Race - The Grumkin

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The Grumkin are one of the three races of the People of the Skull, along with the Varga and Ogres. The People appeared on Earth not long after Gaia created many of the Beasts in the Age of Legend, though their own shamans tell conflicting stories about how and why they came to Earth so long ago. One facet they all agree upon, however, is that they were fleeing their homeworld because of an enemy whom they no longer remember, and that they arrived through a “hole” in the firmament.

The People divide themselves into tribes, each composed solely of one of the three races. The Ogres are physically the largest of the three tribes, and as intelligent as the Grumkin, if lesser in number. The Varga are the most populous race of the People, but are dominated by their baser desires, particularly aggression. The Grumkin themselves are the smallest of the races of the People of the Skull, but they’re as capable as the Ogres and more numerous.

The tribes of the People are, in turn, ruled by a Khan who is almost always an Ogre. Although their territory has ebbed and flowed over time, the People are generally to be found in the vast northern plains and forests of the lands to the east of Europe, and in the mighty Ural mountains that bound Europe on the eastern front.

The People of the Skull, of course, plagued the Beasts during the Age of Legend, and the Foxen established the Border Holds in northeastern Europe to defend against attacks by the aggressive People. By the end of the Age of Legend, the People had completely overrun the Border Holds, wiping them from the Earth.

In our current Age – the Age of Beasts – the People have fallen under the spell of the alliance between Baal, the Prince of Hell, and Mestif, one of the four surviving Elemental Dragons. Together, they plot to collect shards of the Spirit Mother and use them to further pry open a small existing portal between Earth and Hell.

When the Daemons led by Furcas the Liberator left Hell and fled through the portal to Earth, they encountered the Blackrag tribe of Grumkin whom they warned of the peril to them were Baal to open the portal wide enough for him and his armies to come through.

The Blackrag tribe was a fringe tribe within the People of the Skull. Grumkin tribes are led by a male-female duo, and the Blackrag were no exception. Koshan, the Chieftan, and Morhag, the Chieftess, ruled them but had kept the Blackrag as much to the side as possible in the People’s pursuit of power via their cooperation with the Dragon Mestif and the rulers of Hell. They did not believe that the coming of Baal would herald a golden age for the People of the Skull, as most of their kind believed.

When Furcas and the Daemons came through the portal to Hell, Koshan and Morhag knew it was time to leave. They allied with Furcas, and traveled to the Ranger Kingdoms (the largely Foxen-descendants of the remnants of the Border Holds) to warn the Beasts of the coming threat and, hopefully, gain a safe haven somewhere to call their own.

The Beasts had never seen a Daemon before, and had no preconceptions about them. Coming as they were to warn the Beasts of a great threat, they were embraced and were welcomed as a part of the Beast Nations.

The Grumkin as a race, on the other hand, had long plagued the Beasts of Eastern Europe, as the great Khans of the People coveted Europe throughout the Age of Legend and had sowed so much sorrow amongst them. While the Daemons were welcomed, the Grumkin were shunned.

Indeed, it was not until the recent invasion of Andalusia by the Anubians that the descendants of the Grumkin of Tribe Blackrag managed to gain general acceptance as Beasts. Seeking to prove their worth and make some gesture of atonement for the past, a charismatic Grumkin leader called Karebi Madheart led a large band of Grumkin to Andalusia to help the Atavians and Lisians there defend Europe from the Anubians. In fact, Karebi’s forces were the first to arrive and had bloodied themselves in battle against the Anubians before even King Arthur dispatched Sir Lancelot to Andalusia.

Karebi and the other Grumkin performed numerous heroic acts of valor, and many say that it was only through their efforts that the fortress city of Cazador did not fall when the Anubians unleashed their Simian shock troops against its defenders. Today, of course, Cazador has been greatly reinforced by troops from elsewhere in Europe (such as the aforementioned Arthurian knights, the Crimson Legion of the Redeemers, and Onur Iskander’s Taurians) but 10 years ago when the Anubians first invaded it was not nearly as strong and none expected the sheer physical power of the Simians that General Thothmes had included in his army.

Upon the arrival of Lancelot and his Arthurian Knights, Karebi Madheart and her Grumkin warriors were placed under the great knight’s command, and it was not long before Lancelot counted the Grumkin as the most audacious warriors he had ever seen. What they lacked in discipline and organization they more than made up for in tenacity and ferociousness. In their zeal to prove the worth and honor of the Grumkin, Karebi led her warriors on sally after sally against the besieging Anubians, breaking the invader’s lines many times and causing much chaos and consternation among them. They did not fear to engage the largest and most fearsome Silverback Simians, and they were heedless of their own well-being.

Two years into the war, Lancelot needed volunteers for a perilous mission that would send a company of volunteers east through the Sierra Morena mountains and then south to scale the walls of Fort Tartessos, on the northern bank of the Quivir river. If the Cazadorians could take back the fort, they would cut off the troops sieging Cazador and push the frontlines of the rest of the Anubian army to south of the Quivir, giving Defender Roldan Vasco (the Atavian leader of Cazador) and his various Beasts some breathing room.

When Lancelot called for volunteers he was overwhelmed with more candidates than he could take. Every single one of Karebi’s Grumkin volunteered and so earnest were they that Lancelot was forced to accept all of them. Along with the Grumkin came a group of mighty Taurians led by Onur Iskander and an assortment of Lisians, Atavians, and some of the Redeemer’s Crimson Legion. They set off at nightfall and traveled through the night to skirt the Anubian forces camped outside of Cazador’s walls. Arriving at Fort Tartessos, they scaled its walls, entered the fort, and began to quietly slay any Anubians they spotted. Soon enough, a cry of alarm went up from the Anubians and the fort was thrown into the chaos of battle.

Simultaneously, the front gates of Cazador opened unexpectedly and a mighty force of warriors led by Defender Vasco himself charged forth, throwing magic, blade, and arrow at the surprised Anubians. They smashed the Anubian lines and thundered south to Fort Tartessos where Karebi Madheart had managed to get the gate to the fort open before being peppered with arrows. There she fell, never to rise again, but her death served to drive the Grumkin among Lancelot’s raiders to even greater fury.

The advantage of surprise soon wore off, however, and Lancelot’s raiders were sorely pressed to simply defend themselves. One by one they fell until they heard the clarion horns of Cazador announcing the arrival of the army. With renewed vigor, Lancelot led his forces inside the Fort forward toward the gate, taking heavy losses but driving the Anubians towards the gate. Minutes later Defender Vasco arrived and together they smashed the Anubians between the anvil of Lancelot Dulac and the hammer of Roland Vasco. Fort Tartessos had been captured and the siege of Cazador broken!

Few Grumkin had survived the raid but Lancelot took word back to Cazador of their heroism and from there, sent word to King Arthur of the victory and the sacrifice of Karebi Madheart and her courageous Grumkin. With the immensely popular Arthur lending strong support to the Grumkin and the tale of the Battle of Fort Tartessos spreading among the Beasts of Europe, the Grumkin became accepted as one of the Beasts as had the Anura, the Cyclops, the Clockwork, the Yeti, and the Daemons before.

The Grumkin are the newest members of the Beasts and as a result still face resistance and distaste by some Beasts, particularly the Foxen of the Ranger Kingdoms, who bore the brunt of the aggression by the People of the Skull for so long. Still, the Grumkin formerly of Tribe Blackrag, have often volunteered to serve on the frontlines against the People of the Skull and have also served as excellent spies within the People. Perhaps someday even the Ranger Kingdoms will welcome the Grumkin with open arms but in the meantime they can be found scattered around Europe and concentrated in Swineland where most Beasts prefer not to live due to an unwillingness to put up with the boisterous antics of the Warpigs who call it their home.

The ancestors of the Grumkin fled their kin in the People of the Skull when those around them began the worship of Baal, the Demon Prince. They have since been welcomed into the nations of Beasts, though not without reservation.

The Foxen The Harts