long will winter keep the light of summer from the sky
–Avrom Reyzen (trans. Daniel Kahn)
The star Ain sits at the centre of the universe. Orbiting it is the hollow world Mir, which conceals within herself an old god. The celestial abyss around Mir is full of spirits – the young shoggot, who freed themselves from slavery mere millenia ago. Their former masters, the fungal stareczi, still lurk in space, in the darkness between stars. But down on Mir, along with spirits generated from the planet’s own magic, live mortals and the mortals have their own problems.
Mir has just faced a Cataclysm. Fire rained down from the skies and the earth shook. Cities fell. Countries fell. Many primordial spirits crawled out of their secret dwellings to roam the daylight world. There is revolution in the Empire of Orm and unrest on the inner satellites of Mir. Anzu Menelik, former necromancer, black and queer as a five-speed walking stick, wanders through all this, looking for his three-year-old daughter. The loss of her is but the most recent stain on his consciousness – he is full of regrets for a life lived under the heel of one of Mir’s most notorious necromancers, the late Raimut Hellewege, Ghast of Svet-Dmitrin.
In seeking his child, Anzu will find many things he thought lost – including hope at a life beyond graverobbing and profane magic – but he will also find that not all things thought dead will stay buried.
The Bitter Drop updates Tuesdays and Fridays.