The War of the Beard (The War of Vengeance)
""It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship waned," "I have not heard that it was the fault of the Elves," "I have heard both,""
- – Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf respectively on dwarf/elf relations in Middle-Earth
The War of the Beard (Or the War of Vengeance as known by the Dwarfs) was the bloodiest conflict in Warhammer Fantasy Battle's history. Because really, only Elves and Dwarves can hate each other that much to spill more blood than anything else in a Grimdark universe. Famous for being one of the few major wars that didn't feature orcs, skaven, undead, dark elves (directly, since to some they instigated the war) or chaos as the bad guys.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Before the infamous War of the Beard, the Dwarves and the Elves were at peace. They were re-continuing trade, which made both empires rich-out-of-their-minds. The Dwarfs were at their highest point, the Silver Age. It is in this period that the Dwarfs pretty much kicked Orc ass for SPORT and not for the sake of survival. They also had most of their ancient relics, and Karak-Eight-Peaks, the second greatest Dwarf Fortress of all, still under their uncontested ownership. The Elves were somewhat dismayed at Malekith's dissension, but hey, they were rich as hell and powerful to boot with Malekith and his followers presumed fleeing or dead.
God Damnit, Caledor II
Then the Dark Elves, posing as High Elves, started to mercilessly rape Dwarven caravans. The Dwarf High-King at the time, Gotrek Starbreaker (a manly-ass Dwarf who could probably beat Khorne at arm-wrestling and make him look like a pansy in comparison, but wasn't known for his smarts) promptly got pissed and sent over diplomats to yell at the Phoenix King at the time, Caledor II (son of Phoenix King Caledor the Conqueror and one of the most skilled elf warriors at the time, but was otherwise a reckless man-child). The first time Caledor told Gotrek to piss off for being rude and if he wanted anything, had to plead. Gotrek sent the diplomats back saying he wanted double recompense for the implied insult. Caledor II got upset with the boisterous diplomats, and when one drew their axe and swore by their beard they would not leave it was the last straw. Taking him at his word, Caledor II had them shaved of their beards and hair (Hence why the Elves call it, "The War of the Beard") and send them back to Gotrek. Though the elves thought they were being merciful not to kill them, to Dwarf-kind forcibly shaving their beard is the greatest crime one can commit. Gotrek Starbreaker, upon getting Caledor II's response, spent a year or so mustering the full, raw, uncut power of the Dwarven kingdom (and to let the grudge stew for a time, very important) before launching a brutal attack on the Elven colonies in the Old World.
The novels retcon the beginning events of the war. Tensions were already high due to the attacks of the dwarfen caravans, but what really pissed the dwarfs off was the assassination of a runelord from Barak Varr named Agrin Fireheart. The dwarf kings demanded Gotrek Starbreaker to wage war on the elves for the murder of the runelord, but again refused to declare war. Prince Imladrik, brother of Caledor II, investigated the runelord's death and discovered the essence of Dark Magic in the murder site, confirming the presence of the Dark Elves. Realizing that Malekith sought to instigate war between the High Elves and Dwarfs, he sent a message to High King Gotrek explaining the existence of their nefarious kin and their plans. Unfortunately, Imladrik's words fell on deaf ears and the gathered dwarf kings thought the elves were only excusing themselves and that these "Druchii" didn't exist. Still, Gotrek gave the elves the benefit of the doubt.
Snorri Halfhand (named Halfhand due to an encounter with the Skaven which resulted in Snorri getting his fingers bitten off on one hand) raised an army to strike against the elves in retribution without his Father's consent. Snorri was persuaded to not attack the elves initially, but eventually lost his patience and razed the elven city of Kor Vanaeth.
It was during this time that Gotrek Starbreaker sent his diplomats to Ulthuan in a last ditch effort to prevent war. However, when the dwarfs arrived in Caledor II's court to demand an apology and recompense, word had already reached the phoenix court of the attack of Kor Vanaeth. Pissed off over being demanded to apologize and to recompense when they just destroyed one of his cities, he ordered the diplomats shaved despite the protest of his brother, Prince Imladrik.
The Actual War of the Beard
The first siege of Tor Alessi began, in which the Dwarves were forced back (but not without wrecking half the city). Caledor II, pissed, marched on down to the Old World and slew Gotrek Starbreaker's son, Snorri Halfhand, in single combat.
After Halfhand died, the Dwarves got their act into gear, and began their rape-fest of the Elven colonies. At the battle of Oregor, the Elves were struck a serious blow by the Dwarves in a battle largely consisting of Manoeuvring. Yeah.
In said battle, Gotrek Starbreaker's nephew and new heir Morgrim marched his bum right through a giant army of elite Elven troops, took Imaldrik, the Prince of Ulthuan, and proceeded to use him as a dishtowel (though some source say Imaldrik surrendered, letting the Dwarfs kill him in exchange for sparing his troops). Dismayed, the rest of the depleted Elven forces ran for their lives. He then got the name "Elgidum" from said battle - which means Elfdoom. Awesome.
In the novels: The dwarfs launched a surprise attack on the city. Imladrik, unaware of the attack, arrived just to discover that the city was already overwhelmed with just a few pockets of resistance from the city's defenders. He tried to fight off the invaders with his dragon, Draukhain, but dwarfen artillery brought his mount down (causing it to crash and be buried in rubble). Surrounded by hundreds of angry dwarfs, Morgrim challenged the Caledorian Prince to Mortal Kombat. The duel lasted til Morgrim shattered the princes' blade and buried his axe deep into his chest. Morgrim felt remorseful for killing Imladrik, as the two were once good friends (especially because Imladrik was one of the few known elves who actually treated the dwarfs with respect and didn't see them as a lesser race). To honor his former friend, he allowed a female general of his (who had the hots for him) and the wounded Draukhain to bring his body back to Tor Alessi.
After that, the Elves got butthurt and decided to try and attack Karak Azul, where the Dwarf's best smiths resided. They almost won, too, due to superior numbers. But Dwarf miner Brok Stonefist, nicknamed "The Nightmare of the Deeps", rallied the forces of the Hold and kicked the Elves halfway across the Old World. The High Elves realized that this badass was a pretty big threat, so they sent one of their greatest tactical genii, Salendor, to combat him. They fought each other to many costly stalemates until they met each other inside an Elven Colony. The Dwarfs burnt the city to a crisp by accident, and both forces fled, excluding the two leaders of the armies. Locked in close combat, they killed each other in the middle of the burning city. Some say that in the ruins of the colony, their ghosts still fight, locked in eternal combat. But that's bullshit, since manly Dwarfs who die in combat pretty much always go to Dwarf Heaven, and dead elves either get taken by Elf Waystones, Slaanesh or the elf underworld.
By then, there had been a great number of sieges on Tor Alessi. Finally, the wall was pretty much completely obliterated, so the Dwarves piled in, slaughtering the Elves cowering within the city. Gotrek, carried upon his throne, found Caledor II trapped in a corner, unable to flee. They fought mano-e-mano for days upon days before Gotrek Starbreaker struck the Phoenix King Caledor II with a single blow from his hammer and after the Phoenix King pleaded for mercy, he killed him. He then stole his crown, telling the enemy "Nanana boo-boo, I'm better than you, stick your head in doo-doo" and burnt the city down, retreating to Karaz-A-Karak to flaunt his victory. The Elves, utterly demoralized, gathered all of their forces for one final suicidal push on Karaz-A-Karak before word came that the Dark Elves had attacked Ulthuan.
Since then, each faction has had burning hatred for each other. But each faction was made considerably weaker by the war, precipitating their respective declines.
With the power of both the elves and dwarfs spent, it left a power vacuum that was rapidly filled up by the rising power of men (and less nice races like the beastmen and skaven). Bretonnia, the Empire and Kislev all in time rose up from the regions the elves had previously conquered.
The High Elves retreat completely from the old world and didn't return until much later, to find that all those weird smelly barbarians called humans had suddenly sprung up all over the place and making their own cities and nations to boot. To say the elves were surprised is an understatement.
The Dwarves nearly right after the war suffered a nasty series of earthquakes that wrecked their defenses. The causes of this disastrous event has two speculation, where it is either caused by the failure of the Skaven when they tried to expand Skavenblight using some sort of giant machinry, or the idiotic Slann mages and Mazmundi from Lustria who were trying to shape the world according to the old ones. This disastrous event left many of their holds and mines open to invasion from the skaven and night goblin tribes. The fall of the dwarf empire broke them into smaller kingdoms, now with each hold under near constant siege.
With the high elves retreating to their homeland, the few left behind becoming Wood Elves who rose to be a quiet power in Athel Loren. Alas they had no peace, being constantly attacked by any old goblin and beastmen walking into their forest.
Literally the only positive thing to come out of this mess is Caledor II being universally nicknamed Caledor the Idiot which still entices a laugh to historians (Though that's just the tip of the iceberg for the Dwarfs).
So in the end, Malekith got what he wanted. He ensured that the High Elves and Dwarfs would never unite against him, all while spitting at the grave of his best friend, Snorri Whitebeard (Who had sworn on the latter's deathbed that the Elves and Dwarfs would remain friends!). What a dick...
And thus, this was probably Grombrindal's origin story.
|The High Elves and their gods of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Eltharion - Everqueen - Teclis - Tyrion - Prince Imrik - Alith Anar|
|Cadai:||Asuryan - Hoeth - Isha - Kurnous - Lileath - Loec - Mathlann - Vaul|
|Cytharai:||Addaioth - Anath Raema - Atharti - Drakira|
Eldrazor - Ellinill - Ereth Khial - Estreuth - Hekarti
Hukon - Khaine - Ladrielle - Morai-Heg - Nethu
|Events:||The War of the Beard - The invasion of Naggaroth|
|Misc:||Ulthuan - The Vortex - Waystone - Widowmaker|
|Appearances:||Blood Bowl - Dreadfleet - Mordheim - Warhammer Fantasy Battle|