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Worldbuilding 10 – Religion August 22, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in Worldbuilding.
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The Empire and Religion


The Empire of Uppsala  has long ago decided that religion, in any form, tended to divide the human family rather than enrich it. They saw that for innumerable eons, both on Earth and in Erde, more wars had been fought over religious principles than for any other reason. They listed countless examples of man’s inhumanity towards man, all in the name of religion. They saw that conflict not only occurred between opposing systems of religious belief, but also within various sects of the same religion. This truth led the political leaders of the Empire to become disillusioned with religion, convincing them that it was both a waste of time and considerably dangerous. Consequently, for more than 3,000 years in the OutSider controlled Empire of Uppsala in Erde religion has been outlawed. It is one of the few laws in which governing rival Proctors have remained in agreement with throughout the Rejoinders. They found it easier to deal with underground religious activities than with open wars prompted by opposing factions trying to force their belief system or the supremacy of their god(s) upon the will of others.

The rehabilitation of newly discovered OutSiders within Erde has been a primary function of the government. A major part of that rehabilitation concerns the removal of religion from the minds and hearts of prospective new citizens. No man or woman who does not swear to recant their religious beliefs or who still shows signs of conformity to religious thought, is allowed to enter into the population at large.

Lach (Circle) – The Religion of the Vigroth Peoples


The basic premise of the Vigroth is that humans are juistid deskes, spiritual beings manifested into al erdid erdol, a physical world by a single creator in conjunction with other spirit beings. They see two sets of laws governing creation, Justid Nelg, Spiritual Law and Erdid Nelg, Physical Law. These laws work hand in hand. Without one or the other, the known world couldn’t exist. They also realize that humanity doesn’t know all the laws. New discoveries and better understanding of them can and are being learned. It is their belief that the blueprint of these two sets of laws can be viewed by studying nature, which they call hac Cogin Velkrar, the Great Teacher.

The Vigroth know nature on a personal basis. They know the Spiritual Law and Physical Law that hold together the Injelacin or Universe are flexible. Through their study of nature they have learned that these Universal Laws can be stroked when they are understood fully. That is, they can be bent in certain ways to alter known results to make an outcome more favorable. They understand there is nothing magical about these processes, they simply use one set of know laws against others to bring about a conclusion.

An example of this would be using the danger signals of bees guarding a hive to entice swarms to attack an enemy. Another example would be using the mind to box a headache into disappearing. In our world, cloud seeding might be one example, as well as Native Americans dancing and singing to bring rain. The cloud seeding brings about the bending of Physical Law through the use of another Physical Law. The rain dances bring about the bending of Physical Law through the use of Spiritual Law. The strength of repeated incantations of shaman and witches bend Physical Law and Spiritual Law in the same manner as repeated prayer. Many examples could be put forth. Magic? Not really. There are physical laws that make cloud seeding work. There are also spiritual laws that make rain dances work as well. They may not be understood as easily because they deal with Spiritual Law rather than Physical Law. We humans are more comfortable studying Physical Law. The study of Spiritual Law is not considered a science.

Through their understanding of nature the Vigroth can see hac Socloh, the Oneness of all creation. They are aware that all life is dependant on the death of other living things. It is for this reason, like many Native Americans, they refer to their beliefs as Circle. The Vigroth know that they must eat plants, animals, fish, and birds in order to survive. When they die, they will in turn nourish the ground, insects, birds, and animals. They have great respect for this Circle. Their focus is upon the importance of every single living thing to manifest an awareness of the living Juis or Spirit in Erde.

The Vigroth concept of Oneness is not about making all the varieties of life the same. Oneness suggests instead that people have the opportunity to view this rich diversity as an example of the multiple ways in which the Soc Juis, or One Spirit, tries to find expression in life. Whether that life is the life of a fish, bird, animal, insect, plant, or person. Since there is only one Creator, the Universe must be composed of only one Force. Oneness as a force implies that all things are interrelated. Every one of us has a connection to one another, the land, the universe, and to the Maker.

Lach is not a religion that is written in a holy book.  It is memorized and passed down from parents to children through a series of  TilgGutzin or FireSongs  These are repeated from birth until death at public meetings so all know and remember the workings of Circle.



Worldbuilding 8 – Magic August 17, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in Worldbuilding.
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Every fantasy reader and writer has their own thoughts about magic.  Make it realistic.  Require a cost to use it.  Develop a system with reasonable laws that make it work.  All good suggestions, I suppose, but for me magic in any world should just be.  That’s all that’s required.  It certainly doesn’t need a long drawn out discussion of how it works or where it came from or whose behind it.  This is my view.  Anyone with a different view is just as justified in what they do as I am.  No fights, no arguments.  If it works for you, that’s all that’s important.

So what kind of magic exists in Erde?  The people of Erde view magic much as the people on Earth do.  The more educated they are, the less they believe in physical magic like disappearing at will and reappearing somewhere else.  They also have trouble with spiritual magic like chanting until a shaman can see through the eyes of a bird as it flies over their enemies.  Others will be mystified by the idea even if they have no proof that it works.  Some will think the whole idea of magic in a world driven by physical law is ridiculous.  Illiterate natives will live in fear of it.  In other words in any world there will be many opinions about magic.

Magic could range from the ultra fantastic, like two magicians throwing fireballs at each other, to the natural magical experience of two people falling in love or the birth of a child.  That’s not magic you say?  Ask the two young parents who’ve just witnessed their first child being born.  What we call magic is individual to each of us.  It’s what the combination of your beliefs and physical senses make it to be.  The people of Erde are much the same in their views of magic.  We all know nature exists but we don’t know everything it can accomplish.  When something happens in nature that goes beyond our understanding, we call it magic.

So does magic exist on Erde?  Of course it does.  For instance there is a hallucinogenic drug called nicroot, which seems to propel people who know how to use it on fantastic mind journeys to different parts of the universe, both physical and spiritual.  Is nicroot real?  Yes, it’s the root of a common flowering plant that grows in the central forests of Erde.  Is it truly able to transport ones spirit all over the universe?  That depends on whom you speak to in Erde.  What are the effects of chewing peyote buds in Arizona?  I’m sure you’ll get an answer from a local Native American that will differ from a professor at Arizona State University.

Then you have medical magic as produced by the physicians of the Empire and the shaman of the native tribes.  Fixing a broken arm or healing an infectious disease may not seem like magic to you, but to uneducated farmers it carries the sense of magic.  Do the spells of the native shaman work?  Well, there again, it’s a matter of how you define ‘work.’  Did the young child survive because of the spells of the shaman or did her own body heal itself?

We’ve already discussed the survival abilities of the Vigroth such as camouflage and Deep Chat.  Without doubt to the Riggrathi the Vigroth make magic that must be confronted with magic of their own.  But the Vigroth know these skills are learned.  They camouflage using plant leaves, moss, furs, skins, dyes, and makeup.  They use animal urine and feces to change their smell.  They practice running until they can do over twenty miles without making a sound.  They can control their breathing and their bodily urges to appear dead.  Magic?  No, all learned skills, just like the Deep Chat.

There are powders that make fires smokeless, berries that make it nearly impossible for a woman to conceive, and a heavy metal that can be honed to a point that will penetrate almost anything yet because of its weight it can’t be used for weapons larger than a small hunting knife.  Magic?  That’s for you, the reader, to say as you experience them.

Erde is a magnificent place full of wonder and awe with many surprises for folk visiting from Earth.  I hope you enjoy its magic.

Worldbuilding 6 – Where oh Where is My Protagonist? August 14, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in Worldbuilding.
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se erde

Allow me to introduce you to the south central portion of Erde.  On the western side you see the bottommost peaks of the Corrin Mountains as they dip into the Rigga Sea.  In the northeastern corner is the capitol city of the Empire – Uppsala itself.  As you come south along the Selgen River, you pass the town of Selga, the southernmost town of the region.  Continuing south, you come into the southeastern part of the Rigga Sea.  As you turn southwestward, you pass the impassible Kyrrell Swamp.  Once through the channel you head back north until you reach the free city of Hummel.  It doesn’t belong to the Empire because no troops from Uppsala have ever attempted to travel this far south.  Hummel is a trading port, where even the tribes of the southern Weald come to barter their goods.  It’s an active fishing port with ample on shore fisheries that supply many parts of the Empire with various aquatic delicacies.

So where is my protagonist?  Well, she’s not been born yet.  But I can tell you this – she’ll be a member of a tribe of natives called the Vigroth who inhabit the small village of Thelra.  A strange people, the Vigroth.  They are unlike any people found here on Earth.  Their whole existence is predicated upon survival.  They live in an extremely hostile part of Erde, with enemy tribes that would like nothing better than to hasten their demise.  Even though most of them are above six feet in height, they are experts at camouflage.  They are so good at it that other tribes of the Weald think they are magical creatures that can appear and disappear at will.  The truth is that they train at camouflage from the age that your children would enter kindergarten. They get very good at it.

Their religion, called ‘Circle,’ emphasizes survival.  As does their family unit.  Families here on Earth have a mother, father, and kids, right?  That’s not exactly how the Vigroth handle things.  As children are born over a ten year period, they are assigned to a family group given an animal name.  Given the birth rate combined with infant mortality rates, each family group has between six to ten members, all ages within a ten year period.  Children stay with their parents family unit until they go through a coming of age ceremony.  This is usually around the age of ten.  Then they leave their parents family unit and live in their own clan abode.  From the time they can barely walk, the members of their family unit undergo education in survival.  These ‘classes,’ if they can be referred to as such, start at daybreak and continue to sundown.  They learn simple things like ‘focus’ and ritual singing and using a knife and bow.  And they learn not so simple things like the Vigroth Deep Chat or Gibwa Rach in their language.  The children are together from the time they start training, from the time they move into their home, until they die.  The best way I can put it is – it’s like they are all married as a unit.  In other words, these six to ten people are together all their lives.  The Deep Chat brings them even closer in relationship.  Everything they do in life, they do it with each other.  This causes an incredible closeness.  I’ll give you an example of how close they become.  If one is hurt, the others feel it instantly. By the time they go through their coming of age ceremony, the Deep Chat even allows them to communicate with their minds.  Simple one or two word thoughts.  Again, others think of this as magic.  But you can see it’s actually a learned skill.

Anyway, it’s this kind of family unit my protagonist is born into.