Monday, January 19, 2015

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015

Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery. The Color of Vengeance (The Ties That Bind 2) is published today by Ragnarok Publications. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Rob a Happy Publication Day.

Of Gods, Demons and Witches

So my debut trilogy (The Ties that Bind) features a fair few witch hunters; I call them Arbiters and their superiors, Inquisitors, and they serve the God Volmar. I've long loved the idea of witch hunters and on First Earth (the fantasy world the trilogy is set upon) I decided to give them the same sort of magic they abhor in others because I love a bit of hypocrisy. Of course with the inclusion of witch hunters I'd be remiss if I did not also include some fairly powerful witches.

Now not all witches are evil, nor are they all women, at least not on First Earth but one and all they are hunted by the Inquisition and it's Arbiters. In fact witches are so heavily persecuted on First Earth they are bordering on extinct and those that have survived are forced to run and hide. The Inquisition's reach is long and its servants are powerful in large part because their God, Volmar, is powerful.

The basic premise of magic upon First Earth is that no matter what it is being used for; Runes or Charms, Blessings or Curses, or straight up sorcery, the Arbiter or witch has their own reserve of magic to draw upon, their own limited pool of power. Some of these uses, however, require much greater reserves than the witch has direct access to; in these cases the witch has the ability to request magic from a greater power than themselves. Some may request that power from a specific source, such as Arbiters aligning themselves with Volmar, whereas others make more of an open request not caring which power, be it God or Demon, answers. In this way the witch becomes a conduit for the power of the God or Demon, the magic is supplied to them from this greater power but the witch shapes it into whatever form they require. However, at the same time as receiving power for their own use, the witch becomes a conduit for the God or Demon to effect First Earth through the witch. Think of it as the law of equivalent exchange.

It's worth mentioning at this point that most Gods and Demons do not reside upon First Earth but in the Void (a separate realm barely understood by the people of First Earth), and they are unable to directly effect it for the most part but require a conduit. This is not true of all Gods, there are some (such as the seas Goddess, Rin) who do reside upon First Earth and who can directly effect the world in many ways.

I like to use this example to explain it (mainly because it allows me to use the word “discombobulate”):

A witch wishes to use the sorcery “discombobulate” which requires X power but she does not have X power. She calls out to any God or Demon who will listen to lend her X power. A Demon responds and the witch becomes the Demon's conduit. X power is granted to the witch which she shapes into the sorcery “discombobulate”. On another part of First Earth the Demon uses X power, allowed into the world through the witch, to possess a small boy, turning that boy's actions to further the Demon's agenda on First Earth.

Of course being the conduit for a God/Demon's magical power is draining both in mind and body which severely limits what a witch can do. Only through training and practice can a witch use more powerful sorceries and more frequently before the strain becomes too much for them.

So this is the basics of the magic system I created for The Ties that Bind. I have explained it here partly in the hope it will tease you into picking up the series to find out more and partly because I think it helps to illustrate how complex and satisfying a magic system that uses definite laws and restrictions can be, and hopefully how important it is to have one in place when creating a fantasy world.

The Color of Vengeance
The Ties That Bind 2
Ragnarok Publication, January 19, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Beaten, battered, and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye.

In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge.


The Heresy Within
The Ties That Bind 1
Ragnarok Publications, November 10, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad

Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.


The Price of Faith
The Ties That Bind 3
Ragnarok Publications, May 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Separated and miserable, Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel’urn both have their reasons for wanting to leave the Dragon Empire. Jezzet flees from the wrathful fury of an Empress scorned while accompanied by the ever insidious Drake Morrass, and Thanquil sets out to find and judge his one heretical loose end.

About Rob

Having served in a hundred different offices as a keyboard monkey Rob J. Hayes finally decided to follow his life long passion of daydreaming. After writing a small horde's worth of short stories (many of which can be found on his website), he released his debut trilogy "The Ties that Bind" in 2013 as an indie publication and followed it up with the standalone release The Northern Sunrise in 2014.

Having now signed a deal with Ragnarok to bring "The Ties that Bind" to traditional paper publication Rob is furiously working away at a follow-up series set in the same world.

When not writing Rob is usually found either card gaming, computer gaming, board gaming, dice gaming, airsoft gaming, or pretending to be a Viking.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @RoboftheHayes


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