From Navarys to Imsterfeldt

When I conceived of this post, I envisioned it as a tour of Imsterfeldt, the great port city where Liliyah and Mago make landfall after their journey by airship across the great ocean.

But when I went seeking images for the post, I discovered a sequence so perfect for the air voyage itself that I could not resist. I went with it!

The train station in Antwerp looks and feels a lot like the aerodrome from which Liliyah and Mago set sail in the airship Subindo.

Of course, the Subindo is much more colorful—royal blue and gold—and its cabin is snugged up tight to the balloon envelope, not suspended on scaffolding below it, but the overall shape and size of the airship depicted above is right.

The countryside as Liliyah and Mago approach Imsterfeldt is very flat.

And then Imsterfeldt itself comes into view, a city interwoven with a webwork of canals. The photo above (of Amsterdam) has just the feeling of the scene when the residents of Imsterfeldt applaud the safe arrival of the Subindo.

Imagine this tower of Rhodes Castle as taller and festooned with a gridiron platform ring around the top, and you have the mooring tower at Imsterfeldt where the Subindo made anchor.

For many years. Imsterfeldt owned four such towers, but as one airship and then another was decommissioned, so too were the mooring towers.

Liliyah’s father purchased the first tower to be decommissioned, and it became their family home. Liliyah’s sanctum is located near the top of the structure.

When Liliyah and Mago walk (or boat) through their new home city, these are the scenes that meet their eyes.

Excursions out into the countryside encounter more canals, farmland, and windmills.

The meadows on the outskirts of Imsterfeldt, spreading out around the mooring towers, are usually dry. But the land is very flat, and the winter rains do bring flooding at times.

For more about the world of Skies of Navarys, see:
A Tour of Navarys
Lodestones

 

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Lodestones

So, what is a lodestone?

In the real world, it’s a magnet. But in my North-lands, it’s a magical artifact that intensifies the magical powers of a mage.

Different cultures in different time periods and different locations of my North-lands possess different names for mages.

In the Steam Age, the people of Silmaren call them keyholders, the denizens of Fiorish use the term seer, while the citizens of Auberon say patternmaster or enigmologist. There are more variations, but I’m not going to list them all here. 😉

The five lodestones rattling around the “modern”-day North-lands came out of ancient Navarys. So for the duration of this post, I’ll use the term favored by the ancient Navareans: fabrimancer.

The Navareans called their magic energea and their magical focus stones were energea-stones, not lodestones. The lodestones were created at the end of Navarean history, not its beginning, and I’ll get there soon. Promise. But first I must talk about energea-stones.

Energea-stones were crafted from the remains of a meteor fragment lodged in the mountainside of the isle of Navarys. To the ordinary eye, they look like small black pebbles—about the size your thumb-tip—with a shiny finish. (A few were made at larger sizes, but the vast majority were small.)

Energea-stones have been around for almost as long as the Navareans themselves (from pre-history and the age of reed huts). The Navareans learned about fabrimancy (magery) from the energea-stones, rather than fashioning the stones after they developed fabrimancy.

To a fabrimancer’s eye (if he or she is a visual practitioner, not an aural one or a kinesthetic one), the stones hold spiraling patterns of silvery light. This light is the visual manifestation of energea, of magic.

But more important than what energea-stones look like is what they do and how they do it.

In Navarys, an energea-stone would be shaped by a specialist to do a specific task, such as spinning a spinning wheel or a grain mill, tossing a shuttle across a weaver’s loom, or winding the rope of well bucket around a spool. Or the stone might be formed to simply magnify a fabrimancer’s power.

Different stones performed different tasks, but the Navareans especially liked to use them for semi-automating the tasks of craftsmanship. And they wished the stones could be fashioned to permit full automation. It was a sort of holy grail with them.

Energea-stones required the presence of a fabrimancer channeling his or her energea through the stone, almost as though the fabrimancer were a sort of living battery funneling electricity through an engine.

The lodestones were the breakthrough Navareans had been hoping for.

A lodestone looks a lot like an ordinary energea-stone—a small black pebble—except its surface finish is a velvet matte, not shiny. Like energea-stones they can be fashioned in different sizes for different purposes.

But a lodestone draws energea from its surroundings at large, not just from the fabrimancer wielding it. And thus a lodestone permits true automation. It must be forged so as to direct the energea flowing through it to perform the task desired. But once the fabrimancer sets it going, the lodestone does its work until the fabrimancer halts it. The fabrimancer can actually walk away from the work in progress.

Unfortunately, the lodestones embody one serious danger not possessed by ordinary energea-stones.

When an energea-stone is used by a fabrimancer to magnify and concentrate his magical powers, the stone also acts as a sort of overflow valve. If the fabrimancer loses control and summons too much energea—a potentially destructive amount—the excess is channeled away through the stone without doing damage to the fabrimancer.

Lodestones don’t possess this safety feature. Instead, they always carry exactly half of the energea summoned by the fabrimancer. Which means that if the fabrimancer summons a damaging amount, it does damage. Specifically, it tears the energetic structures that underlie the fabrimancer’s physical being.

That damage manifests as the troll-disease that appears in so many of my North-lands stories.

Only six lodestones were originally created. One of them—the largest—sank to the bottom of the great ocean. The other five are loose in the world, creating trouble when they are found.

Skies of Navarys tells the story of the creation of the lodestones, through the eyes of a pair of teenagers.

The Tally Master follows one of the lodestones into the hands of a troll warlord, where an honorable accountant and his assistant determine the outcome of the encounter.

Resonant Bronze shows how a lodestone might turn the tables on the troll horde.

Rainbow’s Lodestone and Star-drake recount the fate of a lodestone used to commit an evil deed.

And To Thread the Labyrinth, due out in March 2019, sees a lodestone returned to a place of proper oversight, although the larger story focuses on a troll-witch hiding her troll-disease.

For more about ancient Navarys, see:
A Tour of Navarys
From Navarys to Imsterfeldt

For more about the magic of the North-lands, see:
Magic in the North-lands
Magic in Silmaren
Radices and Arcs

 

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A Tour of Navarys

A few weeks ago, I took a virtual tour of the castle that features so largely in my novel Caught in Amber. Finding images that fit the mood of the many and varied wings of that vast pile was so much fun that I decided to embark on another such tour, this time to the isle of Navarys.

Navarys is the setting for my novella, Skies of Navarys. It lies far out in the great ocean to the east of the continent hosting the Empire of Giralliya. I think of Navarys as the Atlantis of my North-lands, because the story transpires during ancient times.

The island of Navarys possesses a central mountain, and it’s about the same size as the Greek island Lefkada located in the Ionian Sea south of Corfu. (Lefkada measures 22 miles north-south, and 9 miles east-west.)

This painting by John Glover of Mount Wellington in Australia has the right look and the right feeling, although… If it did depict Navarys, the flat lands in the foreground would need to be ocean waves.

Liliyah, when she sees Navarys from an airship, is amazed by the view.

The ocean surged vast and blue-gray from horizon to horizon. The island of Navarys, stretching away under the noon sun, showed so many textures of green: dark of pine, bright of meadow, and cool of orchard.

The majority of the people living on Navarys dwell in its capital city, located above a harbor on the slopes of the central mountain.

And the city tumbled down the western slopes of Mount Sohlon like an infant’s set of playing blocks: pierced cubes of colored marble and stucco roofed by verdigris copper or olive tile.

Some of the city clings to a very steep slope, as depicted above, but a slim crescent of flatter terrain curls around the the harbor area. Nor does the mountainside climb to its peak in one fell swoop. The king’s royal palace occupies the crest of a foothill.

The beacons at the harbor’s outlet, brilliant like evening stars against the green and orange of the horizon, brought it all back.

One of the modern caravels, powered by energea stones, not sails and wind, passed between the beacons, headed out to sea.

Liliyah’s own home is located well up the mountain slope, but is by no means neighboring to the royal palace. Her friend, Mago, lives nearby.

“I’m up,” Liliyah announced, slithering out from under the net canopy that sheltered her bed.

The gauze of the window curtains tinted her room golden. It must be well past breakfast, if the sun had moved around the corner of the house that typically shaded her windows. She started scrambling out of her nightdress, rifling through the gowns on the wall pegs for something casual and comfortable.

Liliyah and Mago both do a considerable bit of running through the city allées over the course of the story. Mago in particular ventures high on the slope, although not all the way to the royal palace.

Mago paused, panting and puffing, feeling droplets of sweat trickling along his temples. He leaned against the stucco of the lemon house.

Must. Keep. On.

No one paid him any heed. Three couriers dashed by him, undeterred by the hill, headed for the palace. They met and sidestepped a gang of wild-looking young men tramping down. One thrust out a foot to trip the rearmost courier, who simply bounded over it.

The allée depicted in the photo below features very golden hues, but the stone and stucco of the city’s buildings is varied. Some allées share these golden tones, where others boast sparkling white or even pastel colors.

Mago climbed two flights of stairs, feeling the pull in his thighs from their tall risers, to a little-travelled lane cutting across the slope of the mountain. Ranks of flowering almond trees generated a speckled shade, pleasantly aromatic, but the usual quietude was missing. Pageboys carrying messages, porters transporting luggage, families locking their front gates and departing, a bachelor delaying to help an elderly relative make sure the curling tongs really were packed at the bottom of a valise: the scene was busy. Although not panicked, or even hectic, Mago noted.

The view from the front of the palace would take in the whole of the city, stretching down the mountainside and curling around the harbor. Because the palace occupies the crest of a foothill, it also possesses vistas displaying more rural stretches of coastline.

The breeze gusted strongly for an instant. Spray from the fountain misted his face, evaporating and cooling, then drying as the warmth of the sun prevailed.

Mago stared at the horizon where sea met sky. Their house, just like its neighbors, fronted on a sloping allée punctuated by steps at the steepest stretches. But the walled courtyard behind the domicile occupied a slight bluff, giving him a more expansive view of the shore cliffs, rows of palms, and the tumble of mansions climbing this reach of Mount Sohlon.

The interior of the island is largely wild. Vineyards, olive groves, farm fields, and a few hamlets, as well as country estates for the wealthy remain within close reach of the city or the coast.

For more virtual tours of my book worlds, see:
Landscapes of Auberon
A Castle That Might be Amber
Bazinthiad, a Quick Tour

For more about Navarys, see:
Lodestones
From Navarys to Imsterfeldt

 

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Skies of Navarys in Paper!

Get it, because you like full bookshelves. Get it, because you enjoy a stylish book on your coffee table. Get it to read. Get it to give as a gift. (Grin!) The trade paperback edition of Skies of Navarys is here!

Navarys paperback photo 3844

Two friends. Two ways of approaching life. One dilemma.

Liliyah studies energea as all thirteen-year-olds in Navarys do, devoting her mornings to mastering the music that controls her magic. Afternoons, she hobnobs with the artisan crafters and shopkeepers who built the island city-state into the trade capital of the world.

Her friend Mago faces struggles unsuspected by carefree Liliyah. His father, a renowned inventor, succombs to irrational flashes of rage. His mother holds a lethal secret close.

When a royal geomancer announces that the goddess Evaia shrugs, every citizen on the island springs to action. Disaster waits on no one’s leisure! Amidst the uproar, the aeromancer Palujon steals Mago’s father’s latest invention: unique lodestones with the potential to revolutionize life as the Navareans know it.

Mago discovers the theft and vows to make good his father’s loss. But Liliyah questions Palujon’s motives. Why would a man of his stature break the law? Is he truly a rogue?

Two friends. Two answers. Life and death hang on their choices.

Here are the “stats” for the trade paperback:

5″x 8″ trim size • 116 pages
ISBN-10: 0615880320
ISBN-13: 978-0615880327
Amazon.com I Amazon UK I B&N I CreateSpace

Skies of Navarys is also available as an ebook in electronic bookstores.
Amazon.com I Amazon UK
B&N I Diesel I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords I Sony

 

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Ebook Release: Skies of Navarys

Three cheers! Skies of Navarys is available from all the e-tailers at last! (Kobo took a while to have the book go live. Not sure why.) But here it is, the very first tale about the lodestones of old and how they came to be.

Three airships over landscape, feature sizeTwo friends. Two ways of approaching life. One dilemma.

Liliyah studies energea as all thirteen-year-olds in Navarys do, devoting her mornings to mastering the music that controls her magic. Afternoons, she hobnobs with the artisan crafters and shopkeepers who built the island city-state into the trade capital of the world.

Her friend Mago faces struggles unsuspected by carefree Liliyah. His father, a renowned inventor, succombs to irrational flashes of rage. His mother holds a lethal secret close.

When a royal geomancer announces that the goddess Evaia shrugs, every citizen on the island springs to action. Disaster waits on no one’s leisure! Amidst the uproar, the aeromancer Palujon steals Mago’s father’s latest invention: unique lodestones with the potential to revolutionize life as the Navareans know it.

Mago discovers the theft and vows to make good his father’s loss. But Liliyah questions Palujon’s motives. Why would a man of his stature break the law? Is he truly a rogue?

Two friends. Two answers. Life and death hang on their choices.

All seven electronic bookstores:
Amazon I B&N I Diesel I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords I Sony

 

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