As some of you will know, I'm in the process of writing a Fantasy novel, and I've found that world creation is a huge part of it, hence I've been focussing my recent energy onto it, rather than the storyline of the novel instead.
Below I have amalgamated the many posts I have made of my world's background into
one big 'super-post'
three posts, there's about 6.7k words in
total, so braving it is not for the faint hearted, although if you're a fan of Fantasy I hope you'll at least take a look
Anyway, enough of the introduction, here comes the background...
‘Magic’ In Ulei
The best and easiest way to describe how ‘magic’ works in Ulei is to compare it to thermals, thermals are the invisible (to us at least) forces that allow birds etc. to fly, the hot air in thermals helps lift them higher. It is impossible to see magic in it’s pure (or commonly referred to as ‘Thermal’) form, but some are born with a 6th sense referred to as Perception
. People with this 6th sense can sense the presence of pure magic, but, like all gifts, it comes in a variety of strengths, many people are born with it but for most the sense is so small they barely notice it and when they do they often mistake it for something completely different. On the opposite side of the fence are those who cannot only sense exactly where a Thermal is, but also how strong it is.
It takes a lot of work for most people to learn how to channel and manipulate raw Thermals, People who are not taught but try to teach themselves often end up seriously harming or killing themselves by accidentally releasing it wrongly, or within their own body. This is part of the reason of the existence of the Clandestine Guard
, a large organisation that enforces the law during everyday life and also functions as the Tsorian’s army during times of need in addition to teaching Thermal manipulation and various fighting styles.
The Clandestine Guard
The Clandestine Guard is a truly ancient organisation, dating back centuries into Ulei’s history. It started it’s life enforcing the law but soon became a place for people to learn basic combat, magic and an assortment of other skills. The only catch to this training is that you must serve with the Clandestine Guard for ten to fifteen years before you can leave and take up other pursuits. The time will depend on how much training you have done.
The Clandestine Guard is mostly made up of ‘Tsorians’ (Sore-E-Ans), as it is based in the Tsorian Empire, although there are a few Kiuno (Key-U-Know [said quickly]) too. Full-blooded Elves have never been a part of the Clandestine Guard, however they were the ones to train the first generation of Clandestine Guards. Occasionally Half-Elves join up, although few stay around for long, as is their nature. The only other main race is the Jaik (Jeyk), who have not been a part of the Clandestine Guard since the Jaik-Tsorian War, which the Jaik call ‘The War Of Deceit’. That happened about 17 years before ‘Weavers’ is set, although the Jaiks still do not share much trust with Tsorians, they are slowly getting back on friendly terms with them.
There are four main races in Ulei, The Tsorians, Kiuno, Elves and Jaik (Half-Elves are in limbo between all of them generally).
Tsorians are the average person, they are a race of wide talents and a variety of skills, they learn quickly however very few of them ever reach exceedingly high skill in specialised fields such as magic and fighting.
Kiuno are often referred to as ‘The friendliest yet most secretive’ race, this is because while they are very friendly to travellers that wander into the forest villages, offering them a place to stay, food and drink, supplies and other assorted signs of kindness, they are infuriatingly avoidant and vague of subjects they do not wish to talk about and are not a talkative race in general. They have an uncanny eye for body language, for this is their main way of displaying emotion and why they are generally un-talkative, they do not need words to express themselves.
Elves are enigmatic, few have met one, and fewer still have ever found an Elvish settlement. They once mingled with the other races often, teaching them all they knew in hopes of bettering them, however they retreated at the end of the Great War, where the Jaik, Tsorians and Kiuno fought for dominance. During the war Elves started on all sides, but eventually they stopped fighting and tried reason, when this failed the Elves took it upon themselves to stop the war, they assassinated most of the forerunners and won many skirmishes with the other races. Eventually a truce was called and the war ended, the Elves left and have never returned politically since. (There will be more on Elves later on)
Jaik are born fighters, naturally lean, flexible and agile the children are raised to use weapons as a Tsorian would be raised with a knife and fork. All Jaik’s therefore know at least as much as a rudimentary Clandestine Guard about hand to hand and armed combat, this makes their whole civilian population a ready trained army should the need arise. Indeed it was the Tsorians ignorance of this that lead them to underestimate the Jaiks during ‘The War of Deceit’, for they do not keep an outstanding army, only their own group of ‘police’, called Enforcers.
Daiori are ‘mutants’, sometimes the result of a Thermal being near or ‘in’ a pregnant women at certain times during her pregnancy, when and how powerful the thermal is will determine the type of Daiori and it’s potency. Daiori are both respected and feared, loved and hated, welcomed and threatened. This is because of the varying forms their mutation takes, some are seen as more ‘normal’ than others.
As has been said before, Daiori are the result of a Thermal mutating an unborn child. While Daiori are always referred to as being very few and far between this is not the case, the problem is the vast majority Daiori are mutated in a way they can not handle, or that their bodies rejects, this means most Daiori are either still born, miscarried or die very young (usually seeming unexplainably ill most/all of their short life). Those that do survive still have a hard life, although how hard depends on what their mutation is.
With the exception of Falcons, many Daiori never develop Perception and, as such, can never channel Thermals. This is one of the many mysteries surrounding the Daiori, there are some scholars and doctors (not sure if that’s the right word…) that spend their whole lives trying to solve the many mysteries of the Daiori’s, although it is speculated by many that Falcons fully understand the mystery, but do not share it for fear of having it used against them. This has never been proved nor disproved and, as such, is the source of much conflict between Falcons and any scholar, Doctor or learned individual seeking knowledge, for Falcons guard their knowledge zealously, only revealing as much as they need to, no more, although they often try to get away with less.
Another baffling aspect of Daiori's is the fact that none seem to pass on their mutations to their children (if they have them). The Six Most Well Known Daiori
Note- Daiori are all named after animals, creatures and monsters, following are the most ‘common’ (and I use this term loosely) types. Falcons
are natural born mages, with very powerful Perception and the ability to not only summon Thermals to them but to manipulate both Thermals in their raw and channelled form, allowing them to turn spells against their user or to make their own spells more complex and therefore harder to defend/guard against. Falcons are noted for their high mortality rate, even amongst other Daiori, this is because their abilities are present from the moment they are born, this often leads them to experimenting with magic well before others would or indeed could. As a result they are more prone to the ill effects of trying to channel and/or manipulate Thermals without the proper training .
A trait that often unnerves people about Falcons is their quick maturity, they tend to mature much faster than others, teenagers are often known to travel far and wide for knowledge, and the most famous (and infamous) was able to rival the most skilled and powerful mages in his early 20’s.
Falcons are naturally curious, especially about history, politics and above all, magic, more often than not leading them down one of two paths: power hungry tyrants or a life that resolves around a constant quest for knowledge. They are all inherently secretive, sardonic and all around unpleasant company, even if they aren’t actually evil. They’re also known for the loner nature and disdain for working for or under anyone.
Their appearance varies like that of all races, except that they are easily identifiable by their one unifying feature: their pupils and iris’ are barely visible, indeed, most think they have none. It is suspected this is a side affect to their increased perception as Falcons often have poor natural vision, although many posses an eerie sixth sense for things going on around them. Falcons are rare in Jaik and Tsorians, but common in Elves and Kiunos. Wraiths
possess the unnerving ability to ‘phase’ through solid objects as if they were air, however this poses risks, they need to learn to control their abilities quickly or risk getting stuck in a solid object or falling through the ground until they reach the core, both would end up killing them.
While many Daiori are either respected or hated Wraiths tend to receive both negative and positive attention, it simply depends who discovers them and what they use their talents for. Most are either picked up by tyrants, gangs or the Clandestine Guard. The former two tend to wind up as assassins or thieves, making them very hard to protect against and capture, while the former tend to become legendary fighters able to fell anyone with one hit (armour and flesh mean nothing to a Wraith taught how to literally punch people’s internal organs etc.).
They tend to be pale and ill looking, even if they are in fact fit and healthy, those unfortunate enough to actually fall ill or live in poverty are often referred to as looking like death itself. Wraiths are equally common in all races. Selkies
are exceedingly rare, not only in their existence, but in the knowledge of their existence, for they are shape shifters and instinctively secretive about their abilities. While most can only alter their internal and external appearance to that of a humanoid, the most talented are able to assume the identity of animals.
Like Wraiths Selkies have a mixed reputation, depending on whether they are discovered and trained by tyrants, gangs or the Clandestine Guard, although the former and latter are the most common gangs often stumble upon an adolescent Selkie in their territory. Those taken up by tyrants or the Clandestine Guard tend to become assassins or spies, and very adept ones too, for only the most skilled of magic users can tell if someone is a Selkie. Those found by gangs rarely stay there long, typically doing some stealing before they are discovered by tyrants of the Clandestine Guard.
Selkie must be very careful when shape shifting as they can alter anything and everything about their body (hence the popular saying: ‘there’s no such thing as a fat Selkie’) and as such risk altering something accidentally with, sometimes, disastrous effects. Oddly enough there have been very few male Selkie, although this may just be an indication that they are more adept at hiding their abilities rather than being rarer. There are few Jaik Selkies, they’re most common amongst Kiuno. Behemoths
, like Falcons, also posses their abilities from birth, often leading to many accidents while they’re young. They are giants, most around 7-8ft tall but some clearing 9. They also posses a lot of strength and are renown for their strong will and incredible toughness to physical attacks and illness/disease.
Very few are evil, as Behemoths seem naturally gentle and kind in nature, however they are not know for their intelligence, often leading them to be exploited by others, especially as they defend their friends zealously when they think they are in danger.
Unfortunately most are abandoned, disowned or generally kicked out of their homes as they have a tremendous appetite, which is expensive to satisfy. Behemoths are generally feared by most regardless of whom they work for, as they’re naturally intimidating due to their size and strength. No Elven Behemoths have ever been encountered, and Kiuno Behemoths are unheard of in their native lands. Manti
are considered the most dangerous of all Daiori and for good reason. Of all Daiori they are the most vindictive and aggressive, making them perfect for work amongst vicious gangs and lackeys for tyrants. The only identifying feature of Manti (other than their temperament) are the sharp spines made of bone that run down the side of their forearms, the starting spines, near the wrist are typically only a cm or two long, although they get longer the closer to the elbow and the final spine, just before the elbow joint, is usually several inches in length. These natural weapons make their temperament extremely dangerous as they are rash and rarely think before they strike. There has never been an Elven Manti and they seem to be common among the Jaik more than any other race. Phoenixes
are the rarest of the well-known Daiori, famed and immortalised in many legends and myths from all races. They are the only Daiori to have an almost exclusively positive background and are generally treated well and welcomed by all they meet. They are extremely hard to kill as they have a highly accelerated healing rate, caused by an ‘internal Thermal’ that stays within them until they die. When they are injured the Thermal leaks out and heals the wound incredibly fast, it also defends them against almost all known diseases and illnesses, for this reason they are often seen as heralds of the Gods and there is even an underground cult that worship them. Obviously, due to their healing they posses the lowest mortality rate amongst all Daiori by far.
Their only unifying feature is tanned skin and generally bright blue eyes and other than their healing they posses no other abilities as a result of their mutation. Although they, unlike most Daiori, commonly possess Perception this is not thought to be a part of their mutation, merely that their mutation doesn‘t block Perception as the others seem to do. Phoenixes are almost exclusively Kiuno and Elves, why is unknown, but it common superstition to be because of both races’ closeness to nature.
The Triad are the three main patrons worshipped on Ulei. Each is worshipped by Tsorians, Jaik and Kiuno alike, although each race holds one particular God in higher esteem to the others. Each of the Triad also have legendary Daiori ‘heralds’. Gaidron
(Gay-Dron) is the God of Battle, Honour and Dragons. Worshipped primarily by the Jaik, he is one of the main reasons the Jaik of strict codes of honour and why they view Dragons as sacred animals. Gaidron is said to be a bipedal humanoid Dragon that always wear full body black and red armour. Just like Jaik, he has a very strict code of honour, including such rules as not being able to strike a defenceless opponent. He is said to be harsh in his decisions but fair. Gaidron’s heralds are the Wyverns. Elgenar
(Elle-Gen-R) is the God of Knowledge, Cunning and Trade. He is worshipped primarily by the Tsorians. His appearance is supposed to be that of a wizened old man with exquisite robes, said to vary in colour depending on his mood, where he is and numerous other factors. Very knowledgeable and wise, Elgenar is often sought after in times of need by the desperate, the reason for this is that he is also very manipulative, supposedly tricking people into doing things for him. Elgenar’s heralds are the Roc. Dyla
(Die-La) is the Goddess of the Forest, Ocean and Sky. She is primarily worshipped by the Kiuno, who worship her almost solely and are very careful not to upset nature for she is said to be nature itself, ergo, hurting nature is hurting her. There is a legend amongst the Jaik that if she chooses to appear before a mortal then she shall take the form of whatever that person perceives as perfection. Regardless of this she is said to always have slightly green tinted skin, plant-like clothing and vines and leaves mixed in with her hair. The Dryads are her heralds.
There’s more to come…