Showing posts from March, 2012

Story for the Day: Tirlough's Bluff

Frewyn has many romantic legends, one of the most prominent being the history behind Tir Bryn, or Tirlough's Bluff. Tirlough was General to Brave King Breian, the king responsible for winning the First Galleisian War. Thanks to Tirlough's excellent tactics, the war was won in a week and thence Frewyn enjoyed a long period of peace. After the war, however, an injured Galleisian woman was found near Westren, Tirlough's home. His clan nursed her back to health, and just as Tirlough was about to return to his post in Diras, he realized that he had fallen in love with the Galleisian woman. His position took him away from Westren, but his clan promised to look after Frihet until Tirlough could return. He promised to come back every Gods' Day to see her. His promised was kept, and every week the two would meet at the large tree on the bluff between Kileen and Westren. They were married on the bluff and were eventually buried there when their time came. There is a series being…

Haanta Lessons: What is Dhenjhavaas?

The Haanta have many rites of passage, but none so important as taking their first major step into Ambisaraas, or adulthood. When Haanta have discovered their purpose in the world, or their Mivaala, and are honoured with their designation, it is customary for the one entering adulthood to bind his hair. Dhenjhavaas, or hair-binding, is perceived as a sacred ritual, and bound hair stands as symbol for those embarking on their life journey. The hair is continually bound by a Denjhavhari until death when the Haanta has completed his purpose. Hair is bound and decorated in various different ways and is, most importantly, never to be cut. Frayed and deadened pieces may be trimmed, but beyond that the cutting of hair for a Haanta is a sign of great shame. Vantaala, or mages, do not have their hair bound, and those mages who have committed crimes with their magic, as Ghelbhi did, have their heads shaved as do any Haanta who commit unforgivable crimes. Some warriors may have a few of their lo…

Story for the Day: The House Centipede

We have many insects that look terrifying but are in truth quite harmless. House centipedes here, though rather horrid-looking, are not as horrific as they are on the islands. Alasdair relished the notion of the giant shedding tears over his precious treasure being taken from him. It should be an excellent retaliation for all his smiles and unwarranted remarks. And why should he not be fatigued and sweating in such a Gods-forsaken place? was Alasdair’s mocking cogitation. The astonishing beauty, excellent friends, and gracious manners assisted him in enduring all the horrors of tasteless fare and oppressive weather. He had still more terror to feel whereupon coming to their shelter for the evening and stepping over the threshold of Rautu’s home, Alasdair was greeted with a most horrifying sight. “By the Gods,” he shrieked, “what is that?”                 On the far wall, at which Alasdair was vehemently pointing and gaping, was a creature that he could never have conceived existed: a bo…

Story for the Day: Hallucinations

I was writing a piece in one of the later books in which Rautu has a hallucination. Twisk and I both discussed what would be his worse nightmare. Here it is: 
There, swirling along the beams of the stone ceiling, were two large floating strawberries. They seemed in want of his attention, making silent beckoning to be touched, to be admired, to be tasted. They drifted nearer, bouncing about with weightless oscillations. This cannot be real, was the giant’s first cogitation, but the closer they came to him, the more fearful he was. Deliberately assaulting him with their delicious rinds, impressing their succulence and sweetness upon him was all his horror. He stood from the table and stepped back, evading their gyrating attacks. They sang to him, called out his name in inviting tones,  glittered and glistened under the dim light, professing themselves delicious and remarkably fresh. “Away,” the giant bellowed, his hand gripping the hilt of his sword.                 He looked down when h…

Reading the Classics: Review of Robert E. Howard's "Spears of Clontarf"

I have never been one for Historical fiction, mostly due to my inability to read anything without much of a fantastic element involved. While history is filled with violence, romance, adventure, and intrigue, I tend to wander toward mythology as my claim to the past. Historical Fantasy, while babbling in legend and magic, is usually a genre that I don't enjoy, but after reading Spears of Clontarf, I am convinced that Robert E.Howard can reconcile me to anything.

Howard, or REH as he is lovingly known, had a great love of history, particularly of proto-Celtic nations. Conan the Cimmerian, Bran Mak Morn, and Tulogh Dubh are just a few of his Celtic heroes, but when Weird Tales stopped paying Howard for his Fantasy stories, he was forced to look elsewhere to make a living as a writer. He decided to submit his more historical works to Solders of Fortune, hoping to sell a few stories until Weird Tales could pay him the 1,300$ owed. He then wrote Spears of Clontarf, a retelling of the Ba…

Story for the Day: Dimoni Shalla - Demon Spice

Lucentia's cuisine is considered in general to be excellent, if not a little strange at times. Ladrei loves eating out with Arkastino because he can persuade him to eat and drink anything. Rautu, though ever a friend to food, must examine something before putting it into his mouth, especially if Ladrei has recommended it. Sometimes his suspicions are justified.
Checking himself and brooking his ill sentiments, and forcing a smile which though beginning as feigned soon was become a true expression, Ladrei entreated the small party to follow him to the end of the alley. While the commander and Den Asaan thought to retrace their steps, believing Ladrei to have made a wrong turn in his pensive state,  they soon perceived the sudden alteration in their surroundings. Here was a very different prospect than one they had hitherto seen in this quarter of the district: a large square building made from a smooth grey stone, the ground about them swept and clean, the windows lined with white w…

Story for the Day: The Prince and the King

Alasdair and Lamir, though alike in their rulership, are completely opposite in character. Though Alasdair technically has a higher rank than Lamir, he still feels that he has much to learn from the ancient ruler.

Alasdair engaged with Lamir, the party were inclined to leave the two sovereigns to themselves, the one austere and decisive, and the other all good-nature and concern that he should offend his host. Though the customs of Lucentia were a novelty to the Frewyn king, Lamir’s stern integrity intimidated him; he was awe-struck by his benevolent yet unyielding command, besieged by his fearless and vigilant countenance, and though the prince walked with soundless step and quiet civility, his presence summoned unmitigated veneration from every Lucentian passed. Where Lamir’s gaze gave no quarter, his heart resonated with the truest sense of decided fondness for his people. In walking at Lamir’s side, listening to his firm but purring voice, and observing his manner of walking and sp…

Story for the Day: Connlaith Arrtacht

I have a document which contains every nation's history, leaders, customs, government, and holidays across the Two Continents. This is an incredibly large document and serves as my groundwork for many chapters throughout the books. Characters often discuss the history of their given nations with one another, venerate holidays, and even enjoy reenactments of their nation's legends and myths. Today is Connlaith Arrtacht, the day that Frewyn won the First Galleisian War with the help of a woman named Connlaith, one of the Nnodainya who was captured by a Galleisian knight and happened to overhear all the Galleisian strategies while serving as a thrall at the knight's table. To Frewyn, she's a hero and Frewyn's first ever female commander, but to the Nnodaiya, she is quite something else.  

Connlaith Arrtacht, known amongst the Nnodainya as Connlaith’s Folly, was a day upon which the chasteness and submissiveness of their women was to be commended. Connlaith, once a quee…

Reading the Classics: Review of Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Barbarian"

In 1932, pulp fiction author Robert E. Howard had a short story published in Weird Tales magazine featuring a raven-haired, blue-eyed giant barbarian named Conan the Cimmerian. At this point, Howard had been writing for many years and had been trying to break out of the then popular world of pulp magazines and into the world of genre fiction. Though he tried to achieve success with other tales, such as Kull and the Frost-Giant's Daughter, his professional triumph came by way of The Phoenix and the Sword, a story that was originally rejected by Weird Tales but was accepted once Howard rewrote it and placed Conan as the protagonist. It was after this acceptance that Howard wrote The Hyborian Age, the essay which would be the basis for Conan's entire universe, outlining in detail its geography, its histories, its peoples and their customs. From here, Howard went on to write twenty-one short stories and various lyrics and poems, all of them glorifying Conan's live-and-die-by-t…

Story for the Day: Tales of Intrigues

I love choose-your-own-adventure books. Frewyn's most popular fiction series is a choose-your-own-adventure series called Tales of Intrigues. There are at least fifty in the series, all of them written by a few authors in Westren. Once the war is over and the press resumes business, the latest novel is printed and distributed across the kingdom, much to Alasdair's happiness. He has read every volume in the series, and when the latest book finds its way into his hands, he absolutely can do nothing else but read it. 
Tales of Intrigues, Frewyn’s most celebrated fictional series, was heralded throughout the kingdom for its magnificent craftsmanship, its interwoven plots, and its ability to grant the reader the ability to chose the hero’s fate. Alasdair gloried in such a series, for it gave him permission to be as devious as he should like without being afraid to offend. Such a book and such a series provided a safe environment in which his mind could race toward every cunning corn…