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Pretty simple idea, this. If you've got a setting you love to work on but aren't ready to unveil it as a whole--or if you just came up with a great new detail or quirk that really ties the setting together--feel free to post about it here. This is for snippets about whatever creation you've got on your mind today.

 

 

To start, today I solidifed how interstellar travel will work in my original setting. Humans and other races of the universe will use a form of Alcubierre drive, essentially like the warp drive seen on Star Trek; it operates by folding space around a vessel and moving the craft to a destination in less time than a beam of light could travel over the same distance.

 

One theoretical problem with this device is that as the vessel warps through the space between worlds, microscopic particles may become caught in the spatial bubble formed by the warp drive. These particles could become "supercharged" by the experience, so when the ship slows to a stop, it would release a pulse of deadly gamma rays and high-energy particles powerful enough to obliterate the destination. Not good for colonization or peaceful space exploration.

 

What I decided is purely speculative, and may not actually be feasible--in my setting, starships will actually turn this obstacle into an advantage. Instead of allowing these particles to form a lethal death pulse around the ship, vessels utilizing this form of faster-than-light travel will absorb the particles and use them to power the ship's internal mechanisms. Essentially, these ships will pick up their own fuel as they travel through interstellar space, both removing the threat of destination destruction and making faster-than-light travel much cheaper and more attainable for the average galactic citizen.

 

(The destructive capabilities of the Alcubierre drive are not left untapped, however--the infamous voidrenders of the Risu Empire deliberately accumulate interstellar death-particles for use against unprotected planets.)

 

So that's what I've been thinking about today. What's changed in your setting today? :)

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Pretty simple idea, this. If you've got a setting you love to work on but aren't ready to unveil it as a whole--or if you just came up with a great new detail or quirk that really ties the setting together--feel free to post about it here. This is for snippets about whatever creation you've got on your mind today.

 

So is this just setting or worldbuilding in general? 'Cause I got tons of random ideas bobbing about my brain.

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I've been wanting to set a story somewhere on a continent that resembles Pangaea, because Pangaea is just cool. 

 

Will edit as ideas come along...

 

Pangaea is very cool. Especially with the desertification effect that would take place over the continent's interior--it'd be like a donut of culture. You know, 'cuz all the life would be on the coasts and nothing would live in the center.

 

Why not write about superintelligent dinosaurs living in the Triassic period?

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I finished a story recently.

About wolves.

If you've read my Social Guilds RP, you know I like wolves. I like wolves, in any case.

So it's about wolves. And evil dictator wolves.

 

Who die in the prologue.

Also, sadistic wolves.

And wolves named Faith who get teased for being Faithless. 
 

Basically, wolves.

 

Wolves are awesome.

 

Especially dictator wolves.

:P

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I started out writing about Spokane, WA in a world where the development of superpowers in a third of the population causes the collapse of many world governments and sets technology back to about what we had in the 1940s. 

 

Then I realized it just wasn't working. 

 

So now I'm writing about Spokane, WA in a world where the development of superpowers in a third of the population is about to change the end of WWII (not the outcome, but definitely the end date and a few other things I haven't quite figured out yet). I went from near-ish future dystopia to fantastic alternate history. :mellow: 

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Well, this is an idea that I;ve had for a bit, but never really posted. I've told a few people about it though, so... why not?

 

So, the setting is a planet that I haven't actually named yet, with a vaguely Celtic feeling to it. There's two aspects to it; the real (human) world, and the fae (Elf) world, which can be best described as being like Tir Na Nog (or the usual urban fantasy "tworlds existing side by side" cliche).

 

The "real" world is home to two main races; humanity, and the dwarves. Humans are tribalistic, existing mostly in clans and owing fealty to different lords. Dwarves live underground- at least according to humanity.

 

According to dwarves, however, they live inside a dragon-god. Their religion and culture is based around the idea that the world is the body of a dragon, and they are it's children. This means that they view humanity, living on the surface and digging into the earth to extract minerals or plant crops, basically as parasites, like flies or carrion.

 

This ends up resulting in them declaring war- a war which they are winning (for rasons detailed below). In desperation, humanity turns to the elves for help. They respond by coming into the human world, and winning the war for humanity.. which is where the problems start.

 

The war was ignited by the awakening of the dwarven dragon god's spirit, and the first thing it did upon waking up was declare war of it's own; it ended up roasting the human gods and destroying all of them. 

 

This left something of a problem. When the god of the harvest dies, crops stop growing. When the god of fertility dies, you don't have any new livestock - or new people, for that matter. Humanity may have won the war, but their facing a slow, grinding march to extinction, so they turn to the elves for help.

 

The elves respond by laughing, telling them where they can stick it, and hightailing it back to their paradise world with the dwarves (and a sizeable selection of huamnity) as slaves. As they flee, however, one human tribe manages to seize of the Elves magical artifacts- a cauldron, which never runs out of food, intended to be used for armies on the march.

 

When the story begins, that tribe of humanity has effectively become the de facto rulers thanks to that trinket... but it's not a glamorous rule. No new children means the population is aging, and it becomes more and more difficult to get supplies or even just adapt to this new status quo. Basically, picture Battlestar Galatica as a fantasy story, and you get the idea I'm going with for this storyline.

 

On the other side of the worlds, however, the elves are living it up. Standard fae time-dilation stuff means that far longer is passing on their side than does in the real world; enough so that the humans they brought over have lived, bred, and died enough times that the current generation regards them as Gods.

 

I haven't figure out exactly what I want to do there- a "murder" investigation, maybe, mixed with a slave revolt-, but... yeah, that's what I have so far as loose ideas go.

Edited by Quiver
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Well, this is an idea that I;ve had for a bit, but never really posted. I've told a few people about it though, so... why not?

 

So, the setting is a planet that I haven't actually named yet, with a vaguely Celtic feeling to it. There's two aspects to it; the real (human) world, and the fae (Elf) world, which can be best described as being like Tir Na Nog (or the usual urban fantasy "tworlds existing side by side" cliche).

 

The "real" world is home to two main races; humanity, and the dwarves. Humans are tribalistic, existing mostly in clans and owing fealty to different lords. Dwarves live underground- at least according to humanity.

 

According to dwarves, however, they live inside a dragon-god. Their religion and culture is based around the idea that the world is the body of a dragon, and they are it's children. This means that they view humanity, living on the surface and digging into the earth to extract minerals or plant crops, basically as parasites, like flies or carrion.

 

This ends up resulting in them declaring war- a war which they are winning (for rasons detailed below). In desperation, humanity turns to the elves for help. They respond by coming into the human world, and winning the war for humanity.. which is where the problems start.

 

The war was ignited by the awakening of the dwarven dragon god's spirit, and the first thing it did upon waking up was declare war of it's own; it ended up roasting the human gods and destroying all of them. 

 

This left something of a problem. When the god of the harvest dies, crops stop growing. When the god of fertility dies, you don't have any new livestock - or new people, for that matter. Humanity may have won the war, but their facing a slow, grinding march to extinction, so they turn to the elves for help.

 

The elves respond by laughing, telling them where they can stick it, and hightailing it back to their paradise world with the dwarves (and a sizeable selection of huamnity) as slaves. As they flee, however, one human tribe manages to seize of the Elves magical artifacts- a cauldron, which never runs out of food, intended to be used for armies on the march.

 

When the story begins, that tribe of humanity has effectively become the de facto rulers thanks to that trinket... but it's not a glamorous rule. No new children means the population is aging, and it becomes more and more difficult to get supplies or even just adapt to this new status quo. Basically, picture Battlestar Galatica as a fantasy story, and you get the idea I'm going with for this storyline.

 

On the other side of the worlds, however, the elves are living it up. Standard fae time-dilation stuff means that far longer is passing on their side than does in the real world; enough so that the humans they brought over have lived, bred, and died enough times that the current generation regards them as Gods.

 

I haven't figure out exactly what I want to do there- a "murder" investigation, maybe, mixed with a slave revolt-, but... yeah, that's what I have so far as loose ideas go.

 

fa6eb20c1de5f0b0378e7bdef21845fcc47e5504

 

That is definitely one of the most creative twists I've seen on the elf/dwarf/human fantasy dichotomy.

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I have this little character idea where this guy is abnormally large and powerful, but doesn't know that. If he were to look in the mirror, he'd see a small, scrawny man that's weak. I feel like it's a pretty decent contrast to his power. However, when the need comes, he abandons everything he thinks about himself and then uses his abnormal strength (His strength is just a tiny bit more powerful than  a normal human's strength.

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Awesome ideas, everyone. :D

 

One idea I had today involves a debunked paleontological theory applied to xenobiology. For most of the history of paleontology, scientists assumed that dinosaurs were slow, lumbering creatures that dragged their tails along the ground.

 

Knight_hadrosaurs.jpg

 

The theory was debunked when dinosaur trackways were found, which showed clear footprints but no sign of tail-dragging. A new model of dinosaur stance was devised, which envisioned them as the sleek, dynamic creatures currently accepted by science and popularized by movies such as Jurassic Park.

 

mm-hadrosaur-illustration-big.jpg

 

My idea's a basic one--simply envision a world where the initial theory was correct. A world in its primordial infancy, life still fresh from the sea, where the largest group of land animals are sluggish, brutish reptiles that drag their tails along the ground and can hardly reach running speeds.

 

For added amusement, introduce common Earth-dogs to the planet and allow them to wreak havoc with the fragile primordial ecosystem. Let's deconstruct the growing trope of dinosaurs being stronger, faster, and somehow inherently superior to modern fauna. :ph34r:

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In my Current World, Necromancy is a positive thing (The legal parts at least) It operates much like Science does today, through Donations.

 

A necromancer can splinter off a small part of his soul and mind, and use it to animate an empty unprotected corpse. This corpse is usually bought by the necromancer when it is still alive. The person will sell her or his body, and receive enough money each year to eek out a living, in return, they swallow a small talisman that contains a fraction of the Necromancer's soul and mind. When the person dies, and their mind and soul flee the body, the talisman is released, and fill the now vacant body, creating a Zombie (I need a more culturally appropriate name for it) which the Necromancer can locate, direct and control.

 

These Necromancers use the Zombies for a wide variety of physical Labor, including Agriculture, (Why use rebellious slaves when you can use Loyal zombies that need no food?), Construction, transportation or Warfare.

 

Some people don't like the thought of their bodies being used as such, and create their own talisman, that will animate their bodies with small fractions of themselves, rendering the body unusable by others.

 

The downside to this is the decay of the bodies. They're still dead. They'll still rot unless preserved, and once the body is too far gone, the necromancer's splinter fades away.

 

Other Forms of Necromancy are a bit more, unethical. (Also depraved, sadistic and nightmare inducing.)

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My current world has progressed a bit away from this, but it started out as the story seed "Bad luck comes when a black cat crosses your path, but what happens when you cross his?"

 

However, today's development came in a totally different story, one that I'd abandoned for a while due to some serious plot problems, mostly because on closer examination the villain motivations made almost zero sense. The new brainstorm is to have the (very exciting) kidnapping of our heroine be a feint of sorts, not really intended to succeed in itself. The good guys will send their forces to deal with it, leaving home base unprotected, bwa-ha-ha, and voila! Totally consistent plan for the evil power-hungry lady.

Edited by ccstat
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I adore that system of necromancy, Joe. Do you intend to write a story about this world? If so, I'd definitely read it.

 

If you're looking for a more culturally appropriate name, the Corporeal Undead category on Wikipedia could potentially be useful. (I'm particularly fond of the ro-lang, the Tibetan form of zombies.)

 

 

My current world has progressed a bit away from this, but it started out as the story seed "Bad luck comes when a black cat crosses your path, but what happens when you cross his?"

 

However, today's development came in a totally different story, one that I'd abandoned for a while due to some serious plot problems, mostly because on closer examination the villain motivations made almost zero sense. The new brainstorm is to have the (very exciting) kidnapping of our heroine be a feint of sorts, not really intended to succeed in itself. The good guys will send their forces to deal with it, leaving home base unprotected, bwa-ha-ha, and voila! Totally consistent plan for the evil power-hungry lady.

 

That sounds fascinating. Especially the twist on the superstition--is that still a part of the story?

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Yes, the twist on superstitions is still there, but has been demoted from theme to recurring element. My favorite part right now is that I've been able to expand the treatment of superstitions to encompass the origins of luck, which I am tying to various creation myths.

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Yes, the twist on superstitions is still there, but has been demoted from theme to recurring element. My favorite part right now is that I've been able to expand the treatment of superstitions to encompass the origins of luck, which I am tying to various creation myths.

 

Huh. Neat.

 

I would be really, really interested in reading that, actually- a few years ago, I had an idea for a short story that used luck as kind of a starting point. I gave up on it, but I'd still be interested to see what you did.

 

(If you're wondering my luck-based idea involved the anthropomorphic personification of bad luck -Lady Unluck- hanging around casino's to make people lose bets and stuff. I kind of thought of doing like, a romantic comedy with it... but never figured out the specifics, so I just scrapped the idea.)

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Oh, is that a place to drop some plotbunny offspring that's pestering me right now, though I already have enough novels-in-progress as it is: :)

 

This little critter tried to sneak into my loosely connected series of novels about the Romans in Germania and Britannia. It promises to be a short story or novelette, but I never trust those bunnies. I know from experience how fast they grow. :wacko:

 

Rhenus River Reivers

 

Gannascus, chieftain of the tribe of the Canninefates, deserts the Roman army where he served as auxiliary, and ignites a rebellion of the German tribes along the shores of the North Sea and the lower Rhine, plundering the land and attacking Romans where he sees a chance of victory. It takes the stern command of general Corbulo, hastily despatched from Rome, to reaffirm the discipline of the legions and reassert Roman dominance. But a murder will have consequences Corbulo underestimated, and Gannasces' shadow looms over the Romans stationed at the lower Rhine even after his death.

 

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Most of my writing is historical fiction, but I have one Fantasy project I'm working on on and off for ten years now. It has morphed quite a bit over time. The setting is some sort of alternate Europe in the way of Guy Gavriel Kay or Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel books) where magic exists. In my case the inspiration is predominantly the history - I can't let that go, it seems ;)  - of the 12th century, with some other fun bits thrown in for inspiration.

 

Kings and Rebels

 

Treason and the misuse of magic led to a cataclysm where the legendary realms of Levonais, Kêr Ys, Caer Gwaelod, and Vineta sank beneath the waves. But the magic stones that had shaped them were saved, and the descendants of the Sea Kings decided to keep the stones hidden, carrying on their line in secret.

 

After the Imperium of Roma fell, new peoples established their realms - the Gallicaine bent on conquest and rewaking the glory of Roma, the fierce Nortvegjan who rule the seas, and the warlike clans of Riata.

 

But now changes in the currents have enhanced the magic of the stones again, and they can no longer be kept secret. Already one stone has fallen into the wrong hands, and the smaller gems powered by the stones work their sorcerous power for whoever possesses such a treasure.

 

Among kings and rebels striving for power, a royal marshal turns traitor and flees into exile, the heir of a king sees his sovereign fall under the spell of a dark sorceress, a clan chief must navigate the intricacies of Riatan politics and his brother's schemes, and a necromancer princess trusts the dead more than the living.

 

The heirs of the stones must find a way to keep the stones safe - not only from a group of mages bound on finding the ancient artefacts, but also from themselves. Because when kingdoms are at stake, the stones' powerful magic could shake the very continent.

 

Edited by Gabriele
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So I've talked about this elsewhere, but I think that it would be cool to talk about it here:

 

So, one of the worlds that my friends and I are building (it's actually had a few chapters posted here, under Our Vocab English Assignment (I promise you, it's better than it sounds) ) has two suns. But not in the way that say Tatooine has two suns. The suns are positioned on exact opposite sides of the planet. Basically, the two stars rotate around each other, and the planet just happens to sit exactly in between them. It's just outside both of the star's habitable zones, but because it gets heat from both stars, it still can support life. It takes a total of 42 hours to spin completely around its axis, and so there are 2 18 hour days and 2 3 hour "nights" (they're about as dark as twilights on Earth) per rotation.

 

It's still the pre-technology typical fantasy era, but scientists have discovered enough to know that it's not just one sun, it's two. One of the suns has a more reddish tint, and mythology has evolved around that. Basically, First Sun (the yellower one) is heaven, and Second Sun is hell. It's been interesting to write. 

 

And yes, I am using this as a shameless plug to get you guys to read it :P : http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/20613-our-vocab-english-assignment-i-promise-you-its-better-than-it-sounds/

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Challange Accepted.

 

...Eventually. Sorry for the delay!- I am really, really slow for stuff these days, made somewhat worse by the fact that I have my own writing projects that I am really, really behind on (by which I mean, not having started).

 

So having said that, here's some random story ideas that occurred to me, and I'm wondering whether or not to pursue. Granted, they're fan fiction, rather than original stuff- but frankly, I am so out of practice, and so lazy, I probably need to do something "easy" before trying original work.

 

(Oh, and while most of my projects mentioned above are MLP, these aren't. Still, one is Cosmere, and the other is comic books, so spoilering in case anyone doesn't want to see them.)

 

Mistborn WoA / HoA spoilers

So, random diea I've had for a while, but I haven't actually done anything with regards figuring out the ramifications of it. Basically, I was thinking of a story -or maybe just a one-chapter story- about what might have happened had Vin used the power at the Well of Ascension. I need to check the books again before I'd try this - it's been a really long time since I read them- but I figured that it would be about Vin basically being placed in the position that Rashek was. She uses the power of the well to stop the mists (and possibly save Elend?), resulting in Ruin being sealed for another thousand or so years. 

 

The "meat" of the story is obviously about what happens next over the centuries building up to Ruins return, putting Vin where Rashek was and seeing what she can do differently - and seeing how the best of intentions, the grind of centuries as your friends turn to dust and Ruin whispering in your ear can turn even a hero into a villain first hand.

 

Superman

"The Death of Lex Luthor!"

 

Let's face it, even if I somehow (miraculously) got a job at DC, they'd never let this story print, so... fan fiction away!

 

My idea was.. as I say, the Death of Lex Luthor. Lex (in his current, corrupt buisnessman interpretation) recieves death threats; particularly credible ones. Credible enough threats that Superman is asked by the board of Lexcorp to step in, keep an eye on Luthor and make sure the companies president/wonderkid does't get killed. Of course, being Luthor, Superman doesn't like the situation- but he doesn't like the idea of someone dying on his watch, even someone like Lex.

 

Lex takes it a bit worse. After all, he's Lex Luthor- what kind of an idiot would think they'd actually be able to kill him? So he purposefully dodges Superman as best he can, because he doesn't want the alien watching out for him.

 

A few days later, Lex is giving a speech/appearing in public, while Superman... is being Superman. The world doens't stop being in danger because someone doesn't like Lex Luthor, and he doesn't want him there anyway. At which point there's a gunshot in Metropolis.

 

Superman arrives, racing a bullet- but he's not the Flash, and he's not fast enough. Luthor takes a shot to the chest. Superman personally takes him to the hospital, but it's too late, and Lex Luthor is announced as being dead.

 

Which is when the story starts, because that's when the citizens of Metropolis start thinking. Superman didn't save Lex Luthor- but then again, he had plenty of reason not to, didn't he? They don't think Superman killed him or anything, but, slowly, there is a growing feeling amongst the population that, just because Superman didn't kill Lex, doesn't mean he did his best to save him. After all, their rivalry is well-known, and -in their minds- Superman probably would be happier if someone did the deed and killed Lex.

 

So, it's a twisted version of the Death of Superman. Like Superman, Lex becomes elevated to the role of a martyr, almost like a god; but where Superman died battling Doomsday and inspired others to take up his mantle, instead his popularity plummets, with the entire city turning against him and the S Shield.

 

Which is just what Lex, having hired an assassin to fake his own death, wants.

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Superman

"The Death of Lex Luthor!"

 

Let's face it, even if I somehow (miraculously) got a job at DC, they'd never let this story print, so... fan fiction away!

 

My idea was.. as I say, the Death of Lex Luthor. Lex (in his current, corrupt buisnessman interpretation) recieves death threats; particularly credible ones. Credible enough threats that Superman is asked by the board of Lexcorp to step in, keep an eye on Luthor and make sure the companies president/wonderkid does't get killed. Of course, being Luthor, Superman doesn't like the situation- but he doesn't like the idea of someone dying on his watch, even someone like Lex.

 

Lex takes it a bit worse. After all, he's Lex Luthor- what kind of an idiot would think they'd actually be able to kill him? So he purposefully dodges Superman as best he can, because he doesn't want the alien watching out for him.

 

A few days later, Lex is giving a speech/appearing in public, while Superman... is being Superman. The world doens't stop being in danger because someone doesn't like Lex Luthor, and he doesn't want him there anyway. At which point there's a gunshot in Metropolis.

 

Superman arrives, racing a bullet- but he's not the Flash, and he's not fast enough. Luthor takes a shot to the chest. Superman personally takes him to the hospital, but it's too late, and Lex Luthor is announced as being dead.

 

Which is when the story starts, because that's when the citizens of Metropolis start thinking. Superman didn't save Lex Luthor- but then again, he had plenty of reason not to, didn't he? They don't think Superman killed him or anything, but, slowly, there is a growing feeling amongst the population that, just because Superman didn't kill Lex, doesn't mean he did his best to save him. After all, their rivalry is well-known, and -in their minds- Superman probably would be happier if someone did the deed and killed Lex.

 

So, it's a twisted version of the Death of Superman. Like Superman, Lex becomes elevated to the role of a martyr, almost like a god; but where Superman died battling Doomsday and inspired others to take up his mantle, instead his popularity plummets, with the entire city turning against him and the S Shield.

 

Which is just what Lex, having hired an assassin to fake his own death, wants.

 

I would so read that. Comics rarely upset the status quo to any extreme degree. There are exceptions, like the death of Gwen Stacey, and the death of Captain America, but killing Lex Luthor is an idea no comics editor would agree to publish. 

 

And that's a shame. As you pointed out, the ramifications would be well worth exploring, and I for one would love to see them explored. 

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So I've been working on some worldbuilding ideas recently, only to find that they really don't fit into Edassa. So I have decided to spin them off into a new setting of their own (still in the same universe, just not the same planet). I'm rather excited by the possibilities here.

 

The planet is named Karcheron. It has several sizeable landmasses, but is dominated by a large supercontinent in the southern hemisphere. This supercontinent is, in turn dominated by a massive desert in the center of the continent, which extends to the eastern edge - defined by a range of mountains the size of the Himalayas.

 

Civilization exists along the edge of this desert, in the valleys of the mountains and near the foothills, where access to rock and aquifers is possible. In the center of the desert, the dunes can reach several hundred meters deep, and any underground water is inaccessible. Kingdoms around the desert maintain fleets of "dune ships," wooden vessels that run on skids and are propelled by sail if necessary. I'm looking forward to exploring this "naval" combat.

 

More details to come, but a sample of other features (to be explored in their own due time) will include sentient non-humanoids, massive sea monsters, large, carnivorous winged reptiles, and albino warrior tribes...

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Here's a little something I came up with those last days. It's very flashbacky, but that is usually my way to get a grip on a new character. I'll have to spread the flashbacks in the rewrite of the entire story once it's finished, and maybe even shorten them. 

 

The story (not sure if it's going to be a novelette or something longer :rolleyes: ) tells the story of Cathair mac Ceallach, a warrior from Dál Riata who will fight at the side of the Picts against king Ecgfrith of Northumbria at the battle of Nechtansmere (AD 685), the Battle of the Blue Swords

 

Right now he's coming home to Dál Riata but he is not happy about some members of his extended family who've been pretty mean to him ten years ago. :)

 

Cathair stood at the edge of the mountain slope, looking down to the place that once was his home. It had been another cold, moonlit night ten winters ago, with rimfrost lining heather and dwarf pines; the air he inhaled sharp with the promise of snow. The loch lay dark and silent in front of the settlement, and the mountains beyond gleamed faintly in the silver light. Cathair had taken the images, the memory with him into captivity and held to them in moments of despair. As he held to the lust for revenge upon the men who had sold him as hostage to the king of Northumbria and a worse fate later. Men who still lived in the hill fort on the mountain shadowing the settlement. Cathair could distinguish the crenellated palisade ring against the pale sky. Meallán mac Muiredach had extended the defenses; the shape was different in Cathair's memory.

 

A flickering light caught Cathair's attention, a sparkle too low for a star. He stepped back from the edge into the shadows of the pines and dwarf birches and crouched deeper into the shadows of the wind-blown trees; frosted leaves crunching softly under his sealskin boots. After a moment, the light moved along the crennellations. The errant light outlined the extended size of the fort more clearly. Meallán must have taken in a minor clan left leaderless in the wars with the king of Ystrad Clud. He might be able to field four score spears. Cathair's own men, less than half the count, would not be enough to fight them, even if he could lure Meallán's warriors into a trap.

 

Cathair sighed, weary from another sleepless night and the weight of a promise too easily given. He had dreamed of this fight so long, never allowed the image of defeat to take root. But while the mountains stood in eternal majesty, the people living in their shadow had changed. On his journey through the isles Cathair had heard rumours about the king of cenel n'Gabrain and the king of his own tribe, Ferchar mac Feredach of Loarn, tethering at the brink of war. Meallán's men would be doubly alert in such a time.

 

He slowly made his way down the other slope of the hill which was known as the Mountain of the Oyster Catcher, pushing a path through the bracken, half sliding on the frozen grass and loose rocks that littered the path. To his left loomed the treacherous stone slabs of Trilleachan, covered by a dark sheen of ice.

 

As he looked down, Cathair could barely distinguish the currach drawn up the stony beech of Loch Eite. The men kept to the shadows cast by the the mountain at his back. They had sneaked past the fortress of Dun Monaidh earlier that night, when the clouds still covered the moon and the rapid current of the loch was a black whorl that carried them past the guards. They had taken down the sails lest their outline would betray a movement in the darkness, and the men rowed quietly like shadows to keep the ships from hitting the rocks below the inky surface. Cathair still remembered the treacherous passage after all those years; he had taken the rudder and steered the sleek, hide-covered currach through the falls into calmer waters. 

 

When Cathair had fled Frisia in Hailamar's ship, the trader took the route to the isles and Éire where they met with a small fleet of fianna pirates, men who had taken to the sea, outlaws and victims of family feuds, or younger sons with no land to inherit. Cathair had named himself heir to Ceallach of Loarn and sister's great grandson to king Ferchar. Not that Ferchar ever acknowldeged the blood bond; he had never forgiven his sister's son to marry outside the Dál Riatan lineage. But the men in the currachs surrounding the stout trader's vessel had listened, much to the surprise of Hailamar and his Frisian crew who were ready to fight albeit outnumbered. A leader of the royal blood meant a better future if he could win the men a place to live. And his lineage had been the only thing for Cathair to offer at this point; an escaped slave with a bishop's blessing and a borrowed sword. It was more than luck that the fianna was without rígfénnid after a skirmish with Domnall's Gabran patrol fleet, but ripe with hatred for the cenel n'Gabrain, king Ferchar's rivals.

 

Now the other two currachs and Hailamar's bulky trader's vessel lay out of sight in the bay of Aird Mhór on Eilean Muileach, ready to follow Cathair's lead. Hailamar had briefly alluded to a time when he was more than a trader who braved the dangerous waters of Britain's Ocean and the Muir Èireann to sell Frankish glass and wine to the tóisig of the western tribes.  He certainly knew how to wield a sword and his men had the bearing of warriors. They sometimes called Hailamar degan, meaning chief or thane, Cathair had learned in the years he spent in Frisia.

 

Hailamar had offered to aid Cathair in retaking his home. "When you get back your silver ornaments, fine ash spears and seal skins, you can pay me for the sword I lent you," he said with a gap toothed grin. What he did not mention was an interest in slaves, but Cathair knew they were sold in Dorestad, and by Christian merchants as well. He had stood on a makeshift wooden platform himself, chained and with his free man's long auburn hair cropped short; people staring at him, cold and accessing, or curious about the stranger from the isles in the Western Sea, few with any pity in the blue or grey eyes of their people.

 

Cathair shook his head, chasing the images away. He reached the gravel of the shore, stepping quietly, but one of the men huddled around the currach heard him and jumped up with his spear pointed outward.

 

Cathair recognised Faolán, the man who had spoken for the fianna after their rígfénnid's death, though he could not claim leadership himself, with no derbfine kinship to claim. Cathair had given him the command of a currach.

 

 "It is me," Cathair said in a low voice.  

Edited by Gabriele
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