HoB: Waiting for #6

January 8, 2015

Nobody’s perfect.

In Book V: The Temple of the Exploding Head, the heroine of the story, Lady Sammidoran of Monama, is transformed into a homicidal Berserkacide bent on killing her love, Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort. The Berserkacide detested everything Sam loved. It hated “Kay” most of all, and he shot her dead in the ruins of the House of Bodice.

Sam waiting in the Grove at the foot of Carahil's statue (Painting by Fantasio)

Sam waiting in the Grove at the foot of Carahil’s statue (Painting by Fantasio)

Without revealing too much, Sam was returned from the dead about a year later, resuming her relationship with Kay, eventually marrying him in a grand ceremony. Certainly a happy ending.

But wait …

Though it’s not covered in the pages of the book, a lot of things happened in the year or so Sam was in her tomb on Dead Hill. Life, reluctantly, went on. Kay, though heartbroken at the loss of Sam, was an eligible young man, a sought-after prize, and many sought to take his hand. One of the prime suitors, hand selected and approved by Kay’s mother, Countess Sygillis of Blanchefort, was an ex-Black Hat and member of the Xandarr 44 Sisterhood named Domeneau of Holly, or #6 as she was designated within the Xandarr 44 sisterhood.

#6 (sketch by Carol Phillips)

#6 (sketch by Carol Phillips)

She had met Kay briefly while he was visiting the King and Queen of Xandarr. She found him handsome and suitably demure in a Vith-like manner. She made it known to Kay her door would be “unlocked” should he choose to pass through it, though he did not take her up on her offer. Several months later, #6 and a group of her adopted sisters, made the trip to Kana to pray at foot of Carahil‘s statue in the Blanchefort Telmus Grove. The Xandarr 44 had an open invitation to visit the Grove whenever they wished, as they considered Carahil, their savior during the Battle of Xandarr, to be a god. During her visit to the grove, #6 encountered Kay, he wandering alone in the tree-lined passes, lost and still grieving over Sam’s death. Before the day was out, Kay would take solace in #6’s arms. They made love, they would make love many times, #6 occupying Kay’s bed frequently. Once, they made love on Sam’s tomb.

It became a foregone conclusion, that #6 would become the next countess of Blanchefort. She even had a great number of her clothes sent to the castle.

But then, there was Sam, laughing, smiling, back from the dead, ready to resume her life with Kay as if nothing had happened. Sam was in, #6 was out, and she wasn’t happy about it.

As Sam discovered what had transpired while she was dead, she became rather put-off. Sam has quite a possessive and jealous streak and, in her private discussions with Kay’s sister, Lady Kilos of Blanchefort, revealed that she would have hoped that Kay would have grieved over her for the rest of his life. She considered #6 a home-wrecker and a rootless usurping slut. She even thought that forgiving Kay for “cheating” on her while she was dead was a great display of character and charity on her part. Sam found the trunk full of #6’s clothes and sent them back to Xandarr in tatters.

Conversely, #6 developed an intense hatred of Sam, the woman to wouldn’t stay dead. She had been warned in Gods Temple that the spirit of Sam was nearby and would attempt to re-enter the realm of the living. Fearing Sam’s “recorporation”, she snared her tomb with StT’s, intending to re-kill her should Sam rise from her grave. Obviously, her efforts failed terribly.

Sam developed an intense desire to confront and kill #6. She wasn’t proud of those feelings and kept them to herself. She took to creeping out to Carahil’s statue in the Grove to wait and see if #6 showed up to pray. Sometimes she would sit out there all night, waiting in the dark with her claws sharpened.

Sam’s strained relationship with #6 is further explored in LoE Book 10: the House of Bloodstein, coming soon from Loconeal publishing.

copyright 2015: Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Fantasio

Vive la France

September 9, 2014

French flag

I tend to get a lot of hits on my blog from France. Visitors originating in France rank second only to my home country of the United States in quantity of hits, with Germany being third. Germany makes sense, as I work with a number of immensely talented German artists. But France?? I often wonder if these hits are actual people looking at the artwork, or if the hits are simply products of spam.

I’d like to hope something of my work has touched somebody in France.

So please, if you’re from France, or anywhere else in the world, and you’re a real, living person, I invite you to leave a comment. Say “Hey” or “Bonjour” or whatever else comes to your mind.

Fingers Crossed

RG

Big changes often begin as minor stirrings that grow and grow until there is no stopping it. Such is the case of Countess Sygillis of Blanchefort and the Day of Silent Looms.

The fortune of the House of Blanchefort is pinned on the production of textiles and the designing of men’s and women’s garments. In days past, the Blancheforts produced firearms, however, Lord Sadric abolished the practice and converted his factories to the production of fine fabrics, a craft he took great pride in.

His son, Lord Davage, never took an interest in the business and maintained a staff of well-paid designers to run the factories and create the look of the designs. Whatever the designers wanted to do, Davage signed-off on without much fuss. Occasionally, his sisters, Lady Poe and Countess Pardock, would have some thoughts on certain shades and textures they would like to see implemented, and the designers would accommodate them.

Things changed radically when Countess Sygillis showed up.

Things changed in a big way when Countess Sygillis married into the family (Bea Kimura)

Things changed in a big way when Countess Sygillis married into the family (Bea Kimura)

“Syg” was a vibrant countess, an ex-Black Hat, and she breathed life into the old household. She was in love with her lord and with his castle and all the things that came with it, including the family business. She was given a lavish tour of the factories, the designers proudly showing off their latest creations. In her honor, they created a “red” line of fabrics for the season. Syg, so new to the family, was bewildered by it all.

Time passed. One day, Syg was watching her son, Kay, playing in the Grove with his cousins, and she was inspired. She imagined some clothes she’d like to see her son dressed in. She prepared a few sketches and took them down to the factories. Excited, she showed them to the designers and they promised they would turn the sketches out.

Unfortunately, the designs never came. Undaunted, Syg tried again, and again, always heading down the mountains with her sketches, always the warm welcome and smiling faces at the factories, and always the lack of results. Unlike her husband who took no interest in the factories, Syg was an animal of a completely different color and when she got something in her head there was no stopping her. The “misunderstanding” with the designers was becoming personal fast. The designers began calling Syg “Madame Thimble” behind her back.

She took several self-help courses at the college and taught herself how to sew. She designed swatches and created her own fabrics on a small loom in her study. Getting rebuffed time and time again, Syg had enough. She gathered the designers together and told them in no uncertain terms that she was their boss and she demanded they do as she asked.

The designers politely responded that she was NOT their boss–Lord Davage was, and they would not cheapen the Blanchefort line with her silly designs.

Never provoke the Countess of Blanchefort (Eve Venture)

Never provoke the Countess of Blanchefort (Eve Venture)

Syg was furious. She informed the designers that she not only possessed Lord Davage’s ear, but many other select parts of him as well and that “Hell wasn’t a half-mile off.” That evening, after a furious bout of love-making, Syg gently whispered into Davage’s ear: “Love, may I please sack every one of the designers?”

Nude, glistening with sweat, she showed Davage her designs and insisted she could do a better job. She begged him to let her fire them. “Please let me fire them, Dav! I promise, I’ll take the business to new heights!!”

Too tired to argue, Davage proclaimed Syg could do what she wished in the factories. He had a thought that if Syg fired the staff and failed, then that would give him the excuse to quit textiles and start producing firearms again. So, he had a happy wife and the prospect of restarting the old family business–it was a win/win.

The next morning, armed with her new power, Syg marched down to the factories and fired every designer that crossed her path. The stream of people exiting the factories holding the sack became known as the Day of Silent Looms.

Madame Thimble had struck.

As the various Households watched, Syg took control of the Blanchefort factories, turning our her designs in abundance. Though, not without her missteps, Syg proved to be a capable designer and a shrewd businesswoman. Her designs were bold and daring and, in time, she grew the business, invading fresh new territory, such as Hoban, which had never invested in Blanchefort fabrics.

At long last, Syg was able to see her son in clothes she thought proper.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue and Bea Kimura

The nefarious Black Hats, the scourges of Xaphan Space, have been in an on-going disagreement with their hated rivals of the League, the Sisterhood of Light for ages. In the older days of the AX Time Epoch, the Black Hats regularly met the Sisters on the battlefield like two great armies, the Black Hat slinging their Shadow tech and the Sisters countering with TK.

Eventually, after many defeats and a bit of internal strife, the Black Hats began shying away from direct engagements with the Sisters and commenced a campaign of smaller “harassing actions” against the League. The Black Hats became known and feared for “Snaring” certain places across the League, overrunning them with painted illusions and Shadow tech. However, the Sisters, ever vigilant, became adept at detecting Black Hat snares and eliminating them. The Black Hats were again frustrated.

Going back to the drawing board, the Black Hats finally came up with two forms of Shadow tech that the Sisters could not easily detect of be rid of: Shadow tech Traps and Whamic.

StT Pots were invented by Lady Poe of Blanchefort (Ewelina Dolzycka)

StT Pots were invented by Lady Poe of Blanchefort (Ewelina Dolzycka)

Shadow tech Traps (StT’s) were invented by Ethylrelda of Waam, a Black Hat of immense power. StT’s are tiny, undetectable, and can do virtually anything and go anywhere. StT’s can take on any number of shapes and forms, however the most common appears to be a tiny six-legged “cockroach”-like creature that latches onto a victim and will not let go until it has either run its course or is dispelled by the Sisterhood of Light. StT’s can be left in an given area and there they will wait until they are “triggered”. They can be instantly deadly (sometimes exploding, catching fire, lashing out and cutting) or they can perform “harassing” activities like latching onto a victim and causing misfortune at a measured rate. As they are most often Cloaked into invisibility, a person may carry an StT for a long period of time and not know it. StT’s may also infect devices and machinery and cause them to either malfunction, operate on their own, or provide false information. Persons suffering from extreme bouts of misfortune or bad luck often present themselves to the Sisters to determine if they have been “StT’ed”. They can also self-replicate, making them extremely difficult to be rid of. The Bilson-Gorman are of Bazz was declared “uninhabitable” by the Sisterhood of Light due to the high number of devious and self-replicating StTs placed there by the nortorious Ethyrelda of Waam. Use of StT’s became a Black Hat favorite and became a usual weapon of most of them.

StT POTS:
Lady Poe of Blanchefort, a great innovator in the use of Silver tech, invented a variation of standard StT’s called an StT Pot, which can create vast amounts of programmable StT’s from a small space in a very short amount of time. StT Pots resemble a decorative vase with tiny Silver tech bugs wandering out to the rim. Highly effective, one or two StT Pots can eliminate an entire army in a matter of moments.

As they are made of Shadow tech, StT’s are very difficult to dispel. The Sisterhood of Light is adept at detecting and removing them. Also, a branch of Xaphan Cabalism and certain wavelengths of light have recently been discovered to dissolve or kill StT’s as well

WHAMIC:

Wilhella Cormand-Grande and her ex-husband, Scrib tiffin, Portator of Shook. (Eve Ventrue)

Wilhella Cormand-Grande and her ex-husband, Scrib Tiffin, Portator of Shook. (Eve Ventrue)

Whamic is another Black Hat scourge that is rapidly growing in League space. Whamic is a form of viral spam holo-mail that does not attack your terminal or hardware, instead, it attacks the person viewing it. The “Mad Black Hat of Waam” Wilhella Cormand-Grande of Waam is the known inventor of Whamic in 0003002AX. Whamic is enfused with an altered form of Shadow tech and is capable of being transported holographically. When opened, Whamic may do virtually anything. Monsters may jump out of of holo cones or terminals and attack, invisible demons might take up residence and cause no end of grief, or one might be hopelessly mesmerized into performing activities not of one’s own making. The Black Hats’ usual antagonists, the Sisterhood of Light, were completely unprepared for these holo-attacks and had to turn to the Science Ministry for assistance. The Science Ministry was largely successful in purging most bits of Whamic from the holoways, however, some of it still gets through. As a counter-measure, the Sisters threatened to assassinate Wilhella, and, being somewhat of a coward, she greatly abated her Whamic attacks. Unlike StT’s, mastery of creating Whamics was held exclusively by Wilhella.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue and Ewelina Dolzycka

StG Characters: King

July 2, 2014

Lady Poe of Blanchefort (Carol Phillips)

Lady Poe of Blanchefort (Carol Phillips)

Lady Poe of Blanchefort has become highly regarded for her ability to create wondrous Silver tech Familiars. Working out in the mystical Telmus Grove she has created literally dozens, each capable of performing amazing feats. Bark the dog is her untiring eyes and ears, Shadow the cat hunts down and destroys Shadow tech. Whisper the ladybug hides one sight and sound. Her sister-in-law and ex-Black Hat Sygillis of Blanchefort, has often marveled at her amazing creations. Among her more notable Silver tech masterpieces, Lady Poe created Carahil, a Nargal-spirit that became a god.

One of her favorite familiars is Tweeter, a tiny silver bird that can assist one in getting to where they need to go. She keeps a whole bell tower full of them in the northern wing of Castle Blanchefort, ready for use should someone need them. And, like all of her creations, Tweeter smiles. Lady Poe’s love of happy faces is well-known.

After the horrific events in the Grove with the Golden People and their Killanjo servants that nearly cost Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort his life, Lady Poe realized that the world can be a dangerous place and that she needed to actively protect the people she loved.

She took the basic Tweeter design and modified it, creating a Silver tech familiar that could kill if required. She once admired a kingfisher bird as it hovered over the lake hunting for food, so she shaped her new creation into the form of a crested kingfisher and named it King. And, as with all her creations, King functions perfectly. He does his job extremely well.

Although he never smiles, King can have a fairly winsome personality (Ewelina Dolzycka)

Although he never smiles, King can have a fairly winsome personality (Ewelina Dolzycka)

King can do a number of things. He can go from standing still to moving at rail gun speeds in a matter of moments. He can pierce armor, touch-off explosions, and easily bring down small to medium-sized craft. He is also extremely effective against Shadow tech. His touch dissolves Shadow tech. He can also create a silvery cone of light from his eyes that vaporizes the dreaded StT’s Black Hats love using. He is able to lift heavy loads and he can fly across empty space from one planet to another. It is rumored King can change his shape into a much larger creature, but that has not been confirmed.

King also never smiles, unlike the rest of her creations.

Being a pacifist, Lady Poe was rather ashamed of her creation and the damage he could do. Instead of placing him in the bell tower with the Tweeters, she planted a number of embryonic Kings in a Servants Graveyard out in the vastness of the Grove. When one is needed, one must venture out to the graveyard, recite the incantation, and a King will rise. As a safeguard in keeping King from becoming an unprincipled murdering machine, he will imprint off of a nearby person, incorporating aspects of their personality into his own with the intent of furnishing him with restraint and a conscience. This imprinting gives King a marked variable in personality, with sometimes surprising results.

Sarah of Blanchefort always wants a King at her side (Eve Ventrue)

Sarah of Blanchefort always wants a King at her side (Eve Ventrue)

Although Lady Poe intended that King only be used in an emergency situation, her feisty, hot-headed daughter and full-time adventurer, Sarah of Blanchefort, simply loves King and considers him her mother’s greatest and coolest achievement. Whenever she has a need that a Tweeter could easily fulfill, she nevertheless goes to the graveyard and gets a King, leading to a number of rebukes and punishments from her mother that do absolutely no good.

Lady Poe is currently considering moving his resting place from the graveyard to somewhere else in the Grove where Sarah cannot find him.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips, Eve Ventrue and Ewelina Dolzycka.

The Wandwilla is a creature of legend. Spicy tales of the great tree-like beings dreaming forever is ecstasy drift out of Xaphan Space and have taken hold in the collective imagination of the League, such that the Sisterhood of Light themselves investigated the matter. What findings they came up with were never revealed to the League in general.

Wandwilla, by Ewelina Dolzycka

Wandwilla, by Ewelina Dolzycka

A Wandwilla is a bizarre creature. It is described as being the fusing of a Shadow tech male and a Shadow tech female—usually a Black Hat—into one. Shadow tech females are enthralled by the touch of a Shadow tech male, and, if the two are allowed to touch for too long, they will never be apart again, welding themselves into a Wandwilla. They are gigantic, tree-like creature of a ruddy, somewhat greenish hue. Its trunk, many times, is shaped in the form of a man and woman in an intimate embrace and its extensive tap root system often resembles a series of reclining human figures. Its branches are twisting and rather tentacle-like, often bearing large, pear-like fruits. They are never described as having any leaves, just the fruits. The fruits, meaty and sweet, are prized for their arcane properties. Wandwillas often twitch a little in the heights of pleasure.

Xaphan tales maintain there is a hidden world where the Black Abbess has collected all known Wandwillas—there they live in a sort of forest. To fall asleep in this forest is said to cure any malady known, including insanity.

Ex-Black Hat and Hospitaler Samaritan, Bethrael of Moane, once experienced the touch of a Shadow tech male and documented her experience for study. She noted his touch was killing and overwhelming and she could feel her body changing as he touched her. She also noted she was never quite the same afterward and often dreamed of transforming into a great tree.

Ethylrelda of Waam, pre-Wandwilla. Sketch by Carol Phillips

Ethylrelda of Waam, pre-Wandwilla. Sketch by Carol Phillips

The great Black Hat, Ethylrelda of Waam, became a Wandilla with her Spectre general Krotan of the Yard. Black Hats often fear becoming a Wandwilla and go to great lengths to isolate themselves from Shadow tech males. Yet, as they grow older, the prospect of becoming a Wandwilla begins to appeal to them more and more as a sort of reward for their centuries of service. Ethylrelda of Waam made no secret of her desire to become a Wandwilla and attempted to fuse with Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort, a powerful Shadow tech male who fell into her midst. Lord Blanchefort managed to substitute himself with Krotan, who loved Ethylrelda and wanted to join with her. Their Wandwilla burst out of her temple and towered over the skyline of Waam until in disappeared in the night, taken away by the Black Abbess the Waamites say.

In the League, noted horticulturist and ex Black Hat, Duchess Torrijayne of Oyln, believes a small grove of Wandwillas exists somewhere on Kana, and has made it her mission to locate this grove and ensure its protection and well-being.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Ewelina Dolzycka and Carol Phillips

The release of LoE Book 8: “The Shadow tech Goddess” is just around the corner.

Being the eight book is the series, many of the items and weapons appearing in the book have been introduced and covered previously. It’s a persistent issue in a series–how much time should the author devote to going over things that already have been described? You really don’t want to bore a returning reader with the same information and you also don’t want to exclude any new readers.

The person who edited Book 8 had never read any of the previous books and was a bit confused in the beginning. “What’s this” and “what’s that”, she asked in frequent side notes.

I wondered…

I was watching my wife play Mystery Manor, it’s an app on her Ipad that she enjoys. It’s one of those games where you see a lavish static setting filled with unusual objects, and your goal is to find a number of specific objects before time runs out (find the tea cup, find the garden rake, etc). Seeing her play the game, I was struck with inspiration. I envisioned a scene where most of the items and weapons appearing in the book were laid out in one lovely composition. That way, if a reader has a question (for example, “What’s an NTH?”) they can look at the painting and see it first hand. I got Ewelina Dolzycka to paint it for me.

Stenstrom's Office 2

I think it turned out pretty well and covers most of the bases. Some of the objects laid out in the scene are specific to Book 8 alone and have never been seen before.

I had a similar idea previously in a map to the Garden of Horrors, an arcane place visited in the book.

 The Garden of Horrors, by Carol Phillips

The Garden of Horrors, by Carol Phillips

I recalled once visiting a lavish garden in an Egyptian museum during a trip to California. The garden was like a maze filled with hedges arranged like streets, dotted with scented fruiting trees and potted flowering plants. Hidden in the hedges and elsewhere in the garden were a number of small to medium-sized statues depicting various Egyptian deities. A guide told us all the major Egyptian deities were hidden in the garden. They even gave us a small booklet providing clues where they were hidden and spots to check-off when we located them. It was like an egg-hunt locating the statues and we spent all afternoon searching the garden. I don’t think we ever found them all.

I got the idea to include a similar garden in Book 8: the Garden of Horrors, a wondrous place tended by a woman claiming to be the Shadow tech Goddess herself.

stgcover-front

Hidden in the garden were a number of statues depicting the various types of Extra-Planar Entities following Paymaster Stenstrom, the main character. The highlight of the garden was in the center, a hideous monster hidden behind a locked door trying to get at the Paymaster and take his life.

I wish such a garden actually existed, I could spend all day in it.

The Shadow tech Goddess will be out early June, 2014 from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Ewelina Dolzycka and Carol Phillips

StG: The Order of Lacerta

January 29, 2014

Every organization, no matter how well run and organized, has its disaffected membership, and the Sisterhood of Light is no exception.

Member of the Order of Lacerta (Carol Phillips)

A member of the Order of Lacerta (Carol Phillips)

It is a little-known fact that the Sisterhood of Light occasionally has a problem with its Sisters going missing. The Sisters live a stern life. They deny themselves the luxury of good foods and nice fabrics, they sleep on slabs and train their formidable minds nearly all day long.

Understandably select members sometimes tire of it–they fall and flee from the sect. Most of the time they are quickly caught and punished by the Sisters at Twilight 4, never allowed to leave the confines of their strongholds again. Occasionally, they managed to evade capture and drift about the League like a refugee. The safest place from them to go is Xaphan Space. There, they stake out their territory and become members of a Shadowy group known as the Order of Lacerta. In the mythology of the League, Lacerta of the Midnight was the youngest daughter of Homma, and she often fled from his side.

The Order of Lacerta is a dark inverse image of the Sisterhood of Light. The “Lacertas” are everything the Sisters are not. They love wearing rich clothing and eating tasty foods (It is a fallacy that they only wear black–they often enjoy dressing in gaudy colors). They become obsessed with tobacco, illegal drugs, menthols and sex. They learn to use their mouths (the Sisters themselves never speak), and they love using profanity. They also have none of the inhibitions of the Sisterhood and often hire themselves out as mercenaries and bodyguards, using the money they make to fuel their addictions. A Lacerta is, without question, one of the most dangerous enemies one can face. Using their minds, they are impossibly strong, they can kill with a glance, they can scatter whole armies with a wave of their hand. Their power does, however, fade over time, though even a greatly de-powered Lacerta is very dangerous. Apparently the Sister’s power partially comes from the disciplined lives they lead.

One of Paymaster Stenstrom's most persistent enemies is a Lacerta who, seemingly, won't die. (Eve Ventrue)

One of Paymaster Stenstrom’s most persistent enemies is a Lacerta who, seemingly, won’t die. (Eve Ventrue)

Their influence in Xaphan Space is very localized and never far-reaching. The Sisters continue to hunt for them, and, when captured, they are re-taken to the League. They also tend to fight amongst themselves as they vie for wealth and power and duels between Lacertas are frequent–it is said they wage their duels on an uninhabited planet free from onlookers or distractions. They also become enslaved to their addictions and often fall to them over time. The wealth they amass tends make them irresistible targets for Xaphan Warlords to attack and plunder. With the prospect of rich spoils in the offing, Xaphans will team-up and spend years planning their attack. Such planning is crucial as Lacertas are deadly opponents.

The Xaphan House of Midas invented a deadly device specifically to assassinate Lacertas and Black Hats called a “Hemolizer“. Forged of metals that can pass through a Lacerta’s TK field, a hemolizer can kill a Lacerta or a Black Hat in minutes.

stgcover-front It certainly isn’t easy being a Lacerta. See a particularly vile and foul-mouthed Lacerta in “The Shadow tech Goddess”, coming soon from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Eve Venture and Carol Phillips.

StG: The Hall of Mirrors

December 27, 2013

The next book in the League of Elder series, “The Shadow tech Goddess” deals with extra-planar activity, the crossing of one plane of reality to another. A key concept when dealing with “reality-jumping” is a place called The Hall of Mirrors. The Hall of Mirrors is heavily featured in the book.

The Hall of Mirrors is the threshold from one plane of reality to another. If one wishes to cross into another plane of reality, one must first cross through the Hall of Mirrors, and that is not a simple task. Jumping from one reality to the next is dangerous to the well-being of the universe as a whole and the Hall exists to actively prevent such a thing, and, possibly to punish or eliminate those attempting to do so. It is not a naturally occurring phenomena, however its creators and custodians are unknown.

SUMMONING THE HALL:
It is possible to summon the Hall of Mirrors to oneself via technological, arcane and telepathic means. Those consciously seeking to pass through the Hall tend to draw its wrath much more than those who unconsciously summon it via telepathic means.

AN UNFASTNESS IN SPACE AND TIME:

Map of the Hall of Mirrors, by Ewelina Dolzycka

Lord A-Ram’s hand-drawn map of the Hall of Mirrors, by Ewelina Dolzycka

The Hall of Mirrors has no set appearance or size, yet it has a rigid set of characteristics which, no matter what it looks like or how big it is, are always present. It has no set location or place of habitation and can appear anywhere given the correct circumstances. The accepted rules of time and space do not apply when within the Hall. Time might stop when inside the Hall, or ages may pass.

It has two specific parts, the Hall of Mundane and the Hall of Possibilities

THE HALL OF MUNDANE:
The Hall of Mundane (HM) is the entry point to the Hall. It is where one came from and almost always where one exits. Given the changeable nature of the Hall, it is very difficult to know when one is inside the HM and when one is not. Some people, be it intentionally or unintentionally, have the ability to summon the Hall of Mirrors to them and spend a great deal of their lives rolling about within the HM, blissfully unaware of where they are. People with his ability are known as Mirrorbrugs and are valuable commodities to those who actively seek to penetrate the Hall.

The HM is a safe portion of the Hall of Mirrors. Moving about in it does not trigger the potent defenses lurking in the second part of the Hall: The Hall of Possibilities.

THE HALL OF POSSIBILITIES:
The next section of the Hall of Mirrors is the Hall of Possibilities (HP). Like the previous Hall, it too has no set appearance and can look like anything, however, those actively seeking to pass through it often describe the HP as looking like a dank stone corridor running to the left and right. To the left is the next plane of reality and the exit of the Hall. To the right is the chamber of a destructive entity known as the Shadow tech Goddess. The Shadow tech Goddess is the main defense of the Hall and those entering the HP invariably stir her up and draw her ire.

THE ANATAMETER:

Extra-Planar Entities, like the dreaded Tempus Findal, are immune to the defenses in the Hall of Mirrors and pass through as they wish (Fantasio).

Extra-Planar Entities, like the dreaded Tempus Findal, are immune to the defenses in the Hall of Mirrors and pass through as they wish (Fantasio).

Guarding the intersection between the two Halls is a device known as the Anatameter. The Anatameter is the key, the locked door preventing passage from the HM to the HP. With it in place, almost all attempts to pass are thwarted, most do not suspect they were ever in the hall or Mirrors and encountered the Anatameter in the first place. It is not completely foolproof as certain Extra-Planar Entities are able to pass it without notice. The Anatameter devices are created by a skilled set of craftsmen known as the Anamatics. It appears to be the case that the Anatameter takes on the intent of the Anamatic who created it. If they are kind, then the Anatameter will behave in a kind fashion and not harm those trying to pass it. If they are cruel, then bad things will happen to those encountering it, including the unleashing of the Shadow tech Goddess.

CUSTOM ANATAMETERS:
An Anatameter may be created specifically for certain individuals. Anamatics sometimes do this, though the payment they require is said to be quite steep. In such cases, the Hall of Mirrors will be drawn to that person at their peril.

Professor Hannah-Ben Shurlamp, EVoR (Eve Ventrue)

Professor Hannah-Ben Shurlamp, EVoR (Eve Ventrue)

THE NODES OF REALITY:
Within the Hall of Possibilities are alcoves cut into the stone at regular intervals, these are the Nodes of Reality. The function of the Nodes is not well understood. They are thought to be a Minor Defense of the Hall and are invoked when ones gains access to the HP. Some scholars, like Hannah-Ben Shurlamp, EVoR of the University of Dee, speculate that one’s true love or one’s greatest enemy emerge from the Nodes and serve as a passive distraction to those entering the HP.

THE SHADOW TECH GODDESS:
Possibly the least understood facet to the Hall of Mirrors is the entity known as the Shadow tech Goddess. She inhabits the right-hand portion of the Hall of Possibilities and is meant to destroy any attempting to pass through the HP. She is like a coiled-up trap, waiting to strike. There is no known method of defeating her, though it has been speculated that discovering her true identity disarms her to some extent. Occasionally she has been known to continue on out of the Hall of Mundane and destroy everything she encounters, making her a Destroyer of Universes as well. She had been known to become interested in certain individuals and draw them to her–her reasoning behind this is unknown. She is said to wear a helmet completely covering her face and a robe of living Shadow tech.

The Hall of Mirrors appears in LoE Book 8, “The Shadow tech Goddess”, due out February 2014 from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Ewelina Dolzycka, Fantasio, and Eve Ventrue

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