"The World Before Time is gone. Shattered. Consigned to an oblivion no-one thought possible. The metallic core of that ill-fated world was hurled through the cosmos, the God-King Sigmar clinging desperately to its sigmarite surface. Aeons passed, until the core caught the attention of the great drake Dracothion; it was he who rescued Sigmar, and taught him the secrets of the Mortal Realms - connected by Realmgates and peacefully populated for many years.
"But even in this utopia, Chaos would find a way to corrupt and distort everything. The Age Of Chaos gradually turned life in the realms into hell. Embracing wisdom instead of strength, Sigmar retreated to the Celestial Realm and began assembling the greatest mortal warriors, steeping them in the magic of the stars and instilling them with absolute divinity.
"The Stormcast Eternals are ready. Sigmar’s storm is lined up to unleash its fury on the forces of chaos. The realms will tremble and the skies will scorch as the legions of the Dark Gods feel the blistering rage of the Stormhosts!"
Having thus summed up his presentation, the speaker took his seat, and looked at his audience, clearly pleased with himself. Seated opposite were three figures, each bearded, and wearing a flowing robe, woven with sigils and fastened with a clasp bearing the crest of the celestial college of magic.
The central figure cleared his throat to speak.
"Alright, let me be sure that I understand you" he said, in a tone dripping with weariness. It was clear that this was not the first such meeting he had endured that day. "You were asked to demonstrate the creation of a bottled universe, is that not so?"
"Yes, master", the younger man confirmed. His own beard was patchy, and he wore the simple, unadorned robe of a college acolyte.
"And you chose to create a world that, you would say, follows on from our own?"
"That's right, master," said the acolyte, a trace of doubt creeping into his voice.
There was a short silence in the room. It was broken by the snoring of the eldest wizard, seated at the end of the table, prompting the lead tutor to resume his enquiries.
"And in this world, which you have on the desk beside you there, your interpretation of Sigmar himself has taken the shattered remains of our very planet and produced these realms, which are connected only by gates?"
"The Realmgates, yes. Sigmar's Stormcast Eternals use these to travel to the other Realms, there to engage in climactic battle..."
"Right, right, you've covered that bit," the tutor interrupted. He stared at the acolyte, and the glowing bottle on the desk beside him. Stars and comets could be seen twinkling within, but to the older wizard's eyes it seemed gaudy. He had seen many such artifacts before in his years at the colleges of magic, but preferred to see them display a little more imagination from their creators.
The third wizard, a portly fellow with the remains of a disappointing lunch caught in his beard, chose this moment to throw his own question at the student.
"Why don't they have faces?" he demanded grumpily.
The acolyte shuffled uncomfortably.
"Well, sir, figures like this can be somewhat fiddly..." he trailed off, and was almost relieved when the lead tutor took over once more.
"And when they fall in battle, these 'Eternals' are returned to life in their home realm? The same applies to their foes as well, I believe?"
"That's correct, master. They are returned to take the field once more at Sigmar's side!" came the answer.
"I see. So, one could say, this state of affairs is likely to continue indefinitely? Your mighty warriors clash forever, again and again, and ultimately achieve nothing at all, since neither side can actually be killed?"
"You did understand the requirements of this examination? We were expecting to see a universe able to grow and develop. Your creation, such as it is, doesn't seem to be able to go anywhere."
"I've included representations of all the greatest warriors of the history of the world!" the acolyte blurted out, mainly to have something to say at this point.
"Indeed you have. This makes as little sense as the rest of it as far as I'm concerned. If our world has been destroyed in this universe, how did these great fighters make it there? Weren't they destroyed too?"
"Well, I..." the acolyte started, before he was silenced by a look from the portly wizard.
"I think we've seen enough," the lead tutor said. "Thank you for showing us your work. We'll confer, and your results will be given to you when they are ready. Of course, most students in your position use clairvoyancy to find out how they've done straight away. How are your scores in clairvoyancy?"
He glanced at his notes. "Oh, I see. Well, at least that means we don't have to worry about the end of the world, as you've described it, being particularly likely. You're excused. Please send in the next candidate."
The young man slumped, and picked up his bottle. He knew he should have spent more time on it, but he also knew that he was one of the poorer students in his class, and it was likely that he just didn't have the talent to impress the older academics.
He muttered a thank you, and trudged from the room. He knew he'd failed the exam and would have to repeat the year. Again.
He wandered out of the college and onto the streets of Altdorf. The imperial capital was as busy as ever. Men, elves, dwarfs and halflings could all be seen going about their business. Market traders plied their wares from various stalls - spices from Cathay, cured meats from Tilea, Bretonnian wines, all were available in this street alone. The smell of the sea wafted from the nearby harbour, where a dwarf vessel, propelled by some arcane machinery, was slowly coming into dock.
The acolyte trudged into the first tavern he came to, and dumped his bottled universe into the midden. His "Age of Sigmar" came to an unenviable end, as life in the Old World carried on around him...
I think the above proves, if nothing else, that I can't write fiction. But, judging from what I've heard about the Age of Sigmar, I'm not the only one.
Anyway, the above is what I'm substituting in for this whole "End Times" nonsense which GW decided to remove the Warhammer World with. I like the Warhammer World. It's going nowhere.
Of course, it sounds like we'll be using Kings of War for our games in that world from now on...