Jebediah Skayne has been hunting husks his entire adult life, but there's something different about the trail leading to the fishing town of Portis on the shores of the Chalice Sea: no spoor, no footprints; nothing save the unmistakable feeling of wrongness. Finding a husk in Portis would be near impossible for someone who didn't have the sixth sense, but the instant Jeb arrives, all trace of the incursion vanishes. Forced to rely on more mundane methods of investigation, he starts to uncover a town rife with corruption, where a man will kill you for looking at a woman the wrong way; a town that's seen its share of incursions from the land of nightmares before.
As events start to slip from his control, he realizes the husk he's come to kill is one step ahead of the game, and it holds a secret that will shake his world to the core.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Jebediah certainly believes this as do most Maresmen. A local missionary soundly rejects this argument. They're each half-right. Husks are always evil but Even Evil Has Loved Ones.
- Antihero: Jebediah is a sexist, mean, and lazy monster hunter who can barely bring himself to do his job because he honestly doesn't care if the monster eats the citizens. Still, he's the best they've got.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Jebediah would be an amazing Maresmen if he could bring himself to give a crap about his job.
- Corrupt Hick: Portis is run by a coalition of these, including the Sheriff.
- Dismotivation: Jebediah was more or less forced into being a Maresmen at gunpoint so his job moral hovers around zero at the best of times. The fact the majority of citizens he meets tend to be assholes doesn't help.
- Evil Mentor: Mortis is a sociopath and a monster who just happens to hunt more literal ones.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Portis is a port.
- Half-Human Hybrid: All of the Maresmen are one-half Husk, one-half human.
- Handsome Lech: Due to his succubus-heritage, Jeb is nearly irresitable to women.
- Hero Killer: The Husk in town has killed three Maresmen already. She just lures them to bed and murders them.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The Husk he's been hunting turns out to be Jeb's mother.
- Noble Bigot: Jeb has some decidedly unpleasant views about just about everyone he meets.
- Not So Above It All: A local missionary ends up in bed with a succubus/prostitute within minutes of talking with Jeb. This is, apparently, not the first time something like this has happened.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Maresmen have almost no experience with these because they make problems go away as a general rule. As such, Jebediah really has no experience dealing with the reception he gets in Portis. They're worried he'll interfere with the drug trade.
- Schmuck Bait: It turns out that this was the method the Maresmen were killed. They were just lured to have sex with a succubus who then gutted them.
- Shocking Swerve: Jeb kills Mortis and is cursed. He lets his mother go on the promise she returns to her home dimension.
- Space Western: Of a sort. It's actually a Fantasy Western, which just happens to take place in the far-far future on another planet.
- Town with a Dark Secret: A relatively mild one, given the planet is riddled with monsters. The town's leaders are heavily involved in the drug trade.
- The 'Verse: Set in the same universe as The Shader and The Nameless Dwarf universe.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: One comes to visit Portis and acts like she's still as big as she was in New Jerusalem. It'd be endeairng if it wasn't sad.
- You Killed My Father: What Mortis tries to motivate Jeb with against his succubus mother. Jeb has difficulty since he never knew the man.