The novel I’m currently working on is a high/epic fantasy called The City Of Tears. Set in the magical, fantasy world of Feld, a planet somewhat like our own. There is one large, main continent on Feld, called Pangraal, which translates as “many blood”, due to the plethora of races living on it. There are also several islands off the coast of the supercontinent.
Unlike our world, Feld is populated not only by humans, but other sentient races as well, many of whom may sound familiar, but might act in ways different to similar races in other novels. E.g. – Goblins in Feld make up a large part of the mercantile class, due to being known for their fair pricing and honest dealings.
The races living on Feld are:
- Humans – aka ‘Humar’ in Elmar (Elvish,) and ‘Humi’ in Duemish (Dwarven).
- Orcs – aka ‘Ogemar’ in Elmar, and ‘Orri’ in Duemish.
- Sylphs – aka ‘Sylvar’ in Elmar and ‘Sylvii’ in Duemish.
- Dwarves – aka ‘Duemar’ (Pronounced ‘Doo-ay-mar’) in Elmar and (the) Dunnen in Duemish.
- Gnomes – aka ‘Gnuemar’ in Elmar and ‘Gnummi’ in Duemish.
- Goblins – aka ‘Gogmar’ in Elmar and ‘Gogmi’ in Duemish.
- Satyrs – aka ‘Satymar’ in Elmar and ‘Satymi’ in Duemish.
- Elves – aka ‘Elmar’ in Elmar and ‘Elmi’ in Duemish.
A Short Intro to the World of Feld
The Civil War
It has been peacetime on Feld since the end of the Civil War two thousand years ago. The Humans, Sylphs, dwarves and Gnomes went to war against the armies of the Orcs, Goblins and Satyrs. The original reason for the war is lost to time, but it is assumed to be either due to territory, resources or cultural differences. The reasons behind the groupings within the sides are also lost to us, but are assumed to be due to preexisting good relations and/or trade agreements between tribes.
The Elves (Elmar)
Only the Elves refused to join in with what they saw as a ‘pointless and futile conflict’. Rather than staying neutral in the conflict,as intended, this made enemies of both sides, who were all eager for the Elves to bolster their ranks and employ their graceful fighting style and command of their ‘ethereal magics’ to swing the tide of the war. Hated and reviled for their refusal to fight, Elmar territories became the favoured sites for battles and skirmishes, meaning there were often as many Elmar casualties as those from the warring factions.
The fighting only stopped at the arrival of The Ashen – A race of demon-like creatures that arrived on a meteor that struck Feld, leaving an immense crater, approximately fifty miles in diameter. The Ashen seem almost immortal, being immune to most physical attacks, magics, poisons and extremes of heat and cold.
The two sides realised they must band together to defeat this new threat. The Ashen Pact was formed, and remains to this day. The newly reconciled sides launched an all-out attack on the Ashen, thinking it a certain victory, but they failed. The losses were heavy. Realising they were not going to win this fight, they retreated and found themselves being backed into the crater left by the meteor strike. This would be the last stand of Feld. If not for the quick thinking of the Grand Archmage, Yelemosh Psœlar, who at the time was just a young adept, Feld may have been a very different place.
The Grand Archmage
Yelemosh noticed a large deposit of Resonance crystals in the bottom of the crater, having been exposed by the impact. Realising that he could not shield everyone on his own, he set about getting all the mages to create and maintain a single hexagonal shield spell each, about six feet in diameter. Then he got all the mages to combine them into a geodesic dome, so that they could seal themselves in the crater until they could figure out what to do. The beauty of the idea was that it was a very simple spell. Any half-competent mage could keep a shield piece going for decades and barely even notice the additional load.
They got the first hemisphere shield up in three hours. Every mage left was responsible for at least one shield piece – ensuring optimal mana flow, testing modifiers on the spell and general maintenance – but many mages took several. Experienced mages might have as many as seven separate pieces under their watch. Yelemosh kept fifteen running and still helped heal the injured, ratify modifiers for general use and disseminate updated information and formed The Magister.
The Magister was originally created as an organisation to maintain the shield but grew to become a government of mages, which now has various branches. These include a governing arm; judiciary; policing; (in the form of Arbiters – magical detectives – and White Knights, the ‘force’ used to maintain peace.) communications; etc.
Over time, the shield, along with the Magister, grew to encompass the entirety of the crater, both above and below, to ensure no Ashen could ever get in. The crater became home to the city of Bræstuüm, the “City of Storms”, which sits in the north-west corner, along with a massive tree, called Fuürfjållastor, (Literally, “Fire Pit Tree,) which is home to the majority of the Sylphs, nearby. The rest of the crater is given over to fields for the production of food, along with multiple villages. There is also a large forest to the South-East of the crater, called “Dunnenqastor” (“Dark Forest”,) which opens into a clearing where the Invisible College – the Magisterial run Mage University – appears every seven years.
The Invisible College
The Invisible College is so named due to the fact that it is held magically on an opposing orbit to Feld itself, only appearing on the planet’s surface at Aphelion and Perihelion; the points where Feld is closest and furthest from Son, the Star around which they both orbit. A full orbit takes fourteen years, and so once enrolled, aspiring mages are away from Feld for seven years while they learn all aspects of magic from the Magister. When the Invisible college appears, it does so for three days, in order to let the graduating class leave, the enrolling class enter, and to take on all required provisions for the next seven year term.
Magic on Feld
Which brings us nicely on to magic. (It’s almost as if I planned the segue!) There are two types of magic on Feld: Magic and Sorcery, with multiple branches of each.
Sorcery is intuitive magic. Its effects vary depending on various internal and external conditions, such as temperature, time of day, stress levels of the caster and many others. Sorcery is outlawed on Feld. The official reason given by the Magister is that it is too unpredictable, and therefore potentially dangerous to both the caster, and others around them, both friend and foe. The fact that this type of magic was the major form used by the Elmar, (Elves,) is irrelevant, according to the Magister.
Magic is practiced by mages and endorsed and taught by the Magister, via the Invisible College. It is a very precise form, utilising reagents, intonations, glyphs, and gestures, (occasionally all at the same time for particularly complex spells,) to achieve its effects. More science than art, its strict structure still allows for freedom to contextualise and configure spells, tailoring them for a specific instance or for personal taste, via a system of optional variables called Modifiers.
Imagine you wanted to manifest magical chains to bind someone. No problem. Now imagine you need to bind someone who was covered in grease for some reason. You could add a modifier to increase the frictional coefficient of the metal in the chains to make it harder to slip from them as they would “grip” harder. Or you could wrap the chains around your target, then add a modifier to harden the chains and make them keep the shape they are currently in to make them harder to escape. Or say you needed to bind an ice demon, you could add a modifier to raise the base temperature of the chains by increasing the heat conductivity of the metal and simultaneously use another to make it less efficient so more heat is lost through the metal’s surface – presto, hot chains.
More Modifier Examples
E.g. 2: You need to tighten or loosen a bolt with magic. The base spell would be ‘rotate’. You would then add modifiers for direction of turn in radians (positive numbers for clockwise, tightening: negative numbers for anti-clockwise, loosening; Another to take into account the mass of the object being rotated and from that, calculate the amount of torque required; (otherwise the bolt may not turn, or else spin so fast that it shoots off,) also a vector – to help pull the bolt out.
Say you drop the bolt on the floor and can’t see it. You could use an ‘enlargen’ spell with modifiers for final size (in % of original,) to make it easier to see. Or you could use an ‘emit light’ spell with an ‘outer glow’ modifier, which has controls for luminosity, colour, pulse etc.
E.g. 3: Invisibility. Invisibility is extremely difficult, if not actually impossible to achieve. The only reports of successful invisibility spells were from a mighty wizard hundreds of years ago, who played a large part in stopping the race wars. All these accounts stem from a brief passage in an old book that was transcribed from WOM hearsay decades after the fact and is treated with suspicion except by wide-eyed wizard wannabe’s.
Much easier is to align air particles into a rectangular shape around the person or object, then adding a ‘capstone’ – essentially encasing the target in an obelisk of air, then adding modifiers to change the refractive index of the ‘surfaces’ to bend light waves around the target.
I think that’s enough for now! I’ll do a linked post explaining money on Feld, as well as other behind-the-scenes info next week.
I welcome any feedback on any of this, so get in touch!