Today I am excited to be part of the Warhammer Adventures blog tour!
My fiancé is a huge fan of Warhammer and it has taken me awhile to get into them and these books have really helped! They are brilliant for young kids who want to get into it and just all the fans as well! I am excited to be sharing an extract from City of Lifestone with you all today and I hope you pick up these wonderful books!
CHAPTER THREE Ratmen
The top stair creaked, and Kiri
froze. But the voices kept speaking, somewhere in the darkness up ahead. She emerged into an impressive, almost circular hall. The ceiling was adorned with flaking frescoes depicting scenes from the Age of Myth – she saw Alarielle planting soulpods in a wooded glade, and Sigmar riding into battle on the back of his mighty Stardrake. Daylight slanted through rotted holes in the roof, illuminating rows of wooden benches. She moved between them, coming to a low barrier and peering cautiously over the edge. Beneath the balcony was a wooden stage, and on the stage was the oddest creature she had ever seen.
It had two furred legs and two clawed arms, throwing them wide as it spoke. It wore a purple waistcoat and a sable cloak, and its red eyes glimmered
above a twitching, fang-filled snout. Kiri had always assumed the Skaven were a myth, a bedtime story to frighten misbehaving children. But this walking, talking ratman was very real indeed.
‘My lady calls and quick-quick comes Kreech. Her wish is my command, yes-yes!’ The Skaven sniggered, as though sharing a secret. ‘Oh fine-fine lady, oh good-best queen, Kreech is yours to use as you desire, yes-yes!
Or so it seems. Am I right, my dutiful Lesh?’
Kiri crouched, peeping over the railing. There was another figure in the shadows, a large, black-furred Skaven with dirty white robes stretched over a tight round belly.
‘True-true, most high Packlord Kreech,’ he snickered. ‘You are her trusted agent, her good-good captain. Great riches await, surely-surely.’
The first Skaven smiled, hideous
lips drawing back over pointed teeth. ‘Riches, yes-yes. But more than that, oh Lesh. Infamy. Respect. Fear! They take us for fools-fools, but we’ll show them. Yes-yes, we will.’
Kiri ducked, backing away. There was no telling how many more of these monsters might be lurking around. But as she started to turn a hand grabbed her shoulder, another clamping over her mouth.
‘Quiet,’ a voice hissed. ‘If those things hear us we’re in proper trouble.’
The hands pulled away and Kiri twisted, her back to the railing. The tough girl, Thanis, was crouching in front of her, one finger pressed to her lips. Behind her Kiri could see the others, little Alish with her hammer and that thieving boy, Kaspar, hunched in the shadows with his hooded cloak wrapped around him.
‘How did you find me?’ she whispered.
Thanis held out her wrist. ‘The marks. When there’s three of us we can sort of tell where someone is.’
‘Vertigan calls it Triumverance,’ Alish added. ‘But I was the one who figured it out.’
Kiri shook her head. ‘I thought the streets were moving.’
‘Maybe they were,’ Kaspar said.
Sometimes I think this city’s got a mind of its own.’
‘That’s just your excuse for always getting lost.’ Alish grinned. ‘Look, we found the rats like Vertigan wanted. Can we go home now?’
‘Only if she’ll come with us,’ Thanis said, nodding at Kiri.
Kiri sighed. ‘Where is this... home?’
‘It’s called the Arbour,’ Alish said. ‘We live there, with Elio and our master, Vertigan. He brought us together.’
Kiri’s eyes narrowed, then she nodded. ‘All right. Lead the way.’ She’d play along for now, and once they were clear of these ratmen she’d look for another way to escape.
Kaspar crept back towards the stairway, the others at his back. With a start, Kiri realised that the voice from below them had ceased. She peered over the balcony. There was no sign of the Skaven.
‘Wait,’ she hissed. But it was too late.
Kaspar stepped back out of the stairwell, his eyes wide. Over his shoulder Kiri could see a dark figure, and another, and another. The ratmen swarmed silently up the steps, their claws raised. They were shorter than the one on the stage, scantily armoured in boiled leather. But there were so many of them, and more pouring in all the time. Kiri could see cold light in their red eyes.
Alish cried out, and the Skaven answered with a screech of pure animal savagery. They charged up the steps, claws scraping on the narrow walls. They were almost upon them.
‘Help me with this,’ Thanis barked at Kiri, her muscles straining as she lifted one of the long wooden benches. ‘Grab that end. Now turn it.’
Together they angled the bench so that it was aiming down the steps. Thanis gave a shove, driving it down like a ram. The ratmen tumbled into one another, landing in a heap.
The black-robed Skaven put his head into the stairway, letting out a
chittering cry of anger and disgust. ‘Fools-fools!’ he cried. ‘Don’t just lie there! Get them!’
The creatures gathered themselves and started up, scrambling over the fallen bench.
‘They’re coming again,’ Alish said, unclipping the hammer from her back and swinging it in front of her. ‘We need to get out of here.’
‘Look!’ Kaspar said, pulling his hood back and pointing up into the rafters. Above the stage was a metal gantry with ropes hanging from it. ‘Thanis, boost me up. It might be a way out.’
The tall girl cupped her hands and Kaspar stepped into them, steadying himself on the top of her head.
‘Three, two...’ Thanis gave a mighty shove and he sprang into the air, fingers scrabbling on the rusty gantry. Kiri’s breath stopped as Kaspar hung one-handed above the stage. Then he swung and grabbed on, pulling himself up.Nothing to it,’ he said, his face flushed.
‘For you, maybe,’ Thanis said. ‘But
how are the rest of us meant to get up there?’
‘We don’t go up, we go down,’ Alish said. ‘Kaspar, toss one of those ropes to Thanis.’
Kaspar nodded, grabbing a rope
and tying it fast to the gantry before throwing the loose end down. Thanis caught it, wrapping it around her wrist. ‘Will it hold?’
Kaspar bounced on the metal platform. It creaked but seemed sturdy. ‘Hopefully.’
Thanis held out a hand to Alish, and the smaller girl turned. But one of the Skaven leapt from the stairwell behind her, slashing with a blunt blade. Alish stumbled in surprise, dropping her hammer.
‘Sigmar’s beard!’ she spluttered as the creature’s sword swiped overhead, missing her by a hair. The Skaven raised it again, letting out a gleeful cackle.
Kiri’s catapult shot took the creature under the chin, and its laughter turned to a gurgle of surprise. Kiri grabbed Alish, pulling her to her feet and returning her hammer. Alish clipped it onto her back, then she took hold of Thanis’s arm.
‘You too,’ Thanis told Kiri, her hand outstretched.
Kiri looked up uncertainly. ‘Are you sure that rope’ll hold us all?’
‘No choice!’ Thanis cried, tugging her forward. Kiri felt wind on the back
of her neck as a sword sliced the air. She clutched Thanis’s waist and they toppled over the edge of the balcony, swinging out into empty space.
They hurtled towards the stage and over it, the rope groaning, Alish’s whoop of excitement ringing in Kiri’s ears. The rope was strong, but as they swung back she heard a creak and a snap, and looked up to see the gantry above
them crumpling, and finally breaking in two.
They hit the stage with a thump, tangled in the heavy curtains. Thanis struggled to her feet, swaying dizzily. Then there was a cry overhead and
she looked up, holding out her arms as something dropped right into them.
‘Thanks,’ Kaspar said, grinning up at Thanis. ‘I guess it wasn’t as secure as I thought.’
With a clang, the gantry landed in
two pieces on the stage.
‘You’re lucky,’ Thanis said. ‘You always
got me around to catch you.’
Hearing a screech, Kiri looked up. The
Skaven crowded along the upper railing, waving their swords and making rude gestures. Some were climbing over
and dropping from the balcony, while others bounded through an opening at the back of the auditorium, swarming towards the stage.
‘We should leave,’ she said. ‘Right now.’
Thanis led them to the back of the stage, where a stout wooden door was held shut with a loop of rusty chain. She charged, striking the door with all her strength. The chain snapped and it sprang open.
Kiri looked back to see the Skaven coming after them, blinking in the daylight. The black-robed leader pushed forward, gesticulating wildly.
‘What are you stop-waiting for?’ he screeched. ‘After them!’
Escaping her barbarian captors by chance and returning to the wondrous city of her birth, a girl mysteriously marked to be one of a group of special child defenders is confronted by a formidable curse and dangerous enemies. 15,000 first printing. Original.
Here is the book in the authors own words -
“The Realm Quest stories take place across the Mortal Realms, eight distinct but interconnected worlds filled with epic landscapes, ferocious creatures and limitless potential for adventure. However, our focus is on Ghyran, the Realm of Life, where populous human cities are scattered throughout a vast landscape of wilderness, forest, mountain and plain.
When their master Vertigan is kidnapped by the devious rat-men known as the Skaven, five brave children must band together to get him back. The quest will take them across the Mortal Realms, encountering fierce beasts, noble guardians and all manner of mayhem.”
Tom Huddleston is an author and freelance film journalist based in East London. Another experienced writer, he has penned two original fiction novels, as well three instalments in the official Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space series.
Brave champions and the forces of the Imperium battle alien beasts and mechanical tyrants accross the gulf of space.
On the hive world of Targian, Zelia Lor helps her mother search for ancient tech, digging up treasures of the past on the wind-blown plains. They are happy. They are safe. All that changes when the Necrons attack. Without warning, a host of robotic ships appear in the skies above Targian and rip the planet apart. Separated from her mother, Zelia must escape the doomed world, her only hope a scrambled transmission promising safety at a mysterious place known only as the Emperor's Seat. Launched in an escape pod, she crashes on an icy wasteland far, far from home. But Zelia is not alone. She is joined by a rag-tag group of survivors ? the street-tough juve Talen, gadget-obsessed Martian boy Mekki and super-intelligent alien-ape, Fleapit.