Here is what an average Umbran soldier from House Baal looks like. I drew inspiration for their appearance from the Normans and Anglo-Saxons from the 11th century. As loyalists of House Baal, they bear the sigil of House Baal, a red skull on a purple field, on their shields and surcoats. “Flesh Is Power!”
Gramfyre is the weapon of choice for Numen Magnus. I named it after Gram, which was the sword the Norse hero Sigurd used to slay the dragon Fafnir. I also drew inspiration from Excalibur from Arthurian Legend and the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings. Just as Excalibur and the One Ring answer to no one except King Arthur and Sauron respectively, Gramfyre answers only to the descendants of its creator, Vaegar Dragonsteel or Vaegar the Mad. Instead of having Gramfyre in a stone like Excalibur, I had it in something else that rhymes with “stone”. Like the One Ring, Gramfyre has the ability to influence the mind of its wielder in order to fulfill its desires. While the One Ring influenced its bearers to return to Sauron, Gramfyre influences its wielders to satisfy its desire for conquest. As a result of this influence, Numen’s personality tends to shift from his normal personality to one of an ambitious and ruthless conqueror, often on a subconscious level.
In terms of appearance, Gramfyre is a hand-and-a-half sword that was forged from the organic metallic ore of a dragon scale. Its blade is pitch black with ancient runes engraved along the fuller. Its crossguard is cruciform in structure, made of gold, and decorated with rubies. The grip is made from polished ivory from dragon bones. Finally, the pommel resembles that of Narsil from The Lord of the Rings except it is made of gold and has a big ruby embedded in the center. Despite its size, the sword is so light that it feels like it’s not even there, which gives it a scary nature, yet it is virtually indestructible and sharp enough to cut through castle-forged steel like a hot knife through butter.
When wielding Gramfyre, its master tends to perform deeds that would be considered impossible by most. Most of the time, Gramfyre constantly influences fate so that its wielder could achieve its desire for conquest. In combat situations, it grants its master the strength, speed, and fury of ten men as well as a high tolerance to physical pain. The only drawback of these abilities is that Gramfyre requires the life force of its wielder in order to fuel its magic. The Civil Folk call Gramfyre the Sword of Power while the Welts refer to it as the Sword of Miracles. Overall, Gramfyre is a selfish, bloodthirsty, and capricious sword that is both a benefit and a liability.
Here is another character from Numen the Slayer, Joe Karly. Joe is a petty thief who joins Numen’s quest with the hope of adventure and riches. Due to his profession, Joe tries to steal anything he can get his hands on when given the chance, which sometimes gets him in trouble. His weapons of choice are a pair of kukuri daggers that he uses with deadly efficiency. As a criminal, Joe never fights fair in a battle and can be mischievous at times. When it comes to stealth missions, Joe is the man for the job.
As I continue to write my fantasy series, I ponder on the names of the various members of the dynasty the series revolves around. I thought of names for the first and second books, but I am having trouble coming up with names for the third book. What would names fit for an Imperial Emperor or Empress? Do you guys have any suggestions? If so, please share. I can really use the help. Thank you.
Some people say that it is physically impossible for dragons to breathe fire, but in Numen the Slayer I went scientifical on how dragons breathe fire. I drew inspiration from the real-life insect known as the bombardier beetle. The bombardier beetle has several glands in its body that combines combustible chemicals and spray them at attacking predators. I once saw a video on Animal Planet of a bombardier beetle being attacked by a tarantula and the tarantula was left with a burnt face full of toxic chemicals. I used a similar concept with the dragons in Numen the Slayer. In my book, dragons have a pair of glands in their mouths that are full of combustible chemicals like the bombardier beetle. When the fire is not in use, the glands are sealed shut, but when the fire is in use the chemicals are sprayed from the dragon’s mouth in two streams. Individually, the chemicals are harmless, but when the streams cross the explode in a blast of flaming liquid. This liquid operates like napalm in which it sticks to whatever it touches and keeps burning until there is nothing left. Trying to wipe off the liquid will only smear it more. Also, like greek fire, dragon fire would spread and grow faster when exposed to water. The only way to extinguish dragon fire is to bury it in sand in order to starve it of oxygen. In addition to its obvious destructive capabilities, dragon fire also has beneficial properties to human civilizations. The ashes created from dragon fire are among the best fertilizer around similar to ash made from volcanoes and forest fires. Therefore, after a battle involving a dragon takes place farmers and merchants would flock to the battlefield to harvest the ashes because they not only provide bountiful crops but are highly profitable in markets.
In Numen the Slayer, I depicted a major battle that unfolds throughout the story. It takes place at the castle of Foxden and pits 500 archers and crossbowmen and 700 men-at-arms against 14,000 infantry, 2,000 archers, and 2,000 cavalry. I drew inspiration for this battle by researching the various weapons and tactics used in medieval sieges. I did not base this battle on any one historical battle. I will not say if the defenders will receive a relief force or the invaders will conquer the castle. All I can say is that it is the best collection of battle scenes I have ever written. I am expecting to write more battle scenes like this as the Magnus Dynasty Saga progresses.
Every dynasty should have a proper resting place for the entire family. In my fantasy series, the current family who rules Gradaia have such a place inside of the Imperial Palace. I have taken inspiration from one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. There is even a unique custom of how an Imperial funeral is held. Whenever a member of the Imperial Dynasty dies, their body is publicly and ceremonially cremated before being poured into a vat of molten gold. The ashes are mixed with the gold and molded into a statue in the deceased’s idealized likeness. Then the statue is placed in the mausoleum with the others with their name plastered underneath it. So the mausoleum is a combination between a tomb and an art gallery.