"...it's well written, the characters come across wonderfully ... All around a great piece of fun fiction."
"What makes Cavallo’s short story ... stand out for me, though, is that it’s written in very swift, focused prose. I was very impressed with the fluidity of the story, and how easy it was to slip into the narrative, whisked along from the very first page."
I worked on several projects in the Warhammer Universe, and eventually they let me have some fun with their big toys, in the form of two of the signature characters, Gotrek & Felix.
My novella "Into the Valley of Death" formed part of a four-story collection entitled Gotrek & Felix: The Lost Tales.
Essentially a prequel to the bestselling story line of these two beloved characters, it follows a young Felix Jaeger, wandering the fringes of the Empire in the days before his fateful meeting with Gotrek. Hired on by a party of treasure-seekers after demonstrating his skill with a blade, he ventures deep into the haunted shadows of the Great Forest, searching for a legendary book of spells once owned by the foulest of Necromancers -- but in order to find it, he and his companions must navigate the domain of the dark conjurer, whose realm is protected by the living dead.
A Brief Excerpt:
Felix Jaeger ran for his life.
His feet slashed across the muddy ground with every hurried step. His muscles ached, screaming for rest. His lungs burned and his chest heaved. But he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t slow down, not even for a moment. Not even to catch his failing breath.
The beast was near. He could hear it, snarling and howling as it ripped through the thick forest behind him, shrinking the distance between them with each passing instant. The chase had already stretched on for almost an hour, tearing a scar across the dark woodlands of eastern Talabecland. It was a desperate race, a break-neck pursuit through treacherous woods and dense, overgrown brush-tangles. And it was now drawing to its inevitable, brutal end.
Each second brought the claws and the fangs closer. Every time he risked a glance backward, Felix could see those same merciless red eyes, glowing against the cold shadows of the Great Forest. No matter how far he ran, their gaze remained locked on him. In moments the monster’s furious gait would finally close the gap. Soon the beast would outlast him, and Felix’s exhausted sinews would become nothing more than food for the ravenous predator.
A thistle branch tore away his sleeve as he rushed through a thicket of brambles, cutting across his arm and spilling more blood in his wake. Garbed in what had once been the silken finery of a student at a prestigious university – everything he wore was now shredded and frayed. Months of wandering along the fringes of civilization had left him in rags and second-hand scraps. Stains of sweat, mud and blood discoloured the expensive dyes of his ruined clothing.
When he spied a rocky clearing in the forest ahead, only a few steps away, he staggered toward it. The monster’s roaring gait was growing ever-louder behind him. Every step made it swell. A rushing river bounded Felix to his right, churning with white rapids, making the frothing water impossible to negotiate. Ahead, at the edge of the stone outcropping, he caught sight of the fat trunk of a great old oak, towering above the uneven ground and reaching up into the dark canopy.
He clenched his fists and summoned his last ounce of strength. He charged into the open.
My first Warhammer short story "The Talon of Khorne" appeared way back in the May 2012 issue of The Black Library's now-defunct monthly fiction e-magazine "Hammer and Bolter."
Still only $3.99 for digital download to your Nook, Kindle or e-reader.
The tag line is: The last survivor of a slaughtered tribe reluctantly leads her people’s killers in pursuit of the legendary champion of the Blood God – the infamous Scylla Anfingrimm.
My second Warhammer story The Leechlord first appeared in Hammer and Bolter Issue 22, the July 2012 issue.
Same low price of $3.99 gets you my dark and twisted tale as well as several others by some of Black Library's best contributors.
The tag for this one is: An Imperial knight, wounded in battle against the vile skaven, encounters Festus, the dreaded servant of the plague god.
"I ... really liked ‘Leechlord’ by Frank Cavallo, a great Festus story that paces itself well and doesn’t overreach itself. An effortless read."
-Conclave of Har
Both of these stories: "The Talon of Khorne" & "Leechlord" are featured in the anthology "The Best of Hammer and Bolter: Volume 2"
Available on Amazon -- linked to the pic
For those unfamiliar with the Warhammer world
Here's a primer:
(and a video intro)
This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery. It is an age of battle and death, and of the world's ending. But it is also a time of mighty heroes, of bold deeds and great courage.
But these are far from civilised times. Across the Old World, from the heartlands of the human Empire to ice-bound Kislev in the far north, come rumblings of war. In the World's Edge Mountains, the orc tribes besiege gold-loving dwarfs. In the east, the dead do not rest easy, and there are rumours of rats that walk like men emerging from the dark places of the world. From the northern wildernesses there is the ever-present threat of Chaos, of daemons and beastmen corrupted by the foul powers of the Dark Gods ...