In the 2007-2013 editions of The Edge Chronicles (the ones with the newer Chris Riddell covers, showing a single character), the first page of each book had a short story where it expanded on a background character.
These are currently only available in that edition of the series, but Paul Stewart kindly gave me the drafts. Each of these stories was also accompanied by the characters' face in a wreath. I've attatched all of these images that I could find, but some are still missing. The pages were then removed from the 2013 editions (the ones which have the Jeff Nentrup covers). Similarly to the introductions of Cloud Wolf, The Stone Pilot and The Lost Barkscrolls, these are rare, meaning most people whon't have access to some/all of them.
- These may not be exactly word-for-word what is in the books, because these were drafts.
- Initially, the hat-tipper's name was Brummel, but it was later changed to Gloff.
- The original page from The Immortals was scrapped, and replaced by the version with Twill. That's why I included the image of Sluice, since the vignette of him wasn't published in any books
- There was also going to be one for The Lost Barkscrolls about a young librarian, but it was never written.
List of Single-Page Stories
'Not right. Ratgutt feels it in his bones…
No one gets past Ratgutt. Fine fighter is Ratgutt. Deepwoods born and bred.
My sword, “Fear-Spitter”, has tasted blood many times – in shryke battles, glade raids and clan feuds, back in the Deepwoods.
Course, here in the Treasury Guard, Ratgutt just has to growl and shake his brow-rings to scare these weedy academics. They need us flathead goblins to protect this precious stormphrax of theirs. Can’t do it themselves; protect the place. Not tough enough, are they? And as for them Knights Academic, they’re too high and mighty to be guards…
But Ratgutt don’t mind. Food in his belly, warm bed, and plenty of respect. Ratgutt likes the floating city. All ‘cept for the stonecomb.
Ratgutt don’t like the stonecomb. Full of glisters, it is, and Ratgutt hates glisters…
And there’s something else. Something down here in the tunnels. Ratgutt can’t exactly say what, but he’s heard it – snuffling and whining and whistling…
There it is again… Whatever it is, it’s big. Very big!
But Ratgutt's not afraid. Of course Ratgutt's not afraid. Ratgutt's never afraid... Only this thing that Ratgutt can hear — it's not right. Not right at all. Ratgutt feels it in his bones...'
The Winter Knights — Tuggel, a gnokgoblin groom
‘So, another class of squires to be welcomed into the Hall of Grey Cloud. Bright-eyed, keen to learn and eager to please. I’m looking forward to the challenge of teaching them all I know…
Oh, my fine young squires, here you’re going to learn so much of the ways of these beautiful creatures we call prowlgrins. How to care for and nurture them – oiling their great toes, rubbing their high humps; combing their beards and tickling their nostrils.
Then you’ll learn to ride. How I envy you! Climbing into the saddle for the first time and taking the reins. There is nothing to compare with the thrill of soaring through the air on the back of a prowlgrin…
Not only will you groom, train and ride them, but like old Tuggel, you’ll grow to love them.
How could you not? For a hand-reared prowlgrin is the most loyal, faithful and obedient companion any knight could wish for – which is just as well! One day, you’ll need all those qualities as you journey back from the far-off Twilight Woods on prowlgrinback with your sacred shards of stormphrax.
Study hard, young squires, and learn well, and above all, when it comes to prowlgrins, listen to your heart…’
‘Just imagine! Me, a humble lop-ear; hat-tipper to Imbix Hoth, High Master of the Leagues of Flight! It’s a great honour, I can tell you, but not what you’d call an easy job. Far from it in fact.
There’s low doorways to watch out for. Arches, bridges, jutting branches… Plus the strength of the wind. And then there’s the movements of the wearer himself. Whether he likes to nod or shake his head or wave his arms about. We hat-tipers have got to be prepared for the lot. One sudden movement and the thing could come tumbling down, straight into the Undertown mud – and that, my friend, wouldn’t do at all.
You see, these important bigwigs in the leagues loves their high hats. The higher the hat, the more important the wearer, and the trickier it is for his poor hat-tipper. Now, my master, Imbix Hoth, his hat is as high as they come – and his temper is as sharp as them finger-spikes he likes to wear. Razor sharp they are, and he’s not afraid to use them. I should know. After all, I knew his last hat-tipper, old Sluggin.
Spotted the archway all right, did Sluggin, but forgot about the blustery day outside. The hat fell in the mud and so did Sluggin. Imbix and his finger-spikes saw to that. Sluggin never got up, which is when I got chosen.
Like I say, it’s a great honour, but it’s not an easy job…'
‘Sometimes, in the middle of the day, when the whole village is asleep in the hammocks, I’ll listen. Beyond the crackling braziers that warm us, and the thornwood pens that keep our livestock safe, are the sounds of the Deepwoods. Quarms squealing, fromps coughing, and the yodelling of a distant banderbear.
Here in the middle of our village, curled up next to my brothers and sisters in our family hammock, I feel warm and safe. We slaughterers are no different from other tribes of the Deepwoods. We know that safety lies in sticking together.
We tend our shaggy hammelhorns and skittish tilder; drink their milk, wear their wool and fashion their leather into a thousand different things, from cloddertrog whips and woodtroll aprons to goblin helmets and sky-pirate breastplates. They might fear and despise us for the colour of our skin, dyed blood-red by the smoke from our curing-sheds, but they respect us for our leather-working skills.
It’s a good life. Especially, on Feast Nights – and there are many of those, for we slaughterers love a good feast. Any excuse! The birth of a tilder calf, a new moon… The trees strung with lanterns, the braziers piled high and the tables filled with jugs of woodale and plates of hammelhorn steaks and tilder sausages, we feast until dawn.
And when the feasting is over and everyone has gone to sleep, I’ll pause and listen to the sounds from beyond the village, and think to myself: How terrible to be lost and alone out there in the Deepwoods…’
‘Streets paved with mire-pearls, so they say, and full of market stalls full to bursting with good things to eat. Nobody goes hungry in the fair city of Undertown. Nor can any Undertowner be made a slave – and that’s a fact!
It’s no wonder we poor Deepwoods folk will risk life and limb to get there. After all, it stands to reason – plain as a soot-frog in a snow-pond – that it’s got to be better than life in the Deepwoods. Out here, the slavers will burn your village down and sell you to the shrykes soon as look at you!
So what do you do? You get protection from your local flathead goblins. That’s what. Then they turn out even worse than the slavers! – eating all your food, taking over your cabins and chucking you out into the cold…
‘I’ve had enough of this,’ I says to Mim, my wife’s sister’s child. Got a couple of young-‘uns, and another on the way. Her husband, Demper, was took by slavers last winter.
‘Me, too,’ says Mim, and before you know it, we’d gathered up what little we had and left our village to the flatheads.
Good riddance, I say!
Now, all we've got to do is follow the East Star through these infernal Deepwoods, on into the Twilight Woods and on the other side, then find us one of them there guides to take us across the great Mire — and all our troubles will be over...'
‘Listen, o my brothers and sisters, can you not hear those distant murmurs in our cold black forest? Outsiders, sisters and brothers, from beyond the forest of thorns…
Who dares to enter our realm of night, where half-created things, unfit to grace the light of day, stumble blindly? Lumpen and deformed, they are, with barely a thought to share between them.
We hear them as they wander endlessly in this forest of ours. And we hunt them down and drink their blood – thin, bitter blood, my sisters and brothers, yet it is all we poor waifs of the night can find here. For this is the realm of the waifs; ghostwaifs, greywaifs, water and nightwaifs – a realm of velvet darkness and delicious silence.
But listen, o my flitterwaif brothers and sisters, something disturbs the peace of our cold black forest. I hear fresh thoughts approaching; fine, well-formed, succulent-sounding thoughts.
So let us sing, sisters and brothers; let us sing for our supper!
Over here! You’ll be safe over here! Follow our voices, that’s right. Over here! You can trust us…
‘The Tower of Night. It makes prisoners of us all…
Of course, don’t get me wrong, it’s worst for those poor wretches on the prison ledges. Far worse. Been there years some of them. Hardly room to swing a lemkin – and that great black drop just below their feet!
No wonder some of them give up and jump…
But that’s what you get when you oppose the Guardians of Night. Far better to be with them than against them, believe you me. That’s why I joined up and put on these here black robes with that horrible screaming gloamglozer on the front. Took that sacred oath of theirs to await the Great Storm that’ll heal the sacred rock…
Not that I actually believe any of that stuff. I leave that to the High Guardian and his cronies. Barking mad the lot of them if you ask me, what with their chanting and sacrificing and the like…
Me, I just keep my head down, and get on with the job as best I can. Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. Not that I’ve got much choice now I wear the black robes.
Once a guardian, always a guardian, so they say. Like I said, the Tower of Night, it makes prisoners of us all…’
Vox — Lemlop, a Ghost of Screetown
‘I travel light. Grappling hook, good length of vine rope, a sharp blade and a trusty crossbow. That’s all you need in Screetown – that, and an eye for trouble.
>Rubble ghouls, rotsuckers, muglumps – I’ve seen them all. And those goblin thugs that rule what’s left of old Undertown. Daren’t show their faces here in Screetown though, because Screetown belongs to the Ghosts!
Why ghosts? We’re invisible, that’s why. We blend in to our surroundings – the rubble and scree that’s fallen from the sick Sanctaphrax rock and flattened the finest part of old Undertown. Then, when no one expects it, we appear.
Take last night, for instance. General Tytugg’s goblins seized this poor old gnokgoblin matron and her two grandchildren. Dragged them off to be worked to death in the Sanctaphrax Forest.
Felix Lodd and I swooped down and took the goblin overseers out. They didn’t know what hit them! Freed the old girl and her granddaughters, we did, and sent them off down the Freedom Trail to a new life in the Free Glades, Sky bless ‘em!
Then we vanished back into Screetown, just like ghosts...'
‘I, Weermeru, “he-of-the-mossy-back”, am old of claw and long of tusk. I have wandered many winters in this world of woods.
I was there when the glades began, and yodelled to my kin of their spread. The evil Foundry Glade, the Goblin Nations and the Free Glades, I have seen them all rise, and perhaps I shall also see them fall…
But what care I of the ways of the furless ones, with their huts and fires and endless uprooting of trees?
For myself, I seek out the untrodden path, the undiscovered places far from the doings of the gladers. I eat the sweet fruits of the forest and drink the clear waters of woodland springs – and fear nothing, but the small ones with the jaws of death…
And as I journey, I yodel to my kin of my wanderings and listen in turn to their far-off songs. They yodel of great happenings, of war and strife, and strange unnatural things.
They are calling to me, and though I am old of claw and long of tusk and have wandered many winters, I must go...'
'From the time that I was a young sapling, I worked in the docks of Hive, loading and unloading the phraxships that ply their trade between the great cities of the Edge. But not any more. Times have changed, and Hive ain't the place that I once knew.
Kulltuft warhammer and his High Town cronies now run the show, and the opinions of the likes of me and my mate Gorlan don't count for much. As the sergeant says, we're just phraxcannon fodder, paid to march and fight in the Hive militia. Careless talk can get you dragged away and throuwn down the Hive Falls in a barrel, and with a wife and six nestlings to support, I can't afford to be outspoken.
Gorlan, by the way, is a grey trog from the caves of Hive, and he and me were pressganged at the same time. He's a fine and loyal friend, and I couldn't have chosen a better companion to watch my back in the fight they say is coming any day now. It's all Kulltuft Warhammer's fault, in my opinion, but like I said, careless talk can get you killed...'
The Immortals — Sluice the prowlgrin dealer, a tufted goblin
‘Some folks maintain all prowlgrins are the same. But it simply ain’t true. Each one’s different – and I’m not just talking about the colour of their fur. Piebald, skewbald, orange, black or white, it makes no odds to their character. It’s what’s going on inside that’s important. And I should know. I’ve been a prowlgrin trader for longer than I care to remember.
I guess you could say it runs in the family. I took the stables over from my father, who’d taken them over from his father, who’d… I think you get the picture.
Down the years, I’ve had all sorts coming through my store, from traders and trappers to the pampered young daughters of New Lake’s finest. My task, as I see it, is to match them up – prowlgrin and rider – so that their individual strengths and weaknesses are complemented. And it works.
For instance, I had a skittery female, Onyx. Pretty markings, but nervous as a woodcat kitten. I paired her up with this roughneck trapper. Last time I heard, they were still happily riding together. Then there was this great brute of a creature, Majestix. Sold her to a lofty young mine-owner’s daughter, and she brought him into line soon enough.
Every so often, though, I get a prowlgrin it's hard to place. Tallix is just such a one. He's noble, proud, loyal, and requires a very special person to ride him. I don't know who he is. Not yet, but I will do, the moment he steps through that door...'