The Legend of Sigmar [00] Let the Great Axe Fall by Graham McNeill

The Legend of Sigmar [00] Let the Great Axe Fall by Graham McNeill

Author:Graham McNeill [McNeill, Graham]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Goodreads: 34725737
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

Part Two

When Cuthwin awoke, it was as though he’d spent the night in a warm bed with one of Aelfwin’s Night Maidens. His limbs felt refreshed and his head was as clear as a winter’s morning. He rolled from his blanket and stretched, sitting upright with a bemused grin on his face as he saw the rest of their company felt a similar sense of wellbeing. Teon and Gorseth set off to gather fresh kindling for the fires, but the smile fell from Cuthwin’s face as he saw the churned ground all around them, hundreds of footsteps in the earth and scraped claw marks on the rock. Cuthwin leapt to his feet and snatched his sword from its scabbard as he saw more and more signs of a sizeable warhost’s passing. Even the men with little in the way of woodsman’s skills could hardly fail to notice the imprint of so many feet, and voices were raised in confusion at the sight of the tracks.

‘What happened here?’ asked Wenyld, kneeling beside a clawed footprint.

‘We slept through the night,’ said Leodan, scanning the path that led up the mountain.

‘What in the name of Ulric’s balls was in that drink?’ demanded Cuthwin. ‘We could have been killed!’

Leodan shook his head. ‘Nothing that shouldn’t have been. It’s just burned water rakia.’

‘Damn it, Leodan, you could have killed us,’ snarled Wenyld. ‘You might have a death wish, but don’t drag us down with you.’

The Taleuten horseman gripped the hilt of his knife, and for a moment Cuthwin thought he might actually draw it.

‘Talk sense, man,’ said Leodan. ‘If I’d put us out with strong drink then we’d all be dead.’

Despite his anger, Wenyld saw the logic of what Leodan was saying, and nodded curtly, turning to Cuthwin with a mute appeal for an explanation. Cuthwin had none to give him; he couldn’t tell how many had passed in the night, nor, for that matter, could he imagine how they hadn’t all been woken or killed. He tried to move carefully around the tracks, but it was impossible to step on any patch of ground that hadn’t been tramped flat by the passage of uncounted feet.

‘This makes no sense,’ he said. ‘Why aren’t we dead?’

Cuthwin gave up trying to decipher the tracks and looked up as he heard voices raised in anger from farther along the path. He saw Sigmar making calming gestures towards the dwarfs who all looked as though they were ready to start a brawl in a crowded tavern. A hunched figure in a cloak of iridescent feathers stood behind Sigmar, and Cuthwin took an instant dislike to the man, though he could not say why.

‘Come on,’ he said. ‘Looks like trouble.’

Wenyld and Leodan followed Cuthwin as he made his way to the ugly scene brewing between Sigmar and the dwarfs. Even before he reached Sigmar’s side, he heard words like necromancer and daemonspawn. It didn’t take any great leap of imagination to know that these words were being directed at the man in the cloak of raven feathers.


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