Alright, so I'm very behind the times when it comes to all things lore-related and I've been trying to sort of catch up. One thing that I have heard and kind of noticed in my searching is that the fluff in the final 8th Ed. army books and the stories in the End Times additions don't necessarily match up with the official stories written by the Black Library author (Joshua something I think?) and that it is difficult to figure out what really did and didn't happen because GW has declared any clarifications the author makes null and void to the canon. If they didn't print it then it didn't happen. My search for answers lead me initially to the Lexicanum and what I found there with minimal searching mostly amounted to what was happening between the elves during the End Times and the attempt at unity and Teclis scheming to create eight Incarnates or whatever to represent the Winds of Magic in order to turn back the tide of Chaos. Seeing as this touched almost nothing of what happened with the dwarves, let alone the actual END of the End Times and the birth of new lore in Age of Sigmar, I kept searching.
A few keystrokes and a click or three lead me to a lengthy write-up over on 1d4chan that seemed to cover basically everything. He had it broken down into the key points that affected every faction, divided up BY faction so you could read about just your guys, and I think capped it off with a "These guys are definitely dead...at least in the End Times" list. What I'm remembering of that, as far as dwarves are concerned, is that the Skaven and Goblins did some serious raiding and killed some of our best beards. Many lords preferred to look inwards to try and save themselves rather than aid the Empire (as our sworn oath to Sigmar suggests we should have done). We open the gate to Valaya to try and usher in a golden age, or at least stop the world from ending I guess. But Nagash is a total douche-nozzle and breaks into Valaya's bedchamber to suck all of her magic out (though nothing specifically stated that she was "eaten" or in some other way actually killed since he still had to kill ANOTHER god to become a god). Ungrim becomes the Incarnate of Fire! Thorgrim becomes the Incarnate of Metal! Thorgrim dies. Damn. Metal eventually bound to Balthazar Gelt. Everyone marches to Ungrim and then march to aid the world in its last days. Gotrek is Gotrek. Gotrek is Grimnir! Felix eventually dies. Grombrindal, the White Dwarf, summons every angry dwarf ghost ever to fight, vowing to avenge every grudge before the world ends! The world ends in darkness. Sad face.
Of course after learning, in a fashion, what happened to the Old World I need to know about the New World(s). At the very least what I've learned/read online/heard is this; At some point after the end of the World That Was Sigmar lost Ghal Maraz (pfft, Humans) but managed instead to reach into the Chaos Realms and snag the core of our poor, poor world. He proceeded to float in...the Warp? I guess? Totally not lost, he knew exactly where he was going! It's true! He didn't NEED to ask Dracothion (giant space dragon of the heavens!) for directions he was...just...umm...taking the scenic route. To the Mortal Realms. That he TOTALLY knew existed. Yeah. >_> Upon reaching the Mortal Realms he found a "cloud" of lost souls and was able to give them form again, essentially recreating all of the races that had existed in the Old World, but in the Mortal Realms instead. He sets the core of the Old World in the center of Azyr and builds his city around it like a halo. Over time more and more of the souls coalesce or whatever and the Realms are populated again! Humans and Aelves and Duardin oh my! Orruks taste like Orruks and Ogors taste like...eww. Sigmar even discovers that many of the old heroes have become gods, or that the old gods are rediscovered/reborn in these new Realms. Cue the ringing of metal and the stoking of forges! Sigmar finds both Grungni and Grimnir! No Valaya, though...not yet. Nor any of the other minor Duardin deities.
An age of peace settles over the realms as the races expand and build vast kingdoms into every corner of existence. Sigmar manages for a time to hold everything together, even Gorkamorka (Or Morkagorka?) doesn't completely fly of the handle and start killing everyone just to kill something. Grungni assists in the building of Sigmar's city (Sigmaron?) and establishes an Iron Mountain or somesuch for all the Dispossesed/Duardin who choose to live in Azyr. Eventually things start to unravel, Grimnir is sent to kill Vulcatrix and explodes into Ur-Gold, Nagash is still a massive dillweed, and Chaos returns to screw up everything. So after thousands and thousands of years of people rebuilding on 8 massive Realms (it was "millenia" was it not?) all three Major gods, plus the Great Horned Rat, come in and start slaughtering everyone. There is apparently ineffectual resistance, nothing particularly organized at least, and Chaos takes everything again...at least, almost everything. Sigmar sees that the Realms are lost and seals the gates to Azyr to figure out how he can save himse-errr....everyone. During this time he apparently consults with Grungni and they devise the Stormcast Eternals. By using the core of the Old World they discover sigmarite and Grungni begins production on armor and weapons while Sigmar somehow plucks the greatest heroes of the Realms he can find out of their Realms and into his to be beaten time and again, body and soul, until they die or become big damn heroes, sir! When he feels ready he throws open the gates and sends his newly minted Stormcast Eternals out to fight Chaos and prays to himself that they can win enough to start saving all the other Realms. And somewhere along the line I heard that Grungni, after fashioning the Stormcast Eternals, left Azyr to search Chamon (the Realm of Metal) for the Duardin who went there.
And that, theoretically, brings me up to speed, yeah? But there are still questions...like first and foremost, is there a single book I can get that really explains the origin of Age of Sigmar? Hopefully one that actually describes the Realms as more than "Chamon, the Realm of Metal...is a Realm. Full of Metal." Or do I really need to be shelling out like $50 for every single campaign book, Grand Alliance book, and Battletome just to keep up with what's going on? Is there even, perhaps, a place online where I can get a cliff-notes kind of version of the current "history" of the Age of Sigmar? I know that they are still exploring and discovering and revealing what has happened and where things and people are, but it's a little infuriating to think that I might have a cool idea for an army theme only to have them release a book that says, "Nope, sorry, according to canon that couldn't happen." I mean, I haven't seen it stated anywhere but I ASSUME that what Duardin and Humans, and I guess Aelves now, we have are essentially descendants of the original souls that were reborn in the Realms. And I had assumed, until I heard that last thing about Grungni, that Grungni was basically chilling in Azyr with Sigmar ready to repair damaged armor and make new armor for new Stormcast...unless once he finished the prototype stages he just handed the work off to the Duardin in the Iron Hold and kicked back with a brewski to watch everyone else work for a bit? I mean, I know that Sigmar can apparently draw the souls of the deceased Stormcast back and reforge them while tweaking Nagash's skeletal nose, but is it just the soul? Does he reform their body or can he at a distance steal back their soul AND body to be reborn in his Realm? Does he need to make new Stormcast ever or was there a finite number and, therefore, a finite amount of armour and weaponry necessary?
And given that Grungni is also a god AND was essential to the initial formation of the Stormcast, wouldn't he still be integral to any new Stormcast development? How much of the process was him and how much was Sigmar? I mean, is Sigmar the only god capable of thumbing his nose at Nagash and recovering the souls of dead heroes? Just how powerful is our remaining known Duardin god? And what, I wonder, does everyone know or remember about the Old World? Does Grungni know that before it all ended Nagash magic-raped his sister?
*sigh* You see? I feel like I know so much...and yet so very, very little. Sorry about the wall of text. I'd gladly give a TL;DR for this, but I don't think that's really possible short of just reading these last two paragraphs. Any help would be gladly appreciated. I want to be connected and part of the Realms...but I need to be able to understand them first. Where would I even start?