Designing a world part 1

Whatever you write involves dealing with a world, whether the story is about speaking on a stage, workouts in a gym or a realm you designed. Many authors base their writings in the known universe with known parameters, and some add magic or fantastical creatures. Some might prefer to create their own universe. The late Jim Rohn said there are some things you just accept. Like, why does spring follow winter, or the sun rises in the east? When you are God, you make the sunrise where you want. We are going to play God and create a world.
There are several ways of drawing your world and I have used the three most popular ones. The first and the oldest is pencil and paper, whether it is freehand or tracing. Sometimes I used an opaque projector to shine a section of land on a wall and my paper. When computers came out I used a drawing program to redraw the map, but it used pixels, which distorts when zoomed in for a better look. Recently I started using vector mapping, which allows zooming without distortions, but takes longer to learn. Choose the method that is best for you.
Using Earth as the setting is easier than creating a new world. Designing a believable world with all its complexities can be a daunting task, however, when completed it can take on a life of its own. There are many possible starting points. Some will start large with the world, a solar system or larger. Others might start at the other end of the spectrum with an individual character and work to the large. I prefer to start in the middle and work both ways. The first thing I designed in my world is the city of Shen Sherin. After that, I worked on the surrounding area, before going back into the city and work on specific shops and buildings. For the course of this exercise, we will start large with a terrestrial sphere and its systems, including any moon(s).

Size of the world

Depending on the size of the will affect how much detail will make it believable. Smaller spaces will need more detail than large ones. A stage or tavern will need more detail than a world or universe. However, the small one can exist in the larger given both more believable.
Early in the design process, make the decision on how the physical laws work. Assuming that they hold true, then the planet size and composition will play a major role in gravity. Imagine going to a planet that a gravity one tenth of Earth, you could jump a long way. If you went to a planet with five times the gravity of Earth, you would find it difficult to move. The natives will be accustomed to the gravity, but travelers may not. There could be adjustments to the planetary spin, orbital spin, and axis tilt that would alter the weather patterns.
The distance from the sun and the type of sun should play a major role in weather, the color of the sky, and even the atmosphere. There is no reason to start from scratch unless you want to, when it is easier to use a similar orbit as the Earth and just make changes to suite your needs.
There are several world generators on the Internet, many for free. They allow adjustments to the size of the planet, poles location, mountain heights and ocean depths. They will plot the weather, rainfall, temperature, rivers, and mountains. Some will allow the user to cut a section out and zoom in for more detail work. The programs are great if you don’t already have something too specific in mind.

The Quandary of The Forest

The Quandary of The Forest
A short story by: Jeremy Rumble
Written June 11, 2016
6 min read (1,151 words)

There once a young boy who lived near the edge of a lush forest. Every afternoon, the boy would explore and climb trees with his friends until evening. He loved his adventures very much, but alas his time there drew steadily to a close, though he did not yet know it. One day his family sat down with him to explain that they would be moving to the city. “Great!” thought the boy, “More adventures!” Excitedly he packed, and off they went.

The city turned out to be much less grand than the stories he had heard from travellers. Sure, there were spectacular buildings and masses of people, but something was missing. The people were brisk and the streets smelled unpleasant. Most of all, he missed his forest adventures. The boy grew as time passed, and he grew accustomed to the city life. By the time he had grown to adulthood, he knew his city like a bird knows its nest. For the rare occasion in which he needed help to find a place, he knew he could simply ask a passerby. The city was his, though he was by no means royal.

Per chance, our young man was near the city’s edge and chanced to take a walk in the neighbouring forest. Oh, how it brought back memories! The smells, the sights, the sounds! How could he ever have forgotten? Soon, however, the light filtering through the leaves began to dim and shadow began to escape its sharp bounds. It was long past time to have begun to head back and so our adventurer found himself a nice spot in a clearing to stay the night. Staring up at the stars, he listened to the sounds of the night and felt a gentle summer breeze caress him as he drifted off to sleep.

The first signs of daybreak came in the form of thousands of birds singing and twittering in the twilight. The stars began to fade as a golden glow shone upon the clouds in the east. Upon rising, our adventurer-turned-city-dweller realised that he felt better and calmer than he had in many years. Calm, until he realised that he no longer knew from which direction he had come…

As thoughts of the expanse of forest surrounding him began to swirl within him, he tried to reassure himself. Try as he might, however, he knew that he did not know the ways of the forest as he once had. He knew street-names and buildings and most of all, people. Here, he was alone and could not tell one stretch of green from the next. So busy was he with his thoughts of the forest, that he could no longer see the trees. Hoping against hope he decided on a plan: Pick a direction and walk straight. If he were lucky, he would choose the direction which corresponded to his city.

For hours he walked, learning on the way that his straight line was nearly impossible to follow. Trees, rocks, rivers and the occasional sounds of animals seemed to block his path at every step. He would try fervently to skirt the offending obstacles and set out once more on his straight line. The strange thing was, he began to notice patterns… Gnarled tree, dry riverbed, large clearing, stone blocks, gnarled tree, stone blocks, small pond, dry riverbed… His straight line was leading him in circles! Or could his mind be playing tricks? There were many areas of the city which looked similar… why not the forest? Upon reaching the stone blocks for the umpteenth time, (Were these the same blocks he had passed earlier?) he sat, put his head in his hands and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he noticed that the sun had just passed midday. It was the heat, beginning to become uncomfortable, that had awoken him from his half-sleep. He decided to re-trace his steps to the pond and cool off a little before starting out again.

The marginally cool water of the pond nevertheless brought with it an insight as he watched a group of ducks bobbing and splashing about. He noticed how they never seemed to swim in a straight line, but were always darting here, drifting there, diving under and surfacing. More than that, he noticed the small trails they left behind them as they swam. This gave him an idea. He knew that there were roads and paths through the forest, if he could only find them, but what he hadn’t considered was the paths made by nature herself. There must be animal trails and the like which led from somewhere to somewhere else. At least that would be better than tracing circles among the trees.

Scanning about and finding no such trails in sight he decided, now on the edge of complete despair, that if he were to live his final days lost among the trees, he would rather spend them in joy, as had the ducks. And so he looked around him for the most interesting thing to investigate, then headed off toward it. He observed a small clearing, filled with small lilac and indigo coloured flowers; a waterfall, cascading over some rocks; a lake with a small island in the center; a red fox; a family of robins… Onward he wended his way through the forest, passing from interest to interest and completely losing himself in the wonders of the wilderness.

As darkness began to fall once again, our explorer noticed something strange among the trees.. it was as if the sun were dancing upon the horizon, only just shining between the trees at forest-level. As he drew closer, he noticed that the horizon was very grey, almost like… “The city wall!” he exclaimed. The dancing sun had been the torches of the guards patrolling the perimeter where the city met the forest! As he approached them and told them his story, they commented on his probable hunger, thirst and weariness. As if on cue, he realised that he was indeed feeling famished, parched and utterly exhausted. They half-carried him to the east gate and passed him off to a carriage to be taken home.

As the cart-wheels bumped and bounced over cobbled streets our friend reflected on his adventure. The boy in him was pleased to have been acknowledged once more after so long. The man in him berated him at not being better able to find his way. He resolved to go back and learn to find his way once more to please his inner child, and his inner man. He knew that the ride home would not be long, yet he found himself drifting off even amidst the rattling and rocking of the carriage. His last sleepy thought was that he had lost his way amidst the forest, but had found it amongst the trees.

Thesila Past

Thesila Past

A fog covers the city street as Mashaun stares out each second story window as he paces around the room, his aqua blue eyes straining to make out ghostly figures dancing in the churning mist.  It has been only a few days since the others returned home, leaving Ericka, Tera, Dalistra and himself to fulfill the prophecy. Sometimes at night, the streets outside sound like they’re full of people, even though the city has been abandoned for eons. Each day is the same routine Mashaun paces around the house looking out at the fog with disdain, muttering, “I want to know what happened here,”more to himself than the others. Dalistra is hung on a wall and the girls sit at the table doing something, but he doesn’t pay much attention.  Tired of waiting for it lift, he dawns his swords and wraps his patchwork cloak over his shoulders,  places Dalistra his spirit bow across his back. The girls watch, before telling him, that he is not going out looking like that.

“Like what?” He says looking over his shoulder at them.

“That quilt like outfit may work while traveling, but not in the city.” Ericka tells him.

“I don’t have anything else to wear,” he states, turning around and starts for the door.

“Yes, you do!” They hold up a brown tunic with matching trousers and cape laying on the table.

Dalistra joins in on the conversation by reminding him that he is the princess’s Huntsman and protector.

He learned a long time ago, was not to argue with women over his dress, and looking at the two standing by the table with a new tunic and trousers,  was no exception. He lets out an exasperated sigh, leaning Dalistra aginst the wall, he marches past the Ericka and Tera, snatching the clothes, muttering “if you insist,” and goes into the back room to change.  Surprised that the clothes fit, and they look a lot better than what he was wearing. The girls had changed into similar style outfits,  just different colors. Before he could ask, they told him that they made them also. They step through the illusionary door, into the cold, damp fog, that wasn’t cold or wet.

The fog parts around them, thicker in the back and the sides, while thin in front and within a minute the house is swallowed by the gray veil behind them. They stroll along a surprising dry cobblestone road, in an invisible tube of clear air. Fanning out they never step into the mist, but remain encircled by it even when separated by several arm lengths and they hear whispers coming from the fog. Any time one of them tries to down a side street the murkiness is thick and close, forcing them to return to the group on the original path. Realizing that the fog is guiding them, and doesn’t mean them harm, they let themselves be guided. They recognize the road and that the fog wants them to return to the great hall.

 

It takes a while before they find themselves at the entrance to the great hall where the others returned home. Mashaun strides up the steps to the entry slab, pillars of white marble that arch to a diamond-shaped gold marble kingpin about ten feet above the floor. Each side has pulsating strands of red, blue and yellow quartz winding up to the kingpin the flashes with each pulse. Ericka and Tera pull on his sleeve telling him not to go inside for fear that he will also leave them. Turning around, he looks at them with carrying eyes, telling them that he is not ready to return home and they have nothing to fear. Behind them he glimpses dozens of smiling faces in the fog staring at them, then the fog is gone leaving a cloudy sky.

“You must have some fond memories of here.” Mashaun thinks, sensing Dalistra sadness.

“Yes, but that was a long time ago, and everyone I know is long dead” She responds sorrowfully.

“My condolences. “He replies with sincerity.

Standing at the entrance of a large room with rows of pillars dividing it into three sections, with the door in the middle area. There is a king and queens chair made of gold vein marble that was grown from the floor, with several smaller chairs in a semicircle on each side.

“That chair should have been mine.” Dalistra sighs. Mashaun feels her sadness, but also knows that there is nothing he can do about it.

There are two arches on the back wall, representing passages.  They proceed down the left passage pass several doors before opening up to a large room, with a mural of the room from a nonexistent balcony on the opposite side.

The room is full of mages with staves of different shapes and sizes. There must be a hundred of each color, red, blue and yellow sitting on threes sides of a hexagon and four more at the end of the room, each with staves that have a red, blue, yellow or rainbow spinning disc in a birdcage-like basket on top.  The mural moves like a movie showing an argument erupting, just before a lava rock explodes next to them.

Swinging around, they see the same apparitions from the mural in a massive magic fight.  Balls of fire, ice and light explode on the walls and aginst different magic shields. Instincts have them ducking various offensive spells thrown in their directions, but they never touch them, even though they should have been hit several times. Mashaun sees the four with the spinning staff heads leave the room through an unmarked section of the wall. A few of the other mages managed to escape through the main door, but minutes later the floor was littered with bodies, and the skeletons become visible.

He feels Dalistra’s horror as they realize that the Thesilans destroyed themselves with their power.

Lost Realms: Geirrod Treasure

Geirrod’s Treasure

Viking Longship

Viking Longship

You will not talk with me, nor wed my daughters, you have turned down this feast before you, what do you want here? Gudmund asked.  Thorkil, thought for a moment, making sure to choose his words wisely. They only wish to see the Thor’s fire bolt and Geirrod in his hall. They desire to see the giant’s daughters that lay at his feet. They want witness firsthand the splendid treasures made by elves and dwarves before the time of man. We ask for safe passage there a back, Thorkil asked with a stern but polite voice.

Yes, I grant you safe passage to Geirrod, and I will not interfere with your return. But be warned, do not touch anything, Gudmund told them. He led them back down to the river where an ancient arch bridge that crossed. Follow that trail and it will take you to Geirrod, he told them, before heading back to his castle.

The path wound to and fro across dunes of sand and rock, before opening up to flood plain the stretch off into the distance. They had journeyed for hours before the trail ended at a causeway as they entered Geirrod’s lands. Their eyes transfix on the hellish terrain that lay before them, a place that no mortal was meant to see. The land rolled like the sea while belching green vapor that snaked into the air with a stench that could turn a billy goat stomach. Pikes adorned with decaying heads lined the walkway that disappeared in the mist.

Not to be deterred they marched down the trail into the foul mist, past dilapidated houses of a forgotten village with torn animals bodies and rubbish littering the streets. Ghostly figures floated around the buildings and dark alleys. Shades that spoke is a strange language as they shrieked trying to get the men to come to them.  With faces black as a moonless night, they watch as the company of mortals walks through the town, toward a solitary mountain on the horizon.

Up the mountain they went and across snowfields the men trudged on until they came to an enormous castle on the mountain pinnacle. The massive charred doors leading into the Geirrod’s castle stood before them, beckoning them to enter.  Thorkil reminded them not to touch anything as they filed into the enormous room carved directly into the mountain.

Bloated and partially decade human shapes that were at least thrice the size of a man laid scattered across the floor. Faceless shadows swirled and coiled along the walls, and the room’s stench was unbearable. Sitting at the end of the room was Geirrod with a massive blackened spear protruding from his midsection. At his feet lay his daughters with broken backs, only able to turn their heads. The adventurers skin turned pale as they struggled to hold down what little food they had left in their stomachs.

Off the main chamber was a tiny room with its door dangling by one hinge. Inside, dwarven tankards made of gold with bands of silver and inlaid gems, ornate ivory tusk with rings of gold and platinum. There were gold bracers and armbands in the shape of a snake, drinking horns made of gold and silver. Fine woven robes and ornate weapons filled the room, as the Northmen stood in awe. They had never seen so much treasure so close and yet so far, for all they could do was look.

Three men could not resist, and charged into the midst of the horde, one grabbing the tusk, it shivered thrust itself into the man’s chest. One pick up a gold and silver snake armband that came to life and sucked the life out of him, leaving a dry, mummified body where he once stood. The third picked up a one of the gold drinking horns, an image of a dragon flashed on the side of the horn and the man collapsed on the spot.

Thorkil commanded them to leave, they have seen the treasure of old and it was time to return before they all succumb to the temptations of the room. Even Thorkil couldn’t forbear and felt a soft blanket that lay in a pile on a stone pillar.  Turning toward the door, they found it blocked by scores of shades and faceless creatures, even the shadows on the walls were alive and were advancing. Piercing screams, snapping jaws, and sharp talons attack the Danes as they fought their way out of the castle.

In an organized movement, the Northman clashed with the demons, as one man fell another would move in the fill the space. Down the path, they hurried fighting for every inch. The Northmen dropped what was not needed as they sped down the causeway and through the town and the noxious vapors. As they entered Gudmund’s lands, they listened to the screams of the angry specters behind.

Only twenty of the original three hundred made it back to the ships. Leaving two ships behind they took the fastest and headed for home. For centuries, bards sang about Gorm and Thorkil and the returning men that crossed into the ancient realms.  Where the dead still rule.

Lost Realms: The Test

Lost Realms: The Test

The agonizing screams of the men faded as the three longboats sailed away from the island until was silent again, except for the splashing of the oars slicing into the water and the creaking of the oarlocks. Thorkil words hung heavy as he handed out a talisman to the men. “This will protect you through the worlds, there are three rules you must follow; only speak among yourselves, only eat your food and if it is not yours, don’t take it.” As if on cue the stars disappeared from the night sky as he finished passing out the amulets.
The Northmen rowed for what seemed like an eternity through the stillness; no one spoke taking Thorkil words to heart, after remembering what happened after a time, when they ignored his words.  Soon riverbanks are seen on each side of ships as they moved up a river and beach their crafts on a gravel shore. Except for the beach, a dense forest lined the river with on a wolf song carried on the calm air.
Without saying a word, the men rushed around following Thorkil words as the men circled their camp around several bonfires that lit the night like beacons in a sea of darkness. From somewhere in the darkness each man heard their name being called, but they did not answer. Thorkil stood at the edge of the firelight looking at a shadowy figure standing twice the height of a typical Northman, watching them. The man appeared to be aged, with sunken eyes and a long white beard.
For a long moment, the two men studied each other before Thorkil hailed Gudmund, the guardian of mortal travelers. When Gudmund asked why no one would answer his calls, Thorkil told him that the Northmen do not speak his language. With a disturbing smile, Gudmund requested to enter the camp and Thorkil invited him to join the crews.
After a brief stay, Gudmund lead the men down a trail next to the frozen river, before winding inland. Passing ancient trees and across snowfields they came to a great hall that looked like the familiar mead halls of their homeland. Except larger than any mead hall in both height and length with walls of translucent ice, such that the torches that burned inside filtered through giving the place a surreal look.
Inside was a garden of fruit-filled trees covered in frost. Rows of tables set for a warriors feast, full of meats, cheeses, and large drinking horns. The men admired the feast set before them as each shook their head, refusing the feast. Thorkil told Gudmund that the food is too rich for mortal men. With a cold smile, Gudmund looked at the men, what of my lovely daughters, are they not worthy of kings. Gorm courteously refused, and his men followed, all but four.
When the four broke ranks, their pace was slow and steady with hands reaching for the maidens. Upon touching the ladies, the men faces went flush as the life and memories left them while being pulled into the realm of the shades to remain in the borderland of the dead world until eternity. So you won’t speak, you refuse my food and my daughters, so what do you want from me?
Thorkil looked at Gudmund for some time before telling him the they had come to see the world of the ancient races and they desire to see the giant Ceirrod and his great hall.

Lost Realms: The Outpost

Viking Longship

Viking Longship

The time stretched into months as the three ships steadily sailed north gliding through the dark sea. The seaman signs that Thorkil followed became fewer until they were gone. No birds catching the air currents, no fish could be seen surfacing around the ships hulls. The nights grew longer and darker with the moon spending more time in the sky than the sun.  Even the stars, above seem thinner than when they first left their home, such a long time ago.  The sparseness of the stars, mixed with the long nights and the silence of the sea, lead to an uneasy feeling among the crews. They had entered the land of night where mortal men should not be.

Only the splash of the oars slicing into the seas and the creaking of the oarlocks broke the eerie silence that filled the darkness. An uneasiness filled the men with the sense that they were being watched, but they didn’t see a thing. There was no measure of time as they laboriously moved through the endless night, until they heard the waves crashing against some distance rocks.  Thorkil turned the boats toward the sound and it continued to grow louder until then the darkness gave way to a silver glint of white foam in the distance.

“This is only the outpost. Take what you need and no more. That much is allowed.” Thorkil told the men, as his voice resounded over the crashing waves.  But these were Northmen, used to taking what they wanted. Even Gorm, the king whisked away Thorkil warning. They beached the ships in a small inlet where the land was covered with pastures filled with livestock, that just looked at them with wondering eyes, unaware of the massacre that would inevitably follow.

The Northmen butchered far more than they needed, killing everything they found. Their ships rode low in the water with just enough space for men around the carcasses. Their vessels creaked and groaned from the extra weight, as they set sail. The men nervously looked about, feeling strange presences among them, just before specters materialized before the men, bellowing in some unknown language. The faceless phantoms floated from one man to the next, rocking the ships violently as their screeching pierce the still air.

The ships filling with water, came dangerously close to capsizing, Thorkil’s voice rose above all else “What is the price of the slaughter?” The turbulent rocking subsided and the ghostly figures said that one man from each ship must be thrown into the sea. At first the men grumbled, and the vessels begin to tilt and sway again. Thorkil looked at Grom, who nodded in agreement, and Each boat drew lots, with the loser being tossed into the cove.  As the ships headed out to sea, the agonizing screams of the three men left behind faded until only the splashing of the oars with the creaks and groans of the oarlocks filled the air again.

Every man knew that Thorkil’s word was to be followed as the men rowed in silence. Thorkil told the men that then next test was a place ruled by giants, while handing each of them a talisman for protection.

 

Lost Realms: Gorm sets sail

Viking Longship

Viking Longship

The Norsemen used to rule of the seas, from England in the west, France to the south and to Russia in the east. The Norsemen were second to none when land or sea. Their ships touched shores without names and sailed into unknown seas and lands where no man dare to tread, in search of glory, gold and the old kingdoms ruled by generations of the dead.

The king of Denmark, Gorm, would spend hours listening to the sea rover Thorkil, a heavy-set man with sun-bleached hair and skin like untanned leather, had sailed beyond Iceland to the very edge of mortal men and returned, weaving tales about far off lands and strange creatures with god-like powers, of hidden treasure guarded by giants and foul creatures of the night. Gorm’s restless feet got the better of him, and he wanted to see those lands for himself.

Gorm hired Thorkil to captain his men on the journey of a lifetime. That winter Thorkil and the men built the three largest longship that ever sailed the seas, even bigger than the famed Dragon Ship in that assaulted England. Each ship had fifty benches and able to seat over a hundred oarsmen. By spring, they were ready to set sail.

Early one spring morning, after the blood sacrifice that turned the keels red, they were laboriously rolled down the logs. The ships creaked and groaned under their own massive weight until they slid silently into the sea. With ornate battle axes and swords, their armor, and shields stowed away along with enough provisions for several months they set sail.

Gorm made Thorkil the helmsmen of the first ship, putting the wind to their backs, they effortlessly sliced through the waters between the Scandinavian mainland and Denmark, into the open sea. Sailing passed the mountains reaching for the sky that frame the fjords of Norway. Passing Helgeland and Finnmark they slipped into the unknown seas. Thorkil navigated by the sun and the stars, flight of birds, shoaling fish and many other sights and sounds that only a seasoned seaman knew.

 

 

Fantasy Quotes

Mashaun

The outdoor enthusiast

Fantasy Mirrors Desire. Imagination Reshapes it. – Mason Cooley American aphorist 1927-2002

The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge. – Albert Einstein

Fantasy and reality often overlap. – Walt Disney

May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with fairies and talk to the moon.

It’s my job, to create a fantasy. – Anne Hecht

This is the real magic of fantasy fiction: It can feed souls and change lives.—David Gemmell

About half my designs are controlled fantasy, 15 percent are total madness and the rest are bread-and-butter designs. – Manolo Blahnik

As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood.—Jim Henson

Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it. –Lloyd Alexander

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” – Dr. Seuss

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one. – Terry Pratchett

“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Culture in a fantasy world

Culture: According dictionary.com, “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group”

When I designed my fantasy world over thirty years ago, I didn’t think about the little nuances that would add flavor. It wasn’t until I wrote my novel that I realized there needed to be more than just the planet, flora, topography, and inhabitants. Every inhabitant has its own culture and even sub-cultures, whether they are people, monsters or animals.

There is a multitude of cultures here that you can use, past, present, corporate and even animal. Since many fantasy books and games use the medieval era as a point of reference, many of them seem to base the culture to that time frame. It provides the readers some common knowledge about the time period, and less writing. Unless you are writing a fan fiction, why not change it up a bit. Since it is your world, why not give it a Roman, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, or Norse culture with a medieval setting. The other option that I see more often is changing a culture to fit the terrain. In the movie version, “Lord of the Rings… Two towers”, the riders of Rohan were given a Norse look and culture without the longboats, but instead on the plains.

How much culture is needed in a fantasy novel is dependent on the storyline, available time, and your desire. There are many books that are built around culture with authors like Brandon Sanderson, David B. Coe, Sera Douglass, Anne Bishop, C.W. Louis and my favorite J.R.R. Tolkien. I think that these authors and many others specifically designed the cultures in their stories before writing the novel.

What culture(s) exist in your world?

When you wrote your novel what culture(s) did you use? I put several different cultures in my novel because I wanted to experiment with them. I also have a couple of different subcultures, though I have not flushed them out. The main culture in Shen Sherin and the surrounding area is based on a medieval premise with a slave/indentured servant, serfs, merchants, nobility, and mages all having their own subculture.

Mages have a subculture of arrange secrecy, arranged marriages, better than everybody else, including the king. Mages in Hauv Pem are descendants from the powerful ancient Thesilan mages. There are four types of mages, the red, blue, yellow, and crystal. Their difference have to do with special cells in the blood, similar to our blood type. In the past there were blood feuds between the different types of mages, except in the in the city of Thesila.  If a mage procreates with a non-mage their offspring is usually a weaker mage. If done through several generations the ability to use magic in that particular bloodline is lost. Arrange marriages within the same bloodlines are all but mandatory, with the only exception is a crystal mage, which have all the blood types, creating a stronger mage.  Many of the magic bloodlines are watered down, making them weak mages compare to the old bloodlines.  There are known examples where a person in a non-magic line will have a magic-user born to them.  The family will then try to hide or sell the young magic user to the local mage.