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Authors: Marc Gascoigne,Christian Dunn (ed) - (ebook by Undead)

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Tales of the Old World

BOOK: Tales of the Old World
3.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Edited by
Marc Gascoigne
& Christian Dunn
(An Undead Scan v1.0)



This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of
sorcery. It is an age of battle and death, and of the world’s ending. Amidst all
of the fire, flame and fury it is a time, too, of mighty heroes, of bold deeds
and great courage.


At the heart of the Old World sprawls the Empire, the largest
and most powerful of the human realms. Known for its engineers, sorcerers,
traders and soldiers, it is a land of great mountains, mighty rivers, dark
forests and vast cities. And from his throne in Altdorf reigns the Emperor Karl
Franz, sacred descendant of the founder of these lands, Sigmar, and wielder of
his magical warhammer.


But these are far from civilised times. Across the length and
breadth of the Old World, from the knightly palaces of Bretonnia to ice-bound
Kislev in the far north, come rumblings of war. In the towering World’s Edge
Mountains, the orc tribes are gathering for another assault. Bandits and
renegades harry the wild southern lands of the Border Princes. There are rumours
of rat-things, the skaven, emerging from the sewers and swamps across the land.
And from the northern wildernesses there is the ever-present threat of Chaos, of
daemons and beastmen corrupted by the foul powers of the Dark Gods. As the time
of battle draws ever near, the Empire needs heroes like never before.





Editor’s Introduction
by Christian Dunn


Tales of Honour & Heroism


Freedom’s Home or Glory’s Grave
by Graham McNeill

Ancestral Honour
by Gav Thorpe

A Gentleman’s War
by Neil Rutledge

The Doorway Between
by Rjurik Davidson

Birth of a Legend
by Gav Thorpe


Tales of Adventure & Mystery


Haute Cuisine
by Robert Earl

Paradise Lost
by Andy Jones

Night Too Long
by James Wallis

Grunsonn’s Marauders
by Andy Jones

The Man Who Stabbed

Luther van Groot
by Sandy Mitchell


Tales of Revenge & Betrayal


The Faithful Servant
by Gav Thorpe

The Sound Which Wakes
by Ben Chessell

The Sleep of the Dead
by Darius Hinks

Path of Warriors
by Neil McIntosh

Rat Trap
by Robert Earl


Tales of Deceit & Obsession


Rotten Fruit
by Nathan Long

by Robert Earl

Portrait of my Undying Lady
by Gordon Rennie

Seventh Boon
by Mitchel Scanlon

by Robert Earl


Tales of Tragedy & Darkness


Mormacar’s Lament
by Chris Pramas

The Chaos Beneath
by Mark Brendan

Wolf in the Fold
by Ben Chessell

The Blessed Ones
by Rani Kellock

Dead Man’s Hand
by Nick Kyme


Tales of Death & Corruption


by Dan Abnett

Tybalt’s Quest
by Gav Thorpe

A Choice of Hatreds
by C.L. Werner

Who Mourns a Necromancer
by Brian Craig

The Hanging Tree
by Jonathan Green


Tales of Madness & Ruin


The Doom that Came to Wulfhafen
by C.L. Werner

by Ben Chessell

Son and Heir
by Ian Winterton

Ill Met in Mordheim
by Robert Waters

by Brian Craig

The Ultimate Ritual
by Neil Jones and William King


Editor’s Introduction
Christian Dunn



So I’ve just finished going over the running order for this anthology (or
should that be uber-anthology?) and there’s so much I want to say.

Should I tell you about the time that I was literally an hour away from the
submissions deadline for issue 22 of
and still a story down when
the mail arrived containing CL Werner’s synopsis for “A Choice of Hatreds”? It
blew us all away and was commissioned on the spot (thanks Clint!).

Or should I tell you about how Robert Earl’s “Rattenkrieg” was originally
rejected by an over-zealous assistant editor only to be rescued when another
staff member read the synopsis and realised how great the twist is (it’s on page
429 but at least do me the decency of finishing this introduction before you
rush off and read it)?

I could tell you how happy I am that most of the stories that were
commissioned to keep on the shelf for
(see, I learned my lesson
from issue 22) have now finally been committed to print in this volume.

I could also tell you that because I didn’t get to write a farewell editorial
I’m ecstatic to finally have the chance to thank Marco and
all of the authors and artists for making it such a success for so many years.

Would it be worth mentioning how, like a gym teacher whose protégé goes on to
win the FIFA golden boot or Heismann Trophy, how proud I am that many of these
authors have gone on to become top-selling novelists for the Black Library and
other publishers and imprints?

Maybe I could tell you that although I miss
like a faithful
family pet or a kidney, it’s great to see the tradition of uncovering new talent
being continued through the Black Library short story competitions.

I could even tell you that these thirty-six stories represent the finest
writing from almost a decade of Warhammer short fiction and will take you on a
journey from the heartland of the Empire to the madness-inducing landscape of
the Chaos Wastes.

Or maybe I should just step away from the keyboard and just let you read the

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.




Graham McNeill



Shadows leapt like dancers around the tall garrets of the crumbling towers
and Leofric Carrard was starting to think that it had been a bad idea to agree
to Lord d’Epee’s request to venture into the abandoned depths of his castle.

The blade of Leofric’s sword shone with a milky glow in the moonlight, its
edge like a razor despite him never having taken a whetstone to it. The Blade of
Midnight was elven and Leofric hoped that whatever enchantments had been woven
in its forging would be proof against the monster they were hunting, a creature
of the netherworld, neither alive nor dead.

The ruined inner walls of the gatehouse reared above Leofric, the ramparts
empty and dusty, and the merlons broken and saw-toothed. The gateway before him
sagged on rusted iron hinges, the timbers splintered and yawning like an open
mouth. Beyond the gateway, he could see one of the inner keeps, its solid
immensity a brooding black shape against the sky.

“Do you see anything, Havelock?” he called to his squire.

“No, sir,” whispered the squire, his voice sounding scared, and Leofric hoped
that this venture would not see Havelock meet as grisly a fate as his previous
squire, Baudel. Leofric still saw the bloody image of Baudel in his nightmares,
his belly ripped open by the forest creatures of Athel Loren.

“Very well,” he said, keeping his voice even. “Let’s keep on.”

Leofric advanced cautiously through the gateway, keeping his head moving from
left to right in search of anything out of place. It saddened and angered
Leofric to see such a fine castle left to such neglect. In its day, this would
have been an almost impregnable fastness, but its glory days had long since
passed and its current lord, the lunatic Lord d’Epee was in no fit state to
restore it. Where would the local peasants find shelter in times of war? Every
lord and noble of Bretonnia had a sacred duty to preserve the natural order of
things in his lands, and that could not happen were he to allow the peasants of
his lands to be butchered by orcs or beastmen because they had nowhere to run

True, Aquitaine was a largely peaceful dukedom—aside from the fractious
populace—but that was no excuse for a noble lord to let his castle fall into
disrepair. When Leofric had commanded a castle of his own, back in Quenelles, he
had spent a goodly sum from his coffers to ensure the castle remained defensible
at all times.

But there was more than simple neglect at the heart of Castle d’Epee’s
abandonment. The lord and his family dwelled in the outermost gatehouse, fearful
of the darkness and the creatures of evil that had taken the inner reaches of
their ancestral home, and unwilling to risk their own lives to recover the
treasures and heirlooms that lay there.

One such heirloom was the object of Leofric and Havelock’s quest, a stuffed
stag’s head said to be hung within the great hall of the third keep. Privately,
Leofric thought it a frivolous use of his knightly skills to retrieve such a
folly, but the twitching Lord d’Epee had offered Leofric and Havelock shelter on
their journey in search of the Grail and his code of honour bound him to accede
to his host’s request for aid.

Beyond the gate, Leofric found himself in a cobbled courtyard with ruined
outbuildings leaning against the walls, their roofs collapsed and open to the
sky. Rotted straw was strewn across the cobbles and the derelict keep loomed
like an enormous black cliff before him. Moonlight pooled in the courtyard and
glittered from the silver of his plate armour, but the keep remained resolutely
dark and threatening, its casement windows invisible against its darkness and
its crumbling towers like spikes of black rock.

BOOK: Tales of the Old World
3.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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