Tag Archives: fantasy

Legend of Elenmitis Part 6

“I think so, Elenmitis.  Humans don’t want to agree.  Perhaps, you gave them too much power,” The World said, definitely sounding concerned.

Elenmitis couldn’t take the power back.  He frowned.  “It is done. There isn’t much I can do now.”

“Hopefully, it wasn’t a mistake.”

Elenmitis settled down and watched things change.

The humans became very different from one another.  They had different governments, different laws, and belief systems.  They started to develop a way to travel to each other, their anger was different.  No longer did they feel the need to change their neighbors.

The World and Elenmitis agreed this had managed to work itself out.  But, now Elenmitis grew antsy once again.  Everything had settled into the same boring patterns.

“Why don’t you make some more realms?  They have good and evil, but nothing else.  This world is of magic as well.” The World had tired of Elenmitis fussing.

Elenmitis made a realm of fire called Ixcoz.  He made a creature of flame and temper to live there.  Next came Honin the realm of Earth, creatures of life and steadiness for that one.  Water was called Dael with beings that were fluid and mutable.  And last he made Vayu a land of air.  The beings there were flighty and light.  Again, he observed.

The humans summoned those creatures. And used them the same they did the angels and their demons.  However, the elemental creatures were a bit more powerful, for they had been made by Elenmitis, and not a mortal mind.  Something strange happened, more powerful beings in these realms rose up to rule over the rest.

They became minor gods to the glory that was Elenmitis.  At first, he was a bit annoyed about it.  He wanted their worship for himself.

The World laughed at him.  “You wanted things to be interesting, but you fuss when they change.”

He admitted The World was right, and let them be.  And, because he hadn’t changed anything else, something completely unexpected happened.

The angels, demons, and elementals began to breed with human kind.  They made more powerful humans, who the humans called planeborn.  Every society had different opinions on them, and he found them fascinating.  Some were more like their plane parent, others were more human.  And they bred among each other, making a dizzying array of ancestry.

Elenmitis considered using his power to make sure the planeborn were accepted into society.  However, The World stopped him.  “Have you not noticed a trend, Elenmitis?”

“A trend, what trend?” Truly baffled he didn’t know what the World was referring to.

“Whenever you don’t allow things to take their normal course, you grow bored.  It is only when you don’t try to fix things that everything stays interesting.  You are getting too involved in their day to day affairs.”

Author’s Note: This was supposed to go last week, but some kind of user error occurred.  Sorry about that. 

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Review: God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

It took me a little while to settle into the Immortal Empire universe.  This is a good thing.  Too often it’s easy to rely on what’s been done before to set your world.  The writing community has gotten lots of wonderful books from that, but it’s fantastic to mix it up now and again.

Also, the fact I’m not much into punk fiction, or know pretty much nothing about London, besides important historical footnotes, was a slight barrier.  However, I could infer most of the meanings easily enough, and I never really felt lost.  This screams well-crafted to me.

The book itself did a lot of things that impressed me.  It actually surprised me here and there.  I’ve read a lot of books, and I usually can figure what’s happening, and when the tide is going to turn.  This time I was caught off guard several times.

I also enjoyed the strangeness of the world, I was transported to.  A plague ridden world where the have and have nots are strongly divided i all kinds of ways.

The main character is a blast to read.  Xandra shouldn’t be.  She’s a bigot. She’s way aggressive, and too impulsive.  Yet, she’s compelling, and has plenty of good points too.   She’s a very balanced character that is being molded by the events in the book.

This book is almost a book of series of What ifs? Which makes it really fun, because I often ask those sort of questions when I read.  In this world the royalty is better than the masses, because they are kick ass vampires, werewolves, or goblins.  As one of the masses, that sounds pretty much like the worst thing ever.  Imagine how easy would for them to lord anything over you.

“How come I don’t know have enough to eat?”  “You aren’t a noble obviously because the plague will kill you, where it turned me into a beautiful creature with super powers.”  Slap in the fact argument right there.

 

Instant sympathy from reader gets that goes around the main character, freakin’ slick writing right there.

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Review: Dead Weight: The Tombs

Dead Weight: The Tombs by M. Todd Gallowglas

Before I really dig in, let me say I really loved this novel.   It does things that most of the time would have made me put it down.   Yet, I didn’t care.  Gallowglas pulled off doing things that shouldn’t have worked.  Which is freakin’ cool. 

A protagonist I didn’t like, yet I cared about, hoped he’d succeed.   The story started off in a very weird way, (which to avoid spoilers, I won’t go into), and wasn’t part of the meat of the plot, but it worked beautifully. There were a lot of references thrown in, but none of it is overdone. And, frankly, I loved the concept of the arts being a way to look into another world. The tale is very dark, gritty, depressing, yet still manages to have a thread of hope running through it.   It truly feels like a mirror into another reality.

The novel manages to bring some very interesting concepts without beating you over the head with them.  What defines goodness, is one that I felt came up a lot.   Is it a person’s actions?  Is it what a person does? Is it their intentions?  Perhaps, it is a combination of all these things.  I don’t know.  The book doesn’t know either, but that’s what makes it interesting.

As I read another question occurred to me.  What does society lose when cultures change, are absorbed, and destroyed?  Is there really a loss? Should such things be preserved in some way?  I’m not sure the author intended me to think of that.  However, this book made lots of odd questions like that show up to plague me, in only the very best way.

An excellent start to what I hope will be a continuing book series.

 

 

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Legend of Elenmitis Part 5

Elenmitis actually thought The World was making sense.  “I won’t give too much away, a touch to every person.”

He flew over the world, giving an equal amount to each human.  Even as he did so he realized some had better access to the power.  And others, even simply could absorb and use more.   Excitement built up in him.  He then told his priests to spread the world that everyone now had power.  And he stood back and waited to see what happened.

At first they were thrilled that they could do magic.  It started simple.  They used it to light fires, attack each other, hunt, and make shelters.  Slowly, they grew more sophisticated, they healed each other, and they made protective spells.  Eventually, they began to disagree with how magic should be used.  And then something happened Elenmitis would have never predicted.

They made a realm of Evil and Chaos, and a realm of Good and Peace.  They called the realm of Good was Vita.  And the realm of Evil was Silt.  And, the humans had made it with their own god touched power.   As the years moved forward, each realm was inhabited by creatures of the human’s creations.  Creatures who were the embodiment of human beauty, power, and grace.  Elenmitis was thrilled.

As the world was one continent the people began to war more heavily.  They would summon and be used by these creatures they made.  The wars grew bloodier, and darker.  And Elenmitis realized if he left well enough alone, they would kill themselves off.  In response, he spilt the world into four parts.

Northern parts he put the people who believed in freedom and independence.  This was a cold place with mountains and rolling hills.  In the Southern kingdoms, people who give anything to the family, and power.  A dry land filled with rich rivers, and harsh winds that blew sand everlasting.  In the Eastern kingdom, he put people who believed in the importance of nature, and living one with the world.  Lush forests, deep jungles had dangerous creatures living beside them.  And the last kingdom for those who believed in keeping their word over any other concern.  This land had a variety of landscapes, cold and hot in turns.

He waited to see the results.  The fighting continued, but to a lesser degree.  A bit of relief swept through him, he hadn’t wanted his marvelous creation to ruin itself.  “Do you think that was well done, World?”

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Flash Fiction: Bah Ra

Chuck Wendig’s challenge this week is to make an alcoholic drink (imagined or not) and write a story relating  to it.  I brought back Soul Merchants, cause they’re fun.

Bah Ra

“I like being in Woellian body.  You guys know how to make a cocktail.”  I fluttered with strands of white hair I’d streaked black.  The deep blue skin I wasn’t quite used to, but I’d only been in this body a week.

The Woellian bartender skin was a pale blue with multi colored swirls painted on his skin with only narrow strips, bright red over his body, and blocking the important bits.  He frowned, those snowy white brows like two beautiful clouds in the sky.  “You are a Woellian.”

“Try again, sweet cheeks.”  I sipped drink, it was acidic, fruity, and kicked me in the teeth.

His eyes glanced downward.  An infinity symbol made out of hourglasses rested between my breasts.  “Soul Merchant.” He bared back his lips around his predatory sharp teeth with a hiss.   “Your kind isn’t allowed in here.”

“Oh come on now.  I’m not a regular Soul Merchant.  You should know that.  I’m what your people call an eiaa of my kind.  Your leaders have given me special privileges.”  The drink smelled good.  Ripe, lush, like you could bite into and juice would run down your chin.

“I’ll confirm that myself.” He stepped away to near the bouncer.  In all my many lives, I never got along with bouncers.  Wild drunken women never seemed to appeal to them.

With a twist of my hip I swiveled on the bar stool.  The decorating here was odd.  Well, odd for anybody but a Woellian.  The ceiling was a splattered with every color imaginable, then overlaid with sparkling net of diamonds.   The walls were ever changing light patterns of red, blue, yellow.  And, the floor was painted black to look as it was the middle of a fireworks display.  They had weird taste.

The music at least whispered deep in my soul.  Rhythmic, dark, and fast paced, it made me want to give into my emotions and dance.

“You are cleared to be here.”  A rumbling little growl from behind me, the bartender didn’t like me.  Unfair, really, I’m so likable.

“What’s in this?” I asked as I turned back around to face him.

“Jul berry, three smashed, bactium tincture, and heart of leora flower.”   He recited those pretty gray eyes hostile.

I wish I hadn’t asked.  Ignorance is bliss, as I well knew.  “Not all Soul Merchants are bad.  We are like genies. We grant people wishes, you know.”  I gave him my best pretty girl smile.

His eyes flattened as they flared red for a second.  Oh, man hunting red was coming out. I must have pissed him off.  “You give people what they want, if you deem it in your own interest.  And, they pay you in something that they don’t understand.”

“How’d you figure? You know your own worth don’t you.”  I took another drink.

“Nothing would know the value of a soul as much as Soul Merchant. “  He shook his head.  “Therefore, you offer the deal with false pretenses.  You could say anything you wanted. I would have no frame of reference for the deal.  Nor anyone to counter the deal.”

I chewed on my lip in thought. Right now, I could go for a smoke.  However, Woellian lungs did not handle any kind of inhaled substance well.  Maybe, that’s why they enjoyed their liquor so much.  “True, but I’m not like the rest.  Can’t you tell? Don’t I seem sweet, and fun? The rest of them are so stuffy and by the rules.”

“I can see the age in your eyes.  You might act young, but you are not.”  His lip curled.  “You are pretending to be what you are not.”

A laugh burst out before I could censor it.  “I’m not trying to act young, I am only enjoying life.  I love drinking, partying, dancing, getting into trouble.  The rest of them, they hate all the stimulation, the lack of power over the physical.  Not me. The first time I was in a body I got into a fist fight.  It was amazing. The feel of flesh against flesh, the burst of pain, it was life.  Soul Merchants we kind of exist, that’s about it.”

The bartender mixed up another drink.  This one was vibrant blue with speckles of yellow inside.  He handed it off a female Woellian with red dyed hair, and crimson tattoos all over her skin.  I can say all over, because she was only wearing thin gauze over herself.

“What’s this called anyway?”  I tapped out a beat on the polished metal counter.

“Bah Ra,” He didn’t even look up from making the drink.

“Of the fruit, nice.” I finished it off.  My stomach roiled at the pickling.  All good, I enjoyed the feeling.

“You’re Wol is excellent.”  He took the glass away.  “You want another?”

“Oh yeah, hit me.  And, of course my Wol is perfect.  I’m a Woellian.”

He pulled up a shaker pouring three different liquors at once.  Then, he spun it on his hand.  With a flourish, he took off the top and poured it into another glass.  “You aren’t a Woellian, you are a Soul Merchant.”

“No, darling dear, I’m both.  That’s the thing. I can hear your leaders whisper in my ears.  They want me to conform.  I never will, but the whispers will stick around until I die.”  I licked the outside of the glass.  I let the fresh, berry smell to tickle my brain.

“Why are you here? Is to share your strangeness?”

“No way.  I’m here to get drunk.”

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Legend of Elenmitis Part 4

“World, what do you think I should do now?” He asked his only companion.

“Aren’t you the god?  I have only a little power.”  The World responded, sounding a bit short.

Elenmitis nodded. “Yes, but you seem to know things.  The other worlds had things.  What were they called?”

“Animals?  You have a few, but they are pretty simple ones.  Maybe you should make more interesting animals, bigger ones, smarter ones, more unique ones?” The World suggested with a great deal of censure to its voice.

Elenmitis set about to take The World’s advice.  The whole time he would ask the world questions about each animal and what would complement it.  The World warmed up to the Elenmitis, and they shared a long time creating everything there was.

The better animals acted in exciting ways.  They interacted in unexpected ways, and even changed over time.  Elenmitis would make small changes here and there as time rolled by.  Eventually, the pleasure dimmed, and Elenmitis was dissatisfied.

The World noticed and spoke up.  “Aren’t there something called humans?  They are much smarter than other animals.”

Elenmitis thought back to his travelling day.  He did remember something like that.  They worshipped gods like him, they invented things, and they made art, and generally got into all sorts of trouble.  Yes, that might just be the thing to end his boredom.

He made them much like the one’s he’d seen.  Two eyes, four limbs, hands for five fingers, hair on their heads, and clever brains in their head.  He saw in other worlds the gods made all the humans look similar. That seemed awfully uninteresting to Elenmitis.  He gave them a variety of shades, shapes, and sizes.

They did amazing things.  The humans built homes, hunted the animals, made more humans, and debated the meaning about life.   Sometimes, they’d make works of art, and sometimes they’d war with one another.  As time rolled by he would modify their behavior a bit here and there.  And, slowly he grew bored with their somewhat predictable patterns.

“Well, once again I find myself bored.  I don’t understand how my creations can’t ever stay interesting.”  Elenmitis announced to The World.

The World let out a sigh that caused the winds to blow over everything.  “If you didn’t meddle so much, maybe you wouldn’t grow bored.”

“I wanted to make my own world, so I could meddle.”  Elenmitis pointed out.  “I found it extremely frustrating that I’d go to other worlds and they wouldn’t allow me to try out things.”

The World went silent for a bit.  “I think if you meddle less you’d be happier.  I say give them some of your power.”

“My power?” Elenmitis squawked. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

“If they all had a touch of a god, they’d surely do more interesting things.” the World pointed out.

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Review: Mistress of the Empire

Mistress of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurst

The conclusion to this story is fulfilling with the right amount of sacrifice, loss, hope, and triumph.  The only thing I could say as a negative is it almost ties off too many loose ends.  I like my stories a bit messy.  But, I know how much loose end drive a lot of people crazy.

The enemy is insidious and costs Mara more than previous novels.  Easily the darkest and most desperate of all the novels.  It showcases Mara’s steel spine and resolve.

Also, if you love her spy master as much as me you get to learn more about the character.  He is one of the most complex characters in the story.  If you don’t it never overwhelms the main plot more of a running subplot.

This installment is really all about trying to swim upstream.  Mara has had to challenge tradition to survive. She’s admired innovation, and other cultures.  The true test arrives.  She was willing to risk her family, her house, and her life to change Tsurani values.   It is one thing to find different way to do thing, another to be a catalyst.  There has been history who has dared to force society to wake up.  It is always an uphill battle with no guarantee of success.

Inequality is a conflict that speaks to a lot of people.  Everyone has seen some kind of injustice no matter how small.  We wanted it to be different. Here is a woman who does.  That’s a powerful feeling either way you look at it.

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Legend of Elenmitis Part 3

Long ago before time was measured, at least in our reality there was a god named Elenmitis.  His power was as such he could create anything.  Often, he would make things and destroy them once he ran out of materials.  For days innumerable he played with empty space around him.  Eventually, his enjoyment paled.   “This is fun, but I’ve created so many things, surely there is something else to do.”

Elenmitis spent time learning to travel to other realities.  When he did he realized they  had other gods, planets, the stars that sparkled in the sky.  Never before had Elenmitis seen such creations.  Elenmitis wanted to play with everything.  But, the gods of those realities didn’t want him to interfere.  They felt very protective of their creations.  For a long time Elenmitis watched learning all there was to see.  Eventually, this too grew boring.

He went home.  This time he thought, I’ll make a world.  A world that is mine alone.   Excited he went to work.  First, he made it a square.  The shape didn’t quite turn the way he wanted in the sky.   He thought back to the other worlds and he made a huge ball.  That was a bit better, but not quite right.  He squished it bit making it a bit longer at the top and bottom.  There now it spun in the perfect lazy turn he wanted.

For a while he watched his spinning planet.  It didn’t have any land or water.  Elenmitis decided that was the next step.  He made a flat piece of land in the middle of the planet and filled with water around it.  And with a flicker of power he gave the land life.

The world woke up.  “Who are you?”

“I’m Elenmitis.  I made you.”  Proud of his first attempt he practically crooned his words.

The World was unimpressed.  “Well since there are only you and me, I figured that out.  But, you didn’t make anything on me.  I’m a boring piece of land, surrounded by an empty ocean.”

A bit stunned Elenmitis stared at his creation.  “How do you know about all that?”

“I’m not sure.  Maybe you gave me the knowledge, or maybe is a part of what I am.  Either way, I know this is only the beginning of a world, not a final product.” The World responded.

Elenmitis waited for The World to continue but it didn’t.  Apparently, it wasn’t a very talkative planet.  Elenmitis decided to take its advice.  He conjured mountains, trees, valleys, fish, and insects.  After all that Elenmitis felt a bit winded and watched.  Living things were really interesting.  They fought, killed, and ate one another.  They were born, grew, and died.  After a while everything became a repeating pattern.

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Review: Servant of the Empire

Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurst

Unlike the first book, this one starts on a light hearted note.  A bunch of foreigner slaves are tricking their masters.  The whole scene is extremely well done considering there is barely any dialog.  Now, this scene serves a very important purpose in the novel.  It sets many of the central themes of the novel.  One of which is Mara is an unconventional person, she likes wit, and doesn’t honestly care for the rules.  Two, she doesn’t see an inherent weakness in those of a lower station than her own.  Three, it begins the two men who pretty core  in the story to a strong highlight.

This book’s plot flows as well as the first.  Any hiccups are minor here as well.  The joint authors bring you into the world a bit more, and let you dig your teeth into.  Sometimes, I feel they over explain sayings that are pretty easy to interrupt, but I tend to think less is more.  For most people, this is probably a good thing.

Minwanabi, aka the bad guys, are not two dimensional or boring either.  They have their good points, and their bad.  Tasaio is to me, legitimately creepy, scary, and clever.  You gotta love a well done villain.

One of the main themes is really about the cultural differences between Kelewan and Midkemian.  The cultures are extremely different and hold up to an entirely different set of values.  And, the novel is good about highlighting that both have their positives and negatives.

This is what I love about the book.  There are thousands of cultures, subcultures, mixed cultures in the world.  And, in my opinion, they all have their pros and cons.  You can debate whether not how bad one is compared to another.  But, I want to know about other cultures, what they believe, and why believe in it.  To me this is fascinating and complex matter that always holds my attention.  That’s exactly what this book is.  What makes these two people different, when at their root they are all human?  And, what could make them better, what are their good points, what parts are bad?

It makes me wonder the way I define right and wrong.

Author’s Note-  Okay, so on Thursday was my 100th post.  I failed to realize this, because I was in the fourth phase of one my worst flus ever. Instead, yay, my 101th one post.  It’s been a crazy time, and it’s been fun.

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Legend of Elenmitis Part 2

Dorian blinked a few times.  He motioned for the man to follow.  “That’s good. It gets a bit boring on the road.  If your duties don’t tire you out, perhaps you could spin a few.”

“Of course, of course.” The man bobbed his head.  He grinned at each member of the caravan as they walked down the line.

“What’s your name?” Dorian felt a little ashamed he hadn’t asked the man earlier.

“Oh, you can me El,” The man replied eyes twinkling. They both came to a stop at final cart. El started to unpack his gear.

Dorian waved a few men over to help.  He headed toward the front.  “As soon as our new cook is done, we’ll be on our way.”  It didn’t take long before the caravan departed.

The next few days were grueling.  The mountain terrain even in high summer was rough going.  Everyone was too tired to do anything fun.  Dorian kept watch on El.  The man worked hard, and never complained.  He even took to the random friendly jibs with a smile.  And, his cooking, well, that was short of a miracle.  Not a single dish came out bad and most were truly delicious.

The day they finally crawled over the last bit of the mountains the whole caravan was far more upbeat.  He didn’t push for progress, knowing everyone was worn down.  As the evening approached they made a big fire and the men sat up talking.  El had made a filling stew and everyone relaxed on their bedrolls.

As El came to join them, Carn piped up.  “Old man, Dorian mentioned you were a storyteller.”

El gave a big, wide, sweet smile.  “Oh yes I am.  Are you hinting you want a story? Like a child before bedtime?”

Carn and everyone else laughed.  “I do.  Something epic and interesting.”

After he settled onto his own bedroll, El looked into the fire. “Do you know how the world began? That’s an epic story for sure.”

A chorus of no’s filled the air.  El gave a solemn nod.  “Then, I’ll tell it to you.”

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