Sunday, 27 November 2022

Literally Just One Lamentation

 Some excerpts below from one more book by Joss Reynolds! Another Reynolds book, another investigation of faith and identity, and another hero being best friends with a vampire...

Josh, did you really think you would get a trilogy?

They let him have one book, one short story and an audio drama. I bet even that was a cut down version of an eight book sequence from the original pitch..


But First - only 4 days left on the Kickstarter for 'Speak, False Machine'!

Only about 150 copies of the book remain! 

(Unless we get to a total of £21,650, in which case we can print 1000 copies).

But! We have hit every desired goal for each artist for the book! Meaning we will have art by;

Simone Tammetta!!

Scrap Princess!!

Jason Thompson!

Jez Gordon!

Peter Mullen!

Amanda Lee Franck!

Daniel Puerta!

Valin Mattheis!

Dirk Detweiler Leichty!

Ana Polanšćak!

and Alec Sorenson!


Now back to Josh, faith, and vampires. Here are two parts of a conversation between Volker, the Gunmaster commanded by the smith god Grungi to go and fetch the first of eight evil chaotic artifacts made with his stolen secrets. Grungi plans to remove them from reality and re-make them into something less fucking insane. Pretty much every other major power centre in the Mortal Realms already knows about them and is also sending people after them. One of which is the vampire Adhema, who enters into a probably-temporary alliance with the 'good guys' in the hopes of at least making sure Chaos don't get the super-weapon they are after.

Riding on a Kharadron airship, they get a chance for a rare, and unusual conversation.

If you read my previous Reynolds post, you will be familiar with the themes.

"like a smith hammering a nail"

Volker was silent. In truth, he'd wondered that himself. Why had Grungi sent them, rather than hunting for the weapons himself? What could they do that a god could not? But as he wondered, the answer came to him. 'Actions and reaction.'

Adhema frowned. 'What?'

'An action causes a reaction, yes? He gestured. 'A blade enters flesh, a man dies. A loud noise starts an avalance. Actions and reactions. if a god acts, other gods react. if Grungi seeks the weapons openly, so too will others. And the weight of their tread, the fury of their war, would crack the realms.'

'As if it has not already,' Adhema said.

Volker shrugged. 'True. Perhaps I'm wrong. But I suspect I'm not.'

'And so you do his bidding.'

'It needs to be done.'

'How do you know he hasn't put the thought there, like a smith hammering a nail?' Adhema tapped her head. 'The gods speak, and mortals obey. You cannot help it. It is like a great wave bearing down on you, and all you can do is run ahead of it. Run where they want you to.'

'And is Nagash any different?'

'Nagash is... all,' Adhema said, finally. 'He contains multitudes. Even as Sigmar does. The gods are not me, and do not exist as men, confined to one life. I have seen Nagash unbound - a titan of death, striding across a field of corpses. Wherever his shadow fell, the dead rose and walked, hungry for the flesh of the living. And I have seen Nagash-Mor, calm and silent, weighing the hearts of dead souls against a feather. And there are other aspects, I'm told. The Forlorn Child, who leads those who die before their allotted time to gentle slumber, and the Black Priest, who gives succour to those whose deaths are too painful to be borne. All are one in nagash and Nagash is all.'

'And which Nagash do you serve?' Volker asked.

'The one who can win the war for Shyish.' Adhema's fingers drummed against the pommel of her sword. 'The one who draws up the bodies of the enemy and hurls them back at their allies. The one who will not rest until the realm of death is scoured clean of false life. The Undying King, who leads the nine hundred and ninety-nine legions to war'. She grinned. 'He who walks in every mand shadow and wades in every mans blood.'

Volker felt a chill at her words. Nagash's name was a curse among the armies of Azyr. Death itself was, if not a friend, then a familiar acquantance. But the Master of Death was a terror beyond conception. A hungry shadow on a cave wall, stretching black fingers ever closer to those who huddled by the fire. Even the Runous Powers, horrifying as they were, were not so terrible as the entity known on the Amber Steppes as the patient Hunter. And yet, what better ally against the nightmare forces that waited beyond the fire's light? Match terror against terror, and see which proved the stronger.

Volker acknowledged the pragmatism of the thing, even as his soul shrank from it. It was akin to loosing a volley into a melee - the risk to your own men was weighed against potential harm to the enemy. That risk was often the thin line between victory and defeat.

Adhema smiled. 'You understand,' It was not a question.

Volker nodded. 'Somewhat.' He paused. Then, 'Why did you help me?'

'Perhaps it pleased me to do so,' Adhema said. She leaned back against the rail. 'Perhaps I simply siezed the moment for what it was - an opportunity.'

"what sort of monster you are"

Suddenly Volker was aware of her proximity. She smelled of something sickly-sweet, and this close,he could see the faint black veins running beneath her pale flesh. he was reminded that she was not human, and had not been so for many years, by her own admission. He took a slow breath, forcing himself to remain calm. 'Don't, then. I'd prefer my blood to stay where it is, frankly.'

'It's hard through. If I lose control, I feed the beast within. Some days, I want nothing more than to shed my skin and the last memory of what I was.' Her smile was ghastly. ' It would be easier that way. To be a beast, only concerned about the next meal. But I did not become what I am to forget. Nor to forgive.' She traced her fingers through the wispy trails of aether-gold that swirled just past the rail. 'Does that make me a monster?'

'Yes,' Volker said. 'But what sort of monster you are is up to you.' He lifted his rifle and braced the stock against his hip. 'With this rifle, I ahve taken more lives than I can count. Enemy lives, mostly. I reaped them, one at a time. I watched them first though. Knew them, if only briefly. And then killed them.' He smiled, sadly. On bad nights, he saw some of their faces in his dreams - the freeguilder, caught by bloodreavers, begging for a merciful death before the savages began their feast; the old war-chief, leading his folk into a desperate charge against the metal monsters of the Ironweld, his only crime a refusal to bow to the highborn of Azyr; the proud queen, high on her palnquin, refusing to submit before the will of Sigmar's choses, when they came demanding she cast down her people's idols.

He saw their faces, and screamed inside himself, until his mind shook itself calm. Or worse, he stayed awake, and wondered about the necessity of it all, and whether justice was a hard truth... or simply a fiction, invented by the gods to explain their whims. He looked at her. 'Is it better or worse to kill a doe who doesn't see it coming? A barbarian chieftain, carousing with his kin. A beastman, lapping at a pool. An orruk, dancing to the beat of tribal drums. They never heard the shot that killed them. They never saw the destruction that came after.'

'Where I come from, that'd be considered a mercy. My queen - and the one she serves - prefers it when the enemy fully understands the folly of their resistance. Death cannot be defeated, only posponed.' Adhema brushed a lock of hair out of her face. 'Even your thunder-god knows that.'


  1. I love your breakdowns of black library stuff. Since the Horus Heresy is winding down, would you be interested in going over some of the authors' non-HH books?

    I'd love a deep dive into Abnett and ADB. Or even (my voice hushes now to a conspiring whisper) Ian Watson?

    1. I kind of gave up on the Trailing Corposant posts as the future content was either controversial or boring and my immediate sense memory of the books has perished somewhat.

      Easy to talk about Reynolds since he is so *very* particular & with such a strong voice. May go back to some other authors depending if the urge rises within me..

    2. I always enjoyed the trailing corposant articles. Once I saw you had posted one while I was sleeping, and was so happy to get to read a fresh entry to the series while performing my morning constitutional that I said "yes!" out loud to no-one at all.