This story is set in the Death God, Bohan’s, kingdom. I was interested in the idea of a culture who’s whole focus is on death. Not on the act of killing or sacrifice, but in the idea that all of life is testing ground to determine each person’s status in the afterlife. Criminals and heretics (anyone from the culture that does not worship Bohan in the approved way) will have their sprits entombed in the flesh of the dead. Which is a pretty nasty punishment. Greedy or selfish people may have their corpse boiled down to the bones and then serve eternally as a skeletal servant. And there are the higher orders of undead, who do not rot but are immune to pain and discomfort. Those undead are viewed as blessed by Bohan.
It’s a theocratic empire, ruled directly by a god and his priesthood and it serves as the ‘big bad’ in Angel Odyssey and several other books I have planned. But the people in the culture are just people. They have conflicts and problems, they love and fear just like any sailor on the Shallow Sea or farmer in the Dragon Rider lands. They have their thugs and ruffians just like any other culture but they aren’t evil, despite worshipping a death god.
I’m about a third of the way through, I think. I’m concerned that I’m not getting sufficient conflict front-loaded (this IS a short story, after all) and as always, the gap between the story in my head and what ends up on the page can be maddening. But, I have high hopes for this story. Maybe not as a salable piece (I’m just not finding a lot of pro markets for Fantasy short stories) but I hope it’s entertaining, full of wonder and strangeness with a sympathetic hero or two.
Anyway, six pages in, twelve to go. I only hope I can make more time to write. Puppies are demanding.
*My next short story is set in my Mageborn Mechanic world.