Inheritors of Eschaton

by TMarkos

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Grimdark High Fantasy Magic Multiple Lead Characters Portal Fantasy / Isekai Post Apocalyptic
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

The tear in reality led to a new world, one that promised fortune, prestige and a deeper understanding of the universe.

Those that entered found only death.  

Four survivors are stranded in a strange and hostile world, at the mercy of forces they cannot understand.  Their only path forward is to travel among the ashes of a broken and dying land searching for a way to survive, to endure - and to make their way back home.

Cover art by Harry Rowland.

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TMarkos

TMarkos

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Part 1 - The Chariot ago
Part 2 - What Follows an Action ago
Part 3 - Catching Breath ago
Part 4 - Brothers ago
Part 5 - Fathers ago
Part 6 - The Lone and Level Sands ago
Part 7 - The Ashen Way ago
Part 8 - Voi Ch'intrate ago
Part 9 - Ex Tempore, Pro Tempore ago
Part 10 - Kansas City Shuffle ago
Part 11 - Plan D ago
Part 12 - Distinction and Proportionality ago
Part 13 - The Game of Seeker and Sought ago
Part 14 - The Barred Door ago
Part 15 - The Observation of Patterns ago
Part 16 - Gifts ago
Part 17 - Acceptable Losses ago
Part 18 - The Eternal Rule ago
Part 19 - A Fragment of Light ago
Part 20 - How to Win Friends and Influence People ago
Part 21 - The Broken City ago
Part 22 - Crossing Lines ago
Part 23 - Ladies and Gentlemen, For Our Next Trick ago
Part 24 - Some Flawed Place in the Iron Dark ago
Part 25 - Break On Through ago
Part 26 - Zhecima ago
Part 27 - Sanctum ago
Part 28 - The First ago
Part 29 - Caretaker ago
Part 30 - Legacy ago
Part 31 - Technicalities ago
Part 32 - Tools of the Trade ago
Part 33 - Op. 18 I: Moderato ago
Part 34 - The Second ago
Part 35 - An Involuntary Hermit ago
Part 36 - What Little Remains ago
Part 37 - Misappropriations ago
Part 38 - Kintsugi ago
Part 39 - The Third ago

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l nimbus
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Okay, it's..SOLDIERS IN A FANTASY WORLD WITH GUUUNNNS!

Reviewed at: Part 11 - Plan D

What is expected when I saw the premise of Four Soldiers in a Fantasy World With Guns, and what Inheritors of Eschaton actually read as were two different things. And, you know, I liked that. A lot. Once we got into it.

Suffice to say, IoE was about different from the norm, and I found that a good thing. Sure, watching a these four blast and blaze their way through small armies with seemingly infitine ammo and purposefully unanswered questions as to logistics an supplies might have been fun, on some nonsensical-but-who-gives-a-fuck level, but, yeah, no.

IoE was instead well constructed, using well-placed flashbacks to provide crucial details relevant to the advancing plot, as well as toss moral quandaries underneath the cast and the audiences feet. True to his other story, Grand Design, the author mixes heavy questions into the at first, seemingly standard world and setting.

The further I read, the more obvious it was that this unique setting received a lot of thought, planning and innovation. A lot.

Story:

Opening in a desert world, Inheritors of Eschaton follows a group of soldiers as they traverse a foreign, fleeing ahead of a deadly force slowly consuming the world behind them. I'd say more, but, hey, SPOILERS!

Suffice to say, that shortly after running into their first real obstacle, moral quandaries aarise.Good, sensible questions that have very real bearing and impact. Not, “Hey, should I feel bad about killing someone?” More like “Heythis guy might be a racist slaver living with a tribe of cannibalistic murderhobos, should we help him without knowing that first?” These questions aren’t thrown out of thin air, but asked by people who were in these situations before, and got the wrong answer last time. Like I said, heavy stuff.

I also rather like how the plot was constructed, by putting the reader right into where it gets good, and filling them in via strategically placed flashbacks that bring us up to speed on current events in a matter that doesn’t bring forth the urge to hugely sigh and scroll past back to the fun bits. You know, machine guns and solar-powered Hummers in a fantasy world?

Now, the actual aspect of these soldiers navigating the language barrier of a cometely different world (where, shock upon shock, teh locals don know eengleesh!) was in turns entertaining, somewhat tedious, bearable, and cleverly factored into the main plot. In turns. Which some of those overstayed their welcome.

That said, the enjoyment of watching this world unfold wasn’t lessened, nor were some of the better details, like Mark and Jesse literally towering over the far smaller inhabitants of this sand-infested world. Also, them being soldiers but not gunning down anything that some much as glanced their way in a fit of testerone fueled rage, then proceeding to angrily stomp their corpses into paste once ammo eventually ran out.

You know, the reason that most Soldiers In a Fantasy World With Guns stories run out of steam. At about the same time people start asking questions about bullet capacity and acquisition, the infinite holding capacity of their ration bags,why someone doesn’t just kill them by poisoning their food/just sending an small army to deal with them, and what in the hell did they do to Spiderman to get his dangersense x1000?

That, thankfully, is mercifully absent here.

Style:

LI'll be honest. The style took some time to pull me in, likely due to it's fluid nature. I stead of writing each chapter from one character's perspective, the style here follows a chain of events, switching from character to characters and swiveling scope as needed. This is actually quite hard to pull off, but the author more than manages it.

Still, it took a while to grow on me, but grow it did. Like some noxious weed. But hey, at least we got some good, proper smackdowns?

…That mostly involved some posturing, magical sword-waving antagonist wanna-be being shot in the face and wondering what the fug happened on their way to the afterlife.

Grammar:

Why is this section even in my reviews?

Characters:

Okay, so, initially, I wasn’t much impressed by the characters with them being a standard four-warm-bodies team and a rescued damsel in distress.

However, I admit I was wrong to judge a book by it's first chapter. The plot, as well as the increasingly spooky flashbacks, provided a much needed life to these characters, showing their decision-making process, moral limitations, personal traits, even being generous and providing a physical description now and then.

Still, I have to say they actually did feel interchangeable for the first few chapters, and we still don't know too much about their past. But, I honestly don’t expect to, this early in the story.

I honestly feel like you've done a good job with fleshing them out since their initial introduction, and considering how standard they felt, that's no small task.

The villians, however…

They've felt a wee bit..boilerplate so far. I won’t say too much because of spoiler, but they haven’t exactly broken the mold or really stood out so far.

They were just, bad, deal with and move on.

Now, while one of them did have consequences with their passing, we have yet to see more. Sure, we have a vaguely shadowy overlord figure maybe looming on the horizon, but the ones we have seen haven’t impressed me much.

Conclusion:

While it took me a few chapters to get into it, I found that I actually enjoyed Inheritors of Eschaton. It was delightfully non-standard, and actually very well executed. The story knows what it wants to be, and is suceeding into growing into that.

I really can’t say more, just that you should give it a bit of time to flex and show it’s strengths.

I did, and it more than won me over. Who knows, this just might be what you're looking for, when you want a Soldiers In a Fantasy World With Guns story and are tired of all the others being dropped for the exact same reasons.

 

argusthecat
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I'm a million percent on board with this. We're looking at something that echos with hints of Stargate, or Gate, but is wholly unique in its own way. One chapter in and the characters are already comfortable and familiar, while still feeling like there's more to explore. It's fantastic. 

I could read this author's work until the end of time and not get bored, and as a follow up to Grand Design, I am enthralled to see where this goes. 

Guessed
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I'll admit I'm biased due to Grand Design being so good, but I was immediately interested in this and so far it's everything I'd hoped for. We're only 5 chapters in as of this post (well, 6 counting Patreon) so it's still early days, but so far we've got tantalizing hints of clearly-well-thought-out worldbuilding, shown not just in classic isekai Fun With Languages™ and the perspective of strangers in a strange land, but beautifully put-together footnotes for each chapter - seriously, go pop over to the bottom of Chapter 1 right now and have a look.

 

 

Style: The story is written mostly in the present, with occasional flashbacks to the recent past - the shift is always obvious and (as of this writing) the flashbacks as a whole seem to be presented in chronological order, and are showing us the set-up without an info barf. Perspective flips between characters who generally speak English and characters who generally speak Other* without undue repetition, which is a nice touch.

*I'm not going to go back and look up the name of their language, sue me.

 

Story: The world that we've seen so far is intriguing, and from the looks of it, it won't lean too heavily into a one-sided curbstomp (e.g. GATE: JSDF) or SimCity But It's A Book (pick your own example) - but you don't have to take my word for it, go read it already.

 

Grammar: I might be considered a bit generous with grammar just because of how many stories are out there that are barely intelligble, particularly to begin with, but the grammar here is basically flawless - reads like an actual novel. Half a star off for saying "jealousy" when they meant "envy", but that's just my particular hill that I'm going to die on.

 

Characters: This section gets the lowest marks of my generally high score, just because we're so early on there's still a lot of character development left to happen before we get to know them. That said, it's immediately obvious that these characters have internally-consistent needs, fears, and other motivations without. for example, any use of the Military Hardass™ cookie cutter. I look forward to seeing them interact as they learn each others' languages. Updated: It's been a couple more chapters and I am 100% onboard with these characters.

Fool
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Deserves Praise -- Intense World-building That Doesn't Lose Sight of Story

Reviewed at: Part 16 - Gifts

Overall impression: Wow. Want a homemade language? Want research notes? Want scribbles and maps and extraneous resources that are a pleasure to read instead of a weird schematic? Want a portal jumper adventure with well-fleshed independent characters? 

Style: TMarkos blends careful description and detail with the right pacing of dialogue and plot development. Things move fast but you're never anything but confident about where the characters are in the world or how they feel about it.

Grammar Score: Superb. I'm not going to go into this too much because, why? It's good. The Grammar.

Story: Despite the obvious parallels that could be drawn between this story and Gate or Star Gate, the story quickly delineates a world and tale completely unique.

Character Score: Going back to pacing for a moment to describe the characters. There are sixteen chapters out right now and four to seven central figures that we are following. By about the third chapter most of the central theme characters are well fleshed out and easily identifiable by their mannerisms, speech patterns, preferences, and physical description. They feel like characters that you've been following for one hundred and sixteen chapters.

Well done. My compliments to the editor dog too.

Plucium
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Like being bitch slapped by a pie (but like, a good one)

Reviewed at: Part 4 - Brothers

Ok, so you know how you read something, expecting a mild amusement for a couple of hours, not really expecting all that much? Ok now, have you ever just bit into a pie or something expecting a generic gelatin taste, only to receive the best goddamn taste in the world? Like, better than the food had any right to be?

That's what this story is. Its a bitchslap by a god-tier pie masquerading as some shitty bakehouse mess. And it is glorious. In a cesspit of generic remixes of the same shit, it's like being stuck under a blanket of stuffy boredom only to be dropped straight onto Mt Everest's peak for one hell of a fresh breath of air. I swear, the amour of worldbuilding going on and around this thing would give Tolkien masculinity issues. Read this story if you wanna be bitchslapped by pie taste while standing on Mt Everest.

Good shit mate

Apocryphal
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Couldn’t wait to review any longer

Reviewed at: Part 5 - Fathers

I initially planned to write a review once I reached the end of the story, but I’ve so far managed to sneak in enough time at work and hit a point where I couldn’t delay it any longer. It’s better for me to get my thoughts out while they’re fresh than having them fester in my head. 

Before anything, I want to praise how absolutely splendid the flow and detail of this story is. Like, it is at a level that makes me as a fellow writer envious of how easy the author makes this look. Everything reads off smoothly and entices a cinematic style of imagination in my head. I have always been a very visual person, so it was hard to imagine a lot of things through just words, but the author has found a way to perfectly make every scene jump out at me. 

The first chapter alone hooked me enough to immediately rate it 5 across the board AND follow and favorite it without even a thought. The characters are easily identifiable with unique traits that allow you to distinguish them apart even without their names being mentioned in the same paragraph.  And their interactions feel natural and fluid, unlike many stories where certain types of personalities don’t compliment each other but instead are mashed together for plot.

Aside from that, the usage of military and foreign language aspects is also very well done and it is very clear that the author has done his research extensively before posting it. I have constantly seen stories that have misinformed takes on how a lot of military customs and actions in general are done, and this so far is the most accurate depiction of them yet. (Coming from someone that is currently active duty with tours).

Highly recommend this story: it deserves every achievement it brings the author and more. It delivers a high standard of what a web novel should be and should be a goal line for those who want to write great pieces. 

Akaso
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An exceptionally well done story about modern soldiers in a fantasy world.

Reviewed at: Part 5 - Fathers

Inheritors of Eschaton echoes memories of Stargate, held up with worldbuilding more rock-solid than the magic space rocks Stargates are made of.

The way modern technology is described and treated, in addition to the distinct lack of hamhanded or inappropriate exposition makes for a very natural reading experience.

I really can't push myself to write a review beyond just "Go read it, it's good." because I'd rather not spoil you on the story itself.

Beeqs
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This is one of the few books on this site I've read so far that measure up to professional and critical muster. The writing is crisp, engaging, and confident. The world is detailed and vibrant. The characters are strong. Finally, I just love the footnotes at the end of each chapter. I'll be honest, I'm kind of in it for the footnotes at this point because they're like a little present at the end. 

Definitely will keep reading!

Sage Thrasher
  • Overall Score

A thoughtful, entertaining read with unique take on enjoyable tropes

Reviewed at: Part 11 - Plan D

I'm a sucker for first contacts and societies built on post-apoc ruins, and this combines both in a very enjoyable way. The power differences are handled very realistically, without it being a "ROFL Curbstomp BIG STICK."

The perspectives of the displaced worlders and the residents feel real, and all the characters are enjoyable. Probably my favorite parts are the actual consideration given to power dynamics: violence as power, technology, and even refugee displacement. It's not too much for me to say that this is one of my favorite stories on RoyalRoad.

Xel Vi Coronata
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Why aren't you publishing this as a paperback yet? (A spoiler-free review)

Reviewed at: Part 12 - Distinction and Proportionality

This story has far more thought put into it than many other isekai works. Even with the technological disparity, the protagonists don't go killing everyone in their (iron) sights for no rhyme and reason, and are limited by constraints that make a great deal of sense.

As far as writing goes, this is well-edited and written, save for the odd miss here and there. If you can point out a paragraph...hell, even a sentence of utter gibberish, I'll let you sit on my head. The words flow like music!

Story wise, it's packed with lots of stuff that I can't wait to see play out. There's things hidden, and we're just waiting for em to show up. 

Personal like: The speech style of the inhabitants of the new world. There's this myth-like touch to it; tis hard to explain, but it fits that itch just nicely. Some might argue that it sounds odd, but it is really a great touch.