Crafting a fictional world often takes a lot more plotting and planning than you would imagine, especially if you're venturing into the fantasy realm. Today, Russell Archey not only shares with us an excerpt from his book The Seven Spires, but also takes us into his process for creating the Realms, Kingdoms, and Spires within. Be sure to also follow the tour for more! Best of luck entering the giveaway!
An incredible high fantasy adventure set in a world based on familiar fairy tales, folklore, and mythology, "The Seven Spires" is an epic story of dragons, magic, conquering evil, and discovering magnificent new places.
When a fearsome creature known as Wyvern begins terrorizing Emrallt, one of the seven realms of the continent of Septer, a group of heroes are brought together seemingly by fate to rally against him. A prince, warrior, wizard, and mysterious, sorceress-like sybil try to discover why a common maiden could be the best chance their kingdoms have against Wyvern’s growing forces that threaten to dominate each and every one of the ancient, arcane spires that bind their kingdoms, and world, together.
“Jormungandr!” one of the warband cried out.
The creature was above ground, slithering across the sand effortlessly with its large and jagged scales. Coarse frills fanned from its neck. Its scale-covered muscles propelled it across the desert as though it were water.
Its roar was shrill and terrifying. It launched itself from the ground and toppled one of the warband who had managed to reach his stallion. Horse and rider were both taken by its horrible maw. The jormungandr spun about as it bit down on the warrior and his horse, disorienting them. It returned to the earth by way of the sinkhole it had created and the rider and his mount were never to be heard from again.
The Prince listened in terror to the eerie silence that fell. They had all climbed atop their stallions; looking and listening for any sign of the creature. Their swords and axes were drawn, but the men were visibly shaken by such a horrifying beast.
“What can be done against them?” the Prince whispered. It was in part to himself, and in part a question to the Warrior.
“Siege weapons,” the Warrior said glibly in response to the Prince. “Or the magic of the Red Wizard. A better question would be ‘why is it gone?’”
Realms, Kingdoms, and Spires
I love building worlds. It’s one of my favorite aspects of writing. I often begin building the world my characters are living in before the characters themselves are fleshed out. Part of living in that world is what helps define and drive the development of those living in the cities, countries, regions, continents, and kingdoms that I create.
One of the big challenges in bringing the continent of Septer, the setting of my first novel The Seven Spires, to life was establishing the difference between a realm and a kingdom. The easiest answer was to keep a strict separation between the two. A realm is often defined as a region or domain of influence or domination; a kingdom is ruled by a king or queen.
But, why is this important you may (or may not) be asking?
In The Seven Spires, there are…surprise!...seven realms. However, these realms are ruled also home to a sovereign kingdom ruled by a monarch. Each realm also is also home to its own very unique spire.
The spires existed before recorded history. Their architecture is beyond the engineering and even magical capabilities of the world’s inhabitants, so it’s a common belief that the spires somehow existed before humanity itself. They’re viewed as almost god-like by many peoples of the various kingdoms. In fact, the first cities were built around the spires—much like how many medieval cities were built around churches or castles—and, so, the kings and queens of Septer have their seats of power in the spires while the capital city of each kingdom is built at the respective spire’s foundations.
Each realm has a unique ecology, climate, flora, and fauna. The differences are sometimes so drastic, they make little scientific sense. This further empowers the belief that the spire’s have dominion over their realm—their sphere of influence.
However, each kingdom has built itself up around the various spires and has their own governing body. The kings and queens of Septer rule as they see fit. One kingdom for each spire. Emrallt is very centralized, with countryside towns and hamlets paying taxes and going about their business in a fairy-tale fashion. Avallonis is more medieval, with a lords-and-vassals system commonly seen in the Arthurian myths it’s based on. Edda is a warrior culture that values strength, loyalty, and sacrifice. Vitruvia is very secretive. Sion is unique in that the capital city and its castle were located separately from the Diamond Spire, which sits in the middle of a large citadel. Mythesta coexists with the fae kingdoms that call its dense, dark forests home. Upala is vaguely touched on in the book, but was originally designed around the geographical setting of ancient Greece.
So, anything that involves the unchangeable aspects of the nature and creatures that are under the sway of the spires is referred to as said spire’s realm; their domain, their influence. The mention of kingdoms is made when referring to the monarchs, the cities, the people; the human element, if you will. But, even the kingdoms are held to the rule of the spires!
Oh, and let’s not forget how the naming conventions for the colors work. The gemstone titles are reserved for anything involving the realm (Emerald Spire, Amethyst Realm). The color associate with that gemstone is given to anything involving the governing body, or kingdom, tied to that realm (Green Kingdom, Blue Prince, Red Warriors).
We won’t even get started on the wizards…
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