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The Acts of the Knights Trace in Awes South: A Novel of Elder Earth
Elder Earth is an alchemical alternative earth where Christendom was not breached by Islam in Eastern Europe, where Martin Luther became Pope, Henry the Eighth had sons, and whence Issac Newton was hailed a theologian rather than a scientist—a world that knew no Industrial Revolution and in which Modernity has not reared its baffled head ...
... Awes West and Awes South and the men who guard those reaches belong to a world of brutal continuity in which the best and worst of them trace their traditions directly to King Arthur and bold Count Roland over a thousand years gone, an aged medieval world that yet values raw men of unapologetic brawn.
On Elder Earth, the time of dire portents named In the Year of Our Lord 2031 has brought hell to Redrock Station and sent Brawn Pillory, a pony boy in service to the Knights Trace, into manhood as the saddle tender to the most savage scout of Awes West. As dread whispers of Stonish Giants and Wendigos returning out of heathen legend to menace Awes North hiss from narrow Indian lips, the Don’s of New Spain off southward send a request for aid to their traditional Christian foes—the “Nether Arm” of His Distant Britannic Majesty in this furthest Wester New England, what has never known a clear and present King.
Ranger? is a work of fiction faithful to on old and odd tradition sung in The Song of Roland, the anthem, or “bitter bread” of the rangers, scouts and pony boys of Awes West and South, who, more often then not, could count on “‘deir knightly betters leavin’ ‘em Injun-hunted red en scrawn fo’ dead.”
None of the characters in this work are strictly fictional, with most plain rip-offs of the world-trodden souls of the poor goddamned men I worked with in Baltimore, one of a less fortunate New England’s most “tarable” shitholes.
This novel is not plotted, not planned and not composed by a western man. It is though, inspired by a dozen and more men, who call this high land home and have welcomed this eastern runt here to rest his soul. I hope they find something in it to entertain as true.
-James LaFond, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at Zack Berk’s kitchen table

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