Hanta, the Sacrificial Pharaonic Oarsbearer

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.

What matter, the splendor worn on the body if they are worn only to enter the Waters of the Underworld?

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!

What are heroes like in The Fifth World? Absent sedentary, agrarian life, how do their culture heroes demonstrate the values of their society?
What are the rituals of death in The Fifth World? Four centuries after the fall of industrialized society, where you are right now, what do they say about death?

Padeb Cuts a Deal

“I know I appear to you as a sweetmeat, mighty Bashet, Queen of the River Ia, but if you allow me to pass, I will bring you an army, led by one far fatter than I, upon which you might feast.”

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Demise of the Gulabadam

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.

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Galil and the Gudabadam

There were many ways this story could have gone. You know one already.

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The Age of Giants

The Earthen Firmament was born from the passionate union of the Sky and the Waters of the Underworld. Their love cries we remember now as the Language of Names.

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A Dzung Raiding Party Takes to the Air

The Dzung live to the north of the center of the world, in the cruel mountains and vast, unknown high plains beyond.

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Zujabji, Ancestral Spearhead of the Chiefs of the Dzung Mountain People

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.

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Buejad

My upcoming story, City of the Worm King, features the sexy, sensitive, and perhaps misled character, Buejad. It was my pleasure to have him model for me a couple of weeks ago here in my studio.

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Ligaments (or, in this case, the lack thereof)

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.

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The Sea Cloud

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.

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