I await thee, Iara—the Book of Elem
A planet said to be heaven itself is about to appear in the firmament. The armies of the Empire and rebel factions prepare to stake their claims but an ancient evil has emerged and its eyes have been fixed upon Iara for millennia.
A runaway farm boy and a cult apprentice will both find themselves drawn into the core of this conflict. Their destinies are tangled with those of the Empire, the rebellion, the Church of Elem, a menagerie of monsters, and the universe itself.Heresy, fellowship, valor, and darkness will all emerge—and be tested to the breaking point.
The galactic Empire is divided by violence. A final battle approaches, one that could end the war once and for all. If the right choice is made. But what is right?
Tesek could escape the Navy and the violence and the lies. Instead, he chooses to stay and fight with his friends. But in battle there are few choices. Who will live and who will die? Can he face the ultimatum without losing himself?
Zymar cannot untangle himself from hypocrisy. Now a hero amongst the Thrik, he attempts to guide the self-destructive cult into survival. In so doing, he will face choices that cannot be taken without changing. With old beliefs shattered, it is time to choose new ones.
Osrua faces colossal disappointment on Iara—the Heaven-Planet. In the absence of miracles, doubts begin to grow. Heaven itself proves to be hostile and even God will not claim his own name. What choice do you have? Fight or die? Believe or deny?
Tesek Nyme, xemis farmer from Ptoro.
Tesek flees his abusive father and leaves his home world to join the Imperial Navy. Struggling with anxiety and alienation, he's just trying to fit in and survive. War is coming and he will have to rise above it all to save the first friends he's ever really had and meet his destiny.
Zymar Thrassus, Thrik apprentice from Bothnis.
Zymar longs to be a beast trainer for the nihilistic cult of the Thrik. Enraptured by the Nihil Operas, he dreams of Geszmit--the last day--but he will come to question all of his beliefs as events unfold and the Thrik align themselves with a forgotten evil and an exotic alien culture fighting for freedom from the Empire's state religion.
Imperial Astrologer, Osrua Va'akoth.
Osrua seeks to guide the Regent Princess in preserving the universe from ancient evil, but he must hide his own past and the true heresy of his quest.
Jedrin K'mauthe, Rytal, and Keila Dyphon.
Jedrin is from the famous military Sector, Orosha and the son of the Sectorial Cza. He hopes by joining the Imperial Navy as a mere Cet, he can forge his own name and destiny.
Rytal is from the Imperial capital Téavra Nor.
Keila is also from the capital, and from a long line of Seres, jockeys of the ancient horse culture. She's joined the Navy to help pay of
Her Divine Excellency, the Regent Princess Phanatiera Vantal.
Phanatiera reigns in the shadow of her mother, the Empress, who no longer rules, but seeks to satisfy her own pleasure in her orbital palace. Phanatiera believes there is more to the scriptures of Elem than the Empire truly remembers, and awaits the coming of Iara.
A rebel general involved in many uprisings and rogue military actions throughout the universe, Tavqa is an accomplished tactician, engineer, and a skilled practitioner of the taboo of robotics.
All photos by Mandi Bateman
Costumes by the Author
Modeling by the Author and Tane