It was a clear, crisp morning in early spring when a mule-cart creaked up to the entrance of Karak-Varn. Two guards looked suspiciously at the driver, a small hunched figure thickly wrapped in a variety of foul-smelling and flea-ridden blankets. It might be a Dwarf, but they couldn't be sure.
'Who are you, and what's your business?' challenged one of the guards. The driver of the cart cackled softly.
'Come to see your king, I have,' it said, gathering the blankets around it as it shuffled down from the driving seat, 'Brought something for him.'
The guards looked at one another, a little nervously. 'What is it, then?' asked one. The other moved towards the back of the cart, and started to lift the tarpaulin that covered its cargo.
'DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH THAT!' Surprised by the sudden power in the driver's voice, the guard dropped the tarpaulin as if it had burnt him. 'It's had enough of a messing with, just getting here,' the driver grumbled, 'And if you go a-poking and a-prodding it about, it won't be fit for Goblins. And now, if you don't mind, I've had enough of the oily rags and I'll talk to the mechanic.'
'Now I'm not guaranteeing how well it's travelled,' he announced, to no-one in particular. He produced a grubby metal tankard from among his mass of blankets, drew off a little of the barrel's contents, and peered at it critically. 'Hmmmm', he sniffed, 'Gone cloudy.' He swigged noisily, then screwed up his face and spat. 'Worse than I thought,' he continued , 'it could really do with settling for a month or two. Still, it should give you the general idea.' He held out the tankard to the King.
After a moment's hesitation, the King accepted the tankard, and, wiping the rim fastidiously with his cuff, took a swig. The effect was remarkable. His eyebrows shot up to the very rim of his crown, his eyes bulged and began to water as he was doubled over by a fit of coughing. After a few seconds the coughing subsided, and was followed by a deep, resonant belch. It was almost a minute before he was able to speak. 'I don't believe it!' he exclaimed. 'it can't be! It's.... Bugman's!'
There was uproar in the chamber. It was many years since the Battle of Bugman's Brewery. Joseph Bugman was just a memory, a name half forgotten and wreathed in legend, like the name of Bugman's Best Bitter.
Joseph Bugman miraculously survived the Battle of Bugman's Brewery, and turned up years later at the Dwarf hold of Karak-Varn. He was not recognised at first, but when the King of the Dwarfhold tasted the beer that he brought with him, his identity was proved beyond doubt. Bugman's Dwarf Rangers were re-formed at Karak-Varn, as his reputation and his brewing skills brought Dwarves from miles around flocking to his banner. The expedition to reconquer and re-establish Bugman's Brewery assumed the proportions of a holy war.
Right! So that's started - my Dwarf army is underway and the unit it always had to start with was Bugman's Dwarf Rangers. The unit will be 24 models strong (including the hero and champion) and hold down the spot of the compulsory Dwarf Crossbowmen in my list (with full command and the upgrades for shields and double-handed weapons, of course). My plan is to paint the unit in muted tones - browns and greys - for the most part.
I'll have the rest of the command group up this week...