride and let it remind you of your Khador brothers."  And it was done, Eric was free, he donned his new red armor and began the trek into the Thornwood looking for other Trollkin to lead him the way to Madrak.

On his way there he encountered his first Trollkin Warcaster.  He had been tracking a Legion Shredder when he came upon a force of Trolls fighting next to huge Dire Trolls.  He was dumbfounded that someone had been able to tame the huge beasts. Then he saw her, singing to the army around her, a Trollblood song so sweet he waded into the Legion forces without realizing what he was doing.  Knowing only that he fought for her and would swing his axe at her enemies until he could no longer stand if she so bade him.  As the battle ended and the Legion army fled, she and a huge Troll riding a bison approached him.  The big Troll spoke first, though Eric couldn't keep his eyes off her, "I am Horthol brother, you skill with that axe is truely amazing.  You wear no tribe colors on your tartan and your armor is distinctly different from any Trollkin Champion I have seen.  Where do you come from."  Staring directly into her eyes Eric knelt before her handing his axe to her.  "My name is Eric, and my Axe is yours...," She cut him off, "Its Grissel, stop being a fool," she chuckled at Eric, "Should you desire to fight with me then we welcome your axe in our ranks.  Any Troll who can cut down our enemies with such ease would be welcomed by my side."  Grissel walked off and Eric stared dreaming. "You won't get her attention that way boy," Horthol snorted at Eric, "She mourns a lost mate, it fuels her vengeance that she pours into her enemies.  There is no time left in her life for another mate, least of all you.  Now come with me, some Pygmies have brewed some whelp ale, and something tells me you haven't tried that yet."

Eric followed Horthol barely able to keep his thoughts from Grissel.  He didn't know how he was going to do it but he was going to impress her enough to get her to agree to him as a mate. "Stop daydreaming Red skin," Horthol chuckled, "you are not the first, nor will you be the last to want Grissel's attention.  Now come have a drink to take away the sting eh?"  To which Eric had no reply but to drink... and drink... and drink.

From that time forth Eric "The Red" has been mostly in the Employ of Grissel.  And he thinks he is wearing her down, truth be told so does Horthol.

No comments:

Post a Comment