The stories of The Barrow and the Artesia comic books are set in the fantasy setting of the Known World.  Combining research into the histories, myths, and religions of the ancient and classical worlds of Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Celts, the medieval world of alchemy and witch hunts, and 16th century armor and warfare, with years of influence from role-playing games, fantasy novels, and comic books, the Known World is designed as a place at once familiar and fantastical.

Stjepan Black-Heart and his sister, Artesia, hail from An-Athair, a woodland realm that was once a place of magic and power, now faded to become a haunted memory in the center of the Middle Kingdoms, prosperous lowland realms where worship of the Divine King holds sway, and which juts out into the Mera Argenta, the great sea at the center of the world.  To the north rises up Daradja, sometimes called the Highlands, an ancient land of crags, valleys, citadels, and crossroads inhabited by proud and resilient folk drawn from all over the Known World to the region’s isolation and its dedication to the Old Religion of Yhera, the Queen of Heaven.  To the west lies the cursed lands of Uthedmael, where the last Worm King was unmasked and slain.  Beyond lies a vast and dangerous world: the Great Midlands, once the earthly paradise of Geniché’s Garden, and now become a horrid desert; the great Empire of Thessid-Gola, creation of the legendary Dauban Hess, the Conqueror King and first Emperor, which once covered the whole of the world and now is resurgent, ruled by an Undying Emperor who sits trapped on his throne by the Gray Dream; the island of Illia, seat of the Sun Court, where Islik the Divine King was born and ruled before ascending into the Heavens, and the cities of Hemispia, where his true descendants, the Dragon Kings, first ruled; the isle of Khael, with its Oracle Queen and her city, where past and future meet; Palatia, the city-state ruled by Urech the Usurper and his vizier, the Lord Mott, now become a barbarian empire to rival Thessid-Gola; and beneath the waves, lost  Ürüne Düré, the greatest city the world had ever known, destroyed by hubris and jealousy.  And further still, the Unknown World, where magic and legend rule.

Over time more will be added to this website to expand on the available online sourcebook for the Known World, including maps, historical essays, and tours of cultures and countries.

Home of Mark Smylie's The Barrow and Artesia