Snippet Sunday #17

Today, another piece of Princes and Kings (a working title), introducing White Raven. He’s so damn interesting. You don’t see why right away, or in this piece, but he’s very interesting as far as I’m concerned — has a redemption arc. Anyway, go on and meet him, and later you can decide whether you like him or not…

~*~

White Raven jogged up the stone steps from the servants’ quarters, letting his hair down and anticipating a pleasant liaison with Slender Palm of Coral Spires. Lehua was bronze-skinned and dark-haired; she smelled of flowers Raven didn’t know, and her brown eyes and low voice were warm. The memory of his white hands on her dark thighs enticed, particularly with the tattoo that snaked down her leg. He’d first seen it when she wore a dress that was slit up the side to the weapons yard—and she’d seen him.

He was definitely looking forward to it. She fucked like she fought, loose-hipped and free. Too bad they were running out of time. Soon she would be back in Coral Spires, far away from everything, and he would be at Tangletree, and they might not meet again in either lifetime.

A figure flashed past him, well to his left. The exposed whiteness of stomach and the streaming hair might have been anyone, as well might the sobbing, but the way it—he—ran, like an untrained child no matter how much time Raven spent with him, marked him as Rhuez.

With a sinking stomach, Raven pinned up his hair again and strode after. In truth he minded less than he ought. He liked Rhuez, for all the boy was hopeless with the sword. It was only the loss of a night with Slender Palm he minded, and she’d probably tolerate an explanation. She’d seen Rhuez at his lessons.

His legs, longer than the Eiten Liedan’s, kept him close enough for sight, but not too close. He carefully turned his eyes from the huntsman’s cabin, where all the lights burned; he didn’t want to ruin his night vision. A fortunate decision, for Rhuez rounded the front of the Palace—Raven had to hustle after—and made straight for the oak lane that led away into the Valley. Rhuez squeezed into the lane and was lost.

“Crimson Fire”

This week’s read was Mirren Hogan’s Crimson Fire.

What I loved most about this book was the world-building. The enjoyable story serves as a kind of tour of the world, or at least the region with which the series (Magic of Isskasala) is concerned. The setting is realistic and deliciously crafted.

Hogan skilfully places her readers in a non-European world, and conveys a mindset that may be alien to a lot of fantasy fans. The plot contains a number of familiar elements (such as the Hero Enslaved), but puts its own spin on them. Readers may enjoy going somewhere totally different while remaining, for the genre, right at home. I strongly recommend Crimson Fire for adult lovers of fantasy, especially those who want to taste something new, or lovers of a charming, dirty, messed-up world.

I received a free copy of this book for the purposes of review.

A Hymn to Vard

I wrote this to the tune of Das Jahr ist guta German song about (surprise!) beer.

~*~

The Lord of our brew is kind to His people
When we come together, He eases our speaking
He makes it so easy to talk one to one
The veriest stranger might pass for our mum (might pass for our mum)!

The barrel is full of treasure abounding
Drink deep of His beer, prayers and belches resounding
Let all of His people be stout in their hearts
And pray that their alewives possess His great art (possess His great art)!

When I look upon my friends and my family
I know that the Brew-Lord thinks of me quite highly
He gave me these gifts and a place to belong
Alone we are weak, but together we’re strong (together we’re strong)!

Sir Santo Puglia

Santo’s a Menyoral character. He first appears in Hard Luck and has a slightly larger role in The Service. He wasn’t in the third book, and he won’t be in the fourth. (Jury’s out on #5.)

He’s one of Vandis’s closest friends. I knew that from the beginning. I had this mental character-picture, I mean a picture of his character, not a portrait. I was thinking of a youth pastor who honestly enjoyed his work; Santo loves taking and training Squires, working with young people from Brightwater in particular (all his Squires have been young men from Brightwater). The more I asked myself how that kind of person would act, the more I liked Santo.

The problem was, he wouldn’t talk to me directly, which I say with the writerly conceit that characters “speak to” me. (Some people say they do, but for the most part they don’t to me — literally anyway.)  I couldn’t figure out where he’d come from apart from “Brightwater,” or anything about his background.

You might have noticed he’s got the same name as Puglia Fountain. Yes, he’s from the same family as the Conte, in the direct line — but unless something goes horribly wrong, he won’t inherit the title. He’s the fourth son of the family, a spare in every way.

Expect to learn more about Santo soonish.

 

The Magic System in The Huntress: A Guest Post by Ana Marija Meshkova

I have another guest for you today! Check out Ana Marija. 🙂

~*~

When I was working on creating The Huntress universe and the lore accompanying it, I didn’t really know much about what I wanted to do with it. I only knew two things, that I wanted a world in which demons and witches existed and his in plain sight, and that I wanted a magic system that is both categorized and full of grey areas. As time went on and I delved deeper into the story, I found out more.

Magic in The Huntress is a force similar to gravity and magnetism. It flows through everything in the form of essence. Not everyone can tap into it, and that is why it has remained hidden from most of humanity. Those that can tap into it, wield magic to create spells. Those spells can be as simple as moving your hand, require words, crystals, blood, or certain materials, or full blown rituals involving all of the components. For those requiring words, intent and rhythm are more important that the actual words, which is why translated spells rarely work. If the spell requires components besides the right word, it becomes even more complicated because everything needs to be timed just right. And lastly, spells require channelling essence, either one from your body, or one that comes from another place passing though your body, which can cause immense pain and a lot of side effects, depending on the strength of the caster.

Magic casters are divided in two groups, good and evil. Though these names are (and this becomes a theme through this entire world) given by chance. Humans are both good and evil, while demons fall only under evil because the humans that claim to be good are the types to lump all non-humans together. In time, this divide just increased and tension mounted, which is why when the events that kickstart the plot in the book happen, the magical community is waging a war they hide from humanity.

If we were to get technical, all magic in The Huntress is demonic. Demons are not being of hell, in fact, they predate the world, and even humans by a few thousand years. They occurred naturally though evolution, and in time developed different races, each with a different biology and different way of using magic. Some races can breed, some cannot, some can talk and think, some are animalistic, while some have more in common with plants. What binds them all together is that their essence and spirit are linked, which means they always have their powers. As times changed, so did the demonic races, and their attitude. Old demons were extremely powerful, since they actively sought out genes different from them and bred more powerful descendants. In fact, old demons were so powerful they could weld magic in completely different ways, creating disciplines and becoming the deities that inspired folklore and religion. One of those disciplines is called Ocaran magic.

Now, demons are closer knit in their communities, and the races are stagnant. Some have been named according to a legend they closely resemble, even if the species the legend was about has been extinct for years, some take those sort of names themselves, while some have inspired legends that have changed over time and no longer resemble their original source. In the modern days, demons who breed with no predetermination are outcasts, and some have a lot of human DNA. Half-humans, half-demons are common, because demons are becoming rarer, and they are considered lower class. Demons all belong to different disciplines, and can even learn other disciplines if they try.

Humans have self-divided in two groups, witches and warlocks. Witches fight demons and wield light magic, while warlocks are more chaotic and align with demons and wield dark magic. Dark and light in this case are just associations, and could be considered lesser disciplines, or styles. These styles can be recognised easily by magical individuals.

The reason not all humans are born with magic is that that they were given the power long ago by a deity during a battle between the old demons that threatened to destroy everything. The deity that gave them their power wielded Ocaran magic, which is why most witches can wield that. But just like demons, witches can learn other disciplines too, and it is even easier for them, because they are not so closely linked to their essence. Power can be taken away from them, which is why some clans have a power that is passed down a line. The general power that most but not all witches posses is the ability to create fireballs. They can control the size and power of the fireball somewhat, depending on the amount of training they have had.

Another category is dimensional and non-dimensional, or ordinary, magic. Dimensional magic is magic that can pass through dimensions, and is wielded by those who can channel their essence far enough and bring it back again. More demons are capable of this than humans, and human can get some nasty side-effects. This is the exact reason why it’s far easier to bring demons back from the dead than it is humans.

Of course, when flawed people and emotions are involved, things are not always that clear. As humans and demons, or even demons of various races mix, one can see clearly that these categories are only man made, and with that can be combined.

I hope you liked this foray into the strange world that is The Huntress. You can find the first twenty parts of The Huntress in its original serial form in the pages of Far Horizons magazine. The whole story will be re-edited and released as a book, at as of yet undetermined date.

~About the Author~

From a young age, Ana Marija has been fascinated by the written word, reading anything she could get her hands on, from old classics, to newer books. Feeling the need to release the characters from her head, at the age of 16 she turned to creating that which occupies a large portion of her life. Her imagination making use of everything around her, she writes regularly for Far Horizons magazine, where she is also the layout designer, and was one of the authors contributing to the Tied in Pink anthology for breast cancer, and hopes one day to publish her own books. She also regularly dabbles in translating from English to Macedonian and reverse.

~Find Out More~

Far Horizons Magazine:

https://farhorizonsmagazine.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/farhorizonsemag/?ref=bookmarks