The World of Huvaria: Asgya

huvariamap_coloredAsgya
Population: 213,998,000
Language: Asgyan
Symbol: A blue circle with a red triangle in the center

Twelve hundred years ago, before Asgya was a country, the land was conquered by men from the north. Their campaigns continued for another five hundred years before the northern continent was divided equally among the king’s four sons to avoid a civil war. Asgya was given to the youngest son, and slowly drifted away from the gods. A majority of the country turned toward monotheism over the last two centuries, and more recently, they began to make reparations to the people they conquered. Unfortunately, the war brought all efforts to a halt.

Known for their rich, fertile soil, the Asgyan economy relied heavily on agriculture. The mild climate and sprawling plains suited a variety of fruits and vegetables. Grassy hills fed an abundance of livestock while miles of coast along the Bluohm Sea served dozens of fishing villages.

With such an overflow of resources, the Asgyans weren’t used to using them conservatively. There were few reserves to fall back on when the crops suddenly failed. Livestock withered as the grasslands became barren. The famine left the country with little to feed their people, let alone export.

When greenhouses failed to produce a single seedling, many turned to their long tradition of music and art to keep up morale, but even the most inspiring ballad couldn’t combat their aching stomachs. The Asgyan king soon had to swallow his pride, and reach out to uncertain allies to survive.

The World of Huvaria: Shadow Cove

huvariamap_coloredShadow Cove
Population: 73,284

Three decades ago, Shadow Cove in south-western Asgya was little more than a fishing spot for a nearby town. Then a famous pirate and his crew claimed it as their own. A watch tower was erected first on the highest strip land, followed by a dozen buildings held off the ground with stilts to protect them against high tide. Steep cliffs with hanging vegetation cut the cove off from the mainland. Water stagnated around the base all year, but the cove quickly became the largest pirate town in the west.

As the population grew, care of the homes became nearly impossible to maintain. The cove only grew larger when the granddaughter of the founding pirate inherited her legacy. With twenty-three fleets owing her their allegiance, and thirty ships under her direct control, business boomed. Men and women came from all over the world to join one of the formidable crews. Some returned home years later, having made themselves rich. Others loved the lifestyle and their comrades more than they hated the stench of overcrowding, and made Shadow Cove their permanent home.

The larger the crews grew, the more the nearby populous complained. As a solution, the granddaughter ordered no one in the Bluohm Sea to be harassed so the locals wouldn’t pressure the government to step in. The order worked—port cities learned to coexist with Shadow Cove, and tradesmen sailed around the Kisken islands to avoid potential contact. The Asgyan Navy understood the amount of weaponry both the pirates’ modern brigantines and frigates held, so as long as the pirates limited their activities in international waters, they were left alone.

The World of Huvaria: Bluohm Sea

huvariamap_coloredBluohm Sea

The Bluohm Sea was famous for the legend of the Pamurine—an enormous horned serpent with fanned gills, and a penchant for dragging down ships that sailed near the caves on the rocky Volk shore. Despite the old stories, visitors and locals alike carried no fear of the fabled sea monster.

Cruise ships brought tourists by the hundreds to Kisken and Asgyan shores. There, they could snorkel through the cool blue water, and view an assortment of colorful sea life. Whale watches set out each afternoon, and guided scuba tours took a daily trip to ancient ship wrecks. Old statues, now covered in barnacles and sponges, rested on the seabed in deeper areas. For those that wanted to stay closer to the pristine beaches, jet skiing and surfing were a popular past time.

While cyclones were rare, they did occasionally hit certain parts of the sea. More often, tectonic plates beneath the sea caused low-level tremors with little damage. Infrequently, high magnitude earthquakes would hit the region, resulting in devastating tsunamis.

With Bluohm Sea standing between Volkana and Asgya, the war quickly turned the waterway into a battlefield with Kisk at its center. The ocean fed into the sea in the west, and exited again to the south through a narrow straight, making it one of the largest trade routes in existence. Business quickly reduced with the increased number of warships, though, and sailing around either country added weeks to a journey. With few eastern imports coming in, and no exports going out, all economies took a hit. As the war continued, trade shut down completely.

The World of Huvaria: Gull Island

huvariamap_coloredGull Island

Population – 1,038

Gull Island, a 200-square-foot Kisken island, was home to 302 families. The entire island was used for agricultural purposes—mainly dairy farms, and regional crops. A portion of land was sold to beekeepers from the smaller Kisken islands, and seeded with wild flowers. With honey being the largest export before the war, they were having a hard time keeping up with supply and demand.

With so few children on Gull Island, they were either home schooled or sent to a boarding school on the main island during the week. Those that stayed home were also expected to help their parents around the farm. Those that attended the mainland school returned every weekend to do the same.

Most travel back and forth from Gull Island to Kisk was done with individual motorboats, but a small ferry made round trips twice a day. If there was room, small cargo ships transporting produce allowed a limited number of passengers to catch a ride. Few stores were scattered across the small island with every day necessities, but trips to the mainland were a must for any large purchases. One doctor’s office served all of Gull Island, restricting their cases to emergencies.

Despite the wide berth the pirates of Shadow Cove gave the island, a small unit of soldiers were stationed along the eastern border to ease fears. Once the war began, the soldiers were able to evacuate the entire population to the main island on an empty cargo ship without a single casualty.

The World of Huvaria: Kisk

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.


huvariamap_colored

Island of Kisk
Population: 1,657,000
Language: Kisken
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.

Spotlight: Amber R. Duell

Introducing Radiant Crown Publishing’s debut author Amber R. Duell! Her novel, Fragile Chaos, is a young adult fantasy and romance that will be released next year. It’s been edited by the lovely Leah Brown, and the cover design is currently underway. Proofreading, map-making, and much more is on the horizon. But first, here’s your chance to get to know Amber and her story a bit more.


Synopsis:

A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.

AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.

BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.

“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.

“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?


1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

Deep down I’ve always wanted to be an author but it wasn’t until after floundering through a few different majors in college that I decided to follow my heart. Having grown up listening to fairy tales and fantastical adventures, writing always called to me. Making the impossible possible. Discovering the answer to what if? Traveling to places where magic is real and anything can happen. There’s no better feeling than the spark of a new story igniting.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I tend to listen to the same handful of songs over and over when I write. Sometimes they change with the manuscript, sometimes not. Also, I write in layers. My first draft is more like a glorified 30-40k word outline, followed by separate drafts to add in character arcs, world-building, ect.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

It’s very exciting to see books coming out that explore different cultures, races, and sexuality. Whether it’s in our world or fantasy, it’s so very important that everyone is able to find characters they easily identify with. The same with unexpected protagonists. They show that a flawed character with a sketchy past and habit of doing things the unconventional way can succeed with bravery and good intentions. No one is perfect and I love that showcasing unexpected protagonists proves that’s okay.

4. What do you think makes a great young adult title? How do you think your piece Fragile Chaos fits into or varies from that description?

Relatable characters and emotional truths. I think seeing a character make mistakes, then making proactive choices to overcome them, is important. As is not stereotyping teenagers as whiny or self-absorbed when there are so many intelligent, caring teens out there. Fragile Chaos deals with heavier topics, like war, but centers on the characters and the choices they make. They aren’t always right but through their story, they make realizations that help them grow.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

It definitely makes me view things differently. To understand every character, I have to understand their motivation which means stepping into their shoes. It’s taught me to look at all sides of an argument and, while I don’t have to agree, it is important to understand and consider all viewpoints.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Fragile Chaos? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

There is one scene I’m rather partial to but can’t specify without spoilers. A lot leads up to that moment. I’m also looking forward to sharing the new pantheon of gods.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women?

Don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s okay to be a writer. If you have a story within you, let it out. Do it because you love it. There will always be naysayers but have confidence in yourself. Use every can’t and won’t to fuel your passion. Pour yourself into the work and, whether it’s your first manuscript or your tenth, you can and you will.