The Xandarr 44 are a sorority of ex-Black Hats first introduced in Book II of the LoE series, The Hazards of the Old Ones.

"King Balor I and the Xandarr 44" by Carol Phillips

Twenty years prior, they were part of a massive contingent of Black Hats sent to Xandarr with the intention of destroying the planet. They were mostly low-level or cast-offs specifically trained and sent there with the probable notion that they would be killed in battle. They were given minimal training as Hammers and stationed under Cloak in Xandarr Keep and awaited the signal to attack.

When Captain Davage, Countess Sygillis and his contingent arrived to investigate Xandarr Keep, the Black Hats sprung their trap and attacked, engaging them is a heated battle in the Great Hall of the Keep. They wore special goggles meant to protect them from the power of Captain Davage’s Sight, the only thing known at the time that could break the Black Abbess’ control over them.

As it turned out, forty-four of the Black Hats, instead of being killed, were carried out of the battle area and freed of the Black Hat’s clutch by Carahil, a Silver tech Nargal entity on his way to becoming a god. Lost and confused, many of them wounded, they huddled in the northern area of the Keep, danger closing in all around them. At the last moment, they were rescued and brought underground by King Balor I of Xandarr, who was hiding in the tunnels beneath the Keep.

In the aftermath of the battle, Balor nurtured and sheltered the forty-four lost Black Hats, helping them assimilate to life beyond the Black Abbess’ reaches. He fell in love with one of their number and made her his queen, Zoladerra I. The rest soon grew to love their adopted home. They were given a large villa in the center of Xandarr Core, and there they took up residence, growing their hair out and wearing the light, veil-like garments usual for Xandarr.

Charm of the Xandarr 44, by Justine Marie Hedman

They formed a Sisterhood, calling themselves the Xandarr 44, and began wearing silver charms about their necks in the shape of a seal in tribute to Carahil, the little god who saved them.

In the days following the attack on Xandarr, the power of the 44 was greatly needed, as many Xaphan factions sought to subjugate Xandarr and enslave it. Baroness Camilla of Sorrander and her on-again, off-again lover Chole of Zoran, were the most frequent and determined antagonists. Xandarr, trying to rebuild, was extremely vulnerable to attack and destabilization, yet, time and time again, the 44 thwarted Camilla’s plans and kept Xandarr safe.

The 44 fully embrace the exotic and rather uninhibited ways of the adopted home, occasionally creating stirs when visiting other worlds. Though a few married off and left Xandarr, most remained loyal to their sisterhood and live in their villa. They often visit Castle Blanchefort on Kana to pay tribute at the birthsite of Carahil, their patron god. Each mamber has a number embossed on their charm. It is not understood outside of the sisterhood how they determined who got which number.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

A key component in World Building, in my opinion, is creating the mundane things–the small stuff that makes people who they are. In creating a sci-fi fantasy world, where everything is made-up, possibly new and rather alien, adding in the mundane is key to drawing your readers in and making them feel at home in your unreal world. You want your readers to be comfortable. You want them to stay awhile.

Traditions and customs play heavily into that notion. A regions’ customs and various traditions set it apart from others, make it unique, make it real.

"Carahil" by Carl Phillips

On the planet Xandarr, for example, I created the tradition of children writing letters to Carahil. Carahil is Xandarr’s patron god, and he saved the planet from destruction when the Black Hats wanted to wipe it out. They honor him with numerous statues carved all over the planet, particularly in a lush park by the River Torr called 1000 Carahil Park–aptly named as there’s 1000 large and small statues of him rolling around.

In the time since Carahil saved Xandarr, a tradition sprang up where children from all over the planet write Carahil little notes, sort like letters to Santa, asking him for this and that. Some ask him for material things that they’d like to have, others beg for help of some sort, and others just need a friendly shoulder to cry on. They then leave the notes they’ve made at the base of one of his statues tucked in the flippers and hope he hears them. Many times, he does. Carahil is an interactive, approachable little god.

"Letter to Carahil" by Kailey Hedman

It’s a cute tradition, just a splash of color on the page and only takes a few words to lay out, but it helps immeasurably in making the people of Xandarr, who are just figments of my imagination, seem real. A tradition of leaving notes by a god’s statue helps define who these people are, what they want, and what they hope for out of life.

For Book IV, The Machine, I wanted an example of a Letter to Carahil to place into the interior of the book, and I wanted a real “kid” to draw it to make it authentic. So I commissioned four-year old Kailey Hedman, daughter of one my regular artists, Justine Marie Hedman to do the job, and here’s the result–a real live letter to Carahil from a real, live kid.

I wonder if he’s heard it.

Bowl Naked


The Celestial Arborium

March 26, 2011

"The Great Tree and the Windage of Kind" by Justine Marie Hedman

THE CELESTIAL ARBORIUM is a mystical and poorly understood assemblage of powerful beings who have tasked themselves with maintaining the well-being and orderly flow of the Universe. They gather at the metaphorical “Top of the Universe” and watch over the doings of the “Younger Folk.” They often characterize the Universe as a vast growing tree nestling the galaxies, stars and planets in its vine-like branches. Members of the order are often referred to as “gods”.


Members of the Arborium are made up of powerful, outworldly beings. Any being that can successfully pass the poorly understood Criteria of Deuum may join. Usual members are made up of Elemental Spirits, Djinn, Wind-Walkers and Nargals. The Great Elemental Spirit Bathloxi is a preeminent member and giver of laws, as well as Mincoil, Anabrax, and Carahil. Notable Djinn in the order are Maiax and Bar-Igura and Ibilex. The cat-god Mabsornath is a powerful Windwalker. Regardless of their origination, the gods of the Arborium always appear as various types of common animals.

"Maiax, Bar-Igura and Ibilex" by Carol Phillips


The members of the Arborium have the ability to see the future and may or may not take steps to avert a future they do not like. Involving themselves in such things is dangerous, as upsetting the Universal Balance is a sure way to bring about tragedy, as with the infamous Death of the Bodice tragedy caused by the Djinn Maiax, which led to the painful extinction of the Bodice and the fall of Maiax as a demon. Therefore, members of the Arborium are careful not to use their vast power too much.


Demons are considered to be Arborium Members who have abused their power or swung the balance in one direction or another. Demonic power is invariably destructive and can lead to no good end. Maiax became a demon after he caused the death of the Bodice.


The Windage of Kind is the “hell of the gods”. It has been described as a gloomy set of industrial buildings at the bottom of the Universal Tree. Members of the celestial Arborium who break the by-laws of the group are sent there, often times for millennia. Those imprisoned within are often seen gazing red-eyed through the many dark windows of the place. Occasionally those held there are pardoned or forgiven and receive a second chance and are released.

"Mabsornath" by Carol Phillips

All of the members of the Celestial Arborium have a Secret-Talker, a person whom they share all of their secrets. The Secret-Talker is a method the gods use to consolidate their power with the universe, and to police each other, as, in theory, if a member commits an offense then it will be made known through the Secret-Talker, however, in practice, the gods go to great lengths to hide and mystically protect their Secret-Talkers. The gods are not allowed to directly accost or engage another’s Secret-Talker, a member of the younger folk must do it, often at the direction and peril of the gods themselves. Carahil’s Secret-Talker is Mabsornath–a Wind-Walker who is also a member of the Arborium.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia

TOTEH Characters: Carahil

February 19, 2011

"Carahil" by Carol Phillips

THE ELEMENTAL SPIRIT NAMED CARAHIL started life as a recreation in Silver tech from the various recollections of Lord Davage of Blanchefort. He often spoke of a gigantic seal-like creature he met in the dusty planes of Metatron named Carahil. Davage spoke of him being kind and wise.

His sister, Lady Poe of Blanchefort, listened to the dinner-time stories and was captivated. She was a newly trained Shadow tech female and was fast discovering her considerable talent for creating Silver tech familiars. She decided to put her new-found skills to the test and create an exact replica of Carahil, using vast amounts of Silver tech and the detailed recollections of Lord Davage in the process. She located a dry fountain basin in the Telmus Grove and began the long process of creating Carahil, running herself dry several times. As she worked she became very fond of the unfinished creation and began adding more to the mixture than she first intended. She added libraries worth of knowledge and arcane lore, cook books, joke books and other such things she thought would make him well-rounded. When he was nearly ready, she added the essence of a kindly dog from the kitchens. That evening, Carahil opened his eyes for the first time.

Carahil Figurines, by Carol Phillips

Carahil quickly grew in power, and he drew the attention of the Celestial Arborium, a fraternity of powerful creatures watching the continuity of the universe. Carahil passed the four Criteria of Deuum and the Arborium asked him to join.

Carahil has a fondness of lost and little creatures and will go to great lengths to assist those he feels need help. He loves giving gifts when he can. Considering himself to be “incredibly good-looking”, Carahil’s gifts are usually tiny images of his own likeness. He is also a relentless prankster–those he favors are often victims of his pranks.

Image of Carahil in Waam, by Carol Phillips

He is the patron god of Xandarr and is memorialized with many shrines and temples, the largest being a park on the banks of the River Torr called 1000 Carahil Park. Children often draw pictures of him and write little notes, leaving them at the flippers of his statues and hope he hears their call. It is also tradition that fresh-baked cream pies placed on a sill will attract him.

Carahil’s Secret-Talker is Mabsornath, the former Cat God of Zall-88. Mabs appears occasionally in a place called the Cat God Pub. There, the answers to many questions may be had and the voices of those far away may be heard. The Cat God Pub appears in different guises to different people and it never is encountered in the same place twice. Carahil and Mabs are thought to be romantically involved.

Copyright 2011, Ren Garcia