Category Archives: The Sageward Exordium

World of Eldath: Magic, the Blessed, and the Learned

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Many scholars throughout the years have attempted to discern exactly what magic is and where it came from.  Its effects have been studied by the School of Magical Arts, the Conclave in the Sevenlands, and even the Minsdurim Academy, upon occasion.  There are multiple books on the subject, the foremost among them being Garland’s Song of the Fabric of Creation.  Still, at the time that this report is being written, this scholar has found no invention, scientific method, or even a magical device that can test the essence of magic and tell us what it really is and where it came from.

The accepted view by most laymen is that magic is the “fabric of creation” or the “material of creation” left over from when the Gods forged the world.  Such a simplistic explanation can be credited to the Epics of the Gods and the mythology that most religious texts perpetuate.  The general idea, explained by a Devlan Devotee, is that Evmir shaped the world and everything we see from a magical base material.  The phrase so often repeated is that he  “commanded the world come forth from the ether”.  When asked exactly what magic is, or what the “ether” is, most religious explanations fail to satisfy, as they so often do.  If one wants to learn of magic, one must go to a wizard.

According to representatives of the Conclave of Wizards, children who are born with an inherent connection to magic, referred to as “Blessed”, begin to show signs of the power between the ages of seven and fourteen years.  This range is not as accurate as it could be; the Conclave admits that some children may go for years using magic undiscovered by their scouts or their parents.  The manifestation seems to correlate directly with the children aging into sexual maturity, though there have been cases which seem to show no correlation.  Sometimes trauma has been shown to be a direct factor as well, though those cases are rare.  Findings from the School of Magical Arts directly support the information from the Conclave.

Magic is described by wizards as having an empathetic nature.  It apparently responds to emotions felt by magic users, and those emotions can either intensify, confuse, or entirely null the effects of their intended spells and evocative castings.  By their own admission, the use of magic can be a very dangerous undertaking.  Wizards have been known to lose control of their powers and kill themselves–or others–because of the emotional factors at play, though the Conclave assures me that such things are rare and easily controlled and prevented through proper training.  Strenuous mental discipline is the best deterrent, according to those who traffic in the use of magic.

Magic apparently responds to outside stimuli as well.  It has been shown to resonate differently with different materials, such as brass, stone, various gems, and even water.  Mathematical and geometrical formulas seem to evoke a response from magic, as do certain shapes in nature, the most common of which is the circle.  This scholar had heard rumors of a great circle constructed in the bowels of the Conclave called the Crux, but any reference to it, or request to see it, was met with denial.

The most interesting magical reaction seems to be with music.  Apparently musical tones have an intense effect on magic, and the Conclave has studied the phenomenon for a long period of time.  They have found that the most interesting reactions seem to come from entire compositions of music rather than individual tones, as if the music produces an emotional response from magic, as ridiculous as that sounds.  The theory seems to hold water when compared with the earlier knowledge that magic responds to emotions from those who use it.  The two phenomenon seem to be intertwined somehow, though sufficient time and effort would be needed to study it further.

Magic seems to be able to perform almost any action the wizard can imagine, though the boundaries of such power are blurry and undefined at best.  Most wizards seem to operate on their own preconceived notions about nature, and such a thing can be a serious deterrent to studying magic’s full potential.  Some of the more mundane uses for magic, such as moving large objects or producing a small light from nothing, can be as simple or as complicated as the mind of the wizard wielding the power.

This scholar personally listened to two different explanations on how one would move a rock with magic.  One wizard preferred to simply seize the rock with his “Kai”, as he put it, and move the thing a small distance.  He explained that in his mind, he pictured carrying the stone in a large, invisible hand.  The second spoke of an invisible force holding the rock to the ground already, and he simply pictured himself coaxing the force to let go for a small amount of time while he moved the rock.  The results were the same, though the methods were clearly different.

Wizards do seem to have a limited amount of endurance for using magic.  Each person would appear to have a different threshold for holding a certain amount of power, and it has been determined by the Conclave that every wizard grows slowly stronger over time.  Exposure to the power also seems to lengthen the lifespans of all wizards, though it is said that most older magic users retreat from society in order to better commune with the strange energy.  It is also said that wizards heal faster than normal people, and are more resistant to disease, though the factor by which this happens is minimal.  It has been demonstrated to this scholar that magic also cannot heal any ailment with reliable results.  The two things may be connected, and that subject may warrant further study in the future.

It is possible for those born without the ability to touch magic to gain it through careful study and training.  In the Sevenlands they call those wizards the “Learned”.  The differences between Learned and Blessed magic users stop at the method by which they gained use of the power.  There appears to be no correlation between the method of training and the final ability and strength of any wizard in question.  This would suggest that physical properties and breeding do have some effect on these phenomenon, though those effects have yet to be studied.

From A Treatise on Magic and its Effects, by the Magister Sir Umril Genhardt, of the Tauravon Archive.  Written in the year 1066, archived in 1067.

Hope you guys enjoyed that little tidbit about the setting.  I’ll be uploading little blogs like this to help flesh out the story for you guys, as the World of Eldath will be an ongoing setting for stories long after the Seven Signs is finished.  More news on this to follow, and I’ll talk to you guys soon.

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What the Hell is Beneath the Burning Sky?

Beneath the Burning Sky

Now available on Kindle for FREE until 6 July

So, this morning I had what you might call a moment of intense panic.

I always do, before publishing or running a promotion.  I spend days poring over everything, trying to fix all the problems, streamlining things, and generally pulling my beard out.  I can be very intense when it comes to my writing, and I tend to get wrapped up in things.  The last four or five chapters of my book usually go in a couple of weeks–and my readers know that means hundreds of pages.

I’m the kind of writer that can’t really produce much on a subject or story that doesn’t mean something to me.  So whenever I start a promotion and I start to see downloads happening, I have this moment where my brain does a little back-flip and I think “Ye Gods, someone is actually going to read this thing.”  I doubt my every decision that led to me putting it out there.

What is Beneath the Burning Sky and The Sageward Exordium?  Well, you might call it Military Fantasy.  Or, you might call it Science Fantasy…or maybe Military Science Fantasy.  It’s not quite Steampunk and it’s not Contemporary.  To tell the truth, I have a hard time putting it into a category that can describe it in essence.

Bear with me while I attempt to describe the setting.  Imagine the world of The Seven Signs around 600 years into its future–a time perhaps comparable to WWI.  Things have evolved considerably, including magic and those who use it.  Magic has weaved itself into technology, and vice-versa, and this strange marriage has created a truly unique setting to tell a good story.

There’s also a huge conflict going on between two opposing factions on the continent of Alderak.  War has been raging for an entire generation, and as we all know, war is a huge driver of innovation.  Something of an arms race has ensued, and both sides are scrambling for advantage.

Beneath the Burning Sky is the story of one soldier and her experiences during a pivotal battle of the conflict.  It’s the first installment in a prologue of stories that will lead up to the release of a new series.  The Sageward Exordium is the prologue, and is itself a series of short stories.

You’re writing a series of prologues?  Yes, as crazy as that sounds.  When I came up with the ideas for the upcoming series, the first thing I did was sit down and start fleshing the idea out.  Once I got to the point where I needed to put something on paper, I realized that the prologue to the actual book would be huge, considering the backstory that needs to be told.  In short, it would be as large as an every day novel on its own, so that’s why I decided to put the prologue out as a serial.  The Sageward Exordium is the prologue–it’s just in serial format.

So you’ve described the setting, but what is The Sageward Exordium truly about?  Well, the Exordium itself is just the bedrock for a larger plot arc.  But taken with the series it precedes, I would say that what the story is really about is war itself and the larger effects it has on those who wage it.  Each installment in the serial will tell the story of one of the main characters and what happened to them on the same day, during the same fight.

I wanted to tell a good war story, and I wanted to do it in an exciting way.  But, as a veteran myself, I know the real-world effects that war has on people.  I’ve seen some of that in real life, and so I wanted to tell a deeper story than one of blood and glory.  It will certainly have plenty of that, but there will also be larger implications at hand, and deeper emotional ramifications for the characters in the story.

How many installments are there in The Sageward Exordium?  Right now there are five planned installments, but I reserve the right to add another as they come to me.  I’ve written a number of very interesting characters, but the project is still in the infancy stages at this point.  I plan on putting a new one out every four to six months during the times when I just can’t stand to write another chapter of The Seven SIgns (haha).  The Exordium has to be planned to coincide with the larger series it will precede, so it can be slow-going at times.  It’s a story that speaks to me on a very deep level, though, so I have a feeling that it will be huge.

The Seven Signs is pretty big.  Will the new series be that large, as well?  In a word–bigger.  The rough plot line I’m working with now puts me right at about five books, though those books won’t be quite as large as your basic Seven Signs book–which come in at about 340,000 words.  These will be around 150,000-200,000 apiece.  Which is still huge, I know.  The Seven Signs is Epic Fantasy, which is supposed to be huge.  The new series, though, may be chopped down a bit.  It all depends on what happens during the developmental edits, too.  So stay tuned!

I hope that answers a few questions about Beneath the Burning Sky.  As always, don’t forget to like me on Facebook, check out my website to join The Conclave–my mailing list–and follow me on Twitter.  Much love to all of you, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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Independence Day Weekend FREE Promotion

Beneath the Burning Sky

Now available on Kindle for $0.99!

Starting on the 3rd and ending on the 5th, Beneath the Burning Sky will be free on Amazon.  What better way to celebrate our history than by reading a military fantasy?  On top of the BBQ and beer, of course.

So look for Beneath the Burning Sky this weekend on Amazon, and get your copy here for FREE.

Don’t forget to sign up for The Conclave on my website, look me up on Goodreads and Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.  Like, share, and all of that nonsense.

Beneath the Burning Sky

Today I’d like to announce the first in a long serial set hundreds of years after the events in the Seven Signs.

I’ve hinted around here and there at a large project I’ve got brewing, and Beneath the Burning Sky is the starting point for something epic–yes, even bigger than the Seven Signs.  I won’t reveal too much at this point, but you can bet that things have changed.  There’s a much larger story arc at work than what is featured in this short ebook, but the rest of the serial will be released in the next couple of years as the Seven Signs is finished.

Some of you may remember the character featured in Beneath the Burning Sky.  I hope you like her.  She’s going to be around for a long time.

For now, this serial will be for Kindle readers only, as it is enrolled in KDP Select.  That will change eventually, and the books will become available for other platforms, as well.  So if you’re a Kindle reader, then hop on over to Amazon and get your copy today for just $0.99!

You can buy it here.

From the blurb…

The war between the Alliance of Sovereign Nations and the Revealed Empire has been raging for nearly an entire generation.  The Alliance, despite how hard it has fought, has been unable to stop the Empire’s inexorable advance.  But the conflict will soon come to a head, and both sides will put everything they have on the field.

These are the stories from the front.

Beneath the Burning Sky

Now available on Kindle for $0.99!