NaNo World Building: Notes on The Monarchy, Nobility, and Religion

        So, I meant to post this yesterday, but I never got around to it. I had a lab in the early part of the afternoon, the the KnoxWrimo’s Kick-off party was in the evening. Its all good though. The party was fun. There was more than double the number of people that showed up last year, and our ML’s have clearly worked very hard at putting events together this year. 

        The not-quite-pub-crawl-with-books-thing sounds interesting. But anyway…

        First up are the notes on Politics, Nobility and the Monarchy:

 

World Building: Politics, Nobility, and the Monarchy in The Witch Queen’s War

Nobility and the Council of Nobles

        The Kingdom of Aiedria is divided into 15 provinces, excluding the capital province. Each province is governed by a Duke or Duchess, appointed by his/her predecessor, though the process is typically through heredity. Each province is then further broken up into regions, overseen by a Baron or Baroness.

        The fifteen Dukes and Duchesses make up the Council of Nobles, and advisory council to the Monarch. The council meets four times a year in the capital. In the event of an emergency, the Council may convene more often. The council comes together to vote on laws, the appointment of certain positions such as Admiral and General, and to vote on the declaration of war. For smaller issues, the Council does not need to convene for a vote; a written letter with a Declaration of Opinion will suffice.

        Though the Council has the ability to make decisions, the current Monarch reserves the right to overturn any decision made by Council members, though doing so is considered by the general populace as a very unpopular decision.

 

The Monarchy

        Aiedria has a hereditary monarchy. Typically, the first child born to the reigning monarch will become successor, given the title of Prince/ss Royale. There is only ever one person with the title Prince/ss Royale. Any other child born to the reigning monarch is given the title Crown Prince/ss. Any child born to a Crown Prince/ss is simply referred to as Prince of Princess. Once the Prince/ss Royale has assumed the throne, his/her successor inherits the Royale title. If the new monarch has no children, the title goes to a younger sibling.

        The current Royal Family is the Aryagall line line from the coastal province of Blackwater. The line has held the throne for nearly four centuries and have had many popular rulers, including the late Queen Caiomhe, mother of Eirian, Gwenlyn, and Tiernan. 

 

And religion/theology:

World Building: Theology and Religion in The Witch Queen’s War

Generalization

        Religion is relatively universal throughout the various countries in the setting. One deity is recognized, known as The Holy Mother. The church is built on a doctrine known as The Canon of Belief. Some Countries are known for being more religious than others. Aiedria is often considered to be quite religious, as its capital is home to the Mother Superioress.

 

Church Structure

        Leading the church is the Mother Superioress, referred to as Lady Superior. The Superioress keeps a council of fifteen, senior priestess, given the title Revered Mother. The head of a single church is a Prioress, and younger priestesses and initiates are referred to as Mother and Sister, respectively.

        The Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother, located in the heart of the Capital, is home to the Mother Superioress and the Revered Mothers. Several smaller churches are located throughout the city. Most mid-sized towns will have at least a small cathedral, and possibly one or two smaller churches, depending on size and population of the town. In many smaller towns and villages, documents chronicling birth, death, marriage, and so on are kept within the church.

The Canon of Belief

        The Canon of Belief is the doctrine of the Church. It tells the story of The Holy Mother’s battles against the demons and their banishment to the Void.

        Thousands of years ago, the people lived in constant fear of demons. Attacks, possession, and slaughter were rampant as demons controlled much of the world.

        The fear was endless, until one day a woman appeared. Sword in one hand, staff in the other, She struck down the demons that crossed Her path. It didn’t take long before Her actions drew a crowd, and that crowd drew the attention of a demon lord. But when the demon lord tried to attack the assembled crowd, his magic could not reach them.
The woman, arms raised, spoke to the demon:

        “Begone. Your kind has no place here any longer; your magic leaves no mark, your evil gives no control.”

        Raising her sword, a great light seemed to shine from within the metal as deity and demon clashed. As the battle wore on, it drew the attention of evermore demons. But the people, inspired by the Woman’s act of bravery, took up their own weapons in Her defense. The battles went on for days, until the ground was stained with the demon’s tainted, blackened blood.

        When the last demon was slain, the Woman spoke again to the crowd, now countless in their number.

        “Lay down your weapons. No longer will you be tormented by these evil beings. From this day forth, you are my Children, and I shall fight for you always. I will drive the demons back, and into a place from which they cannot escape. A dark place, where their magic can harm no one but themselves.

        “But the demons are wise, and they are cunning. They will tempt you. Those who use magic freely beckon them, and they will come. Never let them in. To let them in is to let them out. Never forget these words. For as long as my words are obeyed, you will be safe.”

 

        Once again, everything on here is subject to change once I actually start writing. These are just general ideas that I wanted to get down so that I don’t forget them.

        Cheers!

        Mayuuya (Chelsea)

        2 days!!!

A Poem and Other Odds and Ends

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Cover image for Scarlet Starlet

        So, I finally finished a poem that I had on the back burner for sometime now. There’s actually a bit of a story behind it. I had one NaNo idea last year, a novel called Scarlet Starlet, that was supposed to be set in the late 1910′s – early 1920′s. It was supposed to be about a young woman who came to NYC searching for fame on the stage. She would have gotten it, but for a price, of course. The poem was supposed to be written to the main character from a love interest/ childhood sweetheart. The novel has pretty much been scrapped, but I still like the idea.  Also, free-verse is very rare for me. Really rare.

Scarlet starlet, who are you?

Where is the girl you left behind?

Did you leave her in that field,

Dancing in the summer sun?

Or is she still there under the stars

Laughing free, without a care?

Scarlet starlet, who have you become?

Look at yourself, who do you see?

Your face is familiar, your voice the same,

But the smile is different, the laughter gone,

Swept away by the flashing lights,

Buried by the weight of the stage.

Scarlet starlet, are you happy?

Is this life all that you dreamed?

The lights, the glamour, the promise of fame

Is it worth changing your name?

Surrounded by your admirers,

But can you call them friends?

Scarlet starlet, look around you,

Can you see the illusion for what it is?

Promises of loyalty,

Declarations of love.

But where will they be,

When the sun sets and the star falls?

Scarlet starlet, do you remember,

The words that you once said?

“This is my chance, the only chance,

Be happy for me please?”

How can I be happy for you,

When you’re miserable for yourself?

Scarlet starlet, come back home,

Leave the lies behind.

The glitz and glamour will not last,

The false friends will not stay.

But I will always love you

If you ever again glance my way.

        Also did some minor character work last night.  Got last names down, a family tree started, and even had some plot points jumped up and make themselves known. Still trying to do some world-building/ setting history, but I don’t expect to have that set until sometime tomorrow.

        Tomorrow is the NaNo Kickoff Party for the Knoxville Region! Yea! 5 days left!

        Cheers!

        Mayuuya (Chelsea)

NaNo World Building: Notes on Magic

So, the Biology Exam From Hell is already graded. I made a 106. Pretty sure my jaw is still on the floor somewhere. I didn’t even know there were extra points on the test. I never even passed a Bio test the first time I tried to take the class.

Anyway, on to NaNo. Still not sure if switching my NaNo project at the last minute was a good idea, but I think I’ll get a little bit farther with this plot than I would the first one. Still working on some of the characters, but I’ve got most of the major ones down.

This is what I’ve spent the past hour or so working on: Magic in the World of the Witch Queen’s War. This isn’t everything, but I feel like it’s a pretty good start. I’ll be doing a few more things like this in the next few days. Things like theology/religion, military/politics and the like. This is my first real experience with world building, so it’s by no means perfect.

Magic in The Witch Queen’s War

Types of Magic

Magic is split into two “types”.

        White magic: Most common type of magic. Fairly common throughout the setting. Involves potion making, some mastery over elements, and healing. Training in defensive abilities such as barriers is also common. Rarer abilities include shape shifting. All 10 Court Mages are white mages. 

        Black magic: rarer type of magic. It is believed that for every 500 white mages born, only 5 black mages are born. In addition to the abilities of white magic, black magic includes psychic abilities such as telepathy and limited mind-control. Even most white mages are weary of black mages.

Training

        Mages are trained in the capital at Anse Keep, a large castle close to the shores of Lake Anse on the outskirts of the city. They are mentored largely by a single senior Mage, though occasionally train in groups. Family is allowed, and encouraged, to visit on the weekends.
Mages remain an apprentice for an average of two years before testing. After apprenticeship  mages spend a minimum of two years studying advanced applications of magic. Many specialize in either a single element type or healing.

        Anse Keep trains in only “white magic” arts. Black mages are trained, but never in their mental/psychic abilities. Many black mages are viewed with suspicion by their peers, and often their seniors, as well.

        Anse Keep is over seen by a Headmaster/ Headmistress chosen from among the ranks of the Court Mages.

Use in the World

        After they complete a minimum of four years of training under a mentor, a mage is free to pursue their own interests. Many mages continue their training and take on apprentices outside of the keep. Some run apothecary’s, specializing in the creation of various potions and herbs.

        At any given time, the Royal Army employs numerous mages, both as offensive warriors and healers. Defensively trained mages are also employed to help fortify defensive and positions. The Navy has also been known to employ elemental mages in order to bring down enemy ships. The Royal Mounted Cavalry also utilizes mages, though mainly as healers.

        The Palace Guard includes mages in their ranks. A gifted team of healers is always on hand within the palace and the monarch’s entourage always includes at least one, usually two, healers. The Guard has also been known to use shapeshifters to aid in espionage activities.

The Court Mages

The Court Mages are an elite group of 10 mages tasked with various positions, delegated by the Monarch. Positions include: Oversight of Royal Healers, Adviser to Her Majesty, Adviser to the Palace Guard, Adviser to the Royal Navy, Adviser to the Royal Army, Headmaster/Headmistress of Anse Keep. Three other mages are appointed to the 10, serving as general advisers  All Court Mages are white mages.

        Court Mages are appointed by the monarch, usually on the recommendations of other Mages. Age has no bearing on position: Skill level, past deeds, and political savvy are major factors.

Black Magic and Demons

       One reason that black mages are regarded with weariness, beyond fears of mind-control, is their apparent ability to attract demons. Demons, with their own psychic abilities, are drawn to the idea of humans with similar abilities.

        Demons must be invited into the physical world, so many appear to targets in their dreams, when the line between the physical world and the Abyss is blurred. Demons lure their targets with promises of power (stronger telepathy, clairvoyance, even the ability to control another person’s physical form) in return for a foothold into the physical world. Agreeing allows the demon into the mage’s mind. As the mage relies more and more on the power of the demon, more of the mages mind is given up to the demon, until the mage has given up all sanity to the demon. If left unchallenged, the demon can fully take control of the mages physical form.

Exorcism

        If a mage is found to have entered a deal with a demon, an exorcism becomes the last line of defense. Many humans are uncertain as to the true nature of an exorcism, having never seen on, usually basing everything they know no rumors and hear-say. Priestesses of The Holy Mother perform the exorcism through prayer.

        While the demon is often driven from its host, no exorcism is ever completely successful. The strain of having a demon invade their thoughts often leaves the mages minds shattered. Exorcism also has a high chance of rendering a mages powers unusable, though whether this is caused by the demon’s magic, or the ritual itself is unknown.

        Many mages who survive exorcisms have taken their own lives. Legends say that it is these broken souls who become new demons in the Abyss.

New National Novel Writing Month Project

So, the Biology Exam From Hell is over and done with, and now I can look ahead to November and work on fleshing out new characters.

Yeah, I decided to go with a new project. I had one all planned out at the beginning of this month, and will probably still work on it, but I’ve decided to make this one my main goal for the month.

This story has its roots in a project I originally started for CampNaNo, in June of last year, but ultimately scrapped due to time and lack of interest. After retooling the setting a bit, I’ve decided I’m going to use the characters in this new setting, since they never went anywhere last time.

This is only the second time I’ve really dipped into the Fantasy genre, but I enjoyed it last year. But I think this year’s novel will have a stronger plot. I liked the characters from last year, and the setting was good, but it wasn’t the tightest plot.

Okay, so it had a pretty loose plot.

Anyway, on to this year’s summary:

“A debt paid with blood… Humanity for power…”

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Cover Image

War is threatening the Kingdom of Inverna.

The quick-tempered third child of the beloved Queen Caoimhe, Lady Eirian cared nothing for the royal court, preferring to devote her time to archery, magic, and the healing arts. At seventeen, with a cunning mind and a quick tongue, some wished to see Eirian as the Queen’s successor, rather than her sister the Crown Princess Gwenlyn.

But Eirian’s powers earned her few friends. 

She is a Black Mage, feared for her abilities to control not only elements and healing like other mages, but minds and bodies, as well. It is not an unfounded fear: many Black Mages have sacrificed their blood to demons, giving mind, soul, and sanity in exchange for power.

Years later, while tending to bureaucratic affairs in her families Province of Blackwater, Eirian is called home when Gwenlyn, now Queen, falls ill to a sickness no Healer can cure. To make matters worse, old enemies see the Queen’s sickness as the perfect time to launch an attack.

With the kingdom on the verge of war and her sister’s health deteriorating, Eirian must navigate the poisonous waters of the Royal Court and find a cure for her estranged sister, all while attempting to stem the tide of war and avoiding the whispers of those suspicious of her powers. 

With the weight of a kingdom pressing down on her shoulders, Eirian’s resolve weakens. A demon’s power becomes a tempting promise.

Can she survive the trials on her own? Or will she succumb to the burdens of her position and give in to the demon’s offers?

Not too bad, at the moment, but I’ll probably go in and do some editing on it before the month is all said and done.

NaNo Countdown: 7 days

Cheers,

Mayuuya (Chelsea)

Opinion: High School Books After Graduation

Last of the carry over’s from the old blog. Originally posted on October 23rd, 2013.

One of these I adored; one of these I hated. The third is Shakespeare. What more am I supposed to say about that?

       I had a really excellent English teacher for both Freshman and Senior English. She was great. Sophomore English was great, too. Junior year… Well, let’s not go there.

       However, even they couldn’t make some of the books we had to read any better. Every year, there was at least one book that I absolutely could. Not. Stand. Freshman year it was Animal Farm and Romeo and Juliet. Sophomore year it was Fahrenheit 451. Junior year? Well, I hated most of that year in general, since I’m not particularly fond of American Lit., but The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby really stood out. Senior year it was Hamlet, The Canterbury Tales and the ever charming, 1984.

       Yeah, I had to read both Animal Farm and 1984. Same teacher, different years.

       Don’t get me wrong; I read a lot of things in high school that I loved then and still love now. To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth, The Fall of the House of Usher (not a novel, but I love that story) and of course, probably my favorite from high school, Wuthering Heights. 

       But not every character can be Heathcliff. Not every writer is Poe. Case in point? 1984.

       I hated that book in high school. It squicked me out. Room 101? No thanks. And good God, I couldn’t stand Julia. Maybe the audience wasn’t supposed to like her. Maybe we weren’t suppose to like Winston. Well, Mr. Orwell, mission accomplished.  I had to write an essay on that book. (We wrote essays on everything we read in that class.) The subject was, irony, if I remember correctly.

       The irony now is that, looking back, I’m really glad I had to read that book. It’s still not a favorite. I won’t be adding it to my physical book shelf anytime soon, but I do have a copy on my kindle. I understand why most high school students have to read it. I understand why it’s still relevant, even now.

       Maybe even more so, now. Don’t believe me? Look at the language in the book. It’s dubbed “Newspeak”.

       Now go and look at the average 12-13 year old’s facebook status and see which of the two makes more sense. My money’s on the former. At least it seems coherent.

       And as a Psych. student with an interest in Social Psychology, the book kind of fascinates me in some macabre way. The “two minutes hate” and the way Winston finds himself joining in? Perfect example of mob mentality.

       Another one that I’m slowly developing an appreciation for is The Great Gatsby. It’ll never be one of my favorites, (though how gorgeous is the new movie version?) but I can at least stomach it now. Yes, Daisy is still whiny, Tom is still an ass, and Jordan is still an icy you-know-what. Tom, at least, seems like he was meant to be pretty much irredeemable from the start, but Daisy and Jordan? I can kind of understand where they were coming from now. Still don’t like them, but I don’t hate them anymore either.

       Maybe something like 1984 should be left for college students? Animal Farm, too. Are most high school kids going to get the metaphor there? Stalin and Lenin pigs? Hell, does the average high school student know who Lenin and Stalin are? And I doubt most high school kids understand the idea of “Ingsoc”.

       Most students don’t really know how to appreciate novels like that in high school. Some do, sure, but most will just slog through it because they’ve got a paper to write, or an exam to take. Though I’ve done that in college too.

       I’m looking at you, Don Quixote and The Aeneid.

       But at least most college students have heard of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky. Most of them have some idea of what Communism and Socialism are.

        Still, I’m grateful for having read what I did in high school. It’s served me well in college.

        Except for The Scarlet Letter. Seriously, Hawthorne? Seriously?

       Cheers!

       Mayuuya (Chelsea)

Ghosts of NaNo’s Past

 Originally posted on October 10th, 2013

NaNoWriMo Countdown: 20 days

Not sure how I feel about the 8-bit theme this year…

       The Kick-Off Party for the region has already been planned, and I’m getting excited. Every year that I’ve done NaNo, I’ve always just wanted to start writing. I’ve got so many ideas that I want to get them down on paper and flesh them out. I may start filling word prompts with characters from previous years.

       Speaking of previous years, the updated NaNo site is finally allowing people to re-post their novel information for years prior to 2011 when they did the major site overhaul. I wound up going back through my Livejournal (remember when LJ was actually legit and not almost constantly down for another DDOS attack “maintenance”?) to hunt down the summaries that I couldn’t seem to find anywhere else. I had forgotten that I actually really did like those stories. I didn’t cringe with every sentence I read.

       And I’ve actually gotten far better at summarizing. Yeah, I have a hard time believing it, too. The “summary” of my 2010 Novel, Nuit de Glace, was about a page long. (I’d pull a piece of it and put it up here, but, surprise, surprise, LJ is down.)

       But it was good!  I liked it. Ask anyone who’s listened/watched me self-edit. That hardly ever happens. I love writing, I always have, and I write mostly for my own enjoyment. But I’m a perfectionist. Writing or drawing, I want it to be perfect.

      Yeah, I’m one of those odd people who seems to enjoy the editing process. I don’t know why. I may sort through the summary and some of the printed parts I’ve got and post them on here later. Lots of things to do.

       Also, I just realized that I’ve had a Fanfiction.net account for 7 years now. I feel old…

       Cheers,

       Mayuuya (Chelsea)

Opinion: Kindle/Nook vs. “Real Books”

Originally posted on October 3rd, 2013

“E-readers are going to kill real books.” -Too Many people to Count

Look familiar? And the book on the Kindle is 1984.

Has everyone heard this argument by now? Most people that read probably have. Personally, I have several issues with this argument.

1. I have actually heard people use the words “real books.” So, what does that make the books that I have on my kindle? Fake books? I know what people mean when they use the word “real”, but I think that it’s the completely wrong word to use. I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month for going on five years now, and have gotten to know a few of the people on the forums there. Many of them have published books only on an e-reader format. Why? Why wouldn’t they want people to have an actual, physical copy of their book in hand?

Practicality. Publishing hardbound books is expensive. Especially for major sites like Amazon, etc. A single ISBN number costs about $125 dollars. Then there’s the $25 dollars for a barcode. For smaller, self-publishing sites that deal heavily in e-reader material, those two things are not strictly necessary. As fond as I am of my work, I’m not sure I want to pay $150 dollars for something I’m not sure will sell.

It can’t always just be about the sense of accomplishment.

There are also a lot of decisions that have to go into a physical book. Book size, font size, font type, paper type, binding type, and the list goes on. It’s an extremely involved process.

2. I can’t see “real books” ever actually going away. Yes, Borders went away, but Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million are still going strong. They’ve adapted, sure. The Nook is B&N’s toy, after all. But the B&N stores that I’ve seen recently don’t seem to be hurting. I went and spent close to fifty dollars when I went to one on vacation.

My point here is, too many people like to have physical copies of books for them to ever go away. Technology marches on, and thank God for that or we’d never have gotten Penicillin (not to mention, where would most of us be without our cell phones?). But that doesn’t mean that what came before is “obsolete.” I have a Kindle Fire and I absolutely love it. It makes carrying huge, college level textbooks around so much easier. However, I’m not getting rid of my hardback Harry Potter collection anytime soon, either. I’m the kind of odd person that has both a physical and a Kindle copy of some books.

I love having an actual book in my hands, but sometimes my Kindle is just easier to carry. I can put it in my purse and have 20-30 books on hand. I can’t put 20-30 books in my purse.

3. My personal favorite. What. Does. It. Matter? Kindle, Nook, iPad, hardbound book, hieroglyphics, cave drawings. What does it matter what someone uses to read, as long as they’re reading? I have a two and a half year old niece. I don’t care what gets used, as long as she’s reading/being read to. Isn’t that the real point? If I were to publish any of my writing, I wouldn’t care what format someone buys it in; I’d just be happy they were interested enough to read it.

Yeah, so this turned out a little longer than I really thought it would, but this rubs me the wrong way sometimes. Books, in any format, aren’t going anywhere.

Quit worrying about what you’re reading on, and just read.

Cheers,

Mayuuya (Chelsea)