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A to Z Challenge 2019: E is for the Essence

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 unnoticeable addiction

If you read the post on the kingdom of Devanshari, you already know that due to Hajihali, the artifact providing the ever-present ambient magic in their kingdom, the people there are addicted to it. Of course, living in such environment, with a constant supply of what their bodies need, means hardly anyone notices the addiction, and for the long time even the scholars weren’t aware of the problem.

The first issues arose with the development of the seafaring and trade. As Zemarion’s merchants arrived, and the exchange of good began, the Devanshari build their ships in order to seize the opportunities and counterbalance Zemarion’s marine fleet. When the first Devanshari ships sailed west, toward the continent of Tyorane, it became clear that the kingdom’s people couldn’t live away from the blessing of their Light – most ships returned to ports, and those few who braved the travel, were believed lost when the sailors’ bodies gave up during the violent withdrawal reaction.

The unique solution

Magic doesn’t naturally belong in Kinyal, so even though it can be channeled to the world and utilized as spells, it doesn’t linger, and the only known ways of preserving it are the circles and imbued stones. Neither of which suited the Devanshari since they don’t practice any form of magic, and experiments with the imbued stones they acquired from Zemarioni merchant turned out fruitless.

The scholars of Devanshari didn’t give up, and through trial and error found a way to condense the ambient magic of their kingdom into a liquid they called the essence of the Light. A few drops of the essence taken with water provided relief from the withdrawal symptoms, though it did little to help cure or control the addiction for magic.

The one-purpose liquid

The production method is one of the Devanshari’s most guarded secrets, and in the past several spies from Zemarion received death sentence for trying to have a peek. As for the essence itself, Devanshari didn’t mind selling it, but it quickly became clear that the essence doesn’t seem to have any other application across magic use and inventions, so the essence trade never flourished. Curiously, it couldn’t serve as a drug either, seemingly having no effect on any other inhabitants on Kinyal, suggesting that over the centuries the bodies of the Devanshari people became uniquely attuned to their artifact’s ambient magic.

As a result, the production of the essence is focused on the Devanshari’s internal needs: providing supplies to sailors and other travelers, as well as building a reasonable stockpile for the times of war, when most of the artifact’s power is directed toward maintaining the protective barrier rather than providing ambiance.

Kaighal’s guild of inventors, Gildya Magna, regularly buys small batches of the essence as a few of their adepts are interested in exploring its properties and applications, but so far, there were no news of any groundbreaking discoveries… unless the Gildya keeps that knowledge for itself.


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 ||

Website | + posts

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.

Joanna Maciejewska

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.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. J.R.Bee

    Love Love LOVE the addiction angle! This whole concept feels like it must have been something of a headache to get it right, there’s so much detail to it 🙂

    1. Melfka

      It was actually quite easy: there were the few core aspects that sprouted the idea. Then I had to figure out how they connect. And after that, all I needed to do was to figure out how it affects all the other aspects of the world.

        1. Melfka

          Yup. Actually in this case it was. Almost all the things clicked together. 🙂

  2. Oh yes… that would create all sorts of stresses, I would imagine. And some of those faultlines will be built into their society – because from the inside the enormity of their addiction won’t be apparent… Nice:)

    1. Melfka

      It’s hardly a spoiler if I say that their addiction becomes their downfall in the end – on both personal and societal level.

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