This morning, my wife asked me to tell her a story. This is what came out.
On a farm in Northreach, a child was playing alone behind the barn. His carved wooden soldiers were crude and simple, but he loved them anyway. His father had carved some of them, but some – the boy’s favorites – had been made by his father’s father, and despite the wood being worn from two generations of loving handling, those three figures were always the heroes and kings and generals, whatever the story in the boy’s head needed them to be. The day was cold, since winter was not long passed, but much of the snow was gone and behind the barn the ground was dry and free from the mud that seemed to be the main component of the farm during early spring.
Awhile back, I wrote a post about the general nature of magic in the world the Northreach Saga takes place in. Now that Curse’s younger brother (younger in age, but bigger in both scope and word count by a large margin) Storm is done as a first draft and moves to the editing process, I wanted to go into a little greater detail into one of the types of “magic” present in the world, one that takes on a slightly bigger role in Storm.
This is what I said about Devotion Magic in the prior post:
Devotion magic uses the power of an outside spirit, such as a god or demon, channeled through a person devoted to exercising the entity’s will. The applications of devotion magic are many and varied, according the type of spirit being worshipped. A god of peace and plenty may provide his devout followers with curative and blessing spells, while a demon may grant her devotees spells of fire and destruction. Devotion spells are broken down into Spheres, and each individual spirit would have different Spheres that the spirit provides and can influence.
Those familiar with role-playing games know what priests can do. They walk around and heal people. Occasionally they provide protective enchantments to help in battle. They carry blunt weapons and can’t use swords for some reason. The most common explanation one hears for this is some kind of sacred commandment that priests can’t shed blood. Tell you what. I want you take a 6-pound iron club with flanges on the end and smash someone in the head with it – actually, I don’t want you to do that, so let’s say “imagine” it instead. What do you imagine you will find? If you guessed a big bloody mass of pulped flesh, brains, and an awful lot of blood, then congratulations, you win.
Thank you for joining us today on Inside the Zombie Studio, the highest-rated and only show on television after the rise of the walking dead. I am your host, William Tetley.
(audience moans, shuffles)
Joining me today are two of the primary… shall I call them movers? of the zombie fantasy novel, The Curse of Troius. I am honored and pleased to welcome first the Stranger of Daneswall, Daevan. I hope that it wasn’t too much trouble getting through the horde surrounding the building?
Get your Nerd Waders out. This one is gonna be geeky. Like a 7th level Spiritwrack spell geeky. Thou hast been warned.
During a recent author interview (see what I did there!? Didn’t that make me sound all authoritative and cool? Like I’m a big time dude that magnanimously allowed the guy with the white card that says PRESS tucked into his fedora onto my yacht and allowed him to savor the aroma of my pipe and swirled brandy. It was almost exactly like that.)
Anyway, during a recent author interview, I was asked about the nature of magic in the world of The Curse of Troius. It was an interesting question, or at least it was interesting to me, since I never expected it. Magic plays a very subtle background role in Curse, with few “on-screen” demonstrations of spells and wizardly goodness. The zombie plague at the heart of the story is caused by magic, of course, but little of it is described in detail as a process – mostly because I didn’t want to turn it into a story about My Magic System. It was enough for me to show that magic was behind it, then move on the the important stuff like gnashing teeth and spilled innards.
This is the latest excerpt from The Storm of Northreach, the sequel to The Curse of Troius, due out sometime in 2011. As of now, this is unedited, since I wrote it yesterday afternoon. It may reflect that fact. But it does give an idea of what the novels are like without giving anything away, since this the former minstrel Ternn’s first appearance anywhere. Enjoy! Or hate it. I can’t tell you what to do. But you can tell me what you think.
The pouring rain ran in a sheet down Ternn’s seamed and pinched face. He clenched his arms protectively the crude clay jug pressed against the sodden fraying remnants of his shirt. He staggered down the half-flooded road, plodding obliviously through the rank water that had risen from the lowest channels of the refuse canals that cut through the Gutters. At this point, he would have waded through a knee-deep pool of the city’s collected shit in order to reach his favored spot, now that he’d gotten his hands on enough of Icar’s rotgut to keep him in a stupor for a few days. With his treasure, he’d be able to keep the memories haunting him at bay for a little while longer. Read the rest of this entry