***Author’s Note: The pages in this category can be considered appendices to the main text. They contain in-depth information about the series and its world, but are by no means required to follow the plot. Think of them as bonus content. – BHS***
“What does it mean to be sentient? What makes us different from the animals of our world: pigboars, sheep, birds, and others? ‘That is simple,’ says the average citizen. ‘Sentients are intelligent, and animals are not.’ But can an animal not learn? One sees enough enlarged pigboars pulling carts in and around Unify, and surely no animal is born knowing how to do such a thing. ‘It must be speech,’ says another. ‘We sentients can speak, write, and communicate with each other.’ A valid point; the gifts of words and language seem to be exclusive to sentientkind. However, animals have been observed exchanging information with each other by sounds, gestures, body language, and scent… so in their own way, are they not communicating? ‘It must be magic, then,’ they say. ‘Only sentients can control and manipulate the elements.’ Again, a valid argument… but do the humble ants not reshape sand and soil to build great colonies? Do the birds not weave together twigs and branches to build nests? The squirrels seem to think so; they view magic as manipulation not only of the elements, but of natural order itself. Small wonder that they so zealously forbid its practice.
“Therefore, I propose that what defines us is this: the eight sentient species are the only ones that display knowledge of their own mortality. Every living creature dies eventually, but only sentients learn of our inevitable fate, to someday depart the world of the living and travel to the Beneath, and from there to the worlds beyond. We fear death, and that, I propose, is what truly makes us sentient.”
[An excerpt from Questions of Belief, by Broad Bircholder]
This is a story of another Earth, devoid of humankind.
The setting is an unnamed island country, somewhere in what would be Earth’s Pacific ocean. Eight sentient mammal species have evolved here, each with their own laws, customs, and beliefs. The one thing that unites them all is the worship of three Gods that came to the island more than a thousand years ago, an event which formed the basis of their society. However, even in this the eight sentient species are in conflict… The great city that was built in celebration of the three Gods now stands divided by stone walls, its original unifying purpose now forgotten.
The city maintains a fragile peace through an atmosphere of strict enforcement. When someone becomes “dangerous” enough to threaten the truce, they are exiled forever to Tasakeru, an uncharted forest on the island’s eastern side. Those that are exiled call themselves Outcasts. In time, they will come to affect the fate of their societies, their homeland, and their world…
About the Series
TASAKERU is a planned 24-part young adult fantasy series, a project that has been more than a decade in the making. Using anthropomorphic animal characters to reflect on human nature, the aim of the series is to emotionally engage readers in a world where none of the characters are human. The series will focus primarily on the lives and struggles of the exiled main characters, but will also tackle the challenges of philosophy, duty, morality, and religious traditions. No one sentient species is entirely good or entirely evil, and the problems the Outcasts face do not always have easy solutions. The complexities of the world will be revealed little by little, leading up to a stunning climax in which the exiled heroes find themselves responsible for saving all that they know.
The first book in the series, Without a Name, was finished in Spring 2007, and in 2009 it won the annual Clyde Jones Award for Excellence in Creative Writing Fiction. The first of eight volumes was finished in 2010. A substantial revision of the entire series so far began in 2015, and is ongoing.
Chapters will be published here while the author (yours truly) looks for publishing solutions. Any questions and/or constructive criticisms are welcome. Help spreading the word is also appreciated.
If you like what you read here, PLEASE leave comments! Your feedback will help the story improve!
Content Advisory: Tasakeru contains mild graphic violence, mature subject matter, and mild language, and is recommended for ages 12 and up.
About the Author
BHS (Brian H. Stanley) is an aspiring author with a passion for Japanese culture and fantasy in general. He currently lives in Virginia. More about him can be found at his DeviantART page, or you may send any personal inquiries here.