(Removed from The Sleeper Sword)
Many nations put forth the belief that death is the final solution, a descent into eternal nothingness. Dust to dust. The End.
Others believe a soul simply ceasing to exist when the body surrenders is a great and unforgivable sacrilege. They base their mortal morality, their faith, on trust of life after death, believing in the bliss of Aaru or the eternal damnation of Hades, and preach that the final destination hinges on the individual. Good and evil, both with just rewards.
The truth of the matter is that some do simply cease to exist. A soul never awakened has never commenced a new journey and therefore floats out empty, in much the way most animals are born and die unaware of anything beyond instinct.
However, there is more, and those who fall into eternal nothingness are rare indeed. In fact, one life ended usually heralds another, and while there are the realms of bliss and netherness, from which none return, they are but two in a crucible of countless more.
These realms transcend all cultures, religions, creeds and races and make no distinction between worlds and galaxies. It is thought they are the links that serve to bind universes.
Now, while the vast universal majority know beyond doubt there are great numbers of worlds in the eternal spaces and while a fair number of those acknowledge the existence of other universes- the latter largely a factor based on intelligence and logic, as opposed to irrefutable evidence- only a scattering know of the reality of the realms beyond mortality.
A comatose individual may inadvertently tumble into an inexplicable place – the soul searching for a way out of physical prison – and not know what had in truth occurred. These tales are generally disbelieved. The fortunate few who are revisited by departed loved ones become aware of alternate realities for a brief time, but later convince themselves it was fervent wishing for a final glimpse of a loved one’s face. Hallucination, they say, and it is laughed off and set aside. The living move on. There are those who are resuscitated to tell of strange sights, but such tales are so varied and disparate that no clear truth has emerged to convince others. Of course, the truth is that each different sight signifies a different realm, but no parallels have emerged to prove the worth of tales.
Accident, chance, you say. Yes, and life moves on. Yet, the thread of truth exists and a scattering do realise there is reality beyond mortality.
Then there are those who’s faith, or desire for longevity, cause them to discover the process of a soul’s rebirth. This is known as reincarnation. They know of other realms, but generally the time between death and re-entry via a newborn is too short in span to permit protracted visitations and reconnaissance of a different realm. They know, but do not really understand. Naturally, there are exceptions, but the process of rebirth remains obscure and thus the details remain accessible only to those involved.
Let it be said there are those who find their way into and out of realms other than Aaru and Hell and they are not comatose, resuscitated or re-birthed. Some relate their fantastical experiences, others remain forever silent, and for each there is a sense of disbelief and confusion. This mars any attempt at sincere acceptance. Perhaps, in final analysis, it is a blessing in disguise, for any preacher of any persuasion would swiftly tell of the likely evils lurking in the psyche of a nation that believes it has a second chance to atone for sin, or a third, a fourth. Perhaps there’s a universal conspiracy to ridicule proof of other realms for that very reason.
Finally, there are the powerful ones. Those who draw their powers of magic from sources both in the physical reality and others. Those who possess the extraordinary ability to send mind and soul in temporary symbiosis out of body to discover new sources of inspiration and to garner new talents. These are sorcerers, necromancers and, yes, occasionally a drugged individual who finds that place where all holds fall away. The latter is generally scorned, unless the drugged state is deliberately induced for religious or prophetic ceremonies; the former choose not to reveal much. Power is personal … or cannot be shared.
The realms are open to all. Bright, stupid, good, evil, fanatics, atheists, moderates, ghouls and God-fearers, the clowns of every society, as well as those of serious mind. There is no distinction, no test that must be passed. However, conversely, there is a distinction of another kind. There are realms that admit featureless souls into an etheric type of reality, while there are those that admit the soul into a space where it is again physical, the body reformed. These are realms that allow return to a previous mortal reality, including reincarnates, and then there are those spaces that cannot be exited. It hinges on choice, although most often choice is unknowing and in the unconscious.
In this way those who trust in heavenly bliss after death will indeed achieve it, if deserving, while those who never truly thought about it would tumble into a place where much is familiar. An indecisive soul may find a realm where every moment of eternity presented a choice of some kind … and so on. A mean person would forever spin bombarded by taunts and mishaps. An evil soul believing in the concept Hell would descend into that netherworld. Choice determines all – as in life, so in death.
The Enchanter broke all those rules.
A reincarnate by choice, achieving rebirth without assistance, his visits to the invisible realms were too brief to learn anything, to even see anything, and yet he knew they were there. An Immortal true after his seventh birth, he could no longer die, and yet chose to do so in one reality to reach another. He deliberately chose his realm, knowing little about it. It did not choose him and the destination was not dependent on mortal bent; he chose with a clear mind … and enraged heart. He learned of its existence from a High Priestess of Rebirth on Cèlaver and she warned him that others had returned only due to her interference in the process of death. He would not have that interference – he could well discover he was lost or, worse yet, bound to the realm without a way to leave its confines.
It was exactly what he wanted. He deliberately hurled into a realm virtually sealed, while desiring despite that to return to his previous reality. More astounding, he dragged another in with him, something no one achieved before. He retained his body, leaving no mortal remains on his homeworld – therefore the awful destruction of Torrke – and accomplished the same feat for his companion. He retained his considerable power, the most profound manipulation of all and, finally, he opted for a time-warp reality, something extremely contrary to someone wishing to return home when the task was done.
Ignorant of the invisible realms, knowing only he dared not follow into the one the Darak Or sought to delve into, he chose a place difficult to escape from. If he could not easily leave, then Margus could not either, and that was the ultimate factor. As others found their way to other realms, so the Enchanter found his way into his new reality.
The time had come to finish it with the Darak Or.
One has to wonder what had chosen what.
Had sentient life entering Tennet chosen their worlds or had the worlds chosen them? Why was it the Murs Siric chose Urac with its ironic meaning ‘birdsong’ and then, too, paradise Karakan? Did the settling of Karakan point to something else? Was it possible aeons in exile enabled the Murs to discover and appreciate the gentler side to the universe? Or was it simply long ago human habitation of Karakan that proved a world’s viability?
And the recent arrivals, the Kallanon court of Queen Abdiah, had they chosen the strangeness of Mitrayl deliberately … because it was expedient? Or had the volatile planet called with a contrary, beckoning voice? The Kallanon were on the edge of lava fields where conditions were harsh and threatening. Why there and not the spectacular cool of the mountains with its countless caves? Was it the tempestuousness of that eerie light?
The Mysor. Arachnids feasting for survival on the bleaker. They were soulless and subjugated, but were not created by sorcery. Enhanced, enlarged, bred, yes, but once they were spiders, harmless with the beginnings of intelligence. A large portion of Urac, Plural and Mitrayl was planted with bleaker bulbs to ensure their continuance, strictly controlled by the Murs to ensure loyalty; the Mysor loathed Mitrayl and never went to harvest, thus the Siric left the fields to run riot. The Mysor preferred dry worlds or was it that dry worlds called to them? Whatever it was, their presence on Karakan was due only to the requirements of their gaolers. They confined their kind to Urac, with a small presence on Plural.
And the Valleur, after the original and harmless Mysor, the oldest inhabitants in Tennet. Had they chosen Atrudis or vice versa? Why not Karakan, when that world was abandoned when the Nine came armed with prophecy and Taliesman?
What drew them to Atrudis? Its diversity? Karakan had that also. Or the kinship to worlds left behind? Atrudis was like to Valaris, as Valaris was like to past Valleur worlds, and it, too, had known human occupation. Perhaps it was the sense of recognition and the comfort it brought, or perhaps it was the inherent magic of a natural world, like that of Valaris, that attracted them, a sense of security.
Grinwallin still retained that untouched magic … not Valleur built, not Siric, certainly not human, but there.
Grinwallin was a mystery, one that would call to the One as all mysteries did.
You have read the Arcana books and you know Valaris is a world unspoiled by industry and technology, and yet, by the end of the series Valaris has been discovered, it’s on star maps. As Reaume commences, technology becomes an issue …
There was danger now, more so with every visitor, of technology gaining a stranglehold, but at present it was strictly controlled.
Electricity, now commonplace, relied on solar power, as did hot water. Farming was the mainstay of the economy and used horse and hand as in the past. Travel was the long-winded mode and goods were manufactured in old established ways.
Items such as radios and televisions were putting in an appearance, in itself not a bad thing, but already there were calls for a satellite to facilitate those needs, and that would require industry and the like. Once a satellite was successfully launched, it was a short leap to spacecraft of Valarian design. Nobody desired to sully the countryside with telephone poles and unsightly wires, but that service too was demanded – not the poles, but a system whereby telephonic communication would become a reality, viz. a satellite. Satellites could be procured from elsewhere, designed to suit local needs, but Valaris was a world rich in natural beauty, not money.
Food produced fed the populace and goods were manufactured according to requirement. That would change swiftly if money became the goal. Natural beauty would slowly vanish as it made way to produce more and more and more, and Valarians would become greedy, selfish and uncaring of the environment.
If that state of mind was avoided, still the demand would remain, and that led to what would other worlds think of Valaris if technology was brought in? Would they not anger over the insistence of an unspoilt planet … at their expense? It was potential political dynamite, as it was potential disaster to Valaris’ rich natural inheritance.
These were the very real concerns of the leaders who conversed with Torrullin at the Keep, and there were no simple answers.
Repentance: The state in which forgiveness is asked, in which regret is sincere and the soul releases its monsters.
Absolution: To be granted forgiveness, where the sin is both sincerely forgiven, akin to a second chance, and where the sin is also, more profoundly, forgotten.
Sanctuary: A sanctuary is a sacred place, whether of religion or from a personal ideal, but it is also a place of safety for fugitives, dispossessed, abused and hopeless souls. It is both first and last resort and is a state of mind, as well as a place to lay a weary head.
Bloodline: descent from a common ancestor, parental lineage, family relationship, kinship, racial or national ancestry, direct line of descent, strain, pedigree
Secrets: kept from general knowledge or view, tending not to disclose information, clandestine or confidential, beyond ordinary understanding, mysterious, known or shared only by initiates (rites)
An author friend sent me this (knowing I write big book fantasy!) and we giggled about it because so much is true in these statements (and still I’d read the tale!).
As I went through the list, I thought … hmm, nope, the Lore series doesn’t follow the formula. To prove it (and to make you smile!), here’s the list with my responses inserted. Enjoy!
The Weapons Gallery is pretty broad (I think there’s even a handgun or two) but for the Lore Series swords are the weapon of choice, for the most part. There are longbows and crossbows and magical rope and tech-stars and a whistle also, but swords have the focus.
The LORE Series as a whole, its grand message, is about TIME.
Not time as in time travel (although there is some of that), and not time as in a generational story (yes, there is that, too), but rather the concept.
What is it?
Who made it?
Who measured it?
Do all measure the same?
Is time an imperative?
IS TIME REAL?
Now, when you’re attempting to deal with a complicated and disputable concept, a writer needs characters able to move through time, see time, know time, BE time, and those characters need to, therefore, be either deathless or as near as.
Time is about eras, eons, years, epochs, millennia, days, seconds, minutes and ages. Take your pick, because to an immortal it is highly relative.
The point of this post, though, is a word I came across recently:
Eons are also aeons (a word I love!) and therefore aeonian is pretty self-explanatory, and yet, for some obscure reason, it is new to me (gasp!). And, indeed, I have fallen for this glorious and beautiful word. It exudes the concept TIME.
I want to ask the question I am now asking myself. Should I substitute the word ‘immortal’ for ‘aeonian’ in the Lore books? Perhaps that is too much, a pretentious writer’s trick?
Perhaps an all-new tale is written into the scribe’s imagination!
For readers new to the LORE series, here’s the low down 🙂
There are 3 distinct series – Lore of Arcana / Lore of Reaume / Lore of Sanctum – and each set tells the tale in a different time. Yes, this is, in fact, one series (therefore LORE) and yet each set of 4 books tells a separate story. You can pick up volume 1 of any of the three and start reading from there, but if you desire the greater tale, the grand design, I do suggest starting with Lore of Arcana and journeying through to the end of Lore of Sanctum.
Let’s begin with Arcana’s four:
The Infinity Mantle
There is a darkness coming …
This is the ‘meet and greet’ beginning of it all. In this book you meet the main characters as well as a few extraordinary beings, and adventure with them as their mission begins.
The main setting is the world Valaris, with visits to worlds beyond a Rift.
The Kinfire Tree
Kin is everything
The main character Rayne becomes someone unexpected, and it is soon apparent that his story drives the greater tale as well. Prepare for something new!
Again, Valaris is the place of conflict.
The Drowned Throne
Throne of the Valleur
This is the book of battles! Everything ramps up, and the fighting is intense. Here the mighty Valleur Throne is unveiled, to disastrous consequences.
Look to Aqua Island on Valaris for an epic confrontation!
The Dragon Circle
Of Flame and Fire
The final Arcana book is about loss, betrayal and ultimate change. Here Torrullin stands forth, and prepares for the worlds of hurt awaiting him in Lore of Reaume, and yet there is an ending. The Dragon Circle doesn’t leave you wondering!
While the main tale takes place on Valaris, you will visit both Ardosia and Pendulim as well.
Even as the author, I cried. I cried while writing this particular book and when I read it later as a reader 🙂
Links to all four books are in the sidebar. Happy reading!!
Lore of Reaume’s reading order follows this post.
After Reaume, make a note of Lore of Sanctum’s reading order too 😉
A good friend and reader (you know who you are!) yesterday asked me about the months of Spring for Valaris.
Truth is, Spring’s post went up around the time the question was asked! Due to a long weekend, I spent little time at my computer 🙂 and caught up yesterday!
Still, this led to a discussion about Valaris time. Here, after all, is a bit of a difference from our concept of seasons for Earth. Our local world has 3 months for each season, which means a 12 month year. Valaris, on the other hand, somewhere beyond our skies, has a 4 3 4 3 combination – 14 months.
My friend shared this graphic (thank you!) of a more elliptical orbit, to account for the differences:
This explains it better than my words do 🙂
Valaris follows its magical moon (that magic is for another post) in marking time and seasons.
The calendar is therefore lunar:
14 phases – 14 months
10 days dark of moon and 22 days light – 34 days in a month
A 476-day year.
The two equinoxes fall on a Full Moon, while the two solstices are at Dark Moon’s beginning. Valaris, therefore, has a longer counted year than other worlds, but in actual time elapsed it is a close parallel; the globe spins between light and dark a mite faster, gifting each day a total of approximately 19 hours.
Being approximate, the months lose to the phases of the moon each year, and thus every sixth year winter and summer loses a day to realign. On Valaris, too, it is called a leap year.
The year therefore ends on the winter solstice, the first night of Dark Moon on the last day of Blizzird. Thus, it is not only the winter solstice; it is also New Year’s Eve.
Valaris follows our northern hemisphere trend, counting the year from winter through the seasons back to winter. Valaris, as continent on world, lies entirely in the northern hemisphere.
Out there, in the wider universe, worlds are both large and small, and all behave differently in their local spaces. Orbits are never exact and same, and distances from the star that gifts light and life are different as well. The statement above ‘a longer counted year than other worlds, but in actual time elapsed it is a close parallel’ doesn’t make sense, if one wants to be either scientific or pedantic about it.
Valaris, in its present, is a human world, however, and the time comparisons therefore refer to worlds they are able to settle and thrive upon. The timing of worlds beyond comprehension is something else entirely!
So I’m sitting here and thinking about enemies. Not mine (hope I don’t have any!) but the enemies that populate tales of all kinds.
Having mentioned before how I deal with the classic concept of having a Dark Lord in my series, I thought I’d do a post about the antagonists in Lore.
A list, not a massive expose (an expose will take an entire book!)
The four Arcana books concentrate on Margus, the Darak Or, and his soltakin army, and Infinity, the dara-witch, and her darklings.
The four Reaume books are about Neolone, Dragon, and the return of an enemy believed killed in the Arcana series.
The four Sanctum books are a little more complicated, but the main antagonists are the Warlock of Digilan and the Timekeeper.
Enemies in fiction are great to write about! With them you are able to let go. We will be expounding (only a little!) about each of these, but meanwhile grab yourself a copy of THE INFINITY MANTLE for only 99c and begin this epic journey!