Worldbuilding Wednesday: The Houses and Houses of Learning of Khallahna and Ezankhall

Overall the buildings are squat with almost flat roofs and small windows. The walls are of the same clay-white colour as the soil, giving them the appearance of sprouting from the ground. Beyond the first clusters of houses and workshops rise the houses of the rich. These are up to three storeys high, though built of the same stone and clay. Some six to eight of these houses would stand clustered around a central courtyard of lush water gardens and walkways.

A central entrance to this courtyard has large, reinforced, wooden doors bearing the sigils of the family or families living within. The walls beside the doors may be decorated with reliefs or subtle paint.

The houses of the ruling lords in the cities are lavish above all. Set in such a way that they look down on the city below, the outer wall is decorated wholly with relief images. The most lavish use precious metals not only on the doors of their houses, but also on the walls.

The Houses of Learning

The Houses of Learning is lavish above all. In the richest cities the images on the walls may even be decorated with gold and jewels. Within the different buildings could also be found grans decorations. While the main hall of the ruler was decorated in splendour with stone and mosaic, the Houses of Learning was decorated no less lavishly. Even glass, gold, and jewels sparkled upon all the walls of some to create a vast kaleidoscope of colour.

Most of the houses held a Seeker of Knowledge and is named after one of the wisdom Airus or Khalne. It is also these houses where the scriptoriums are. They are considered to be holy places and the work of the scribes and illuminators are as good as those of Holt Haliern.

Because the work they deliver are so sought after, there is much competition between houses and schools for excellence. Most of the professional scribes will spend time at Holt Haliern, even if only for a season.

As in Dumal and Treddian, scholarship is highly prized in Khallahna. For, while some want to forget the Sundering, the Farlands cannot.

To read more about The Ruon Chronicles, follow this link.

Flash Fiction – The Oath

“You could forget who you are in a place like that,” the Seeker told the young man.

“Why would I want to forget?” he snapped at the old man.

“Trevian,” his mother chided from the other side of the room.

“Look at me,” the old Seeker said, stretching out his arms and turning in a circle. “Are these the robes a helper on a pig farm could ever have worn? Because that is who I would have been before I went to the Sanctuary and became a Seeker of Knowledge.”

“Are you telling me that my life isn’t good enough?”

“I am telling you that your life could be much better – and much longer. There is no reason for you to go off and fight.”

“It’s war. And honour.”

“There are many types of honour.” The Seeker glanced towards the mother and nodded. “Not that you have much say in the matter,” he told the rehearsed lie. “Your mother bound you to us by oath.”

“That was before I was born!”

“Which makes her oath so much stronger than you telling your friends that you will go fight with them while you were drunk!” The Seeker brought his hand down on the table so hard that both child and mother flinched.

“I swore an oath to the Wislic of the Sanctuary in the name of the Creator,” the mother said. “It is an oath that cannot be broken.”

“You are now eighteen,” the Seeker said. “Which means that you are now bound to the Sanctuary. You will follow me and turn away from this folly. Go and fetch your things.”

 

The mother watched her eldest child leave her home with the Seeker and wondered if she would be punished for lying about an oath that she had never made.

Story Notes:

“The Oath” also takes place in the world of Airtha-Eyrassa. I haven’t really written a story about the Seekers of Knowledge before (except for the Patreon patrons where there were some worldbuilding notes). As it had to be a story of a max of 300 words (mine came to 299), I didn’t put in too much extra info, but the Sanctuary I wrote about here is Holt Haliern in the Midlands and not the Eastern Keepers (on the map it is only marked as “HH”).

To read more stories set in Airtha-Eyrassa, you can also visit my DeviantArt page or my Patreon page (both have free stories). They also contain a preview of The Ruon Chronicles.

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Worldbuilding Maps header

Worldbuilding: Maps of Airtha-Eyrassa

I won’t lie – I love maps. Whether they are of real or mythical places, a place I know very well or a place I still wish I could visit one day. I often have a faint idea of the place I’m writing about in the flash fiction fantasy stories, but for the Airtha-Eyrassa books I’m writing, I need much more detailed maps…

I’ve put some of the maps I’m busy with up on the Patreon page, but here is an example of one of the maps –

Airtha-Eyrassa Map June 2016

It’s not final and, as you can see, there are also quite a few notes scribbled on it as well. But it does show all of the countries at the time of the first book. It is also how the world looks at the time of these flash fiction stories:

Charms of Ash
Dust Red As Blood
Shadows
Charmed

To see the other maps-in-progress and a whole lot of worldbuilding, you can join my Patreon page. Here’s the video for the campaign…

Flash Fiction: Shadows

“It is too late to turn back – for all of us,” I said. “We have to go on. We were chosen for a reason.”

Around us the landscape had turned starker until only short brush remained and the red dust was whipped into the air to scour our faces and hands. The prison tomb, after all, had been built to be forgotten. And it had been forgotten for nearly a thousand years. Books, though, can make memories last a lot longer.

 

It felt an eternity before we reached the cliffs where the Khalver had been entombed. Some of us – those too weak – had been left behind to be buried in the sand. I wondered if their souls would reach the Veil now. But we had no choice but to push on.

 

The tombs were carved into the rock and blood-red stone doors, their once pristine carvings worn by time, stood the only guard. I took the tattered tome from the bag digging into my shoulder and opened it at the passage where the words to open the doors had been written down an age ago.

I stumbled over the old words, but, when I had finished, the doors opened with a deep groan. Skeletal remains lay at the doorway and, now that sunlight shone into the tomb, I could see the mass of roiling grey shadows inside.

One of them rushed out and into Raonaild’s screaming mouth. The light of his soul flickered out in a burst of light.

I could hear my own voice echoing a “No!” against the cliffs.

When Raonaild spoke again, it was not with his own voice – or in his own tongue. I stared at the Khalver before me and dropped the book.

The other shadows rushed from their tomb.

Story Notes:

This story is set in the world of Airtha-Eyrassa (in which my WIP The Charms of Life and Death is set). To read more flash fiction pieces set in this world, you can click on the titles to read Dust Red As Blood and Charms of Ash.