I am a god.

A brief foreword here… I’m going to be pimping this novel out for a while, so feel free to ignore this and skip to the actual meat of this article if you want, but did you know that you can download my fantasy novel The Anvil for free, no strings attached, no sign-up required, no “follow me on Twitter” mandatory. It’s just a free download–no bullshit. I would never offer something for free and then put it behind what is basically a paywall requiring people to pay more esoteric costs. So if you want to read a fantasy novel, go here and download the version best suited for you. If you’re reading a phone or tablet, that’d be the ePub. If you’re reading on a PC, that’d probably be the PDF. If you’re more interested in critique, go with the DOCX.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/anvil-obsolete-5460817

It is an obsolete draft, as I say, but it’s primarily obsolete because I scrapped it and took things in a totally different direction. It’s the final version of that particular draft and was ready for submission before I was like “Nah. I’ll just rewrite it from the freaking beginning.” So, while it isn’t canon to future fantasy novels set in the same world, it is still a complete, and hopefully enjoyable, manuscript.

I was going to write about the stuff I said last night via email to someone, where I talked about how I’m ashamed of the human species, how I’m ashamed of planet Earth, and how the United Nations or any other non-Vegan is the very last group that should ever liaise on our behalf with extra-terrestrials. But I’m going to save all that for another day and instead discuss some things about the fantasy world in question, because I think it’s rather fascinating.

This is a map of Inrabis. Inrabis is typically referred to, in the manuscripts, as both “the world” and a continent, but this is because the people who inhabit this continent are only familiar with the Isle of Myrar and the continent itself; to them, it is the world. Whether the fantasy world itself is called Inrabis (ehn-ruh-biss) is up for debate, and that’s what I really like most about my fantasy world–being an atheist allows me for some very unique things.

Click for full-size.

Click for full-size.

Video game players will notice that–yes, I made the map using the Civilization V map editor. And why not? It was perfect for the job. As you can see, it’s about 45×45 hexes, and since each hex is 24 miles (a number that seems quite arbitrary until you realize that 24 miles is the distance covered by a healthy human walking at a normal pace for 12~ hours–technically 8 hours, but in my experience people don’t walk at a brisk pace all the time). This yields a continent roughly 1,000 miles by 1,000 miles, which is still sort of small, but that’s okay. This planet has other continents, and this is better viewed as the “Australia”* of the planet, at least as far as size goes.

I would call attention to the fact that this is evidently in the southern hemisphere, which is something I hadn’t realized until I was nearly through with the first version of the novel. It’s amazing how powerful the unconscious is, because without ever stopping to think about it, An’Kai in the south was, on average, much colder than the more temperate and almost Equator-like areas of upper Crinesti and Raine, while the Isle of Myrar’s southern half was nearly always covered in ice and had some very short days. There is a problem with the large chunk of eastern land that is desert, but this is due more to the location of the mountains and how the weather patterns clearly move from northwest to southeast. Obviously, the Khaloran Mountains prevent rainfall from reaching the Realm of Fire, named so because of its rivers of lava, tectonic activity, and frequent volcanic eruptions.

In fact, the Realm of Fire takes a great deal of inspiration from Australia. Australia is a beautiful place with a ton of gorgeous landscapes, but it has the deadliest fucking wildlife on the planet. I cranked that knob up to 10 and did a thought experiment where I let evolution take its place. As a result, the Realm of Fire hosts a specimen of ant that is literally dissolved by water, yet is immune to lava. The Daemons, who call the Realm their home, also treat the molten rocks in the same way that the ælvhes treat water–which makes sense, as “molten rock” basically replaces “liquid water” ecologically.

Additionally, there are fierce creatures that inhabit the barren, desolate mountains between the two parts of the continent–as there would have to be, for creatures that live on the edge between the lush Raine (there was no pun intended at the time, but there may be now) and the inhospitable Realm of Fire. Wyverns are one such creature, and have evolved the ability to both spit water and acid as a result.

One of the things I attempted to call attention to when Veresk and Aradiant visit the Realm of Fire is that the ælvhes look upon the land and see inhospitable, barren desolation, while the Daemons look upon the vista and see a world crawling with life and opportunities. Could such a stark contrast happen in our own universe? Could a creature on one side of a mountain range be so drastically different (almost to the point of being, perhaps, not Carbon-based) from those on the other side? Probably not–but that’s why this is a fantasy world. There is, of course, no mention of evolution in the novel. It’s simply the guiding principle when I came up with this stuff.

One of my biggest issues with fantasy in general is that gods are everywhere. There are no atheists in fantasy worlds, because atheism would be an abject denial of reality. The gods walk among the mortals sometimes as avatars and sometimes as deities, but there is never any doubt that the gods are real. Not so in Inrabis. In fact, there is an entire school of people who believe the gods are either not real or are merely very powerful elementals. Rather than retyping all of it, I’ll simply paste what I wrote for one of the appendices (because yes, there are appendices to this world that I’ve spent two decades refining):

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The passages found here are from the seventh edition of Berdalinus’s work The World We Know. “The World We Know” is widely regarded among scholars, clergy officials, nobles, and magic-users to be his most prolific work, presenting all the information that was then available and allowing the reader to formulate his or her own opinions.

A World of Uncertainty

Not all the different “religions” of Inrabis worship the same gods. While the Crinesti and the humans of Raine worship a pantheon of gods that is identical in everything but name, the Gnomes and Ferosian Elves worship an entirely different pantheon, whose gods have an entirely different purpose. Meanwhile, the Dwarves and Daemons seem to share a religious archetype: benevolent ancestors that watch over either from the stars (as the Daemons believe) or who become the rocks themselves (as the Dwarves believe). Through all this, under the guide of Queen Shadow, An’Kai has become virtually stripped of religion altogether, its people having decided that if the gods wanted their worship, then the gods would come and tell them so.

This is the cause of most of the religious troubles of Inrabis, although none of the different cultures have waged a religious war in several thousand years: the gods appear to be absent altogether. There may be gods who benevolently watch over Inrabis. There may be a balance between good gods and evil gods. There may be one all-powerful god who watches over Inrabis, or there may be no gods at all; the fact is that no one knows, but most of the people say they know anyway.

The obvious problem with this is the existence of magic—notably clerical magic, divine magic—literally, the answers of gods to specific prayers. The fact that priests and priestesses use magic, however, is no indication that the god they worship exists and grants them that magic. Arcanists use magic, too, and they claim their magic originates from a very different source—from the world itself and an inherent ability to “channel” the dozens of different energies of which the world is made. Whether there is any difference at all between the magic used by Arcanists and the magic used by priests is, to say the least, unclear.

Arcanists claim that our world exists at a vertex, where dozens or perhaps hundreds of distinctly separate realms come together. They have constructed an enormously elaborate and extraordinarily complex system to explain the existence of their magic and to explain how it functions, but whether their depiction of our world is in any way accurate is entirely unknown. Arcanists talk of the Plane of Fire (which consists entirely of fire, lava, and other such things), the Plane of Water (which consists entirely of water, ice, and other such things), the Void (which is a void—shockingly enough—that consists entirely of negative energy… What this would look like, only the craziest of wizards have attempted to explain, and their ramblings were utter nonsense, as with the Fele Enora), the Fele Enora (which is Crinesti for “Place of Light,” which consists entirely of positive energy, and which we’re told exist because, basically, if there is a plane of negative energy, there must also be one of positive energy), an Ethereal Plane (on which our souls reside, to sum up the description in a few words), a Shadow Plane (a world where there is no light at all), a Light Plane (a world where there is no darkness at all), and a few dozen others. New planes are being added to “existence” on what might as well be called a weekly basis. They call these underlying energies—these planes that merge to form our world—the Underweb.

The Arcanists—those who are not afraid of being condemned as heretical blasphemers, at any rate—claim that the magic used by priests and priestesses is, in fact, no different in form from the magic used by Arcanists and that the only real difference is that priests use the energies that come from Fele Enora. This works nicely as a theory, of course, because priestly magic is especially effective against demons, which are said to be embodiments of negative energy. The few priests and priestesses who hear of this “blasphemy,” as they so aptly put it, are generally not amused, and many Arcanists have been burned at stakes for uttering such nonsense. The Arcanists say that our world—the one we experience on a day-to-day basis—is a nexus of these other worlds and has no real independent existence of its own; it is simply an amalgamation of these other separate worlds, and because of that, with training and expertise, one can manipulate one type of energy or another to effect changes in our day-to-day world—such as manipulating the energies of the Plane of Fire to create an exploding fireball on a village.

Among scholars such as myself, the Arcanist explanation is usually taken to be the most sound, not because it is the most accurate or the most satisfactory, but because it is the only theory postulated in written history that does not require the existence of gods in order to explain the existence and functions of magic. Why a system that functions in an automated way, without the presence of higher beings, and that is completely unsubstantiated by evidence, is preferred over one that functions only at the bequest of higher beings is unclear, except that higher beings might have temperaments which would, in theory, affect the presence and power of magical energies and no such variation has ever been noticed.

What the priests say about magic varies depending on which culture is asked, but I shall attempt to summarize the major cultures and their dominant ideas. Each of these religions, of course, has its own sub-denominations, each of which claims to be correct (just as each religion, as a whole, claims to be correct in regard to other religions; the religions seem only to agree that they alone are correct—and everyone else is wrong), and each of which has some differences. These denominational beliefs are, for the most part, irrelevant, because they don’t change the general ideas of the religion; only some of its details are changed.

The humans of Raine believe worship pretty much the same gods that the Crinesti Elves worship. Indeed, the only differences are in the names that are given to the gods, but there is otherwise a direct one-to-one correlation between the Rainian religion and the Crinesti religion. The Crinesti Elves have succumbed to the temptations of the elven Arcanists, however, and now hold that the Arcanist explanation of magic is correct except in regard to clerical magic, which the priests of Crinesti still insist comes only from the gods. The humans of Raine are more traditional (in both their feudal policies and their religion, in fact), and believe that all magic is a gift from the gods and that magic-users, even if they do not know it (such as Arcanists), are in fact praying to one god or another each time a spell is cast. This idea has some credence, because magic-users (a word used to denote both non-Arcanists and those who are not born with the ability to use magic and must learn it step-by-step) actually cast spells—these spells require specific hand movements, gestures, components, and words, very much like orthodox prayers themselves often require.

I must make a side note here to explain the terms “Arcanist” and “magic-user,” because the two can generate much confusion. An Arcanist is either an Elven Mage or Wizard that has formally joined the Elven armed force known as the Order of Arcane Defenders. Depending on the context, however, an Arcanist is also someone who naturally has the ability to use magic without incantations (and who is generally from Raine or Crinesti, but more on that in a moment) and who may be of any race, with or without ties to the Order of Arcane Defenders. “Magic-user” is a similarly contextually sensitive term, because laymen and the clergy typically use the term “magic-user” to denote anyone who does not use clerical magic. To a priest or a peasant, there is no real difference between an Arcanist and a magic-user, and they will often use the terms interchangeably, even though most priests are educated enough to know that there is, in fact, a difference. At the same time, Arcanists use the term “magic-user” (somewhat derisively) to label those who must use incantations in order to use magic because they were not born with the gift. Arcanists will include priests and priestesses in the category of “magic-users” (though not themselves; they are Arcanists!), but priests and priestesses will never include themselves in that group because of the negative connotations the term has among most people. In this sense, the Arcanists, Chanters (a word used only among scholars to label these people who “chant” their spells/incantations), and Priests/Priestesses are in the midst of a very real war against one another, though it is a war of ideas being fought with words, definitions, and concepts.

A key feature of the Crinesti and Rainian religions is that they believe that the world would be destroyed if not for what they reverently refer to as “The Balance.” This is a balance between Good and Evil, and according to their religion, neither side should ever permanently gain the upper hand. If Evil was too powerful, there would be wanton destruction, and if Good was too powerful, there would be zealous self-destruction. In order to maintain this Balance, Rainians and the Crinesti firmly believe that Neutrality is its own independent philosophy and that the purpose of those who claim Neutrality is to not be neutral at all, but to ensure that neither Good nor Evil become much more powerful than the other. Naturally, the Rainian and Crinesti pantheons are filled with Good Gods, Neutral Gods, and Evil Gods, all of whom wage war in the heavens and in our world through their overly dedicated followers, striving for dominance—despite the universal belief among Rainians and Crinesti Elves that such dominance would destroy the world (do their gods wish to destroy the world they created?).

It is because of this tradition that Arcanists and Chanters who hail from Raine and Crinesti wear colored robes to mark their allegiance. Other cultures of Inrabis do not adhere to this practice, and the Rainian/Crinesti magic-users do not seem at all bothered by how silly one looks travelling the land in a silver robe. Those magic-users who choose to uphold the tenants of Good wear white robes and are formally called “Wizards.” Those magic-users who choose to uphold the tenants of Evil wear black robes and are formally called “Sorcerers.” Those magic-users who choose neither side wear silver or grey robes and are formally called “Mages.” Other cultures use these terms mostly interchangeably, but the people of Raine and Crinesti use them as here described.

Crinesti Elves, then, hold that the Arcanists are mostly correct, but that clerical magic still comes from the gods (though the Arcanists of Crinesti, and some of the general population, dispute this romantic notion and prefer instead to say that clerical magic comes also from the different planes of reality). Devout Rainians, who are much more familiar with Chanters than Arcanists (as few humans are born with the gift to work magic without substantial training and the gift is far more common among the Crinesti [and presumably much more common among the Slatho-Malantra]), and therefore see the “arcane” casters chanting and making gestures more often than meditating, are much more susceptible to the belief that all magic comes from the gods. Only the cultural elite (which is almost exclusively made up of magic-users) are familiar with the Arcanist theory of planes of existence.

Of the regions of Erilon and southwest Inrabis, there is very little to be said; their religions are unorganized and pagan, focusing upon natural elements of the world combined with large doses of witchcraft and alchemy. “Witch” or “Warlock” is typically given to any Chanter, Priest, or Arcanist in the region. Virtually anyone caught using magic in public is doomed to face a mock witch trial, then to be tortured and executed in some horrible faction. It is to be hoped that these regions one day take a more… enlightened… approach to wizardry. [Editor’s Note (Seventh Edition): The Freelands (southwest Inrabis) and Erilon both did, in fact, become more tolerant of those who use magic, although this did not come to fruition until the bloody War of the Magi fought across that region.] Because of this stigma against things mystical, however, Erilon and the towns and cities of southwest Inrabis have highly “orthodox” religions that hardly resemble “religion” at all. There is very little praying and very little talk about gods; instead, the focus is upon living morally and righteously, upon the rewards of diligence and peace. The religion that is actually practiced in these areas is typically done in secret and in small covens that exercise their beliefs in forests, hills, and caves that surround the village—not because they are committing any witchcraft, but because the fear of the masses is so strong that any talk of gods, miracles, or magic is likely to be met with accusations of witchcraft.

The Kingdom of An’Kai, of course, has become a land of atheists, as Queen Shadow has banned all religious practices from her lands. While a Rainian might say, “Thank the gods!” when relieved, a native of An’Kai will say, “Thank the Queen!” or “Thank Queen Shadow!” In almost every sense, Queen Shadow has herself replaced the need for religion in the lives of her people, and most of them are as dedicated to her as any of the most devout Rainian or Crinesti priests or priestesses are to their own god or goddess. This is likely because Queen Shadow not only fulfills the basic demands that the pantheonic gods ordinarily meet (benevolence, wielding great power, oddly parental), but is also flesh and blood and can be confirmed to exist and have a role to play in the world to even the most skeptical of people.

After leaving Raine themselves, the “Half-Elves,” as they have been termed in impolite society (used here only to note their lineage and not as insult), settled into the Ferosian Forest, where their own pantheon—which itself was a random assortment of Crinesti and Rainian gods (but as the religion is different only in the names of its deities, that was a matter of no import anyway)—mixed up with what the Gnomes called their gods, which seemed to be made up mostly on the spot whenever asked. Indeed, the “god of love” was different to every Gnome that I have ever asked the question of, and the answer was usually followed by a suggestion that “such a philosophical matter had no apparent effect or relevance to the world anyway, so it didn’t make any sense at all to sit around wondering about such things, since, if there were answers, it seems like we would all know the answers, because the answers would be there for us to see.”

Neither the people of An’Kai or of the Ferosian Forest postulate a reason for the existence of magic or in the way that it functions. The Ferosian Elves have no more interest in such things than Gnomes; for them, the simple fact that magic exists is sufficient enough of an answer. Very, very few Chanters ever come out of An’Kai, and those that do are rigorously trained and educated by the State and are given significantly fewer liberties than even the average person of An’Kai. It is assumed that this is because magic is a powerful weapon, and Queen Shadow does not wish that weapon let loose upon her lands. It is rumored that the Chanters of An’Kai are exclusively occupied with the task of scanning the entirety of the Kingdom for magical happenings in case any Chanters attempt to enter the Kingdom or to slip by without serving Queen Shadow.

A special note must be made for the dwarves, who have within them absolutely no capacity for magic. Dwarven religion dictates that when people die, they return to the earth to watch over those who still live—it is a less direct and less literal form of ancestor-worship. Most dwarves simply stay within their caverns their entire lives and, as they have no capacity for magic, never even see magic. They do not, therefore, have any theories about the existence of magic or how it functions.

On the other hand, Daemons are devout worshippers of their ancestors and believe that using magic is the equivalent of being helped by their ancestors. They use magic in a very different way from the Chanters, as their magic is based upon harnessing the “energies” of certain items (most commonly bones). When a Daemonic Shaman uses such magic, he or she believes that the ancestral spirit of whatever the bones once belonged to is providing the magic.

Where magic comes from, how it functions, and whether or not any or which gods exist is not clear—and likely will never be clear. It is certain to an outside observer that all magic is related. Whether a gnome using “demon magic,” an Arcanist using “natural gifts”, a Priestess using “god-given magic,” or a Daemonic Shaman using an “ancestor’s spirit,” an outside observer will conclude that it is all related, yet all different; all interconnected, yet all separate.

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Of course, it can all get very confusing with the Grand Count, with the Second Age, Fourth Age, Age One–but why shouldn’t it be confusing, since these are added features and not very pertinent to the story? In fact, it’s not necessary to know any of this to understand the story. Most of this came about when I sat down to make the Inrabis Campaign Setting for 3.5 / Pathfinder Dungeons & Dragons. This is for people who want to peer behind the scenes, who want to see what makes this fantasy world take shape and what provides it so much verisimilitude when other fantasy worlds are dealing with battles between deities.

The next section goes on to describe the origins of the world and early history further:

Editor’s Note (Seventh Edition): The first edition of this work, penned by Berdalinus himself, first appeared in 1229 T.A. or 7613 Grand Count. This seventh edition was first released in 2000 Modern Age (and was written 14 years before the tale of Veresk begins) or 14314 Grand Count.

With each Culture having its own religion, pantheon, and spiritual beliefs, it is no surprise that each culture has also developed its own mythologies to explain various phenomena. Of these, the most obvious would be the existence of the world itself, and, sure enough, each religion offers its own account of creation. And it is no surprise at all that none of them agree, and each culture’s creation belief places that culture at the heart of things. It is far beyond the scope of any one scholar to pen the complete creation mythologies of the many religions and religious denominations that circulate the world, but I will here present a general synopsis.

The source of the confusion regarding the creation of the world is simple: no one knows how old the world is. Written accounts and histories go back roughly 14,000 years, and it is around that time (around the origins of writing, that is) that most cultures regard as the time in which the world was created. These 14,000 years are divided into five Ages, each of which lasts 3,000 years. From earliest to most recent, these are the First Age, the Second Age, the Third Age, the Fourth Age, and the Modern Age (called such simply to avoid having another “F.A.”).

There are two methods of measuring the passage of years that are common across Inrabis; the first is by using the year and the current age and the second is using what is called the Grand Count. The Grand Count begins with the founding of Raine at year zero and occurred 14,314 years ago. This year, of course, is Year 14314 Grand Count. Measurements of years that are in Grand Count are always italicized, while measurements of years in Ages are not. The alternative method divides time into Ages which each last 3,000 years—except the first age itself, which lasted 3,314 years for reasons that are lost to history. The First Age (labeled as “A.O.,” short for Age One), then began on Year 0 and lasted until 3,314. The Second Age began on 3315 and lasted to 6314. The Third Age began on 6315 and lasted until 9314. The Fourth Age began on 9315 and lasted until 12314. The Modern Age started at 12315 and has lasted 2,000 years to today (and 14 years later, at 14328 and 2014 M.A., Veresk’s tale began). Age years are measured with 1 as the first year (so 9315 was 1 F.A.) and stop at 3,000 (so 12314 was 3000 FA), at the end of which a new age begins and the age count begins once more at year 1.

Each culture has a creation myth that begins around 14314, usually a few centuries before that year, but none of them dare to pinpoint an exact date. It is no coincidence, I would say, that each culture says that what was essentially the dawn of civilization immediately followed the creation of the world. Some theorize that the world is much, much older than we imagine and that it dates back hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of years and that various civilizations have risen and fallen in that time and we are but the most recent. Indeed, the ruins that dot Inrabis give credibility to this concept, and some unknown bones have been excavated in and around these ruins. Most of the ruins of Inrabis, however, have origins that are known (if not muddled by oral traditions).

The Rainians, of course, (and those humans within Erilon who practice the Rainian religion—almost all of them) hold much the same creation myth that is held by the Crinesti Elves. This is only fitting, since their religions are practically identical, after all. The Rainian story is that the three factions of gods (the Good, the Evil, and the Neutral) came together to create the world (some centuries before 14314), and each faction created a race of its choosing. The gods of good created the Slatho-Malantra, the High Elves. The gods of neutrality created the humans. The gods of evil created the Daemons. The world was, in essence, according to Rainian/Crinesti culture, an experiment undertaken by the gods to see which was the “best” of the three Rainian alignments. Other versions range from saying the world was an accident created in the epic struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, and still other versions say that the world was created to give the gods a way to wage their war by proxy, through other living “lesser” beings. The complete mythology goes on to explain the existence of gnomes and dwarves, but both races seem to fit into the mythology only as “after-thoughts,” as though the existence of these races were not known at the time the mythology was first conceived. The Crinesti prefer this creation story because it places their ancestors, the now extinct Slatho-Malantra, as the epitome of Good. The humans prefer this creation story because it places humans as the most powerful of all the races, with the ability to forge the course of the universe unlike any other race, simply by choosing good or evil. Indeed, this mythology places a great deal of power into the hands of humans.

Not surprisingly, neither the gnomes, the Ferosian Elves, or the humans of An’Kai have a creation mythology at all. The Ferosian Elves suggest that there is simply no way to know whether any of it is true or false, and at any rate, the history of the world’s creation is irrelevant if there are no gods to oversee the world, and, like the gnomes, they don’t know whether or not such gods exist. The gnomes take a similar approach, but focus more on the insignificance of the question, and, as usual, each gnome asked is likely to yield a totally different answer than another—probably because the answers are made up on the spot.

It was exceedingly difficult to learn the account that the dwarves hold to be true, because they are an exceptionally secretive bunch. After many trials, however, I learned that the dwarves ultimately believe in one god, which is a stark contrast with the rest of Inrabisian religions—some of which have hundreds of gods. The dwarves are worshippers of their ancestors, but this is because they believe that “The Mastersmith” is too great, too powerful, and too majestic to concern himself with the daily happenings of the world. It is not that the Mastersmith does not care, they say, but because he has forged the many laws that govern reality, and, having done so, has chosen to let those laws guide the world, rather than interfering with the world (and generally making things worse, as the Rainian/Crinesti gods tend to do). The Mastersmith created the laws of our world, then created our world and its peoples, then stepped back and let events unfold, gifting mortals with the greatest of gifts that could be conceived: free will.

It proved to be altogether impossible to get a straight answer out of any of the Daemonic shamans with whom I spoke, but that is not to say I learned nothing. However, what I did learn regarding the Daemon account of creation is, at best, vague. Their culture appears to believe that the world exists only by virtue of the existence of beings (ourselves) with the capacity to experience the world. Because there were beings with the ability to experience, they created a world to experience. In their philosophy, we are all gods, and they point to magic as the most obvious example to solidify their claims. “There is no such thing as magic,” a Daemon in the valleys of Erilon once told me. “There is only will, and through will, all things are.” To them, ancestor worship is tantamount to the worship of fallen gods. In short, though, their creation myth is essentially that we created the world by virtue of our existence and our ability to experience.

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And that put it at 5400 words, so it’s probably a good place for me to stop. There’s so much more I’d like to say, and so much more that I will say. The entire point of the fantasy trilogy that I’m writing is to break the ice in this world, and then use the rest of my life to write about how Shadow became a Warlord and vampire, why An’Kai is perpetually night, and what caused the First War to actually happen–why did the Daemons hate the Slatho-Malantra so much that they annihilated them? I don’t have the answer to any of these questions. Why did dragons leave Inrabis after the Second War? Are the gods real? Who is right–the Arcanists or the priests? Or is neither correct?

* I have no freaking idea how big Australia is. It just occurred to me that it’s probably actually bigger than the United States, so this is probably more like the South America (east-to-west, at least) of Inrabis.

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