Amber R. Duell’s novel Fragile Chaos‘ release date is fast approaching! Advance reader copies will be coming soon along with the cover. To celebrate, bi-weekly blurbs about the world will be posted here leading up to the new year. Tiphaine, a French artist and cartographer, is behind the fantasy maps that will be featured in the novel. The Island of Kisk is the homeland of Cassia, and is pivotal to the action behind Duell’s novel. The second map fragment, Gull Island, will be posted on October 15th.
Island of Kisk
Symbol: A yellow sun
Between two warring countries, in the middle of the Bluohm Sea, was the Island of Kisk. Rocky cliffs lined the western border with picturesque views of the sea while low, sweeping plains in the east gave way to crystal clear beaches. Winters were mild with comfortable days and cold nights, and the summers were hot and dry. Paired with savory food and welcoming cities, Kisk had long been the largest vacation destination in the western hemisphere before the war began.
After nearly eight hundred years of oppression from their northern neighbors, a newly crowned Asgyan king offered Kisk a treaty to regain their freedom. The royal lineage was no long clear, so the Kiskens appointed a prime minister, and began resurrecting their culture. While values placed on family and friends survived, others hadn’t. The connection ancient Kiskens felt to nature was lost across the generations, as was the tradition of tattoos to represent certain milestones. Most knowledge of the gods vanished in the recent centuries, crushed under Asgyan monotheism and scientific discoveries, but the six god and goddess temples still circled the country. Less than one hundred believers were left to worship in them.
Unfortunately, Kisk only enjoyed sixty years as a free country before being pulled into the war. The Kisken military was efficient, but too small to stand on its own. They quickly fell when soldiers from both sides of the conflict began using their island as a battlefield. Their government officials were missing or dead, and their cities destroyed. Anyone that could, fled east. Those that couldn’t either joined the militia or formed groups of survivors to wait out the conflict. None of them turned to the temples for salvation.
Temple of War
Once, when the entire world was devoted to the gods and goddesses, every country hosted six temples—one for each deity. Centuries passed, borders changed, and countries were left with an uneven balance. Natural disasters destroyed more temples while others fell into disrepair. But, against all odds, all six of Kisk’s temples survived—none in better condition than the Temple of War.
Looming atop cliff, overlooking the sea and a bustling tourist town, was a round three-story building made of grey stone. Five turrets were evenly spaced between narrow windows. Behind massive wooden doors was a cavernous room with red banners running down the stone walls. A round pit tunneled into the center of the floor with an altar on the opposite side where followers would pray. The turrets housed alcoves for each of the god’s siblings. They allowed followers of Theodric to still pray to the other deities, and offer tokens of appreciation during a ritual to their brother. The mortal Temple of the War God was a direct link to the temple in Theodric’s realm, so anything offered to him would be delivered. In turn, Theodric was also able to travel from his temple to any of the mortal sites.
Lead by a High Priest, and governed by a Temple Mother, fourteen Kisken men and women devoted their life to Theodric, God of War. They lived in the lower levels of the temple, burrowed into the rocky hillside, as a way to prove they believed themselves below their god. Upgrades also made the underground rooms better suited to withstand a bombing, and supplies were stockpiled. A special room was reserved for chickens, which served both as a food source and for ceremonial sacrifices. In case of emergency, traditional supplies were also set aside for a different kind of sacrifice.