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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Writing - Shadows over Lornwater-01


Morton Faulkner

 This is a 9,000 word short story about Lornwater, the major city in Wings of the Overlord. It is a stand-alone tale, but it does foreshadow events in that book and its sequel (in progress), To Be King.
Lornwater, 2050AC*

*[see brief glossary at end]




Be wary, they have a life of their own,

Roaming across ceilings in moonlight,

Fleeing or slinking away in day-bright.

Yet, they hold feelings like me and you.

- A Life of Their Own, from The Collected Works of Nasalmn Feider (1216-1257)



First Sidinma of Juvous

In striking contrast to the brownish spot on her forehead above her nose, Sister Illasa’s complexion held a bluish tinge, despite the flickering torches in the shadowy stone-walled basement room.  Deep green silk covered her thickset body, wrapped about her waist and draped over one shoulder. Her bosom heaved as she spoke, her voice demanding and yet sultry. “O, Tanemag, strong king of the Dunsaron, heed me in my conjuration!”

            Her right hand comprised six fingers and held a bowl of dark water, which she moving in a circle over a crackling brazier. Her close-set olive green eyes flashed, almost luminous in this light. “Mussor, master of water, fashion me my melog!” She blew on the flames, purred, “Wrest from those I name the life-force that will drive melog, by ear and eye and nose and ear, animate my shadow assassin from out of darkness!”

            With her free hand she pulled at her stringy black hair that was streaked with grey and blue. She yelped involuntarily and her fingers gripped a bunch of hair like twine, and then threw it on the flames, where it sizzled among the charred bones of sacrificed creatures.

            An abrupt draught wafted through the dark shadowy place, even though there were no open windows or doors. “Winds of Lamsor, breathe life into my melog. Dark Bridansor, fashion me my creature to do my earnest bidding! Let the named ones lose the use of their limbs and become mere puppets for my melog.”

            Exhaustion stretched her nerves taut, her breathing rasped in her throat. This must work; she knew she would not have the strength to repeat the spell. Lifting the bowl to her lips, she drank the entire contents, every last vile drop. Fleetingly, her stomach threatened to rebel, but she held it down and smiled. Her dry throat was cured; the corners of her mouth dribbled blackly as she reeled off names, her lips moist and slavering: “Pro-dem Hom, Den-orl Pin, Cor-aba Grie, Fet-usa Fin – you all are spawn of Saurosen and thus deserving of my creature’s dread ire!”
continued tomorrow, (a little longer excerpt)...

 AC - Arisan Calendar. Recorded history began 0001AC. Originated and introduced during the fifth year of King Zal-aba Men’s reign. The Calendar was backdated to his first year on the throne. See below.
Bridansor – great-lord of Dark.
Brilansor – high-lord of Light.
Doltra Complex – Prestige building in Lornwater’s Second City, named after its architect.
Floreskand – Land contained between the manderon range of Tanalume Mountains, the Varteron Edge, the dunsaron range of Sonalume Mountains and the ranmeron Shomshurakand Barrier.
Gild – The vast majority of common people belong to some kind of gild, be it religious, merchant, or craft. Merchant gilds regulate trade monopoly. Gildsmen also take up vendettas on behalf of members’ families. The most infamous quasi-legal gild is the assassin’s gild.
Lamsor – black lesslord of winds.
Lornwater – also called the Three Cities, comprising The Old City, The Second City and The New City. Founded in 959AC.
Madurava – Compass. Florskandian compasses are enormous; there are no portable ones; they are kept in Madurava Houses, usually one per city. See diagram below.
Manderranmeron Fault – Geological fault running the length of Floreskand and containing the four fault volcanoes: Danumne, Astle, Altohey and Olarian.
Mussor – black lesslord of water.
Names – Surname is said first, then the chosen or personal name; thus Canishmel Bis refers to Bis (chosen) Canishmel (surname).
Orm – time measurement – 20 orms per day.
Paper – see reedpaper.
Parchment – common alternative to reedpaper.
Reedpaper – expensive paper, used exclusively by the affluent.
Shagunblend – combustible tar-like substance, a method of illumination.
Smalt – glass derived from the treatment of cobalt ore.
Storytellers – gild of tale tellers, graded in excellence by the pastel colours of their cloaks.
Tarakanda – the Ranmeron Empire.
Underpeople – people who are never seen or heard; feared, perhaps mythical, inhabitants of the waterlogged disused mines of Lornwater
Watchmen – city wall or palace wall sentries, wearing distinctive plaid cloaks; policemen.
The Arisan Calendar
There are 13 moons of 29-day periods in a year. Each moon is named after a constellation:
         1         Sekous;          Viratous;         3         Danduous;             4          Ramous; 
        5         Centirous;   6          Juvous;         7         Fornious;          8          Darous;
 9         Lamous;        10        Sortious;        11        Anticous;
       12        Petulous;        13        Airmous
Each moon is divided into quarters. There are 7 days and 7 nights in each quarter.
                                                   Days:                                       Nights:
                                                   Sabin                                       Sabinma

                                                   Dekin                                      Dekinma
                                                   Sidin                                        Sidinma
                                                   Dloin                                       Dloinma
Sufin                                       Sufinma
                                                   Durin                                       Durinma
Sapin                                       Sapinma
These days are numbered One to Four, depending on which Quarter they are in; thus the 16th day of the 4th month in 1470 would be written thus: Third Dekin of Ramous, 1470AC.

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