Hale and well met, dark fantasy fans! Welcome to my creative home on the web.
My name is Shawn D. Robertson, and I am currently writing my debut novel The Soul of the Blade, first volume of a planned 9-book series in The Elrathir Cycle. If you’re interested in following my brand of dark, gritty fantasy, bookmark this page and come back from time to time.
The Elrathir Cycle will be the first of several series in the setting of Ahldir, and will take place in the middle of the world’s industrial age, at a time that approximates the technology of our own World War I/World War II eras. But, while science and technology are on the rise, magic is still a necessity of survival for all people of the world, for in darkness the Shroud rises. A thick and seemingly living fog, the Shroud is believed to be the veil between the world of Ahldir and the prison Ariskadt the Betrayer slumbers in.
The Sacristant Church teaches that Ariskadt was the bastard daughter of God’s only prophet, Maurya. History recalls Ariskadt as “the Betrayer,” for she had turned against her mother, and the very world itself, in an attempt to attain godhood at the expense of countless lives. In their final battle the world was torn asunder. In the end, Maurya was able to banish her daughter’s soul beyond the realms of men, to sleep an endless sleep, though it cost her own life in the bargain.
But the Betrayer yet dreams, and those dreams—nightmares to the living—are made manifest through the Shroud. Black whispers emanate from its mists, whispers that drive men mad or urge them to dark deeds. The dead rise again, as ghouls, malevolent deformations of what they once were. Even the wildlife was forced to adapt or be forever corrupted by Shroud’s tainting touch.
Now, more than twelve hundred years later, folk live in warded cities, towns, and villages. Electricity is becoming commonplace, at least among the wealthier areas. People fight with guns, as well as swords and magic. Airships ferry people about through the skies alongside wyverns and their riders, and cars become more and more common on the roads. Factories employ more people than the farms now. Wielders of Radiance absorb power from the sun by light of day, using it to maintain the wards by night, though science and technology have recently devised metal-framed towers that project invisible barriers that push the Shroud back, by use of electricity, in much the same way as Radiance. Ahldir is amidst a wondrous era, to be sure!
But beneath the awe still lies all the usual festering that civilization brings with it. Ariskites lurk among the faithful. Terrorists strike fear in the hearts of many with their violent, extreme acts. The poor are overtaxed, overworked, and underpaid. Slavery, ever an institution, has gotten to the point where companies breed their “stock” to the specific needs of their clients, Radiance used to accelerate aging and maximize pliability. And atop all this, or perhaps beneath it, the Shroud proves to grow stronger in recent years. Ariskadt stirs, and with her stirrings more and more energy is needed to keep the Shroud at bay. Another time of change comes upon the world like a tide. It cannot be stopped.
Survival is the best Ahldir can hope for. The question is simply a matter of who will be doing the surviving.