The Art of
Where Shadows Lie
Welcome to the Exiled Lands of Carinn!
Lirin is the middle Kingdom, the core of what used to be the Silvarin Empire. It is the rice-basket of the world and the greatest producer of staple foods and miners of gold.
Miriel is the western Kingdom, mountain-bound and rich in the precious magical metal known as cerulean.
Namnia is the northern Kingdom, with the independent province of North Island. A theologically divided land, it is the poorest and most isolationist of the Kingdoms.
Seehana is the southern Kingdom, surrounding the Mondaer. With a recently established parliamentary monarchy, it is a country striving for innovation.
The Mondaer Desert is home to the mysterious red-eyed Mondaer and vast supplies of copper.
The Jiakappa Rainforest hides the tribes of the Jiakappa people, and is the source of the powerful drug, Serindalla.
The Tekomii Glaciers cold and desolate, they shelter the Tekomii people, who are on the brink of annihilation from Namnian incursions into their land.
Tirit Mindel is the Island of the Wise, which houses the prestigious Academy, where the best and brightest of Carinn are trained.
The Island Union is a conglomeration of independent islands, mostly ruled over by pirate lords and outlaws.
The Illustrations by John Fisher
(associated quotes may contain spoilers)
On Rainswept Streets
“Won’t kill us? Don’t make me laugh,” Fay shouted back, then loosed as a soldier broke ranks towards her. The arrow lodged in his eye, and Fay had another drawn before he hit the ground.
Gabe adjusted his stance and flicked his soaking bangs out of his eyes, ready for the fight that was about to come. “Just like the old days, right?” he asked Fedrik, not taking his eyes off the guards.
“Wet, outnumbered, and about to die? Yeah, just about,” Fed replied, taking a half-step back to better grab hold of Elenor’s wrist. “Makes me wonder what the fuck I’m doing back here with you two.”
“I’m going now, come with me or don’t but unless you’re prepared to carry me out of this city kicking and screaming, I’m leaving.”
She twisted in his grip, planted her weight on her bad leg despite a blinding amount of pain, and elbowed him squarely in the ribs. His grip loosened as he doubled over, and she took the opportunity to yank away. Fay made it three steps before a pair of strong arms encircled her and Fedrik lifted her clean off her feet.
“What the fuck? Put me down!”
“No. If kicking and screaming is how it has to be, then that’s what I’ll do, but I’m not letting you throw your life away. Not even for Gabriel. He would never forgive me if I let you do this, Fayrian.”
The priestess picked up the golden heron coronet set on display atop a crimson velvet cushion and placed it reverently in her mother’s hands. Elenor caught a quick smile exchanged between them before the Queen turned back to the room, and spoke in a clear, carrying voice.
“Then let it be known that on this day, Elenor Lirion, first of her name, my second born, Princess of Lirin and scion of house Lirion, Miri, Ondai, and Tellen, is named Heir Presumptive to the Throne of Lirin, and takes on all duties and responsibilities the title implies.” Taking a step forward, she placed the coronet on Elenor’s brow.
"May you carry this burden with honor and grace and be watched over by the Five."
Night of Terror
“I don’t see mountains anymore.” His excitement rose as they broke through the clouds. A nighttime vista of rolling hills spread out before them, and beyond them shimmering sand.
The Mondaer desert.
“Open your eyes, Fay.”
“You’ll want to see this.”
“What part of ‘I’m terrified of heights’ did you not understand, asshole?”
They were swooping lower and lower, gliding on warmer currents in the air. The Mock’s flanks heaved with every breath and Fedrik felt his first glimmer of optimism in weeks.
Stalking Has Consequences
The city wasn’t like the wood and brick of the north, or the marble and sandstone of the south. Almost every building was made of stone of countless hues, from rusty red granite to gray-blue slate. They sported shimmering glass windows and bright, colorful mosaics along their walls. Homes and tall towers rose from the hills and valleys of the island in a haphazard yet flowing pattern that moved with the landscape instead of vanquishing it. Rope bridges and circuit-powered gondolas connected many of the towers, and thousands of magic-fueled lights dotted the streets and squares like the most brilliant of starry nights. Above all of it, on the rooftops and the cliffs at the southern edge of the Island, Mock Dragons of all five colors perched or spread their wings in preparation for their morning flights.
The Lies We Tell
“Questions later, we have to go.”
That didn’t budge them so Elenor just shouldered past Jo, wincing with every step, and dragged Gabriel up to his knees, then his feet. “Not much further. Just a few more steps. I’m afraid I can’t carry you like you carried me at Tellen Manor so you’ll just have to manage.”
The made him chuckle, the sound raspy and wet. Together, they hobbled forward. When he saw the doorway and stumbled, Elenor grunted and kept walking, tugging Gabe along. She stepped over the ethereal threshold and turned back to Paul and Jo. “Are you two coming or not?”
“Bossy, isn’t she?” Jo asked, voice slightly dazed as she still stared at the shimmering outline of the portal
“You have no idea,” Paul muttered, equally entranced.