The World of Names writhes with living promises, the words of Namedealers plying the whims and vanities of the mighty forces of nature.
But Hanta has made a promise to enter the Waters of the Underworld. To most, that would be a simple condemnation to death. And Hanta is fairly certain that for her, it is, too.
As she rows downstream, dressed in the splendrous ceremonial regalia of an escort of the Pharaohs, she broods on her fate, bound she is by a complex knot of long-held promises — a knot pulled tight by generations of treaties spun by the priests, astrologers, and magicians of Misr with the river; with the Sky that covers it with its unblinking eyes; with the towns and ports that seed its shores with life; with vassal kings and heroes.
Losing hope, she accepts the offer of the young, pretty courtesan Tinkari for companionship.
…and to uncover what transpires between them, you will need to read Hugo-nominated author Mimi Mondal’s tale, detailed in the pages of the upcoming Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze! Of course, like all of my work, you will be able to see it first as a patron of my work at my Patreon!
Heroes have deaths. In fact, sometimes it’s the crux of their whole story, per Le Morte D’Arthur. And, like so many myths, they’re inconsistent. Did Herakles die? Or did he ascend to Mt. Olympus? It depends on who you ask and what their interest is in the answer.
The Dzung people live far to the north of the center of the world on the mountains that form the border to the high plains. They are nomadic and broken into many tribes, but all answer to the wielded of Zujabji, the ancestral spearhead of their chiefs.
It’s gotta be rough, being a centuries-dead hero of legend, struggling from the waters of the underworld, swimming through a literal sea of the dead, only to find out that you’re coming back as the lackey of an underage necromancer.
An illustration from my upcoming story, City of the Worm King. Up in the bow, you can see probably the best picture we’ll ever get of the traveler’s face. He doesn’t like for people to remember who he is, and I’ll respect that wish of his.