The Western Valley: The Stonework of Stone Creek


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stonecreekStone Creek is a work camp caught between the Western Valley and the Northern border. Its main purpose is to cut marble from the old Mia river basin that was redirected by Dermite workers when the marble was discovered over 130 years prior.

Only a handful of workers live in the camp, switching out every three months to visit family in Derm or Menk. The marble is sent to the Dermite capital of Derlin to fortify the walls or grow the city within the walls. The marble is also sold to the East for their elaborate architecture, although the East prefers to work with alabaster and limestone.

The camp consists of thirty men at one time which spend most of their hours cutting and moving stones out of the quarry. Stone Creek is abandoned during the winter seasons and resumes near the end of spring when the snow has fully melted. Those that work in Stone Creek are friendly and up for trading food for stories if you happen to be travelling through that way.

Not many choose to stay at the camp unless they have to but new faces are always a welcoming sight for the men working the quarry.

There is a Chijin sculpture by the name of Havin Grockburnker that spends his time in the quarry. Since the age of ten, he spent his summers with the workers learning about marble and at times negotiating prices with merchants that wish to buy. When he was fifteen, Grockburnker began using the flawed pieces of marble for his personal projects, sculpting ‘the spirit’ of the marble. He has created over 100 pieces and is paid to do commissions for very influential clients, (Empress of La’reen and Father Valkrin of Sydrin). Now, at the age of 56 his work is bought by royalty and the money he receives he uses to better the lives of those in the quarry by buying new equipment, lodging, or food.

Havin Grockburnker’s most famous pieces – The Three Siblings – can be found in the Arrowhilm Temple.

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The Gateway to The West: City of Demor


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demorDemor, the gateway between the Western Valley and the Northern Nation of Derm. This city was built 300 years before the common day, around the same time Morza was founded in the West. After the Dermite fled from Derlin – the capital city of Derm – many settled closer to the resources they needed for their weapons and people.

Demor is home to over 2000 people in tightly confined walls and townhouses. The area is surrounded by pine, cedar, and spruce. Their main purpose is to defend the Northern border from attackers, breed the gryphons that live in the hills and supply the capital with iron, silver, and steel.

The Steward of Derm resides over the city and keeps close watch on the relationship between the West – mostly Bay’s Lake – and the Dermite. They are far enough from the south-east to not concern themselves with the war going on between Derm and Sydrin, but they are ready if need be. The only issues Demor contends with are bandits robbing the merchants on the main roads and slavers stealing children from the outlying villages.

Although there are plenty of dangers outside the walls, Demor is surprisingly safe within the walls. With the population made up of militants and their families, that really isn’t of much surprise. The city smells of urine, wood smoke, and feces from people dumping their garbage in the streets. The Detress – wife of the Steward – is responsible in finding ways to improve the peoples’ morale and the state of her city. Asides from the terrible smell and cramped living space, Demorian’s are happy living within the walls of their city and won’t waste time bragging about it.

If you are looking at staying in Demor the best place would be the castle as there’s a lot of space once you make it through the second wall and inside the castle limits. Gaining access to the castle is difficult though, since only those welcomed by the Steward or the King are aloud to preside within the walls. This list includes council members, political officials, family, Gryphon Guardians, physicians, and special guests.

If you don’t fall under any of those titles you will likely be staying outside the castle walls. The best we can suggest for your accommodations during your stay within the Gateway City is the Naughty Norg. The inn sleeps fifty and has a good (could pass as) meat pie. They also – according to the fat Chijin that own’s the place – have the best stout in the city.

“I had the pleasure of staying in the castle. It was a wonderful experience and the Detress ensured my stay to be most pleasant. The feather mattresses were like sleeping on air. The food was made for a King and the gardens were breath taking.” – Milo Kettlebert (Mispick)

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“I like the garden, and the people in the market are friendly… although I spend most of my time reading in my room.” – Liora (Morza)

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“Best way to improve morale is to have mor-ale. Get it? Mor Ale! Ha!” – Finto Brassworth (Arrowhilm)

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“The shops have a lovely selection of fabrics and the draper is always willing to share his secrets.” – Emery Thermae (Menk)

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THE GRAND THREE (TRINITY)


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From what I was able to piece together from the traditional texts of my people and the information given to me by the Master Healer Caldor, the Grand Three was the belief that the world could not work without the Gods working in unity. Sirphan gives the world water and life. Darkel’s creations can then grow and feed Sirphan’s creations. Kidoss ensures that the creatures are protected and returns them to the earth from which they came. From this it is believed that life follows a circle and returns from once it came.

Those that followed this belief were the ancestors of my people – the Chijin – before we chose to let science replace belief. It later migrated to the Western Mountains, likely by word of mouth or merchants travelling from the South, to the primitive Morzi with their own spin on the religion where they set up stone idols to represent the three Gods. With what Master Healer Caldor explained regarding his Morzi apprentice, there was a morning ritual where she was responsible for cleaning the idols and garden on where the Gods’ ‘resided’. After the cleaning was complete she would then present gifts to the Gods, asking for their guidance and blessings for the coming day. During festival times the people of the village would gather and pray to the idols, some leaving gifts, while others touched or kissed the idols to be blessed.

This of course is one person’s interpretation of their belief as all records regarding the Morzi Trinity belief has been lost or may be mistranslated. It is also believed that the Trinity belief – better known as the Grand Three – was where the Gods’ Mark was first created. Sign of this symbol can be dated back to the first clans of the Chijin people over 10,000 year ago. You can find this symbol in Chijin architecture and even primitive clothing preserved in the University of Calin.

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Please note my attempt at the Gods’ mark above. The top of the trinity apparently represents the Goddess Sirphan, to the right is Darkel, and to the left if Kidoss. They are wrapped in a circle but their parts are separate, since they each play their own role in the circle of life but are at the same time united. Some also argue that the circle that surrounds the center trinity is a representation of the Gods’ mother, Fate, as Fate encompasses all things living and dead. This of course isn’t fact but it is a theory we must consider when approaching this subject. In regards to the use of this symbol by the followers of Kanrow – Chaos Singers – we can only assume they wanted to take a familiar symbol to make their outrageous claims of their text appear more valid than it actually is.

 

Update:

It has more recently been discovered that those of the supposed Six have been branded with the Gods’ Mark, although it is unclear if it is by choice or on purpose. The representative of the Six – Ambassador Liora of Morza – refuses to comment on the matter regarding the strange markings and responds with hostility whenever questioned about it. I quote, “Aren’t there better things to be asking than what marks are on our skin?”

At this point in time it is unclear if these brands could be the source of the Six’s strange abilities or if it is just coincidence. Further research must be conducted into the Gods’ Mark to have a clearer understanding of its purpose in the ‘Prophecy’.

 

Councillor Bargrim, University of La’reen

 

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The Western Valley: The Orchard Village of Downrow


Downrow is a village who focuses mainly on fruit and fruit trees, in the middle of the Western Valley.downrow

It has a population of 160 people and growing, since the main road cuts right through the middle of the town. With this convince of the main road Downrow gets a lot of travellers heading either to the North or South throughout the travelling season of spring- fall. Even with the growing population and increased visitors, Downrow doesn’t have an inn or tavern.

Well they have a tavern but it’s a tented shop with wooden boxes for seats. The local rumours have it that they’ll be looking at building a tavern in the coming years if the visitors keep coming. They don’t want to waste resources on something that won’t bring in coin.

Downrow is also home to a Pellar (a basic healer that uses strange mixtures and odd items to cure people). He lives along the river’s edge outside the village limits in a tent. He likes to be alone but is known to have the Baker’s wife – Talia – check up on him and make sure he’s well.

Downrow is called the Village of Orchards for a reason, as most of the trees surrounding the village bear some kind of fruit. They harvest apples, plums and peaches. They also grow strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They have the juiciest and sweetest fruits in the land, which even those in La’reen seek to have on their breakfast platters. Researchers from Calin believe the deliciousness of these fruits can be contributed to the rich soil of the valley and the Mia River that helps create the perfect environment for the fruit trees to flourish. The locals believe it is their hard work and passion for growing the perfect fruit that is the reason their village has grown in popularity for their harvests.

So, if you like your fruit and don’t mind sleeping in a barn for a night come stay in Downrow.

“Broket’s Bakery makes the best peach tarts.” – Rose-Marie Fiddlebottom (Arrowhilm)

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“Can catch some nice trout, and they don mind yah cookin’ it on the shore neither.” – Frow Rolbirk (Grelmik)

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“They say they had a healer, but he’s a loon!” – Kalben Aldros (La’reen)

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The Western Valley: Village of Menk


menkMenk is a well-known village in the north-western mountains.

The river running through Menk feeds into the Mia River (the largest river in the west). Before it became a popular resting place for merchants and travellers heading to Derm, Menk was a mining village focused on retrieving the rich Demori steel deposits from the innards of the mountain. Unfortunately it was when striking too deep in the mines that they hit an underground spring filling the tunnels and washing out the village.

When the water had calmed, people flocked to the village, this time attempting to settle the mountain for fishing and logging. Unfortunately five years after rebuilding Menk another flood came and the process repeated two more times until someone – historians assume the current mayor – came up with the idea to dam the river to control the flooding in hopes of preserving the village.

The idea worked and twenty years later Menk stayed free of flooding. The small village grew to a moderate size of around 150 people all working the mines, logging camps, and fisheries.

Brew Master Hargin from the lower valley moved to the village bringing with him his stouts and wines he was known for throughout the west. It was due to his popularity that travellers began visiting Menk, turning it into the popular resting spot along the road to Derm.

“I can’t hear myself think over the rushing river… that might be a good thing.” 

Filroot Fiddlebotton (Mispick)

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“Food is good. Drinks fantastic. Can’t complain.” 

Drog Stalbec (King’s Port)

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The Western Valley: The Hunting Village of Beck


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If you have the choice to go to Berk or Beck, choose Beck. Beck is a village made up of skilled hunters, who focus their attention to big game.

The reason? Firkin the Bear Bludgeoner of course.

The story goes that about 265 years before the present day the small town of Beck was ravaged by a giant grizzly bear. As the village at the time was focused around farming and logging, like most Northern Scout Posts were, they didn’t have the skills to go after such a powerful beast.

For ten years they fed the bear goats and sheep, hoping that the bear wouldn’t kill the farmers or Gods forbid a child. The villagers of Beck feared leaving the open fields to explore the forests that helped fuel their fires and held a variety of other resources.

That’s when Firkin, a young bullheaded Northerner came to town. He had been put there to manage the scouts and make sure the loggers were working. It was upon hearing the story of the giant grizzly that Firkin decided that it was time for the people to stop fearing an animal and he headed into the woods.

Those in the village say that they heard Firkin and the grizzly fight for three days and three nights before the large Northerner came lumbering out with the skin of the bear. The people no longer feared the forests and became devoted to Firkin’s leadership.

Firkin stayed in the village of Beck when they were abandoned by the North during King Cark’s reign. Firkin married the local warden’s youngest daughter, where they had seven children, four of which became hunters like their father.

It’s from the story of Firkin that hunters from across Gaitan travel to hunt in the western forests in hopes of finding a giant grizzly, or other big game common to the area.

If hunting doesn’t interest you, than the Firkin Inn is bound to hit that historian bone of yours where you can see the head of the giant grizzly hanging behind the bar, while it’s fur is displayed across the ceiling.

“Not much for appearances, but the game is good.”

Rynor Crawlbek (Derm)

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“I only stopped here because I had to.”

Gregindorth Pillywagon (Easterly)

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The Western Valley: Berk


 

Berk

Berk, a village consisting of two farms, a smith and about fifteen people, all of which are related to one another in some way. There is no inn or tavern. The closest thing for entertainment is watching farmers drunk on home-made mead try and tip cows.

The town on Berk isn’t a memorable place and most just hurry to the next town or avoid the village all together.

They produce wheat, barely, and beef.

It is believed Berk started as two families who left the town of Irbet, although no one really knows… not even the villagers. They all have different stories regarding how the town came to be. Some say they came from the mountains to the North, other say they were prims* that decided to settle down and build a community.

Not much is known of the town and honestly… no one really cares…

*Prims: savage, wild, nomadic peoples of the eastern wild-lands.

“Whatever you do… do not have the stew.”

Caldor Lefwid (Easterly)

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“Nothin’ but cows and their brew tastes like piss.”

Baller Eccstone (Derm)

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They Are Fiction


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Child of the Light


 

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When I first created Liora, I had created her to be 8-years-old. As I continued working with her, shaping her, seeing how to acted in a variety of situations, she became more mature. Eventually I settled on her age being 14-years-old, since I wanted Prophecy Six to be a young adult fantasy series, and therefore have a female protagonist around the ages of my potential readership.

Although the book’s first POV isn’t Liora in the Child of the Light, she is the main protagonist of the Prophecy Six Series. Without Liora there would be no Prophecy and therefore no book. Creating her character I knew she had to have traits that would help her in the middle of the chaos… and at times be the cause of the chaos. Out of all the character’s I have created for this series she is the one I’m most proud of and the one I look forward to seeing grow over the course of the series.

At the beginning of the series we meet Liora and learn that she’s a stubborn, blunt/honest, kind, selfless, smart girl with the tendency to not think of the consequences to her actions. I didn’t want to make her flawless because flawless is boring. I wanted to make her relatable and in a sense believable. That, to my readers, Liora could be a real teenager thrown into strange and most times dangerous situations.

According to my readers, they find her natural and her character true to the book. They can’t wait to see the trouble she’ll get herself into, the fights she will start, or the new friends she will bring into the group. They find her open minded, protective, and kind, with just enough mystery to wonder what’s next.

Personality:

Liora isn’t a stranger to speaking her mind. She will show those in power respect but will not call them by their titles. She treats everyone as equals – as is the Morzi way – and in turn has had others not familiar with her peoples’ customs try and alter her approach to dealing with royalty. The thing is, Liora doesn’t care if her honesty upsets people but as she gets older she learns that sometimes having a filter is better then getting a death threat. Her kind heart and natural desire to help others attracts peoples’ attention – such as her mentor, Caldor Lefwid. Being young also doesn’t stop her from being confident and sure of herself. She knows who she is and who she wants to be – her struggle is fighting against others who want her to be something she isn’t.

Liora is a survivor, a protector, and a guide. She may be young but she’s wise and resourceful.

She enjoys learning new things through devouring whatever books she can get her fingers on. Like her mother, she has an affinity for languages and can speak eight of them (three of which are dead languages).  One day she hopes to be a Master Healer like her grandmother, but as time moves on her interests start turning to politics. With her personality she is suited to become a council member or ambassador but only time will tell where she will end up. She doesn’t like being confident to a certain set of rules unless she fully understands the reasons behind the rules. There are few things that scare Liora but after the events of Morza she has found crowded places and celebrations bring back bad memories and cause anxiety. She also hates shoes. She doesn’t like how they pinch her tows or rub against her heels.

Liora is not easy to push around. She will be the first person to help you but if you hurt someone she cares about she will not hold back. Her biggest downfall is her ambitiousness and lack of foresight, which is amusing considering she’s a Seer. These downfalls get her into some very difficult situations, which leads to her quickly regretting even thinking it was a good idea to do in the first place.

Appearance:

Liora has long raven locks, usually described as wild or untamed. Most of the time she will leave her hair down but as she gets older she begins to pull it up to be out of her face. She has large almond shaped eyes the colour of steel – Caldor would say she has a doe eyed glance. Liora also has olive skin that darkens to a golden honey when in the sun.

Her clothing consists of long sleeved dress that go to her ankles made of cotton, linen, satin, or velvet.

moonmortalsandveilAbilities:

Liora is able to see through the veil – an invisible fisher between the mortal world (Gaitan) and the Gods world (Eternal). It is believed that the veil is where the memory of the universe is, (aka: all of time). With this ability she is able to see the past through peoples memories, dream/ flash visions about the present, and in time learn to be able to predict the future. The insight in the actions happening throughout time also gives Liora a strong sense of intuition where she can sense if someone isn’t telling the truth and in time sense the better paths to take. Near the end of book one Liora discovers her secondary ability of touch healing. With taking a little part of her life force she is able to heal small/ non-life threatening ailments. She also has the ability to bring those dead back to life if their body is whole, (not missing essential organs: brain, heart, lungs…etc). Bringing someone back to life though takes a lot of her life energy (light) and in doing so drains her own life force causing her hair to turn white. (NOW YOU KNOW!)

morziBackground:

Granddaughter to the Master Healer of Morza, Liora learned from a young age how to help people through her grandmother’s lessons on medicine making and traditional healing methods. Since her mother’s death when she was five, Liora grew up under the care of her grandmother. Her father left before she was born and the only information she had was that is was a Southern Soldier. Being a mix-blood (Sydi and Morzi) didn’t making growing up difficult for Liora since historically Morzi were at one time from the Southern country of Sydrin.

Helping her grandmother with keeping her peoples’ traditions alive through tending to the garden and temple, or assisting in caring for those who were sick gave Liora a stable childhood filled with socialization and a strong education. When she wasn’t helping her grandmother Liora would spend her time hearing stories from the elders or helping those in the market. In the evenings she would curl up and read books on the world outside her city and teach herself the languages found throughout Gaitan. Although she knew that she would likely never leave her city she did dream of having the chance to travel the world to bring back others’ knowledge and spread her peoples’.

The early winter of her 13th year Liora got the chance to meet a boy that would open her eyes to the world outside her city. She had met Dermite merchants and heard stories from Chijin travelers, but it was upon meeting Revris that she knew things would change. He spoke to her about the conflict between the Northern and Southern countries. He told her of his time training to become a soldier for his people in Sydrin. She realized how lucky she was to live somewhere the war had not touched and was grateful for the boy to have opened her mind to the issues outside her homeland. Her and Revris soon became inseparable. He told her stories and taught her about his people, while she taught him about hers. They became good friends, spending time at her grandmother’s hut, in the garden, or curled up on the floor of the Mors home – where Revris was staying.

The weeks turned to months and the two grew excited for the coming New Years festival at the beginning of the Harvest Season. Liora knew Revris had never been to a Morzi festival and she was happy that he was wishing to spend it with her. Upon meeting up and enjoying the festivities their evening was cut short by a rumble of explosions. Chaos ensued when those visiting from Sydrin turned on the Morzi, cutting them down and hunting them like animals. Revris tried to save Liora but both couldn’t escape the fires or the soldiers.

And that is where I will leave you all to check out book one.

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