Writer Interview

Author Stephen Trolly (that would be me) was interviewed by fellow author Sonnet O’Dell for her blog Dusty Pages.

Follow the link below to read the article:

https://sonnetodelldustypages.blogspot.ca/2018/05/meet-writer-monday-presents.html?m=1

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The Dwarven Conundrum

It is an all but indisputable fact that Dwarves no longer exist in Anaria. How this came to be though, given their instrumental position in shaping the early days of Anarian culture and language, is hotly debated.

Civil War

The most likely explanation for the disappearance of Dwarves is that they went to war with themselves. The logic behind this position is distinct differences between the architecture of Dwarven ruins throughout the Garuthen Mountains.
Southern ruins are closer to the surface of the mountains, with more doors and tunnels leading out into what are believed to be livestock pastures and potentially even above-ground towns and villages. These are the Dwarves that are believed to have been active as mercenaries during early wars between Drogoda and Armanda.
Ruins nearer to the middle of the mountain range, especially in the area of Braldish, have the remnants of heavy fortifications, expressing distrust of those on all sides, especially from mining Eschcotan Morschen. Though these Dwarves likely had strong trade connections with Eschcota, their paranoia about the position they occupied would have had to extend to the surface in the event that Dwarves might try to use Eschcotan mines to invade more trade-strategic fortresses.
Northern ruins have almost no direct surface access, except for chimneys and windows that extend deep into the rock before finding the cities beneath the mountain. This is likely a response to the far colder climate further north, as these ruins show some early similarity to those in the furthest south, though differences certainly evolved over time.

The Civil War Theory is supported by evidence of numerous territory disputes, most prevalent at cities in the central mountains. Evidence of many battles involving dozens, sometimes hundreds, of factions clearly identifiable as separate Houses, armies, Clans, and Cities exist at more than one major city off of the Dwarven Highway.

Natural Disasters

As much evidence as there is to support the Civil War Theory, some scholars stand by a natural disaster, or a series of natural disasters, driving the Dwarves to extinction. Earthquakes could have broken gas pockets trapped underneath the Garuthen Mountains. With how little ventilation many of more important Dwarven cities had, leaks of toxic gas would have dissipated at an extremely slow rate. This could have led to Dwarves living above ground for a time, though due to their nature, this itself could have driven them to extinction, and would explain the existence of above-ground towns and villages, but not actual cities. The population at the time could have been far too small to build or even need anything of real size, and obviously, the population never recovered.

Predators

Though the first two theories have strong logical basis for their claims, the third is, to most scholars, barely worth mentioning, let alone considering.
It is believed by some that above-ground predators, especially some early form of what would become Wyrms, managed to make their way beneath the mountains. Once down there, the only food source would have been the Dwarves themselves.
This theory is mostly dismissed because of the well-established fortifications of major Dwarven cities. The likelihood of Dwarven cities being overthrown by anything but a coordinated siege by beings who understood warcraft is laughable. There is some potential that Dragons were the ancestors of modern-day Wyrms, and that they attacked the cities and sacked them one by one, evolving into smaller creatures along the way. That possibility is deemed almost non-existent, as only very young Dragons would have been small enough to fit inside of Dwarven tunnels, and then would not be strong enough to overthrow a long-established culture.

Time

The Morschenic System

Morschen count time in a series of five and ten. This system revolves around the symmetry and equality of their magic and their religion.
There are ten days to a week, five weeks to a month, and ten months to a year.
Days break down evenly into fifteen hour periods each of night and day during the bulk of the year, though in the height of summer, and the depth of winter, the balance is lost and day or night respectively takes as many as twenty of those hours.
A Morschen minute is the same length as a human minute, but a Morschen hour is fifty minutes.
The Morschen year begins and ends with the Silver Moon, the holiest night of the year. The first morning of the year is the Red Dawn. The first night of the Morschen calendar is the Black Night, a night without moonlight or starlight.
Though the Morschen have numerous deities that they worship as lesser aspects of their one god Lasheed, neither Lasheed nor any lesser deity have any specific day of the week set for their worship. The Morschen, apart from the priesthood and those more prone to believe in divine intervention, specifically soldiers and sailors, do not typically consider their god to be very active in their day-to-day life. The Silver Moon is one of the only days of the Morschen calendar that is considered holy.

The Deshik System

While the Morschen base their system on the symmetry of their religion, the Deshika, though still recognizing the magical significance of the number ten, base their system on three and seven.
An hour is equal to seventy human minutes. Days are twenty-one hours in length, which would make them thirty minutes shorter than a Morschen day, but all Deshika take thirty minutes each night, at the same time, as a personal time. This time is considered to be between days, and so does not throw off their timekeeping.
A Deshik week is seven days, and a month is seventy days. This means that the Deshik year is once again shorter than its Morschen counterpart. But again, the Deshika have time set apart. The three longest days of the year at the height of summer are Deshik Holy Days, and so are separate from four hundred and ninety that make the year. The Deshika also consider the week starting with the Silver Moon to be a holy time, and that week, one day set aside for each of the deities they worship, is not included in the seven months of their year.
That Holy Week marks the beginning and ending of the Deshik Calendar.

The Dragon Kings

The exact beginning of Anarian history is subject to debate in Demosiran circles. While many historians claim that Anaria was truly born out of El Bendro Dakoia, the Eternal War, others claim that this history disregards that Anaria, or at the very least the Morschenic people, had to predate the war. The resolution to this conflict was found buried in an unlikely place: the Dragon’s Roost Mountains of Southern Meclarya.

Meclaryan Morschcoda guarded for millennia the secret of those mountains. Not just the ancestral breeding grounds of the Dragons, but ancient tombs, buried to prevent the secret magic of the Meclaryan Dragon Kings from falling into the hands of the warrior Kings of Drogoda, attempting even before Anaria truly existed to conquer it and the world.

History

Meclarya’s Dragon Kings ruled from the Dragon’s Roost Mountains, their royal holdings eventually expanding northwards into the valleys between the northern-most peaks to become present-day Airachni.
Though much about the Dragon Kings, their names and their stories, has been lost, their magic and their blood live on in Anaria. The Dragon Kings are held to be responsible for the enchantments that bond Riders to their Dragons. It is debated that that enchantment stretched to the Mordak of Drogoda as well, likely through the close relation between Dragons and Mordak.

Geography

At the height of their power, the Dragon Kings are thought to have controlled all the land between the Dak River (present day Rista) and the Cardor River, flowing from the Garuthen Mountains through Dothoro and Drogoda all the way to the Ocean in Caladea. Ruins, even the original foundations of Valok-Shein and Castle Morieden, are thought to be of the Dragon Kingdom, though this has long been debated since the Dragon Kings themselves were believed to be nothing more than myth until the beginning of the New Deshik Wars. South of the Cardor, the Dragon Kings were either contested by the ancestors of House Garrenin, or they did not care to go further in that direction, as no definite trace of them can be established.

Culture

Only one thing is certain about the Dragon Kings: they did not need the Morschledu Rings to control their magic. Whether they were simply stronger, or more attuned to the wild magic of Anaria and better able to control it, they had no need of the Morschledu Rings. Because of this, the question is asked which came first, the Dragon Kings or the Forgers. Whichever came first, the Dragon Kings are believed to have died out first, and the known territories of the two people did not cross. Likely, in the wake of the Dragon Kings’ fall, the Forgers thought that unadulterated use of magic was somehow responsible, and looked for a way to harness and control Anaria’s wild magic, leading to the creation of the Morschledu Rings and other, more powerful objects scattered through the lands formerly inhabited by the Forgers.

The Devil’s Dominion

Hello World (again)!
I know it’s been a while, and we thank you for your patience with us. This is a public service announcement to let you all know that …

THE ANARIAN CHRONICLES: THE DEVIL’S DOMINION IS COMPLETE!!

Soon, you’ll be able to return to the world of Anaria.

In honour of the completion of the series’ second book, Rising Vengeance will be available as a free kindle download from the 14th to the 18th of August.

Link below:

On Language

The Morschenic Language is a mess. That much can be said with utter certainty. It’s brutal conglomeration  of every possible Morschenic regional dialect, as well as its heavy borrowing of words originally from non-Morschenic species, makes learning Crinn-Morscha (as it is properly called, in its own language) a daunting, often impossible task.

Certain attempted practitioners of Crinn-Morscha are actually incapable of fluent conversation not because of a mental or educational inability, but rather one due simply to certain tricks of genetics. As previously stated, Crinn-Morscha borrows heavily from every form of communication that has practically ever existed in Anaria, and as such, certain words can become inaccessible. Certain ways the tongue needs to move to speak a regional dialect of Armanda are completely foreign to a person from Rista. They might even be foreign to a person from the next town over.

Heavy borrowing from Forger, Dwarvish, and Elvish also makes Crinn-Morscha a painful language for the attempted practitioner. Crinn-Morscha makes special use of the consonants “C,” “M,” “R,” and “S,” all of which are softer consonants. This gives the language a graceful, flowing sound when written down, and when being read to oneself in one’s head. However, the reality of the spoken Crinn-Morscha is very different. The spoken language has a harsh, grinding quality to it, likely derived from its Dwarvish origins. Those same soft consonants react with each other in clashing ways, and do not roll off of the tongue as might be expected.

It is difficult to ascertain what effect, if in truth any, the Forger language, or languages, had on the development of Crinn-Morscha. This is because, with the extinction of the Forgers, their language fell into disuse, except for what of it was absorbed into Morschenic, Elvish, and Dwarvish languages, and then in turn re-absorbed into Crinn-Morscha at some later point. Few Demosira have ever tried to translate any of the long passages of Forger languages still kept safe in the Demosira’s Tower, and without a scholar capable of deciphering those texts, much of the history of Crinn-Morscha and indeed of Anaria is almost impossible to know. Some scholars debate that the Forgers themselves are a myth, but again, without anyone capable of translating the language they seem to have left behind, it is possible that no one will ever know.

On a less dubious note, Crinn-Morscha has largely become obscure in recent millennia, and is practically unused except in the most formal of circumstances. Other more common uses mostly include swearing, which is seen as more tasteful if done in Crinn-Morscha as opposed to Morschen Basic.

With the advent of the New Deshik Wars, Crinn-Morscha has enjoyed a slight resurgence, as it is seen as a way to determine who’s side someone is really on. There is no proof that this actually works for anyone, though those who serve their Deshik masters attack anyone who uses Crinn-Morscha, almost without exception.

Biographical Speculative Essay: Morschcoda Xari Gundara

Who is Xari Gundara? What motivates the woman? Her fears, her loves, her desires, who knows these things about her, and what might they reveal about her as a person?

One thing that may be said about Xari Gundara is that she leaves her past behind her, but is it a true or even a fair statement.
Only once, by her own admission, did she ever visit the House Gundara Mausoleum, the day that the ashes of her mother were laid to rest. One would have to imagine that she was alive for the deaths of other relatives, such as her grandmother, also a Morschcoda of Armanda, but it is possible that in that case at least, she would have been too young to remember. Other relatives might simply not have been close enough to her, either in blood or emotional ties, for it to have been worth her attendance at their deaths or funerals.
Also along this line of reasoning, supporting Xari’s easily letting go of her past would be the example of Xari’s daughter and only child, Guinira. Guinira ran away at a young age, for reasons that are at best speculation, but then proceeded to live, as a prominent woman, in the city from which her mother ruled as Morschcoda of Armanda. If Xari knew or guessed at the true identity of the young woman who sat on her council of advisors, she apparently made no effort to close the gap between them. Xari’s lack of other children might be explained by a desire to not be reminded of her runaway daughter, though that would be a poor explanation.

There is another way to explain Xari Gundara however, and it is one that completely contradicts the theory previously presented: that Xari lets go of the past quickly.
What happened to Xari’s husband? That she must have had one (whether or not he was the true father of Guinira would not particularly matter, only that he exist for the sake of appearances) is beyond any doubt. Traditionally, Armandan women marry quite young. Xari is only about one hundred and fifty years older that Guinira, and though that is a respectable difference, look at the ages of her contemporaries on the Morschcoda Council, Ranny Marsharin and Daliana Marcarry. Neither were married by their third century, and Daliana was still unwed well into her sixth century.
So, what happened to Xari’s husband? The answer, of course, is Taren Garrenin the Second. Xari’s husband was a decorated soldier, and what country was more suited for war with Drogoda than its southern neighbour? Allihn Gundara, Xari’s husband, died in battle with Drogoda. It is often claimed, though Taren Garrenin has never confirmed the theory, that Allihn Gundara was killed by Taren himself. This theory explains quite easily why Xari Gundara is even more hostile to Taren Garrenin and Drogoda as a whole than any Gundaran Morschcoda before her.
Another point to raise is the sword she carries: Galdren. The Flaming Steel was once the property of her husband, returned in state to An-Aniath with the Lord Allihn’s body, escorted by ten Mordak Riders (an attempt on Taren’s part to make a gesture of peace). Xari would wear the sword every day for the rest of her life, constantly ensuring that Taren saw the blade, reminding him of his crime against her. I believe also that Xari trained with the weapon to be even more proficient than her husband, hoping to be able to kill Taren if she was ever given the opportunity.

I believe that the death of Xari’s husband drove an emotional wedge between Xari and her daughter, and that Xari attempted to bury her past so that it could not be used against her. But where does that leave us in regards to who the woman is?
She tries desperately to hide from her past, which only leads to it controlling her. She had no choice but to put her duty before her family, and so she lost her daughter. She loved her husband so deeply, she carried the only physical reminder of him that she had for the rest of her life. In short, she is a woman defined by loss, who lost everything, and lost it more than once.

The Economics of Anaria

Anaria enjoys a peculiar economic system; one that might not make very much sense to those outside of it. However, over the millennia, the system has been subject to much experimentation and has been perfected by the various Anarian races. Merchants particularly find it advantageous to their profits, because Anaria has, in fact, no fewer than three distinct monetary systems, each with their own advantages.

The Gold System

Gold is valued consistently through all ten of Anaria’s nations. However, only a few merchants actually deal with gold, due to the general complexity that its constant price brings to ordinary proceedings.

Gold is the primary symbol of wealth in six of Anaria’s Ten Nations: Armanda, Caladea, Dothoro, Eschcota, Meclarya, and Storinea. While none of these countries actually have any kind of magical affinity with gold, they value it for specific, if rather arbitrary, reasons, most of which relate back to the sun, and these six being what were once referred to (though now mostly only in the most ancient of histories) as the Nations of Light.
Five of the six have rituals directly regarding the sun. Caladean magic is said to originate from it, Armandans and Meclaryans worship it as the source of all fire. Dothrin revere it for its life-giving properties, and Storineans revere all stars (the potential suns of other planets). Only Eschcotan magic and ritual is not tied in some way to the sun. But for these reasons, these six hold gold, to them a physical embodiment (if only in colour) of the sun that the revere.

The Silver System

Silver is more difficult to understand. In the Six Nations of Light, a silver coin holds about half the value of a gold coin. But, in Anaria’s other nations, silver’s value quadruples. Drogoda, Noldoron, Rista, and Torridesta each value silver as twice that of gold.

Unlike with gold and the Six Nations of Light, silver is strongly involved with the Four Nations of the Dark. Silver is involved in some way with almost every important ritual, magical or otherwise, conducted in each of these four nations, and as such, its value within their borders is much greater.

Take an example: A Caladean merchant in Drogoda. The Caladean is buying products produced by Drogoda’s whaling trade: whale oil specifically. If the value of one barrel of the oil is 8 gold, the merchant will pay the 4 silver. The Drog selling the oil is happy enough, as they have received the full asking price. The Caladean is even happier, as he paid what he considers to be one quarter of the oil’s value. If he sells it for 8 gold in Caladea, he’s made four times what he paid for that one barrel.

Another example: A Drog merchant purchasing leather in Meclarya. The Drog will pay the agreed price in gold for the leather, say 4 gold, and then sell it for 4 silver when he has returned home to Drogoda, essentially doubling his profits.

This unusual duel-value of silver leads to a strange, yet effective monetary system. Light-Nation merchants will pay in silver in Dark Nations so that they can pay what they consider less and sell for the original asking price, doubling ordinary profits. Dark-Nation merchants will buy in gold in Light Nations, so that they can sell for the same amount of silver at home and do the same profit doubling.

Bartering

It is mostly only private merchants that deal with trade in gold and silver. Government Trade is exactly that: trade. Governments assign value to what their nation owns based on what the governments of any other nation is willing to exchange.
For example: Armanda trades wool and silk with Dothoro in exchange for Dothrin pipeweed. Pipeweed is considered valuable in Armanda because of how much of Armanda is generally unsuited for crops (and the quality of Dothrin pipeweed makes it valuable practically everywhere that Anarian merchants can take it), much more so than wool, which Dothoro doesn’t have the sheep herds to produce in large quantities.

Of Dragons, Mordak, and Related Species: Part 3

Lurnax

General Traits

Lurnax are a species of lizard, related to, but very different from, Anaria’s Dragons and Mordak. They are naturally red in colour, though there is speculation that this is a colouration taken on when the animal feels threatened, and that they can change colour depending on mood. Some scholars are of the opinion (due to the high intelligence displayed by Dragons and Mordak) that Lurnax are capable of thought, and that control over their colouration is conscious rather than instinctual.
Lurnax are long and thin. An adult male can be as long as eight feet, but generally weighs no more than one hundred pounds. Their front legs are thin and agile, for guiding them through the upper reaches of its forest habitat and grabbing prey, while their rear legs are thicker with long claws, giving them great speed while climbing and running. Lurnax actually run only with their rear legs, keeping their front legs tucked against their chest. While walking, they move slowly, and make use of all four legs.

Geography

Lurnax are originally exclusively native to the large forests that takes up most of the area of the country of Dothoro, though with hunters, rich lords desiring exotic pets, and general diisruption of habitat due to the militant nature of the Morschenic races, Lurnax have begun to appear in the southern Garuthen Mountains and even as far away as the forests on the Rista-Meclarya border.

Diet

Lurnax are carnivorous, exclusively. They hunt using a variety of methods, but mostly it is camouflage due to their colour-changing ability. Their only known dietary restriction (aside from their carnivorous nature) is the exclusion of an animal known as a ‘crundark,’ which is similar to a pig.
It is not known why Lurnax would avoid eating this specific animal, especially since it is used as a food source by the Dothrin. However, it may be that it is for that exact reason (that Lurnax will not hunt or eat crundark) that the Dothrin raise such animals for food.

Reproduction & Lifespan

Lurnax reproduce in a manner similar to most reptiles, by laying a large number of eggs at a time. Often, these eggs seem to simply be abandoned, or so it was believed. Demosira studying Lurnax discovered that nests, while not communal, are almost always close together, and so no group of eggs is ever truly unguarded. While the nests are not actively guarded against threat, the areas where they are are frequently inhabited by Lurnax or are patrolled by them, and the studying Demosira believed that there seemed to be a pattern as to when certain Lurnax would take turns in this sentry-like duty.

It is very difficult to capture Lurnax, and almost impossible (due to a lack of knowledge about them) to keep one happy and healthy in captivity for study. They do not bond with Morschen as their larger reptilian cousins do. So, there is no real accurate guess as to how long Lurnax live, though speculation is that they have relatively short lives compared to Dragons, Mordak, and other large reptiles. It is possible that they live for as little as ten years, though most scholars agree, because of the lengths they can grow to be, that ten years seems unrealistically short, and speculate that the average lifespan is between twentyfive and forty years.