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Here’s my fantasy world map so far…


Some time ago I posted about beginning to write short fantasy stories dealing with depression and made a fantasy map of the world I was envisioning. If you’ve been following along, you’ve read about the hero, Catharsis and my regular followers probably know that this is me and his early dealings are based on my suicide attempt.

Here is what the world map of Jiyan (“Life”) has evolved to so far. It’s still a work in progress!

jiyan_001a.jpg

Here is the original map I started with…

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And I redrew it here…

Jiyan_002a.jpg

This region is located in the southwest corner of the world map at the top (with all the pencil notations), just so you can see how it will all fit in.

I’ve had a hard time coming up with more ideas for the stories, or turning those stories into chapters, and it would REALLY help me to hear comments and suggestions on what I can do to improve them if you go back to read the Short Stories category.

Thank you friends, I’m excited to hear your suggestions!

 
 

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The Ivory Tower | [Short Story]


Author’s Note: By its origin, this blog was started as a way for me to grow and survive through my depression, not as a vehicle for me to post short stories. Recently however, I’ve become interested in delving into some ideas I’ve had. This has largely been the inspiration of my good blogging friend Matthew Malin at “Confessions“. One story of his started it all – “A Sheep Named Wolf” and I encourage you to read it before reading any further. Matthew, thank you my friend for your support, encouragement, and for starting me on this journey. I’m interested in seeing where it leads…

Across the plain of Ǚr, far away from the citadel itself, there stood a shining tower of polished limestone. It was a colossal structure. Towering over the fields below. Dominating the landscape to the horizon, over which the plain’s namesake kingdom lay.

It mirrored the sun’s reflection as a fine gem in the crown of the king. Or a polished plate of glass in the courtyard at midday. It pulsed radiance and even from afar off, emitted a brilliance that was known across the plain.

Its alabaster skin was a testament to its beauty. Each stone finely blended and buffed with the other so that all chinked together like a single dragon’s scale.

It was embedded with many different shades of blue polished gems and minerals that blinked at every angle. Not so much as to overtake the gleaming snowy surface. But merely to accent.

Channels of soft, dark azurite ran starkly down its vertical edges, bordered by thin lines of fixed sapphire.

Thick lazulite crystals adorned its horizontal precipices, giving off a faintly cloudy deep green aura, comparable to the ocean’s depths as seen from the gull’s eye overhead. A halo atop the chalk white faces of the tower.

Many knew of its exquisiteness through story or song only, for none in numbers were allowed too close, nevertheless entrance. Only able to cast eyes on it from afar.

Despite all its beauty and grandeur, it became more intimidating in its features, as any outsider drew closer. One would rather call it a citadel than a tower, for it was well fortified and garrisoned many citizens. The same citizens who had built it over the years, enduring the cold winds, stiletto rains, and molten sun.

Though still opulent to the eyes, one could observe battlements and parapets atop the four megalithic walls. Flanking the spire that shot into the sky like a spike into the heavens. Or a compass point by which the rest of the land would calibrate its remaining three directional points.

A selfish, self-centeredness.

An arrogant and haughty feat of engineering designed to show all who gazed upon it the bigotry and seclusion of its citizenry.

A pinnacle of privilege.

The meters-thick walls of the gatehouse itself menaced any who approached its entrance. Appearing as a harbinger and to vex outsiders, warding them away from the inhabitants. Visitors were not taken kindly to.

Several less imposing, yet formidable keeps, buttressed the corners of the tower’s walls. Upon closer observation, the finer subtleties of the tower came into view – murder holes, curtain walls, and arrowslits. Accoutrements of defense and to prevent impregnation.

Encircling the citadel like some leviathan was a moat. Many spoke how when the trench was dug, the moat was filled with blood. Perhaps the result of the dripping sweat and toil from the backs and brows of the builders. Perhaps the result of each family’s dedication and loyalty in assisting their loved ones in the task.

As the population of the garrison grew over the years, and more and more citizens left their families behind, the consistency of the lifeblood seemed to break down. Thin itself out. Devolve and dilute into something thinner and less consistent. A primordial liquid. That of water.

*     *     *

Of the songs sung and tales told of the tower’s beginnings, many knew. They had been passed down through the ages by bards, minstrels, and poets. Alongside firey pits and dusty roads.

Long after the world had been destroyed by Deluge.

And Fire had scorched the forests into plains.

Ages after Wormwood sheared the mountains to the earth.

And Plague had destroyed the animals and Famine had decimated humanity.

Many eons after the earth had been purified and reborn.

Just after man had begun to repopulate the earth.

[Collection of history as transcribed from ruins of the old language]

 The tower’s beginnings coincided with The Great Departing. A time of schism marked by a splitting of the earliest members of the new humanity.

Though not a splitting in the true sense.

Rather a leaving.

A departure of those from their young familial units.

A shunning compounded by rejection and neglect.

Those who had a misplaced reality, replaced with a self-righteous bigotry. A skewed, inarguable view of observable facts. A non-acceptance of the world around them. Complete with all its imperfections.

They were the tower’s builders.

They built its four walls. Those gleaming, soaring partitions that separated them from the rest of humanity.

Self-righteousness facing the north.

Ignorance facing the south.

Bigotry facing the east.

And intolerance facing the west.

They insulated and protected themselves against their loved ones. Their soul mates. Their compatriots. Their mentors. Their childhood friends. And their confidants.

They betrayed them out of their haughty arrogance. Leaving those whom were closest to them out in the cold to be ravaged down to the bones and sinews by the wolves. At times when relationship was needed the most.

And they established their new life secluded from any pollution from the outside world.

A holier-than-thou cocoon life of conceit.

In their ivory tower.

 
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Posted by on 05/16/2016 in Short stories

 

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Catharsis and the Wahrlog


Catharsis left his field and began to trod the dirt path back to his home. The sun was setting behind him over the walls of Ǚr and he could see his dark shadow extending in front of him with each step he took closer to his home. His tools were slung over his shoulder. Burning a hole through his burlap shirt. Reminding him of the long day’s work.

When he felt it he stopped and turned around.

Something strange.

Perhaps nothing.

He squinted his eyes to see what was there.

Nothing.

He turned around and continued to press onward down the dusty road to his hut in the village. He could see it in the distance and smell the open wood cooking fires in the courtyards wafting towards him in the warm breeze.

His hut sat there amongst hundreds of others, at the foot of the great citadel. That place reserved for his Paladin and the village’s safe place against the Wahrlogs of the Encroaching Hinterlands.

Shh! That place must never be mentioned he reminded himself.

Catharsis’ body was sponged with tiredness. Dull pain from the constant hammering of his joints fighting the thick rocky soil of his field. His field, sat with others against the edge of the small kingdom. The village fields ran almost two-thirds of the way around the inside of the kingdom’s circular wall. Extending from the wall itself inward until they touched the edge of the village.

He looked back again, and this time his vision extended down the single cart road all the way past the Inner Gate and on to the Great Gate. Through the square steel he could faintly see their neighboring kingdom, Ǚruk. As the disappearing sun silhouetted the city black, his gaze came back inside the wall, scanning its base where the thick clay scaled downwards to meet with the growing crops.

“Hmph,” he grunted to himself as he turned and continued walking.

Catharsis was a complicated man. At least he thought himself to be. A man full of emotion simmering just under the surface of his tanned, taught skin. His head like a steadily simmering cauldron full of voices chattering incoherently about self-examination, guilt, shame, ineptness, and social inwardness. But also of helping those in need. These other voices spoke of selflessness, servitude, and exuding grace. Either way, his voices never stopped.

On the outside, his neighbors observed that he was a quiet soul. A soul that preferred to be alone. None would have guessed his social awkwardness and so he preferred this life of his. This life of toil. Where his efforts were manifest in the abundance of his crops.

As he arrived and entered the open doorway to his mud hovel he sensed it again.

Stopping.

Turning around he caught the blur.

Perhaps just a menagerie from the day’s heat and dehydration. Nothing a swill of barley grog wouldn’t take away. But then, he knew that was a remedy he wasn’t permitted, for it tainted the effects of the Elixirs—those magical potions prescribed by the Mediciner to help diminish the effects of Affliction. That ailment – no, that torture, which he had endured since childhood.

He also knew that this Reaper was here to claim his soul.

Setting his tools down at the adobe threshold, he entered and cautiously lit a lamp on the table in the center of the room. Slowly raising his eyes and scanning the dim outskirts of the dull glow.

Now he felt it full force.

There it was in the corner.

The only reason he knew it was there was because he had lived this situation many times. Felt it so many times before.

Been broken by it.

This visit by the Wahrlog of Darkness. This Specter.

Catharsis knew it was lurking just out of sight. Where the light faded into the darkness.

As he squinted, he could see its pale face under its sackcloth shroud push from the dark recesses. Its black, hollow eyes. Its sinister, unsheathed dagger teeth glistening in the shadows. Its chipped, stiletto nails sliding around the corner and scratching the walls of his soul.

Suddenly all the horrors of his life appeared at once. Those Tormentors that haunted his days.

Frustration.

Resentment.

Despair.

Rage.

Hurt.

And Hopelessness.

The loss of his family. The hurt for his estranged daughter. His numerous failures in Relationship. His anger. His stonewalling and defensiveness. The ever present Darkness. When all of these forces gathered on him at once it was impossible to face.

The darkness enveloped him. Specter’s cloak spreading out from arms that spanned what seemed to be the entire breadth of the single-room dwelling.

He couldn’t stand to face this apparition again. Not with the incessant intensity with which it came like so many others.

Often times leaving him crippled fetal on the floor, crying like a baby. Stripped of strength and will. And hope. Begging for it all to end.

Not this time.

In desperation he looked around the room for something to fend off the beast – this harpy. He could feel Its presence growing stronger and reaching towards him.

He couldn’t fight any more than he already had. The Wahrlog slashed at his eyes and dug his talons into his chest, plunging for his soul as its prize.

And so Catharsis decided to finish the fight he could no longer endure.

He fumbled for the cord hanging from the peg on the wall.

Throwing the cord over the rafter and fastening the loose end to the doorpost, he climbed atop the table.

Slipped his neck through the loop.

And let his body go limp.

 

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