January 27, 2011

Mythology of the Wounded Sun

I’ve decided to reinvent my Twilight Age setting. This time, I’ll focus more on the mythological basis of it and use that as the root of the stories I’m setting in this milieu. 

Twilight Age takes most of its inspiration from the peerless grand dame of the sword and planet genre, Leigh Brackett.  Like Brackett’s worlds, Twilight Age is built on themes of loss and nostalgia, of something gone  badly wrong. 

Atreion, the world of the Twilight Age, is a planet where powerful magic and the overreaching hubris of a mad emperor have precipitated the ultimate disaster: the murder of the Sun God.  Ilharion IX, remembered as Ilharion the Accursed, crafted a spear of pure Shadow and with it struck the eidolon of Ashrai, the Sun, on winter’s solstice day when the sun was at its weakest.  As the god was magically connected to the eidolon, Ashrai took a mortal wound.

The sun went red and dark, plunging Atreion into an ice age. Civilization was all but destroyed by waves of starving barbarians migrating from north and south.

Eventually a semblance of civilization has been restored in some areas, but it is a civilization warped by the cataclysm.  The ancient technology of course is gone; sorcery however remains potent, and leans toward the darker forms – with the power of Ashrai severely weakened, the forces of Shadow are ascendant.  Religion too has been warped.  Many cults now revolve around the murder of Ashrai; some cults seek his revival, while others seek to hasten his final demise. Human sacrifice is rife, with many cults believing the Wounded Sun needs human blood regularly in order to stay in the sky. 

My earlier stories used these only as the background for the world.  Now I’m going to make the stories revolve around them, as they should have from the start.  Twilight Age is going to get darker and edgier, with stronger horror elements.

January 1, 2011

Lord of the Brass Host at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly!

Wahoo! My story, Lord of the Brass Host, is going to be up at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly in a few days.  Watch for it!

Inspired by Shih Huang Di’s terra cotta tomb army, Lord of the Brass Host begins with the finding of a lost Emperor’s tomb and the army of clockwork brass warriors within.  Orhan Timur, bandit chieftain and former khan of the Murjens, is hired to recover the key to commanding the brass warriors, only to find out there is only one true Lord of the Brass Host – and it’s not him …

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