Legends of the World That Was
The Mortal Realms are lands of myth and legend, where gods and monsters walk the world, brave heroes face impossible odds and the very land itself is mutable, able to change based on the whims of mighty wizards and greater powers. But even in these mystical and danger-filled realms, there are more ancient myths spoken of in hushed whispers, tales passed down through generations of a World Before Time. It is said that this world is where many of the gods of the Mortal Realms were born, and that their deeds were mighty, even when they were mortals.
These are the Warhammer Chronicles.
Warhammer Chronicles is a range of Black Library stories set in the World That Was, the land that existed before the Mortal Realms. There are a huge variety of tales available, from detective stories in dingy cities to sagas of great wars, and the forging of heroes and villains. Here, we’ll highlight a few that have relevance to the great figures of the Age of Sigmar.
‘The Legend of Sigmar’ by Graham McNeill
As the name suggests, this is the story of the God-King himself, when he was but a mortal man. It’s a trilogy of novels, charting the rise of Sigmar from warrior-tribesman to leader of a mighty empire that stretches across half the Old World. If you want to understand Sigmar and why he is so eager to rid the Mortal Realms of Chaos and reunite mankind (and the other free races) under his rule, this is a great place to start. You can get the whole trilogy in a new paperback that’s available to pre-order now, as well as the eBook edition.
What the Sigmar trilogy did for the God-King, this pair of novels does for the Everchosen. It’s the full story of Archaon’s fall and rise (in that order) as he goes from a devout Templar of Sigmar to the harbinger of the Apocalypse. Every bit as insane and Chaos-infused as you would hope, this tale sees Archaon quest across the world for the artefacts that mark him as the Everchosen of the Dark Gods, and pits him against the greatest horrors the world has ever seen.
Nagash and his Mortarchs are the lords of the Realm of Death, and these stories, like the ones above, delve into the origins of some of these mighty undead heroes. ‘The Rise of Nagash’ trilogy takes Nagash from mortal priest to the mightiest necromancer the world ever knew, and also introduces Neferata, the first vampire. Her story continues in ‘Neferata’, as she seeks to establish her own power base outside of her immortal master’s shadow. Is that something she’s still trying to do in the Age of Sigmar? Only time will tell…
‘The Sundering’ by Gav Thorpe and the Tyrion and Teclis trilogy by William King
The aelves of the Mortal Realms have many powerful gods, and several of them were once mortal elves in the World That Was. Of these, Malekith – now known as Malerion, Lord of Shadows – is perhaps the greatest, having lived for millennia and served both light and dark on his journey to godhood. ‘The Sundering’ is the tale of his fall into evil, and the Tyrion and Teclis series shows him at his worst, as he tries to destroy the twins who are now the gods of Light.
The End Times by various authors
Of course, the World That Was is no more (the clue’s in the name…), and perhaps the most important Warhammer Chronicles are the tales of how the world was destroyed – The End Times. Sigmar, Nagash, Archaon, Malekith, Tyrion and Teclis all had their parts to play in that saga, along with other familiar names from the Mortal Realms, such as Arkhan and Mannfred von Carstein. The series consists of five novels (plus accompanying Quick Reads), each focusing on a different aspect of the events leading to the world’s end, such as Nagash’s return, the final war of the elves and the last great clash between Order and Chaos. It’s a saga that lays a lot of the groundwork for the alliances of gods in the Age of Sigmar, and is well worth a read.
All of the above titles – and many more – can be found in the Warhammer Chronicles section of the Black LIbrary website. Check it out now and explore the many stories of the World That Was.