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H IS FOR HOPE

[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ ("Day-gar-care"); Book I, Escape From Mount Vilipend]

If there is one overarching theme through Escape from Mount Vilipend, it is ‘HOPE’.  What other explanation could there be for thousands of mortals living through unspeakable horrors in an icy, dark fortress for years on end?  When they were rescued, most were emaciated and were unable to walk or see properly in the light.  They were then subjected to months of travel through unbearable conditions as they traversed the icy wastelands they had to cross in their escape and still they continued on to a vaguely described destination, not even knowing if they would ever reach it and many didn’t.

This short extract gives a much better explanation than I can of what I mean by hope being the overarching theme.

“Their journey was a struggle in almost impossible conditions, which had already resulted in so many of their number not surviving.  Their bodies lay buried deep under the snow.  Wherever possible their bodies had been covered with layer upon layer of rock.

At least in their final resting places their bodies would be afforded a dignity which they would never have found at Mount Vilipend.  Yet, even the knowledge of those whose lives had, at least, been afforded final dignity, didn’t lessen the pain Weda’Sel felt for each lost person.  “Dignity in death is such an empty dignity” he told Tirǽche (pronounced ‘Tir esh’) one day after three of the people had been buried.

“That’s true, Weda’Sel, but it’s a dignity nevertheless.  Think for a moment.  If anyone died in those disgusting pens, their bodies were left to rot or, more likely, became groll food.  I don’t believe there is one person who would trade what we have now for what we had then and remember, if we had still been within Mount Vilipend, many more of us would have already died.  We may be colder and more uncomfortable than we were, but that’s only by degrees.  We are free, Weda’Sel and those of us who, unfortunately, do die before we reach our destination, are dying as free people.  That in itself is a dignity.”

G IS FOR GEOFF, GRATEFUL AND GENRE

[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ ('Day-gar-care'); Book I, Escape From Mount Vilipend]

GEOFF:  So what does Geoff have to do The Daighacaer?  Nothing at all but he does have everything to do with my taking part in this A-Z Challenge.  Geoff is my brother and he has a Blog called Geoff’s Blog (I’ve linked Geoff’s picture to his blog).  We are a close family.  Not geographically all the time but close in the love that we all have for one another.  We help one another when necessary, celebrate, laugh and cry with and for one another.  We are truly blessed and for this I am forever grateful.  It was through Geoff that I learned about the A-Z Challenge and it was he who encouraged me to enter it.  So here I am trying to think of something to write about each letter of the alphabet.  I think I must be ‘cooked’ but I’ve got this far and will push towards the end.  If I can do this, I can do anything because “21 days a habit makes” …

GRATEFUL:  I wonder how many people honestly appreciate the daily blessings and gifts they receive?  On my Facebook page yesterday, one of my friends posted this:  “I’m a Realist.  I believe in miracles.”  That pretty much sums up why I live in daily gratitude for the gifts I have and the very many blessings which whisper into my life.  Whisper is what these blessings honestly do because they are so unobtrusive that they are easily missed and I know that I’ve missed more in my lifetime than I care to think about.  That is why I am so grateful for the blessings I do recognise.

GENRE:  Merriam Webster defines Genre as ‘a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterised by a particular style, form, or content’.  It goes on further to give the following example:

“In genre fiction there is an implied contract between writer and reader that justice of a kind will be exacted; “good” may not always triumph over “evil,” but the distinction between the two must be honored. —Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books, 14 Aug. 2003″

The Daighacaer follows the norm in this respect with good versus bad.  I guess fiction must closely mirror life itself because in life, the ‘distinction between the two’ is generally honoured and those who don’t do so are considered aberrant.

F IS FOR FANTASY, FAERÉ AND FORTHCOMING

[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ ('Day-gar-care'); Book I, Escape From Mount Vilipend]

I’ve written all my life but mostly poetry and children’s stories with a few career and industry articles thrown in for good measure.  Although I read Tolkien (didn’t we all?) it was only in the half-hearted manner of a child.  I found it laborious and the imagery went way over my head.  I much preferred Shakespeare (whom I studied avidly in school and still consider to be the best playwright and storyteller ever).  I can hear the groans resounding through the Blogosphere but honestly, I was a serious child who took life oh-so-very seriously.  My poetry was sad or angry with one or two happy anomalies which seemed to happen entirely on their own.   I’m glad that in my ‘very advanced’ years, I’ve at last grown up a little and can enjoy life as it is meant to be enjoyed…

FANTASY:  For me to have even started writing fantasy was a surprise to everyone I know but mostly to me.  I began my story even before reading any (other than Lord of the Rings) fantasy at all.  In fact, when I started writing, the story was going to be a children’s story about Mongooses and Meerkats.  That story made it to about page three and was tossed.  The Daighacaer was a tale waiting to be told and my typing fingers were available to tell it.

FAERÉ: ['Fair-ay']  Why Faeré?  It seemed like a good name for an entire Realm and fitted in quite nicely with the phonetics of Daighacaer – close enough to ‘fairy’ yet different enough to be quite unique.

The Realm of Faeré is under the control of two opposing forces – those of The Lighte and those of The Darke with a Universal Author (Tauan [‘Tau-æn’) overseeing but not interfering in the whole.  Faeré has existed since the beginning of Time and Times and everything which occurs in the Realm is recorded in The Knowledge of Ages to which only certain mortals have access.  Access to The Knowledge of Ages is restricted to The Lighte who initiated it and certain very specific proponents for The Lighte.  Access to this knowledge is one of the reasons for The Darke’s continual attacks on The Lighte.  The one who owns The Knowledge owns Faeré.

FORTHCOMING:  Escape from Mount Vilipend (95% complete) is Book I in the series.  Book II, Raeldysce (‘Ræl-dis’) is well on its way and is about 65% complete.  The other books are in various stages of completion but none is more than 50% complete so will remain under the radar at the moment.

What I’ve done is to use Book I to introduce the proponents for The Darke; Book II will introduce you to the proponents for The Lighte; Book III will expand on The Darke; and Book IV will do the same for The Lighte.  As this is an Epic series, I’ve found this to be the easiest way to proceed in all respects – from a reader’s understanding of the plots and sub-plots to keeping logical aspects together.  I don’t know if it will all work out as I envisage but I hope so…

E IS FOR ENVY, ESCAPE, EVANESCENCE

[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ ("Day-gar-care"); Book I, Escape From Mount Vilipend]

Firstly, on a personal note – Ahhh, what have I done to myself?  The more I read other people’s A-Z posts and Blogs, the more I realise how totally inadequate I am in this art form.  It’s so true that the more one learns, the more one discovers that the less one actually knows and the more one still has to learn.  Whew!

It was certainly not my intention to include ‘ENVY‘ as part of this Blog but ‘life happens when one’s made other plans’ (paraphrase of lyrics for ‘Beautiful Boy’ by Lennon).  I envy the ability of each Blogger I’ve visited and can only hope that one day I’ll get to where you are.  http://www.diffen.com/ puts it this way:  “Envy is the emotion when you want something that someone else has.  Jealousy is the emotion when you fear something or someone might be taken away from you.”  My envy stems from wanting at least a percentage of your abilities…

Secondly, with regard to my novel – The Daighacaer is a fantasy, that is true.  However, I’ve come to understand the power of the fantasy genre to convey ideas and philosophies in an unassuming and non-intrusive manner.

I’ve always known that Tolkien used the fantasy genre very effectively to convey the horrors of the second world war.  I was adamant that I was not going to fall into any ‘typecast’ in this respect but the more I delve into the intricacies of the plot as I’ve written it so far, the more I realise that I also convey my life philosophies in the story.  In hindsight, for that to have happened is totally predictable…

ESCAPE:  The group of mortals who escaped from Mount Vilipend were, at best, destined to become food for Caliginor.  Their escape was not only from the obvious physical one of deprivation; it was also an escape from the mental torture inflicted on them continually by the forces of The Darke.

EVANESCENCE: This is the major theme of The Daighacaer and is, essentially the raison d’etre for the story.  Excuse the pun but all other themes running through the story pale by comparison. [Merriam Webster – evanesce verb: to cease to be visible.  Synonyms dematerialize, dissolve, evanesce, evaporate, fade, flee, fly, go (away), melt, sink, vanish.

The story of The Daighacaer takes place in the Realm of Faeré which is home to many different species of mortal.  The Darke, in its quest to conquer The Lighte, has set off a series of unintended (presumably) consequences which cannot be sustained by the corporeal nature of the Realm.  Should The Darke prevail, the very mortality of Faeré will be destroyed and Faeré will evanesce to continue to exist forever only in myths and folklore.

Here I am already on ‘D’ and I’m still having difficulty understanding or managing this A-Z process any better than when I started.  I write all the time but that’s for my novel.  I’m not comfortable in this person to person conversation which I’m now having through A-Z.  I’ll get better in time I guess or, more accurately, I hope I will.

When I started writing my fantasy, I was amazed that I didn’t seem to have to work very hard at all to manufacture personae for my characters; they developed their individual personalities all on their own.  At one point my daughter asked me what was going to happen next in the story and I told her that it depended on what the characters wanted to happen.  “Don’t be ridiculous, Mom” she said.  “They’re your characters whom you make up in your head.  You decide who, when, where and what.”  I tried to explain that I am only the scribe in this story process and that the characters really do develop the story as they progress through it.  She told me I was ‘cooked’.  I wear that title as a badge of honour.

DAIGHACAER:  When I was thinking about a name for the book series, the name ‘Daighacaer’ (Day-gar-care) kept coming to mind and the meaning which I have chosen for it followed naturally – Flaming Horse Master – weird, I know.  I knew it was a difficult name but its persistent nagging won me over and I’ve come to love it during the many months I’ve been writing.  The name Daighacaer is so very different yet, at the same time, it has a familiarity about it – almost Celtic but not quite…

DARKE: The Lighte versus The Darke; Good versus Evil; Cops versus Robbers – different and yet all the same theme – winners versus losers.  Escape From Mount Vilipend – in fact the whole Daighacaer series – is no different.  Who will triumph; how; when and what will they experience along the way?  That is where the real story lies…

DARZIM:  Evil is as evil does – the darzim (singular and plural) are immortal and amoral creatures of the Underdarke.  In certain circumstances, darzim are granted privileges by The Darke in exchange for their immortality.  Caliginor (see A-Z ‘C’) is one such creature.  Darzim are wholly evil and have no redeeming characteristics.

C IS FOR CALIGINOR

[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ ("Day-gar-care"); Book I, Escape From Mount Vilipend]

The first character to be introduced in Escape from Mount Vilipend is Caliginor, the Darkenighte for The Darke in the Realm of Faeré.

Derivative:  The name Caliginor (“cālīginor”) is derived from the archaic word ‘caliginous’ which means ‘devoid of or deficient in light or brightness; shadowed or black; mistiness, darkness, fog, gloom’.  [Origin: 1540–50; < Latin cālīginōsus misty, equivalent to cālīgin- (stem of cālīgō)]

Description:  Caliginor is essentially an archetype for evil and malevolence who believes himself to be above everyone and everything, including The Darke itself.

The arrogance and depravity of Caliginor knows no bounds and, as one of my focus group readers said “Caliginor is so totally disgusting and what he does is so beyond anything I thought possible that, although I was completely spellbound, all I wanted to do when he was with Delenar in the UnderChambers was to climb into the book and physically take him out myself”.

Caliginor has no redeeming qualities.

In order to keep the blog short, I haven’t included any of the book extracts but an unedited extract of Chapter One is in my Escape From Mount Vilipend classification.  I’ll add some more extracts later.

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