Thursday, February 13, 2014

Clan Shakkyllz

Yup, that's my Skaven Warlord clan. As readers of this blog will already know, I enjoy making up fluff for my armies, random characters, etc.,  even those that never see the light of day like my Skaven (would that be a pun?). I also wanted to include something to go along with the fact that the army morphed out of a Mordheim warband.

lol, anyways here it is:

 Warlord clans, especially the smaller ones rise and fall with alarming frequency. Often they survive only as long as their leaders do, and unless they can carve out their own unique niche in Skaven society, there is little to hold the smaller clans together. The somewhat mercantile based Clan Shakkyllz however, has managed to survive its initial teething pains and is on its way towards establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with. The clan coalesced out of the small and varied warbands that infested the ruined Empire city of Mordheim. Following its rise in power, the clan has since declared its dominion over all of the twisted warrens beneath the ruined city.

Clan Shakkyllz specializes in slave trading. Skaven, either captured from rival clans or simply born into slavery are a dime a dozen and worth even less. However Man-things, Dwarf-things, Ork/Goblin-things, etc., who are taken as slaves can be worth a small fortune, especially if taken in quantity. Like most Skaven, Clan Shakkyllz conceals it's presence from Mordheim's surface dwellers. That way, a steady (and varied) crop of slave stock willingly walks right into their grasp without any need to go and search them out. Wisely (and while the surface dwellers themselves are unaware of it), a small percentage of these warbands are allowed to thrive within Mordheim. In doing so, they act as a lure to attract others into the Skaven's lair. When the clan launches its night time slaving raids, the targeted warbands, whilst considered to be armed and dangerous by their own kind, are helpless when faced with the military might of the Skaven clan. 

Captives are always preferable, though any victims whom are too injured to survive, or are killed outright will still be collected to help keep the clan fed. The choicest bodies go to the clan leaders, with those of lesser vitality going to those on down the line accordingly, leaving those at the bottom to fight for mere scraps of flesh. Captives-turned-slaves must forage for their own rations, which often turns out to be the weakest of their own. Usually those concealing light wounds inflicted during capture, who have started to weaken from their injuries. Trapped in the slave pens these unfortunate individuals are easy prey for the desperate and hungry. Ironically, this method of feeding, means the slaves often eat better than the lowest 'free' ranks of the clan's population.

The plight of the newly taken slaves, facing the prospect of having to kill and eat their former comrades-in-arms, just to survive amuses the Clan's slavers to no end. The Clan's leadership have even been known to attend the entertaining spectacle of these cannibalistic slave killings when the horror of familial ties amongst the doomed is involved. Even if only to watch the desperate and pitiful attempts to save their family members from the other hungry slaves.

Casualties however are kept to a minimum and, starvation of the clan's wares is strictly forbidden! Even when particularly strong-willed slaves refuse to eat, regardless of whether its their brethren on the menu not. In such situations, a Skaven slave (being of the least worth) will be executed (or just injured, for added amusement) before all other species in order to feed the remaining captives. The continued refusal to eat results in brutal collective punishments until the slaves nourish themselves appropriately from the dead and dying which have been provided to feed them. 

Amusing little guys...

Due to the exceptional quality and variety of slave types, other clans have started to engage in a steady trade Clan Shakkyllz. On occasion, Shakkyllz will trade their 'exotic' slave breeds with other clans who have locally unavailable offerings. It was through such a trade that the clan came into possession of a sizable population of Gnoblars, from the far off Ore Kingdoms. Whilst initially quite taken with the strange little creatures, in hindsight the Clan leadership determined that the Gnoblars were an exceptionally a bad investment. All the more so as the last of their Elven stock was exchanged for the little runts. Condemnation was swift and the chieftain who brokered the deal soon found himself locked within the slave pens he used to call his own! Never surviving to reach the auction block, he quickly fell prey to his former charges and their bloody acts of retribution!

When trading is slow, the Clan will periodically send slave caravans out to seek new buyers. They are wiling to sell to most any clan with Clans Moulder, Skyre and their Thrall Clans being the most preferable. However transactions, or even mere contact with Clan Pestilens or their thrall associates is harshly forbidden! The Plague priests and their followers are bad for business, and have earned the strong enmity of Clan Shakkyllz.  Primarily as their contagions easily infect the weakened constitutions of the slave stock, killing them quickly and robbing the Shakkyllz of it's warpstone profits.

A curious side effect of this, is that any Skaven amongst the clan's number who is accused of an interest in the Pestiliens ideology is immediately tossed into the slave pens to keep the rest of the  troops in line. Any actual truth of such accusations is not required, and invariably fabricated. The sole exception being if the accused is of a higher rank than his accuser. Without convincing evidence, the accuser will quickly find his life bleeding out on the blades of his intended victim. That said, to be caught up in such a trial (for lack of a better term) hints at weakness. Weakness is the most fatal of flaws and will usually hasten the accused's downfall by other methods. Amongst the lower ranks of the Clan's stereotypically backstabbing society, Pestilens affiliation is seen as just another way to be rid of a rival. Wary clan enforcers will often cast the 'tainted' accusers into the slave pens as well to keep the accusations from getting out of hand. These falsely accusing and accused slaves are always the first to die when slave rations run short as they are unlikely to infect the others, and are always in steady supply. 

One rising concern for Clan Shakkyllz are the 'Dead-things' that have migrated from Sylvania and taken root in Mordheim. These Dead-things often prove most difficult for Shakkyllz to eliminate. Especially as they force the clan to expend its limited resources for little to no benefit in return. You can't enslave what is already dead, and the few, pathetic living souls amongst their number are often in too poor of shape to survive long under the Skaven's lash, nor provide much in the way of adequate nourishment (even to the slave stock). Worse yet, many of the Warbands of Mordheim will flee the city if faced with the undead. This has resulted in an ironic twist, as the Dead-things are considered as little more than mere vermin to be exterminated in the eyes of the Clan.

Perhaps fancifully, Clan Shakkyllz aspires to be a Great Clan with its own seat on the Council of Thirteen. Though its doubtful that this goal will ever reach fruition. As with al minor clans, the threat of being sundered from within or by another, more powerful Warlord Clan, is omnipresent. In its favor, Clan Shakkyllz has already survived a vicious cycle of successions amongst its leadership, some of which have strongly tested the clan's cohesion. Currently, the Clan's power base seems to have stabilized, leaving the clan to itself, with the task of consolidating it's hold on the ruins beneath Mordheim. In time Mordheim's under-city may not only become another great bastion of the Skaven, but potentially the bloody and brutal hub of the Under-Empire's slave trade…

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