The Rise of Warlord Ykesha
The True Grozmok
In the darkness of night, secluded from the eyes of many of his fellow trolls, a troll shaman named Zraxth had a vision. The trolls of Guk were no match for the Rallosian Empire, and the trolls believed it was a matter of time before the mighty ogres would march into the troll city of Guk. Zraxth was among the first of the trolls to turn from the teachings of Cazic-Thule and follow the doctrine of Hate, becoming a follower of Innoruuk. He beseeched his new lord for guidance, looking for a way to defeat the ogres, to protect the city of Gulc from the Rallosian war machine. The Prince of Hate came to him in a dream, and said he would provide the information, but to perform the necessary ritual Zraxth would need the blood of the high priests of Cazic-Thule. Zraxth gathered his followers and carried out the grim deed, slaughtering the high priests as they slept. The followers of Zraxth set up the ritual as Innoruuk
For days, Zraxth simply sat, neither sleeping nor eating. His acolytes watched over him, waiting for him to awaken and deliver the message from Innoruuk on their salvation. Finally, on the eighth day, the shaman’s eyes snapped open, sunken and glaring in their sockets. Without flinching or looking away, the shaman began to speak in slow, resounding tones. The disciples began to feverishly copy the words of Zraxth, but found that the ink simply ran like blood off any parchment on which they attempted to write the words the shaman spoke. Exasperated, the disciples tried to have Zraxth repeat his statements to them, but he would not acknowledge their presence at all, and simply continued speaking. When all seemed lost, the shaman rose to his feet, and turned to the large stone they had set in the center of their camp. Even as he continued to speak, he gathered a bowl of the blood of the elders the disciples had used days ago in preparation
Zraxth then took to chiseling out the vision he had seen on the surface of the stone itself. This he did with precision and meticulousness, in sharp contract to his apparent unresponsive state. No movement was wasted, and even the smallest chip in the stone was done with the utmost care and purpose. Each of the symbols he crafted would flare with a purplish flame, leaving the carving glowing with radiant heat. Burns were apparent on Zraxth’s hands and arms, but he did not appear to notice — he continued to speak and chisel at the stone, pausing neither as he worked tirelessly. When the carving was completed, the shaman, bloodied and burned over his body, spoke his last words, and fell lifeless to the ground. The disciples burned the body of the prophetic shaman, and scattered the ashes throughout the area of the ritual. The disciples then deciphered the inscription left behind by their spiritual leader.
Over the course of many years after the Stone’s creation, strong warriors began to contend that they were, in fact, the hero mentioned in the Grozmok Stone’s prophecy. Many bloody battles were fought over the claim, as each strove to prove that they were the true hero of the Grozmok. The clans began to rally behind their strongest warriors, and minor skirmishes began to collapse into full scale blood feuds, as each group looked to be the ruling clan of the Innothule trolls. Nothing seemed able to stem the tide of violence, and none seemed interested in stopping it the rule of Grobb was all that mattered. For years, chaos reigned unchecked. During this time, the Rallosian Empire began to hear rumors of the existence of the Grozmok Stone and the prophecy of the legendary troll hero. Although the trolls themselves were organized and not likely to prove a threat on their own, the ogres began to fear
It was during this time of strife and war that Warlord Ykesha rose to power. He was unmatched among his people in skill, cunning, and ferocity, and he quickly earned the respect of all who fought with him. He quickly rose to lead his clan, ruthlessly dispatching any who tried to challenge his rule. His clan, which he renamed Clan Ykesha in his own honor, had taken to raiding the swamps outside the city of Guk, looking for new artifacts and treasures that might give them an advantage over their rival clans. The scouts of Ykesha came upon a lost Rallosian stronghold, which sat undisturbed and hidden by the overgrowth in the swamp. As they gathered what items of worth they could find, they happened upon the Grozmok Stone deep within the stronghold’s lower chambers. They hauled it back to their clan, where it was recognized as an artifact from the troll’s past. Warlord Ykesha ordered his shaman
Once word of the prophecy of the Grozmok Stone began to circulate among the clans, the cycle of war began to change. At first, jealous clans viciously attacked Clan Ykesha, looking to topple the Warlord and claim the Stone for their own. Clan Ykesha easily withstood all opposition, handily defeating the other clans who sought to claim the Grozmok stone for themselves. As one clan after another fell, whispers of Warlord Ykesha’s claim – that he was the Grozmok that was prophesied – began to appear more and more legitimate. Rival clans began to offer themselves as thralls, joining Clan Ykesha to follow the legendary Grozmok. For a time at least, the trolls looked like they would become a terrible new empire with the mythical hero of the troll race in command. Although some clans continued to fight against Clan Ykesha, the size and strength of the ruling clan was more than any rival could hope to overcome.