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December 2019 - Modern Technology in Fantasy
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So growing up I read a lot of Tolkien, and I loved Star Wars, so the first novel I ever wrote was a crappy Star Wars/LOTR rip-off with all the standard fantasy races and tropes. Since then I've written a few short stories about thieves but I've never gone full weird, as I've gotten older my favorite novels in fantasy have leaned more on the weird side. My biggest influence on writing is Neil Gaiman, Ocean at the End of the Lane would be my favorite novel if LOTR didn't exist. I guess my main question would be how could I lean away from more standard fantasy tropes and go full weird? The weirdest world I built was for a pirate story where they all used ships that fly and live on scattered Islands after a post-apocalyptic battle with the gods.
I am looking for interesting settings where souls are used as currencies as I need inspiration on a project I am currently working on. The most famous example I can think of is the Dark Souls serie but the concept is never explained in detail. Do you know of any other possible setting?
Hello everyone I hope you are doing well. After my last post here two weeks ago, I took all your feedback to heart and I been working really hard on how can I be better at them. It’s an interesting journey learning about how different cultures name locations plus learning their languages and how places have meanings to their names. It wasn’t always smooth sailing but I feel like I came a long way already. Here are the names and please let me know how I did. And yes I looked up if they were taken or not too.
I came up with the name Weepmore which is a portmanteau of “Weep some more” and it’s also a more spooky version of my hometown’s name. It’s pronounced Weep and more
Abyssia, a name I really liked, was already taken by DC. Refusing to use the name Atlantis, I looked up alternate names that merfolk are called by and I came up with Nereia, which is a portmanteau of Nereid. As for a mermaid fantasy where humans exist I came up with Whalefall Island and Eien no shima. Whalefall Island means that it was either once or still is a island whose economy is based about whaling which led to bad blood with the local merfolk population who happened to be whale tailed. With Eien no shima, it’s Japanese for eternal island which is home to the monstrous Ningyo who are more beast than beauty and if their flesh is consumed, you get immortality. Who knows? Maybe the Ningyo aren’t monsters after all in this tale. But I’m NGL about this being a anime getting announced in the future too.
The Fae Woods. I wasn’t keen on using the original names of the fairy realm so I came up with The Fae Woods and it sounds exactly how it sounds! A huge forest home to various fae like Pookas, Cat Siths and other species and it is truly a portal to their world. Staying true to fae lore, if you get lost there, you might never come out.
Thanks for reading!
So I just got a response from my first Beta reader, and while she liked my book overall, she had some concerns that my YA coming-of-age novel’s MC—let’s call her Jamie—might be too old. Right now, she’s 20, and the way I see it, that’s the youngest she can be for my story to still work. Let me break down why. The first act (consisting of the first 3 chapters) opens on her tenth birthday, a very important day for a young royal in my world. Shortly after her birthday, her baby brother—let’s call him Tony—is born.
10 years later, Tony is shown to have grown up to be an excellent fencer. Now obviously, that seems very young, but he was in fact trained by the greatest swordsman in the land who explicitly refers to him as a prodigy. My whole problem here arises from the fact that I want to give Tony some time to practice to make his feats seem just a little more realistic. For reference, according to a Google, the youngest one can realistically begin training in fencing is 7 years old. Frankly, I’d be much happier making him 11 or 12 after the time skip, (and Jamie 21 or 22), but I don’t want to push it.
And so, I arrive at my conundrum. Is 20 (or 21/22) too old for a YA protagonist? Just to give a more complete picture, Jamie and Tony’s middle siblings (the supporting cast) are aged 18, 16, 14, and 12. The other major characters are 3 Faeries who are for all practical intents and purposes around 20 years old.
I am asking because I was looking to make a website (mainly to point at as a portfolia for finding work). So far I really want to use the free version but I'm suspecting they put a lot into the paid version (whichever level).
Looking for your experience, preferably with the free version.
Do you prefer some other website builder?
Thanks in advance!
So I want a major story element to be the main character solving puzzles or riddles. Basically there's this map and because of back story, MC is the only one who can read it. Yeah I know that's kind of cheesy but I'm writing for fun/challenge.
The way I have it written right now is the MC solves a riddle that gets the other characters to the map.
Any way I'm at a loss for how to compose decent puzzles or riddles. So if any one has advice I'd appreciate it.
Hello! I'd love feedback on the dialogue from this part of a chapter. Around 30,000 words into the story when this takes place. The conversation revolves around the theft of a sword that protects their city from a world beneath the ground (although they don't know what it protects from yet, they just know it's bad). Any feedback is highly appreciated! Thanks!
Rough waves battered the harbor. Even from his meeting room Lord Manford could see the power in those waves.
‘Brother,’ the military commander said, standing in the doorway.
‘Sit,’ Lord Manford stated. Eyes locked on the sea. A moment passed before footsteps came. The commander sat.
‘Why so formal?’
‘My sword is still out there,’ Lord Manford said.
‘We have men on horse back, foot soldiers sweeping the forest and even a small fishing boat going down stream.’ Lord Manford shut his eyes. All of those soldiers. All of that time, yet he found them on the first day.
Malignant memories bubbled within, rising to the top of his mind. Urges convolved within, yet there was no one to relieve the stress on. He never handled a crisis well. The waiting. The talking. The planning. But it always made him stronger. His roots sunk deeper into the ground. The strength of a city depended on its leader, but the leader can be greater than its ruling.
‘I found them in a few hours on horseback, that’s it.’ Lord Manford swallowed and turned. The commander’s jaw fell ajar. ‘I am…’ With a questioning gaze, Lord Manford stared at the man sat at the table, eyes demanding an answer.
‘You are—’ he stuttered, ‘the lord of—’
‘Greatest.’ Lord Manford said with an uneasy calm to his voice. Again, he waited.
‘You are the greatest Lord in the land,’ the commander said. He failed to hide his fear.
‘I am the greatest man to grace the entire land for all time,’ Lord Manford said. ‘That is fact. I don’t live in fiction.’ What would become of him without Parsis? A Lord without his blade. A Lord without his power. Never to be taken seriously. Being Lord of a city was about control. Strength. Power over anything. Power over everything.
‘Brother you are ill,’ he said.
‘The only aliment I suffer is your incompetent men,’ Lord Manford said.
‘They are three men, we are twenty thousand. We need food, fresh water and sleeping arrangements to even start. It is not as simple as—’
‘These are not excuses.’
‘Did you hear me?’ Lord Manford snapped, fist smashing on the table. Pain shot up his arm but he brushed it off like nothing. Only the weak suffered pain. ‘Results speak, not you.’
‘Why am I here?’ The commander said. His tone changed; he had grown tried of the conversation, it seemed. ‘I did not come here to—’
‘You are here because I called,’ Lord Manford. Echo’s of his shout carried out into the large cylindrical turret that married onto the door. ‘I say. You do.’
‘I am not some pawn you can play with.’
‘You are my military commander,’ Lord Manford said. ‘I am above you. You do as I command.’
‘I am your brother.’ Pointless thing to say.
‘No,’ Lord Manford said, stopping for a moment, ‘no, you are my commander, military commander. Once you may have been called my brother but I have no family.’
‘You are mad.’ Lord Manford ripped a chair from the table and threw it into the wall. An ear wrenching crash of metal rocked the room.
‘Don’t express opinion to me,’ Lord Manford. ‘Don’t you dare forget who I am.’
‘Father did not raise us this way.’
‘You talk as if we are children,’ Lord Manford said. ‘That man is dead. I’m as old as he was but he couldn’t match even a piece of my power.’
‘What power?’ He said. ‘You talk of power like I can touch it. Well, where is it?’
‘It is in my movement,’ Lord Manford snapped. ‘It is in what I do, say and breath. People respect me. They listen. I say, others do.’
‘You sit on a throne another built, in a castle made by our ancestors, in a city that’s been here since time began.’ The commander stood, his chair screeching on the brushed stone floor. ‘What have you done for Parsis? Ask yourself that. What have you done?’
‘I don’t have to explain myself,’ Lord Manford said.
‘Where is your power? Tell me, who listens when you speak? You’re here to exist until Andawyn takes the throne.’ The hum of the city faded out as every part of Lord Manford focused on the man stood across the table. The room darkened. The dirty musk of the withered man scorched his nostrils. The sound of his sorry breathing sounded as if it was in his ear.
‘I would tell you to leave but I am not done talking,’ Lord Manford said. ‘Mention his name again and you will experience my power.’ Lord Manford took a moment, blood boiling, anger bursting to get out. His voice calmed. ‘How many cities have more than one army?’
‘There are none.’
‘There is one.’ The military commander, head of the army stared, waiting for more, but all that came was silence.
‘No there are not.’
‘We have one army.’
‘We have two.’
‘Breaking up twenty thousand troops into two sections does not make two.’
‘I have a friend who will give us theirs,’ Lord Manford said. Lady Baranvale, the lady with a secret.
‘An alliance is not the same as having two armies.’
‘But this is not an alliance,’ Lord Manford said. ‘They will simply hand over their men to my command.’
‘No one would do such a thing. It’s suicide.’
‘The vale. They will fall at my feet, my word.’ The commander shook his head.
‘No city will give up an army.’
‘I wouldn’t be so sure.’ Lord Manford said. ‘I will march the Baranvale army east, cutting through the wood and intercept these thieves.’
‘Even if I pretend that they let you take command, they’ll never make it in time, the forest will half their speed. You’re stupid, the logistics of marching hundreds of miles are clearly beyond you. I don’t know why I worry.’
‘Stupid am I?’ Lord Manford said. ‘What when they march for me? What when they cut through the forest and bring my sword and the heads of those who stole it. What of you then? You had the army, you had the time, the convenience of being so close to home,’ Lord Manford said. ‘Failure. Like father always said.’
‘Father always said what?’ The commander said.
‘He never told us who was older,’ Lord Manford said. ‘That never strike you as strange?’
‘It doesn’t matter with twins,’ the commander said, ‘classed as born at the same time.’
‘Oh, that’s what he told you,’ Lord Manford said. ‘Twins, born so close together he couldn’t possibly pick who ascends the throne… Why is it me he chose?’
‘I was busy when he died, I was away.’
‘You’re not as stupid as that are you,’ Lord Manford said. ‘Lineage is sacred. Our line is pure. I came out before you, merely minutes but it is a matter of fact.’
‘So he didn’t choose you based on anything beyond timing?’
‘I was stronger when we were growing, my power, even then, was beyond you. I knew my destiny and brought me into the world first.’
‘I don’t care.’ Lord Manford’s smirk slowly dropped from his face.
‘Of course you care.’
‘Part of me always thought it was because father preferred you—’
‘No he didn’t, well, he might of, but that has nothing to do with who got the throne. There has been no better example for why I wouldn’t want it.’
‘Fathers opinions was, and is, a waste of time,’ Lord Manford said. ‘He never knew how to rule.’
‘He cared,’ the commander said. ‘He listened to others, he loved his children. I wish, I fucking wish, I could speak the same of you brother, because you are a far cry from the greatness you were set up to be.’
‘I am beyond what any man could expect of a leader,’ Lord Manford said.
‘You are insane.’
‘I am a ruler.’
‘I have tried to be your friend, be your family, be there when no one else was. But every time I was there for you, you didn’t care. You didn’t appreciate me. I stood with you when roomers spread through the castle of your beatings on your wife.’
‘Beatings are normal, you didn’t have to say a thing.’
‘Not what was being said of you, that was not normal, how can you not see that? You beat your wife toothless. She could no longer speak in fear of exposing your abuse. She hid what you did. We all did. For what? What did we see in you? I feel terrible that I did what I did and all I did was protect you. How do you live with yourself? How? How can a man justify to himself what you have done? I’ve seen the bruises on Andawyn, I’ve seen how he cowers when you point, just the raise of a hand and he crumbles. You’ve broken him. And your daughter? Remember her? When did she run? What over six years ago, got out while she could.’
‘She was weak.’
‘Weak? Is that how you see her? You are unbelievable. She had the strength to flee her home, forget her brothers, just to escape you. I cannot believe you. I would say power corrupts like nothing else but you were never the man you think you are. I admit you have gotten worse over the years, but believe me you were never a friend to anyone. We were linked by blood and nothing more. I have tried and tried to be civil with you, hold my tongue, but no more can I sit under you.’ The commanders chest was heaving. Hands shaking. Wet eyes glistening in the light, a tear rolling down his cheek. ‘You are sixty four, yet you act like a petulant seventeen year old who’s got the world beneath their feet. Wake up. Can you not see what you are?’
‘I am tired of never talking. I never thought talking would feel this good.’
‘No,’ the man said. ‘I won’t fall at your feet anymore. I won’t act on your word. I resign as military commander. I plan to go far. I plan to never see you again. I mourn this city.’ He started to leave.
‘You leave when I tell you to leave.’ He left.
As I keep developing my story, I figured I should write a few short scenes to figure out the general style I want; I'm not too familiar with this archaic-style of writing, so if anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it!
"My King," she said, and though her voice was strong her eyes filled and her grip slackened. "My love, you cannot."
Olokh smiled, and he took her by the sides of his face, and swept his great fingers over the beads of her beard. "Irkhê, lady-love, queen above queens," he said, soft, and it seemed the very weight of the Iron-Guard sat on his shoulders. "Been a time coming, aye? Avakhôr left me a fine mess and I've taken her as far as she'll go on my old back."
Irkhê held him back, and she was weeping. Silver threaded by her temples, around her courting-beads; never had she taken them out, not when they had been replaced by the lady-crown beads of the Ridge-Caves, nor the queen-crown beads of the Iron-Guard.
"You will not return to me this time," she said.
Olokh touched his forehead to hers, soft in the way he had only been for her. There was no mere threads but all ice-white through his hair, and his grip had not quailed but his arms had, shrinking in on himself even as his voice still snapped and his mind stayed sharp. Past his third century he was, and what long and weary centuries they had been; orphaned before his first, crippled as well, given metal cast and realm unfed. Far-dwarves still, friendship with the Iron-Guard beside; and then the Iron-Guard fell and there was frightful little to do but take in those that needed taken in, as the Current Epoch rumbled ever on, the days of Peace long forgotten. But that had been when Amazhâ lived, when Avakhôr lived, when the world was troubled by lesser things.
"I was never going to die in bed, my love," he said, and brushed the tears from her face. "And it would always be you that outlives me—why you married such an old Dwarf, I'll never know."
"I did so because I love you, Olokh the Restorer, Olokh Stormaxe," she cried, and the distant roar of the siege was lost beneath her voice.
"And I you, queen above queens." There was little of King here, but he had never been much for the title; bore it for there was no one else, and called himself a far-dwarf still. "Centuries I would have given you, but I've none left to spare, I think. A mighty mess we've handled, but one that'll stay. Ole Iron-Guard is built of sturdy stuff, and she'll grow stronger still, under our little Amazhâ."
"She is little no more." At his beard she clutched. "Come, stay; watch her become Queen. You do not need to leave me today."
Olokh looked to the Gates, as though he could see beyond the stone. "Rimnir will fall, and Lord Erlest with her; though Lord Erlosc and Lady Erladèin are buried, I held Erlest when he was first born and watched him rise to a mighty ruler. I will not let him break beneath this siege."
Irkhê pulled his broad face back to her. "You have known," said she. "Preparing Amazhâ, sending word back to the Ridge-Caves. You knew your time was coming. You–" her marvelous voice cracked.
Goblins and trolls and drakkens howled beyond as they had for months, and still did Olokh look at her as if he could see nothing else.
"Time and tide, my love," he said. "All People have it come to them. I've run as long as I can with a dud leg and a kingdom to carry, and I won't be running any longer. Nay, my time will come, and it will come fierce and bright and deserving of song."
He softened. "Watch over Amazhâ, won't you? She won't understand. Still brash, that one; a great and fierce Queen she'll be, and all of Sakhamôr will bend knee to her."
"She is your daughter," Irkhê whispered.
"And yours. The best of you and the bull-headedness of me. No more simpering of the high-dwarves; a proper Ridge-Cave bloodline to start a new crowned royalty. I think old Avakhôr would've liked that; and Amazhâ's name has a new legacy for her to be proud of." He laughed, a bright song that the Iron-Guard's halls had wearied many months without hearing, and he straightened as if he had only entered his second century. Bold were his eyes, and his smile fierce. "Why, when I reach the World Beyond, I expect that's all she will talk of. She and I will watch over from above."
And then he looked at her, and he was Olokh Stormaxe again, of the Ridge-Caves alone and no greater, and he was placing his courting-bead in her hand as if for the first time. "Don't bury me here, not in this old cavern; take me to the Caves, with red earth instead of black stone."
"You are not dead," said Irkhê, and great tears soaked through her beard. "Prove them wrong one last time—come back to me."
But Olokh did not agree, and tapped forehead to hers, and she knew.
"You are a fool," she said, but she cradled his face and kissed him, and her eyes burned in the dawn-light.
"Your fool," Olokh declared, and his iron-red axe met the air. At the signal did Shagirâ overhead nod, and he pulled back the stone; lips to metal and did the great horn of the Iron-Guard cry again.
"Open the Gates!" Olokh cried, and a Dwarf-King of old was he again, so mighty that Dawn and Dusk seemed to gleam anew in the distance. "Open the Gates, and to Rimnir we go—on high! On fall! Of Iron-Guard!"
“What are you saying to me, Absalom?”
The president of the Geyortian Union rushed down the extravagant corridors of the Glass Wheel, heels clacking heavily against the marble floors beneath her. She wore a yellow pantsuit underneath a robe of red furox fur, the crest of the Union—a golden wheel with eight spokes—pinned onto her breast pocket. Despite the cold of near winter, beads of sweat trickled down her obsidian skin.
“King Ghalio’s forces have annexed Gwokon,” Absalom repeated, wiping his forehead with a silk kerchief.
President Kirby Nameh had little time for him. “I understood that part, you great fool. I should like you to go into more detail.”
“Of course, Your Excellency,” Absalom mumbled, fumbling to open a document labelled CONFIDENTIAL as the President and her group turned a corner sharply.
Oh hell, Oh hell, Oh fucking hell, Kirby thought. Not today, Izmaweh. Not today. Officials and clerks of all kind surrounded her, keeping her pace as she bulldozed her way to her office, and closest to her and whispering into her ear was Absalom Coin, her chief of staff. “Reports say they seized control of the city not up to an hour ago, from land and air—”
“What is their standing?” Kirby asked, battling the urge to break something.
Papers ruffled and then, “Three thousand men, is our most accurate guess—”
“Crests? They cannot all well be Overlandian soldiers,” Kirby asked, hurrying him on.
“The exact numbers we do not know as of yet, but Overlandian uniforms were sighted, as well as the uniforms and crests of House Vance, the Cavendish Company of Frog Island, and the smugglers of Red Alley—”
“The Alleymen were there?”
“Their ships,” Absalom clarified.
The entire Wheel was in absolute chaos. Workers were rushing back and forth, exchanging information and documents and barking commands. Everyone seemed to be moving at a supercharged speed, sweating or profusely anxious, and yet all gave the President the necessary respect as she passed—a bow or a curtsey. Kirby almost wished that they wouldn’t. Her hands were jittery, her teeth clattering together. One more thing and I fear I’ll—
“They had strigoi as well,” Absalom said. Kirby stopped, eyes wide, but did not turn to look at him. She almost couldn’t, as though the news had frozen her to her spot. “Strigoi?” she spat, voice straining. “What in Sants name do you—”
And then he was tapping her shoulder, staring intensely at his communicator. “Your Excellency—”
“What the hell is it now?” Kirby asked, palms tightening into fists.
Absalom went pale. He coughed. “The Minister of Spellwork Affairs is at the gate, as well as the Chief Speakers of both houses of the A.O.R, and—”
“What else, Absalom?” Kirby asked. “What else could you possibly have to say?”
He shifted back a step. “The King of Pyrath has left Pyratheon in an airship and will be here at the capital at day’s end, at the latest.”
Karhaen’s noose, Kirby thought. She fingered the wrinkles on her forehead, then let out a weary sigh. “Call the gatehouse and authorize the entry of the officials, and then meet with the press office and get Ilonka to prepare a statement. Can you do that?”
Absalom bowed. “As you say, Your Excellency.” He turned to leave, but then his communicator began to ring again—a thoroughly irritating tune—and he picked up the call. Kirby watched him with a frustrated glare, wiping the sweat pooling at her neck and forehead.
“What is it?” she asked.
He held out a finger, nodded at whatever the person on the other end of the line said, and then pocketed the device. “The Gatemaster says that Maloriana Quagmire is at the gate as well, Madam President. She requests entry.”
Kirby turned and began for her office, which was just at the end of the wide corridor. An immense oil painting of her had been hung onto the wall just above it, at least four stories high. In the artwork she looked calm, intense, decisive. Clad in her ceremonial military uniform, badges and patches decorating her shoulder and chest. She would know how to handle this, Kirby thought. Where did she go?
Black-clad guards flanking the emblazoned double doors of her office pulled them open for her, and Kirby strode inside, the officials clustering around her following. She thought of the meeting she had with Maloriana not up to a month ago, the meeting that had cemented her decision to declare war on the Overlands. A darker part of the President whispered, The meeting that led to all this.
Kirby pushed that all away, and turned to Absalom. “Tell them to allow her in.”
“At once,” Absalom said, and moved away to make the call.
President Nameh’s office was two floored, and a grandiose imperial staircase connected the levels. The walls overlooking the courtyard and the other buildings of the great Bijou complex were entirely made of thick glass—as was the entire building they called the Glass Wheel, hence its name—and were shielded by thick, velvet curtains. The crest of the Union was emblazoned onto the marble floors, and Kirby’s presidential banners, a golden lion on a field of black, hung from the railing between the twin stairwells leading upward.
Each wall of the office had the flag of a Union country hung upon it. The entrance wall held the flag of Theva, a grey fist on a field of fiery red, on either side were the banners of Taolin—a purple snake on a black, red and white field—and Pyrath—a silver stag on a green field. And then from left to right was Aldanea, a pink unicorn on a field of orange; Dahrume, four interlocked rings of green on a white background; Frog Island, which was just a solid gold field with a gleaming sword upon it; Spring Isle, a dragon head with a rapier running through it; and finally the Overlands, a large red hawk holding a lily in one foot and a set of arrows in the other.
Every country had its kings and queens and leaders, but President Nameh was above them all. She was the president, who had been elected by the people, to serve the people. But unlike all the other Union leaders who made up the paramount council, she had not come from wealth. She had made her power off the strength of her own back.
So how in Sants name am I meant to up against a king? Against Ghalio Kahn? She made her way up the stairs to the second floor of her office room, which held her desk and a few couches and chaises set in front of it for comfort. Her skaawood desk was full but arranged, files and stamps and documents kept into neat stacks and piles for her. She sat in her leather chair and wiped at her forehead once more. A worker in a cream coloured suit set a tray of small, nibble-sized cakes onto the table, and Kirby absentmindedly threw one into her mouth. It was too sweet, and she tried to wash the taste away with a swallow of water.
Absalom took a seat in one of the couches in front of her desk. Next in was Ilonka Pierson, the head of the Glass Wheel Press Department. She had a feverish look about her, with long, bony fingers and rounded spectacles so big they grazed her bronze forehead. She sat right next to Absalom, fingers stained with ink as she scribbled down furiously onto a clipboard.
Kirby stood as the others began to file in, having gone through the necessary security checks outside. First was the Minister of Spellwork Affairs, Plutarch Pentangle, who arrived with a small team of his own. Plutarch had gaunt features and long blond hair, eyes a terrifying shade of blue. He wore a pink suit with a green scarf covering his neck, and at his breast pocket was a Spellwork Ministry pin, a wand amplifier surrounded by swirls of spell magic.
Tailing him was Zhang Zhiyuan, the chief speaker of the Low House of the A.O.R, who wore a flowing silk robe of fine vermillion and chartreuse. His black hair was greasy and fell down to his waist in thick curls. “Madam President,” he said, and bowed so low his nose almost touched the ground.
And then came the chief speaker of the A.O.R’s High House, Canalayus Sordothyen, dark skinned, bald and so grossly fat that he had to have himself permanently enchanted to float just a few inches off of the ground, as he could quite literally no longer walk. The golden rings and bracelets around his fingers and arms were clearly too tight for him, squeezing at his flesh, and he wore a cloth-of-gold robe sewn with diamonds, furred at the collars. Hooped rings of ruby and silver adorned his ears.
It was when these three men were making their way up the stairs that Maloriana Quagmire arrived. Her eyes were tired, and her straw blond hair was uncombed. She wore a dress of pale blue and white. Maloriana walked up the stairs, curtseying first to Kirby who stood at the railing, observing.
“When does the Minister of Defense arrive?” Kirby asked as Minister Pentangle reached the upper floor and bowed again.
“General Diamandis has left Oldmill and is making his way here as we speak,” Absalom said.
“Excellent,” Canalayus Sordothyen drawled, “Now might we get onto the matter at hand, Your Excellency?” He floated towards the curtains and pulled them apart, allowing sunlight into the chamber. Kirby squinted and stepped away, moving back to her desk.
She sat. “We might,” she answered, and reached for another one of the mini cakes. “I trust you’ve all familiarized yourselves with the situation.”
“Quite,” Representative Zhang said, not moving from the railing. He spoke Aldish with a heavily Taol accent. “According to the situation report, a strigoi was involved?”
Canalayus scoffed and folded his arms. “A strigoi?”
“Strigoi,” Minister Pentangle said with a frown. “Dozens and dozens of them, I was told.”
“We don’t have a full count on their numbers yet,” Absalom supplied, but Plutarch was no more happier.
“So there could be more, then,” was all the Minister mumbled.
“I feared something like this would happen,” Zhang said, staring right at Kirby. “When you declared war. I felt it in my bones, Your Excellency. And now it has come.”
“There would have been war one way or another. King Ghalio doubtless has been planning this for a while,” said Canalayus.
Minister Pentangle was fidgety, and Ilonka had to shift away so he wouldn’t spill her inkpot. “And what are we to do about it?” he asked the room, frowning so deeply it was almost comical.
“The obvious move would be to take the city back,” Zhang said.
“It is defended with strigoi,” Kirby reminded him. “They are unkillable.”
“Not infallible,” Canalayus countered. “There are measures we could take.”
“The forgemaster must be found and brought to justice,” Maloriana Quagmire said, leaning against the railing beside Zhiyuan. She was twisting a ring on her finger with another, eyes scanning the room slowly. The first she had deigned to speak. “A strigoi can only be killed if the forgemaster wills it. Or if the forgemaster is dead.”
Kirby sat straighter. “That was certainly part of the plan, Chief Quagmire, but until we know for sure who it is, we focus on nondeadly measures.”
“Exactly,” Zhiyuan said, smiling slightly. Absalom was not. “And what comes after that?”
“Consequences,” Canalayus shrugged. “King Ghalio cannot possibly think this shall end well for him, oh no. He kidnapped Chief Quagmire’s daughter, has been plotting in secret, a terrible many other things besides, and now this? Oh no. It shall end badly for His Majesty, that much I can say.”
“He is still vengeful,” Maloriana said, quieter. Her eyes were on Kirby. “For Kera.” For Kera. Kirby’s fists tightened. “We all know what Kera was.”
“A forgemaster,” Zhang shuddered.
“A necromancer,” Absalom added.
Kirby pushed the memories of that day out of her mind. Of her last words.
A suited man was let into the office and rushed up the stairs to deliver a folder. He handed it to President Nameh, and upon it the word CONFIDENTIAL was stamped in bold red. Kirby waved him away, and then opened the document. All in the room had high level security clearance, anyhow.
It was a list of names. Not many.
Canalayus peeked over. “What is it?”
Kirby cleared her throat and read some of the names aloud. “King Ghalio Kahn, Prince Anselme Kahn, Althaia Cavendish, General Raife Rhemaka—” Kirby saw Maloriana grow rigid from the corner of her eye, “—Genadion Vance, Emrys Yaurel, Kaiser Baelfire, Anmarie Baelfire.” She paused. “The confirmed members of Ghalio Kahn’s elusive war council.”
I’ll have to get Layton out of the continent now, Kirby thought as she read over the names. He is like his father. Hasn’t the stomach for this. For what is coming.
“There will be more,” said Maloriana.
“Doubtless,” Kirby muttered, then, “The answer is obvious. We seize their properties and put out arrest warrants for them, bounties as well. Let the Hunters Union get in on that.” She handed the file over to Absalom. “I want constables everywhere alerted to these names, their bank vaults frozen and assets held.” Then to Ilonka, “Make mention of all I just said in that speech of yours, understand?”
Absalom nudged Ilonka and her eyes shot up, frantic and wide. There was somehow ink on her cheek. “Your Excellency?”
Kirby repeated what she had said, and Ilonka nodded fervently. “Of course, yes! As you wish it, Madam President.”
“This all shall have devastating consequences,” Minister Pentangle said, heated. “With Gwokon in Ghalio’s hands, divinium exports will slow to a halt.”
The Minister was right. The sirens living in the waters surrounding Spring Isle were incredibly territorial, and greatly hostile to ships. Gwokon had been the only safe zone, the only way to get goods in and out of Spring Isle by sea. Airships would have been an option, but it had been made clear to Kirby that Emrys Yaurel’s sleekships—and the strigoi, of course—dominated the Spring Islander skyline. They had air superiority as well.
“What of the Harcel griffons?” Zhang asked, hands folded behind his back. The members of the royal family of Spring Isle had the unique ability to bond with powerful griffons … but griffons were nothing compared to strigoi.
“If Queen Sarai has a good head on her shoulders, she won’t make attempt to engage a strigoi in battle,” Canalayus rolled his eyes.
Plutarch clearly did not like that. “How soon shall this all be over?” he whined.
“Dear Sants, do you ever stop?” Canalayus spat, head in his hands.
The Minister jumped up, heated. “I’ll have you know—”
“Silence!” Kirby roared, rising to her feet, hands spread across the polished surface of her table, and everyone stared back at her with wide eyes.
You are not fucking children, Kirby wished to scream, Do not behave as such. But she stayed her tongue and placed a hand to her chest, took a calming breath. When she spoke, her voice was quiet, subdued. “I’ll get my personal assistant to schedule a call with Queen Sarai and the other members of the Paramount, though I am more than sure they will have already been briefed.”
Canalayus nodded sharply, and he did not meet her gaze. “Without the Spring Islander divinium …”
“We shall be able to hold our own for a while,” said Maloriana, “But surely not forever. Half our divinium comes from there. Street lamps, airships, enchantments, spells, wards … we shall be strained thin.”
Minister Pentangle scoffed as he adjusted his suit. “No, I shall be strained thin. My ministry shall. Quotas from the other divinium farms can be increased, to be sure, but I cannot well turn one piece of gold into two.”
I'm brainstorming/writing a novel that reads about the adventures of a group in a fantasy, dystopian-ish, historic setting.
In this story, as they follow their adventures they'll reach/explore various lands, and so on.
But the thing is they aren't explorers.
And I don't know why they're travelling together. Or the mission that joins forges them as a group.
I thought I'd maybe mention war or a natural catastrophe.
For further context; the age group is between 30-10. I made it that way so there wouldn't be any shipping because I didn't want any romance within the group.
I was brainstorming ideas for a creature that would be a common mount in a new fantasy universe, and decided to try something new.
I picked a number (4, but could be more or less depending on what you want) and then from there used a randomizer to get 3 animals. I chose a horse as the last since it’s to be a mount, but could do all random if there was no criteria.
Then I just picked out features of each animal to contribute to my new creature. I think this could also be a cool way to develop other story elements, such as places and characters.
Anyone think they might use something like this?
Context. Guy is Carriage driver for some assassins. Run into some shit in the long desert journey. Becomes one of the bros. They do the deed, he meets them at their escape route. Shit goes south, our assassins use a new poison smoke bomb, and have da vinci style gas masks. Well it was windy and that little bomb killed half a city, including their cab driver. End pov.
Is this just too ridiculous to be giving this character a pov? Even with good development and setting him up to be a long term character, thoughts? Would it make you laugh, cry or burn my.book?.
I'm looking for more tools or resources that might facilitate or enhance the process of writing a fantasy novel.
I usually look to understand the logic and history that formed our words with Etymonline. For names, I sometimes use Behind the Name as a source of inspiration, as suggested by many others. For more than just a simple dictionary, I explore Wiktionary. As for a writing tool, I've only experimented with few, but Scrivener is the one that I found to be best at structuring my loose and precocious ideas.
It doesn't need to be a developed product that aims at doing exactly this. It can be something more creative. As an example, I have scenes that I've written with a particular song in mind. It puts me exactly into the right mood every time I hear it. This way, my scene is consistent in its mood, despite of where I'm at in my life.
Currently, to be more precise, I'm having trouble with the overall geography of my world. I'd like to know what tricks and tips do you have for this end, or if there are any, what tools are tailored to help fantasy writers with geographically building a world.
Be sure to suggest other things that might not relate with the previous problem, but that you also use in your writing process. I'm always eager to learn more.
In my world, the territories are broken up into provinces surrounding a specific element: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Light, and Dark.
One such element is "dark" which specializes in illusions through shadows.
This element houses the main Antagonist of the series. This is extremely cliche, where the "dark" element is associated with evil, however, the power of illusions is crucial to the antagonists goal.
Is it that big of a deal to have the "dark" character be evil and the "light" character be good? If so, what are some ideas to subvert this expectation without changing the overall plot?
I was thinking of adding a friendly character from the dark province that isn't a follower of the main antagonist that shows that darkness can also be soothing.
One of example that subverts this trope is "A Court of Thorns and Roses" with >!Rhysand, the leader of the night court, turning out to be an ally.!<
If there was a world where everyone could use magic, why would some people choose not to? Why would people go to a magic school when they could just practice it on their own?
EDIT: I'm gonna add this here since there's still a lot of people replying. I meant to ask why would most people choose not to do magic? Most answered here still work even though I worded it wrong, so thank you for the replies and advice, but I do intend for magic users to be a small percentage of the population. Let's say maybe 5%
I tried to answer this question about my world in a writing Discord server, but was told my justification, pretty much that magic is hard, wasn't enough. I want to check if my ideas are believable.
I'm using a fairly standard magic system where you draw "mana" from the world around you into your body and release it as magic spells. Everything can absorb mana, including plants, animals, and even inanimate objects. I'm thinking that the practice of magic will require users to essentially train their bodies to absorb and release more and more mana at will. There will be some people who are born with a higher mana threshold than most and the base amount of mana you can safely absorb will vary based on species, genetics, and geography, but most humans will not be able to absorb enough mana to do magic without training it first. You will also have to learn how to control what manifests when you release mana. It would take months to adjust to absorbing large amounts of mana and reliably doing standard battle mage stuff, just to get specific lets say shooting a baseball-sized fireball at a moving target from 50 feet, would take 4+ years of practice.
I think this is a pretty decent barrier to entry for learning magic. Lots of people don't even work out, so I see this as kinda the same since working out takes months to get used to and losing weight can take years of diet and exercise.
Also why would someone go to a magic school when they can just watch a SwagMage2000 Fireball Tutorial on YouTube? I know magic research is a thing, but I can never really visualize what magic research looks like. What does a magic researcher do? I was also thinking a magic school could be built in a place with more mana lingering in the area, so newbies will have to do less meditation to get acclimated to large amounts of mana.
TLDR; I want to introduce these elements in a sensitive, real-world way, while using fantasy races instead, and I want it to be something that actually has a significant bearing on the world, and the characters.
Essentially, in my story, Elves are the results of humans inter-breeding with Fae in order to create a 'human' race that can better withstand magic, as long-term use of magic is harmful to humans. Ironically, Elves are much more sensitive to magic because of this, and don't have very good resistance to it, so they gravitate towards 'less magical' fields. Elves are more-so seen as 'burdens' in society, with them being praised for their sensory abilities while ignoring the fact that they come at a cost of becoming easily overwhelmed or even harmed by it. Alchemy and medical practices have to be specialized for them, leading to a lack of widespread care for them.
So elves are, really, humans with pointy ears, who have trouble existing in a society that glosses over their issues and troubles with everyday life. This is the idea I'm working with, but I'm having trouble with critically analyzing my work.
Is this a good direction? Does it come with oversights in the kind of issues I'm trying to convey?
I just wrote a draft for my prologue and it is nearly 7.4k words. I have tried every way to condense it as I have heard that new writers are told to be short with their starting chapter. But so far I can't find any ways to condense it. It is all integral to the story and character it introduces is one of the main antagonists of the story. What do i do.
I'm looking for audiobooks in the fantasy (or sci/fi) Adult category with 10h or less. I've listened to Witchmark and the Original and enjoyed them to bits. I've listened to puppets, edge dancer and Gideon the ninth and didn't enjoy those that much (for various reasons). I cover them on my tiktok, for anyone who is interested pm me.
Please let me know what awesome audiobooks I'm missing out on!
I imagine most responses will be from morally relativist writers, as that seems to be popular right now.
Lots of "evil for evil's sake is boring".
But it's still interesting to examine the thought process of both.
Compare and contrast, that whole thing.
So yeah, why do you do what you do?
Basically what it says on the tin. I love hearing about other people's WIPs and seeing y'all's creativity in action, so I figured I would ask about some of the side characters/supporting cast in your project. What's a character in your WIP who isn't one of the main protags/antags, but is still extremely cool or otherwise secures the title of "badass extraordinaire"?
Share as much or as little as you would like, but here are a few questions of my own that will hopefully give a good starting point.
In my WIP, Prince of Bastards, this title has got to go to William Asar. William is a human male in his early 30s, and he is the mentor of my protagonist. William didn't come from much and had to take work as a smuggler to help provide for his family. When he was caught by the wealthy Liam Hant (the protag's father), who made him an offer: get thrown in prison or killed for smuggling contraband across provincial borders, or become an spy for Liam inside that operation. The two of them became a powerful force in the criminal world, and Liam was elevated to the title of Lord with William as his right hand.
When Liam passed of an unexpected illness, William became Regent of the estate until the protagonist was of age. William raised him and, lacking much of an education in statecraft, taught the boy everything he and Liam had learned about political life in their journey. Over time, he also introduced the child to his still-active network of criminals and spies, and now is the protagonist's most trusted advisor and friend despite technically being a servant in the estate. William is loyal and clever, and the only reason he isn't well known for political extortion, murder and theft is because he has never let a witness see his face and live. The protagonist knows that William has made some unsavory decisions to protect their estate and interests, and chooses not to ask questions beyond whether it's been dealt with.
Trigger warning: mention of parental abuse.
Not final draft, but I want to get a read of the crowd.
In a fantasy setting, the religion is a bit more female-centric; with terms like Mother Church and "what in Her name is going on?"
In my stream-of-consciousness first go, I blended garb from Christia itu and Islam. Specifically, a nun who wheres a black and white khimar, rather than a coif. I also considered calling it a "khoif," but that felt even MORE middle of the road.
People don't usually throw a fit about playing fast and loose with ancient mythology, like Greece, Egypt, Norse, etc.
But I'm concerned that this attempt to be "inclusive" might just be straight up insensitive to modern religions that I know very little of.
For the record, this religion will probably remain unnamed, with only a hint here and there for worldbuilding. But one of its major tennants is filial piety, especially to the mother.
This is used to contrast with the villain-protsgonist, who was abused by his own mother for years. From his perspective, the church and the townspeople refused to listen to him as a child, and scolded him for not honoring his mother. It's not QUITE as black and white as that, but it's enough that now that his mother died "without facing any justice." And now that he's in a position of power, he intends to make the town pay for their inaction.
So, yeah. Generic religion with weirdly specific details that may or may not be offensive or insensitive. Not to mention the abusive backstory and THOSE connotations.
Hey mods- remove this post if it violates the rules, but I'm unsure which thread is best to post to find two beta readers for a fantasy story I wrote.
Links to which thread is best to post in would be helpful though :3
So, I'm writing a novel, it's a sequel and I have it all planned out, but I'm having a dilemma with this one character. His name is Alex, and he's a prophesized king. It's a whole thing.
Anyway, so, in book 1, he was a POV character. He was actually a major character, and he continues to be a major character. But in book 2, due to the plot, he's no longer a POV character, in fact, he's only in about half of the book.
Anyway, my dilemma with Alex is that he undergoes big changes in this book. So, he actually disappears because the villain put him under a curse, which he later breaks, but he's not the same as he was in the first book. The Alex in Book 1 is highly honorable and would sacrifice anything to protect his sister, and save Ashiver. He also has an unexpressed interest in a female MC, Aria.
But after Book 2, he's vastly different. He still cares about his sister, but it's not the same. He's definitely morally ambiguous. He's more prone to anger and aggression. But now his interest in Aria is expressed, only she's oblivious.
I have a term in mind for what this means in the world (Soul Corruption). He's entirely devoted to Aria, and she has no idea why.
They have a conversation that goes like this:
"Why'd you save me?" she asked him. She blocked his path, he couldn't avoid the question if there was nowhere to go. He was cursed, she knew this. There had to be a reason that he saved her life. There had to be a reason that he was helping her escape.
"Why do you think?"
She let out a frustrated growl. He wasn't giving her straight answers. And perhaps, there was a reason for it. But it was unlike him. Alex appreciated honesty above everything, and yet, he couldn't give her a straight answer. Instead, he walked right past her, like she was insignificant.
"Why do you have to be like that?"
"Like what?" he replied as he stalked up the hill.
"Infuriating." she huffed.
"Didn't know I was."
She couldn't fathom how aloof he was being. Typically, he was a very friendly person. Typically, he would joke around. But he hadn't been any of that. He wasn't being himself.
"You ask questions I can't possibly have the answers to." she told him as she followed him up the hill. This version of Alex bothered her. This version of him made her feel like something bad was going to happen.
"Well, then that's your problem, not mine."
He's also very dark. It becomes a thing that people mention in the book like they feel a dangerous cold every time they're around him. And he takes 'an eye for an eye' very literally.
My problem is that I'm not sure what kind of character this is. There has to be a plausible explanation for this change. I was hoping that maybe someone could help me out with a character analysis of him. Or something.
I have been using 'coin' as a placeholder in the piece I'm currently writing, because when I first started my draft I figured I would come back to figure out the currency of the world. However, the more I write, the more I'm growing to like it as it is. I feel like if I was to create a whole new currency it would feel very contrived. The galleons and sickles and knuts system in HP really annoyed me, even when I was a kid. Edit: I can't think of any other examples that annoyed me, but I honestly never payed much attention to other fictional currencies, so as a reader I think I'd be fine with people just using gold or silver coin. Now that I've been writing 'coin' for so long, it feels weird to change it, but is it just a lazy choice? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
2nd edit: Thanks so much for all of the detailed responses! Ultimately it comes down to reader and writer preferences, the role of money/currency in the story, and the context of the world. So interesting to read so many takes on it!
Want to be held accountable by the community or just brag about/celebrate your writing progress over the last week? If so, you're welcome to respond to this weekly writing check-in thread. Feel free to tell us what you accomplished this week, or set goals about what you hope to accomplish before next Wednesday!
So, who met their goals? Who found themselves tackling something totally unexpected? Who accomplished something (even something small)? What goals have you set for yourself, this week?
Note: This check-in is open for you to promote your work! If you have a book/story/blog serial etc. that you want to share, this is the place to do so. You may include links, but be sure to write a few words as well!
how do you name your fantasy creatures? I found mainly 2 ways.
What way did you found? Which would you prefer? what makes more sense?
Watching princess Mononoke for the umpteenth time and it deals with a common trope. E.g. Nature and humans were in balance. Humans transgressed. Nature and its gods are retaliating with apocalyptic threats. Humans over correct and risk destroying everything.
So, how might this play out in the modern Era? Rather than an iron ball shot from a cannon turning a boar evil, might it be plastics, or rising temperatures, trash?
How would nature's revenge manifest based on our currents sins against earth?