"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Sunday, July 1, 2012

People of Thunder

Dragon versus Thunder at the peak of a volcano.  Fortunately,
my run through the woods was not quite this perilous...

Thunder pursued the lovers through the forest and filled their hearts with fear.  At last Aithne and Caradoc found refuge in a small cave in the mountains.  Thunder raged all over the mountains looking for them, but eventually gave up and faded away.

--EOLYN, Chapter 5, 'The Origin of Magic'

Yesterday we had an encounter with the wrath of Thunder.  I was with some friends of mine from the NAPIRE Program on the Water Trail, a loop that runs through a recently acquired piece of land in the Las Cruces Forest.
The rains started early in our walk, but we weren't bothered very much by getting wet.  When the real storm rolled in, however, our pleasant stroll under a tropical drizzle became a rather harried retreat back to the station.  Lightning singed the sky, thunder clapped over head, and more than a few bolts pummeled into the forest a bit too close for our comfort.  Trees swayed, branches snapped without(fortunately for us) breaking, and what had been crystal clear shallow creeks on our way in were swollen into turbid rivers by the time we headed out.  We crossed two of them holding hands, prodding the muddy current with our walking sticks to test its depths, and hoping not to slip on the rocks and be carried downstream.

It was, in a word, exciting.

And I realized along the way, that this is how stories begin: with four intrepid travelers running through ancient woodland in a desperate search for shelter while dragons battle overhead, bellowing in rage, lancing fire across the sky, wind from their great wings shattering the trees. . .

Even as I invented my new story while running through a storm, I remembered an old one, the Origin of Magic as told by Ghemena in Chapter 5 of Eolyn.  Here, Aithne and Caradoc are also pursued by thunder and lightning, and I must say, I have renewed respect for their courage after yesterday's experience.

Thunder, in the legends of Moisehén, is a messenger of jealous Gods who opposed the use of magic by humans.  The counterpart of Thunder is Dragon, messenger of the Gods who entrusted High Magic to Aithne and Caradoc, and guardian of the people of Moisehén.

Despite Dragon's triumph with Aithne and Caradoc, the Gods that ruled Thunder did not give up.  The early history of magic was plagued by numerous conflicts between Thunder and Dragon, culminating in a great war between the People of Thunder, who eschewed magic in all its forms, and the People of Dragon, who followed the teachings of Aithne and Caradoc. 

Little is told of this story in the novel, though some of the most important figures of the history of Moisehén made their mark here.  One of these was Caedmon, a mage who learned from Dragon how to integrate magic into warfare, turning the tide of the war and founding the great traditions of the Mage Warriors.  Another was Vortingen, a warrior chief who formed an alliance with the People of Dragon and helped them to defeat Thunder and all its followers.  After the war, legend says that Dragon also appeared to Vortingen, granting him and his descendents stewardship over the Crown of Moisehén. 

The People of Dragon went on to prosper and populate many lands, their magic forming the foundation of culture and history not only for Moisehén, but also in Galia and among the Syrnte. 

What, then, happened to the People of Thunder? 

Little was left of them following their defeat at the hands of Caedmon and Vortingen, but their legacy continued in a handful of small kingdoms that rejected the use of magic by its citizens.  One of these kingdoms was Roenfyn, sandwiched between Moisehén and Galia.  Roenfyn has little significance for Eolyn's story in the first novel, but it will become increasingly important in books two and three.

Why?  Well, you will just have to read the novels to find out...