Current WIP

Cover image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

BLOOD RAIN – Origin Stories (Feb 24, 2022)

Life

There is debate about the origin of human life. As there are different religions, there are different beliefs, but they all center around the Serpents and Serpents Passage.

War of the Serpents

Every 1,000 years, the Serpents awake and battle. During their 10-year-war, they destroy entire villages and kill livestock. The survivors spend the next 10 years mating. This is when they are vulnerable to attack.

Magic

Magic unused withers and dies.

Many stories exist about the origins of magic. Some say that magic users are the human form of the serpents. Others say that magic users are servants of the Serpents, doing their bidding until they rise from The Great Sleep. However, there is consensus that all magic users are without soul.

The origin of the Soulless

It took humankind nine years after the first recorded War of the Serpents to organize. 95 of the best warriors and 5 of the best fighting slaves gathered from various villages to travel to Serpents Passage to wage war against the Serpents, and hopefully, end their wars that threatened humankind’s way of life.

These 99 men and 1 woman traveled to the entrance of the Passage and crept inside.

The fire on their torches crackled and battled the wind as they separated to follow the different tunnels to the Serpents’ lair.

The tunnels led to a central cave with a glowing pool of water. Surrounding the pool were large stone carvings of the serpents, curled as if in rest. A few stone serpents were coiled around boulders shaped like large eggs.

At first, the warriors believed that the stone serpents were carved by humans, but one of the slaves pressed his ear against the stone. It was warm, and there was a steady thump of what he later reasoned was a heartbeat.

The warriors fanned out, each resting their ear against the stone carvings. Most of the carvings were hard, and their swords were unable to penetrate or scratch the surface; but, a handful hadn’t yet fully hardened, and those, the warriors attacked.

Their swords fell against the softer carvings, and blood sprayed free, painting the ground red.

The warriors shouted their joy at finally being able to have revenge against the beasts who killed so many of their kind.

But the woman warrior was uneasy. She voiced her concern that they hadn’t killed them all. She worried that the Serpents were just sleeping, and that they had only killed the few whose skin hadn’t yet hardened to stone. She also worried that the egg-like boulders were hatchlings awaiting birth.

A few shared her concern, but it was agreed that there was nothing more they could do. So, they filled their waterskins at the pool and returned to the entrance of the Passage to await sunlight for their journey back to their villages.

Stomach cramps woke the warriors during the night. Soon, the entire camp of men were alert, weapons raised and searching for their attacker.

The warriors who had drank from the pool were shedding their clothes and complaining of feeling overheated. Their cries echoed through the mouth of the Passage as their bodies burned from the inside.

Those who had not drunk from the pool gathered their weapons and ran, screaming for forgiveness and mercy from the Serpents.

But 5 remained. Three warriors (2 men and the 1 woman) and 2 of the slaves struggled to move. Their limbs were too heavy to lift, and the skin on their forearms and torsos hardened. Their eyelids became to heavy to open and their mouths froze in a silent scream that would last 100 years.

It was the woman who first broke out of her stone shell. A thirst like she had never known propelled her to the pool of glowing water. She drank, and when she lifted her head, another warrior had emerged. Then the slaves, and soon all were free, drinking from the pool.

They waited until first light before they began their descent from The Passage back to the nearest village, but when they arrived, the land was bare like nothing had ever existed there; so, they continued.

The 5 arrived at a village some days later and, at first, were greeted as failed hunters who had gotten lost as they had nothing but the weapons on their backs. But as the 5 began to ask questions about the other warriors who had managed to escape, the villagers shied away from them.

Early the next morning, the 5 were woken by the village warriors calling them evil servants sent from the Serpents to spread lies and ill will. The village warriors told the 5 they must leave and never return.

The 5 were backing away, looking for a safe way to escape when one of the village warriors ran at one of the slaves with his sword. The slave put up his hand as if to block the attack when an invisible wall appeared, cracking the man’s sword as a gush of wind pushed the village warriors back.

All was quiet for a brief moment before the village warriors attacked.

The 5 defended themselves using their weapons and following their instincts to unleash human magic upon the world for the first time.

The 5 easily defeated the village warriors and left the survivors to rebuild.

The 5 wandered the land, piecing together that they had been missing close to 100 years. Realizing that they could never return to their homes, they roamed until they finally settled in the Isle of Whispers and started new lives and families, their magic passing on to their offspring.

soul Magic (the SoulLess)
  1. The ability to communicate with others through dreams and sometimes see the future.
  2. The ability to manifest one’s will into a shield wall or the wind.
  3. The ability to draw on someone’s newly departed soul to manifest elemental magic or to experience the moments leading up to someone’s death.
    • Only the very powerful can draw from a living soul to manifest even more potent elemental magic. This person is called “Soul Render” and is as feared as they are revered.

The cost of level 2 and 3 magic is a small portion of one’s soul.

The more powerful the magic, the larger portion of a soul is required.

Souls, however, replenish. After a powerful spell, the caster must rest to replenish their soul, their strength.

BLOOD RAIN – The Map (Feb 9, 2022)

Still labeling the territories

This story centers around The Crag. The Crag was created at the end of the 20-year War of the Serpents. It created a divide between the north and the south, affecting travel and trade. It gave border territories more power and wealth as seafaring became the most timely (and in some cases the only) way to travel.

It is rumored that the body of one of the serpents is in The Crag. Some say its hibernating while others say it’s the serpent’s burial place.

BLOOD RAIN – Ayel, The Protagonist (Feb 7, 2022)

I’ve not started the actual first draft yet because the story is still coming to me. A lot of what I had written in the original manuscript is good in terms of plot progression, but it is not right for the updated manuscript. The original story lacks characterization and a sense of setting. I introduce far too many elements of the world without first grounding the reader into a scene. There is no time to acclimate yourself before you are thrust into another scene.

The story needs to slow down without losing momentum or its sense of urgency.

Wandryl World building

The Wandryls, a nomadic tribe of former slaves who fought their way to freedom after the 20-year War of the Serpents, settled in the The Yemeen Flats. They are a mix of cultures and languages, races and beliefs who came together because of a shared goal: to protect their freedom at all costs to ensure their children are able to live a life defined by their wants, not those of a master.

The Yemeen Flats sits on the border of Damaan, a kingdom known for its fast vessels, even faster swords, and their intolerance of outsiders. However, the Wandryl Chief negotiated an agreement with them: if the Wandryls remained out of sight, did not fish from their waters, never entered Damaan territory or poach from their fields, they were free to live without threat of attack.

But The Yemeen Flats is a hard land when fresh water isn’t easily accessible. Only a few patches can be farmed out of sight from the river’s edge, and with more escaped slaves turning up at their borders seeking refuge, they are quickly running out of food to feed them all.

The Wandryls’ army consists mostly of half-trained former slaves with just enough skilled fighters to lead them. As a people, they have a choice to make: find a new land they can farm with natural defenses to make attack difficult or will turn away any more slaves who’ve managed to escape and are seeking refuge.

Ayel, Who is she?

Ayel is daughter to the leader of the Wandryls and the first female with a fighting prowess known only to those born of the Old Guard. It is her unique fighting abilities that has maintained their borders and kept potential threats away from them.

Ayel’s Goal

To find out if The Isle of Whispers is still uninhabited and determine if the Wandryls should relocate there.

If yes, then the Wandryls will need to devise a strategy to migrate their entire clan through hostile territories and to get safely established in their new home.

If no, then where could they go?

BLOOD RAIN – The World Map (Feb 3, 2022)

Here’s a snapshot of what the world looks like. The printed map is the original from 2010, but since then, I’ve simplified it. I didn’t want a body of water to separate the north from the south; and so, I created The Crag.

The Crag is a massive gorge resulting from an earthquake. It’s too deep to navigate and too wide to build a bridge across.

I’ve simplified and reduced some of the lands. I’ve expanded some territories while completely getting rid of others. There is still a lot of open space available, and that’s one of the smaller aspects of this story: there’s more land to conquer, but holding on to it will be no easy feat.

How the characters have Evolved Since Jan 2022

I’ve spent some time rereading the old manuscript, and there are a lot of scenes that I like. There are quite a few that I will have to get rid of. Firstly, the pacing moves too fast. It’s one event after the next with no character development or sense of setting.

Being able to spot the difference between how I would write a story over a decade ago and how I tell a story today is quite gratifying. There has been a lot of growth.

In the original manuscript, the main character’s name was Priya, but then in later drafts, I changed it to Ryana. While I do like that name, I feel like Ryana was a different character with different motivations. She had yet to find a mate and have a family. There were some aspects of Ryana’s persona that make her ill fitted for this updated story I want to tell. Therefore, I’ve decided to stick with the name Ayel.

Also in the original manuscript, Ryana had a twin brother, Aryson. (His original name was Persi—yes, I vomited in my mouth a little when I read that recently—but then I switched it at the same time I changed Priya’s.) I haven’t decided whether to keep his character; although, there are some positives (mostly around humor) for keeping him. I am toying around with making him the forbidden (but definitely exercised) love interest of Ayel’s childhood friend, Tweet. (More to come on Tweet later.) So, there is a role for him to play, but I need to make sure it’s a sustainable one. Can I flesh him out wholly? Can he serve a true purpose other than to exist as a prop for Ayel? The answer needs to be yes if he’s to survive the rewrite.

Ryana’s best friend and confidant was Aryson in the original manuscript. But given that Ayel was married and a mother, it felt more right that her close friend be female. It should be someone with whom she’d have more shared experiences.

Interestingly, though, the Wandryls are a people who value capability over traditions and propriety. Women are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Gender roles are quite pragmatic and are based on individual strengths and capabilities.

Edrisyll

I do not like the name Edrisyll, but I don’t know what to change it to. Edrisyll just doesn’t feel right. The issue is I’m still working out his character. I want him to be a loner and to have lived the life of the youngest male heir, and therefore, mostly overlooked and under valued.

Edrisyll is a powerful asset on the battle field, but his magic is slow to wield and often not valued as much as it should be by his family.

His father figure is going to be Jordain. More on both these characters later.

BLOOD RAIN – an epic fantasy series (Jan 4, 2022)

What’s in a name?

Ayel is daughter to the leader of the Wandryls, a nomadic tribe of former slaves who fought their way to freedom. The first female born to the Old Guard, she’s known for her unique fighting style and has helped her people defend their way of life.

But lasting freedom is not without sacrifice.

The Gormuls, an industrious and thought-to-be ruthless empire, are making their way north of The Crag. Their advance threatens the rule of the five Northern families who settled the land and brought peace and prosperity after the War of the Serpents.

Edrisyll, third in line to the Stonefort throne and one of the few remaining Battle Mages, knows if the North waits for the Gormuls to reach their lands, it’ll be too late.

With the Sisterhood guiding him, he’s their best hope at averting a war. But even the Sisters can’t see everything. Sometimes, history is determined not by the chosen one, but a single woman with the will of many.

Main Character

Ayel is the first of The Old Guard to be born female. Her strength can be measured by the quality of her tribe. She lives in a time when physical prowess is highly valued. Life is hard. There are monsters, metaphorical and literal.

Only the adaptive survive.

Her mastery in battle has secured her people’s freedom, but now a different battle awaits. One she’s never trained for and cannot see coming.

She’s been a mother and a wife, but now she is fallow. Suffering and death are her constant travel companions, and she yearns for death but to take her life would to defile her ancestors and curse her surviving line for generations.

There is no strength in death, only in survival.

2nd Main Character

Edrisyll is the third in line to the Stonefort throne and the first male born to the Sisterhood, a group of women bonded through the gift of sight. They are the keepers of the True Past and the unseen protectors of mankind.

All that you see is not all that there is.

One of the few remaining Battle Mages, Edrisyll was trained in magical combat and has secured his families status among the 5 northern ruling kingdoms.

He’s been hunted by the other kingdoms who lost their Battle Mages in war and have not had one born in their lands for decades.

Uniqueness is blessing to its curse and a curse to its blessing.


4 thoughts on “Current WIP

  1. Brittany Sumpter January 4, 2022 — 3:25 pm

    I can’t wait to read this

    1. Thanks. I’ll be sharing a little something each week as I begin this exciting new series.

      1. I need alerts because I don’t want to miss a moment. This is epic!

      2. Thank you! I’ll show you how to do that!

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