Hey all, I’ve been on a massive Age of Sigmar lore buzz recently and reading as much of the Black Library works as I can. I buy all the books electronically so that I can highlight up passages and take notes as I go along – The Tainted Axe being my most recent read. The Age of Sigmar Black Library works are great for details that really ground and expand the Mortal Realms in a way that you simply can’t get just with reading a bit of background in the Battletomes.
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how I can share these details in a way that will show people the depth of the Mortal Realms while also being accessible. There are plans for a database and index, but for the moment, I’m just going to share my notes (hopefully as spoiler-free as possible). So below you’ll find some short descriptions of the characters, locations and other points to note in the Josh Reynolds short, The Tainted Axe.
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The Tainted Axe by Josh Reynolds
The Tainted Axe is an e-short following Sir Roggen of the Ghyrwood March at a time after the novel Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows.
The Tainted Axe is part of the Eight Lamentations series and I hope we get many more novels to come as Spear of Shadows was a great read. Pick up Spear of Shadows if you haven’t already, you need no background knowledge of the Age of Sigmar lore and narrative (US / UK). We also have another short in the series, Auction of Blood (US / UK), which is set before Spear of Shadows.
Characters in the Tainted Axe
Sir Roggen of the Ghyrwood March, a Knight of the Order of the Furrow, unkempt hair, thicket-like beard, scarred features, lost left hand, rangy limbs thick with hard-earned muscle, wears a simple jade habit of woven fibres belted at the waist with leather. Sir Roggen lost his hand in the service of Grungni. Though they worshipped Alarielle, the Knights of the Furrow had often shed blood in service to Grungni.
“As novices, we are taught to be wary of Alarielle’s children, for they are not mortals and do not think as mortals do. They change with the seasons and cannot be trusted.’
‘No more so than the storm or the flood. We are taught to respect you, but not to trust you.’ He bowed his head. ‘Seek no favours of the tree-kin, but sink deep the roots of every bargain,’ he recited.”
Knights of the Order of the Furrow don’t use metal as it would break their oath to the Everqueen. Instead they carry bronze-coloured ironwood war-plate and weapons grown from seeds gifted by Alarielle before the coming of Chaos. Sir Roggen’s weapon is made from the seedpod of a devourer plant. Thick, vein-like convolutions connected the dark blade to the hilt, and the pommel-stone was a milky-hued gem, uncut and heavy.
“They had worshipped a different god, once. Or so the stories said. Now, the Order of the Furrow bowed only to the Lady of Leaves, and watered her sacred forests with the blood of her enemies – and their own, when necessary.”
Sir Roggen rides Harrow – demigryph, vibrant green feathers, dark ironwood armour.
The Bramble-Maiden, branchwraith, sister to the Lady of Vines and daughter of the Everqueen. Set Sir Roggen his quest and promised to regrow his hand from wood in return for successful recovery of the Tainted Axe.
Kryael, formerly the Knight of Evensong – now a bracken spirit given as companion for Sir Roggen. It is suggested that Kryael’s current form is due to either disfavour with or a broken promise to Alarielle
Sir Feculus, of the Duchy of Bitterbile, Knight of the Order of the Fly, kinsman of Duke Goral of Festerfane – sent to reclaim the Tainted Axe.
Hygal, a moss-leper, and Knight of the Order of the Furrow.
With passing references to:
- Drycha Hamadreth, Queen of Thorns, Regent of the Outcasts.
- Alarielle, the Lady of the Leaves.
- Grungni – often referred to as “The Crippled God” by critics.
Locations in the Tainted Axe
The Writhing Weald, Ghyran, an old and savage forest.
Other points of note
Moss-leprosy – a condition where the person has ever-growing patches of cancerous moss. It ate away at flesh and muscle, leaving only dense, green clumps clinging to the bone but causes no pain.. Sufferers smell musky.
In Ghyran, the honoured dead and bound in sacks and buried here, where they might add their strength to that of the trees.
The Tainted Axe, Lifebiter, an ancient weapon, once wielded by Duke Goral of Festerfane, a cursed scion of Nurgle’s demesnes.
Balefire – Nurgle’s fire, twists what it touches and spreads sickness.