Worldbuilding: Elaya’s Grief

Art credit:  Ben Watts  on Unsplash

Elaya loved her sons equal. Tre, the first of the twins, she cherished for his integrity. His bravery. Ro for his wits and never ceasing need to bring laughter to the people she shelters in her lap. And Tiern she adored for how his stalwart believe in kindness never faltered and his heart remained made of gentle things. So when the Wicked tore Tiern from the skies and broke him across the lands, she grieved without measure.

The Grief, as it’s most often referred to, divides the western continent of Trero straight through the middle. It’s said to be the scar left by Tiern’s passing and the site of Elaya’s never-ceasing grief. Her mourning, profound and never-ending, lures Reapers into the shadows of its valleys and jungles, where it drives them to rabid madness.

That’s the age-old tale about it, anyway.

Geographically, it’s an oddity. Even for Trero’s standards. The majority of its core is made of deep canyons and islands of jungles between them, while the northern and southern borders are mountains with only a handful of possible entries. While the north is a little cooler, even seeing snow sometimes, the Grief generally holds a steady warmth throughout the entire year. Which, in theory, would make it attractive to live in. But there’s always a but in those sorts of situations, such as the Reapers who thwart every settlement effort – and the tales of how its canyons and mountains are ever-shifting, creating an impossible labyrinth to traverse. 

Well, except if you’re a Shielding.

According to enduring legends, only a Shielding can reliably find a path through, though how much of that has to do with the supposedly every-changing landscape is a bit of a mystery. Maybe it’s down to how they’ve spent generations mapping out a safe route — or maybe it’s just their uncanny affinity to the Grief that helps them avoid the Reapers roaming it. 

An illustration of Elaya's Grief.
Elaya’s Grief

Regardless, you’d go to them if you wanted to pass between the north and the south and they’d get you across, often leading entire merchant caravans and twice even small armies. Two possible crossings existed for the longest time: The shallow tail in the west, which was always a much longer route and much more fiercely guarded, and one route through the Grief’s thick centre. While both routes had their unique perils, the latter was the most used one, as it connected the rich south with an even richer north (or the other way around, depending on who you asked).

But time changes everything. Before the Folly left the north in shambles, an industrial boon (fuelled by war and conquest) led to the construction of a railway running around the Grief to the far west. The old crossing up there has since then been abandoned, and the original passage through the centre hardly ever sees travellers any more. Too much of a risk for too little time saved.

Not that the Shieldings care much. They own the railway, after all.

But that doesn’t mean the Grief is no longer of any interest to people with adventurous character. Reapers, tricky terrain, and superstitions aren’t the only things tucked away in it, after all. Ancient cities, abandoned by Trero’s Benefactors, hide in its mountains and sit in the steep walls of its canyons. Except no one has had any luck with them. Yet. Their doors remain stubbornly shut, with no lock or key in sight, a challenge brave souls can’t often pass up. 

Adventures which tend to end in death, unfailingly feeding the tales of the Grief’s treacherous heart. At this point, the Shieldings still living in the old waystations are mostly there to keep people out, rather than bringing them through.

. . . it’s a fun place, I swear!

Originally, the entirety of Sinvik’s adventures centred around it, back when Sinvik was mostly a treasure/artefact hunting daredevil. Which the Grief really lent itself to well. But there’s always been a bigger purpose for it and I’m not sure I want to spoil that just yet. Let’s just say every myth and every legend has some truth at its core and leave it at that.

ShieldingThing.com  |  Read on Ao3 |  The Tafftreon (Patreon)

Latchkey Hero, a Dying Light Fan Fiction

2016-04-14 – 3 years – 350000 words

“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.” – George Orwell

The fall of Harran robbed man of its humanity, and Zofia Sirota of her innocence. Finding redemption, with the city rotting away around her, seems to be a pipe dream at best, until a man falls from the skies and turns futility to hope. Either that, or he’s about to make things a whole lot worse.

Kyle Crane

LatchkeyHero.com

Season 1: Latchkey Hero
A man falls from the skies and makes things a whole lot worse.

The Gunsmith: A Lady’s Favour
There’s a little girl in dire need of modern-day magic, and still, Crane tells Zofia: “Stay here.”

At the Tower: Hide and Seek
In which Kyle Crane finds it horribly difficult to stay on target and regrets having put on jeans for the day.

Season 2: Volatile

Season 3: #SaveHarran

All the art you see has either been done by delborovic, saph-y, or nucleargers (nsfw).

Kyle Crane
Kyle and Zofia (not Fi, not Zo, not Sofia, don’t you dare)
Kyle Crane
Kyle and his Cranebar
Kyle Crane
Kyle Crane
Dying Light Latchkey Hero
“official” cover art

I’ve done it. Finally. It took me three years, and a bunch of times of almost giving up, but here I am. The last chapter has been drafted, and all that’s left is a little more patience and a few more nights of editing what I got. Then Latchkey Hero is done.

Thank you, everyone, who has taken the time to read it.

It’s been… an experience. Thanks to you and with you, and like for any experience’s third birthday, I ought to at least make some noise. So here it is, that noise. A bunch of links on where to find the complete series, its sparkling new website, and some art that I’ve collected over… uh… the years. Literal years. Man, this feels weird.

The Magic of Writing

Welcome to my amazing friend’s debut post on her writing blog.  @owlishments will be sharing with us what she’s experienced, past and present, during her long and rewarding writing journey.

Go on, have a read.  It’s well worth it.

Have faith, fellow writer.

All Night Writing

Writing is magic. It’s true. Think about it: Using varying combinations of twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks, you can build an entire world. You can create brand new people for your readers to meet. You can make people feel love, hate, and everything between.

Pure magic.

But you don’t have to wait for your letter to Hogwarts to wield it. You don’t even need a wand—unless you want to pretend you pen is one, because it might as well be. The power to tell a story comes from inside you. It’s something we learn as small children playing games in the backyard, imagining that the trees are giants and the ants are our friends. With time, practice, and a drive to tell your story, you can learn to write.

It isn’t easy. Art never is. The words you write are an extension of yourself.  A piece of…

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