Tristin’s Guide to World Building

 I am definitely a prime example of someone who will create a new world for every single story. Here is a basic guide as to how I do this. I wrote this in the past since a friend requested assistance. 

Tristin’s Guide to World Building

Note: My preferred program to use is Gimp so I refer to that in this guide. The reason I often refer to using different layers is so you can also keep your map as a project file and open it in Gimp. You can then show or hide any layers you don’t need at the moment so you focus on the things that are important.

THE BASICS

STEP 1: Rough outline

The first outline of the world I suggest to be drawn by hand. This way you can be very ‘random’ while sketching something. I find that drawing on paper makes it easier to just go with it and let my imagination work. However, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of paper, you can draw in a program like Gimp too.

1a. If you have a rough idea of how your world should look, you can go with that.

1b. If you are going for a ‘new’ world, just use your imagination and don’t worry too much about the finer details of the map.

My method is often to draw lines that move in random patterns. Sometimes I come up with maps that look unnatural. In this case it is fine to simply try again.

I usually start with only the outline of the world but you are free to add country borders if that’s something you want on your first draft. You can always remove them during the next step.

STEP 2: Digital outline

Next up you need to make your work digital, if you did not digitally draw the rough outline of your map. I do this by scanning my picture with my printer and then transferring it onto my computer. If you drew digitally, you are good to go already.

Basic outline.png

2a. Create a canvas that you would like to use to put your world on. I suggest you don’t underestimate this. I tend to go for 1500 x 2000 pixels (height x width). Depending on whether or not you want a grid function or not, you will need to adjust the pixels so everything works out correctly.

Note: Be sure to set the grid as a new layer. Use a transparent layer to put your canvas on.

Grids can help you define distance in the story. It can help you find out how long characters need to travel.

Example

I want to use a canvas that is 1500 x 2000 pixels, but I also want to set a grid onto this. Suppose every square in this grid would be 100 x 100 pixels; which means the grid could have 15 x 20 squares. I tend to set my grid outlining to 1 x 1 pixel; meaning the squares on the grid are divided by 1 pixel of black line. This requires a little math. See below.

1500 x 2000 pixels for the canvas
I want to have 15 x 20 squares
One square is 101 x 101 pixels (100 pixels + 1 pixel for the grid)

To complete our grid, we also need to take into account the most outer edges so we add 1 pixel to the eventual equation.

Our actual canvas size would have to be adjusted to;

Height; 1516 (15 x 101 + 1 for the last edges) pixels
Width; 2021 (20 x 101 + 1 for the last edges) pixels

If you want a grid that includes numbers at the top and sides, add one square into the calculations.

(Yes, world building is for smart people.)

2b. Next you need to trace the physical drawing you made. Use a drawing tool like a brush and set it to a solid circle. I tend to use a thicker outline for the world and a thinner outline for the borders of my countries. It is okay if you trace this world onto a white background. For other features however, I suggest using a transparent layer. Sometimes I put the outline of the country borders on a different layer than my world outline. But that’s up to the creator.

2c. Copy and paste your world outline onto the background of the grid canvas (in case you are using one). You can drag the picture around till you are satisfied with where it sits. Anchor it there. The outline of the world will be the basis for everything else you put overtop it, so make sure it’s at the very back of your file.

STEP 3: Landscape

Next you need to decide what the landscape looks like. You can select all white areas with the select tools so you can properly color them. It is fine if you want to color the world outline. I sometimes do that too. It can work just fine that way.

Landscape

3a. Set well distinguished colors. Blue for water, yellow for sand, red for canyon, lime for grass, green for forest and so on. If needed, you can use an extra canvas to write down what every color means so you can properly keep track of everything.

Example

Colors that I like to use

  • Blue = water
  • Light green = grass
  • Dark green = forest
  • Yellow/beige = sand
  • Red/maroon = canyon rock
  • Grey = mountain rock
  • Light grey = snow area
  • Teal (a light shade of blue) = healing water

STEP 4: Locations

So your characters have places to go, you should name places in your world. You can name regions (a forest, a mountain range), the countries and cities/towns. I suggest using a different (transparent) layer for each of these.

By placing text on a transparent layer, you can erase just that name if you want to rename a place.

Locations

4a. Regions are the easiest to name since they tend to be big chunks. You can use a font, size and color that are easy to read on the canvas colors as well as a font size that fits well on the places. I tend to pick something that is not too big so I can actually fit the names even on smaller regions.

4b. With country names, I’d go for something of a reasonable size; something that stands out but does not occupy the entire country space when placed so you can still look around the word to see the place it belongs to.

4c. For cities and such, I tend to place down dots. I pick a color I have not used before (purple or pink) to make the dots to indicate the size of the cities. The biggest dot in every country is the capital city. Medium sized dots are other cities and small dots are towns/villages. What I do with the size of the names;

  • Capital gets big letters; but smaller than the region names.
  • Cities get reasonable sizes
  • Towns/villages get small sizes

There’s usually no more than a 10-5 pixel difference between the sizes. Don’t be afraid to make things too small. If you have a large canvas, that is just fine. Remember, if you need it during writing, you can always zoom in to see what it says.

4d. If you have special locations on your map, you can draw a significant symbol (a star, a triangle, etc.) to indicate where it is and add a name to it in the same way.

You can add lines between locations to indicate roads.

STEP 5: Decide astronomy

This might not seem important but it can make a significant difference in your world. If you wish to follow the same system as the Earth follows, that is perfectly fine. I tend to change things up often.

5a. The first interesting aspect is to decide the pattern of a year. Indicate how many days the year has, how many each month has (if you have months), the lengths of weeks and also the length of seasons.

5b. Decide the heavenly bodies next. There is a likelihood that the world has a star it orbits. However some planets also have moons or even rings. These are things to consider since they can add to the atmosphere within your world. The weather is also interesting to consider.

Weather

Sometimes I add weather to maps. Use a transparent layer and color it with transparent colors to indicate where it tends to rain, where it is warmer and where snow is prominent.

Example

Here is a suggestion for the colors to use:

  • Red = high temperatures
  • Orange = heat waves
  • Yellow = often sunny
  • Green = neutral, pleasant temperatures
  • Blue = cool temperatures
  • Purple = often rains
  • Grey = often cloudy/misty
  • White = often snow

You can adjust the brightness of the colors or the amount of transparency to indicate how common this weather is. If you really want to go to such lengths, you can even make separate weather patterns for the different seasons.

STEP 6: Create physics

This step is mostly a step about imagining and potentially writing. If your story takes place in a magical world, you need to refer to the rules that are involved in this world.

Examples

Example 1: Magic power is only inherited. It can not be learned.
Example 2: People can only use as much magic as their own energy will permit.
Example 3: Magical abilities can be learned only through sacred processes.

Besides that, you need to decide what physics are at play. In most novels I read, the physics resemble those we experience on Earth. Many sci-fi novels choose to either exaggerated these physics or add to them. Traveling at the speed of light is a prime example.

It is also interesting to decide what is significant in your world. This can be special locations, special creatures or special roles that people earn or are born with. You need to decide what influence this has on your world.

An example could be a special plant that is very rare but grants certain advantages to whomever has the plant.

BRINGING LIFE

STEP 1: Create civilizations

A story can not thrive without characters. It is essential to make yourself understand what cultures exist in your world before you attempt to persuade readers of the awesomeness of your world.

1a. Start by outlining which countries or regions exist and if there are people that live there. Describe if there are many people and what race they are. You can add that they speak their own language or have a particular religion.

1b. What really makes societies unique is their customs. For each community, make a brief description of what are important ceremonies or holidays to them. Write about how relationships are handled within the community. Mention small gestures that are native to the community (greetings, expressions of respect, expressions of love, etc.).

1c. Establishing connections between communities and countries is important. It can often influence the plot heavily. Describe how each is governed and what their view of other countries is.

The level of detail you decide to use is completely up to you however a basic understanding of the local cultures will help you remember them and integrate them.

STEP 2: Create wildlife

It would make sense that beyond city walls, there are other living creatures that inhabit the wild. As miniscule a role as they might play in your story, it is still interesting to establish what animals and plants exist.

2a. Describe what (types of) animals inhabit the world. What creatures live where? Are they friendly to the people? Are the intelligent? What role do they play, if any? Perhaps the only role that you desire is birds that can be written about as singing their songs in the morning. That is fine.

2b. Integrate plants into your story. If you are not eager to make up your own plants, then resume as you wish. It might be interesting to understand what lives where. This requires some research. If that is not your cup of tea, then attempt to create your own.

Example

Below is an example of three significant plants growing in one kingdom.

The kingdom is known for several medicinal herbs that are native to it. One is a small red flower (Aniya flower) used to lessen headaches. It is a small plant that grows on the trunks of trees and is thusly found in the forests to the east.

The other is a plant with feather shaped leaves (Dragon Pigmy) that are quite long and thin. The leaves hang outwards and get smaller as they reach the top of the plant. Because the leaves are so long and heavy, the stem of the plant is quite sturdy. It grows in moist areas. It is commonly found in swamp-like locations near the southern shore of Sandöhr. Both the leaves and the root of the Dragon Pigmy plant are used in combination with other herbs to form medicinal healing powders used for speeding up the healing of wounds. It is also commonly used to cure nausea or internal pain. The root of the plant is often cooked and consumed by people due to its healthy factors. Its leaves are used in salads. They are high in iron. The seeds of this plant are hard but are often used to brew tea because the outer core of the seed will dissolve in boiling water. The Dragon Pigmy earned its name due to the leaves of this plant closely resembling the wings of some species of Pigmy dragons.

Besides the Aniya and the Dragon Pigmy, the kingdom is famous for its tropical fruit. This fruit, called a Learan, grows on a fairly short tree in the far south of the kingdom. The Learan tree has a short trunk. This tree grows in a spire-like fashion; the base of it is very wide while the apex is narrow. This causes the tree to look like an enormous thorn. Such an exterior is emphasized by a lack of branches. The tree trunk is covered with round leaves that grow upwards along the tree trunk and seem to cover the tree in scales. The fruit that this tree grows is hidden among its coat of round leaves. The fruit has a cone-shape with a rounded base. The fruit grows taller and longer as it ripens and grows towards the sun. The fruit, at its earliest stages, is a green color equal to the color of the tree’s leaves. At this stage, the fruit is poisonous and the acid from it could cause tissue damage in the body. As the fruit ripens, its color transitions to blue before turning violet. When the fruit has turned blue, the poisonous fluids within have been transformed into sugars. Fruits from this tree are harvested during summer. They are picked when they are a shade of indigo. Learan fruit tastes rather sweet. Its outer core is a thick layer of flexible skin. Within this layer lays soft matter and a lot of liquid. This fruit is high in vitamins and is often used to create fruit juices or wine. In some instances, the fruit is converted into a paste-like substance to be eaten on bread. This fruit is popular even among young children due to the sweetness of it. Besides the fruit this tree provides, the Learan tree is often harvested for its sturdy wood. Learan wood has the benefit of being flexible and resistant to moisture. However, due to the rarity of these trees (they only grow in the south of Sandöhr) the expenses paid for a stack of wood are high.


STEP 3: Describe locations

Many locations become more interesting if you think about how they look or are organized. This makes describing them later on more fun too. It will also hold a stronger identity.

5a. Sketch or describe the way major cities are structured. Consider if the city has walls and if so what they are made of. If there is a castle or fortress, decide the characters for this as well. Decide if the streets are wide or narrow, if roofs are straw or wood. Decide if the roads are paved or if it is simply covered in sand. Perhaps there are cathedrals, academies, libraries or other noteworthy locations. Choose a location in the city for them and give them their own personal exterior.

It can be difficult to decide different identities for everything but this will make it more distinguished and intriguing to have characters visit them. They will have certain touches that set them apart. If you write about their exterior, it will also become easier to visualize them and thus write about them.

STEP 4: Final touches

Though the world is fairly complete now, it remains to be said that many writers like to add specific touches to their world. This is the point at which you can add all the unique aspects that you deem important. Something that I am prone to doing is noting certain aspects about certain areas. An example is that a road in one of my stories was made of a very interesting material. These are things I will record.

Good luck on your world building. 

May destiny be kind to you.

Ettalin; “May Destiny Be Kind To You”

My bucket list mentions several writing projects. One of them is what I have thus far dubbed the Primary Trilogy; a collection of books based on blue, red and yellow, respectively. The reason for these colors is three dragons who play a main role. Their scales have those colors, I’m sure you could guess that.

Though I am willing to tell the plot of the Primary Trilogy as soon as I’m done plotting, I can not do that yet. It is still in progress. It is a slow but that nonetheless. Meanwhile, I have been working on something related to it (in what little time I have). I have been working on something called Ettalin.

I’m sure your first thought is, “What the heck is Ettalin?” Well, dear reader, I will explain that!

Ettalin is the language used in the Primary Trilogy by the dragon race. They were the creators of the language and gifted it to other races of the land. Since dragons are the closest link to magic, it is also the tongue of magicians.

Creating a whole new language is hard work. You need to come up with rules for grammar (or use native ones but I’m choosing not to). I have a lengthy document with words and phrases of importance. There are also small paragraphs to explain how sentences need to be constructed. There are also certain ways to greet other individuals that I’ve elaborated. The oldest children are called differently than the younger ones. It’s pretty complex.

Of course, there will be a lot of things missing from the language. I don’t need a complete language since I will only be using the language in small portions. When writing spells or small portions of conversations, I will use it. I can also use it when the characters are learning about the world and magic. I can title certain factions or locations accordingly but that is about the extent of language I need.

It’s a fun endeavor. I am even changing numbers. Instead of going by 10’s, I am going by 8’s. I drew eight shapes to match the numbers, too. There is a ton of information about seasons too. There are colors and gemstones, animals and weather.

There is a ton of information and it is almost impossible to keep everything organized. I’ve been considering using Scrivener for it. It would definitely help keep things organized. If anyone would like to donate a subscription, that would be wonderful. Joking, of course.

While typing this post, I wanted to come up with a nice way to end it. I spent a while skimming through my document to find out how I would translate the sentence in my mind while still using the right grammar rules. The sentence is as follows:

“Lez kwanye yull penga’nt amirl ai fayamay’nt am Vinn.”

Now, I know that looks like a bunch of jumbled letters to everyone. So in an attempt to teach a bit of Ettalin to my readers, I will explain how I came up with it.

The sentence states that I am wishing a pleasant destiny to you forever. The sentence literally translates to the following:

“I wishing if destiny’s kindness in forever with you.”

The sentence suggests something that is not necessarily true. Reality can be different. When you say, “That ball is blue.” you are describing a ball. There is certainty. You can look at the ball and know if it is blue. It is not the case with this sentence.

When suggesting something, a wish in this case, you use ‘kwanye yull’ after stating who wishes it. If you yourself wish it, you say ‘lez’ (“I”). If it is a general wish with no one stating it, you do not mention anyone.

‘Penga’nt’ is a contraction of ‘penga int’ which translates to ‘destiny’s’ or ‘of destiny’. ‘Amirl’ is the word for kindness and peace; a harmony. It is a sensation without a clear translation. In the way it is used here, it means ‘destiny’s kindness’.

‘Ai fayamay’nt’ is literally ‘in forever’s’. Here too you see the contraction with the word ‘int’, meaning that what comes next belongs to the word before it. ‘Fayamay’ is something endless and eternal. So if something belongs to it, that something would also be endless. Though you’d expect that something would come after ‘fayamay’nt’, I have decided that that contraction by itself is simply the way ‘forever’ is said; in regards with the rest of the explanation here.

Finally we have ‘am Vinn’. This is literally ‘with you’. There are two ways to spell ‘you’. One is formal and the other is informal. Because I do not know my readers, I have chosen to use the formal version that is ‘Vinn’. The informal version would be ‘vin’; one less letter and no capital.

So, that has been a brief lesson on Ettalin. Don’t worry, I won’t be quizzing you on it.

Anyway; till next time and lez kwanye yull penga’nt amirl ai fayamay’nt am Vinn!

 

Caeirys (Prologue)

Several weeks ago, I experienced a dream that was as lively as they could be. The colors were bright and the places seemed real (although not familiar). The dream stuck with me for such a long while because of its amazing storyline, that I decided to write it; with a few additions here and there to spice it up. For example, the whole start of the story is made up. There were no ‘catowls’ in my dream (you will see what they are below). The woman that is spoken of below had a few different attributes but she was there. The golden dragon did not appear in my dream. Nonetheless; feel free to read on if you want a high fantasy story to enjoy. This is only the prologue so far.

Consider this a Christmas present, if you wish to. Thus; happy holidays and I hope you will enjoy this creation of mine.

Note: Caeirys is only the working title.

Prologue

In ancient tales, people spoke of creatures upon wings mightier than those of the strongest hunting birds. The might within claw and fang unmatched by any human sword. Courage and wisdom both untamed and illogical to simple minds of mankind. They became rulers. These kings and queens of their respectable realms were without throne and crown. They needed not royal gemstones to emphasize their place in the world. Their reigns were evident through their unwavering might. Their benevolence remained upon the tongue of many for centuries after. Names echoed within songs and were immortalized upon parchment. Mankind spoke of the dragons.

One such queen was what scholars would later refer to as a ‘Great Red’; a dragon of crimson scales and impeccable majesty. Her brilliance was unmatched by stars and the sun. She was a drop of vital essence against the daylight sky and a speck of mystery within the moon’s domain. A spectacular wingspan provided a canvas for dreams of the young and innocent to be painted upon. They saw patterns within them that inspired their feeble hearts. Caressing light as dim as clouded skies danced upon her scales. Countless small plates of armor covered her fearsome body in a coat of tiny shards that seemed to have descended from deadly roses themselves. Her horns and talons seemed to have been carved from a delicate stone of rosewood pigments and finely shaped by divine smiths. They were both fatal weapons as well as impeccable treasures for her physique. Beneath her tender lids lay bright irises of emerald hue within which existed a large black pupil that shone with wisdom and pride. This splendid collection of superior attributes made her an extraordinary specimen of her own species. She bore the name Caeirys; meaning ‘clarity of the sunrise’.

From her early age onwards, Caeirys placed her name within the minds of those she encountered and within the minds of those who heard tale of her ventures across the vast landscape. Throughout all her endeavors she remained true to both her titles. She was forever a Great Red but also a symbol of the rising sun. The allure of her legends was strong and never ceased after her final sighting.

Her tale begins with the flight of a lone dragon during a fall evening. This creature was armored in gold and covered in silver embellishment. Equally impressive were his talons within which he carried a red object. The oval object glowed with a soft intensity before dimming again. It was a slow pattern that seemed soothing. However the dragon carrying the soothing object felt not this way. In his heart he felt worry and a need for haste. His journey destined him for a large tower that stood within an abandoned valley. Few roamed to these reaches. Little was to be gained here. A mission that weighted on this dragon’s aged mind however had pushed him to pursue the destination.

Against a backdrop of golden and red abstractions he could see the looming tower. It’s grey walls were covered in an orange glow from the setting sun. He could feel the warmth of the large star upon his scales. It made him feel calmer yet also more persistent. He flapped his wings vigorously before gliding. The structure before him came nearer to him. The golden dragon leaned upon the currents to glide around the tower to the opposite end where he found an opening large enough for his own form. There he swooped in. After thrusting his wings forward to lessen the impact of his flight, did he land upon tender feet. His talons created a soft clicking sound as they connected with the stone earth below.

While he regained his posture from the landing, his silver eyes cast about. All he found within the vicinity was a creature that was both cat and owl. With the head and tail of a cat and the body, wings and claws of an owl, it was the perfect combination of the two. This particular catowl was draped beneath a blanket of white which made the piercing blue eyes seem all the more pure. The resembled lakes of clear water within a landscape of pure snow.

The dragon performed a brief nod towards the creature before parting his jaws and speaking to it. “Tuwven, I must speak with your lady.” His tone was deep and genuine. It was but a deep rumble; the product of both fatigue and age.

The catowl spread his wings for a moment while changing his footing upon his perch; one of many connected to the walls for his convenience. “Aha.” he responded in a light voice. “Have you come to exchange your favor with her?” he wished to know.

Once again the dragon nodded. “I brought the Final One.” he replied.

Tuwven cast his bright blue eyes about to examine the entirety that the dragon before him was. His gaze stopped when he spotted the glowing object within the dragon’s talon. For a moment he sat still; his tail swaying from side to side. “You think…” he began while selecting his words carefully. Before he proceeded he raised his gaze once again to meet the unblinking silver eyes, “You are convinced that this is the Final One?” he informed.

With a tender gesture, the golden dragon placed the object upon the stone floor. “If not this one then who?” he answered with a sad tone.

“Very well.” Tuwven replied. He flicked his wings to carry himself into the air before floating effortlessly towards an opening within the wall beyond which lay darkness. Soon after this, the sound of flapping wings died out. What remained was the sound of the wind that blew by the tower.

The dragon waited with more impatience than he wished to hold. His talons remained around the glowing red object while it lay upon the floor. Through the connection with the surface of the object, the dragon felt the pulsing sensation of its glow. It resembled the beat of a heart. It throbbed with a gentle intensity. In unison with the evidence of this object’s life force, the golden creature sensed his own heart beating. With every beat that passed, he felt it weakening. While he had accepted his fate, he dared not depart this dimension without ensuring the safety of what little he could save; the last egg.

Several minutes passed before the door near the dark hole within the wall opened. It moved slowly and its hinges creaked as it did. The evening beams that flooded into the open space from beyond the tower engulfed the two figures the door now revealed.

One of the two was the white catowl who regained his perch rather quickly and sat there without a verbal word.

The second person was a woman. Dark eyes of wisdom and kindness were framed by a pale face that lay locked between dark curls of intertwined grey and black hues. She seemed slim beneath her cloak of splendid colors. Her entire body was decorated in small gemstones. A string of bright beads decorated her neck while rings of splendid colors lay around her wrists. Even her hair held small embellishments of varying colors. A small smile decorated her lips as she looked upon her guest. “Indyör.” she greeted him while performing a nod of acknowledgement.

“Minte.” replied the golden dragon while performing a nod of equal meaning.

The woman took several steps closer to the enormous beast before her. It was close enough for her to reach out and touch him. However she refrained from performing any such acts. Instead she merely held his gaze. “The fact that you have come means that the stars will be enriched soon.” she spoke in a deep yet warm voice.

“Correct.” the dragon responded. “My heart is giving out steadily. My heartstone shattered. Likewise did those of many of our kind.” he explained in a grave tone. He obtained a moment of silence before pushing the red object forward towards the robed woman of marvelous colors.

The woman raised her brows for a moment before kneeling down by the object to look upon it. After she had examined it briefly, she placed her hand upon it to feel the warmth of it and its tender glow. “An egg.” she acknowledged while casting her gaze upwards again.

The dragon nodded to her. “She is the only one left. Her egg was not found and destroyed and she does not have heartstones yet. Thus she could not be harmed that way. What is left of my heartstones is steadily withering away. I am not the only one. Every dragon lost their life. Before midnight…” His last words never came. He dared not speak them when he witnessed the change expression of the woman before him.

Tears had welled upon in her eyes as he spoke. From her cloak, she retrieved a silver object that fit perfectly in her two palms. It felt cold and fragile in her hands. “Oh, Indyör…” she whispered as she stared upon the object in her hands.

With cautious movements, the dragon sank through his legs to lay upon the hard floor beneath him to look upon the woman before him more intensely. “Please, Minte.” he murmured before he nudged the red egg with his nose. “Take care of her. Please take care of Caeirys.” his tone had become but a dim whisper.

Silently the woman started to weep. No sound occurred yet the tears were evident upon her cheeks. They shone in the evening light from the setting sun. With a quick yet tender motion, she placed the silver object by her side and reached out to the head of the golden dragon. She wrapped her arms around it as best as her small form would allow while laying her head and torso against him. The tears dripped from her cheeks onto his impeccable scales. They glided down before reaching the stone below.

Indyör partially closed his eyes as he watched her cry while he still heard the dimming bat of his heart. “Please…” he pleaded one las time while attempting not to allow his voice to tremble. He did not want her to know how faint his heart had become.

The woman separated herself from him and nodded to him. She whipped her tears with her sleeve to allow herself more clear sight. “Yes.” she spoke in a shuttering voice. “I promise.” she added to give him more assurance.

For a few seconds, Indyör did nothing but hum pleasantly. While he did, his eyes fell shut.

“Indyör.” the woman’s voice spoke. It pulled him from his overwhelming thoughts and exhaustion. He opened his eyes and looked upon her. She had grabbed the red egg and held it within her arms; clenched against her very body to keep it safe.

With tired movements, Indyör raised himself back onto his feet. He looked upon the small woman for what would be the last time. He dared not blink; afraid that he would not have any more seconds after he did. He wished to savor the moment. “Farewell, angel.” he whispered in a soft whisper as his eyes became sad yet peaceful. It was clear to him that this was the final words he’d ever say. He reached his head forward and touched the woman upon her forehead with his snout.

“Go.” she whispered in response while she still kept her eyes on him and her arms tightly around the egg.

Indyör backed away; returning the way he came. Before he reached the edge from where he would depart, he turned. He spread his wings; opening them far and wide. Before departing, he looked back one last time to the woman who stood behind him; watching him with large, sad eyes. He granted her one final nod before he made his final leap and committed himself to the last few flaps he would ever perform. As he jumped from the tower, the golden sunlight engulfed him and he made haste to disappear from the sight of the tower.

She watched him flap once, twice, three times. After this he vanished beyond her view. Feeling the desire to follow him, she rushed forward to the edge of the ledge from where Indyör had leaped. Her eyes darted about throughout the sky to try to catch one final glimpse of him. Before she managed to spot him however, a sound caressed her ear drums. A loud crack occurred; as if a glass object had shattered into pieces. The sound caused Minte’s heart to skip several beats. She turned around slowly; hesitant as if reluctant to find what truth would await her there.

Her eyes fell upon where the silver orb had lain. What remained of it now were but shards. Witnessing this caused renewed tears to paint dark trails upon her cheeks. She knew then. Indyör, the only one she ever loved, was dead.

Story Ideas

There’s the soft clicking of my heels on the stone pavement and the occasional sound of a leaf being crushed. My thoughts dwindle and spiral about like autumn leaves in the wind. Yes, the season of decline is upon us. It’s been rainy, windy and gloomy. Although our summer wasn’t a very spectacular season, I still miss it. That’s, of course, partially due to not having much to do over summer; other than hanging out and sleeping in. Good times…

Now, I am attending university. It’s a daily task; walking to school, attending lectures, classes and/or workshops, heading homework, doing homework and so on. It’s very time and energy consuming. That’s part of the reason why I haven’t gotten around to writing much. It’s a shame, too. The other night, I was simply hanging out in my house, enjoying the gift called ‘weekend’ and I had a million and one story ideas in my head. I decided to write a few of them down for you to read! They are still very incomplete so bear with me here.

Ballads of the Heavens

This would be either a three-part series or a book divided into three parts; Ballad of the Sun, Ballad of the Moon and Ballad of the Stars. In this more 2D-esque world, the earth is flat and above is the sky; the heavens. They are what humanity sees.

An astrologer’s daughter, Daes, is a strong believer in the predictions from the heavens. It is common in her village to listen to the stars to hear fortunes and predictions. When her father makes the prediction that fire will rain from the sky and the heavenly bodies condemn the earth, she panics and tries to find a solution. Her father tells her that the only hope is to learn the ballads of the three ruling entities; the sun, the moon and the committee of stars.

Daes, being a bit of a musician herself, follows her father’s instructions and finds the woman who resides in the highest mountains; a place thought to be closely linked to the heavens. The old woman, who is also an astrologer, tells her that she must perform three good deeds; one for each heavenly body. Only then will they start to pay attention to her. Next, she must learn the three songs of the heavens. The three songs are spread across the land; one in each direction. They will be taught to her by riddles. If she can solve the riddle and play the song at the dedication location, the ruling body the song belongs to will refrain from harming the earth.

Daes sets off on this adventure with her provisions and a harp. Along her travels, she meets Eram; a traveling jester who plays the lute. He too has heard of the impending doom. The two venture onwards together to attempt to stop the tragedy that has been foretold. The two meet Cayan; a young swordsman who strives to become a hero. When Daes explains the fate of the world to him, he joins the two travelers without hesitation. He presents a flute to them that might aid in them.

After fulfilling the needed deeds, Daes and her comrades retrieve the first ballad; the sun ballad. They perform the song at the sun spring. The melody triggers a transformation. A spirit within Cayan awakens and turns him into a mystical shape who finds himself intimately connected with the sun; able to speak to it and request peace from it. The sun listens. Cayan explains that Daes and Eram must speak to the remaining heavenly bodies to compel them to agree to peace as well. He, in turn, will remain in the sun spring as is his destiny. He wishes his comrades farewell. It is up to Daes and Eram to continue their journey together.

(I realize now that this could also make for an interesting video game.)

Wholehearted

This story still needs a lot of fleshing out. I have the basic concept though. A certain ‘type’ of people will exist. They are considered the wholehearted since they have hearts that are stronger than those of halfhearted people. The halfhearted people often hunt the wholehearted in an attempt to literally steal their hearts and make it their own. The hearts of the wholehearted granted immortality and other incredible powers.

The existence of these conditions makes a love story nearly impossible. What if a wholehearted falls in love with a halfhearted? Would her or she know for sure if the other person loves them in return or if they simply desire the power of their hearts? Furthermore, it is possible for a wholehearted to corrupt their own hearts; causing them to lose their powers. There is also the possibility of a wholehearted granting part of their heart to another person; forever binding them. This could be used to save another person who is on the verge of death by sharing one’s heart and life force with them.

What I will do with this story-wise is still a tricky question, but regardless, I want there to be something involving love. Rest assured that there will be a line in the story referencing that the person loves the other wholeheartedly!

Broken Halo

As the name might suggest, this story follows an angel, Zon, who has been banished from heaven. She was tricked into committing a crime and was thus sent to live among the human; causing her to lose her wings, he halo and any of her other powers. Zon finds human life to be tedious. She is determined to retrieve her angel status. But along the way, she meets a human man. He shows her how delightful life can be and she decides to tell him her secret. He pledges to help her.

Yet along the way, Zon begins to feel troubled. Is she sure she wants to leave the human world to return to the heavens? It would mean leaving behind the man she got to know and all the customs she has gotten used to. The turbulence of happiness and sadness that humans experience intrigues her and she is delighted to experience it. When Zon reaches a point where heaven is willing to welcome her again, she refuses their offer. She stays on earth.

After some time has passed, Zon notices drastic changes. An earthquake shatters her home. When she investigates the cause, she notices that the cracks are not but from earth itself. They are broken barriers between the world of the mortals and the world of shadows; the realm that houses all evils. Zon, desperate to protect the human beings she has come to love, calls out to heaven to recruit her once again. She is accepted and she is given her wings. Upon flying back to heaven, she is told that shadows have begun to claw their way to the world of the mortals and will advance further if they are able to overtake earth. Zon joins the angel army to fight for earth’s survival.

During one of her battles on the earth, she finds the man she loves in the clutches of a shadow. Zon knows that humans nor angels are allowed to kill, but she knows that a shadow can inflict psychological damage. In order to save him from nightmares and such, Zon decides to break the highest law of her angel code. She pierces the heart of her lover with a heavenly arrow. Zon knows the punishment that will follow. As she watches the soul of her lover be taken up to heaven, she finds herself returning to the earth as human. Because she, an angel, took the life of a mortal, the soul of this mortal is given to the one she serves; heaven. The soul is held there forever. Zon knows he will be able to bask in the light and love of heaven’s embrace for eternity.

As Zon whispers her farewell, she notices a cold grip around her body; one that drags her down into the depths below the earth. Never had she expected to know the sensation of death. It was then that she realized her time as angel and her time as human was at an end. Forever she stays below the earth; weeping with a broken halo.

So, question!

Would any of you like to see me write one of these and post it on my blog piece by piece? It might be a fun project to do. Let me know what your thoughts are. If the results are ‘Anything is fine’ I will consider Ballads of the Heavens myself.

Have a pleasant week, internet!

First Look

In this blog from a person I consider a fellow writer, she asked our feedback on whether we’d keep reading after the first page. I liked that idea. It is important to know that the first part of a story pulls the attention of potential readers. For that reason, I present to you the prologue to my story titled Nivitera’s Promise. Opinions and feedback is much appreciated. Enjoy!

Note: I do not guarantee this will be the actual, final draft of the prologue but it is this so far.

Prologue

            Darkness lay draped across the landscape. A lonesome, blue moon hung in the sky; unaccompanied by its yellow counterpart. The moon was full; casting a bright blue glow across the landscape and painting the world in a sense of winter wonder. Snow glittered like diamonds as the moonlight caressed it. The silence of the night was deafening. Treetops of tall pines swayed about from the winter wind, yet made no sound for they held no leaves. No birds dared sit within the bare trees. The winter cold formed too great a hazard for any living thing.

            However one mortal soul dared to venture. Through the snow treaded a lone wolf. His coat resembled the midnight sky; a near black with a hint of deep blue intertwined into his fur. Yet this was not the only shade of blue within the creature’s pelt. Ripples of icy blue engulfed his being; moving like waves across his body and wrapping him in an aura of pale hues. Equal in color was the wolf’s left eye. The identity of the right eye was unknown for it remained vastly closed for reasons still unknown.

            As the creature strolled through the snow, the cold air rushed by his body. His fur lay flat and his ears lay back. His head remained low as he moved through the frozen crystals upon the earth. His paw prints trailed behind him as he moved onwards; his vast dedication pushing him to the very limits of his capabilities.

            The wolf moved in a straight line; heading for what loomed above the horizon far ahead of him. Dark towers reached into the sky; attempting to brush against the distant suns that twinkled in the night sky; a blanket of deep blue.

            The towers that the wolf’s eye beheld were those of the Cavantian palace where the ruler of the kingdom sat on her throne undisturbed. Yet he had vowed that this fake royal blood would spill greatly, even if it would cost him his own life.

            As he moved through the glistening snow, his paws moved at an even trot while his tail swayed behind him from side to side. As he moved, one small object upon his right paw danced in unison with his body. Here he carried a ring of gold that laid wrapped around his toe. Upon this ring laid the symbol of a white star. The color of the star was equally pale as the snow but seemed blue due to the moonlight.

            Yet to the magnificently breathtaking object, the wolf did not tend. He remained vast in achieving his goal. Bare trees moved on by as the wolf followed the trail he had dedicated himself to. As he ever so steadily approached his goal, he found the looming towers of the palace more intimidating. The very tips reached high enough to vanish and blend into the darkness above. Thus the true size of the colossal building could not be comprehended.

            At one point the wolf halted. He found himself at the foot of a steep hill atop which sat the enormous stone palace. The wolf observed the building with his left eye; scanning the structure closely. When he was content, he bounded onwards. He sped silently and made his way up the hill with surprising ease. Upon arriving at the palace entrance, he found the door shut, as he had observed from the distance. So he dashed onwards, heading left towards a large window.

            One would not think to attempt entering through this window for it lay up high. But the wolf held no hesitation. As he prepared himself to leap towards the window, the waves of blue upon his pelt increased in frequency; running ever faster across his body. Gusts of wind began to fling themselves around his body. Then the wolf ran and pushed himself into the air with his powerful legs. The strength of his own body and the wind that enveloped his entirety brought him high into the air and sent him straight towards the open window. The air whistled by his flat ears as he soared. Like a well-aimed arrow, he flew through the window. His paws extended forwards and he caught himself on all fours. He made several steps forward due to the impact of his extended leap. While he did so, the violent airflow around him subsided to their usual calm routine.

            Then the wolf oriented himself. He glanced from side to side. His eye rolled about slowly to examine his surroundings while his nose sought for his goal. He found himself surrounded by grey walls; distorted only by the flicker of flames within wall-mounted torches. He judged the interior to be quite boring and senseless.

            After he had redirected his attention to his goal, he dashed to his right to follow the scent that he had been following for the longest time now. Among the smell he followed, he also sensed several other scents. He identified them to be those of other humanoids that inhabited the building. Soldiers or guards he considered unlikely. The unjust ruler had no need for an army of flesh and blood. This was quite a challenge in many instances, however now the situation was deemed positive for the wolf.

            Without tending to the nature of his surroundings, the wolf dashed through the castle; following but one trail. Doors that blocked his way he had no tolerance for. He brought them down with a leap that became enhanced by the winds surrounding his body. The force the air created made the wolf many times stronger than anyone would judge from his form. Though he looked powerful, his true power lay in finding allegiance with the wind.

            As his paws swiftly carried him, the scent in the air became stronger. It burned within his nostrils and though the memories that accompanied this smell disgusted him, he dared not stop. Bloodshed he desired.

            The hinges of the door clattered as the large wooden door cracked into pieces and swung inwards due to the force of the wolf’s leap towards it. Splinters and stray wood scattered about; covering the floor before the wolf in sharp edges. Several nails rolled about. Yet the wolf himself did not move. Only his eye rolled from side to side till he spotted his target.

            At the far end of the room sat a lady upon a large chair. The fabric of the chair was elegantly decorated with elaborate patterns. The color of the throne outdid the attire of the woman who sat upon it. Her hair was a deep shade; black one would guess. Strands of violet randomly appeared within her hair; their intervals unidentified. Her large, grey eyes stared. The many shades within her irises blended about to create a stormy cloud within her very eyes. Her face was pale, however its hue was no match for the pale snow that lay beyond the walls of the palace. The woman’s lips were thin. Her mouth and entire face displayed an expression of seriousness. Her neck was wrapped with a choker with an imbedded jewel at the front. The woman’s bare shoulders were covered with several strands of her hair. They curled about at the tips and created a nearly playful look. Sleeves started at her upper arms and ran all the way down to her wrists. The fabric lay tightly around her body; fully displaying the shape of her limbs. The sleeves were a dark grey. Some might consider the color black. A sweetheart neckline introduced the tunic that the woman wore. This particular fabric reached to her hips where it lay against her body undisturbed. The piece was grey; a lighter shade than her sleeves yet still dark enough to be considered a sinister color. Beneath this, the woman wore a tight black legging that once more exposed the nature of her limbs. Her long legs reached down into boots that started at her ankle. The shoes held a heel and the toes were pointed and sharp.

            Yet all these features were hardly worth noting. What one would most likely observe about this woman would be the metal chain around her waist that lay rested upon her wide hips. Connected to this belt were many small knives. Some held the purpose of being thrown while others could be held to be used in combat. Besides these weapons, the woman carried two blades upon her back.

            Though her blades were sharp, the eyes of this woman were likewise piercing. She gazed upon the being that had so rudely introduced himself into her presence. The two exchanged looks for a second before one of them dared to move.

            It was the wolf who then adjusted his limbs and paced inwards. He stepped beyond the wood and the nails and moved forwards towards the woman. His eye was unblinking and he kept it upon the woman before him. This was the one who had left the scent. This was the target he had longed to behold. This body was one he wished to see bleed and suffer.

            Several meters from her, he halted and then blinked once. Steadily he curled up his lips and exposed his jaws. The whiteness of his fangs glittered within the dark of his pelt. Then he moved them and he spoke. His voice was deep. The sound produced resembled that of one whom had experienced much and had endured these experiences due to a deep hatred he felt. This was true. In his heart, the wolf despised this woman. The feelings he knew so well now flowed into his words as he slowly spoke the woman’s name, “Licia.” The word was but a murmur but it rang clear within his ears and hers alike.

            The woman raised but an eyebrow. She uncrossed the legs she had held crossed earlier. The left had lain across the right yet now they stood side by side. Her heel had made a soft clicking noise as it had made contact with the flooring. “And whom might you be?” she addressed the wolf. Licia’s voice was sweet and soft. One could declare her innocent due to such a soft sound.

            The wolf blinked once more. Then he asked her, “You ask the name of your murderer?”

            Then Licia tilted her head and a small smile pulled at the corners of her lips. “There is that chance.” she simply answered. Then she released a laugh; a gentle but cold giggle that rang throughout the chamber. Yet the sound ended abruptly as her eyes rolled about and detected an object she hadn’t expected to see.

            She waved her hand in a circle. “My, my.” she hummed then. “I did not think to find an audience with such a figure such as yourself.” she pronounced.

            The wolf growled, “My status has little to do with my goal. I may be the king of the Wind Warriors; a son of wind controlling wolves, yet you may still die to my claws.”

            For a moment Licia smiled before she rose from where she had sat. “You amuse me.” she simply stated. “As do many of your brethren. I have known one. He was a friend many ages ago. A kind soul…” she explained.

            Still the wolf growled. He replied to her, “How a wretched being such as you made a friend is a mysterious happening; likewise is the occurrence that you obtained Vi’s favor.”

            “Mhm.” hummed Licia. “You object?” she asked then.

            The wolf did not answer her. He simply gazed at her and began to pace closer to her. His head he lowered and his ears he pushed back.

            Licia understood his gestures. “Hmpf.” she sniffed before swiftly moving her left hand to reach to the two swords upon her back and holding both in but one hand. “You challenge destiny, I see. We shall indulge then.” she proclaimed.

            The winds about the wolf’s body erupted then as he prepared to engage in battle with her. A whistling sound appeared within his ears as the winds lashed and whipped about. The growl in his throat kept rolling. Yet they seemed to freeze then as he closed his left eye and focused for a single moment. Then as he prepared to reopen it, the right eyelid joined. Behind the lid lay an icy blue entity that was without a pupil. It seemed to stare into nothingness. Yet upon the eye opening, the winds about the wolf’s body became larger and stronger. “Well then.” he simply stated. Then the two engaged in battle. That night indeed blood was shed. But the crimson pool that spilled belonged to one and one alone.

Camp Nano Prep: A Glance at the Divine

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please? As the writers among us may or may not know, Camp Nano is only ten days away. Of course a person like myself will toss away all her social contacts, hobbies and any other activities that would define ‘having a life’ so to write like a maniac. I’ve created my own tradition nowadays. I’m clearly a planner and thus I dedicate the month prior to mindless typing to prepping for the big event.

Thus this month I’ve been overthinking many things. First off was the consideration of what to write, who to include and of course how much words I wanted to aim for. I set the bar high and set my goal at 75.000 words for the entire month. This means I will need to write 2500 words a day to complete the event. So that much has been established.

I considered writing a new story that came into existence after a message a friend sent me and my response to it. My imagination took the two messages and ran with it; creating an entirely new world with interesting characters. However, I decided to place this idea upon the shelf of to-writes and returned to my current favorite; Nivitera’s Promise.

This story held my attention during all of November and will do so again this upcoming month. I will resume the story. I will finalize the ‘first part’ of the story. I decided to turn the story into a four part series. The story is quite long and would thus become an immense book if it were to be published as one piece. Furthermore, the number four holds a very strong place within the tale.

WARNING!

May contain spoilers! But I do my best to avoid them. My apologies if I have spoiled anything.

Nivitera

The ruling, divine being of the world (Aroyina) is named Nivitera. This being is a creature that is comprised of four other entities. When combined, the four parts collide and combine into Nivitera; a being with the head and body of a lion, the wings and claws of an eagle, horns of a mountain goat and the tail of a seahorse. With that having been said, let’s dive into this being’s four parts!

Ni

Ni is a male god; represented by the form of an adult, male lion. He is depicted wearing white, black or shades of grey upon his coat. A combination of such colors is also possible. In this instance, he is often seen as a grey-coated lion with white manes and paws of a dark grey or black hue.

Ni is the god associated with courage. He represents one of the dimensions of space. He reigns over the summer season. This season is considered the season of opportunity. Often times, the name Ni or the letter N is assigned to the direction that is northward. Furthermore, this divine lion is connected to the plasma state of atoms. The ambassador*1 of Ni is a small feline male. This cat is named Feeyor. His title, granted to him by Ni, is the Prince of the Shores and the Tides.

Because Ni is the first quarter of Nivitera, many figureheads wish to depict the graceful lion upon their weapons to display their ability to lead. Statues of Ni are quite common among various royals of the world. Some take it a step further and have paintings made of them within the company of Ni himself.

Vi

Vi is a female god displayed by the shape of a fierce eagle. Often times the eagle is seen with wings spread wide. This divine part connects to the colors cyan, magenta and yellow; the primary colors. In many portraits these colors can be seen upon the body or wings of the bird. Some artists choose to dedicate one color to one portion of her body while others place the colors all about randomly. However, blending the colors is not respected and is seen of a sign of disrespect towards Vi.

The trait that connects to Vi is strength. Vi too, represents one dimension of space. Vi is also the god connected to fall; the season of decline. Therefore some think Vi is a ruthless, harsh being. She is connected to the gas form of matter. Her name or letter V connects to the direction we know as west. Therefore, the sun sets within Vi’s direction. It descends to the darkness in the presence of the god of general decline. Vi’s ambassador is named Akatthi. She is a tall woman of humanoid form but of a race unknown to the population of this fascinating world. She takes pride in her archery skills and uses this to protect the forest that has become her home. The title she received from Vi is the Princess of the Winds and the Woods.

Because Vi represents strength and since her season brings death to the world, many warriors carry a symbol of hers upon them when engaging in battle. It is said to bring luck o their battles. Weapons used to inflict damage upon foes are often engraved with the shape of an eagle. Furthermore, many persons who feel vulnerable or threatened, often seek refuge by praying to Vi for protection. In common conversation, when one finds themselves saved from a nearly impending doom, people say they were held by Vi’s wings; which caused them to survive the hazardous situation.

Te

Te is a female god; represented by a large and powerful-looking mountain goat. The horns upon her figure seem to exceed a size that is reasonable for her body. She is often depicted engulfed in red, purple or green colors. These are the secondary colors. In many portraits or statues, Te is shown with one hoof placed forward; as if she were to take a step. Her head is always shown high within the air.

Wisdom is the trait that is connected to Te. She represents the third and final dimension of space. Te is the god of the winter. This season is the season of pause, reflection and reincarnation since it casts the world into a state of renewal. Te represents the solid arrangement of matter. Te or the letter T is connected to the south. Te’s ambassador is a young woman who has hidden her form well and later changed it to another form to guard over the young child she gave the gem to. Her name remains Irill. Before she gifted her game, she held the title of the Princess of Sands and Stones.

Te is the god that gets approached when a person requires guidance; both in common knowledge o within matters that require great wisdom. She is said to watch over the world and its development. Many symbols of her reside within the homes of scholars or within universities. In time of dilemma, people often look to Te for guidance. Within common conversation, the expression, ‘holding Te upon both shoulders’ refers to a dilemma or conflict. Here Te represents the two (or more) outcomes a decision could create, depending on the choice(s). In this sense, she is said to help a person think, reflect and remain in balance during the process and make up their mind afterwards. Because Te is often depicted with a hoof forward, she is also the god that represents forward motion and innovation.

Ra

Last but not least, Ra is the god in the form of a male seahorse. His facial expressions are always kind and pleasant. Therefore he receives a very hospitable, warm look about him. Ra’s colors are turquoise, rosewood or maroon. Many creative artists color every separate scale upon his body in a different color; giving him a very checkered appearance. Yet the colors of Ra are allowed to blend without displaying disrespect and therefore it is done at occasions.

Ra’s connected trait is loyalty. However this trait is often seen as selflessness or nurturing. While the other gods define space, Ra defines time. His season is spring; the season during which things come to life and the cycle starts a new. In a sense, time returns to the world during this season. As a divine seahorse likely would, he represents the liquid atomic state. He completes the cycle of directions too by standing for the east; the place where the sun rises and thus the day (time) starts. Ra’s ambassador is to this point still unknown.

Ra is sometimes linked to a pendulum. As the pendulum swings, it defines time. Should it stop, then perhaps it is because time has stopped. Therefore, Ra is often seen upon artwork pertaining to clocks or other forms of defining time. Some images show Ra wrapped around the sun, since for many ages, the sun was the indication of time that was used. The expression, ‘Ra will tell’ is equal to the idea that time will tell.

Note *1; Ambassador of the gods = a figure chosen by the divine part to guard a special gem. This ambassador is blessed with special oracle-like qualities and immortality to fulfil the job they were chosen for. The ambassadors are also known as guardians. They guard the gem until they see a person fit to hold it.. Persons that quality for a divine gem often strongly associate with the trait that the god stands for.

Outro

There you have it; a good amount of information on what four components make up the divine Nivitera. I am not sure if I have missed any parts but feel free to point them out in the comments.

I might find another chance (and the inspiration) to set up another prep blog but I am not promising anything. If I do not get to that, I will do my best to keep you posted during the actual month of writing but even that might not be done. I will not promise!

So for now; till next time.

PS: For anyone wondering; my NaNo name is Tazira.