Welcome to my A to Z Challenge 2019 posts. This year I’ll be writing about the world of Kinyal which is the setting of my epic fantasy novels and short stories. These posts offer insights into the world’s history, locations, and factions, but do not spoil any of the events or secrets from the novel.
You don’t need to read them in order, and as the challenge progresses, I’ll do my best to add links to related topics for each post.
The Land of the Light
Devanshari is a kingdom in Juamha, one of the two continents on Kinyal. Bright-skinned and bright-headed, they often call their kingdom the Land of the Light, referring to the artifact placed in their capital: Hajihali. In arcane language, “haji” means light, and the meaning of the artifact’s name is “the Light Giver” (and because of it, one of the popular female names is “Haja” which could be translated as “the luminous one”). But in fact, the artifact does not emanate actual light, but an ambient magic that people affected by it can perceive as light.
Hajihali was built by ancient inventors, and it constantly channels energy from the demon world. Its power protects the people from sickness, and the land from blights, and it’s capable of creating a magical barrier in various distances, protecting the kingdom. In the beginning, it might have been only considered a useful device, but with the time passing, the Devanshari started to regard the artifact with more and more reverence, until it became center of their religion. They started believe that the Light isn’t coming from the demon world, but it’s a manifestation of another being. Legends grew, to include the divine inspiration behind the artifact’s creation. What’s interesting, though, no religious rituals or orders formed, with the Light being a benevolent and ever-present entity only called upon in such moments like expression of dread or gratitude.
The presence of Hajihali has more influence than just giving it a religious status and forming beliefs. Since the artifact channels magic, it emanates through the land and people, and its beneficial influence aside, it also affects Devanshari culture and their way of life.
After initial expansion of the kingdom, people quickly discovered that the artifact’s reach and power actually has its limits, therefore the borders of Devanshari became defined early on, and no new lands are annexed or settled.
Also, over time, the Devanshari became addicted to “the Light’s glow”, so – in fact – to magic. Just like people from sunny lands don’t do well in places where the weather is harsher and complain about darkness, the Devanshari quickly become unsettled and irritable when away from the borders from their land.
To maintain trade with the kingdoms in Tyorane which means weeks-worth of sea travel, the Devanshari found a temporary remedy in the form of the Light’s essence that staves off the withdrawal symptoms, but it doesn’t cure the condition, and all people in Devanshari are in fact addicted to magic, so they rarely willingly travel outside of their borders.
The isolated kingdom
It would be impossible to convey whole history of a nation in one post.
The kingdom’s origins are unknown. Some claim that the Devanshari people are descendants of the Tivarashan or Zemarion from the continent of Tyorane journeyers and explorers, and their bright skin color is a result of the magic environment they live in. Of course, the Devanshari themselves claim it was the other way round, and both Tivarashan and Zemarion were founded by Devanshari exiles.
The crown is passed down the qi’Devanshari family, but through its sometimes turbulent history, the actual relation of the ruling king to the family could be at best very distant.
As mentioned above, the Devanshari aren’t expansive in their nature, and prefer their semi-isolation. Because of the Light’s energies, they don’t practice either arcane or high magic, and their inventions are more mechanical than magical in their nature. That contributes to the perception of Hajihali as a divine object instead of a man-made tool, since the knowledge of its intricacies and construction was lost ages ago.
Safe behind the barrier of magic, they pursue art and craftsmanship, so their goods are often sought-after in Tyorane, and even though they keep well-trained army, including the elite Royal Guards, they rarely engage in wars or skirmishes, preferring to ignore the issues of the world outside their borders.
If you’d like a taste of the world, my free collection contains two of the stories from my free short story collection are set in Kinyal. The Arcanist and the Mage Killer and Scourges, Spells, and Serenades tell of the early adventures of Kamira and Veelk, the main protagonists of the upcoming novel.
You can get the collection by signing up to my newsletter.
All posts in this year’s challenge (links updated with new posts):
Arcane Magic || Barriers and Circles || The Cataclysm || Devanshari || Essence || Free City of Kaighal || Gildya Magna || High Magic || Imbued Stones || Juamha || Kamira Altrainne || Languages || Mage Killers ||
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.