Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Gift For You Guys!

First thing's first. I know that Hanukkah is over by now, but life got crazy, which means I missed wishing my Jewish readers a happy one when I skipped last week's post. So, if you celebrate the Festival of Lights, I wish you a belated happy holiday, and hope your Hanukkah was a blessed one.

Now, to explain why I missed last week. Yes, this will be my generic "life is mad crazy, especially working at a grocery store near the holidays." However, it's more than that. The true reason for missing last week's post was because I was too busy writing a short story!


As I mentioned in my last post, Hubby and I have finally gotten around to watching Game of Thrones. We watched the first two seasons thus far, and it has really inspired us. Hubby created his D&D campaign, and we actually had a few sessions last week.

If I remember correctly, our first session was a couple weekends back - either Saturday or Sunday; can't remember which. We had a tournament with all of our characters. As the princess, I only participated in the archery opening games and then watched the others, which consisted of an obstacle course, jousting, a boar hunt, and melee combat.

Well, my in-character little brother - the heir apparent - ended up killing a cousin of Quarthix's character - Brack - during the melee portion. Whoops.

So Brack's family hosted another tournament in honor of their family member dying nobly in the last one. We did that session the next day. Once again my character Airis only participated in the archery portion before sitting out another obstacle course and wrestling portion. No one died this time. YAY!

Then we did our first individual sessions with our characters. Quarthix's fiance's character traveled home with her younger brother and another companion, only to be attacked by a griffon. She and bro lived, but the other companion and two of their horses were griffon-food.

Hubby's character and two companions - cousin's I think - were attacked by an owlbear. I know Hubby's character got out alright, but I can't recall if either of his companions died.... I WANT to say they all escaped with their lives?

Brack and his younger brother were talked in to going to an illegal dog-fighting ring after all the tournament guests left to travel home. Brack, his younger brother, a friend of Brack's younger brother, and said friend's kid brother all went with this guy Malcolm - another friend of Brack's brother's friend - to the games. They bet a few times, but after a couple rounds the underdog managed to kill the favored "dog" - they were actually wolves. The crowd turned ugly and started a riot, killing the victor in the fight. Malcolm and the man in charge of the fights lead Brack and his group in to the back room, where the wolves were kept when they weren't fighting. While they waited out the rioting crowd, the group played some dice, but Brack's younger brother ended up getting caught cheating. Malcolm - who was the wolves' trainer - released them on to Brack's group, and the man in charge of the fights turned out to be a werewolf. Whoopsie.

Brack and his younger brother were the only survivors. RIP little, possibly 8-yr-old Billy. You at least poked a wolf's eye out... or something.

Then we had my character Airis and her younger brother. The road back to their castle has a toll-road. Obviously the royalty can afford the toll, but the guards told their driver that the road was closed down because of a rockslide or fallen tree or something to that effect. Unfortunately, this meant my group was forced down the unsafe, bandit-ridden road. The carriage was attacked by a group of about eight bandits. All six of our guards, our driver, and both of our horses were killed. My younger brother nearly died after getting his eye shot out by an arrow.

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the Cyclops King.

Injured herself, my character was too flustered to know what to do with her unconscious brother that was too heavy for such a dainty woman to carry. If at least ONE horse were available... *sigh*

So she left him bandaged and with water and food as she walked to the guard station on the other side of the toll-road. The guards there told her that the road hadn't been closed down for over a month; obviously the "guards" on the other side were bandits meant to lead her in to the trap. Fantastic.

We haven't played through it yet, but I'm informed that by the time the guards brought Airis back to the arrow-filled carriage to retrieve her brother he is missing. While she was hoofing it to the guard station another group of bandits kidnapped the future king. Boy, am I batting a thousand.

Can't wait to see what else these characters are going to get in trouble with....

Well, the point of bringing all THAT up is the fact that it again sparked my interest to world-build Gyateara. If nothing else, so that I can run my own D&D campaigns there eventually.

So, while at work between the 10th and 17th I was thinking of a specific group of people that live on Gyateara, and their faith. The inspiration was basically the Dothraki tribe from Game of Thrones. They are nomadic, barbarian, war-like people. They don't value money at all, but they have no qualms with ransacking a village in order to get food, water, and even slaves and women if they need any of the above. The main thing they value is their horses; believed to be part of their very souls once they pick a horse. I'm obviously not a fan of the raping and pillaging they do when they conquer someone, but that aside, I'm fascinated with the Dothraki. I really wanted Gyateara to have people like them. So I came up with the Sandikir people.

I really, REALLY wanted to introduce you guys to them after mentally working so hard on them all week. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to writing their story prior to last Wednesday due to playing the D&D sessions; plus Christmas preparations.

When last Wednesday rolled around I decided I still wanted to give you folks SOMETHING to show for all of my brainstorming. Especially since I haven't produced anything of note for over a month. I didn't want to tell you all yet again that I had a story building in my mind, but I didn't have anything for you fine folks to read.

I was determined to have the story written out first, and then write out the blog with the link to the story included. Issue was that the story took on a life of it's own - plus I was paused for about an hour or two - off and on - because of researching I was doing. See, one of the key components of the story is a race of Dire Wolves. I didn't want them quite as large as the Dire Wolves you find in D&D, but I did want them to be larger than an average gray wolf.

Originally, I was just going to randomly throw in a size that seemed about the height I wanted them to be. However, I realized how key these creatures are in the story, the culture of the people I'm writing about, and the world of Gyateara as a whole. So I wanted to get them right. I researched wolf sizes and broke down the proportions of the wolf's body so I could better build the right anatomy for Gyateara's Dire Wolves.

I also kept coming up with parts of the Sandikir culture that desperately needed their own terms - Sandikir terms. There was no way that I was going to be able to come up with a full new language, but I HAD to come up with these new words. I used one of the generators I gushed about last time. Thankfully, Fantasy Name Generators did have a language generator. Unfortunately, it still kept me a WHILE to figure out all the terms. I ended up with a list of about 13 new words!

Although, I am proud to state that I came up with Sandikir, Rikmahja, Rikvu, Mahmurja, Konsirph, Likjun, Plinva, and Miknar all on my own! That's over half of my Sandikir terms! I also came up with the names of the three pups by myself, too. YAY!

Now, the story started out as yet another chapter in my The Divine Legends anthology. I was going to simply write the divine "origin story" the people believed in. I had so much of their culture figured out, though. It felt weird to know it and not have it documented somewhere. Granted, I won't be so heavy-handed with "this is how they live and what they believe" in an actual story or D&D campaign. Still, I wanted to make sure to get the culture down on paper - figuratively speaking - while it was fresh. This resulted in me creating a new anthology that talks more about the cultures of Gyateara: The People of Gyateara

Well, the story kept growing and growing until it ended up just shy of 2600 words. I really should expect this by now, I mean... seriously... when have I ever written anything that was short!? I also tried something new. I wrote the story with the narrator talking directly to you as if the narrator were a sort of "tour guide" for the people you - the reader - stumbled upon. Not entirely sure if it works, but you can let me know what you think of it.

"The Land of the Sandikir"

Anyway, with the story FINALLY done, I went to publish it and then work on the blog. Problem being that it was now about 3pm, and I needed to pick up my husband. I had to wait until I brought Hubby home from work before I could publish the tale up on DeviantArt and FictionPress. Once that was done I STILL couldn't get to the blog post.

I had laundry and dishes and other such chores to get done. I was exhausted when everything was complete. I finally gave up and figured I'd post a day late. Then the true chaos of The Last Week Before Christmas kicked in. I had gifts that needed to be finished. My home wasn't completely clean yet - still isn't. I never got around to putting up any decorations aside from our advent calendar and the Christmas tree with no ornaments on it. To this day, I still have most of our presents that I need to wrap.

Totally failing this Christmas thing this year....

But at least I have this one gift for you guys. The story that stopped me from posting last week. Hopefully that and this long post is a good enough gift to thank you all for being such faithful readers.

Love you all, and have a merry Christmas!

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