I’m late! Sorry everyone–life got busy before I could post this. #^^#
Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday! Today’s focus is on my first ‘verse, the Tormal ‘verse, with a special focus on Violet & Samuel’s story and how I built the world around them. Do bear in mind that there are spoilers in this but given that I haven’t published their trilogy yet they’re not terribly urgent spoilers.
I explained in previous installments about how I created the map for the Tormal ‘Verse and the races that I decided to include in it. But because the world is so large and has so many stories I didn’t get into any details of how I actually went about creating the specifics of this world. So that’s what I’m doing today.
I knew that I had various nations. I knew that I had several races. I had given the countries names and I had vague ideas of who lived in each area. But I hadn’t by any means worked out exactly what the various societies were like.
For example, you’ll notice that one country is labeled S.C.O.I.L. I knew that it was an acronym but I had no idea what it stood for or why that country had an acronym instead of a name. I decided that I needed to have someone who was learning these things at the same time that I was.
Basically, I needed a young character to go on a quest.
But that seemed boring to me. The whole world is set up to be very appropriate for questing, stereotypically so. I wanted something different. The characters that came to mind as I pondered it were a pair of twins, one boy, one girl. I needed them to be isolated from society and the world so that they didn’t know about what they were going to encounter. And I needed to have a reason for them to leave home.
I decided that my two characters were named Violet and Samuel. They were blond, blue-eyed and had crystals embedded in their foreheads and chests by their creator and father, Gabriel le Haas. Giving them the crystals gave me a bit of world building that turned out to be important for quite a few stories later on.
They’re constructs, or at least that’s what le Haas claimed. What they really are is Altered. What does that mean?
Well, I’ve always enjoyed thinking of magic as the alternate to science. In this ‘verse magic is what people use to make their lives easier, to heal people, to go places, to communicate. They had problems that needed to be solved and magic was the tool they used to do it.
We have refrigerators. They have freshers, boxes spelled by specially trained mages that keep food items placed inside fresh and good for use. We have doctors. They have healers, people with the ability to psychically heal damage done to a person’s body or mind.
And where we have people who have artificial hearts and limbs, they have Altered. People who have been altered from their original bodies so that they have different abilities. Better eyesight, better hearing, stronger limbs; all of those are things that can be done. Altered individuals aren’t considered truly human, depending on which country you’re in. There are serious doubts about them, not the least because someone who has been Altered will always be dependent on the mage who changed them.
So what are constructs?
They’re robots, essentially. A mage takes body parts or makes parts out of wood and crystal, metal and fabric, and then imbues the construct with the ability to move, take orders and, in some cases, think independently. Constructs are not considered to be people anywhere in the world. Many nations have outlawed their creation, especially constructs which are organic based.
So, Violet and Samuel believe that they’re constructs, unusually advanced constructs created for the purpose of storing magical energy for their creator. They have younger ‘sibling’ constructs with specific abilities that benefit their creator as well.
Knowing that constructs are forbidden in many places let me decide where the story began. It started between the Iron Mountains and the Forest of Perpetual Rains, where there are few people and no actual rulers. Living there gave Gabriel le Haas the freedom to do as he willed, to create whatever he wanted.
At that point I had my two main characters and my main villain. I knew what they were up to, mostly. I just needed to get them moving. Thus I needed a character who could enter Gabriel’s territory at will, who could help the twins and give them the opportunity to escape.
I needed a ghost, one who hated slavery (as the twins were worse off than slaves), one who wanted to cripple le Haas, one who would be willing to take chances to help and protect the twins. I ended up going with an actual ghost, if a very unusual one.
Baramir became the agent that got the twins moving. I’ve always loved creating different sorts of magical systems. Baramir was a chance to create a whole new version that was different from the magic that le Haas and other mages in this universe use.
Mages have an innate ability to use their own body’s energy to change the laws of nature. They can interface with the energies of other living beings, with nature’s energies (wind, lightning, moving water) as well, though only for as long as their bodies have energy.
Healers are considered completely different from Mages but in reality they do the same thing as Mages. They utilize their body’s energy to interface with another living being’s body, causing it to heal rapidly. It’s a matter of focus rather than a different sort of power. In universe, they’re considered utterly different but in reality they’re the same gift focused in different directions.
Baramir became a chance to explore a completely different concept. I wanted to explore the idea of magic as code, as in computer coding. It was something that I fully intended to be utilized by the Raiven, my trolls, but I wanted to expand the concept so that other races used it too.
Thus the idea of power tattoos was born. They’re magical spells encoded into a tattoo that’s applied to the Bearer’s body. Different tattoos give the Bearer different abilities. One particular family worked with the Raiven way back in history, before the Wars of Time, and learned how to create their own tattoos. But they didn’t keep the concept to themselves.
Baramir has one of those tattoos. It’s called the Buddha’s Gift. It has a lot of powers but one of them is the ability to guide one’s soul after death to a good rebirth. I decided that Baramir had used that power to keep himself alive after his death so that he could exist as a ghost.
Well, I believe I’ll get to that in the next installment of Worldbuilding Wednesday because I’ve already gone long. The answer has to do with how I designed the fabric of space-time for this ‘verse, what happened to the God of Time who went mad during the Wars of Time and why the Gods were locked away from the world, unable to touch it.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this. Please do ask questions if you have any. I like sharing my world building but writing these takes time away from writing stories that I could publish. Thus, it would be greatly appreciated if you would consider leaving a donation. All money received goes toward keeping me writing and posting these columns. Thank you very much!