Thelos is a world of magic that serves as a home to angels, demons, dragons and a host of other fanciful beings. 

The creator of this fantasy world, Trever Bierschbach, 43, does not preside over Thelos from a throne atop Mount Olympus or from a hall of fallen heroes in Valhalla, but rather from the more familiar and less grandiose setting of Pekin. The world has existed in his imagination for at least a decade, and he shared it with the public with the January release of his new book “When Heroes Rise.”

“It’s a collection of short stories,” said Bierschbach. “Most of them are basically classified as fantasy and science fiction.”

“When Heroes Rise” is a sort of history of Thelos, Bierschbach said. The anthology begins in an ancient epoch of primitive elven clans and dragons and spans the ages to culminate with a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. He believes that taking readers through different ages of Thelos sets “When Heroes Rise” apart from the work of most fantasy and science fiction writers.

“Most writers stick to a pretty small time period in their world,” he said. “They don’t generally go very far into the past and future of the worlds they write in.”

A protagonist of the early stories is Snowdove, an elven woman who faces adversity and trauma as she seeks her own place in the world. In the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Thelos’ future, magical devices, relics of the world’s past, serve as power sources for flashlights, clocks and various types of machinery. 

Bierschbach considers “The Relic Hunter,” the last story in what he has named “The Wastelander Series,” to be his favorite tale in the collection. Jule, the story’s main character, is a shopkeeper on the edge of the wasteland, where most magical devices are to be found. She and her husband used to visit the wasteland to find the devices that are their stock-in-trade, until her husband was severely injured during one such trek. Thereafter, Jule must travel into the hostile wastes alone to provide for her family.

“I’ve always felt that work ethic myself: providing for your family, making sure you have a good job and can put food on the table,” said Bierschbach. “I really identified with the idea that (Jule) has to do this. She has to take care of her daughter and her husband, who can no longer go out and do this with her. I really liked that aspect of her character. I enjoyed writing about that determination.”

Bierschbach has been writing short stories and novelettes for about 25 years, as well as working as a journalist for a variety of gaming and comic interests. His first published work was a novelette named “Wastelander,” which he self-published as a digital edition on Amazon. The story appears in “When Heroes Rise.” His first novel, “Embers of Liberty,” which was published last year, opens in the central Illinois of a dystopian near future.

“America is split by civil war, and one part of America is not as free as the other,” said Bierschbach. “Illinois happens to be in that part of America that is not free. I wrote about a family that lives in central Illinois and their friends trying to get out to that part of America to where they can be free to raise their kids the way they want and have the jobs they want.”

“When Heroes Rise” lays the groundwork for an as-yet untitled trilogy of novels set in Thelos that Bierschbach is currently working on. The collection is available at and is coming soon to local stores.