To start off with, I want to thank Alys for this opportunity to guest post on her blog. I really appreciate the help, and I know it was a bit short notice, so thank you for your help and your patience on this! For the guest post, Alys asked if I’d talk about the mythology in Bane of Ashkarith.
Since Bane of Ashkarith is high fantasy, the mythology involved isn’t Earth’s mythology. The myths here are actually all my creation and are rooted in the story of how Alcardia came to be. This mythology has really added to the richness of the world and has allowed for stories like Bane of Ashkarith to come to life. After all, without the myths, where would this particular story be?
When it comes to Alcardia’s mythology, some of it is based on the structures of other myths from Earth’s history. For example, Earth has all kinds of creation myths, and Alcardia is no exception. Sedra, the being that Alcardians know as the Goddess of Magic, is at the heart of that mythology since she was the one who created the Alcardian race.
As with any myth, the stories came from somewhere, and Alcardia is, once again, not an exception to this rule. Sedra did create the Alcardian race, but she did so for the purpose of creating the perfect race of super-soldiers. When it failed, she moved on. Now, however, because of the lies she told and the way she portrayed herself while she was on Alcardia, the Alcardians revere her as the mother of their race.
Another similarity between the mythology Bane of Ashkarith is steeped in, and the lore of Earth is in the pantheon-approach. Much like the Greek, Roman, or Egyptian deities, Alcardia’s mythology contains deities for various aspects of life. Some cultures have more than others, but they all have something. And also much like Greek or Roman mythology, these deities are often less than larger than life. They get involved in all kinds of debauchery and trouble just like Greek, and Roman gods did. This, of course, is owing to the fact that the “gods” that the Alcardians believe in were in fact just more advanced life forms that could make mistakes or do silly things just like their followers can.
The myth that Bane of Ashkarith centers around is that of The Battle of Dubarin Hill and the tales of Ashkarith. This myth spoke of a battle with the Dark God on one side and his sisters—the Goddess of Magic and the Goddess of Light—on the other.
Kaidan and Zerua, the protagonists of the book, set out to prove the myth had some grounding in truth. Since the two of them are Seekers (Alcardia’s version of archaeologists), it’s their job to prove that the historical records they find about different events are accurate. What they prove instead is that the myths and the historical records—what little they had—concealed the reality of the battle. This plays with the idea that mythology is often based on truth but doesn’t always tell the whole truth. It also plays with the concept that what was once right can become evil, and what was once evil can become what people view as right.
One of the really fun things about the mythology in this book is that there’s someone who can tell Kaidan and Zerua what happened. They don’t just hear about it or read about it in some dusty old book they found. They actually get to witness what happened with their own eyes. This made for some pretty neat scenes between Banach and the two Seekers.
I had a lot of fun playing around with the myths and legends in Bane of Ashkarith and elsewhere. Really, the mythology of Alcardia is a recurrent theme in all the Alcardian series. The people groups and cultures of Alcardia all have their unique spins on the gods and goddesses from their history, and new ones have definitely arisen since the first people on Alcardia were elevated to god-status. But the legends and myths that the people tell play a role in daily life in every culture, so each book gives a fresh glimpse of the myths and culture of each group in that novel.
The story of Banach and Rith, the Dark God, as well as Sedra’s and her sister continually weaves through the Alcardian novels and provides an undercurrent to much of the writing. Most of the cultures, assuming they don’t worship a singular god or goddess, believe in these four deities. Rith in particular crops up a lot because his name has become a swear word or by-word for people all over Alcardia. The others also crop up on occasion through expressions or in some bit of history that’s revealed.
So really, when it’s all said and done, the mythology that’s introduced in Bane of Ashkarith is an integral piece of everything that follows. Without that, some of the books wouldn’t even make sense. The prophecies and warnings issued by Banach and the historical records kept by both sides shape everything about the world and its occupants. The mythology of Alcardia honestly just can’t be separated from Alcardia or the world wouldn’t be Alcardia. And I think that’s what has made it so much fun. It has a flavor like nothing else I’ve worked on, and that flavor has worked its way into other novels outside the Alcardian universe as Sedra spread her influence beyond the planet where she first created sentient, human-like life.
Kaidan Tadegan is working on a new site trying to prove the myth that two armies of the gods clashed there. While on the dig site, he discovers the evidence he’s looking for, but he gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a woman’s bones in a section of the dig site where no other remains have been found.
As he digs the bones out, he discovers a journal with the woman’s body, which tells a story that, if true, will turn the myths of the old world and the established concepts of good and evil on their heads. Startled by the find, Kaidan sets out to discover whether the diary’s claims have any validity.
But when the diary leads to a city that’s supposedly long gone, Kaidan’s journey becomes more difficult than expected. Things become even more tangled when he discovers that the city isn’t gone, but it’s no place for the living.
Unable to give up on his quest, he forges ahead. What lies ahead is uncertain, and even more uncertain is whether Kaidan will survive this quest. He has only two questions in his mind. Will he find the truth in this city of the dead? And will the world accept the truth?
Ariel Paiement is a fantasy author who writes the occasional historical fiction or science fiction novel. She enjoys all ranges of books and writing when it comes to reading, though fantasy and science fiction are her favorites. She likes to spend time coming up with new ideas or in wild flights of imagination. If asked what she spends most of her time doing, she’d tell you that she spends most of it reading or writing one thing or another. She is the author of On the Narrow Way in the anthology Above and Beneath: The World of Angels and Demons and In Darkness Lost, a stand-alone fantasy adventure novel. Her novel, Bane of Ashkarith, is coming out on July 31st and is the first in the Legends of Alcardia series.