Gods and Goddesses: Drea

Realm of Drea, Goddess of Life

The realm of the Goddess of Life was home to all manner of living things. Insects hummed over flowers surrounding a large stone cabin, and birds sang in the sweeping trees. Thin vines crept along the mortar, turning the exterior walls into a maze of gray and green. Lily pads floated above fish and frogs in clear pools. Further from the house, the neatly designed gardens gave way to a sea of trees where rabbits and deer roamed freely along with other herbivores.

With only fifteen rooms in the cabin, Drea’s one hundred sacrifices lived in a row of smaller stone houses behind the main garden. There, the women kept a vegetable garden and small orchards for their personal use. Domesticated animals were also permitted as long they hurt nothing and no one. Sacrificial husbands stayed in the main house, but the last one asked to pass on years ago. A new husband hadn’t been offered in decades.

The round temple hadn’t been used for more than Drea’s passing to the mortal realm or visiting her siblings for almost thirty years. Behind the stained glass door, ferns spread along the walls. Climbing flowers curled along the floral designs carved into green granite walls. Her altar was hidden beneath the overgrown roots of the tree planted behind. Mice now nested in the flower boxes hanging outside the windows, and birds in the eaves. With the lack of prayer, Drea had no intention of destroying thriving life to honor her connection to the mortals.

Gods and Goddesses: Ebris 

Amber R. Duell’s novel Fragile Chaos‘ release date is July 11th of this year! Bi-weekly blurbs about the Realm of the Gods and Goddesses within the novel by Tiphaine, a French artist and cartographer, will be posted here with more chances to win prizes along the way. The second map fragment, The Realm of Drea, will be posted on January 15th.


Realm of Ebris, King of the Gods

While the brilliance of Ebris’ earthly temples had diminished greatly, the one mirrored in the realm of the King of the Gods’ was as pristine as it did the day it was created.

Ribbed pillars surrounded a smooth marble exterior. Light shone into the temple through an enormous domed skylight, and the gold walls gleamed as brightly as the sun.

The walk from the temple to the eight hundred room castle led through elaborately designed shrubbery, manicured lawns, and gardens brimming with colorful flora. A symmetrical courtyard boasted a dozen fountains with a gazebo showcased at the center.

Inside the castle, gold mosaics covered every ceiling, spreading down the walls to meet with embedded diamonds. The windows in the wing leading to the throne room comprised of stained glass. The sunlight used the reds, yellows, and blues to paint a vivid design on the opposite wall, continuing into the throne room with twenty foot ceilings.

Nearly five hundred wives still remained in Ebris’ realm along with over two thousand servants. The male servants slept six to a room while the wives slept two. There were exceptions of course; four favorite wives had their own chambers, and the six lead servants only had to share with one other person. One hundred rooms were set aside for recreational purposes—a ballroom, painting rooms, libraries—while a dozen rooms were off limits to anyone other than Ebris.

Everyone was encouraged to associate with each other as they saw fit as long as no one ever forgot who was in charge.

Fragile Chaos: The World of Huvaria by Amber R. Duell

Asgya and Volkana

Tensions between Asgya and Volkana had always been high. Before the International Committee of Warfare was formed, the Volks made several attempts to invade Asgya with little success. Recently, Asgya was forced to accept assistance offered by Volkana out of desperation when the famine tighten its grip. It didn’t take long for the Volks to use their foothold to further their true agenda. The Asgyans were starving, and the government seemed to be incapable of finding a solution. The Volks were seen saviors for the first time. So, when they exerted their influence over the Asgyan people, it seemed like a good thing. The Asgyan government wasn’t fooled, however. They knew what the Volks were doing, but with nothing to fall back on, they were forced to seek clandestine backing to cast the Volks from their nation.

Kisk and Asgya

When Asgya granted Kisk their independence sixty years ago, they also promised to back Kisk against any international threats. Neither of them expected Asgya to need Kisk’s help, but the Kisken government knew their freedom depended on Asgya’s. With a military force approximately 100,000 strong, there wasn’t much Kisk could do to defend or defeat either of their neighbors. The help had to come secretly using a highly-trained special task force. If Volkana learned Kisk was supplying extra food, sabotaging Volk propaganda, or contributing to Asgya’s intelligence, they would no longer be dealing with a quiet takeover, but a full-fledged war.

Volkana and Kisk

Previously protected against raids under Asgyan rule, and currently protected by International Warfare laws, Kisk was safe unless they provoked hostility with Volkana. When Kisk agreed to help Asgya, they underestimated Volkana’s network of informants. Volkana moved quickly to spin the situation to their advantage. Soon, the world thought Kisk helped Asgya instigate a war against them—however irrational it seemed. The first Volk attack seized a Kisken prison under the pretense of rescuing false-POWs, and the country fell to ruins within a year.

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Spotlight: Rebecca Lee

Introducing Rebecca Lee who will be releasing a limited print run of her novelette Object Relations: A Novelette with RCP!  Here’s your chance to get to know Rebecca before it comes out.


Synopsis:

Object Relations Theory: A form of psychoanalytic theory postulating that people relate to others in order to develop themselves.

Through long divisions of interpretation, words sectioned into sentences. Uncomfortable, they bunched together, worried their independence lost. Together, all the words decided they should be bound in unison forever. Their books stain the beliefs that we continue to hold.

Rebecca Lee’s collection of vignettes demonstrates the various imaginary relationships of personified objects. From door knobs to smartphones, everyday encounters come alive.


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?

I have always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I could pick up a pen, I’ve been glued to various notebooks. I love the sensation of hiding my words behind paper. It feels like I’m telling a secret to myself.

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

I like to believe that everything has a perspective. If two people can look at the same thing and come up with several different stories, that means it exists and is therefore writing-worthy.

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

I think the word ‘ordinary’ is really fascinating. Even a word that is supposed to mean common, has a million different definitions depending on who you are talking to. With every object that is fictionalized in my book, I try to show a side that may not have been previously thought about. That way ‘normal’ can have several representations.

4. What made you start a blog? Has it influenced your writing in general? How did Object Relations come about?

I’ve been writing in a blog since I was 14. At first it influenced my writing because I wrote for friends. Descriptions I would have poured out in my journal, transformed into stories that I thought friends might find amusing. Object Relations came about early on. When I was a child I would write about object’s personified. I guess I always hung onto it because I could shape something that wasn’t real into anything I wanted.

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

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I’ve been writing almost my whole life, so I can’t imagine what I (or my life) would be like without it. I’d like to say it’s made me take chances and risks I might not have otherwise taken, but I have no idea. It’s my brain. For better or worse, it’s always a part of me.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Object Relations? Ex). A particular vignette or object?

There are many sides to the same coin. (Bad pun I know)

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

Write every day. Whether you’re a woman or a man, dedication and discipline are a lasting marriage.

The World of Huvaria: Volkana

huvariamap_coloredVolkana
Population: 289,742,000
Language: Volk
Symbol: Four squares: top left and bottom right—red, top right—white, bottom left—black
Volkana had long owned the entire south-western continent. Boasting multiple landscapes from mountains to deserts to grassland, they preferred to be self-sustaining instead of relying on imports. On the other hand, iron mined from the mountains, multiple oil lines throughout country, and being a front-runner in technology had kept Volkana one of the richest countries in the world.

Unfortunately, the Volk Princeps kept taxes so high the citizens couldn’t afford much more than the necessities. They lived mainly on hearty stews, and dense bread. Few homes were owned by private citizens, and nearly half of a farmer’s crop was claimed for the government employees upon harvest. With a formidable military presence in nearly every city, any hint of a rebellion was crushed before it began, securing the authoritarian regime.

The corruption in the government only spread over the centuries. Once the International Committee of Warfare was created, Volkana was forced to step back from their aggressive movements. Instead, they had to resort to scheming so any invasion appeared to be defensive measures. No new lands had been conquered in nearly two hundred years. In fact, eastern commonwealths had reclaimed their independence, leaving Volkana without a foothold on the other side of the world. But the current Princeps was determined to leave behind a legacy. When the opportunity arose to return Volkana to its former glory days, they wasted no time laying down the foundation for a hostile advance.


Ubrar
Population: 356,129

Covering a low-peaked mountain on a Volk peninsula was the city of Ubrar. Government buildings stood above the seedy city, each district becoming more squalid as they spread down the windy, cool mountainside. While it had been considered the capital city since the early days, the high crime rate drove the regime to conduct official business in a safer locale. The state buildings were now used solely for hosting foreign diplomats. Shut off from the rest of the city by a dense pine forest, the truth of the city could be safely hidden for short visits. To avoid exposing foreign leaders to dirty streets, crumbling buildings, and a growing mafia, they were brought to a secure location on helicopters from a nearby airport.

For Ubrar’s citizens and common visitors, there was only one way in and out of the city—a winding road that passed through the surrounding mountain range, before reaching a deep gorge. A suspension bridge brought drivers straight into the outer limits where crime was the worst.

While Ubrar used the limited access through the mountains as a natural defense, the city also housed a military garrison of thirty thousand men and women. The military presence helped keep organized crime to a minimum in the past, but in recent decades, the leaders became embroiled in the corruption around them. Ubrar quickly became a city rife with drugs, prostitution, and violence. When the Princeps ruled to cut back the city’s funding to finance the war, and began recruiting the most educated citizens, matters only got worse.

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.