I was at work today when I thought I should share a little about Journey of Shadows since I'm so dang proud of it. I thought at first that I should post the prologue but it dawned on me that the first 15% of the book is available for a free download already so that would be almost like cheating. If you'd like to read that first 15% before making the jump to purchase, click here. Scroll to the bottom and select your preferred reading format.
So after several hours, I decided to give an introduction to the world and main characters.
Journey of Shadows is set in a polytheistic world known as the Empire. I do not have a proper map so try to follow along as best as possible. It is one large continent, pointed on the southwest and northeast coasts, divided into regions by two large mountain ranges. The western mountain range is the Therhbell Mountains. The eastern range is Dragon Rock. It is from each of these mountain ranges that everything else takes direction. These two mountain ranges reach across the continent toward each other and end about two days travel apart.
North of the Therhbell Mountains is farmlands called the Northlands, a wooded region called the Mid-Forest, and the Empire School. It is in the Northlands that we find the village of Stillmyst and Sylleth Lake. The Mid-Forest is a thin forest dotted sporadically with sections clear-cut by loggers. Occuppying a near quarter of the area that was once only the Northlands and Mid-Forest is the land that has been given to the Lady for the School and the amount of land needed is ever expanding.
South of the Therbell Mountains is farmlands for all the eyes can see, called the Southlands. Closer to the mountains, we find two trading villages, Tanil and Dartrine, built on opposite sides of a massive lake. Closer to the southern shore, we see Betry, one of just a few port towns located throughout the Empire. It houses a large dock built to welcome fleets of ships that sail from the School docks and the random lone ships that hail from other ports.
In the center of the Empire, between the reaching fingers of the two mountain ranges, we have an area that is bisected. In the north, we have a sparsely forested area that surrounds a near perfect mile circle where no grass, weeds, or trees have grown in one hundred years. Not far from the circle is the village Nostal that was built under the watchful eyes of Nostal Tower, a single tower built nearly three hundred feet high with no doors and only a single window at the top. In the south, we have the Wild Woods. The Wild Woods is a thick grown forest of low growing shrubbery, tall slender trees, and swollen stream beds.
The eastern side of the Empire isn't nearly as busy. To the north, the only thing there is the Upper Wastes. It used to be a lush forest filled to the brim with native magic creatures, natural springs, and random meadows of rare flowers. The magic drained away from the forest and it has become a desert called the Upper Wastes. Only two types of creatures dwell in the Upper Wastes and neither are the kind we want to meet.
To the south of Dragon Rock, we have the Lower Wastes first. When the snow caps melt on Dragon Rock, it floods into the Lower Wastes. This area is a marshy swamp land that holds unexpected dangers. Everything in the Lower Wastes is carnivorous and hungry. The animals, the plants, even the air is out to kill the unwary travelers! The Wilds River runs between the Lower Wastes and the southern most zone. It is a wide river that was once popular for bathing in its shores and competitive rafting when times were better. Now, the waters run so savagely that even the shallows can be a dangerous place to rest.
Below the River, we find Cofway Forest, the most feared place in all of the mainland. Cofway is a place where people go in and never return. Wild and savage animals track their prey under the cover of thick, overgrown trees, thorn bushes, and hidden ravines and gullies. In the center of Cofway Forest, we find Maels, a home for those at the end of their journey. A remnant of the magic the Empire once wielded keeps Maels shrouded from the rest of the world. Only those out of options, with no where else to go, can find the village. Those that enter Cofway looking for Maels never find it.
So now that you know the general geography of the mainland of the Empire, let's focus on the oceans. To the east, we have the Eastern Sea. To the west of the Empire, we have the Hesperian Ocean. Pretty easy to remember. To the south, we have the Lunal Sea. The Lunal Sea is home to the Nauticaun's Pass and the Lunal Isles, a fragmented land in the far south that includes several miniature islands spiraling away from a large plateau. This plateau is twice the size of the forest surrounding Nostal. To the north, the ocean is divided into three sections. The majority of it is the North Sea. As the water reaches the northeast, the temperature drops considerably as it becomes the Frozen Sea. Caless Island once sat between the North Sea and the Frozen Sea. It disappeared many years ago, so much that its existence has been written out of most history books and memories. Farther east beyond the Frozen Sea is a small lake-size area of glaciers and ice shelves called the Ice Floes. The Ice Floes is one of only a couple anti-magic zones in all of the Empire. It is teaming with rare sea life that seem to blossom in the frigid waters.
Check the next post for a short background on this world!