The Antithesis is a novel series published by 1889 Labs, Ltd., but began as a speculative, Low Fantasy Web Serial Novel that debuted in February of 2010. It is currently on-going, and has completed two books in the saga: Renovatio and Secundum Velum. The story is currently on Decus, the 2nd Arc and it's already proving to be a much darker and violent entry to The Antithesis saga.
The story revolves around the conflicts of a uniquely-perceived Heaven and Hell, narrated by the main character, Alezair Czynri, who is a member of the "Jury", a sect of non-Celestials who live in Purgatory and enforce "The Code". The Antithesis sets itself apart from other stories regarding angels and demons due to the nature in which both races are characterized. Instead of basing it off of previous fantasy and/or religious preconceptions, the author, Terra Whiteman, tries to explain the existence of Heaven and Hell through science.
The Angels, a species classified as Archaeans are ruled by Commander Yahweh Telei, who is surprisingly an adolescent prodigy and genetic engineer, suffering from cognitive disorders closely resembling O.C.D. and Aspergers Syndrome. His two Seraph generals, Seyestin and Cereli are both fraternal twins and incestuous with one another. Further military and political figures in Heaven (their capital city, Crylle) comprise the 'Argent Court'.
The Demons, a race known as The Fallen, were at one point angels, but how they became demons has yet to be revealed. Hell exists in seven layers, which are islands suspended above the Atrium's gaseous surface (where Heaven is located in the highest layers). It is described as a cold, desolate tundra, and The Fallen were forced to migrate to the lower regions due to a Civil War in Heaven from a revolt over slavery and other social abuses three hundred years prior to the beginning time line of the The Antithesis saga. The Obsidian Court (Hell's Parliament)is ruled by Lucifer, and his two general Archdemons Samael and Caym. Currently, other major Fallen characters involve:
- Belial - Hell socialite and Archdemon of Tehlor, The 5th Layer of Hell, who also directs and writes plays in his spare time.
- Samnaea - Samael's sister and Archdemoness of Junah, The 6th Layer of Hell; a deeply troubled character who had never truly recovered from the centuries of abuse during the period of demon slavery.
- Naberius - Archdemon of Lohr, 3rd Layer of Hell. He is Belial's best friend and not very good with money. This proves a as a problem when faced with political upheaval due to the decline in the layer's economy.
The Jury resides in Purgatory (a place between both Heaven and Hell in The Atrium, often deemed as neutral ground for both species since normally demons cannot enter Heaven, and vice versa) and fulfill the role of mediators between The Argent and Obsidian Courts. Their job duties include the delegation and between both Courts, the legislation of new laws in the Code of Apsularis, and also the pursuit and execution of angels or demons who fail to abide the Code. The Jury consists of a powerful species known as The Vel'Haru, which are originally non-natives to The Atrium, and were hired by Lucifer and Yahweh during the formation of the Obsidian and Argent Courts. The Vel'Haru are described as humanoid in appearance, but are also highly intelligent and predatory in nature. It is said they originated from a universe called Exo'daius, though where and what this is has yet to be revealed. The Jury consists of four Vel'Haru, a noble and her guardians:
- Leid Koseling - The Justice Commander, who currently is characterized as mysterious and rather 'shady'. In Exo'daius, she was formerly the Violet Queen of the Court of Enigmus, though for reasons still yet to be revealed, she left her world and took up residence in Purgatory several hundred years prior to the story's beginning. She has a particular interest in biology, specifically biochemistry and molecular biology.
- Alezair Czynri - the main character in "Renovatio", and who the story revolves around. The Antithesis begins when he becomes a judge. He is characterized as impulsive yet introspective, often questioning the way things are in The Atrium and other surrounding worlds. He has a particular interest in physics and physical sciences, and often uses learned human laws to explain his observations to the readers. Most importantly, he is in love with Leid.
- Adrial Trisyien - A philosopher and psychologist who is also Alezair's best friend up to this current point. He often provides comic relief, but also acts as the voice of reason in dire situations when Alezair is ready to lose it (and this happens regularly).
- Zhevraine Khrost - A poet and skilled in 'humanities'; she is characterized as being extremely quiet and withdrawn from the other judges, though shows the most loyalty to Leid above all other. Alezair often mentions her love for literature, and Zhevraine is almost always seen reading.
- The Code of Apsularis - The Apsularis is the book containing all laws agreed upon in the 'Contest' between Heaven and Hell, the primary law being that 'direct contact with the Celestials' creations is prohibited'. The creations involve the humans, and up to forty other intelligent beings that the angels and demons created in order to serve the 'Contest'. Code violations include possessions, reincarnations, and re-animations. Those that violate the Code are hunted down and executed by the Jury of the Celestial Court.
The Contest at first appears to actually be an experiment in progress between Yahweh and Lucifer, trying to determine which raison d'etre (the Fallen or Archaean) is more successful for survival, though as the story progresses it is implied that this contest is only a decoy in attempts to dissuade any further wars between Heaven and Hell. It is also implied in Secundum Velum that Yahweh and Lucifer are not actually enemies, but allies with mutual objectives: peace between both races.
Arc II: Decus begins with main character Qaira Eltruan, a Nehelian leader struggling to keep the Archaeans out of The Atrium. It instantly becomes known that the Archaeans are not true natives to The Atrium, but occupied it at an earlier time from the Nehel. Decus takes place approximately 900 years before Book 1: Renovatio began. In its earliest stages, readers are introduced to Qaira Eltruan, a hero to his kind, but a rather troubled man in mentality. He battles drug addiction and appears to have severe and distorted perceptions of morality. Readers are currently trying to decide whether they like him or not.
- Lucifer Raith, Commander of the Archaean forces (also the Commander of the Obsidian Court in Renovatio), is now revealed to at one point been an angel, and also the leader of the entire Angelic Forces. In this arc, he is Qaira Eltruan's arch nemesis, though he has yet to be introduced and readers are only told about him through Qaira's narrative.
- Qaira also has two younger siblings, Ara (brother) and Tae (sister) and a father, Qalam Eltruan, the Regent of Sanctum (the metropolis which the Nehel live), who is suffering from dementia. As the oldest son, Qaira takes on the duties of Regent behind the scenes, while also controlling the Nehelian militia.
- Leid Koseling makes a reappearance, this time as a Scholar for the mysterious Court of Enigmus. She's sent by the Nehelian Council to advise Qaira during the war with the Archaeans.
- Yahweh Telei enters Decus after being kidnapped by Qaira Eltruan during the Crylle Raid. Since this takes place 800 years before Arc I, Yahweh is not the Commander of the Argent Court, but a doctor and engineer who has been said to have developed over sixty-percent of the Archaean's modern technology. He is also found out to be Lucifer's adopted son, throwing yet another wrench into the already complicated storyline.
- Namah Ipsin makes a first appearance as an Archaean physician. Previously to this, Namah Ipsin was an Archdemon that died after the first episode of Renovatio (arc 1) due to hiring Alezair from the Nexus. He was the Archdemon of Lohr, but Naberius takes his place after his execution.
The Antithesis utilizes many modern human themes, philosophies and conflicts:
- Kantian Theory
- The imminent 'Nature vs. Nurture' debate
- Creationism vs. Evolution
- Darwinian Natural Selection
- The Law of Specific Nerve Energies
- Philosophies by John Locke
- Philosophies by Descartes
- Modern psychological perspectives to cognitive development
- Morality (duality vs. natural instinct and impulses)
- Slavery and Social Inequalities/Segregation
- Our Demons Are Different
- In The Antithesis, Demons only differ from angels by their phenotypes of black wings and dark hair. They live in the same world, but exist on lower layers of a planet that encapsulates Heaven and Hell, called "The Atrium". They do not possess the evil characteristics of the Judeo-Christian religion, but are actually a population of humanoid-looking beings, and their society contains moralistic values, political hierarchies (the highest being Lucifer, their leader/Military Commander/President, the second highest being the Archdemons) that formulate their Parliament, known as the "Obsidian Court". They are characterized with eccentric personalities, and their culture is embellished in art, literature, and theater.
- Our Angels Are Different
- In The Antithesis, angels are a species classified as 'Archaeans' (winged, humanoids residing on a planet called The Atrium) and are ruled by Commander Yahweh Telei, who is surprisingly an adolescent prodigy and genetic engineer, suffering from cognitive disorders closely resembling O.C.D. and Asperger's. Angelic society revolves around high science and technology.
- Love Hurts
- In The Antithesis, love is a perpetual curse on most characters, whose personalities and ideas of affection become tainted through life experiences pertaining to love. Alezair's love for Leid repeatedly condemns him to fits of rage, insanity and substance abuse, and at one point his devotion for her nearly ends his existence entirely.
- Worthy Opponent
- Yahweh, the leader of Heaven and Lucifer, the leader of Hell become friendly enemies when a Civil War between the angels and demons tragically force them to oppose one another. Previously, both had worked together in Heaven's main corporation for Technology and Science 'The Plexus', and though now opponents, they still strive for the same objective: peace between Heaven and Hell. They are also often symbolized as the white and black kings in chess, having almost entirely similar motivations, morals and ethical deductions, though having the bad luck of being on opposing sides of the board.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!
- Qaira Eltruan is a cold and callous militant leader on the outside, but suffers with self-hatred and guilt on the inside. Leid Koseling attempts to help him through his internal struggles along with the malay addiction he suffers in the beginning of Decus, but he is at first very reluctant to accept her help. In fact he feels threatened and insulted by Leid's attempts to aid him, and often becomes angry over the fact.
- Qaira Eltruan is not a hero by any means, and the methods he goes about 'protecting his world' are usually evil, cruel and unjust. While his ultimate goal is to protect his people and rid his world of the angels, Qaira will not hesitate to kill anyone who stands in his way, and this includes his peers. This stems from a lack of moral duty--Qaira is considered a moral nihilist by most readers.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl
- Leid Koseling beats everyone. The first episode of The Antithesis (I. The Encounter) recounts Alezair Czynri nearly getting killed by Leid in the battle of Jerusalem circa 1180. Alezair's ego is significantly damaged by this, and this initiates the entire story, making him want to pursue her and perhaps fight her again. Later in Decus, Qaira Eltruan gets his ass beat by Leid on numerous occasions after losing his temper (or after she makes him lose his temper), and often he becomes so impossible to deal with that she must smack some sense into him. This is also ego-damaging to Qaira, since he is what we would deem a "manly-man", also a chauvinist, and also a misogynist. Although the readers find Qaira's beat-downs rather funny, Qaira, in fact, does not.
- Badass Decay
- Qaira Eltruan begins Arc II as a genuine 'badass', who is cold and ruthless and devoid of all mercy and feelings. As the story goes on it is shown that he does have a heart, and his disguise as a ruthless unmerciful bastard is the result of terrible past experiences involving the death of his mother and other traumatic things he was forced to do as a militant leader. With Leid's help, Qaira slowly begins to feel compassion again.
- Low Fantasy
- Unreliable Narrator