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Here is a tale of gypsies, rovers and ramblers, of secrets and stories in the blood. It is the tale of a woman with ancient secrets in her heart, and a man who hides secrets of his own. It is a tale as wild as the trade winds, a tale that winds like the road. Come and see where it leads.
Thus begins the tale of Baxtana Parmeshengro La Risho and Arik Bijo, two individuals hiding secrets. Baxt is a parmeshengro, a storyteller and teacher for the Bothare, a group of people who travel across the land of Atla in their brightly colored wagons. Arik is a Senior Agent of Viranus, a city where many species live in harmony (more or less). By chance, Arik is able to help Baxt when threatened by two street louts, and in return she agrees to teach him fochail, the secret language of the Children of the Sun. Baxt is resistant at first, as gadje are not considered trustworthy by Bothare. But as Arik learns more about her culture, she begins to learn more about him. And Arik has secret heritage, one that could mean his death if discovered. As the story progresses, their cultures, society, and the need to balance free will with law and order begins to clash, but their friendship gains strength.
Written and drawn by three different artists, Parmeshen is both a fantasy-adventure tale and an analogy for two differing cultures that slowly come together in understanding. The Bothare are clearly based on Travelers and Romani, two cultures in our world who have often been at odds with the nation-states, as they keep their culture to themselves. The city of Viranus could be any large city-state in our own world, where different races live together under one rule of law, but ancient feuds and blood wars simmer beneath the surface. The story is has wonderful dialogue, showing the differing viewpoints of Baxt, who comes from an insular community, and Arik, an outsider in his own city, but wishing for all peoples to live peacefully under the law. The writers are also not afraid to show the darker side of life, ranging from racism to violent hate crimes.
The the art is a blend of pastel drawings and pencil sketches. The color is bright, but does not ignore natural settings; a walking cat-man will still have natural fur markings. The proportions follow nature as well, which helps when viewing the different races and species found in Alta. The people are as varied as the imagination, but the cultures are well-researched, lending an authenticity that feels as if they could truly live around the corner.
The comic is available through ComicFury, a free hosting site. Parmeshen is written and drawn between three profiles: otterkit, Dragonwing, and Lain. While it is unclear who is writer and who is artist, due to the anonymity of the website, the comic is beautifully drawn and written. It is a new comic, only begun in 2014, and the story is gaining strength as it moves into the second act. You can read about it at Parmeshen.com.