Mental Damnation Part 2 by Konn Lavery Genre: Epic Dark Fantasy
Thought to be banished to the underworld by the humans, Krista mysteriously finds herself as the first of her kind to walk on the surface in centuries. This was caused by one of the underworld’s corrupt leaders, Danil, who uses her in an unholy ritual to set their people free. Danil’s infectious touch gives Krista the nightmarish disease known as Mental Damnation.
She becomes the key interest of two men, Paladin and Dr. Alsroc, who struggle to make sense of her sudden appearance and how it relates to Mental Damnation. Her friend back in the underworld, Darkwing, abandons his gang to begin his search for her.
Krista finds herself torn between two worlds, gaining acceptance among the humans while experiencing inner turmoil from hallucinations caused by her disease. These visions paint a hellish dream world known as Dreadweave Pass where the realm’s ruler, a corrupt god known as the Weaver, is on the hunt for her. Krista’s blood is believed to be a key component for the Weaver’s retribution against the Heavenly Kingdoms that once banished him!
Upon a battlefield, where I lay. Blood on my breath, soon to see death, Dark tunnel with blooming light. This was all that was to stay.
Judgment from above, seen me unfit. Sought unworthy from the holy. Awaken in hills of bone. Body of two, one of spirit.
Born anew from my found master. His will, mortals’ minds I drill. Serving without question. So his vengeance will be achieved faster. . . . . . Here I am, in the land of the damned.
Three silhouettes stood cast in the dim light of an icy cold stone room. Twin fiery torches mounted on opposite walls lit the chamber, exposing two human-like figures while the third—the one in the middle—was almost unrecognizable. A discoloured torso with no arms, its skin was being peeled back by shiny hooks. The face of the character to the left was hidden in shadow, but they wore leather gloves and held a knife, the polished blade reflecting the torchlight.
The figure to the right brushed his bone-thin hair from his pale, wrinkled face. He could feel the scraping of his polished gauntlet against his flaky scalp. The protective glove was just one piece of a blood-red-and-black armoured suit, pointed and sharp at every edge. The breastplate had a crest with a large reptilian eye in the centre and stylized jaw lines branching down to the waist where sharp teeth were molded to the metal, creating the illusion of a horrific cycloptic face on his torso.
He was General Dievourse, and he commanded the army in the hell known as Dreadweave Pass. Ironic for the land of the damned to have a room so cold, the general thought. He ran his tongue along his pointed teeth and hocked a thick lump of saliva to the ground. However, it is not much of a surprise that my master, the Weaver, would have a chamber of this temperature. Being the ruler of Dreadweave Pass, he must plan every detail of this hell to ensure he has full control of it—even creating bizarre, unexpected features like this ice-cold room. The cold is needed to properly stitch together his puppets from the flesh of mortals.
Mental Damnation Part 1
Having her family murdered by the humans during her people’s banishment from the surface world, Krista and her only friend, Darkwing, struggle to remain alive. The pair of reptilian street scum live in their newfound home, the City of Renasence, dictated by a fascist military known as the Renasence Guard. The two find themselves at odds when Krista puts her faith in the Five Guardians’ goal of unification, while Darkwing chooses to stand with a notorious gang, the Blood Hounds, who are known for their anarchist views
This divide in their friendship forces Krista to persist on her own as the Five Guardians become crazed from an unknown disease - Mental Damnation. After their infection, the Guardians develop a bizarre interest in her, claiming they must reap her innocence for their newfound master, the Weaver.
With a military dictatorship, politically-driven gangs and their guardians infected and on a hunt for her, Krista has limited options for survival: Does she fend for her life in the City of Renascence, against menacing forces, or risk leaving everything behind and enter the uncharted realm of the underworld?
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The strange male and Krista paused simultaneously, listening to the noise. Once the roar faded, the Corrupt continued to squirm. Krista suddenly realized that he was trying to crawl off of her, but his hands and feet had been cut off. Blood oozed from his limbs and smeared onto Krista. The Corrupt was essentially defenseless, so she calmed down – a little bit – and tried to work with him to get him off her. Krista managed to roll the Corrupt to the side and he attempted to scurry away, but without hands and feet, he stumbled back to the ground whining, moving like a newborn calf. A second male leaped from the higher rocks and landed with a heavy thud, raising dust. He threw a spear at the bleeding Corrupt. The weapon soared into the air, piercing through his victim's skull and pinning the Corrupt to the ground. Krista looked at the newcomer, mesmerized by his physical appearance. Muscles bulged on his shirtless torso. His skin was peach-toned, something Krista had never seen before. What is he?she wondered, eyeing the male from his feet to his head. The male’s five-toed feet were clad in sandals, with leather wrapped around his ankles. He wore a green kilt and several sheathed weapons strapped to his bare chest, which was marred by numerous jagged scars. His right hand had a cloth wrapped around it, and a ring flashed on his left. He had a tail similar to Krista's but with no scales. His brown scalp-feathers were plucked on the sides, leaving the remaining long feathers tied into a ponytail running down to his shoulder blades. Like hers, his eyes glowed, but they were bright white, not nearly as vibrant, and had green irises. The male’s light skin and unusually flat facial structure called up flashbacks to the human raiders of Krista's childhood. He's like a cross of humans and my people. I've never seen anything like it before! The male walked over to the dead Corrupt and pulled his spear free from the body, then kicked it over the rocky edge. He kept his gaze on the rocks, watching the corpse fall into the fog. Krista could hear the body tumble down the mountain, until the sound faded. Now that his back was facing her, she could see his spine was covered in light grey scales that came up to his neck. Krista was frightened by the peach-skinned male and kept motionless. She was uncertain whether he was a friend or a foe, or what she should do. He's going to notice me eventually.She waved nervously. "Hi."
Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.
His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design. These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.
Mental Damnation: Reality is filled with glyphs, icons and illustrations, who did the artwork for novel?
All of the artwork was done by myself. Writing and drawing have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. After high school I learned graphic design at a college called Edmonton Digital Arts College. There I learned a lot of the tools, theories and techniques to get into the graphic design industry.
You did all of the artwork for Mental Damnation, what made you want to take on this extra task?
I am a huge fan of transmedia storytelling. RPGs (Role Playing Games) have been a huge inspiration to my fantasy stories and I admire their manuals for the backstories, drawings, graphics and glyphs that are scattered throughout the pages. With my writing, I wanted to reflect that in the novels themselves.
How else does having a graphic design background help your writing career?
It has helped drastically. I don’t have to outsource the skills to format books in print and ebook formats. Nor do I have to contract someone out for novel covers, posters, banners, promo material or marketing swag. Learning graphic design has given me a special skillset to aid in marketing myself as an indie author. In addition I am a freelance graphic designer/web developer, which provides immense flexibility with my writing compared to a 9-5 job.
Back to the Mental Damnation artwork, why did you approach the novel with the style that you did?
The artwork takes a lot of inspiration from ancient civilizations such as the Mayans, Aztecs and Egypt. I wanted to include artwork for the novel but I didn’t want to go with super realistic renderings of characters or scenes found within the novel. You see that style a lot with fantasy book artwork. Readers interpret characters differently and the abstract approach allows for their imagination to still interpret the characters as they see fit.
The novel’s heaven and hell concepts pull a lot from religious mythology and it made sense to have the artwork reflect this inspiration too.
What about the glyphs found in the novel?
The glyphs do follow a code that can be interpreted into English. The decoder hasn’t been published anywhere, most likely saving that for the last novel, Mortal, so it gives the readers some bonus content in the previous books.
You mentioned transmedia storytelling, what else do you do besides artwork to accompany the novels?
In a perfect world I would expand into film and video games to really embrace the transmedia storytelling experience. The reality of that is you can only do so much on your own with your skill base and with a limited budget.
I did branch off into audio with my stand alone novel, Seed Me, which features a compilation score written by a number of musicians, including myself. Seed Me was an experiment to try entirely new things with my writing and bonus material, so I explored music. The score was well received with readers who admired the creepy atmosphere the music provided when reading the novel.
Do you have other transmedia storytelling ideas in mind?
Of course, I have plenty of ideas but so does everyone else. Unfortunately it always comes down to time, resources and solid effort. Realistically I would say the next closest thing on the horizon is an audio book and another score related to Mental Damnation.