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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Exploring Character and Place in A Seared Sky #4


A tiny island, Ylcrat sits precariously in the middle of the Shylnah Sea. Precariously? Its volcanic cone is active and destructive. Difficult to land here, due to its geography, and the islanders have a reputation for cannibalism. Merchants and the wider world think of the population as backward and uncivilised and give the island a wide birth. Anyone venturing here has to have a pressing reason. So what takes our intrepid voyagers this way?

The cone lies at the northeastern end, and rumbles moodily most of the time. But, occasionally, larger explosions rock the island. No time to be a stranger here.

The men don’t work, but play at hunting, though their games rarely provide any meat. The women are slaves in all senses of the word, providing food, sex, entertainment and shelter for the men. With no permanent relationships, resulting children are raised communally by the women.

The people are ruled by a magical man whose origin, length of life and even appearance are all hidden. He has a mystic hold over the women, allowing him to control them; though he, uniquely, doesn’t abuse them sexually.

Where the islanders originated, how they came to the island, and how long they’ve lived here are all factors lost in the annals of time.

Here we first encounter a remarkable young woman. Myllthlan, as she will come to be known, plays a critical part in the adventure. But to tell you more would expose too much of the tale. You’ll have to read the book to find what she does.

The 4th in a series of pieces on characters and places featured in Joinings: A Seared Sky. This background information, isn’t covered in the book, but should enhance the reading experience. For some of my people, there’ll be a character drawing, supplied by Alice Taylor, maybe a video interview, and accompanying script. I may do short pieces of fiction, deepening knowledge of certain minor characters as well.

For the places, I may use sections of the map, to indicate location, along with a description of the place, as I see it, and, where appropriate, links with characters. Perhaps I’ll indicate the way of life there with a short anecdote or story. I won’t reveal any of the main story, either as already published or as written in the series, merely enhance readers’ enjoyment of the trilogy by providing more information. I hope this gives pleasure to those who’ve bought the book and, perhaps, persuades others to take that step.

Pronunciation hints:
Ylcrat = ill – krat
Myllthlan = milth – lan
Shylnah = shill - nar
Names are pronounced phonetically. But this is my take on them; how I hear them in my head. You may pronounce them as you wish; reading is, after all, active rather than passive.
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