I’ve been working at night for several months on a new project, as time permits. It involves several tiers of historical research, learning about primitive cultures, and more. This is the first time I’ve posted any of it publicly.
My goal with this project is ultimately to create an epic fantasy novel with a depth I haven’t seen in any other work. That means a complete history for the world. Every element in this fantasy world is being worked up from scratch, including all the critters, plants, and little towns. Everything is connected and tied together with a touch of reality to make a believable world where every detail has been pinned down.
Here’s the thing, there’s too much handwavium in the world of fantasy stories, and I see over and over inconsistent world elements, anachronisms, and the like. I want to eliminate as much of that as possible.
But it’s tricky, and it means the world history needs to be well defined, the societal norms and economic structures pinned down, and everything in between. My story starts with a boy named Gape, whom you will learn about later on, in a small village overcome by the stresses induced by ripples from a war that is being fought far away. I’m currently making short stories about his younger years, before things started changing, in a small village where the dominant currency is cereal grains. More will come later on that. In the meantime, I want to share another part of my worldbuilding.
In Gape’s time, this poem has been well documented, and it’s seen as a myth about the birth of civilization. I have several pieces devoted solely to a character named Zielle, who led a wondering tribe from the mountains to settle and start growing crops, as well as some characters from later generations of that ancient settlement. In the world I’m creating, it’s one of the first stories that was written down (after the invention of writing, which is credited to a character named Gregor the Wise).
Anyway, that’s just a tidbit to give you some reference as to the scale with which I’m approaching this work. The poem contains in it also elements of the magical system in the story, but of course they are completely hidden from view. Gregor, as well as the rest of the elders, saw fit to conceal their processes in stories, so that only the initiated or divinely inspired would be able to unravel their mysteries. But enough of that for now.
Here’s the little poem that nearly everyone in Abundanti has heard at least once, taken from the Epic of Gregor the Wise:
Escape from the North
It was in the time long forgotten,
when the ground and the trees were all rotten.
When famine and plague,
and no-one of trade,
was ever conceived or begotten.
Zielle led us down,
from the hell on high ground,
to the fertile green land below.
Alongside a lake,
of immense size and wake,
where the elders first learned they could grow.
They carried their seed,
and fished on a reed,
and harvested treasures unknown.
For here on the banks,
nymphs spoke to his ranks,
and taught him what reeds he should grow.
And then came the floods,
that watered the mud,
and from would life thenceforth spring.
The sprouts would come up,
and grow from the muck,
and payback the farmers with seed.
Times were all grand,
o’er all of this land,
while winter poured in with the wind.
A land of abundance,
for will of the wanting,
to stay here and drift not again.
When winter set in,
as often it did,
the group would long for the hunt.
The cellars went empty,
and no more was plenty,
but beetles and bugs on the stumps.
To follow the flee,
of foul past the trees,
reclaiming their hunt as the deed.
They’d pick up the trail,
return with the hail,
of spring when the land would reseed.
The nymph reappeared,
and to Zielle’s ear,
A secret of whispers was told.
That foul should return,
and elk would run firm,
o’er land that turned barren with cold.
The cold winter hurry,
That drove off the quarry,
would soon be too warm beyond vex.
The sun would come back,
though the setting not right,
and land on trees in the west.
Zielle to the others,
who scoffed and then shuddered,
a forecast of freezing to death.
Trust me, he’d plead,
and you shall see,
That what I have said will give rest.
So stay there they chose,
trusting nymph prose,
and every night prayed on their knees.
A winter survived,
would be plenty to thrive,
in the land they would call Abundanti.