“Two petty mercenaries are falsely accused of switching sides in a feud between two rich and powerful magnates; an ex-miner on the run from a murder charge becomes a reaver and embroiled in a romance; an industrial lieutenant is recruited to help capture a serial killer and an entire city is in danger of being ensorcelled by an ancient monk.”
What makes your world special or different?
Nothing, really. Most fantasy worlds are amalgams of stuff from IRL, popular culture, other fantasy worlds. The approach and execution are what may be different … how certain aspects are handled, their prominence, etcetera.
How does your main character fit into this world?
I don’t have any single protagonist. I use the Stephen King / H.P. Lovecraft / Joe Abercrombie style of integration where the characters all think that they are the “main” character of the story, much like IRL. It improves the flow of the narrative and each character sees a different part of the puzzle, as it were. A direct satire of our reality is what the best grimdark speculative fiction gives the reader, in my opinion.
Is there a system of magic?
I use a hybrid of David Eddings, “the will and the word” style of magic where it’s directed by psychological force yet specified by phonetic command. Different words in their languages do different things depending on context, though they can perform voiceless tasks as well as in Harry Potter Saga.
What are the people who inhabit your world like?
There’s a lot of European dark ages influence, but the syntax is influenced by old English, French, High German, Welsh and Scottish. The characters are mostly Dickensian types who are merely trying to survive and prosper in the face of nearly insurmountable odds in a dark world. The governments are in various states of corruption and disrepair, and The Hiss Of The Blade, which takes place much later on the macro timeline than the other two novellas, features an almost totalitarian ruler in King Harold Alstair Wrentley.
Are there any magical creatures?
A Host Of Ills is actually about the construction of magical creatures over the course of a few nights in Hayderstade, a neighborhood in Deskordin, Khlarion. There aren’t any science fiction elements in the Gothdark and Grimdark that I write, but I have a GDSF project in mind for the future.
Is there anything special, precious, or unique about your world’s geography or its place in the universe?
It was created using what I like to call “parallel world ideation” and shares many of its qualities with our own world, as if it developed in tandem with it. The names of types of trees, stones, certain woods and more are the same as they are on Earth, but the societies that have developed on Cedron over tens of thousands of years before the novellas take place are very different than the ones that have done so on our own planet.
What are the two most interesting facts or features of your world?
Well, like most contemporary fantasy locales it allows for the existence of magic and magical non-human creatures. There is also a prevalence of deity-human contact that would be considered excessive by our Earth standards.
How does the landscape or geography of your world affect the plot or theme of the story?
A lot of contested border / land conflict exists there. There first two novellas take place both before and after a major human / vampire war respectively on a continent, while the events of the third series take place upon a peninsula that was crudely divided into three nations in times long past.
Is there a religious system in place?
Cedron is warred over by seven deities, six male and one female. They are based partly upon the HPL Cthulhu Mythos deities via Eternal Darkness, and partly upon an elemental system, fire and ice and air and the like. These seven fend off and protect Cedron from an eighth deity composed of total chaos much like HPL’s Azathoth named Golaz. So there is celestial conflict without and within, as they fight each other for control of the planet and are also forced to collaborate to fight off this other entity to ensure that their planet doesn’t revert back into a state of primal chaos.
What is one last thing you would like readers to know all about your world?
I strive for overall immersion. It’s not so much about any particular plot point or macro arc, it’s an attempt much like Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain to bring the reader into the day-to-day existence of my characters and places; a very dark world with a glimmer of hope, much like our own.
About Richard Writhen
Originally from Rhode Island, Richard Writhen also lived in NYC for about ten years. He has been e-published on several notable sites such as the MightyThorJRS Blog, MichaelRFletcher.com, Techzwn.com, Grimdarkmagazine.com and Ragnarokpub.com and is the author of three novellas on Amazon KDP: A Kicked Cur, A Host of Ills and The Hiss Of The Blade. Richard also writes short form stories in the styles of Gothdark, Grimdark, GDSF and Psychological Horror, and will eventually be exploring the weird west.
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