Friday, 29 April 2016

The Promised Answers

I just wanted to take a moment to say a few words of thanks. Over the last week I’ve had some really lovely and quite humbling feedback on the few posts I’ve done so far. I’m over the moon that there is a genuine level of interest in what I’m doing here, and I’ve been asked many interesting and insightful questions that have not only given me the chance to express my love for what I’m doing here, but also to hone and refine this universe in my own mind. I’ve also had a few people request I post about certain aspects of Esdaria and The World that have not yet been touched upon, which I am all-too happy to do. I'm going to take this entry as a chance to asnwer a few of the questions I've been asked over the last few days.

First of all, the big one: yes, I have two short(ish) stories written. Though they are only both first drafts, because they are not hundreds of thousands of words long, they will not take long for me to proof read and edit. Hopefully, the first one will be ready for your enjoyment in a week - maybe less. Fingers crossed!

The first short(ish) story concerns one of the main protagonists from the two extended pieces of writing I am currently completing. Bastard-born, but parents now happily wed, Hugh Fortescue is the son of Earl Jacob Fortescue. Forced by imperial law to carry a bastard’s name, the story begins with a nervous, ten-year-old Hugh waiting for one of the most important days of his life to begin. The few hours of Hugh’s life that this story cover are completely fundamental in the formation of his character which, thirty years later, my extended work focuses on. Aside from being a joy to write, I hope that it will also provide a thoroughly thrilling read.  

The second short(ish) story comes from an entirely different angle: it follows Daith Drakensang, one of the leaders of a gang of thugs operating in the much-neglected imperial province of Altmeria. The story takes place in the city of Baradun, where the wealthy have everything they could ever want, and the poor own nothing. It follows Daith as he finds himself thrust into a war of subterfuge that plagues the siege-shattered streets of the city’s poorest district: Deadtown. Again, this was fun to write. There's a tendency in fantasy literature for the protagonist to be whiter-than-white and sickeningly good. It's was interesting writing from the perspective of - for use of a better phrase - a complete asshole.

Another question I’ve been asked concerns my influences for Aethwyrd’s Vidorian Geographies. Tellingly so, Aethwyrd’s account of the continent of Esdaria was, for the most part, conducted from behind a desk. The scholar in question never saw much of the world which he details. Strabo (c. 64 BC – c. 24 AD) whose Geographica was written sometime between 20 and 7 BC, composed much of his work - which covered nearly all of Europe, parts of the Middle East, Russia and North Africa - having seen very little of it. His account is thoroughly based upon second-hand sources, yet there is still a small degree of accuracy in his work: he described Britain as ‘triangular in shape; and its longest side stretches parallel to Celtica [Ireland]’.  This is surprisingly common in old writings: Pliny’s Naturalis Historia provides vivid accounts of many animals and living creatures he had never seen, even claiming elephants could not lie down – an error gleefully corrected in the margin of an eighth-century monastic copy of the work by its scribe, who had seen the elephant Abul-Abbas at the court of the Frankish emperor, Charlemagne.

Another thing I have been asked concerns monsters and fantastical creatures. I was questioned recently as to what magical beasts and fiends might appear in these short stories and, quite sheepishly, I had to admit that at present there are none. Given that the two short stories I current have written are set in secure locations (one is a well-fortified castle, the other within a well-walled city), there is little room for wild creatures and terrible monsters. This, however, is set to change. The third short story I currently have planned concerns a young member of the Vidorian inquisition, an order established for the soul purpose of rooting out heretics, magic-wielders, and – exhale with relief – monsters. And don't think for a moment that there aren't all kinds of strange creatures in the extended works, because their pages are packed with monsters and magic.

Another thing I have been asked is if we shall see the return of Odr the Wanderer or Aethwyrd the scholar. The latter, most likely; the former, definitely. To sate your lusts for creatures great and small, I have prepared one of the very letters from which Aethwyrd’s work is drawn, in which Odr is challenged to a game of wit and logic by a fearsome mountain-creature. If this isn’t enough to sate your desires for creatures, I have also today begun to draft a bestiary. If there is anything anyone would like to see put in – and who knows, maybe used in future – feel free to send me a message or comment here.

Thanks again, and keep the questions coming!

No comments:

Post a Comment