StG: Epochs of Time

December 10, 2013

The history of the peoples making up the modern-day League is an extensive one, going back almost a million years into the cloudy veil of the ancient past. The great bulk of most of that history is lost to the ages, it is a difficult task to remember the past just a few years old, much less a million.

The planet Eng was home to the League in the DX Time Epoch (Carol Phillips)

The planet Eng was home to the League in the DX Time Epoch (Carol Phillips)

The Sisterhood of Light, as prime historians of the League, maintain a narrative of those many years past. Per their accounting of history, the League has been a vagabond people for the bulk of their existence, drifting across the cosmos in servitude to their masters, the eponymous Elders–25 beings of colossal power. The peoples of the League served the Elders, did their bidding, fought their battles and scouted out food for them. The Sisters have broken down the history of the League into six distinct sections, or Epochs of Time. Each Epoch details a different homeworld which housed the Old League for a time and a significant event that occurred.

The Sisterhood of Light and the Elders drove the League across the cosmos in the early days (Eve Ventrue)

The Sisterhood of Light and the Elders drove the League across the cosmos in the early days (Eve Ventrue)

FORCED MIGRATION: The 25 Elders fed upon starlight and could only remain in a certain area for so long before the need to seek new sources of food forced them to move on. The League scouted the starways, looking for suitable places for them to feed, and, once a location was discovered, they would up stakes and migrate across the cosmos leaving everything they had behind.

NOTE–None of the previous League home worlds are currently known, other than what the Sisters have written in their histories. The stellar locations of these fabled places are lost, though various scholars vigorously seek them.

All years measured in Kanan Standard.

AX EPOCH–The Beginning: The Sisterhood tells on an ancient place called Earth where the peoples of the League originated from. Some say the eclectic fashions of the League, the languages they speak, and a smattering of other traditions are hold-overs from mythical long lost Earth. The Sisters recount that the Elders took the peoples of the League from Earth and journeyed with them across the heavens to a place called Lemmuria where they served the Elders for 200,000 years.

BX EPOCH–The Age of Riches: The Elders journey to the fabled world of Emmira to begin the BX Epoch. The Sisters recount that Emmira was a paradise and the League matured and grew in its light. The Sisters as a sect first formed on Emmira. They remained there for 90,000 years.

CX EPOCH–The Age of Youth and Health: After Emmira was Cammara, a place of towering clouds and cities in the sky. While on Cammara, the Elders rewarded their League servants and engineered out the ravages of age and sickness, essentially making them young throughout their lives. It is rumored that the Elders also made them immortal as well, though the Sisters dispute that assertion. Darker texts talk of the Gods of Cammara, the people who live forever guarding the gateways of the Universe and the oceans of the dead. The League remained on Cammara for 157,000 years.

The Monama peoples of southern Kana are not Old League--they are indigenous to Kana and were incorporated into the League in the EX Epoch.

The Monama peoples of southern Kana are not Old League–they are indigenous to Kana and were incorporated into the League in the EX Epoch.

DX EPOCH–The Weakening of the Elders: After Cammara was Eng, a cold and somewhat hostile place. There, the Elders grew weak and sick, seeing their time coming to an end. One Eng, the Elders once again attempted to bio-engineer the League, this time with the alien Haitathe race plucked from an unknown world. Their goal was to create a larger, stronger League Elder. While on Eng, the peoples of the League spilt into the Seven Tribes that exist today. An Eighth Tribe was said to have existed and been banished by the Sisters for chaotic behavior. The Old League shivered on Eng for 188,000 years.

EX EPOCH: The End of the Elders, coming of the Xaphans: After hostile Eng came golden Kana. Here the Elders died and passed into lore. With their passing, the League was lost and without guidance. The Seven tribes fought against each other and the Haitathe hoards feasted on their flesh. The Sisters managed to calm the League, to focus it, forging the roots of the modern star-faring League.

Several millennia after the passing of the Elder, the Xaphans came. The Xaphans were creatures similar to the Elders, though they were cruel and bizarre, demanding sacrifice and death. The League vowed to fight the Xaphans and thwart them.

The EX Epoch lasted 145,000 years.

Princess Marilith of Xapndarr--a wild, uncivilized member of Xaphan royalty, ever at odds with the League (Carol Phillips)

Princess Marilith of Xandarr–a wild, uncivilized member of Xaphan royalty, ever at odds with the League (Carol Phillips)

AX EPOCH: The Great Betrayal and the Modern League: In the Great Betrayal, 20 Households abandoned the League and went to the Xaphans, becoming their servants. The Sisters decided to end the EX Epoch and start again with the second AX Epoch. The years have seen much strife with the League pitted against the Xaphans, constantly engaged in warfare. Still, in the AX Epoch, the peoples of the League, and the Xaphans as well, have blossomed as a collective entity, growing and finding their own way. On Kana and the surrounding League worlds, they have built a home at long last.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue, Carol Phillips

It’s odd. I’ve been working on the latest LoE manuscript: The Shadow tech Goddess for almost three years. It’s been, by far, the longest slog I’ve ever had in writing a book.

"Carahil's Busy Morning" (Artwork by Carapaulo)

“Carahil’s Busy Morning” (Artwork by Carapalou)

And then, there’s Carahil’s Busy Morning, a children’s book I decided to write on a lark which took me about five minutes to finish.

Well, not so fast, let me explain…

I’d learned a few things going to shows over the years. One: books that really sell are YA and children’s. I hate to say it, but that does seem to be the case. Most of the people browsing around are parents looking to buy a book for their kids. My science fiction books (richly illustrated by Carol Phillips) tend to catch the eye, People passing by often stop, pick one up, and ask “Are these books for kids?”

Kids?? Of course I could have lied and said “Sure … kids will love these.” My LoE series is not for kids–too much violence, too much darkness floating around. It is what it is.

But then I thought about it. One character that is a continual ray of fresh light in the series is Carahil, the Great Nargal Spirit and patron god of the House of Blanchefort. Just a big kid himself, Carahil would do well in a children’s series, and if I ever got around to writing one he would be the subject matter. I put that thought on the back burner and let it simmer.

Carahil and Mabs beginning their life together (Carol Phillips)

Carahil and Mabs beginning their life together (Carol Phillips)

Over time, I wondered about Carahil and his jolly face emblazoned in the pages of a kid’s book. What would the book be about? Would kids understand Carahil’s supernatural origins? Would they identify with his cosmic, star-faring ways?

It occurred to me that all the weirdness in the world really doesn’t matter much, as long as there is a familiar framework in which to paint and give it perspective. And, what could be more familiar than a nuclear family setting–a father, a mother, the kids and all the pressures and situations that come along with such a setting. A family of odd creatures in space is really just the same as the family next door. I began thinking about Carahil’s family.

I knew that Carahil had taken up with Mabsornath, the Cat Goddess seen in LoE Book II: The Hazards of the Old Ones. Mabs was actually the main bad guy in the book, plotting the destruction of the planet Xandarr. Being the straight shooter that he is, Carahil managed to turn Mabs around. In the end, they became close, eventually committing themselves to each other and mutually sharing their secrets (a very big deal among the gods). As the LoE Series progresses, we see Mabs pregnant, and, eventually, the proud mother of seven children. In a vision, Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis see them playing at her feet.

Atha, as a sultry adult and as an innocent child (Fantasio and Carapalou)

Atha, as a sultry adult and as an innocent child (Fantasio and Carapalou)

That’s all I had, Carahil’s children aren’t seen again … until I began writing The House of Bloodstein. In the Temple of the Gods on Xandarr, Lord Kabyl, Lady Sarah and Lord Phillip of Blanchefort go seeking Carahil’s help. Instead of Carahil emerging, a tall, sultry woman with short blonde hair and a glowing visor over her eyes appeared. I immediately knew who it was: Atha, the youngest daughter of Carahil. Unlike her father, Atha is a mysterious and somewhat ominous presence. Her motives are unclear. To prove to Kay that she is in fact Carahil’s daughter, she takes him to Carahil’s Gift Shop in 1000 Carahil Park and shows him a children’s book where she is depicted as a little girl in Carahil’s household. The book was a light-hearted family farce called “Carahil’s Busy Morning” where Atha, as a precocious kid, tends to stir up innocent trouble.

So, then I had it, all at once. I had the characters and I had the setting. In five minutes of working on my manuscript, I also dreamed up a 1000 word story of Carahil and Mabs raising their seven children at the Top of the Universe, encountering surprises, and teaching their kids important lessons. It was the easiest writing I’ve ever done. It just felt right.

Dreaming something up and writing it down is the easy part, turning it into a living, breathing story is hard. As it’s only a 1000 words, the story would need to be driven by the artwork, and that would take an artist of exceptional skill. My good friend BeaKimera, an amazing Manga artist and a representative of many others soon had the solution. Bea embraced this project and showed real enthusiasm. She had a whole portfolio of artists for me to look at, all of whom were immensely talented–one, though, was the clear choice, with a clean Manga style and a flair for story-telling: Carapalou.

Seven months and a lot of hard work later, here we are with a finished book, each page a masterpiece. The end of a long, hard road in publishing is an ISBN and a barcode. CBM now has those things and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

Carahil’s Busy Morning will be available in late June from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Carapalou, Fantasio and Carol Phillips.

After Seven books and counting, the LoE Universe has grown by leaps and bounds. It is bursting with characters and places, most of which were created in mere passing and then expanded upon at a later time.

Queen Ghome, by Carol Phillips

Queen Ghome, by Carol Phillips

Queen Ghome is such a character. The name “Ghome” started off life in Book I as a type of Xaphan battleship. Princess Marilith, the nemesis of Captain Davage, flew about in a Ghome 52 battleship. The only thing I knew of the name at the time was that it belonged to some Xaphan tyrant from antiquity.

Flash forward six books. As I puzzled out the plot for LoE Book VIII (or IX depending on which gets published first) is need a villain character and, for some unknown reason, the name Ghome flashed into my head. Without knowing anything about the character, I decided Ghome would be the main villain of Book VIII. I spent a bit of time thinking about the character, and then it hit me all at once.

RULER OF TRIMBLE:

Bad guys are so fun to play with, the possibilities are truly boundless. Queen Ghome’s roots are lost to the ages. She entered Xaphan social circles from nowhere in 000701AX. She had all the assets one would need to thrive in Xaphan society: she was beautiful, had money, was ruthless and cunning and brimming with ambition. Where she came from was always a topic of speculation, most believed she was an exile from the League. She flirted with The Court of George for a time, and even picked up their habit of casual cannibalism.

Queen Ghome's appearance changed frequently, but, her eyes with their terrible, withering stare, were always the same

Queen Ghome’s appearance changed frequently, but, her eyes with their terrible, withering stare, were always the same

Her true rise to notoriety came when she married into the royal House of Trimble in 000715AX. Princess Xoefer of Trimble, the heiress to the throne and one of the most eligible princess in Xaphan space, was seeking a husband to share the rule of Trimble with her and her list of suitors was long. Shockingly, she ended up marrying Ghome, a female, which caused quite a stir having two queens sitting on Trimble’s throne. Rumors flew how Ghome, a mysterious vagabond, managed such a thing, for certainly the princess had been bewitched by her. Queen Xoefer’s fate was not a kind one, as she quickly grew sick and died, leaving Queen Ghome I sitting alone on the throne. The House of Trimble was a potent one, and, as was Xoefer before her, Queen Ghome became the most sought-after woman in Xaphan space.

Her lore grew quickly. For one, she was a tyrant of the most despicable sort. Cruel and despotic, she was given to fits of rage, paranoia and occasional madness. She carried a spiked scepter forged of iron and rarely hesitated to use it when the mood struck her. Also, her appearance changed often, not simply changed in terms of hairstyle, hair color or wardrobe, she looked like a completely different person with only her scepter and her eyes giving her away.

She planted and designed her infamous Garden of Zama, a gigantic garden and reflecting pool near Trimble Palace off the west lawn. The garden was huge, with many intricate paths leading in a bewildering, maze-like tangle. It was populated with an endless host of deadly carnivorous and poisonous plants cultured and developed by Queen Ghome herself.

WAR WITH THE LEAGUE:

Many suitors came to Trimble seeking Ghome’s hand, and her price for entertaining these suitors was invariably a quest to fetch some item or parcel of land which would end up in war with the League. Many Xaphan Houses were severely weakened, and a few went extinct altogether as a result of these wars.

VEHELM OF WAAM AND GHOME II

One of the suitors for Ghome’s hand was a tiny man from Gothan named Vehelm of Waam who was a noted maker of fabulous jewelry. Ghome created a workshop for him in her Garden and compelled him to make for her a new treasure every month otherwise she would allow him to starve or be killed in the depths of the Garden. To the surprise of many, he survived and became a favorite in her court.

An odd change came over Ghome at that time. She appeared to have experienced some sort of revitalization or rebirth. She cast aside her thuggish ways and became a true visionary and leader for her people, with Vehelm of Waam at her side. The people began referring to her as Queen Ghome II as she led them into a new age of prosperity and learning. Ghome II stopped carrying her iron scepter and had the Garden of Zama walled up tight.

THE END OF QUEEN GHOME:

The Horvath Creeper and the Aboleth Lilly were just a few of the deadly plants Queen Ghome cultivated

The Horvath Creeper and the Aboleth Lilly were just a few of the deadly plants Queen Ghome cultivated

As with all things, this age of enlightenment didn’t last. Queen Ghome II reverted to her old ways with a vengeance and ordered Vehelm of Waam executed. This tyrannical Ghome became known as Queen Ghome III and was the worst of the lot by far.

But, by this point, Ghome had alienated too many Houses and the end was near. The House of Sorrander came in force and subjugated Trimble. They toppled Queen Ghome’s palace and burned the Garden of Zama to the ground. The Sorranders then occupied Trimble for five centuries.

What became of Queen Ghome after that was unknown. It was assumed that she was killed during the Sorrander attack, though her body was never found.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

As with many things in the League of Elder, the concept of Magic is a rather odd thing. It is the purview of a few, yet it can be had by any with the temerity to claim it.

THE THREE SCHOOLS OF MAGIC:
There are three distinct schools of magic in the League of Elder: TK, Vortex and Gellar.

TK Magic is practiced almost exclusively by the Sisterhood of Light (Eve Ventrue)

TK Magic is practiced almost exclusively by the Sisterhood of Light (Eve Ventrue)

TK: TK magic deals with performing magic-like feats using only the power of one’s mind. It is an extremely versatile and potent form of magic that can emulate most aspects of the other two magical schools. It can manifest itself as: telepathy, empathy, telekinesis, sympathetic magic, divination and Elder esotericsm. The use of TK magic requires incredible mental prowess and is almost solely practiced in the League by the Sisterhood of Light. The Xandarr 44 also use a limited form of TK magic they call Simple 7.

A course in TK magic was once taught at Sarfortnim College, where it was said students began demonstrating great mastery of it. The Sisters abolished the course and forbade its further teaching. The Hertogs, a hidden sects of scholars and other professionals who are frequent critics of the Sisters, seek to uncover the secrets of TK magic.

In Xaphan Space, the Black Hat Sisterhood also makes use of TK magic, though their mastery of it is not in the same category as the Sisters.

Sygillis of Metatron using Silver tech (Vortex magic) is assist Captain Davage.

Sygillis of Metatron using Silver tech (Vortex magic) to assist Captain Davage.

VORTEX: Vortex magic deals exclusively with Shadow tech and how it relates to the structure of the universe. The term “Vortex” comes from the old story of Punt, a place with a hole that goes to the center of the Universe. The Vent at Punt was said to belch a great vortex of raw Shadow tech.

The study of Shadow tech has been illegal in the League since the ouster of the Grand Abbess of Magravine in 144670AX, therefore Vortex magic is practiced mostly in Xaphan Space. The Black Hat Sisterhood makes great use of Shadow tech, often clashing with the Sisters. Their Shadow tech can often match the Sisters’ TK magic.

All schools of magic can vary depending on their application, however Vortex magic manifests extreme differences in terms of Good (Silver tech), Neutral (Emplosser) and Evil (Shadow tech). The use of Silver tech was recently legalized by the Sisters and is studied and practiced by the Xandarr 44 and a social circle of married ex-Black Hats known as the Silver Circle.

GELLAR: Gellar magic, or Acquisition Magic is the largest and most widely practiced magical school in both League and Xaphan Space. The prime tenet of the school states that objects, both arcane and technological, have power, and to collect a vast number of objects imparts magical power on the owner of said collected objects. The more objects acquired the greater the power. The word “Gellar” comes from the godlike legendary beings outside the League said to be able to control man, animal, and plant.

Admiral Pax, by way of his vast personal collections, is able to influence those around him via Gellar Magic (Eve Ventrue)

Admiral Pax, by way of his vast personal collection, is able to influence the thoughts and feelings of those around him via Gellar Magic (Eve Ventrue)

The LosCapricos weapons of the various Great Houses all function via Gellar magic to a greater or lesser extent. Additionally, by using Gellar Magic, people can create their own sub-school of magic, tailoring it to their needs and desires. Magicons are local sages skilled at assisting people in designing their personal magical school.

The Old Vith were said to have achieved great strides in the development of Gellar magic. They devised the Gellartron, a structure housing their arcane objects, focusing it into vast power. Most of the Old Vith castles dotting the north of Kana, including Castles Blanchefort, Durst and Bloodstein, were functioning Gellartrons wielding power approaching that of the Sisters. To protect their cashes of treasure, the Vith invented the Bowerchest, a great animated construct usually in the shape of a mystical creature, where they kept their prize posessions.

The Sisters became quite fearful of the Vith and began an active campaign to take their arcane items, seize their Bowerchests, and deactivate their Gellartrons. The Vith were said to have hidden their Bowerchests in a distant place known as Edamathrombo to protect them from the Sisters. In time, the Sisters were successful, the Vith were reduced in Gellar power and their Gellartrons were deactivated. Edamathrombo, and the riches kept there, was largely forgotten in Vith lore.

Though the Vith Gellartrons are all non-functional, the Sisters strongholds of Westron, Valenhelm, Kurtiss and Kentaro are all said to be functioning Gellartons granting the Sisters vast power.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue and Carol Phillips

"Carahil", by Felipe Montecinos

“Carahil”, by Felipe Montecinos

Of all the various characters roaming around the LoE Universe, Carahil appears to be the most sympathetic and well-loved. He’s a cool guy, has a heart, has a sense of humor, and he’s always ready to give of himself. He’s reformed the cold hearts of wayward goddesses and saved whole planets. For that reason, he tends to strike a chord with readers. You never know what might happen when he’s in the area–could be anything.

There are several aspects of the character you may or may not be aware of:

Carahil 1 (Carol Phillips)

Carahil 1 (Carol Phillips)

CARAHIL 1: The original Carahil, or Carahil 1, appeared only for a brief period of time in LoE Book 1. He was a scavenger living in the dregs of Sygillis of Metatron‘s temple, eating the dead bodies she created in abundance. Occasionally, when driven by hunger, he would take one of Sygillis’ Hulgismen guards. He was basically a big rat. When Syg was turned from evil and the Shadow tech of her temple changed to Silver, Carahil too was enlightened. He grew in size, became intelligent and powerful with Silver tech. He carried Captain Davage aloft into battle and, when Syg’s temple escaped the desolation of Metatron, Carahil 1 escaped as well and was, from the reader’s perspective, never seen again. We can only hope he had a happy ending out there somewhere along with his friends. Notice he is quite large, and has a natural, somewhat predatory appearance diminished a bit with a benevolent expression. Aside from his size, strength and ability to fly, Carahil 1 had none of the amazing abilities Carahil 2 would one day possess.

Carahil 2 (Carol Phillips)

Carahil 2 (Carol Phillips)

CARAHIL 2: Though he only knew him for a short time, Carahil 1 had a great influence on Captain Davage. Davage would often speak of Carahil at dinnertime, how he had admired him and considered him a benevolent soul and a friend, and that he missed him. Sitting at the table listening to all of this, was Captain Davage’s sister, Lady Poe. As a Silver tech female of growing power, Lady Poe loved creating little animals in Silver tech, and she was inspired by her brother’s tales. She decided to give Carahil back to Davage as a gift. She spent months collecting thoughts and recollections direct from Davage’s head, placing them into an ancient Vith fountain in the Telmus Grove. As she worked, Lady Poe became particularly devoted to the “Carahil Project” and was determined to make him “something special”. She gave him great wisdom, knowledge of magic and lore, and even threw in knowledge of cooking, sewing, botany, alchemy, and animal husbandry. Still not satisfied, Lady Poe wanted to give her masterpiece “a proper heart” She wanted him to be kind, to have a love of life, though she didn’t quite know where to get such a thing.

Carahil, as a human, with a pregnant Mabsornath (Carol Phillips)

Carahil, as a human, with a pregnant Mabsornath (Carol Phillips)

She would soon have an answer. The kitchen staff had an old bloodhound they called “Cookie” who was known for her gentle disposition and willingness to mother lost animals. The staff often brought her lost kittens, and Cookie would mother them until they were big enough to fend for themselves. Cookie was old and, as she lay dying, Lady Poe took her essence and placed it into the fountain as the final ingredient. Soon, Carahil 2 emerged from the fountain.

Lady Poe was delighted with Carahil and considered him to be her first child. She created a number of medallions which would summon carahil when needed. Carahil 2 brimmed with power. He loved rescuing small animals and nursing them back to health. He also had a love of jokes and pranks. His favorite prank was stealing gowns from Countess Sygillis’ wardrobe and hanging them from a flagpole.

Carahil’s abilities have never been fully tapped or displayed. He is powerful enough to be invited to join the Celestial Arborium, an organization of gods seeking to maintain Universal Balance. Carahil follows the rules of Universal law preventing him from using his abilities to their full extent. He is known to change his shape at will, become larger or smaller, use TK, control the weather, control animals, travel vast distances in moments, become ethereal or astral, ward away evil and destroy Shadow tech.

XANDARR:
Carahil took an active role in saving the Planet Xandarr from a Black Hat attack. Ever after Carahil was considered the protective patron god of the planet.

Carahil and his family (Felipe Montecinos)

Carahil and his family (Felipe Montecinos)

CARAHIL’S FAMILY: Carahil eventually took up with Mabsornath, the Cat-Goddess and together they had seven children. Their children were all very powerful, including Lannis, the Herald of the Gods and Atha who became a goddess of unluck, misfortune and impossible quests.

CARAHIL’S TEMPLES:
There are a number of mystical places associated with Carahil. The places are usually fun and filled with Carahil’s light. The Mystery Library in Castle Blanchefort, 1000 Carahil Park and its Gift Shop on Xandarr have both been confirmed as temples dedicated to Carahil.

There is another place associated with Carahil that is very frightening and dangerous, the Cathedral of Bone and Wire where a hideous demonic beast resides. How Carahil could be associated with such a dark place is not currently known.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Carol phillips and Felipe Montecinos

There are a number of legendary objects floating around the League and Xaphan space, however, none are more sacred and potent as the objects known as the Noabs. The Noabs are 25 objects pertaining to or collected from the 25 departed Elders, one object for each Elder. All of the Noabs are currently in the possession of the Sisterhood of Light in their stronghold of Westron in western Vithland. Many of the great Noabs are not known to the general populace of the League.

The Paramel, by Eve Ventrue

The Paramel, by Eve Ventrue

The Paramel is an exception. It is one of the few Noabs that is well-known outside of the Sisterhood. Appearing as a brass and gold lantern hanging on a long golden chain, the Paramel is a Noab from the Elder Va. The Sisterhood of Light once interrogated prisoners with it in Twilight 4. They also carried it before them into battle, mainly against the Black Hats, who were afraid of its light. When the Elders grew sick and died, the Paramel went out of control and glowed as bright as a star in the Kanan sky for many years until the Sisters managed to bend it to their will and tame it. The Xaphans sought to claim the Paramel and the classic Battle of Ebron was fought over it, with the League being victorious and the Sisters reclaiming it.

The attributes of the Paramel are in dispute outside of the Sisterhood of Light, though it is generally acknowledged by those learned in its lore that it is very powerful and not to be trifled with.

The Paramel provides power to the Missive's Panel on the Seeker (Carol Phillips)

The Paramel provides power to the Missive’s Panel on the Seeker (Carol Phillips)

It is said to be quite dangerous to be in close proximity to, as it actively vetted any who came near it, and those who fail its test are killed immediately. It can cast light far into the future or the distant past. It can bridge gaps of time and space and illuminate one’s fate. As a source of endless power, the Paramel has no peer. It can cast light across various realms of reality and throw aside illusions.

The Paramel has, at various times, displayed a cantankerous, wandering nature. It has escaped from the Sisterhood in the past, moving on its own like a living thing and “hid” in plain sight hanging like an ordinary lantern on Goddown Street in the city of Saga. It powered the Lighthouse of Tuk for several years and lit the Hall of Ethers in Alderveryl Convent. On those select occasions when the Paramel does escape, the Sisters relentlessly pursue it, though it sometimes takes them years to catch back up with the artifact. Any caught in possession of the Paramel are punished by the Sisters, though the Paramel itself has intervened on their behalf in the past, sparing innocent people the Sisters’ wrath.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Eve Ventrue

Carahil’s Busy Morning

December 3, 2012

As the LoE Universe has expanded, Carahil has become one of my more popular characters. Smiling and affable, his pure soul and innocent spirit just tends to make people happy.

Carahil and his family, by Felipe Montecinos

Carahil and his family, by Felipe Montecinos

I did a show in Cleveland last year. A question that kept coming up: “Do you have anything for kids?” Of course, the answer to that question was a resounding “NO!” As the rest of the day progressed I thought about it and, slowly, ideas entered my head.

A children’s story?

Should such a thing exist, the clear candidate for such a story immediately presented himself: Carahil, as he is basically a big kid himself. I had written in a small sub-story in the Temple Trilogy about Carahil, that he had taken up with Mabsornath, the Cat Goddess , and that Mabs was pregnant. I decided to develop Carahil and Mabs’ children, coming up with seven of them. In a sort of Lady and the Tramp, moment, all of their sons are seal-type creatures and all of their daughters are cats, except for one: Atha. I saw Atha in my head as the youngest of the group and the most chaotic. Of all of them she is the only one who prefers to appear as a goggle-wearing human child instead of in their usual animal shapes. In the novels, Atha is a seductive, rather unpredictable siren, for the children’s book, she is simply an innocent, precocious kid who, unlike her brothers and sisters, isn’t afraid to make use of her goddess-like power.

For the first book, Carahil’s Busy Morning, Chilean artist Felipe Montecinos will be doing the drawing. It should be ready by June, 2013

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia

Video X1 Xaphan Tropism

November 13, 2012

After six books, going on seven, the League of Elder Universe has gotten pretty big. I pride myself on creating as original a world as possible, and that often entails dreaming odd and perplexing institutions as a part of world-building. Often times, the energy of the author can help propel new ideas into being. I usually try to keep myself out of the mix and allow my creations to do the talking, however, my cover artist, Carol Phillips mentioned that I should do short movies. She listened to me blather on for hours and made the suggestion.

Videos of me talking … is she nuts?

So, I thought I’d give it a try. Armed with my laptop and a basic editing software, here it is, my first attempt. I’ve come a long way from the time when I was so shy I could barely look a stranger in the face.

In this first video, we discuss the topic of Xaphan Tropism.

copyright, 2012 Ren Garcia

Lady Alesta of Dare is a girl of Barrow stock hailing from the western city of the same name. The Dares are the largest extended family on Kana with over sixty percent of people of Barrow stock being Dares.

“Lady Alesta of Dare” by Kayla Woodside

From a young age, Alesta was a mature, thoughtful girl. She loved to play and jump, but was nevertheless more reserved and bit more introspective than her brothers and sisters. She often saw a strange star hanging in the western sky. It was a large yellow star that was bright enough to be clearly seen at mid-day, yet dim enough that she could look right at it without hurting her eyes. She thought she could even see some sort of surface detail on it–a red, twisting cloud. She marveled at it and even thought it might be a moon of Kana, though she couldn’t find mention of it in any of her astronomy books. She asked her mother about it once, and she didn’t know what she was talking about, so Alesta didn’t mention it again.

When visiting the marketplace with her mother, she often saw a group of apparently impoverished beggars being harassed in the town square by gawkers. She asked her mother who the beggars were and her mother told her: “Pilgrims of Merian,” and she said nothing more, hurrying on.

“Alesta” by Eve Ventrue

Alesta often saw these Pilgrims of Merian coming and going in Dare. They appeared to be priests of some sort preaching a bizarre alternative version of the History of the Elders, one not sanctioned by the Sisterhood of Light. Most of the people listening to the Pilgrims appeared to be mocking their beliefs.

One day, she stopped to listen to what the Merians were saying. They said, amid the jeers, that the Elders were not gone, and to see them one need only open one’s eyes. The Merians mentioned their Star–a yellow star to the west. The people listening to them laughed. What star, they asked. There is nothing there.

“I see it!” Alesta cried. The Merians turned to her and she pointed right toward it.

Though her family protested, Alesta had found her calling. She left her family in Dare and set out, traveling in the meager wagons of the Pilgrims of Merian. She quickly discovered that there was much more to the Merians than they let on to the public. They took her to a sacred mountain to pray and discover her path. She knelt in the snow at the summit for hours waiting to hear the yellow star speak.

At last, she heard a kind voice whisper in her ear: Save all those who fall astray.”

Alesta on the Merian Ship (From LoE Book VII cover, by Carol Phillips)

For Alesta, she would walk the most dangerous road. She was taken with her Merian brothers and sisters to places of evil where unsuspecting souls often fell into peril and needed help, and her task was to rescue them. She visited many planets without ever having stepped onto a starship, she walked the mysterious Merian’s Road. She and her order saved many people in need, and those they saved were rarely grateful.

Though threadbare and impoverished, her star protected her. She wore a belt that allowed her to walk invisibly if she so wished and had beads that shielded her mind from attack.

She eventually ended up on a small outpost overlooking a watery world of evil unknown to the Sisters or the Fleet, hiding right under their noses where the unwary were lured in and killed. It was very dangerous, and should she and her Merian order be discovered by the caretakers of this world, there would be no mercy and no help for them. As always Alesta and the Merians were on their own in a dangerous world.

One day, she saw a star fall, and that was beginning of the end …

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue, Carol Phillips and Kayla Woodside

“Stenstrom, Lord of Belmont-South Tyrol” by Eve Ventrue

Lord Stenstrom of Belmont-South Tyrol is the main character of the upcoming LoE Book VI: The Sands of the Solar Empire.

“Bel” is a very different sort of fellow from his predecessors, Captain Davage and Lord Kabyl.

He is of mixed Zenon and Esther/Tyrol heritage and is the youngest of thirty Belmont children (and the only male). Though the Zenons are potent in the Gifts, his Esther blood has robbed him of Gifts of the Mind. His mother, Lady Jubilee of Tyrol, taught him the ways of Tyrol Sorcery, which consists of mundane learning, such as herbal lore, chemistry, Sleight of Hand and lock-picking. It also covers more arcane subjects: Demonology, Cabalism, alchemy and sympathetic magic. He is said to be able to Walk in the Shadows, passing unseen. Bel carries two LosCapricos Weapons: The NTH’s of his father’s line, and the MARZABLE from his mother’s. The NTH’s are a mystical set of pistols that can kill anything: living, dead, undead, machine and intangible.The MARZABLE is a potent dagger that mystically replenishes itself. With the MARZABLE, he can never be completely disarmed.

“Bel” by Carol Phillips

Bel gave his heart early on to Lady Lillian of Gamboa, a talented artist from the east. Lilly was very strong-willed and helped guide Bel as he grew into young man-hood. Unfortunately, Lilly would not commit herself to Bel and insisted they share a “cooling off” period lasting five years. During that time, he ended up having a number of affairs with: Lady Alitrix of Zama, Grand Dame Miranda of Rosell, Crewman Kaly of Figg, and Christiana of Z-Encarr. He has also participated in the Sisters’ Program over thirty times. He is said to possess the rare Pel Programmability.

He wears a long green coat formerly worn by members of the Hoban Royal Navy. Within his “HRN” he places many bits of his arcane equipment. The HRN appears to have certain mystical properties of its own, as the coat never shows wear or damage and always keeps Bel perfectly comfortable no matter how cold or hot it is.

Bel is also a well-known eccentric, wearing his HRN coat, his Vith triangle hat and a small mask, which nobody quite knows what to make of. He also never joined the Fleet, though his Programmability is high and his Father, Stenstrom the Older is a long-standing Warbird captain. Instead Bel became a Fleet Paymaster: essentially a clerk and shipboard civilian.

Bel, if anything, is a man of many secrets.

LoE Book VI: The Sands of the Solar Empire will be out July, 2012 from Loconeal Publishing

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue and Carol Phillips