THE DARKLAW SAGA is filled with diverse characters who make alliances, sometimes faithless, in their pursuit of pleasure, power, and freedom. As the gods come alive in the world, the Avatars find their power comes at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
TITLES: The Emissary | Warmaster of Darklaw | Avestine of the Hunt | Avatar of Arujan the Tyrant | Power of Dominion
“Order Generates Meaning”
SERVES: Emanation of Wisdom, Radical Order in the Society of Man
COMPANION: AVATAR OF KATAN (Raret)
ADVERSARY: AVATAR OF BALA (Kami)
Avestine is the oldest child and only daughter of the Architect (Emperor of the Sahr, King of the Dark Three, Emperor of the Dark Quarter, and creator of the “Dark Law”), who conquered most of the world before he was murdered by Avestine’s younger brother.
All that remains of the Architect’s relentless ambition is a relentless daughter. The family that once claimed the sprawling castle at Sahrdon and commanded the world from volcanic shores is nearly extinct.
Avestine takes pleasure where she finds it, and that is usually with young women.
Quotes About/By Avestine
“Surely, you’re curious? About my father’s deprivations? Should I start with the daily beatings or the nights I learned how to satisfy a god’s lust?”
“Make it look like an animal, or just drown him in the river.”
“You want me to kill him?”
She got in Gerard’s face, who, unlike Rook, refused to look away. “We can’t have him spreading stories about my brother being a devil. He’s a man, just a man.”
“There’s always reason to be preemptive. Let my brother settle in, survey the land, decide the battle on his terms, and he’ll be screwing your daughters by sunfall.”
“You’re not a monster,” said Kami.
“We both know the lie of that, don’t we? Don’t pity me, child. The only one you should pity is anyone who loves me.”
The warmth generated by Avestine’s ambitious plans cooled when she realized again that she might have lost Kami. The Wild had always been her enemy, but now even more so, yet Avestine had never backed down from an enemy.
“Always hungry, aren’t you?” A wicked light shone from Avestine’s cool blue eyes. “And I know what you hunger for.”
“If Arujan has chosen me, then there’s no risk. If he’s chosen my brother, then there’s no hope. Far better my body’s lost in some nameless forest than tarred and rotting on the walls of Sahrdon.”
Avestine thought of what she could tell Kami and what she would never tell her. “What about you? You don’t trust any feeling but the one in your skin.”
“I’ve tried to see you in the light of what you’ve suffered, but I can no longer ignore what you do. You have hunger where a heart should be.”
TITLES: Essanti of the Wild | Avatar of Bala the Beast | Beastwalker
“Action Generates Growth”
SERVES: Emanation of Instinct, Radical Freedom in the Society of the Wild
COMPANION: AVATAR OF SULA (Avesha)
ADVERSARY: AVATAR OF ARUJAN (Avestine)
Kami was raised in a brothel in the trading village of Featherwood, ignorant of her true lineage. Before she was ten, she had seen more lust and violence than most people ever do, and was more confused about the difference. Her village was burned and mother enslaved by Darklaw legions when they came to the Demon Quarter.
Kami fled the village, the sole survivor, and sought the help of Avestine, whom she had watched repel the Darklaw legions many years earlier when they had come to Featherwood the first time.
Kami is a sophisticated young woman whose passions often overcome her better judgment.
Quotes About/By Kami
She luxuriated in Kami’s climate of raw sensation, the other half of the Emanation of Instinct, whose shadow side appeared capable of consuming the world.
Avestine’s game of indifference was one Kami had mastered, but where Avestine prevaricated, hiding her feelings through sheer force of will, Kami could be authentically unfeeling. He thought that, as the not-so-beautiful and fatherless daughter of a whore, Kami had no right to such arrogance.
“Maybe to a man the sight of blood can mean only death, but to a woman, blood is life. It’s the first thing that tells us we are women. Our own blood, not another’s, is a sign of power. It promises a future.”
To consume, to create life, to be consumed. These were the essentials for Kami or any Essanti of Instinct.
“You serve the Emanation of Instinct,” he said, his blue eyes gliding up and down her body. “You serve sensation, a lower order of awareness. Our father had your kind of savages tied up in his courtyard. Sometimes, we would throw them bones or rouse the dogs against them, but we never understood what they were good for. It’s time to find out. You serve the Emissary.”
“Love’s just an apparition haunting our lives. Lust is the only reality.”
“I won’t ask you to be anything other than what you are,” said Avestine. “And you must not ask that of me.”
“The tyrant always begins as a protector. Violence can’t remove violence. One tyrant replaces another.”
TITLES: Essanti of Justice | Avatar of Coth the Reaper | Ghostwalker
“Purpose Generates Transformation”
SERVES: Emanation of Judgment, Creative Order in the Society of the Divine
COMPANION: AVATAR OF MON (Wald)
ENEMY: AVATAR OF SULA (Katan)
Rook is friend, servant, lover, and enemy of Avestine since they were very young.
He was gifted to Avestine by the Architect who knew she would become the Emissary upon his death. Avestine removed Rook’s hands in the bonding ritual to which all Essanti must submit: an Essanti must sacrifice his worldly power to receive the spiritual power of his patron god.
As an Essanti, Rook is vowed to protect the Emissary with his life, despite the hatred he often feels for her.
Rook is a rigid, moralistic man who struggles to compromise with his immoral companions: Avestine, his master, Kami, his pupil, and Wald, his spiritual brother.
Quotes About/By Rook
His focus could shift in a blink from what he saw to what he believed without the burden of knowing the difference.
“He is my Essanti. One day, he’ll die for me. Even then, he’ll hate me.”
“Truth, not a person, is the spring from which duty flows.”
“She is Truth,” said Rook. “Your truth. You have no other.”
Rook gestured at Avestine, whose expression cautioned him against saying more. “Avestine and Avestar are like twin flames. The moths sometimes get confused, but she’s the brightest. She’s the true Emissary of Arujan, no matter how ardently Avestar tries to change that.”
“People like you never make a vow. You serve yourselves, saying you serve an ideal, a way of life, and you call that a ‘choice’ and think it’s noble. But Essanti don’t serve ideals. We make our vows to people, not words that can change.”
“For Essanti, love is a wound, and she’s all that can heal it.”
TITLES: Essanti of Mercy | Avatar of Mon the Giver | Power of Reanimation
“Loss Generates Mercy”
SERVES: Emanation of Mercy, Personal Order in the Society of the Divine
COMPANION: AVATAR OF COTH (Rook)
ADVERSARY: AVATAR OF KATAN (Raret)
Wald is a servant and Essanti to Avestine. His devotion is complete, and his skills valued highly by his queen. But his heart belongs to his lover Gerard, Avestine’s closest advisor.
Wald is innocent and easily manipulated, but only the purest souls receive the gifts of Mon.
Quotes About/By Wald
“That the regeneration of the heart might come through the lives of the weak and wretched is a truth few believe. Your warmaster doesn’t agree with me any more than you do. There’s nothing appealing to you or him about the humble, but for me, mercy is interwoven in everything that is truly of life and not death.”
She sat down and calmed herself before she scooted her chair close to Wald. He remained very still as she spoke into his ear. “If you’re not the Avatar of Mon, then there’s another Essanti of Mercy walking this world, and I know there’s no other Essanti of Mercy, so that means you’re a liar, too.”
Wald was like a frightened rabbit with nowhere to run. Avestine breathed heavily against his cheek as her anger rose. When she stood suddenly, knocking her chair to the ground, Wald screamed and crossed his arms over his head.
TITLES: Essanti of Freedom | Avatar of Katan the Libertine | Manwalker
“Pleasure Generates Knowledge”
SERVES: Emanation of Knowledge, Personal Freedom in the Society of Man
COMPANION: AVATAR OF ARUJAN (Avestine)
ADVERSARY: AVATAR OF MON (Wald)
Raret served Avestar…until it no longer suited him. Although Avestar took his hands, Raret seems to serve no one by the obligation usually seen among Essanti. By nature, he is fickle and irritating to Avestine.
Raret knows Kami’s origins, and thus remains a threat to Avestine. Despite his threat, his knowledge and skills are indispensable to Avestine’s plans.
Quotes About/By Raret
“On this very stone have the Essanti of thirty-two generations offered their sacrifice to power,” said Avestar. “From the hands of Demid to the hands of Raret, every Essanti has knelt, sweated, feared, cried, screamed, and sometimes died.”
Whatever Avestine might think of Raret, he certainly had a way of speaking to her desire, which made him a dangerous man.
“Katan is the Gamemaster,” warned Rook. He stepped close and spoke in her ear as he glared at Raret. “And you shouldn’t play if you don’t know his game.”
TITLES: Essanti of Nature | Avatar of Sula the Land | Power of Animation
“Experience Generates Awareness”
SERVES: Emanation of Cognition, Creative Freedom in the Society of the Wild
COMPANION: AVATAR OF BALA (Kami)
ADVERSARY: AVATAR OF COTH (Rook)
Avesha is the daughter of Avestine, who has not seen her for a decade. Avestar kidnapped Avesha and sent her away when she was very young.
Avesha was raised in the imperial city of the dead, Guldivah, where wealthy families memorialize their dead with effigies. It’s a city without life except on installation days. This has left Avesha tormented and beholden to the only living human she has known for most of her life: Avestar. He groomed her to do one thing: kill her mother.
Quotes About/By Avesha
“What does it matter? Death is only another kind of life, one without smell or taste. Life without blood or breath. Life, just different. That’s why we spend so much to keep Guldivah full of effigies.” Avesha struggled weakly to sit up. She was a thin girl, with long black hair. Her eyes were as fierce and blue as her mother’s, and her small jaw set with the same strength.
Avesha’s joy drained like rain down a hole. “You should know the only thing my father ever asked of me was to kill her.”
She wished that Avesha were with her to give meaning to the future. Since returning from the forest, she felt driven to finish what she had started but found little joy in it. What difference to win the world if no one she loved remained to share it with her?
GERARD – Avestine’s most trusted adviser and lover of Wald.
AVESTAR – Avestine’s brother and emperor of Darklaw.
THE ARCHITECT – Avestine’s father and creator of Darklaw.
SEVERESH – An old ally of the Architect, king of Avjakar, who has fond memories of Avestine. Avestine solicits help from Severesh.
UMOMAN – An Essanti of the Wild who helps Rook train Kami.
AMILESE – Avestine’s favorite concubine.
KALY – Avestine’s concubine.
MALIKA – A servant who aids Kami at Sahrdon.
ELLE – A servant who tries to assassinate Avestine.
JESMA – Senior dispatcher
RAYNA – A disciple of Adonja who aids Kami and Avesha.
LETA – A disciple of Adonja who pleasures Kami at Adonja’s Temple.