One of the factors that helped shape Gradaia as a world was the Dark Death. The Dark Death was an event that wiped out half the population of Gradaia, caused widespread civil war, the loss of most magic in the world, and resulted in the decline and overthrow of the Marvak Dynasty and the rise of the Sylva Dynasty. However, I purposely left it ambiguous as to what the Dark Death actually was. Some say it was a pestilence while others thought it was some magic ritual that went wrong. At some point in my fantasy series, I will reveal what the Dark Death was and what caused it.
In my fantasy series, magic has been a fluctuating force in Gradaia. Before humans came to the continent, magic was everywhere even in the very soil. However, after humans interbred with elves and produced the first Druids, magic gradually became increasingly diluted over the millennia. After the Dark Death, magic became so rare that only two Druid bloodlines remained in the entire continent. In addition, most magical secrets that had been accumulated were lost and forgotten. As a result, whatever magic that remained were just the basics instead of mastery. However, something happens during my main character’s reign that causes magic to slowly return to the world. Sadly, this resurgence in magic will cause some drastic consequences to the natural balance. Creatures and forces that became silent and reclusive for centuries due to the lack of magic start to emerge.
Goblins have often been featured in fantasy stories such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Labyrinth. I am planning to feature goblins in my third fantasy book, but they will far more primitive than the goblins that have been seen in the past. Also, I will be heavily reimagining my version of goblins by making them semi-sentient, capable of some degree of intelligence yet far more animal-like and won’t be able to speak. Their culture will resemble the lifestyle of Neanderthals with no armor and crude weapons. In fact, these goblins won’t even be humanoid in appearance like previous versions. For years, goblins have been keeping to themselves and staying hidden, but something happens that causes them to venture out of their dark lairs.
In the past, the line of succession of most monarchies revolved around only male heirs while disregarding female heirs. A king’s heir is traditionally his eldest son. If the eldest son dies before producing an heir, he would be succeeded by his younger brother as the heir apparent. If the king produces no male heirs, his heir would either pass on to his younger brother or the eldest male heir of his younger brother. If the king has no brother or nephews, his heir would be his closest cousin. This process would go on and on until there were no male heirs left and the dynasty would be replaced by a different dynasty. The idea of giving a female heir the throne was not taken seriously in England until Mary I AKA Bloody Mary and then Elizabeth I AKA The Virgin Queen.
Even though this line of succession was easy to follow, I was not fond of it because the female heirs mostly were never given a chance to rule under their own power. There is another line of succession known as Absolute Primogeniture, which involves giving equal inheritance to all heirs regardless of gender. This would mean that the next heir whether if they are male or female would inherit the throne. This was the practice in the Kingdom of Navarre before their dynasty was overthrown by royals who followed the male preference line of succession. In modern times, countries like Sweden, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Norway have adopted absolute primogeniture.
After a great deal of brainstorming, I have come up with the version of absolute primogeniture in my third fantasy book. When the ruling emperor dies without a son, his daughter would take the throne. When that happens, the daughter, her husband, and her heirs will inherit the surname of the ruling dynasty. That way, the bloodline and family name of the ruling dynasty will never die. However, the kings and barons of the empire, who adhered more for male preference lines of successions, would not be happy.
In The War of the Gilded Beasts, I introduced a new creature in my fantasy world. They are reptilian creatures the size of rhinos known as Theropods. I named them after the carnivorous group of dinosaurs that were called theropods. Theropods in my fantasy world are native to the forest kingdom of Storuuk and they look like a four-legged mixture between Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor. Theropods are as strong and fierce as T. Rex and as fast and intelligent as raptors. They are the apex predators of Storuuk and hunt either alone or in packs. The people of Storuuk are all hunters and warriors and they see Theropods as either effective beasts of war against invading armies or as the ultimate prey item during hunts. Hunting and taming these beasts are the reason why Storuuk breeds the toughest and bravest warriors in the Empire because hard places breed hard people.
I have decided to raise the stakes for my main character in my third fantasy book. Since the start of the Magnus Dynasty Saga, House Magnus had three weapons that secured their victories. First, the Sword of Power known as Gramfyre, which granted them the ability to defeat any opponent on the battlefield. Second, the usage of magic, which is a product of their Druid heritage. Third, the mastery of dragons, which granted them the power to incinerate armies and demolish castles. All three of these weapons allowed Numen Magnus to conquer a kingdom and allowed his children to conquer an empire. However, what would happen if House Magnus was deprived of these weapons? That will be one of the main challenges the main character in my third fantasy book will face in his quest to reclaim the Imperial Throne. Gramfyre’s seductive voice, which amplified its wielder’s power and ambition, becomes silent. The magic that once flowed through his veins will become dormant. The dragons abandon House Magnus and fly to the high mountains in the north. If the main character wants his throne back, he is going to have to earn these weapons back. It is bad enough to lose your throne, but you also lose the sources of all your power.
I remember something I heard about Genghis Khan, creator of the Mongol Empire. The Mongol Empire was the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen, stretching as far east as the Pacific and as far west as eastern Europe. It turns out that Khan sired over a thousand children and as a result a large percentage of the world population is a descendant of Genghis Khan. I am thinking of doing something similar with the main character of my third fantasy book. By the end of his reign, he will have 127 legitimate descendants, which include 7 children, 21 grandchildren, 63 great grandchildren, and 36 great great grandchildren. In addition, the main character will also have hundreds more illegitimate descendants. Just as a large portion of the modern world claims descent from Genghis Khan, a large portion of the Gradaian Empire’s population will claim descent from the main character after a few generations. From those descendants, the age of magic will return to the world.
In an elite army, there is no room for the weak. In both the Dune series and Game of Thrones, we have been introduced to the warrior elite of their respective universes. In Dune, the warrior elite were the Sardaukar, who served the imperial family of House Corrino. In Game of Thrones, the warrior elite were the Unsullied, who normally served the highest bidder before ultimately serving Daenerys Targaryen.
The thing these two warrior groups have in common is how they are trained. The Sardaukar were trained on House Corrino’s prison planet, which had brutal conditions and the training methods they endured were just as brutal. The Unsullied were trained in the slave markets of Astapor and were treated worse than animals. The training the Sardaukar and the Unsullied endured started from an early age and was so brutal that most of them do not survive. Only the strongest and most disciplined among them complete their training. By the time their training is complete, they become nearly unstoppable fighting machines.
For my third fantasy book, I will be introducing the creation of a similar army. Even though House Magnus has taken the Imperial Throne, they are still surrounded by enemies and the loyalty of their new vassals are uncertain. If rebellion breaks out, the usage of their dragons may not be enough for House Magnus to keep their newfound power. To counter this problem and quell any future rebellion, they try to create an army that is suitably loyal and undefeatable. Like the Sardaukar and the Unsullied, their training would start from an early age and be so strict and brutal that most of them won’t survive their training. The conditions they would train under would be volcanic in nature. Those who complete their training would serve as the Imperial warrior elite. However, because they are conscripted at an early age, most of the populace is not happy with the formation of this army, which becomes one of their motivations to rebel against the emperor. I will be drawing inspiration from the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Empire, who were often seen as the best of the best in the Roman military.
I have splendid news! Tomorrow is my 31st birthday. To celebrate, I am offering a giveaway of one of my books. Numen the Slayer will be FREE on Amazon Kindle for the next three days.
It may be too soon to say, but I believe I have acquired enough medieval inspiration for my fantasy books for a while. For my third fantasy book, I will be drawing inspiration from the English Civil War of the 17th century, which saw the English monarchy going to war against Parliament. The war started due to unpopular taxes to fund wars with Scotland and Ireland, land from the Commonwealth being seized by noble landowners, and Puritans clashed with Catholics. At the end of the war, Parliament won and King Charles I was subsequently executed. However, Charles’s death turned him into a martyr, resulting in the royalists regaining control of the government and establishing Charles II as King of England. For my third fantasy book, I will depict an attempt to overthrow the imperial monarchy due to unpopular policies. The main character will be forced into exile while his followers wage a years-long war to reclaim the Imperial Throne in his name. In order to write this story, I will need to rewrite my original outline. Also, some of my more extreme story ideas will be discarded and replace them with ideas grounded in realism.