Cast into the Realm of Death to seek an audience with the Undying King, Lord-Celestant Tarsus Bull-Heart of the Hallowed Knights and his Stormcast Eternals must brave the the horrors of the kingdoms of the dead, and battle fierce foes as well as faithless allies. Will they find one of the Nine Gates to the underworld…or is their mission doomed to failure?
I’ve been a bit remiss in the promotional department these past few months, but better late than never, right?
So, being asked to write the first quartet of Age of Sigmar audios was a bit daunting. The brief was more detailed than usual, with a list of plot beats that needed exploring in each installment. There needed to be an opening monologue, a lot of action sequences, a good chunk of expository dialogue, stuff going on in the background that would be explained in the follow-up audio series, and, lastly, a certain character needed to be reintroduced and, if possible, rehabilitated slightly from where they’d been left, development-wise. And all in 40,000 words.
I like to think I succeeded in accomplishing most, if not all, of that. I’ve written an audio for Black Library before, so I had an idea of what was needed, i.e. lots of talking, between several distinct characters. Even so, I was a bit nervous, given that this series had a lot of ‘firsts’ in it. It’s the first time we see the Realm of Death, it’s the first time we hear what Nagash sounds like, etc. These are things which color how the audience, not to mention other writers, will interpret these elements going forward.
The third audio, “The Lords of Helstone”, in particular was a bit of a struggle, plot-wise, due to certain things needing to be accomplished without making the Stormcasts (and Tarsus in particular) look like grade-A chumps. I had several talks with the editors, and even suggested cutting it from the storyline entirely. In the end, I’m glad we didn’t, if only because it nicely sets up certain scenes in the fourth installment.
The second, “Sands of Blood”, was probably my favorite to work on, as I had a lot more freedom to explore certain elements of the Mortal Realms, i.e. the actual mortals who inhabit them. The good pilgrims of Morrsend were, like the inhabitants of the Crawling City, or the refugees of Cartha, a part of the story that needed telling, if only to give the larger narrative some emotional stakes, beyond the clash of gods and monsters.
Anyway, the four audios are all available as mp3 downloads or cds (which look lovely) from Black Library. They’re listed in listening order below.
- “The Prisoner of the Black Sun”-Explore the Realm of Death with the Hallowed Knights as they seek an audience with the Great Necromancer Nagash and gain a most unlikely ally…
- “Sands of Blood”-The Hallowed Knights – and their vampire ally, Mannfred von Carstein – continue their quest to find the gates of the underworld and an audience with Nagash.
- “The Lords of Helstone”-Mannfred von Carstein leads his Stormcast allies into the deathly city of Helstone… What does he seek, and why does Lord-Celestant Tarsus feel a connection to the forsaken place?
- “Bridge of Seven Sorrows”-Finally, the Hallowed Knights reach their goal: the underworlds of Shyish and an audience with Nagash himself. On the Bridge of Seven Sorrows, Lord-Celestant Tarsus will meet his destiny.
And, if you’ve already enjoyed those, why not try the second series, featuring (some of) the characters from the first? Written by David Guymer, they follow the much-battered Bull-Hearts on their journey into the Realm of Beasts, in pursuit of the villainous Mannfred von Carstein…
- “The Beasts of Cartha”-After their disastrous search for the Supreme Lord of the Undead, the Hallowed Knights are reforged and tasked with a new mission: to find and capture the vampire that betrayed them, Mannfred von Carstein…
And remember…who shall stand, though the world crumbles? Only the faithful.