Tag Archives: air ships

Web Fiction: Smiling Krakken Part One

I was at a Convention this weekend, so I did not get anything done then.  So for this week’s blog post, here is the first in a Series of Web Fiction in the same world as “The Allmother’s Fire”.

The problem with sword fighting while falling from one flying ship to another was the wind kept whipping Noviani’s hair in her face.  Well, that probably wasn’t the one problem with it, the lithe Air Pirate Captain admitted to herself as she spread out her arms and legs, hoping the wind would catch her pantaloons and allow her to glide slightly to the right so that she would land on the rapidly approaching deck below her and not miss it, plummeting to her death when she would eventually fall into the Sun Below.

The large brute that was slightly above her and relatively horizontal was another problem, she conceded.  More likely the large cutlass he brandished at her repeatedly was the true issue, and she had to spastically crane her head and flail her limbs away from him rapidly so as not to lose them, breaking how she was trying to position herself to catch the wind.  Fire seemed to erupt from her shoulder as the tip of his weapon shallowly scratched Noviani there, slicing effortlessly through her silken sleeve.  Thankfully he was not of noble blood, so that fire was a figurative feeling, and not a literal flame burning her skin.

“DIEYOUSCURVYDOG” or some other such nonsense was screamed at her by the First Mate of the Sky’s Embrace, the grandiose ship the two of them were descending from.  Another shallow cut slashed through her other sleeve, and blood began to freely splash out, obscuring her vision almost as much her red hair as it sprayed out everywhere due to the wind.  It was not as much as his aim was true that allowed him to land so many blows, as it was that he had a weapon and all she had really was her pouch on her belt, her silken shirt, and her voluminous pantaloons which did not parry sword swipes well.

Noviani decided to focus on that advantages she did have before she bled to death or the big ox landed a luck blow across her neck, so she used both her hands to pull on the exterior of her pants again, this time as she locked her legs together, mildly imitating a horizontal version of the sails the flying ships those of her profession loved to use.  To her shock it seemed to do as she hoped, and almost immediately she slowed her decent.  This caused her to try to swerve her body, so she did not crash into the large bald cursing moron who was now moving slower than her.

He screamed some sort of impotent threat as she was now above him, and then he finally seemed to focus on what was below him, which was not Noviana’s ship.  This allowed new torrent of cursing to eloquently pass his lips as he missed the Smiling Krakken, and would eventually reach the Sun Below.  If the giant oaf had not thrown both of them off of his ship Noviani would have sympathy for him and his eventual fate, but as he did she allowed a small smile to curve on her lips.  Then she steered herself towards her ship, and saw to her relief the pilot Miano was trying to intercept her as well.

Novianai was definitely stunned when she hit the deck, but something about the strange properties of the wood of the ship that allowed it fly also absorbed most of her energy and she did not break any bones when she hit it.  This allowed her to sit up and laugh, as the crew crowded around her.  Donello, her First Mate approached her and held out his hand as he said, “Good job Captain, did you get it?”

She sprung to her feet, ignoring Donello’s hand and laughed a full and rich laugh as she unbuckled her pouch and responded, “Why yes I did,” and brought out from the pouch a large gold necklace festooned with gems of all colors and sizes.  It seemed to sparkle of it’s own accord, like the Allmother herself was contained within.  Not that the prior owner was particularly religious, considering Noviana had met him in a dingy dive bar on a small floating island the day before.  It had not taken long to get into his bed, and then his personal chest and run out to the deck where she had fired her musket into the sky trusting that her crew had been following the Sky’s Embrace as planned.  The powder had burned bright in the night lit only by the Sun Below, and almost immediately her ship that had been trailing far enough away and below to not be spotted moved towards her, but she had not seen the First Mate who immediately knocked her over the side after she fired the signal.

This did not bother her much now, as she was on her ship and the First Mate would soon be burnt to a crisp, or worse.  Her “Uncle” had taught her how to be a Pirate Captain well, and now it was time to pay him back, for a reasonable finder’s fee of course.  “Miano, loose these feeble dogs, and set course for Lofonzo for our meeting with Captain Bloodeyes the Allmother’s Grace.”  Being a Pirate, who stole from Pirates, to sell to other Pirates was always an adventure.  Noviana had avoided any serious consequences so far, and she was sure she would continue to do so.

He woke up feeling empty.

The screams of almost seconds ago were a fading memory, and the pain that had caused them was gone too.  Something called “The Sky’s Embrace” had meant something to him once too, but even that idea faded away.

There was one thought, one image in his mind.  She had red hair, a pouch that he needed back, and aship that was soon to be dead.  A thing with the memories of the First Mate got to his feet and started to climb up from the well he found himself in.  His fingernails tore, and blood slowly leaked on his hands as he moved up to the surface.  He could feel her approaching, and hopefully it would only be days before his fingers could wrap one final time around her laughing throat.


Fantasy Magic: Internally Consistent or Author Fiat?

When it comes to fantasy, the magic system is often very central.  If not to the plot itself the options available to characters often rely on rules and restrictions of their magic systems.  There are two main types of ways (and many points between those two) authors handle those limitations to their characters.  One is by having a rigorous magic system with it’s own internally consistent rules.  It in essence becomes another type of technology that gives predictable outcomes if one takes specific steps to achieve them.  The other is magic more as mystery or a story device.  If you treat it this way it seems like a capricious force that achieves things without the reader or character being able to know why, or the character being able to replicate the same effect again.

A lot of older fantasy fiction and myths occur like the later description.  Magic in stories was a way to have the mysterious or even frightening happen. Those that could use it would be rare, and follow more the paths of a mythological hero than anything else. Early fantasy fiction followed this.  For example Gandalf as a wizard does very little that the modern day would consider “magical” in the Lord of the Rings.  He fights with his sword more than anything else, and most of his wizard abilities were small, illusory, or using obscure lore.  He could however suddenly do things completely unexpected and not foreshadowed, like essentially coming back from the dead.  Even greek and norse gods seemed to only have the abilities that fit the needs of the specific tales they were in.  The one exception to this was at times magic items would do the same things every time, whether it be a ring of invisibility or a spear that causes thrones to sprout out of it’s target.

Modern fantasy seems to be more informed by the fact that many of its readers have been role playing gamers, or played video games or other media which are influenced by specific rules. There is still some leeway for surprise effects, like letting a character have fire magic without codifying each and every use of this before it happens.  Then the mage who normally throws fireballs at its enemy can summon a firestorm and go unconscious from the fire during he final battle (or even burn themselves up) without it seeming “deus ex machine” or to occur by fiat.  Some authors (such as Brandon Sanderson) might add appendixes so you know exactly the limitations and abilities of each “branch” of fantastical powers available.

Whichever you choose, it’s best to stick to one of them, or whatever place you decided in between, the whole series.  If people can use their abilitiesonly  in certain logical ways most of the times, but at key story climax times unexpected capricious things happen it can leave a reader feeling frustrated.

The mysterious version is best if you want the characters themselves and most of the denizens of their world afraid or awed by magic.  If almost no one knows how it works then it gives a feeling of amazement when it does show, or if it works differently every time even those using it cannot rely on it for they do not know what effects will happen when they use it.  Many dark fantasies like Game of Thrones and Chronicles of Covenant make magic either rare or capricious, so that no one relies on it for they never know what outcomes will happen.  If a main character uses it even they should be afraid to use those abilities for dark consequences may happen.

Those that want to build a world different but similar enough to our own will often choose to have their magic systems following laws our minds can understand.  As stated before this is common to those who come to fantasy from genres outside of older literature (comics, video and role playing games, similarities to some sciences, etc) often expect it. In these worlds magic is less a taboo dark force than it is a consistent tool that just could not exist in our own universe.  This is a great system to use when also crating world with culture or flavors like our own (something that feels Victorian, renaissance Italian, ancient Celtic), etc sicne our minds accept it in the same way we would accept a weapon or other tool a culture uses that we do not.


What is your preference for magic systems in your fantasy literature?

1)Open and unreliable

2)Defined and methodical

3)Whatever works for the book it is in since as long as it is consistent.

4)Don’t care at all.

Book Update:

I am probably about 60% through the first draft of Rise From the Sun Below, the second Allmother’s Fire book.  In the conceptual stage I am deciding what series to do next, between two different series, and a standalone book idea.

World Info:

Bodies of water are an interesting thing in this universe.  There are no oceans, so most water is confined to well spots or occasionally canals and streams.  Streams do go off the island, but instead of falling down into the Sun Below they careen back to the under portions of the island and then go back into the steams and different points.  If one wanted to they could try to pilot a small boat of the side of an island, but no knows if they would make it back up the island again, or careen down into the sun below.

A few islands actually have large lakes, and this is the closest anyone in the universe has to Oceans.  There are tales of islands that have lakes large enough to be similar to our Oceans, yet no one has ever been able to map how to go there, so it may just be a tale. It is certainly spoken of in the past of lakes large enough to be Oceans, and if this is not true then it is curious why airships looks almost exactly like ships that in our world would cross the Oceans.  Some whisper that this is just one more mystery suppressed by the Allmother’s church.

Cover Art Part I: The Art!

Without much further ado ladies and gentlemen : The Cover!

Book 1 Cover

I’m very pleased with it, and it is way beyond my expectations.  The interview of Tatiana, the artist, whose choice easily won my poll will occur this weekend.  I will probably be able to post that early next week, hence why today’s blog is part 1.

So while I wait for that interview I wanted to go just a little into what I liked about it so much. Originally I wanted to focus on the ship, as it was an iconic part of the book.  However when I got the first rough draft back the island so overtook the ship in terms of visual impression to me that I had her reduce the ships importance drastically.  Not to mention that the floating island showed off some of the uniqueness of the world even more than the ship does.

You will also notice two light sources, and this is due to their being the Sun Above and the Sun Below in this book, which the artist incorporated into the final version of the piece.  The font also is striking, and gives the book a slightly different feel then others, and tied into why I fell in love this with this cover.

Book status updates: both versions of the book, the kindle version and the one with my publisher are being formatted right now.  The process will probably take a little over a week for each, so I doubt I will have much news to give on either version next week, but does mean optimistically I will probably beat my July deadline of getting it published foreseeing anything major.

Before I go onto my poll I wanted to share another tidbit about the world since I have gotten to private emails about wanting to know about the Allmother (hey everyone, you can sue the polls for that too : ) ) and her church in this world.  Basically it has many similarities to the Catholic church during the Renaissance era but there are a few major differences too.  One, they worship a creator who is female and therefore the Priestesses in this church are too.  Most women except the poorest families either become priestesses or marry, so it is one of the few ways women have power in this society.  Another difference is instead of having one written book they have a collection of songs and tales told orally.  There are written versions of these tales but the primary ways they are passed on is through song in the church.  Although there are other differences the last I will bring up here is one of the main ways a woman born into poverty can have any amount of control of her life is if she is adopted as a ward of the church, and then eventually becomes a Priestess at that same church.

Now for the poll:

This is kinda meta, it’s a poll about polls.  I have noticed a drop off in the past few polls, so I wonder if people still want them.  Here are the choices.

1)Yes, polls every post please.  I just like answering polls.

2)Continue polls sometimes, but not every post needs a poll.

3)We don’t really need polls anymore.  They were fun when helping with the process and affecting how the book would turn out, but I would rather only see them if it was that level of impact again.

Also as always, the directions I take this blog depend upon what is said in the comments below!

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