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

The Horvath Creeper in its favorite setting. (Carol Phillips)

The Horvath Creeper in its favorite setting. (Carol Phillips)

THE HORVATH CREEPER: AN ODDITY OF NATURE. The Horvath Creeper is a freshwater flowering plant native to the temperate regions of the planet Trimble, an N1 world in Xaphan space. Prior to human colonization in 000024AX, it was a slow-growing plant with a large, meaty flower requiring clean, still water and ample branches or twigs to cling to. A number of conditions had to be met in order for it to thrive and its mortality rate was high. Those specimens that did manage to grow large were often fed upon by local fauna.

However, that all changed when man came to Trimble several centuries back. The Creeper, in the presence of man, turned out to be a parasitic opportunist. Its spores had a tendency to collect in the maxillary sinus of any who breathed it in. In some cases, the spores actually sprouted, resulting in the death of the victim. Weeks after the person’s death, a flower would burst out of the victim’s skull. The Creeper found the brain matter of those possessing Gifts of Mind were rich in nutrients required for germination. In a few cases, people infected with the Creeper found themselves taken over by it. They were compelled to seek out calm pools of water and drown themselves in it. There, the Creeper would emerge, devouring the victim’s brain and using their skeletal structure as a framework from which to cling. In time the symptoms of carrying the Horvath Creeper’s spores became known: the inability to use the Gifts of the Mind, confusion, and a fervent desire to drown oneself.

Queen Ghome I of Trimble was enchanted by the macabre nature of the Creeper and added it to her deadly Garden of Zama. There, she bred it and enhanced its sinister characteristics until it became her favorite, and the phrase: “Where a Dead Man falls a flower grows.”

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

Click on the pic to go to Amazon

Click on the pic to go to Amazon

It’s Day 1 of the Big Sands of the Solar Empire giveaway on Amazon. Sands is beginning of the Belmont Saga and takes off in a new direction with a fresh cast of characters: Same LoE Universe, different folks!

Monday, April 8th and Tuesday, April 9th the Sands ebook is totally free. Click on the Sands cover picture to go direct to Amazon.

Here’s the Blurb for the Book:

GET THE BRANDY TO BAZZ . . .

That’s all Paymaster Stenstrom, the Lord of Belmont-South Tyrol, has to do and the old warbird Seeker is his. He has dreamed of captaining a Fleet ship his entire life.

Little does Paymaster Stenstrom realize that he is in the grip of an old Vendetta and the short trip to Bazz might very well be his last.
Faced with a dead ship and a lost crew, Paymaster Stenstrom finds help in the strangest places: the thief Marine and the milquetoast young man from the Admiral’s office, and, though he just became acquainted with these two strangers, he discovers they have been influencing each other’s lives for a very long time.

Something sinister hovers over Paymaster Stenstrom and his two new friends, something they are only now becoming aware of. The SANDS OF THE SOLAR EMPIRE stretch out before them in an endless gulf brimming with the unknown. Can a masked Paymaster, a thief, a coward and a once great warbird face what awaits them?

Click on the pic to go to Amazon

Click on the pic to go to Amazon

Also, don’t forget that Book VII, Against the Druries is also available on ebook. Book VII is the exciting conclusion of the Belmont Saga.

Here the blurb:

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF BAD BETWEEN KANA AND BAZZ . . . That’s what they say on Bazz, that the “Deep Sea”, the open space between the two planets, is cursed and full of bad dreams—but nobody ever listens to people from Bazz, do they? Paymaster Stenstrom, Private Taara and Lord A-Ram struggle to navigate the Seeker, an old warbird, through the shipping lanes to Bazz. If the Paymaster can’t get to Bazz with his cargo of brandy, he loses the ship and will probably end up in jail as well. Jail? If only . . . The three adventurers are about to discover the old farfetched mariner stories are very real and that the Devil himself waits for the unwary in dark places where there is no help. The Circle closes in on Stenstrom, Taara and A-Ram, and its judgment for them is far worse than any jail cell. The Seeker is about of become just another ship that set sail from safe shores and was never heard from again, unless . . . The Belmont Saga concludes in this heartbreaking and action-packed tale of friendship and dedication, of vile evil and hopeless terror, and that sometimes help for those gone astray comes from the most unlikely of places.

See you there!!

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia

LoE Sciences: Mentralysis

March 28, 2013

I love making things up … obviously. I look around and see all that is there and I wonder, I embellish things, I make them wilder than they ordinarily would be. One doesn’t need to be an author to engage in such antics, it’s just natural, to add import to the things around one, to imagine motive or sinister intent to a harmless passerby. Therefore, when my tales wander in a direction that requires some sort of scientifical authoritative backing, I simply make it up. I created the following after witnessing how different my wife is when she sleeping than when she’s awake. I noticed a similar change in my grandmother when I was a kid.

Mentralysis Lab on the Gold Coast of Hoban (Carol Phillips)

Mentralysis Lab on the Gold Coast of Hoban (Carol Phillips)

MENTRALYSIS is the science of communicating with sleeping, unconscious or comatose subjects. It is a forbidden science, unknown and unapproved by the Sisterhood of light. In the league, you’re not supposed to do anything without the approval of the Sisters, scientific study included. Sciences invented by the Xaphans in particular are forbidden by the Sisters. A tenet of the science is the assertion that one’s SS (or Sleeping Self) is different in terms of wants, needs and objectives than the WS (or Waking Self).

Mentralysis was invented by the famed jeweler Vehelm of Waam in 0000845AX. Vehelm was one of the many Doomed Men in Xaphan space, picked to court the dreaded Queen Ghome I of Trimble. Ghome would pick her suitors for the throne of Trimble by force, selecting them usually for their money or other material possessions she wanted. If they refused, she would attack with her powerful Tri-Court Alliance. Vehelm was known throughout Xaphan space as a genius maker of rare jewelery, and Queen Ghome coveted some of his works for herself. To court Queen Ghome was to dance with death and most of her suitors were eventually killed in her deadly Garden of Zama. A tiny, studious man, Vehelm was not expected to survive.

Queen Ghome I of Trimble (Unfinished painting by Carol Phillips)

Queen Ghome I of Trimble (Unfinished painting by Carol Phillips)

But, survive he did, quickly becoming one of her favorites. He was said to have constructed, or, in some accounts, repaired and enhanced, Ghome’s Bower Chest where she kept her prized possessions. Eventually, he made his way into her bed chamber. There, he made a significant discovery. In her sleep, Queen Ghome would cry out, would mumble in apparent agony. After many nights of wittnessing this, Vehelm came to the conclusion that Ghome seemed to be remorseful and sorry for the horrendous atrocities she was guilty of committing during the day. He hit upon the notion that, if he could communicate with her while sleeping, that she might indeed be a very different person than she was when awake. He secretly constructed the first Mentralysis Deck, a computerized device that could hone in and lock on to one’s Beta Waves. He also created a machine language code-named Serenity that could interpret the nightmare of thoughts, memories and the primal urges of the Ego and allow cogent two-communication. With Serenity 7, he was successful, and, as he suspected, the saintly voice he heard through his Mentralysis Deck, was crying out for help.

What happened afterward and the tragic fate of Vehelm of Waam is another story…

859154_10151441933809586_201767573_oMENTRALYSIS ARCHETYPES:
The fledgling science of Mentralysis escaped Vehelm’s death and made its way to the Ephysian Hospitalers on the Gold Coast of Hoban. The Hospitalers continually refined and expanded Mentralysis, making a secret full-time study of it. They determined through analysis that there are seven archetypes of people depending on how different their Sleeping Self is from the Walking Self.

DO: Diametric Opposite: The SS is radically different from the WS in terms of wants, needs and personality. The SS and WS are actively at odds with the other.

SC: Significant Change: The SS is significantly different from the WS in terms of temperament, needs and wants, though there might be some similarities.

NC: Noticeable Change: The SS is similar to the WS, but will vary in topical ways in terms of likes/dislikes, loves and wants. These topical changes shall be noticeable and readily apparent, though the basic personality of the SS and WS are the same.

U: Ultra: The Ultra is a median point. The Ultra might display traits of any of the other 6 Mentralysis archetypes. The Ultra will always display/demonstrate skills and abilities in the SS that is not possessed by the WS. The SS will manifest skills and talents the WS does not have or has not trained/studied for.

MC: Moderate Change: The changes between the SS and the WS are not readily apparent, though topical differences will become apparent with detailed analysis. The MC archetype is the most common and documented.

RC: Relative Comparison: The changes between the SS and WS are very difficult to determine. In an RC, the SS is very underdeveloped and beholden to the WS. RC’s are often quite young and develop into other archetypes as they age.

L: Like: There is no identifiable difference between the SS and WS. The SS does not appear to exist in an L archetype’s mental makeup. The L archetype is often temporary, manifested most often in children and disappears by early adulthood. An L archetype often changes into an RC.

There is a final classification known as G, or Gamer. Any of the above classifications can be a Gamer. Mentralysists have discovered that the Sleeping Self, when boosted with certain neural stimuli, have very specific, very detailed dreams. Gamers can dream of places they have never been, and their dreams are accurate to the smallest detail. The stimulation required to create a Gamer can be very dangerous to the Waking Self and is practiced with extreme caution. A synthetic and rather caustic neurotransmitter known as H4 is used to creating a Gaming Session. Those stimulated into the Gaming State often-times do not wake up.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

ATD 3

Finally, LOE Book VII: Against the Druries is out!!

This book is the triumphant conclusion to the “Belmont Saga” and all of the concepts and plot threads introduced in “Sands” are dealt with and answered in detail.

An author naturally puts a great deal of themself into any particular work–with this book it’s even more so. I normally try to keep myself out of the proceedings, but this book encompasses many of my hopes and my dreams, my fears and my wants. There is a great deal of friendship and discovered love in this book, and there is vile cruelty too. This book is me with the curtain pulled aside, and it’s my favorite so far of the series.

LoE Book VII: Against the Druries , from Loconeal Publishing, is available on Amazon.com

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia

One of the more confusing aspects of the League of Elder concerns age and the process of aging. How do people age in the League? Why don’t the characters get old? How long do they live? Are they Immortal??

Let’s take a look.

Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis, bot over 100 (Eve Ventrue)

Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis, both over 100 years old (Eve Ventrue)

CONCERNING AGE:
A little history. Way back in the CX Time Epoch is when the people who would one day become the League were given the Gift of Youth and Health. The 25 god-like Elders, whom they faithfully served, decided to reward their loyal servants and engineered the ravages of old age and infirmity out of them. The effects of this engineering essentially granted them the energy of youth throughout their lives and disease became a thing of the past, such that knowledge of the medical arts was no longer considered necessary and was therefore lost to the ages, not to be rediscovered until the EX Time Epoch by the Hospitalers.

Here are a few facts:

The average Elder (or Leaguer) lives to be 220 years old. For example, Captain Davage is about 120 years old, while his wife, Countess Sygillis, is well over 200, though her exact age is unknown.

THE PUFFIES and TWEENERS:
One of the side-effects of their condition is a very malformed and somewhat grotesque youth. Children 15 and under are often rather malformed and puffy in appearance. Those with the Gifts of the Mind suffer from it the most, while the Browns hardly have it at all. Lady Kilos of Blanchefort is a well-known sufferer of The Puffies, having it well into her twenties, while her elder brother, Lord Kabyl, never had it at all. The Puffies normally clear up by their mid-20’s.

A-Ram and Alesta (Eve Ventrue)

A-Ram and Alesta (Eve Ventrue)

From the time an Elder child reaches their 20’s until their early 30’s, they’re known as Tweeners and develop into full maturity. After that, they remain unchanged in appearance until their death. For example, Lord A-Ram is in his 40’s, while his fiancée, Lady Alesta of Dare , is 152 years old, however, looking at them side-by-side, one couldn’t determine their difference in age.

THE LENTICONS:
There are some in the League who, through a malady of the flesh, grow old and only live to be about 100. They are known as Lenticons and are generally considered products of bad breeding. The Esther House of Milke is known to be thusly afflicted.

Monamas, like Lady Sammidoran, are not engineered to remain young, and age and diminish as they get older. (Eve Ventrue)

Monamas, like Lady Sammidoran, are not engineered to remain young, and age normally as they get older. (Eve Ventrue)

Various indigenous Leaguers, such as the Monama peoples of Kana and the Females of Carina 7 do not have the Gift of Youth and Health and age normally.

THE TIME OF GOODBYES
One severe drawback of their perpetually young bodies is that the Leaguers are never quite certain when they will die. Death strikes without warning once a certain age has been passed. A usual tradition is for people turning 220 to perform the Time of Goodbyes ritual to get their affairs in order and bid their loved ones farewell, just in case they die in the night. Lady Poe of Blanchefort is well past her Time of Goodbyes, her long life possibly due to her status as a Shadow tech Female (see below).

IMMORTALITY:
It has been long suspected that the Elders not only made the Leaguers young and healthy, they made them immortal as well. The Hertogs, a group of disaffected scholars and detractors of the Sisterhood of Light, often make that claim. They maintain that the Sisters are actually doing something behind the scenes to suppress their immortality. That argument has yet to be fully proved. The Hertogs make it their business to track down those they believe are Immortals and collect them, so to speak. Their code-name for a suspected Immortal is: Rundlepharge. The Xaphan tyrant Queen Ghome of Trimble is a suspected Immortal.

Immortality aside, there are certain variables which appear to grant certain Leaguers exceptional long life. Shadow tech females, such as Sygillis of Blanchefort, are known to live to incredible old age, unchanged with time. Additionally, proximity to Elder-tech and with alien power sources are said to expand one’s life. The Xaphan House of Burgon, the Court of George in particular, often engage in the practice of cannibalism, which they claim also expands life.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue

ATD: Places–Bazz

January 18, 2013

In LoE Book VII, Against the Druries, the destination of Paymaster Stenstrom and his friends, Private Taara and Lord A-Ram is the planet Bazz.

Let’s learn a little bit more about Bazz.

BazzBazz, like many League worlds, was terriformed from a lifeless body to a fully functioning ecosphere in 744ex, when the planet shed its technical designation (Nu-12Gamma) and was given the name Helios. The terraforming process took over two hundred years to complete, the planet rather stubbornly clinging to its lifeless primordial past. It is twelve stellar units from its parent star, Nu Torriander, or Ole’ Scrub as it is known on Onaris, its planetary sister-world. Nu Torriander is a blue super giant, and its habitable zone is much farther back than many systems supporting life. It also has a dwarf companion star known as Lil’ Whiteface.

Bazz is known for cold winters and hot, humid summers. Those hot summers dissuaded the Vith, the usual explorers in the League and normally the first to populate a new world, from settling it. Helios sat empty for nearly three hundred years. After the Great Betrayal on 000000AX, it was occupied by the House of Sorrander for a short time.

Eventually, Helios began attracting settlers, mostly tax exiles and other people looking to get lost. From the beginning, the settlers found themselves seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. It was believed that there was some sort of gas or nerve agent in the air causing the hallucinations, though nothing of the sort was found. Eventually the planet became known as Bazz, short for the Vith word for Bazzal, or “Nightmare” in the common tongue. The name “Bazz” was officially given to the planet in 000022AX. It’s capital city is Helios-Mason.

Bazz, unlike Kana, Onaris and Hoban, never developed a feudal Great-House system of governing. instead, it developed a pure democratic system. For centuries, the place was considered barbaric and rather Xaphan-like. Its name became a metaphor for being rude, crass, noisy, profane and generally lacking in proper manners. As of late, its exotic culture, spicy food and distinctive architecture have given the place a new standing in the League.

Some notable facts:

–All cities and villages on Bazz have two names. This tradition hails back to the antiquity of the planet.

–Likewise, Bazzers also have two names instead of just one as seen in the Great House system.

–Women on Bazz wear their hair with distinctive “sideburns” known as Mollucks indicating their marital status. Married women do not wear Mollucks.

–Currency on Bazz consists of a computerized monetary unit known as a “Credit” or “Cred”. Bazzers transact business using a “Cred Stick”.

–Bazz’ most popular hero in antiquity was Darius Jones, the “It ” man from the south.

–The Hospitalers on Bazz are known as “The Jones” in honor of Darius Jones.

–The symbol of Bazz is a ferocious bear-like beast known as a Gallian Torr, which is said to eat nothing but human flesh.

LoE Book VII: Against the Druries will be available February, 2013 from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia