Scholar. Slave. Warrior. Wizard.
On a planet far from Earth, descendants of marooned space travelers fight a decades-long war. Shy scholar Victoria knows nothing of this conflict until pirates kidnap and sell her to the sadistic tyrant behind it. He keeps her naked and locked in a tower, subjecting her to months of psychological torture. After seizing an opportunity to escape, Vic joins the fight against her former captor and begins walking a bloody path toward revenge.
As the Blade, Vic gains glory raiding her enemy’s forces, but the ordeal in his tower haunts her. Bitter memories keep her from returning the love of the kindhearted Prince Ashel, whose family has fended off the tyrant’s invading army for a generation. When enemy soldiers capture Ashel, Vic embarks on a quest to rescue him and, on the journey, discovers a source of spectacular power. With wizardry, Vic can rescue the prince, end the war, and wreak the vengeance she craves, but she might also destroy her only chance for peace.
Knownearth is a lost space colony, settled by the marooned crew of a sabotaged mining ship.
The world is similar to earth in terms of climate and ecology, but most metals, especially copper and iron, are very rare.
How does your main character fit into this world?
Vic, short for Victoria, is a stranger in a strange land for much of the novel, which allows me to unfold the world of Knownearth as she experiences new cultures. She also has four different occupations over the course of the story that exemplify a key aspect of each society. At the beginning, she’s a Logkeeper, which is someone who has studied and memorized the records left by the world’s original settlers. Then she becomes the victim of human trafficking and is sold as a “mistress”, which is a term used to describe both male and female sex slaves in Knownearth’s wealthiest city. After escaping, she trains as a soldier and becomes a renowned warrior known as the Blade, fighting on the side of her former master’s enemies. Finally, when she acquires the power of wizardry, she discovers that her destiny is tied to an event that happened a thousand years earlier.
Is there a system of magic? If so, please tell us about it. Or tell us about the technology of your world.
Humans have two extraordinary powers in Knownearth. First, telepathy, known as mindspeech, is fairly common and even used for routine, every day communication by many people.
A few of Knownearth’s inhabitants also have telekinetic powers—called wizardry—that permit them to move objects large and small with their minds.
The source of these powers is a mystery in A Wizard’s Forge, although it has a biological basis that will be revealed in later books in the series.
What are the people who inhabit your world like? What systems of government are in place?
By the time A Wizard’s Forge takes place, roughly three thousand years have passed since the mining vessel’s crew became stranded. In that time, humans have lost nearly all modern technology and have developed into various cultures:
The Oreseekers, Vic’s people, live on tundra in the far north. Their homeland is called the Unknown by the rest of Knownearth’s people. They have an economy based on farming and fishing, and they maintain a society of “Logkeepers” dedicated to preserving the original records of the mining vessel that brought humans to this world.
The Caleisbahnin are a seafaring people feared as pirates and slavers.
Traine, the capital of Betheljin, resembles Ancient Rome. Its ruling class, the Citizenry, includes merchants who own nearly all the iron and copper mines in Knownearth and who also hold a monopoly on slotaen, a costly but extremely effective healing ointment distilled from the blood of Kragnashians (Knownearth’s indigenous sentient insect species). The Citizens act with impunity within their own households and are infamous for their debauchery and cruelty.
In Latha, the people are as prim and prudish as Traine’s Citizens are wanton and perverse. Latha is a republic ruled by a semi-hereditary monarchy in which each Ruler is chosen by a Senate, which is itself elected by the people. The country is poor with a guild-based economy and few marketable resources, but the people are proud and value knowledge, music, and the arts as highly as Trainers value iron. Latha is home to Knownearth’s main religion, which treats the records of the marooned mining crew as metaphorical prophesies rather than historical texts.
Relm is Latha’s southern neighbor and has similar economic and social institutions. The country is governed by a ruling Council, which is headed by the Lord (or Lady) of Relm in partnership with his or her spouse, who is titled the First Councilor. In A Wizard’s Forge, Latha and Relm have been at war for almost two decades.
Gender equality is the norm in Knownearth.
Female soldiers and political leaders are not unusual in most (but not all) of Knownearth’s societies, and men are just as likely to be prostitutes or caregivers.
Most of the people, having descended from the racially diverse crew of the spacefaring mining vessel, have dark complexions and hair, although light skin and hair are fairly common. Skin color and ethnic features generally do not have any impact on social status, except among the Caleisbahnin, who value ethnic purity.
Are there any magical creatures? If so, please tell us about them.
Knownearth has several sentient indigenous species. The Kragnashians, a society of eighteen-foot-tall insects, are ruthless traders who commoditize everything, including the flesh and blood of their dead. They have advanced technology that far surpasses the human’s, including a portal that lets users travel instantly across thousands of miles.
The cerrenils are sentient trees able to move and react aggressively when threatened. They also lend aid to people they favor, but because they cannot communicate directly with humans, their motivations remain mysterious.
What are the two most interesting facts or features of your world?
There is no moon.
Instead the abandoned hulk of the mining vessel orbits Knownearth and is visible as a very bright, wandering star.
The planet rotates slowly, so a full day-night cycle lasts roughly forty earth hours, but the planet also circumvents its sun in roughly the same amount of time as earth around our sun, so the length of a year (in hours) is about the same. This arcane bit of information has no bearing on the plot of A Wizard’s Forge, but I had to work this out for the plot of the second book in the series (A Wizard’s Sacrifice), because the timing of a pregnancy with other events in the novel is vitally important.
Is there a religious system in place? If so, please describe the basic tenants of its tenants and how they impact the characters or story.
Vic and all the Oreseekers are atheists who don’t believe in any sort of deity, but who have made a religion out of preserving the records of the marooned crew in the expectation that someone from another group in Knownearth will turn up with the will and the means to repair the mining vessel and take them “home” to earth.
While the Oreseekers were off on their own becoming very dogmatic about the historical origins of humanity, the rest of Knownearth developed a religious tradition focused on a deity called Elesendar (which is also the nickname of the mining vessel), who descended from heaven and mated with the cerrenils to produce humankind. Most people, especially Lathans, revere the trees and believe that a good life will lead one to be reincarnated as a cerrenil. Lathans are also reluctant to harm the trees because of the belief that any given cerrenil might be a reborn family member. In developing this religion, Lathans have become very dogmatic in their belief that the mining vessel records are metaphors. They consider anyone, like Vic, who interprets these texts literally to be a heretic. Heretics are subject to some social censuring.
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