You are currently viewing A to Z Challenge 2019: M is for Mage Killers

A to Z Challenge 2019: M is for Mage Killers

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.

A counter-balance for arcanists

Back even before the times of Zemarion, when arcane arts were only developing, and some people expressed their concerns about the so-called demonologists using their power in unscrupulous ways. Even if most arcanists never crossed the line, a few gruesome events in which arcane magic was used either to harm others or for personal gain grounded common people’s fears. Over time, a group of warriors came together, supported by a few arcanists, and began training for the sole purpose of keeping the magic users in check. As they didn’t only watch arcanists, but priests and charlatans as well, they became known as mage killers, recognized quickly by the main weapon they used, a keshal: a spear with a blade on each end of the shaft, one wide for swings, the other narrow for thrusts.

The golden years

When Zemarion became a powerful kingdom, relying heavily on magic, the need for the mage killers grew and they became a prestigious group, given both their prowess in fighting and their “righteous”—as perceived by many—duty. As more people tried to join, their ranks swelled, and the uniformity of the group started to crumble. Some of the members claimed mage killers should be elitists, whether based on birthright or martial prowess, while others argued whether the group should accept any aid from arcanists or whether they should accept other, unrelated to magic assignments. There were also those who had withdrawn to remote locations, forming semi-religious closed groups and caring little for the outside world.

Over time, the mage killers became even more divided, and even though it never ended as in-fighting, the once large and solid organization crumbled to many smaller, and the name itself stopped carrying any significance since it encompassed many people, from the righteous warriors who supported by arcanists brought down malicious demonologists and villainous priests to ragtag groups of mercenaries who took any work as long as payment was good. The only thing they had in common was the use of keshal.

The lost legend

It’s believed that most mage killers perished in the Cataclysm along with Zemarion, but the truth is that some groups were active shortly after it, joining the high mages’ rallies against the arcanists held responsible for the destruction. But as the world settled, rebuilding and moving forward, there was little need for the mage killers’ services and they faded into obscurity, slowly becoming nothing more than a legend from the lost kingdom of Zemarion.

Yet, every now and then sailors and merchants brings stories from the other continent, Juamha, claiming to have seen men and women carrying keshals. And in Tyorane there’s been word of warriors covered in strange scars who use their keshals with near legendary prowess, so perhaps not all the mage killers factions disappeared.

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

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 10 Comments

  1. sjhigbee

    Love this level of detail, particularly given that this particular weapon has come to denote the lost society and their prowess… A question – how do you keep track of all this stuff and remember it in a timely fashion to thread it throughout your story? How do you prevent getting horribly side-tracked when writing by having to look up a ‘thing’ that you know you’ve worked out in glorious detail, but can’t quite recall all the bits and pieces?

    1. J.R.Bee

      I second that question, how do you keep track of it all? Also, would love to see your rendering of a Keshal.

      1. Melfka

        I’m being “lazy” (sorry, a lot of comments and posts to catch up 😛 ), so you can check the response above. (Sowwie!)
        As for keshal – I could draw it, I suppose. Maybe I’ll add it to one of the next newsletters.

        1. J.R.Bee

          My memory sucks in general, I probably have a lazy brain XD
          Look forward to seeing your weapon of choice

    2. Melfka

      In general, I have a good “story memory” as I call it, so I remember things related to stories in general (like plot lines or characters of books I’ve read years ago).
      Of course, details fade, but my brain operates on “keywords” – key concepts or images that help me to search for a relevant information – and even where to find it. It’s not infallible, of course, but it makes it easy enough, and I’m used to being side-tracked, so I kind of allow it to be a part of my process. 🙂

      1. sjhigbee

        Ooo… *she says enviously* I have the memory of a goldfish – even for my own worlds. Even major details, sadly…

        1. Melfka

          If it makes you any better, my memory is much worse when it comes non-story things. 🙂

          1. sjhigbee

            Nope. Not really – because my memory is rubbish when it comes to my writing, too. Sadly:(

          2. Melfka

            Bummer 🙁 But it’s probably because you have so many other things on your mind.

          3. sjhigbee

            Perhaps! Now I’ve stepped down from the Northbrook job, maybe I will have more headspace:)

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