Wednesday 31 July 2019

Turunda & The Devoted Trilogy - World Building Prompts, Part 3

Continuing my compilation of Great Western Woods' #WorldBuildingQuest, on world of The Devoted trilogy.

Speaking of which, erm, the second book, The Sah'niir, well... 
it's out tomorrow!!!

Paperbacks will be up in a day or two, otherwise you can pre-order it on Kindle right now to download on release!
And get the first of the trilogy, The Zi'veyn, for £2.49 on Kindle!
Or read the first five pages of The Zi'veyn for free on Kindle, Kindle App or your browser right here!

#WorldBuildingQuest Week 3:

Day 15: Law & Order
   Bailiffs deal with their own bailiwicks, according to royal law. On the larger scale, the guards handle the day-to-day - catching and deterring thieves, watching for anything untoward, and doing general guardy-stuff. Not all of them are above being paid off, which happens most frequently in Carenna. The inquisitors of the White Hammer deal with higher crimes that require investigation and carry a higher threat - organised crime, lynching, rebellion, trafficking, etc. The Arana deal with covert issues.

Day 16: Government Structure
   The Crown, led by the king, consists of a number of advisors, and each significant branch of authority (White Hammer, Arana, Order) have their own liaisons to the Crown, who are responsible for ferrying back and forth the Crown's commands and the authorities' reports. It's not a perfect system.

Day 17: Family Groups
   As standard. Elderly often live with their children and grandchildren, especially in the smaller villages where housing and work is sparse. There is always a man of the house, and in the event of a husband's death, the woman is expected to remarry to support her family.

Day 18: Gender Roles
   Women are expected to clean, sew, look after children, but despite the need for a man of the house, they are able to work, and in some cases even join the army, as long as their skill is evident. They will never progress high in the ranks, however. Women are seen as inferior, which leaves a lot of room for a woman to take advantage of being underestimated. This means that women are ideal for the Arana, because they can easily uncover secrets. They're also good for lower ranks in the White Hammer so that they can infiltrate, much like among the Arana, without being suspected. In the Order, however, woman are as equal as men in the ranks, as magic doesn't stem from physical strength. They can be soldiers in the military wing, they can be preservers in the preservation wing, and they can be scholars. A good deal of women choose to pursue a career as a preserver, which is more impressive than a scholar but not as demanding as a soldier, and puts them out into the world where they can walk tall and publicly defy general ideas of women walking with their heads bowed.

Day 19: World of Work
   Apprenticeships are given out at young ages. Children often follow in their parents' footsteps because it's easy, it's at home, and they've already been exposed to the trade. However, many will still go out looking for something else so they might earn themselves a better life for themselves, or for their own family.

Day 20: Class Divides/Social Mobility
   Rich & poor steer clear of one another, and towns and cities are segregated. But the poor are not restricted on where they can go, with the exception of the richest districts and the royal grounds. In theory, both the rich and the poor could visit the same tavern. It's taste and price that keeps them from doing so. While it will be difficult, there's nothing stopping a poor person with skill in a trade from elevating. However, it's unlikely that someone of low birth would ever be hired in the palace as even the lowliest servant, nor as a noble's stablehand. But, if they worked hard enough, and their son followed in their footsteps, the son may well have even better prospects.

Day 21: Religion/Belief Structure:
   The Temple teaches Craitic belief, and praise towards the goddess, Vastal. While it teaches goodness and light, for some, it's nothing more than a means of securing a kinder road in the afterlife.
Then there's the Sulyax Dizan, translated from elven into 'Guards of the Apocalypse', who act upon a prophecy from Craitic belief dictating that the elves were destroyed by the God of Death, Zikhon, when their belief in Vastal waned so much that she weakened and was unable to hold him back from her children. The Sulyaxists believe that a lesser god, Vokaad, will be able to find a way to shield the world from Zikhon's rage should belief in Vastal inevitably wane among humans in time, but to do so, he needs souls of various value. Sulyaxists kill ritualistically and are gifted with a rudimentary form of magic, but it fades and results in increasing withdrawal symptoms, provoking them to kill again. A ceremonial dagger is used in each killing, along with a ritualistic phrase. Without both of these, a soul will not go to Vokaad.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Turunda & The Devoted Trilogy - World Building Prompts, Part 2

Last week I started compiling all of my prompt posts from Great Western Woods' #WorldBuildingQuest, focusing on the world of The Devoted trilogy (work on book three is underway, and book two, The Sah'niir, will be out in one week!)

#WorldBuildingQuest Week 2:

Day 8. Food
   A good, healthy diet of grains, meats and vegetables. Meat is not exclusive to the wealthy, though the variety available is more restricted. Game is common, however, as the forests and valleys are thick with deer, boar and jackalopes, if one is prepared to hunt on free land. Cider is easy to make, ale less so, but they're all widely available, while wines are slowly becoming available to a wider market rather than their previous restriction to those of higher status.

Day 9. Farmed Animals
   Cows and sheep; the typical animals. But it isn't too wide-spread, as game is so abundant. Poaching is a problem and it's handled harshly, but hunting remains the dominant source of meat, especially for the poor. The risks are worth it.

Day 10. Natural Predators
   If you wander into the wilds of Turunda, many of the creatures hiding in, behind or beneath the trees are a danger of one kind or another, but the most likely to cause harm is the raghorn - half deer, half wild cat. It's aggressive and considered a fine trophy for hunters. There is an annual raghorn hunt which will frequently result in injury, if not death - which is all part of the thrill, of course.

Day 11. Climate & Seasons
   Turunda carries a mild climate, mid-way between the equator and the poles. There is sufficient rain, being so close to the sea, and the surrounding mountains cast a rain shadow which additionally waters the soils. Neighbouring countries are largely the same, with the exception of Ivaea to the north which, due to that very rain shadow, is one third desert despite being only a little closer to the equator.

Day 12: Trade Routes & Travel
   There are plenty of roads connecting the capital to the towns and cities, whereas most villages are often a backroad away, but with game hunting being the primary source of meat, the mild climate making farming vegetables easy, and the abundance of water, people living in villages generally get by without the need to visit large markets as often. The markets feature more game and crops, but also spices brought down from the north, tribal curiosities (despite the fear and distaste for the tribespeople themselves) and finery that the poor can get by without. Travel is mostly by foot, then by horse, then cart or carriage depending on wealth and importance (and pomposity).

Day 13: Important Trade Towns
   Roeden and Whitemouth are important sea ports and deal with the trade from the smaller southern islands, while Emberton is crucial to the steel trade. Carenna, far to the north, though an unsavoury sort of place, is where the spices and tribal goods are first dealt with, as well as bleeding opiac and liquors into the broader market.

Day 14: Education
   It's not wide-spread and limited to the rich. Ordinary people have the option to either join the Temple and learn from the priests, or choose a trade and learn via apprenticeships. Life lessons are taught by parents or learned the hard way. Those who enter into the Hall of the White Hammer are given additional education, but they usually require a tactical mind to begin with, and those who enter the Arana must be quick-witted with a natural intelligence, and the ability to obey commands unerringly. Military requires less education. Mages who enter into the Order are given a broader education, regardless of background.

Monday 1 July 2019

The Sah'niir, Book Cover Reveal

I mentioned in my earlier post that today was the day for my book cover reveal, and I wasn't lying.
After a few weeks of work, straining my eyes and becoming really quite sick of drawing, I've finished!!

   It's not the greatest cover in the world, and I still think that The Zi'veyn's is better, but they will both do. It's immensely satisfying to be able to say that I made the book and the cover. But there is a reason that professionals are hired, and I would never turn my nose up at them. But while my budget consists of biscuits and pocket lint, there's not much I can do but practise and hope that my own efforts will do for the time being.
   Tools: Wacom Intuos art, Paint Tool SAI, photo reference (of my husband again :B) and much trial and error.

   But, ultimately, I am very proud of it, and it had a better first attempt than The Zi'veyn's originally did.

   The book itself will be released on Kindle & paperback one month from today, on August 1st, and pre-order links will be available very soon!