Strange Flesh Press
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“…fantasy that you can really savor…”
“…you become swept up in an uninhibited, unreserved story…”
“…we get a strong character who is believable and alluring, but also frightening and ruthless….”
Darklaw serializes the events of the Architect and his descendants, particularly Avestine, his daughter. The Architect is the sobriquet of the man who built the empire referred to as Darklaw for its mastery of the Dark Quarter.
The fantasy world is a synthesis of the Roman Empire and the Old West. The people serve many gods in a realm rife with lust and violence. More than anything else, Darklaw is a world without innocence.
More than mere hero-worship drives Kami and more than mere ambition drives Avestine when they meet and form a tumultuous relationship that will make them lovers and enemies for the rest of their lives. In fact, for all eternity.
At 30 years old, Avestine was the heir of the Architect and venerated as the Emissary of the god Arujan, but her brother managed to kill their father, seize the throne for his own, and make his sister an outlaw. Ten years later, she’s still on the run, hiding out among villages of the Trade Quarter, when Darklaw legions arrive in her brother’s bid for new territory.
Kami is a young woman also on the run after the legions destroy her village. Driven by hero-worship and rumors, she arrives in a seedy city seeking the legendary Avestine. Kami has nothing left except the hope that Avestine can help her return to her village safely, since Avestine once saved the coast from an assault.
But what she finds is no hero. Avestine is cruel and narcissistic, and Kami will face traumatic moments of compromise and loss. Avestine, too, will be forever changed by the presence of the young woman whose touch thrills and whose absence devastates her. But neither is prepared for the unprecedented powers coming to life within them.
Includes more than 21 illustrations and the bonus prequel “Hold Fast the Reins.” Mature content.
Darklaw is an epic fantasy written for adults. The story includes graphic violence, explicit sex, non consensual situations, drug use, and profanity.
You’ll find maps, character illustrations and descriptions, religion and cult observance, political and military structure, historical documents, and artifacts.
The novel includes over 21 illustrations, some erotic. Although some have been available online at various times, they are now available in the book. You can see all the illustrations online at Strange Flesh Press’s Pinterest board.
Follow Strange Flesh’s board Darklaw Illustrations on Pinterest.
The webcomic began online at darklawcomic.com in 2012. The events of the comic take place after the short story APOTHEOSIS. I’ve periodically delayed but have not abandoned the webcomic. Now that the novel is in print, I am working on graphic novel shorts and the sequel, Darklord.
The original trailer for the novelization of Darklaw as made for Drollerie Press. The digital novel was not published before the press folded. The novel instead has been made available in print from Strange Flesh Press.
ORIGIN Sahrdon, Paramountcy of The Dark Three, Dark Quarter
MOTHER Ekla, Princess of Sahrsora
FATHER Avenrue (The Architect), Emperor of Darklaw
Avestine is the Emissary of Arujan. Once Warmaster and heir to the throne of Darklaw, she was hunted by her brother who murdered their legendary father. Avestine is a woman full of dogs, who grew up with tremendous privilege and domestic violence. She learned her value rested solely on her strength and acceptance of brutality.
ORIGIN Sahrsora, Paramountcy of The Dark Three, Dark Quarter
MOTHER Vestalia, Essanti of Justice
FATHER Rook, Essanti of Mercy
SIBLINGS Reves, Riston, Rayna
Rook is an Essanti of Justice, a spiritual warrior, avowed to protect the Emissary from all threats, including the Emissary’s own madness. He serves but is not a servant. One day, he will die for the Emissary. Even then, he will hate her.
His focus can shift in a blink from what he sees to what he believes without the burden of knowing the difference. Like the architecture of a solemn temple, his rugged face nuances severity in each scar and promises Truth for every hope.
ORIGIN Featherwood, seneschal village of the Trade Empire, Demon Quarter
MOTHER Bethan, Owner of Fat Rosi’s
Kami grew up in the brothel of a trading city, daughter to the highly successful owner. She is naive to few things except the ferocious power within her–a power prophesied to destroy the world.
As a child, she had often escaped into the forest for shelter, not because it was safe, but because it was honest. Life in the wild was terrifying and brief, but she craved it. She craved it because even the humblest creature crushed under foot was freer than the most powerful of men.
The official religion of Darklaw and those under its dominion is Pah Gol, which in ancient Sahr (the race that governs the empire of Darklaw) means blood flows. Pah Gol is an assurance of life, symbolized in the cycles of the Feminine. The First World believed in the eternity of cycles and the life-giving power of the sea. The original pantheon consisted of six equal gods who governed the realms of nature, man, and the divine. BALA, SULA, KATAN, ARUJAN, COTH, and MON.
The Essanti are a race especially sensitive to the influence of the gods. Each Essanti is born naturally connected to a particular god, but only through training and devotion to a god’s Emanation does the Essanti receive the gift to channel that god’s power.
Throughout the thousand-year history of the city of Sahrdon, an Essanti has been allowed to gain maturity only when he swears service and oath. The mark of service is the loss of an Essanti’s hands, cut off by the master he serves.
Essanti who failed to serve were executed. Purges of Free Essanti have occurred in every age and throughout the world. It was Avestar (Avestine’s brother) who made the last purge of the Demon Quarter and initiated Kami’s flight and her meeting Avestine.
The mysticism of The First World recognized the six gods as equal in power, each capable of good and evil, each necessary for balance in the world. The First World came to an end after the fall of Vadim, ruler of Sahrdon, seven-hundred years before the establishment of Darklaw. A long period of decline and chaos followed.
The Architect of Darklaw (Avestine’s father) rebuilt Sahrdon and mastered the Dark Quarter. He also reformed the ancient religion. In doing so, he made ARUJAN, the God of Order, overlord of all the Pantheon. Through the Emissary of Arujan, who was originally one of the the Essanti of Order, the Father of Gods became known and worshiped.
Blood flows no longer symbolized life or the Feminine but death and war. War followed upon war. In the Architect’s reformation, BALA, God of Chaos, became a demon. Radical freedom, instinct, and individuality are all opposed to the order, structure, and control sought by ARUJAN and the empire of Darklaw.
The gods SULA, KATAN, COTH, and MON became lesser gods serving ARUJAN.
THE END OF THE WORLD
The original myth prophesied that at the End of the World a war would ensue between the divine children of Ansheti (The Sea) and Adonja (The Sky). MON, BALA, SULA aligned against KATAN, ARUJAN, and COTH. It was said the Darklord would arrive first to sit on the throne of the world and manipulate these forces against each other.
The Architect changed the myth to say that BALA was the Darklord.
The following explains the graphic Pah Gol: Chart of the Emanations (Mysticism of the Essanti)
God of Chaos. She is both The Prey and The Predator. She enters the world through Instinct (Structure without Action) and Freedom (Action without Structure). Her realm is ACTION. Her lesson is Radical Freedom — uncompromising desire satisfied impulsively. Through her Avatar (KAMI), she can beastwalk (appear as/converse with any animal) and direct the instincts of beasts. Feminine energy expressed through a female avatar.
God of Nature. She is both The Craftsman and The Lunatic. She enters the world through Awareness (Experience without Transformation) and Madness (Transformation without Experience). Her realm is EXPERIENCE. Her lesson is Creative Freedom — goal-directed desire satisfied cooperatively. Through her Avatar (AVESHA), she can control the actions of beasts. Feminine energy expressed through a female avatar.
God of Love. He is both The Lover and The Libertine. He enters the world through Empathy (Love without Loss) and Obsession (Loss without Love). His realm is AFFECT. His lesson is Spiritual Freedom — acquisitive desire satisfied though another. Through his Avatar (RARET), he can manwalk (appear as/converse with any person) and direct the desires of men. Masculine energy expressed through a male avatar.
God of Order. He is both The King and The Tyrant. He enters the world through Wisdom (Structure with Meaning) and Tyranny (Structure without Meaning). His realm is MEANING. His lesson is Radical Order — uncompromising structure satisfied impulsively. Through his Avatar (AVESTINE), he can control the actions of men. Masculine energy expressed through a female avatar.
God of Law. He is both The Warrior and The Murderer. He enters the world through Judgment (Transformation with Purpose) and Vengeance (Transformation without Purpose). His realm is PURPOSE. His lesson is Creative Order — goal-directed structure satisfied cooperatively. Through his Avatar (ROOK), he can ghostwalk (appear as/converse with any ghost). Masculine energy expressed through a male avatar.
God of Death. She is both The Priest and The Slave. She enters the world through Mercy (Loss with Value) and Cowardice (Loss without Value). Her realm is VALUE. Her lesson is Spiritual Order — acquisitive structure satisfied though another. Through her Avatar (WALD), she can control the actions of ghosts. Feminine energy expressed through a male avatar.
Lesson is Creative: SULA – COTH
Lesson is Spiritual: KATAN – MON
Realm is Freedom: BALA – SULA – KATAN
Realm is Order: ARUJAN – COTH – MON
Primordial Mother is Ansheti (Sea): MON – BALA – SULA
Primordial Mother is Adonja (Sky): KATAN – ARUJAN – COTH
God is Feminine: BALA – SULA – MON
God is Masculine: KATAN – ARUJAN – COTH
Avatar is female: BALA – SULA – ARUJAN
Avatar is male: KATAN – COTH – MON
Axis of Self Love (The Body, The Wild): BALA – SULA
Axis of Clan Love (Desire, The Mind): KATAN – ARUJAN
Axis of World Love (Society, The Divine): COTH – MON
Axis of The Body is Perceptual: BALA – Axis of The Mind is Conceptual: ARUJAN
Axis of The Wild is Restitutive: SULA – Axis of Society is Appropriative: COTH
Axis of Desire is Rational: KATAN – Axis of The Divine is Irrational: MON