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Seven, Seven, Seven

(I quite like the title I came up with. It makes me think of 666, but perfected.)

I have been nominated for another blog challenge! Since I haven’t been tagged for a few months, I’m quite pleased to be able to do another one, and this one looks interesting. Thanks to Leilani Sunblade of Light and Shadows for this nomination!

The blog rules follow. I’m going to post lines rather than sentences, since my average sentence is much shorter than a line. (That way I get to post more.)

  • Turn to the 7th page of your WIP.
  • Go down 7 lines.
  • Post the next 7 lines or sentences, including that one.
  • Tag 7 other people.

This is from The Teller’s Apprentice, my current WIP since…well, I first envisioned the world in June last year, but I started writing in February this year with the OYAN course. Seventh page, seven lines down, seven lines to post.


 

I twisted in my chair. And sighed.

A girl about three years my junior with freckles sprinkling her nose grinned at me. “What would you like, sir? Temman cordial, cerrion punch, or white slethan cider?”

“Essy, how did you get in here?” I whispered, then noticed her server’s uniform—the white bands around her forearms and the gold and brown livery of a hall attendant. “What colour of anchorsoul possessed Rill to make you a server?”

She scowled. “Anchorsoul colours is a myth.”


 

I found the section I landed at…interesting. I probably wouldn’t have chosen that part had I chosen seven lines I wanted to post. There you are. I’m not going to tag anyone, since I have only a few writers I know who follow my blog and the person I want to tag doesn’t have an active blog. (That’s you, Aviar.)

Hope you enjoyed!

Matthew

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3 Comments

Posted by on October 14, 2015 in My Books, Tags

 

The Valdegurdian Journey: My First Foray

As you’ve seen from the last five posts, I know a lot about Valdegurd. One reason is…because I’ve actually been there. In Valdegurd I’m known as the Author, which is why the Valdegurdians refer to me as such (notably Eryon in the last post). The story of my first foray into Valdegurd is journaled below.

Matthew (The Author)


I blinked at the cursor. The cursor blinked back from a sea of white. Blank white.

I sighed and rested my face on one hand. My creativity had burned out. Worse, my desire to create hadn’t. I was stuck in the middle of wanting to write and not feeling like writing.

I hit the Tab key with my left pinkie. The cursor jumped three-quarters of a centimetre and kept blinking.

“Oh, forget it.” I hit two keyboard shortcuts in quick succession, save and quit. The blank manuscript vanished. Green rice paddies, chopped into sections by silver roads and bronze pathways, replaced the white pages and the blinking cursor.

I stared at the keyboard, the flat white keys over which my fingers usually danced like a pianist’s. Mum played the piano two rooms away, her notes of worship ringing through the house. Her ability to play, seemingly without effort, grated on me.

The problem wasn’t in my characters. The problem wasn’t in writer’s block. The problem wasn’t for love of the story. The problem was the author.

Simply put, I was the problem.

My gaze drifted from the letters in the typical QWERTY layout—a façade for the real keyboard layout I used—to the number pad. I didn’t use the number pad much. The roughness of the keys testified to that, as did the smudges that seemed to grow on every unused key.

I sighed, returned my gaze to the screen, and double-clicked on the Legends of Valdegurd folder to open it. The manuscript icon of The Teller’s Apprentice glared at me, a baleful eye in the midst of text documents where I stored my worldbuilding and planning for the series.

I moved my mouse to the icon. Clicked once to select the document. My finger hovered over the left mouse button, ready to open the manuscript and try again…maybe?

In the background, Mum finished a song on the second, paused for a few seconds as she flipped pages in the tattered tome of worship songs, and started my favourite song of all time, In Christ Alone.

With another sigh, I closed my eyes and dropped my head. It just wasn’t working. I didn’t feel like writing. Mum might be in the mood for playing the piano, but I wasn’t in the mood to write.

I moved my hand from the mouse to the number pad, felt the rough letters, the bump indicating the 5 in the middle. I stroked the length of the tall Enter key and tapped it, imagining the cursor of my unopened manuscript dropping a line.

The soaring notes of In Christ Alone dropped away, replaced by an unnatural silence.

I opened my eyes and glanced in Mum’s direction. Grazing tunkins not too far away raised their heads to stare at me. My house had vanished with all its familiarity.

I shot to my feet, my heart skipping a beat. I’d felt this sort of shock before—what, once in my life? “Wait, what?”

My chair had become a stone covered in soft delkings, the plants resembling shelf fungi I’d introduced into Valdegurd early on. My desk, a larger delking which would resemble a table except for the spray of smaller red delkings spreading their wings where my computer had once been.

I turned in a circle as a strong wind buffeted my woolly mane in strong need of a haircut. A whiter sun hovered over a range of iron-grey mountains in the west, hotter than it should be in the early evening.

“I’m in Valdegurd,” I said aloud. “I’m in a figment of my own imagination.”

The nearby tunkins snorted and tossed their heads as if disagreeing with my assessment. More likely they were taking offence to my words.

I shook my head, squeezed my eyes closed, and opened them again. The panorama didn’t change, except that the tunkins had lowered their heads again. All except for the watchman, of course, the lookout appointed by the herd to keep watch for a certain time. I knew about tunkins and their habits.

I’d created tunkins.

I wove my fingers into the hair at my temples, made fists, and pulled. “I’m in Valdegurd. I’m really in Valdegurd.”

The tunkins snorted again. I glanced at them, noted their greyish skin that hung in folds like a rhino’s. What had I written about tunkins? I knew there were multiple types, and I remembered making the Rhyo variety different from the Plains and Midlander tunkins, but were there physical differences between the other two?

I shot a look over my shoulder. My computer had gone, indeed. But my keyboard still sat there, white as ever, the cord ending in a loose plug.

I glared at it. A keyboard couldn’t store information, couldn’t help me pull up a worldbuilding document to reference a species I’d created. And I was no eidetic memoriser. The Teller was, and the Teller was in Valdegurd, but I didn’t have that power.

I sank to the rock that my seat had transformed into as the full import of being in Valdegurd began to sink in. I’d established a severe crisis to write Liel’s story. Would the effects of Rhyn reach even me, the author? What paradox would result if the Author died in Valdegurd? The two Shards I’d created had reset Time until the paradox was resolved.

I swallowed. If the Author died in Valdegurd, would the world die as well? Would I die on Earth too?

The tunkin watchman bayed, a loud groan-like sound that rattled my eardrums. Keeping an eye on the pack, I picked up the keyboard—useless or not, it was my only link back to home—and edged around the desk to the opposite side, where I sank to the ground out of sight of the tunkins.

Now that I’d begun to adjust to the shock of being in Valdegurd, my practical side kicked in. I scanned the eastern horizon from my seat on the ground. Far to the southeast, a forest of dark mountains stabbed upwards. Spike Isle. At least I knew where I was.

I envisioned the map of Duerin in my head. With Spike Isle to the southeast and the Forge Mountains behind me, I would be in the Plains of Creation—

Skall.

I scrambled to my feet and turned a full circle, scanning the grasses made gold with the heat of summer. Waves of wind rippled across the plains, but aside from the tunkins again grazing, no unnatural movement moved the grasses.

Did skall move the grass?

I scratched an itch behind my ear and growled. I hadn’t established much of the necessary information about the skall. I knew they were the monsters of the Plains—they’d been the monsters of the Plains since the early pages of my OYAN workbook—and I had a basic mental picture of them and a bit of information about their habits. But that didn’t tell me if they moved the grass when they hunted.

“Okay,” I said, my voice loud in the tranquility, and laughed nervously under my breath. “This is kinda…scary.”

Weren’t skall nocturnal? But I’d imagined them following Liel and the Teller in the daytime too. Maybe just the evening, though.

Wait a minute.

I spun on my heel toward the sun. The tips of the Forge Mountains barely reached the white orb.

Evening.

I swallowed. The skall would be hunting.

“North,” I said, clutching my fragment of a hope that the skall wouldn’t be hunting here, not yet. “North. The Duor. I have to get over the Duor.”

Reflexively, my thumbs and first fingers formed the L shapes I used to tell left from right. I didn’t need to look at them any more—the mere action told me. On a map, west was left, east was right. W, then E. We. My grandmother had taught us how to remember west and east with her name and my grandfather’s name. Wayne and Edna.

I pointed north with all five fingers like a signpost. A blanket of purple discoloured the Black Shard Mountains in the distance. I had always explained the purple colour of distant mountains as coming from the packed blue of the air that also coloured the sky. Perhaps it wasn’t scientific, but it made sense to me.

My keyboard under one arm, I set off through the grass that reached above my knees. Strange. Hadn’t I established it as longer in my notes? Perhaps this wasn’t the time period in which The Teller’s Apprentice was set.

I stopped in mid-stride and stared at the Black Shard Mountains. It was after the Scattering, at least. Probably in the Age of Tellers, too, and definitely not after the Age of Wandering. There would be planetary rings if it were after the Age of Wandering.

Who would I meet? I ran my hand through my hair and set off again with the skall still in the back of my mind. How old would Liel be? Fifteen, as he was in The Teller’s Apprentice? Younger? Older?

How had I even gotten here?

A long, low groan startled me. I spun toward the tunkins as heads raised around the herd. Would they charge? I didn’t stand a chance against a charge.

But for some reason, they weren’t looking toward me.

My skin prickled. I’d read enough books to know that when a group of animals displayed a tendency toward fear, danger was on its way.

Then I saw it. The flurry in the grass, a swift snakelike trail of movement through the golden blanket.

Skall.

Baying broke out among the herd. The tunkins scattered in all directions, some bounding my way with a surprising amount of agility for their heavyset forms. I turned and ran, drawing every fragment of strength and breath I could muster for the sprint.

My feet pounded the ground as I settled into a rhythm. It wouldn’t last long—I was a sprinter, not a long-distance runner. With that in mind, I slowed my pace and chanced a look over my shoulder.

Blazing white eyes erupted from the grass, a flash of bruised skin, claws and fangs and spikes like malformed bones. The skall hit me with a strength beyond human ability, sent me cartwheeling through the air. I had a brief glimpse of the world turning upside down before the ground collided with me.

Precious seconds ticked away as I fought to breathe. A humanoid form loomed among me. The skall’s skullish face twisted in a brutal expression, a ghastly visage with burning eyes in dark sockets. Had I created these—these monsters? What was I thinking?

The skall opened its mouth, baring long, thin fangs like rows of needles. I’d taken those directly from a picture on the cover of a book and implanted them into the skall. Strange how I remembered these things. Liel wouldn’t have imagined his spirit strand was being woven by an Author. At least, not an Author beyond Maker.

The skall’s mouth worked. A reedy whistle emerged. The muscles in its chest and arms bobbed beneath its perpetually bruised skin.

I stared at it, noting the vestigial clothing, the similarities to both human and beast, the twisting mouth of needles. I was helpless before it, yet the skall—for all its bestiality—had chosen not to attack, not to move in for the kill. Here in Valdegurd, I was no longer the Author—I couldn’t save myself through a plot twist.

Then again, I had an Author too.

The skall hissed, then opened its mouth wide in a breathy whisper. “Saaaay…” It touched its upper lip with the fangs of its lower jaw and buzzed a drawn-out sound. “Vvvv…”

A hard edge pushed into my back. My keyboard! I worked one hand under my side and found the keyboard. Slowly, to avoid alerting the skall, I drew it out. A pitiful weapon, but I’d created most of Valdegurd on this keyboard.

The skall closed its lips and hummed, then bent its lips in a gruesome smile. “Mmeee…”

My fingers slipped, brushing against several keys in sequence. The skall screamed, a high-pitched shriek of rage, as invisible fingers wrapped around its body and dragged it away.

I scrambled to my feet, shaken, my mind reeling. My keyboard had power.

In Valdegurd, my keyboard had power.

The skall shook off its unseen bonds and snarled. Whatever mercy it had shown before was no longer evident.

I tapped the Delete key.

A crushing feeling wrapped around my chest and dragged me downwards to the same position I’d been in. The skall snarled again, then screamed, and reappeared above me.

That didn’t work! I scanned the keyboard for another appropriate command that would get me out of here. Command? Control? Option?

I needed options. I pressed the Option key.

The unseen force dragged my fingers onto two different keys. The skall lunged, claws grasping. I squeezed my eyes closed and hit both keys at the same time.

Silence.

The ending chords of In Christ Alone filled the room. I breathed a long sigh of relief and opened my eyes to find the reality of my desk and computer once again.

Someone charged through the door to the work room. I whirled around before realising it wouldn’t be the skall.

My youngest sister crossed the room with hands on her hips, trying to look angry but being very cute in the process. She took my elbow. “Mum wants you to put me to bed. I was looking for you.”

I smiled to myself. “I wasn’t here. I was…in another world.”

Yes. Literally.

I glanced at the Legends of Valdegurd folder as I put the computer on Sleep. My smile widened into a grin. The journey to Valdegurd had changed one thing here on earth.

Simply put, I wasn’t the problem any more.

 

The Valdegurdian Journey: Part Five

Rhyn has stories too. The storytellers of Rhyn tell stories of the Dur Halam, the shining helmet of divinity that conferred magical powers upon its wearer; the Beyond, the ancient land outside the borders of the Black Shard Mountains; the Tellers, the line of traitors alive today because of the treachery of one, Cerstan, who sent the first exiles to a land of black stone, of merciless cold, of unending shadow.

I am Eryon. Eryon, first warmaster of Rhyn, leader of the exiles at twenty-one years of age. My heart bleeds for my people, burns for my cause, throbs in dissonance with the rhythm of the Beyond’s injustice. The corruption of the Beyond weighs me down like a stone. The Beyond needs a new strength. A new leader. For five years, I have prepared myself for this role. Single-handedly I conquered Rhyn with nothing more than the passion within me. With Rhyn under my command, I will conquer the Beyond.

Wait, what? This is my blog post, Eryon. I invited you to be a commentator. Not a moderator, not an Author.

Talk to me.

If you don’t start talking, I’m going to cancel the series. Furthermore, I will remove you from your position, delete you as a character, wipe out all memory of you, and give your role as antagonist to Skaw.

Eryon?

Bah, very well. You can have your introduction. But I’m going to make you behave yourself for the rest of this post.


“Welcome to Valdegurd—Valdegurd, a land of peace and prosperity. Settled by the Children of Time and Earth, the Humankinds in all their diversity. Ruled by the Tellers of old, the heirs of Telluris-Revetor and bearers of the mystical Telluric Mantle. Desired by Raldoran the Meddler, dark one, lord of stone, master of the forbidden magics of Dessentor.”

Today we conclude the Valdegurdian Journey with a tour of our last destination: the Forgotten North. You’ve—ahem—already met our commentator. Who, I think, likes to believe he stands equal to his Author. I have no idea why. I was not intending to create him that way.

Eryon meets us in Ardent Dale hooded as if to conceal himself. Instead of returning to the north through the Forgeways again, Eryon takes us down the Sidis River between the Plains of Creation and the Wastes of Brooting and into the Bay of Legends.


The Bay of Legends at sunset. (image source)

The Bay of Legends

Abandoned since the Scattering, the Bay of Legends is uninhabited except for the Rothe Islands, two small isles lightly inhabited by farmers. The Bay is a strange place, where myths and legends come to life, where ships founder upon nothing but water and depth is an illusion. It is said that beneath the surface lies a great city holding captive an ancient evil. Some say the mists that lie upon the Bay are not just fog, but the breath of Creation. Some say the water of the Bay is not water, but Truth diluted to its purest form…and that the Bay of Legends can truly make legends come to life.

I have been here once before. I kept close to the coastline all the way through, keeping a watch all through the abnormally long night, as I had heard tales of the Bay’s magic and the sea monsters who inhabit the far eastern ocean.

In the early hours of the morning, a legend came to life before me. A great creature, six-legged, with a human torso and massive claws, rose from the surface before me. We fought. I barely won. My skill in the sword is unmatched, but the strength of the creature—I shudder to think of the inhuman strength it possessed. But most frightening was the glint of intelligence in its eyes, and the look of recognition it gave me.

Somehow, the creature had known me.


Overlooking Northerdell, with the Black Shard Mountains in the background. (image source)

Northerdell

We travel through the Gap, up between the islands of East Duerin into the Bay of Names, and pass Central Duerin to reach Northerdell on the northeastern coast of the Bay of Names. Northerdell is home to the mysterious Impi, a race of small, mischievous people whose eyes change colour according to an unknown pattern. Founded in the first few years of the Age of Creation, the Consulate of Northerdell sequestered its people away from the outside world for many years until agreeing to let Impi roam abroad centuries later, but Northerdell is still a mysterious land rarely traveled. The kingdom is also home to an indomitable nation of dark-skinned Arthemons, from whom Ronis the Teller came.

Northerdell was the only kingdom to which I offered an alliance, for the exiles of Rhyn first came from Northerdell. I made my offer to the Consuls, Ferrus Edravorn and Thron Sumerian, as an ambassador of a vast force having broken upon Duerin. Both refused, as I expected they would. Their ties to Rhyn have rotted, a forgotten cord of memory lying buried in the sands of time. They chose war, not the peace I offered.

The judgement I will wreak upon Northerdell is well deserved.


The Black Shard Mountains. (image source)

The Black Shard Mountains

In the Scattering, the Rydoskk, an angelic servant of Telluris-Revetor with the powers of Earth, turned against the Worldsmith of Valdegurd and unleashed destruction upon the world. In the quaking of the Rydoskk’s power rose the Black Shard Mountains, a range of dark pinnacles sealing off the untraveled north from the civilisations of the Age of Creation. Though six centuries of erosion have taken their toll on the mountains’ height, the Black Shard Mountains remain a dark barrier preventing travel to the north.

The Black Shard Mountains are the reason Rhyn is what it is. The sunlight never penetrates to the southernmost borders of Rhyn, forcing us further into the frigid north. Every summer, snowmelt carves new canyons through the black stone of Rhyn, washes away entire settlements, claims innocent lives. I have seen it happen, villages wiped out in a moment. And I can do nothing.

The storytellers of Rhyn spin tales of the Beyond, the great fertile land of light and green beyond the Black Shard Mountains. Every day I long to bring my people out of this pit of frozen death and into the Beyond, our inheritance, our hope. But the Black Shard Mountains stand in the way, an immovable barrier set there to remind us every day of our exile.


Looking up at the Black Shard Mountains from Rhyn. (image source)

Rhyn

Rhyn is the Forgotten North, the vast black desert of cold stone, abrasive sand, and deep channels hewn by water over centuries of snowmelt. The Black Shard Mountains to its south throw a perpetual mantle of darkness over the southernmost regions of the land, being positioned to block the land from the journey of the sun; the more northern regions of Rhyn are little better. The water in standing puddles freezes overnight even in summer. Sparse vegetation grows through late spring to early autumn; even seeds die in winter if they are not kept thawed. Rhyn is a perdition on earth, a frozen land of exiles without even the whisper of a warm breeze.

Many have bled and died to forge a civilisation in this hardy land. Rhyn is ruled by battlemasters, great warriors who have clawed their way to kingship through the strength of their hands and the nobility of their reputations. Now, nine battlecamps keep their blades sharp for the day when they may return to take their inheritance, the Beyond, and turn their backs on the frozen desert of Rhyn forever.

For three centuries we have laboured in this pit of ice! For three centuries we have bent our backs to Cerstan’s ancient curse! For three centuries we have surrendered our very identities to the stigma of exile! And I say, no longer! This very year, three hundred and thirty-three years since our exile began, we will rise! We shall reveal ourselves to the Beyond and claim the inheritance of warmth and greenness and life!

I speak to Rhyn, to all Rhyn through all ages. The impossible hope of our people now lies within our grasp. The dream of our ancestors has been fulfilled. The Black Shard Mountains are not impassable. For I, Eryon, was not born in Rhyn.

I came to you from the Beyond.


Around a flickering bonfire in the halls of the Unakcladhe, Eryon’s battlecamp, we sit and ponder the Forgotten North in silence. Our tour of Valdegurd has come to an end. And I don’t mind telling you that this post was the most emotionally challenging blog post I’ve written.

Why does the Beyond not understand, Author? They live in warmth and colour, blessed with light, yet corruption pierces their culture to the highest peak. Can they not understand that we in Rhyn have suffered long enough? Why do they resist us?

I’m sorry, Eryon. Those are questions you’ll have to figure out on your own. I cannot answer them—not because I do not know the answer, but because they are your questions to be answered by yourself.

Perhaps this question will better suit you. Why did you make me the antagonist? I am more honourable than the leaders of the Beyond, even the Quirinals of Ardent Dale. I am not a villain, Author. I am a hero!

I admit a lot of what you have said. Your intents are honourable. Your passion is admirable. Your ability is astounding. You are exceptional, Eryon. But you are an exceptional antagonist, not an exceptional hero.

I fail to see how.

I know. Thus why Liel is the hero, not you.

But why? I held a blade to Liel’s throat, and he could not resist. Liel is the one weakness of Ronis the Teller. Liel is many things, but he is not a hero.

I have to say I know where this conversation is going. I’m going to say that in Liel’s weakness is strength. You’re going to say that Liel’s strength-in-weakness is not strength. I will tell you your impression of strength is flawed, and you’re going to disagree with me. That is the crux of it all, Eryon. You believe in a different strength than Liel.

And from that you make me an antagonist?

Yes.

Perhaps I should write my own story. One in which you are the antagonist.

Um, heheh. Very funny. It’s good to see you have a sense of humour. I really didn’t think you had one.

Shut up. I’m writing.

Thus ends the Valdegurdian Journey. Thank you to everyone who has walked through my world with me; I have truly enjoyed this tour, and I hope you have too. (By the way, I’ve scheduled a post to pop up sometime in the next week—it details my first foray into Valdegurd, as in my first physical manifestation in that world.)

A simple goodbye cannot communicate the end appropriately. Let me leave you with an ancient word surviving from the early centuries of the Age of Creation, a word that speaks in one a farewell, a hope to meet again, and a trust…that the story is not yet over.

Allxora.

Matthew (The Author)


Picture credit to their respective copyrighters.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2015 in My Books, The Valdegurdian Journey

 

The Valdegurdian Journey: Part Four

“Welcome to Valdegurd—Valdegurd, a land of peace and prosperity. Settled by the Children of Time and Earth, the Humankinds in all their diversity. Ruled by the Tellers of old, the heirs of Telluris-Revetor and bearers of the mystical Telluric Mantle. Desired by Raldoran the Meddler, dark one, lord of stone, master of the forbidden magics of Dessentor.”

Today our tour continues with the Western Kingdoms of Valdegurd. Leaving our tunkin mounts behind at the rancher’s home, we travel northwest from the Midlands into West Duerin, where Ardent Quirinal Kae-Dalestine Mariskan has agreed to initiate us into her retinue.


Westrah, capital city of West Duerin. (image source)

West Duerin

West Duerin is where the line between Ardent Dale and Duerin blurs. Though nominally a part of Duerin, West Duerin has been ruled by an Ardent liege-governor since antiquity, and its distance to the eastern provinces sets it apart from the rest of Duerin in more ways than one. Carved into the stone foothills of the Forge Mountains, West Duerin is home to a long history of battles, magic, and slaughter, and some whisper that beneath the rough craftsmanship, vast potential waits.

I enjoy West Duerin. It gives me a mixed flavour, one half Duerese, one half Ardent. The new and the familiar. King’s Forge, my home and the capital of Ardent Dale, shows more refined stonesmithing, while the rough archways and towers of Westrah look like child’s work compared to Ardent Dale.

And maybe that’s what West Duerin is. A child of Ardent Dale.


A tranquil passage in the Forgeways. (image source

The Forgeways

Deep beneath the Forge Mountains runs a network of watery tunnels, either carved by the force of water over hundreds of years or hewn by Delvers and Ardent stonesmiths. These are the Forgeways, the lifeblood of the Forge Mountains and the veins of the Ardent civilisation. Underground cities lie scattered along the Forgeways in massive caverns, where stone, minerals, precious gems and all the works of the mountains are mined. One Forgeway, crafted over hundreds of years, retains a powerful current running straight from Westrah to King’s Forge on the southern end of the Forge Mountains and then back again.

Think of the Forgeways as the arteries in a man’s body and the people as the man’s blood. This is Ardent Dale, or at least the northern culture of Ardent Dale. The Forgeways are a masterpiece of Ardent engineering. If not for a few visionary miners back in the Scattering, Ardent Dale might have never been what it is now.

And I have the feeling that we will need Ardent Dale as it is now in the years ahead.


The northernmost slopes of Vanlore. (image source)

Vanlore

We stop briefly at Vanlore on our way to Ardent Dale. A small civilisation secluded on the heights of the Forge Mountains, Vanlore is home to the dauntless Vanlorian warriors who train every year at Ardent Dale and also the Wards of Lore, the great libraries of Ardent lore and mythology. The rest of Vanlore is composed of vast fields, scattered houses, shepherds who watch over mountain sheep, and trained dogs who will leap off the cliffs without a moment’s hesitation if their masters say to.

Vanlore’s reputation is that of a fierce, reckless superpower just waiting to spring. It got the reputation because those who think of it as a superpower have never been there. I look at Vanlore, and I see a kingdom of simple communities of people loyal to one another. If there’s a message Ardent Dale needs in these times, it’s the call to rally together as Vanlorians do.

Why does saying that feel so…ominous?


The meadowlands of Ardent Dale. (image source)

Ardent Dale

Finally we reach our destination: Ardent Dale, largest of the western kingdoms, the only kingdom to survive the Scattering nearly six centuries ago. When the Meddler seized the powers of Telluris-Revetor, Ardent Dale roused its warriors at the bidding of Rowen of the Tears, wife of Telluris-Revetor, and marched against the Meddler’s armies of stone and spine. It is said that Telluris-Revetor gave the rulers of Ardent Dale the power to awaken the White Fire of the starstones in the Mirror Veridical before he left Valdegurd. The White Fire was Truth itself, the crux between the omniscience of Time and the reality of Earth, and through the starstones Telluris-Revetor would teach the Ardent rulers the power of Truth.

Ardent Dale itself is a broad valley of rivers and meadowlands brimming with life. Its cities are the peak of craftsmanship in Valdegurd, its stonesmiths unrivalled, its warriors men and women of legend. The Northerners of the Forgeways and the Southerners of the meadowlands are united by the three assemblies of Ardent leaders: the Quirinal, kings and queens; the Viminal, magistrates; and the Palatine, highest of warriors. In all this, Ardent Dale is the last remnant of the Age of Creation’s kingdoms under the rule of Telluris-Revetor, the first bulwark against the return of Raldoran the Meddler, the lord of stone.

Words alone cannot communicate the full reality of Ardent Dale. To understand, you must touch the shining starstones, stand in the vast courts of King’s Forge, sail to the ends of the valley. You must feel the soft grass beneath your feet, the hardness of stone under your fingers, the pounding exhilaration within you. You cannot see Ardent Dale and believe you know all there is to know about it. To truly understand, to take the reality of Truth into your mind, you must live Ardent Dale.


Our tour of the Western Kingdoms is over. Our ship docks in the ports of King’s Forge, and Kae-Dalestine leads us through the wide cobblestoned streets of King’s Forge to the diplomats’ inn where we will stay the nights until our fifth and final tour: the Forgotten North.

Am I meant to take you there?

No. We have a certain person lined up for that. Since I had a few…antagonistic reactions to him, I’m not going to mention who he is. You can deal with that, right, Kae?

Adelan would say the name Kae is reserved for close family members. I would insist you follow your own story rules. Capeesh?

Wait, capeesh? Where’d you learn that word? I never taught that to you.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this, Author, and thank you for your interest in me and my home, friends of the Author. Should you need me again, I will likely be at King’s Forge. Au revoir!

Someone’s been teaching Earth terms to Dalestine. Oh dear.

Matthew (The Author)


 

Picture credit to their respective copyrighters.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in My Books, The Valdegurdian Journey

 

The Valdegurdian Journey: Part Three

“Welcome to Valdegurd—Valdegurd, a land of peace and prosperity. Settled by the Children of Time and Earth, the Humankinds in all their diversity. Ruled by the Tellers of old, the heirs of Telluris-Revetor and bearers of the mystical Telluric Mantle. Desired by Raldoran the Meddler, dark one, lord of stone, master of the forbidden magics of Dessentor.”

After enjoying the hospitality of Rill’s family for three nights, we head into the Plains of Creation with Ronis the Teller as our guide and commentator.


Looking south over the Plains of Creation. (image source)

The Plains of Creation

The Plains of Creation begin at the banks of the Duor River in Duerin and run far to the south over trackless wastes until, according to legend, they end at the borders of the Wastes of Brooting. Whether the Plains of Creation actually end is a subject of debate; the skall make travel impossible, and Brooting itself is considered mythical. Somewhere within the Plains stands Telluria, the ancient mountain where Telluris-Revetor once ruled; and beneath the tall golden grass of the Plains of Creation lie the ruins of a long-forgotten civilisation.

The Plains of Creation are where life itself began. It is said that the Talpins were the First Race, born in wombs of the earth; yet Telluris-Revetor desired a people more like himself, and so he wrought the Arthemons, from whom came Rowen of the Tears. For twelve centuries Telluris-Revetor ruled, and then came the Scattering, where Raldoran the Meddler stole the powers of the Worldsmith and the authority of Valdegurd. See that ripple in the grass, the swiftly moving creature beneath the golden waves? That is a skall, a warrior of Raldoran, now trapped in a body of perpetual bruises and misshapen spines. It is strange, and poignant also, that the place where our ancestors originated has now sunk to an abandoned wilderness where only the skall live.


A distant herd of tunkins in the Midlands. (image source)

The Midlands

In the northeast of the Plains of Creation lie the Midlands, the only region of the Plains of Creation known to be beyond the range of the skall. Here, the Plains could almost be called civilised; still, the Midlander civilisation equals little more than scattered ranches and villages whose main trade is raising and selling tunkins, the main transport animal in Valdegurd. The Midlander villages are a tributary colony of West Duerin, which is in turn a protectorate of one of the western kingdoms: Ardent Dale.

I find little to say about the Midlands. They have few links to history, no significance in the grand scheme of things. Still, I have heard Midlanders whisper that someday the Plains of Creation will be like the Midlands—settled, conquered, no longer ripe with legend and danger. For the Plains of Creation, that is the fate I fear most, for the sake of Telluria.


A dry northern tributary of the Sidis, where the Plains of Creation become the Wastes of Brooting. (image source)

The Wastes of Brooting

South of the Plains of Creation lie the Wastes of Brooting, an infertile desert of blowing sand, rock formations shaped by wind erosion, and dry crevasses. The Plains and Brooting are separated by the Sidis, a long river having carved a deep canyon for itself over time. Unlike the Duor in the north, the banks of the Sidis are uninhabited; the Plains and the Wastes of Brooting are simply too dangerous and too infertile to produce anything.

Unlike many in Valdegurd, I have been to the Wastes of Brooting in search of the missing Greater Races. The ancient Sidyssians were said to inhabit the river and the Bay of Legends, and the lost Broots lived in Brooting. I found the Broots. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they found me. Their earthsight is impeccable, far greater than my own—far greater than that of any Teller or Üdanese Talpin. The Broots are like giant moles, yet rational, and they proved a willing study once they discovered who I am—for even in their simple culture with few stories, they remember Telluris-Revetor and Avalen the Teller. I never found the Sidyssians, however.


A view of Telluria from between the Foothills. (image source)

Telluria

It is said that the ancient mountain of Telluria stands in no fixed spot, but appears only when no other landmark can be seen across the vast Plains of Creation. Thus, only those willing to get lost in the Plains of Creation—the most dangerous place on Valdegurd—would ever be able to find the sacred mountain, and the skall would find them long before they reached Telluria. Telluria was the throne of Telluris-Revetor, the Worldsmith of Valdegurd, until the Meddler took the Worldsmith’s powers in the Scattering. Now Telluria lies abandoned, a forgotten mountain in the midst of the Plains, just another legend among many.

Since the Scattering, the Tellers have taken apprentices and passed on to them their stories, their duties, their powers. Yet only four of the Tellers have died in Valdegurd—Cerstan under the knife of Callok Perion, Yoden by his rogue apprentice Soren, Soren himself, and Berland at the hands of the Ascendancy. No one remembers the death of Avalen, Drax, Leskan, and the other six, for the last action of a Teller is to make the pilgrimage to Telluria.

One day soon, I will go to Telluria to die.


Unlike the Tellers, we didn’t attempt the journey into the Plains to have a tour of Telluria; instead, we allowed Ronis the Teller to Pastweave a storyscape picturing Telluria and tell of the legends. We will now be staying the night in the Midlands at the home of a rancher and his family, who are eager for the prestige of the Teller staying at their home. Next time, we shall head northwest into West Duerin, from where we shall enter the Forgeways and ultimately arrive at the largest of the western kingdoms: Ardent Dale.

I will be leaving in the morning, also. A member of the royal family of Ardent Dale is in West Duerin; I will arrange for her to include you in her retinue when she returns home. I have met Kae-Dalestine before, and I am convinced she will be most interested in talking with a party from a world beyond Valdegurd.

Thank you for your contributions, Master Teller, and your protection as we traveled through the Plains of Creation. I’m glad you could also reveal a glimpse into the Telluric Mantle with Pastweaving.

You are welcome, Master Author. I look forward to hearing how the rest of your trips goes when you return. One issue, however.

Which is?

I heard from Liel that you are planning to have Eryon as commentator for a part of your journey. I have listened to a story Eryon told, and the substance has been altered to fit with his own view of the world. I would strongly advise against having Eryon as your guide in the future.

As I said to Liel, Eryon is quite important in your story; I accept that what you’re saying is true, and I’ll warn the members of my traveling party, but I have to have him as a commentator for at least one post due to his significance. Anyway, he’ll be explaining Rhyn, and I’d have to say that I could probably get along with him best out of all the Rhyo I’ve encountered.

Rhyo is the demonym for Rhyn? Intriguing. All the Rhyo I have met failed to mention what it was.

You’re welcome, Master Teller. (As an aside to all my readers, the Rhyo demonym hasn’t appeared in The Teller’s Apprentice yet. I still have to work it into a Rhyo’s speech normally—and then I have to have Liel remember it. Then again, I could just have the Teller discover it off-scene.) Thank you all for traveling with us, and I hope to take you into Ardent Dale soon!


Picture credit to their respective copyrighters.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2015 in My Books, The Valdegurdian Journey

 

The Valdegurdian Journey: Part Two

“Welcome to Valdegurd—Valdegurd, a land of peace and prosperity. Settled by the Children of Time and Earth, the Humankinds in all their diversity. Ruled by the Tellers of old, the heirs of Telluris-Revetor and bearers of the mystical Telluric Mantle. Desired by Raldoran the Meddler, dark one, lord of stone, master of the forbidden magics of Dessentor.”

Today we continue our journey through Valdegurd, this time traveling to the inland Duerese provinces. Though the Teller’s apprentice, Liel has not been to these places as much as the locations in the first post in this series, so he has less developed opinions on them than certain other characters in The Teller’s Apprentice. Today our commentator will be Rill Gaps, a retainer and head cook at the Teller’s Hall.

 


A glimpse into Roon Lokan’s thriving dye trade. (image source)

Central Duerin

We stayed the night at the Teller’s Hall, enjoying the hospitality of Ronis the Teller. Now we disembark in Roon Lokan, capital of Central Duerin, with Rill as our guide. The port is thriving, as Roon Lokan sits on the mouth of the Duor, the great river for which Duerin is named, flowing from the western Forge Mountains to the eastern Bay of Names. Here, commerce flourishes in the sprawling metropolis, and Roon Lokan is the seat of the Grand Chancellor, ruler of the Chancelleries of Duerin. Other cities scatter the plains of Central Duerin, but it is widely accepted that Roon Lokan is the quintessence of all that Central Duerin means. Central Duerin is the superpower of the eastern kingdoms and the most powerful province of Duerin…and the most feared.

Central Duerin has a different flavour to it than East Duerin, I guess. East Duerin is more…open. More colourful, more cheerful. Central Duerin reminds me of old things. Tradition. Mouldy folklore. Musty robes in dank closets. Roon Lokan is a city greying at the temples, while East Duerin is still young. People walk differently in Central Duerin. Avoiding each other. Business is private in Roon Lokan. There’s no camaraderie, no community save in your own neighbourhood.

Probably why Roon Lokan so agrees with me.


A typical upper-class house in South Duerin. (image source)

South Duerin

We move southeast, riding in a tunkin-driven wagon along the coastline of Central Duerin to the southernmost Duerese province. The Plainsmen of South Duerin live on the edge of the wild and hold to many of the traditions established by Telluris-Revetor before the Scattering. With the influx of Duerese people, these traditions and cultures are fast disappearing, but the wild will always remain wild. Lying on the edge of the Plains of Creation, South Duerin has the largest amount of attacks by the skall, the mythical monsters of the sacred mountain Telluria, and is perhaps the most dangerous of all the Duerese provinces.

I was born and raised in South Duerin. My relatives were strong on tradition. Tight-knit family clan, Orthodox Assentists, customary Plainsman robes and suchlike. I had the wanderlust when I was younger. I wanted to see more of the world. The bigger civilisations in the north. The mythical places of Valdegurd. Northerdell. Spike Isle. They didn’t like that. Plainsmen were meant to be rooted, they said, solid, dependable. I wasn’t their image of a Plainsman.

So they banished me.


The Gap. (image source)

The Gap

South of Port Gap lies its namesake, the Gap, historically known as Eyrlund’s Claim. The Gap is an unswerving chasm separating the haunted Spike Isle from the mainland. Legend claims that it was created in the Scattering by Eyrlund, a mythical giant who once walked Valdegurd, with a single blow from his axe. Ships of Duerin sail the Gap to trade with the small southern civilisation of the Rothe Islands, but only the bravest captains dare the journey due to the suckers—powerful currents which drag ships against the walls and drown the smallest. A small band of Talpins once entered Eyrlund’s Claim to search out the truth behind a mysterious, malevolent force known as Skkan, but none returned.

The Gap. Well, it’s not really everything that Duerese folklore makes it out to be. I’ve sailed the Gap under a few different captains more than once. The suckers are tough, but if you know what you’re doing—and the captains I sailed with did—they aren’t really much of a problem. I don’t believe in Skkan or Eyrlund or the legends, either. I guess the only reason why people fear the Gap is because it’s so close to what lies on the other side.

Spike Isle.


The distinct stone forest of Spike Isle. (image source)

Spike Isle

On the eastern side of the Gap lies Spike Isle, a landmass of rocky spines and miniature mountains pointing to the heavens. No one sets foot on Spike Isle for the simple reason that it is haunted, cursed—a place of myths and legends that may prove to be truer than the skeptical adventurer expected. Those who cross the Gap are often exiled to a life lived in loneliness, sometimes killed for defying the Plainsman laws. History solidifies the tradition, for the Gapwalkers of old became insane.

Spike Isle. Hah! The Plainsmen think the Gap is a sign not to cross over to Spike Isle. They say the chasm is a barrier, and the reason why it’s straight is to make the barrier obvious. They say Spike Isle is haunted by skullish beasts, wild ghouls who waylay those who enter. They say those who cross the Gap are cursed. But I know the truth. I’ve been there.

They’re right.


 

Our tour of Inland Duerin is over. Next time, we’ll continue further inland with Ronis the Teller as our guide and protector while Rill takes the wagon back to Roon Lokan. Next time, we’re going to ride tunkins through the Plains of Creation.

Huh? You’re not going to make me enter the Plains? I have to say, I didn’t expect that stroke of Destiny.

Get used to it, Rill. You haven’t been in the Plains before, and Ronis the Teller is the obvious choice for our next commentator.

Why thank you. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to be eaten by the skall. If I have to die, I’d prefer a more painless way.

Ronis the Teller has a few tricks up his sleeve. I don’t expect the skall will be eating any of our party…unless they wander away. With that in mind, we’ll stay the night at Rill’s family home in Port Gap and move out again when we’re ready to head into the Plains of Creation.

Great. I get to be executed for being a Gapwalker. What a lovely family I have.

I don’t quite want you out of the picture yet, Rill. I’ll make sure they don’t lay hands on you. I have plans for you in my book.

Uh-oh.

Uh-huh!

Matthew (The Author)


 

Picture credit to their respective copyrighters.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 16, 2015 in My Books, The Valdegurdian Journey

 

The Valdegurdian Journey: Part One

“Welcome to Valdegurd—Valdegurd, a land of peace and prosperity. Settled by the Children of Time and Earth, the Humankinds in all their diversity. Ruled by the Tellers of old, the heirs of Telluris-Revetor and bearers of the mystical Telluric Mantle. Desired by Raldoran the Meddler, dark one, lord of stone, master of the forbidden magics of Dessentor.”

Over the next few posts, I’ll introduce you to Valdegurd, the fictional world in which my current writing project, The Teller’s Apprentice, is set. Liel, apprentice of Ronis the Teller, will serve as commentator for this post. Close your eyes, journey with me, as we step into Valdegurd.


The telltale black cliffs of the Isle of Hallis. (image source)

The Isle of Hallis

Let’s begin in the place Liel has lived all his life. The Isle of Hallis rises from the seabed, a pillar of stark black stone just off the coast of Central Duerin. Here the Tellers have made their home; the Teller’s Hall resides in a niche far above the crashing waves. Though the Isle may seem ominous, the atmosphere of the Teller’s Hall is vastly different. While the Tellers live and breathe, no one who comes seeking wisdom or solace is turned away from the gates. For this is the duty of the Tellers across all generations: To protect Valdegurd and all its peoples; to offer divinely inspired wisdom to all who come to them for help; and to guide Valdegurd along the ways of justice and peace.

I grew up at the Teller’s Hall, sheltered by the black cliffs of Hallis. I always found comfort in the cliffs. They’ve weathered five hundred and eighty-four years of storms and winds so far, so they’re not going to crumble under my feet. Few people outside the Hallsfolk know this, but there’s a secluded lagoon in the centre of the Isle. I learned to swim there. Before I turned ten, Granma Orna used to take me down there with the retainers’ children, and she taught us all to swim. I can still hear her voice now. “Not eating you, water is. Not tensing, you must be. Relaxing. Yes, right. Good. Relaxing.”

Granma Orna is dying now. I want her to stay, but Bokan says she’s slipping. Slipping into Maker’s hands.


The Bay of Names

Looking out over the Bay of Names from Central Duerin. (image source)

Some say the Bay of Names was named for the abundance of people who sailed on its waves. Others whisper that in the Scattering, the First Teller Avalen named it for the thousands of souls its waves had consumed when the Meddler stole the powers of Telluris-Revetor. Whatever the case, the Bay of Names is the common ground of Duerin and links the four eastern Duerese provinces in trade. With the Isle of Hallis and the line of Tellers located in the Bay of Names, this is truly the centre of Valdegurd itself. Shipping companies compete with each other for lowest prices, highest profit, greatest safety, and the baymen of these companies hail from a wide variety of cultures, from far southern Haos to austere Northerdell.

I’ve always loved the Bay of Names. I love watching ships of all nations come to seek wisdom or healing from the Teller. I love the diversity, the colours, the company. But then I also love to stand on the deck of the Worldrider and feel the sea breezes across my face, the warm delkflesh under my feet, the spray on my hot skin; to hear the cries of the seabirds, the crash of the waves against the hull, maybe the far-off bellowing of a mosswhale. I’ve witnessed the ferocity of a storm; I’ve waited in the midst of a hot day when the winds died. The Bay of Names is unpredictable but beautiful. That’s how I would describe it.

I’m on the Bay of Names now, in a bloodship of Rhyn. Unpredictable indeed. But right now it’s not beautiful.


East Duerin

Grys, capital Chancellery of East Duerin. (image source)

We leave our vantage point on the Isle of Hallis and sail southeast across the Bay of Names to our next stop. East Duerin is the easternmost of the five Duerese provinces and is a region of islands, large and small, in the shadow of the haunted Spike Isle. The culture of East Duerin is the flavour of the Bay of Names, a medley of cultures and colours, laughter, bargaining, frescos, clay and straw houses, ancient rock formations erected by Drax the Teller. From the barren eastern coast of Pryde to the bustling seaports of Port Gap, the people of East Duerin are linked by the taste of salt on their lips.

East Duerin is my favourite of the Duerese provinces. I remember Master Ronis taking me to see the Stone Serpents when I was twelve. They were a group of stone archways on Pryde, taller than my head, black stone, twisting and curling around each other like a nest of whitedelk vipers. Master Ronis said Drax the Teller created them with the breath of Telluris-Revetor. I remember looking at them and wondering how even a Teller could do that.

Now that I’ve seen Master Ronis wield his power, I’m not surprised anymore.


The Croftlands

Quincroft, the easternmost Croftland. (image source)

Directly north of East Duerin lies the Croftlands. They’ve only been a sovereign state for three years, but already the Croftlands—now adopting the legal name of North Duerin—are the target of threats of war. Central Duerin’s prevalent argument three years back was that the Croftlands, then a subsidiary province, would only last while the Chancelleries of Central Duerin supported it due to its fertility and lush green valleys. The tension in North Duerin is stretched to the breaking point, and any suspicious action on the part of the other Duerese states might just spark a national war.

I’m not really sure what I think of the political situation of the Croftlands. I like the Croftlands themselves. The richness of the green astonishes me. Any other Duerese state is typically the golden-brown of the Plains of Creation or a duller shade of green, but the Croftlands make me want to lie down in the grass and forget about my troubles. Of course, if too many Croftlanders did that, they wouldn’t be a sovereign state any longer. I also like the Croftlander culture, how it’s so distinct from East Duerin and the other Duerese states, but it’s still of us. You get what I mean?

The Croftlands started this. Or I thought they did. Rhyn came from the Croftlands.


I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip through the Bay of Names. Next time we’ll take a look at Inland Duerin, and we’ll continue to move west from there. Liel, say thank you.

Why? What am I thanking them for?

Just say thank you.

Give me a reason. I did all the work.

If you don’t say thank you, your listeners might not come back.

Fine. Thank you for listening. I hope to see you next time.

You’re not going to be the commentator next time, Liel. I’m doing five or so posts in this series, and the commentators are different each time. Rill’s next.

I hope you’re not putting Eryon on commentator.

I kind of have to, sorry. He’s too prominent in your story for me to omit him, and he’s the only one who knows enough about Rhyn to explain it.

Huh.

I’ll take that to mean you realise and bow to my superior logic. Readers, thank you again for sailing with me through the Bay of Names. Next time we’ll take a wagon.

Matthew (The Author)


And Liel.

Image credit to the holders of their respective copyrights.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2015 in My Books, The Valdegurdian Journey

 

My Character Types

Recently, I’ve started investigating the types of characters I write so that I can expand my horizons. The topic interested me so much that I decided to create a list of named types and assign all my most developed characters to one or two particular types. So far, I have defined fourteen character types, and there are other good characters of mine who don’t fit any of these.

The description of each type does not always describe each character in that type perfectly. Most characters fit one type best but also share similarities with other types. I have to admit that I’m overusing Type Gali for female assassins, mercenaries, and bounty hunters, though. Gali Dalmeaux, Elle Trissan, and Rainer Nyx are all in this category; Gali is a mercenary, Elle is a bounty hunter, and Rainer is an assassin. I need to stop doing that.

The words in parentheses indicate the project or roleplaying thread from which these characters come.


TYPE JORUS: moody, keen

This character type are prone to unpredictable changes of mood and has melancholic tendencies. This type are always on top of the situation—keen, never miss a detail, and use intuition and spur-of-the-moment ideas to deal with others. If they accept humour, they are witty and hilarious—but they have such an immense control of themselves that they never, ever laugh at their own jokes.

Exemplars:

  • Jorus Travar (CaC2)
  • Cald Arenna (CaC2)
  • Helm Dragonhelm (CaC2)
  • Chazan (Cosmere Adventures)
  • Zalwen (Cosmere Adventures)
  • Sabrina Elerion (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Sha-Guittel (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Torjan Shather (The Age of Keepers)
  • Progan Thorn (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Gorik Pewterhead (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Vos Gadah (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Grask (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE TARMYS: passionate, compassionate

This character type are often found in leader roles due to their passion for their work and the power of their presence. This type can intimidate people with the intensity of their presence and presentation, but behind the powerful face beats a heart of flesh and blood that always desires the greater good.

Exemplars:

  • Tarmys Darumar (CaC2)
  • Morcarcion (CaC2)
  • Ronis the Teller (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Thad Corin (Ieran’s Rune)
  • Tragrio Lael (The Authority Card)
  • Farn Beke (The Authority Card)
  • Ephraim Kori (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Moechev Vehran (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE RINK: stubborn, idealistic

This character type have few strong traits aside from a stubborn adherence to a personal idealistic code. This type are often unlucky and accident-prone and are often considered comic relief.

Exemplars:

  • Rink Mortheel (CaC2)
  • Tekin Amach (CaC2)
  • Liel (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Gane Nagrossi (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Garron Thorn (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Guftan Keen (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Jaegen Rue (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE RILL: bitter, sarcastic

This character type have a loathing for something or someone due to a deep-rooted bitterness from a long time ago. They are brutally sarcastic to anyone, whether friend or foe, and make enemies easily through their caustic remarks.

Exemplars:

  • Rill Gaps (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Jorn Daron (Ieran’s Rune)
  • Aelta Kunai (Firesoul)
  • Mellori Jadus (The Authority Card)
  • Jaden Thorn (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE RIKE: overconfident, headstrong

This character type have a confidence so strong that it’s turning into arrogance. Their overconfidence makes this type reckless and headstrong and often gets them into trouble, but their ability to bluff and fight their way out usually gets them out again.

Exemplars:

  • Rike Steel (The Authority Card)
  • Runan Pike (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Darick Shofar (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE SABERA: critical, broken

This character type criticises everyone and everything. They have little concept of humour and often detest banter. However, deep below this type are scarred and broken from a failure in their past—which is why they are now critical, for they want no one else to fall into the same trap.

Exemplars:

  • Sabera Vayn (CaC2)
  • Valene Imarien (CaC2)
  • Natash Barbel (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Damera Lystan (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Rafe Ceris (The Age of Keepers)
  • Morcia Pramanik (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE JARAAL: driven, audacious

This character type are determined to reach their high-set goals. There are no boundaries for this type: their goals are limited only by the level of their power, not by any moral limitation. For this type, the result is everything. If they have to kill to get the result, they will do so with no hesitation and no regret.

Exemplars:

  • Jaraal Starrunner (CaC2)
  • Darth Pyre (CaC2)
  • Kalen Rozeesh (CaC2)
  • Revenant (CaC2)
  • Harn Shate (CaC2)
  • Kerie Tel (CaC2)
  • Darid Kirin (CaC2)
  • Trae (Son of Tarsin)
  • Bria Lairk (The Authority Card)
  • Vett Lanteri (The Authority Card)
  • Warden Fosca (Cosmere Adventures)
  • Eryon (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Koeden Calder (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Javelin Nadziak (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Omar Mortis (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Tylan Aresca (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Master (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Jude Zanatos (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Vinno Mald (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE GALI: bitter, distrustful

This character type put up a tough shell to disguise their scars. Since they’ve been betrayed before, they trust no one and refuse to work in a team. Anger often bubbles below the surface, and their unpredictability makes them a dangerous person to be around.

Exemplars:

  • Gali Dalmeaux (Cosmere Adventures)
  • Elle Trissan (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Rainer Nyx (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Dax Chavor (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Shock (Invisibilities)
  • Caya (The Teller’s Apprentice)

TYPE BARRAS: brazen, persistent

This character type have no respect for power, position, or propriety. Their disrespect takes several forms, from impudence to insolence to flamboyance. This type often despise being serious and refuse to be dissuaded from their insolence by anything short of preparing their execution.

Exemplars:

  • Barras Kampion (CaC2)
  • Sol Maronius (CaC2)
  • Kerie Tel (CaC2)
  • Jabe Keltar (The Authority Card)
  • Darrick Steel (The Authority Card)
  • Luek Damar (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Prowl Grayling (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Beedle Manifore (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Duron Viscus (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Kel-Liska (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Kai Lutherian (The Age of Keepers)
  • Calk Straka (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Struntel Firemind (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Roegre Dachay (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE JARAYIM: withdrawn, suppressed

This character type distance themselves from social settings, being content with who they are by themselves or needing to avoid society to cope with a deep grief. Often, this type will channel their strength and persistence into one area of expertise in which they become experts, but are often overlooked due to their social invisibility.

Exemplars:

  • Jarayim Till (CaC2)
  • Ari Erinnen (CaC2)
  • Candel Glinn (The Authority Card)
  • Selara Fawn (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Grask (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Till Mullet (The Teller’s Apprentice)

TYPE VARON: blunt, objective

This character type tell the simple truth. They dislike prevarication and deceit and are not afraid to speak their minds. Emotion does not strongly influence this character type, and they hold to an inflexible personal code. This type would rather break than bend.

Exemplars:

  • Varon Parlay (CaC2)
  • Kyra Solari (CaC2)
  • Thorn (CaC2)
  • Tokar (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Adelan Erland (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Aron Calder (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Gaden Minnack (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Vale Ronson (The Union Saga)
  • Mathros (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Zell Channah (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Shëv Moltek (Adamus: The Eternal War)

TYPE WAG: plain, sincere

This character type live a simple, sincere life and are respected not for their power but for their honesty and friendliness. The intricacies of politics do not interest this type, who are content with their lives and their small world.

Exemplars:

  • Wagnus Carp (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Mart Viscus (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Raedren Rondan (The Union Saga)
  • Beon Calactis (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Tani Sha (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Trey Imarien (Adamus: The Eternal War)
  • Shiebrynn Nar’laan (CaC2)
  • Varyth Shen (CaC2)
  • Nathin (Cosmere Adventures)

TYPE KRALL: crafty, smooth

This character type live to deceive. Their consciences stopped bothering them a long time ago, making them effective liars behind a façade of sincerity. This type are the ultimate politicians and con artists and can wheedle their way into anyone’s good graces.

Exemplars:

  • Krall Scyst (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Sakna (The Age of Keepers)

TYPE EZAR: childlike, dreamy

This character type never grew up—or hasn’t gotten there yet. Holding their attention is a challenge in itself. Making them understand something is equal to putting the shell back on an egg. Still, this type have something useful to offer—sometimes—and can occasionally tip the balance to favour their allies by just being who they are.

Exemplars:

  • Ezar Ravon (CaC2)
  • Crammack (The Teller’s Apprentice)
  • Midge (The Teller’s Apprentice)

My younger siblings were watching Cars 2 about half an hour ago. I analysed a few of the main characters in terms of my character types. (The rest of this sentence has spoilers for Cars 2.) Lightning McQueen is a Type Rike, while Tow Mater is a Type Ezar. Sir Miles Axlerod is a Type Krall.

Myself, I don’t fit any of these character types. I share similarities with most of them—I’m moody like Type Jorus, withdrawn like Type Jarayim, and somewhat driven like Type Jaraal—but I don’t fit any of them very well, at least in my opinion.

I’m also considering separating these types into Internal types and External types, with Internal types more interested in mental activity (like me) and External types more interested in physical activity.

If you write, do you have character types you tend to fall back on a lot? If you read, do you recognise any of your favourite characters as sharing these character types?

Matthew

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2015 in My Books

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

This month I engaged in Camp NaNoWriMo.

Camp NaNoWriMo is an event that occurs in April and July which focuses on inspiring writers to write, and write a lot. I’ve been working on The Teller’s Apprentice since February, and to boost my motivation I decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo this July. I set my goal for 20,000 words—less than I would usually write in a month, but since I had volunteered to be a cabin leader at a kid’s camp one week, I chose a lower word count and settled in to write.

I’m not going to talk about my journey much further. Suffice to say that I finished one long chapter, wrote another long chapter, and started a third long chapter. The rest of my month I’ll sum up in pictures and a few more words.

wordcountjuly

The week of the camp is pretty obvious and runs from about the 10th through to my days of recovery, since I had the flu when I got home. That big boost at the end is today. I set my sights on finishing Camp NaNo and wrote a total of 6904 words, more than I’ve written for months. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s efforts.

Camp-Winner-2015-Twitter-Profile

 

And I won. What else is there to say? I wrote 20K words in one month. Actually, I wrote 20K words in seven days across this month. The Teller’s Apprentice is coming along nicely, and I’ve reached a total of 33,587 words, the furthest I’ve got in this project so far. (I wrote 24,000 words before deciding to start over, and I reused none of that. So I’ve really written 57,000 words on The Teller’s Apprentice.)

Today’s efforts have made me excited for the scene I’m building up to, in which I introduce the antagonist for the first time—in the worst possible place the heroes could imagine him in. With that, I’ll wrap up this post.

Have you ever done a NaNoWriMo event?

Matthew

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 31, 2015 in My Books

 

Deimos’s Compass (Part Four)

To conclude my Deimos’s Compass series of posts, I’m posting the scene that inspired the concept. It’s 1039 words long. Hope you like it. Remember, it’s first-draft, written for a younger audience than what I usually write for. And I wrote it in the space of one morning, so it’s not as polished as it could be. That’s how I want it for the purposes of this post.

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I tunneled out of the darkness of the dune and shook sand from my wings. The yellow skies bore no clouds. Red sand piled in dunes, still and silent. The great winds of Kabyrror had ceased. At least for now.
Time enough to find Deimos’s compass.
I huddled down on the dune, closed my eyes, and searched deep within. Darkness. Darkness. Darkness. A flicker of light.
Deimos’s compass was close.
How close, I didn’t know. But the unique sense I was born with told me that it was close, at least.
A sense of mind-numbing danger pressed in, and I launched myself upwards. The dune burst open as a Phobosan mantis screeched at me, stretching its empty claws to the sky.
My heart beat hard. So I’d spent a full sleeping period in the same dune as a mantis. Either that, or it had been slowly stalking me through the sand.
I closed my eyes, hovered in the air, and reached for the compass. Darkness. A flicker of light.
The sense drew me, and I followed it. Glanced back. Only a pile of sand showed where the mantis had tunneled into the sand again. If it had my scent, I’d have to be careful. And quick. Phobosan mantises rarely gave up.
I scanned the red dunes ahead. Stagnating green algae sat on a tranquil acid lake that stretched to a far opposite shore. For just a second, the algae and the acid beneath stirred. My eyes narrowed. How delightful. First Phobosan mantises, now Phobosan sharks. If the compass was in there…
If Deimos’s compass was in the acid lake, I’d drain it before I’d try swimming in there.
Another sense of danger caught my mind. This one different. Not as strong. Distant. But strong enough to reach my mind.
And that would mean one thing.
I glanced up at the western horizon. Far in the distance, murky red clouds boiled, and green lightning flashed.
The winds of Kabyrror had risen again.
Urgency lent speed to my wings. I reached for the compass again and found the flicker of light that marked its position. There. There. I changed direction and flew directly over the broad lake—a dangerous idea, but one decided by the danger of the winds.
Behind me, the acid stirred, and a razor fin emerged from the algae, cutting a V-shaped swath directly behind me. Runner bugs on the algae scampered for cover. I scanned the far shore. Too far.
I leaned forwards and strained my muscles, speeding up. My heart hammered loud.
The splash warned me. I ducked right, dropped low, dodged left, and the gliding shark came into view.
Yellowish-green scales ran along a slender, muscular body that gave the Phobosan shark its ability to jump so high. Its black eyes glared at me, and it twisted to glide towards me, its unnaturally broad fins outspread. I shot straight up into the sky. The air beneath me moved as the shark stretched upwards and snapped at my feet. Missed.
It fell backwards into the acid, and the splash sent ripples in all directions.
I glared at the acid lake, set my chin, and volleyed off towards the far shore. Those ripples would draw more sharks as surely as Deimos’s compass drew me. But now, maybe, I’d have enough time. Enough time to reach the compass before the winds of Kabyrror and the Phobosan sharks caught up.
I glanced back at the wind front on the horizon, then down to the lake. At least five fins slashed the algae. Five pursuers. And more to come, most likely.
Well, I’d give them a chase. And a fight, if they dared to leap.
I set my gaze on the far shore and reached for the compass. The flicker of light gave me a sense of security.
Security. Being chased by winds and Phobosan sharks was hardly secure.
I looked back again. At least seven. No, eight. Eight now.
The algae exploded as one of the sharks leapt, gliding just above the surface. It leered at me and splashed into the acid again. I glared at the rippling surface and turned my gaze back to the front.
Ahead of me, three fins poked above the surface of the acid lake.
I slid my blowpipe out from its holster on my back and found a tear-shaped fire cryst in my side pouch, which I tucked into my cheek. If they dared leap, I’d scorch them.
One of the sharks ahead leapt, bursting through the algae, stretching its gliding fins wide. My hand snapped up to my mouth, and I pushed the fire cryst into the blowpipe with my tongue, aimed, blew hard. The teardrop shattered on the shark’s pointed nose, and flickers of yellow flame streaked its scales.
The shark hissed in pain and writhed in the air before collapsing into the acid lake with a splash of algae, acid and runner bugs. The flames danced on the algae now, and beneath the surface, the shark danced a dance of agony, sending ripples in all directions. The other sharks converged, and blood spread in the acidic ripples.
I distanced myself from the distracted convoy and swept down to the shore with a sigh of relief. Here, several rock fingers poked through the red dunes. Now, the compass.
I closed my eyes and reached for Deimos’s compass. Very close. Closer than before.
I stalked down the dune, slowly, feeling the flicker of light that drew me. Up the next dune, and down the other side. Up and down. Past rock fingers. Past the uncovered bones of a Phobosan shark that had glided too far. Up and down.
Now.
With the speed of all my people, I excavated a hollow, pushing sand behind me with my wings. The darkness pressed into my consciousness, and I relaxed in that darkness. The darkness that I was born in, the darkness I embraced whenever the violent winds struck the dunes.
The darkness that Deimos’s compass hid in.
My fingers touched something hard, and I loosened it from the clutch of the sand and brushed it off. The flicker of light in my mind burst into brilliance.
Deimos’s compass.
I found it.

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Compare this with what you’ve read of Songweaver‘s latest form (see Part Three). Can you tell it’s different?

Thus concludes the Deimos’s Compass series. (As a side note, I actually wrote all four posts, aside from the story in this one, on Friday.)

Matthew

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Deimos's Compass, My Books, Writing