You’d think after 85+ posts I’d talk more about my own work.
Truth is, I often find myself hesitant to talk about it because for one, it’s difficult as hell to be concise. For two, there always remains a tickling paranoia of having my ideas stolen – but that’s no small degree of pomp, is it? I mean, that would first assume that my ideas are worth stealing, and more to the point having them listed somewhere public is actually a good way to stake one’s claim in whatever kind of legal issue that could (but won’t) arise. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but stating it outright might be helpful to someone else.
So here goes! Today’s post will shamelessly focus on me, and whatI write. I once vainly described my primary work as “If Dune and LotR had a child that was raised by gamer parents.”
It is fantasy (big surprise), set on worlds that are most assuredly not Earth, and the majority of time takes place in a post-medieval setting where guns are nonexistent and the plot escalates, gradually, from personal concerns to cosmic proportions. There are monsters, magic, mysteries, political plots, and perhaps most importantly, no shortage of swords.
I take a personal fascination with etymology and linguistics, mythology, psychology, history, politics, economics and good old-fashioned sword & sandals violence and adventure. There’s a mouthful for you.
The working title for the series is currently: The Dreadwar Saga.
The Setting (ancient history)
An undetermined number of millennia (somewhere in the ballpark of 15,000 + years) has passed since The Origin Exodus and the Scattering, an event in which the ardkin race were forced to leave their homeworld of Origin. The appearance of astral beings – celestial dragons, who saw the potential of the ardkin – offered a means of escape and redemption. A Janus Gate was erected on the planet, and through it much of the population was funneled out of the dying world.
But things went awry, for there exist agents of the Void, who also saw the potential of the ardkin and sought to destroy them. “If I can’t have them, than neither can the celestial dragons.” The Janus Gate was sabotaged, and the ardkin race was scattered across the cosmos, rather than funneled to a specific location as promised by the dragons. The celestial dragons have since undertaken the eternal quest of recovering the ardkin, wherever they may be, for the universe is vast. This is known as the Age of Letheon.
Many ardkin set foot on new, fertile worlds where they established civilizations and dynasties, whereas other, less fortunate pockets of people found themselves in harsh environments, ranging from inhospitable jungle worlds where they were eaten or destroyed outright, to barren, airless moons. Suffice it to say that many ardkin perished during the diaspora, and the celestial dragons (or at least some of them) have taken the responsibility personally. This is known as the Age of Wandering Memory.
Most of this history is lost to the descendents of the ardkin, and the generations go on living without any knowledge of the Exodus or the Scattering, most believing that they, and their world, is the only world in the cosmos.
Confession: This type of setting is in part meant to satisfy the question I’ve always had in fantasy:
“Why are there always humans (or humanoids) on these alien/fantasy worlds we see and read about?”
In my mythos, this is at last an answer to that.
The Setting (recent)
My books take place during the Age of Confluence, about one hundred and fifty years after the Janus Gates on several ardkin-settled worlds were reopened (after many millennia of dormancy). Each world has it’s own history and divergent evolution of the original ardkin settlers, the evolutions determined predominantly by the influence of magic (or utter lack thereof). I won’t get into racial descriptions here, as that’s a whole post unto itself, but suffice it to say that many of the races of the modern era were recognizably “once human,” whereas others would simply fall into the category of “monster.” There are some familiar faces when it comes to monster lore.
The worlds, together known as the Conglomerate, are loosely held together and ruled by a powerful trade corporation known as the Aztherium, whose power is rooted in its unquestioned control of the Janus Gates (and therefore all trade/personal passage between worlds), and in this setting, that power means a lot. For nearly 150 years, the Aztherium has reigned as the single strongest entity of the worlds, though it rarely interferes with the politics of individual nations unless it pertains to the Conglomerate as a whole. The Awakening of the gates brought about an era of cultural exchange, enlightenment and prosperity unprecedented in history.
The Story (Book 1)
The first installment of the series has a working title of “Act 1 – Saudade.” The year is 179 C.E. (Confluence Era), several years after the conclusion of a twenty-year conflict that toppled the power of the Aztherium and nearly brought about the ruin of an entire civilization. The nations are on the path to recovery from the war, and the Aztherium seeks to take measures of prevention from an event known as the Absence Crisis from ever recurring.
The story follows the perspectives of three primary characters: Radh the war veteran, Jacquel the counter-terrorist investigator, and Zayne the ex-con merchant. Each of them have been affected by the war and other global events, and are more closely connected than they could know – for none have ever met one other.
The theme of this novel, while I rarely dwell on such things, dawned on me only recently: identity, memory, diversity. Saudade is a Portuguese word that can roughly translate to “nostalgia for something/someone that we know can never be.” Each of the characters has a past that occupies their identity, and over the course of the novel they each must overcome this and come to grips with who they really are, all while uncovering something deeper and darker than the shadows of revolution and the horror of civil war.
Oh yes, big fish swim beneath the surface of this tepid sea.
Notes on Magic, Race, etc.
So magic is a thing, but only under specific circumstances. According to Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic, there’s both a little hard magic and a little soft magic. On one world, for example, there exists a magical ‘field’ where things happen, and exposure to certain substances can drastically change someone’s day (for better or worse), whether through accidental amplification, manifestation, or outright irresponsibility. On another world, the rules are clearer; symbiont spirits are used to perform tasks or enhance one’s own abilities, with very clear limitations. Then, on the other hand, there exists a world (where the majority of the populations reside), where magic is dampened, to the point that most folk there discount the idea of magic as “lotus-induced hallucinations of those foreign off-worlders.”
During this time of the Age of Confluence, clockwork is pretty widespread, but it’s a recent innovation, and the era is showing signs of emerging into a Steampunk age, but not quite there yet. Think Final Fantasy IV.
The races are diverse yet relateable – another big theme/interest of my writing is how people of various cultural and racial backgrounds can band together to form an effective team. You’ll see that from time to time throughout the adventures and circumstances characters find themselves in. But this post is lengthy enough as it is, so perhaps I should end it there and pick up the whole race-thing another day.
So that was a mouthful. I know there will be details that I think up later and will use to amend this, and if parts of it seemed really vague, that’s only because some things (have been) subject to change and/or development. Not laziness, heh.
I’ll end today’s post with a nifty bit in honor of the rainy weather happening outside my window as I write this. Happy writing, dear readers!