Saturday, November 18, 2023

Blog Tour: The Rot Within


Fantasy - Dark Fantasy - Epic Fantasy - Post Apocalyptic Fantasy.

Date Published: October 28, 2023


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This is not a save-the-world story.

In a fading world on the brink of its end, Sunmine stands besieged by the Jungle of Rot. Tensions simmer between the Woodfolk and the Sun Empire Citizens, trapped together in these shrinking lands.

Amidst this turmoil, a figure stands out: Anpô, the sole outsider to ever come from beyond the Rot and survive. He arrived a mere baby in his mother's arms, an ominous bloodred tattoo marking his chest — but her death came fast, robbing Anpô and the city of any answers she might have held.

Is Anpô to be the doom of Sunmine, as so many claim? A cursed Rotspawn, touched from birth by the Black Rot that devours the world? Or could the whirls of ink on his chest hide the answers they seek?

Seeking acceptance, Anpô chases the sacred Art of Burning, his true nature becoming entwined with the hopes and hatred of Sunmine's inhabitants as the forces of this decaying world converge around him. Will he carve himself a place in these lands that are not his, unlocking the secrets shrouding his past? Or will he crumble under the weight of their fear and mistrust, unleashing whichever dark destiny might lurk within him?


ANPÔ STARED DEEP into the flames before him with their mean beauty of warmth, of hunger, of blackened ashes and red, glowing embers. The wood cracked under the assaulting heat, sparks swirling with the updraft …

He’d once longed for it, he remembered.

How could he forget, his scarred right arm throbbing in remembrance? The wound a thing apart from him, rejoicing in its third anniversary…

He shook his head to tear free of those thoughts, and his eyes broke from the flame. He’d once longed for fi re, but no, he did not need it  –  and he was about to get something better, these three years of work finally coming to fruition. He’d show those little emperors…

His arm kept on throbbing, all the way to the edge of the ink on his chest.

He stood in the middle of the clearing, an empty circle surrounded by the thick of the jungle, nature’s scar matching his own… but not quite. For the clearing was not a wound, but a sign of care. Of worship. The Last Shrine, they now called it, all others fallen to the Black Rot as the Jungle of Rot advanced and the Cardinal Towers retreated.

Ahead, three carcasses lay between him and the fire  –  and beyond the flames, four jaguar-masked Children, their bark-colored skin almost blending into the trees in the background, each with their Bonded Beast of Blood Communion  –  harpy-eagle, lich-owl, dhole and gibbon monkey  –, and each with their own weapon – shortbows, knives, spears. All Children of the Jaguar, the best the Prowl had to offer, their jaguar masks with bared fangs reflecting the ever-shifting firelight; all barefoot with their sleeveless leafclothes of green and beige and reddish brown, covering from chest to navels and from waist to thighs, the masks hiding their round faces except for those eyes of honey and green.

“You who would sing the songs of the jungle,” said the first of the three Claws, the masked woman to the left, the familiar dhole at her side  –  Teeth, the name he’d chosen for himself. “Do you bring the tusks of that which runs the land?”

“I do.” He knelt before the first carcass, laying his hand upon it.

Memories flashed in his mind. He’d woken up before first light, meditated for the long time it took to awaken his Mind’s Eye, small huffs of energy entering his body, seeping in from the breeze. He ventured into the jungle as soon as the first sunray broke through the horizon, painting the clouds with gold and red and purple, the start of his race against nightfall.

He’d approached the warthog with careful, quiet steps, as quiet as those tusks were sharp, his hand finding its balance point on his spear, bringing it up to his ear, aligned with the ground, all through the instinct Ten’li had gifted him through Blood Communion… then he let it fly, his whole weight behind the motion – and it flew true, sharpness hissing through the air and sinking into the brindled creature’s thick, hairy hide, red blossoming from the wound…

A sturdy beast, it fled with panicked squeals.

Anpô followed the blood on the wet, rotten leaves. The squeal growing fainter, he skipped over roots, over rivers of marching ants, over whatever else the jungle put in his path. Blood was easy to follow – and he was the best runner in the Prowl, never losing his wind…

About the Author

P.T.M. Parizotto is the author of the epic fantasy The Rot Within as well as the content creator behind the YouTube channel P.T.M. Parizotto (GeekZotto), which focuses on the critical analysis of storytelling. He is currently finishing his Master's Degree in São Paulo, Brazil.


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