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.
Although this series of posts focuses on the world of Kinyal, it seems reasonable to mention also the main character of my short stories and upcoming novels – Kamira, so today you can read about her past, leading her to who she is while still learning bits about the world and its workings.
Born into a Tivarashan noble family, Kamira lost her mother to sickness in her early years, but her father, Igeun Altrainne ensured that his only child and the heir to the Altrainne title, wealth and lands received all the education necessary for a woman of her statute to make a carrier – be it in politics, or in the temple, honing her ambitions toward the highest positions in Tivarashan. At the same time, he searched for a suitable match among other noble families, a man who could oversee the finance side of the Altrainne’s wealth, taking care of the manufacturing and trade.
Kamira proved to be a willing student, garnering praises from her carefully-selected teachers, but to her father’s dismay, once she turned of age, she expressed interest in studying high magic. Sending off his only child to distant Kaighal didn’t sit well with Igeun, but in the end her argument of gaining a skill uncommon in Tivarashan convinced him. To be the first Tivarashan high mage could give her more influence than becoming a yet another priestess of the Four or a politician, so reluctantly, he agreed.
An apprentice high mage
What Kamira did not tell him was that she didn’t intend to come back. Having witnessed and tasted the life of Tivarashan nobility and its daughters eternally wrapped up in politics, plotting, and betrayal, she set her eyes on a Free City of Kaighal and focused her ambitions on not only becoming a high mage, but also on becoming one of the archmages in the future.
With little effort she lost the entourage her father assigned to her and arrived at the High Towers as a prospecting student, one of the many hoping to learn magic.
Sadly, High Towers turned out less than she had hoped for. Even though she did well when it came to studying magic as no Tivarashan woman would ever dishonor her family name with lack of wits and knowledge, she quickly discovered the high mages’ school suffered from the same issues she’d seen enough of in her homeland. Politics and flattery often counted as much as the actual scholarly achievements, and students competed for the archmages’ attention, which lead to jealousy and intense rivalry among the most ambitious ones.
Kamira ignored petty games and focused on her academic progress, and soon enough she gained what she was hoping for: an attention of an archmage since to an offer private tutoring was considered a quick path to a promising future in the High Towers. Yet, even that opportunity turned out bitter when she learned that the archmages’ personal students were often chosen not only because of their achievements, but also because of the particular archmage’s more… carnal preferences.
When Kamira learned she would have to sleep with the fourth archmage Kerl to receive schooling, her Tivarashan pride won over her Tivarashan ambition. Kamira told the archmage what she thought of it, and she wasn’t even a bit concerned she’d done it publicly, adding several colorful insults to it.
That earned her expulsion from High Towers, her name becoming famous in a way she didn’t expect: a cautionary tale for all the apprentice high mages.
A meager arcanist
Leaving High Towers didn’t stop Kamira’s pursuit of magic, and soon enough she found an arcanist to teach her. Studying under Master Tijhran, considered as one of the best, made it clear that Kamira had met her scholarly match, and after two years of intensive studies, Kamira left his tutelage with a pact of her own. Her yalari wasn’t of any significance, thus condemning her to a fate many brilliant arcanists suffer: not enough magic to grow.
Yet, Kamira refused to go home and pursue paths her father her hoped for, and she took odd jobs for traveling merchants until a chance encounter with a mage killer named Veelk pushed her onto a more adventurous path: of finding artifacts and books lost in the Cataclysm. Supposedly, she once returned home at her father’s desperate request, but gossip exchanged in Tivarashan noble circles suggests her visit ended in a scandal.
Since then, Kamira and Veelk explore forgotten ruins, half-buried in the sand, bringing their findings to whomever pays the best. They both seem happy with their lives, but ambition is the very core of Tivarashan nature, and one day, Kamira might need to answer its call one way or another.
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.