From the Vault: Ruins of the Zodiac Gods

Cirrut Imwe from Rogue One

Figured that was the only blind warrior people would recognize these days.  You’ll find out what that has to do with this older story idea later on.  Anyway, this one is called ‘Ruins of the Zodiac Gods’, which is going to be connected to ‘The Ether Thief’.  I’ve been tinkering with this one since college and repeatedly tossed it into the back burner because I had time.  I even tried to run a game based off it, which resulted in a rather massive disaster and I paused the whole thing for a while.  Now, I’m nearing the time to plan and outline it for far into the future.  There are questions that I have been avoiding until now.

The story takes place on Canst’s Fields, which is the western continent of Windemere.  It doesn’t have as many big cities and is a lot of open space.  The biomes have been jammed together and twisted a lot more thanks to the Great Cataclysm, which is why you don’t have large clusters of people.  One thing this place has that Ralian doesn’t is ruins from the older world.  This includes 11 special ones that hold the spirits of the long lost Zodiac Gods of Windemere.  They fell into a slumber after losing their bodies in battle against a demon that had been trapped in a well.  You can guess where this is going.  The demon escapes and turns the nearest town into glass.  This is one of the few big cities of the region, so it’s a problem.  The demon wants to have a great battle with the gods again and has sent . . . one person . . . many people . . . to become hosts for the spirits.

Here is where I run into a problem.  Originally, I had only two heroes and then I created multiple.  This has always been a short story concept too, which is why I struggle between the ideas.  Let me break these down:

  • The two hero concept involves Freya Arvanti and Analise Silverjade.  Freya is the daughter of a guard while Analise is the spoiled daughter of the mayor.  They do not get along and their fighting during a contest in the forest is why they aren’t in the city when the curse goes down.  Freya makes a deal with the demon, Criss, to get the spirits and Analise demands to go along.  There’s a lot of growth for them during there quests, especially given their personal challenges.  Analise turns out to be a song caster and has kept it hidden for years because people are scared of them.  Freya is a skilled spear fighter using her father’s enchanted weapon, but she’s blind.  I mean, completely blind with only her other senses to work with.  Being a half-elf, she does have slightly better hearing, but that’s not much.  I really want to write a blind character who has trained to work with her disability.  Now, this is the idea I’m leaning back towards.
  • The multiple hero idea still has Freya and Analise, but they are part of a group of kids that were in the forest.  Each god is gained by a different child and they go off in groups with only a handful surviving each quest.  Already not liking this.  All of them come together at the final battle with many of them dying.  As I write this, I’m not sure I like it.  We don’t get the Freya/Analise relationship growth that I keep finding appealing in the first scenario.  Might have made my decision now.

So, every god spirit will have a challenge as the heroes traverse the continent.  I haven’t decided if I want the host(s) to gain special powers from each of the 11 spirits or just become stronger.  I might do both with the powers being fairly mild in the same way I gradually upgraded Kira Grasdon in Quest of the Brokenhearted.  If I do go with the first scenario then Freya will be the only one growing and I don’t want her to go rocketing to a point that Analise isn’t important. I did stumble onto plans to make a secondary villain who joins with Criss and gives Analise someone to battle.  I might keep that in there and fine tune it.

The gods are a wild variety too:

  1. Cinsyrian- God of Traveling/Horses
  2. Deathmare- God of Darkness (Only time period he rules is the Day of Darkness)
  3. Fiend- God of Demons
  4. Gerdoria- Goddess of Dragon Magic
  5. Hylantros- God of Trolls
  6. Ilteran- Goddess of Birth
  7. Kirin- God of Magical Beasts
  8. Nemis- Goddess of Women
  9. Phergon- God of Slaves
  10. Thornfist- God of Adventurers
  11. Trickster- God of Cunning and Pranks

Most of these are minor deities in the Windemere pantheon because they’re fairly niche in what they focus on.  Deathmare, Kirin, and Nemis might be the most powerful of them.  I still haven’t worked out all the details of them.  Phergon sounds like it would be a bad one, so I’m trying to make it better.  Maybe I should have a few evil gods and goddesses in this pantheon.  Doesn’t make sense for them stepping up to be heroes though.  I haven’t considered when they fought Criss either.  If they were still active after the Law of Influence came about then their jobs could have changed.  Phergon could have been an avenger until he was no longer able to get involved.  So, it’s possible that they were given the zodiac god status since they were severely affected by the new law.

Looks like I have a lot more questions than I realized here.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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12 Responses to From the Vault: Ruins of the Zodiac Gods

  1. The detail you go into, when figuring out your characters, is astounding, Charles – and it shows in your books I’ve read so far (which reminds me, I better crack on and finish the Legends of Windemere (books 13, 14 & 15), then start into the War of Nytefall series, before you get this new one going 😱)

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    • Thanks. This book is very far into the future, so there’s time. I probably won’t finish Nytefall until 2021 or 2022 depending on how much free time I have. Ruins will join the Ether Thief period, which comes after my Slumberlord stuff. Think I’m going to need to go goofy positive after the darkness of Nytefall. I should really make a post about the next series instead of bouncing around.

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  2. It does look like a lot of questions but I think you’ll figure them out.

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  3. I suspect you’re right, and the approach that leads to a number of child deaths would not be well received. You could, of course, make the gods’ “hosts” older. Or set it up that only the god is killed, and the host would be banished back to wherever they came from. There could be plenty of drama for characters who have been hosts to a god and now must become a mere mortal.

    Your god Deathmare would become more significant if his power went up every night, when the characters were in caverns without natural light, and so on. As for Phergon, perhaps instead he could be the god of those unjustly punished? That might include slaves but also anyone who was accused on a crime they didn’t commit and had their livelihood destroyed. So those people might be looking for a god to help them get revenge?

    I’m interested that you have a god of women and a god of childbirth. Those seem redundant, and women are not really a separate species the way demons and trolls are. Looking at your list, you might balance it a bit by bringing in a god of something small that seems ineffectual, like bees or ants? It’s your story, obviously.

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    • 1. That reaction is actually why I don’t think I’ll go near a story that is supposed to have rough edges and child characters. I attempted to make them older, but then the story lost something. A character aspect was supposed to be kids growing up quicker than they would and being thrown into a dangerous, adult situation. If they all came out alive then the threats and demon would be empty. The host wouldn’t have anywhere to go back to either. With their hometown cursed, they’d end up being left alone in the wilderness. Again, it also feels like a lame cop out and begs the question of why have child heroes anyway if there’s no risk of death.

      2. Deathmare is going to be an odd one because he only covers one day in terms of the zodiac. I was thinking night vision, which would actually be useless for Freya given she’s blind. I have a vengeance god and there’s going to be one for justice turning up in another story, so I wouldn’t be able to take Phergon in that direction. I’m thinking of making him/her a god that was created by the prayers of slaves over the centuries, so it’s more of a comforting presence or a source of hope.

      3. Actually, I only said birth, which isn’t always childbirth. While that does fall under this, it can also include reproduction of other methods as well as rebirth. That means resurrection and inner changes are here too. I don’t really see it as redundant with women. As far as women having their own god, that’s fairly common in older religions. There are also prayers specifically to praise woman. That’s why I felt that there might be a goddess for them while there isn’t one for men. It doesn’t have to do with separate species, but how there always tends to be a special spot for women in pantheons. Not sure how a god of bees or ants would work since those would fall under the nature or animal goddess. I’d be worried about going too niche there.

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  4. I like that you share this stuff with us. I have ideas that will take me years into the future, too. Makes me feel less like an outlier. I might never write them all, but it’s nice to have something partially outlined that I can jump on.

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  5. Pingback: Goal Post: Weekend Before the Hunger Strikes (Yom Kippur on Monday) | Legends of Windemere

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