Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Controlling the Weather

Aftermath of the "Blizzard that Never Was" in NJ

Magic Would be Nice

In the novels of The Saga of Magiskeep,  Jamus' ability to control the weather is often impacted by the strength of his Will. Turan's weather does not bend to his every wish, however.

What is curious is that often, when his mind is disrupted by his emotions, the skies begin to storm. It is a mystery to be unraveled as the novels progress. Rains torrent down when he is driven from Magiskeep to the Rim by Sagari's attack and it is only when he commands, "Enough," that the storms abate.

Primarily, it is not Jamus' intent to disturb the normal flow of nature in his world. While it seems his Magic is perfectly capable of controlling nature, to him, that is not a right choice. Just like he tries not to interfere with the free will of other people unless it's absolutely necessary, he tries not to interfere with the natural order of things.

One of the recurring themes in The Saga is the abuse of power. Men and Sorcerers of stature and command are easily tempted to use their power for selfish gain.  Controlling the weather deliberately would be one of those abuses.

What if a Magician demanded sunny days, day after day just to satisfy his own pleasure? Would he then have to adjust the clouds so as not to starve the cornfields of water? Would he then have to enchant the crops to grow?

Recognizing that using Magic always has consequences is an important theme in the novels. Over and over again, Jamus faces this realization.  Part of his character is his ability to remember that each time he is tempted to use Magic to solve a crisis.

We here in New Jersey just missed getting crushed by a massive blizzard. Nature gave us a break by sending the storm some fifty miles out to sea. My friends in New England are still getting the brunt of it, but we lucked out. At times like this, I wish I had the Magic to send the storm far from their shores so they did not have to suffer the consequences.  But, alas, I do not. All I can do is send them my good wishes and a few prayers.

Besides, if I could send that storm away, where would it go? Who else might have to pay the price of my magic?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Way of Mirrors

Reflections of Reality

One of the important places in the world of the Saga of Magiskeep is the Way of Mirrors.

Four mirrors set facing each other allows the Magician entrance into the Way. Once inside, he is faced with hundreds of mirrored corridors with doors opening into infinite worlds, all some kind of reflection of reality.

The Way is the home of reflections of people who have gazed into a mirror on a day when Magic chose to capture their reflection. This is where things get interesting.

As we all know, each time we look at our own reflection in a mirror it changes depending on our moods, the lighting, the time of day.  Sometimes we are pleased with what we see. Sometimes we are not. One day we may think our faces are beautiful and then the next morning when our eyes are half closed with sleep and the world seems dreary all around, we see a tired, grouchy vision of ourselves, an entirely different reflection.
Illustration by David Melanson

Just suppose that the mirror has the ability to capture those reflections and give them life in a world on the other side of the glass?

Have you ever put two mirrors opposite each other? Have you seen the endless hallway of reflections reaching to eternity? If you have, you have seen the Way. It is an infinite world and within it are thousands upon thousands of reflected worlds.

Skilled Magicians like Jamus, can learn to navigate the unending corridors and even use the Way to pass from one place to another, and from one time to another.

But the Way is fraught with dangers. Reflections long for True Life, an existence with body and breath in the real world. To gain it, they will try to overcome those who enter the Way in order to take their places in the real world. Those foolish enough to fall into the traps and false worlds  within may never find their way back to reality.

Mastering the Way demands the Sorcerer follow the halls to their very end, where he will meet himself--or his exact opposite--join with that alter ego and conquer him. By closing the circle of the Way, he has learned its secret, and become a whole and powerful individual in control of both his own worse nature and the Way itself.  While never quite free of its dangers, he may wander its halls boldly daring its challenges and using its Magic to his own benefit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Breaking the Rules

mirror by hatalar205 - A simple mirror clipart

Reflections and Tapestries

Magiskeep's world does have its rules, particularly with the Magic. And it's important that characters, the plot, and circumtances in the stories maintain those rules. What cannot be today, also cannot be tomorrow.

Or can it?

One of the more complex and intriguing facets of the world of Magiskeep is the Way of Mirrors, and the Riddles of the Tapestries. Both immerse Jamus in worlds alien to the "real" Magiskeep.

One of the frequently repeated concepts is that "time has no meaning in the Way."  Once Jamus enters the Way of Mirrors, reality it twisted by reflections. Each "room," each mirror offers a new world with its own rules. Most often it's possible to find parallel existences easy enough to understand, But once in a while, reality becomes so skewed by reflections of reflections, that nothing is as it seems.
As a Master of the Way, Jamus is usually equipped to deal with these strange worlds and those who people them. Yet, even for him, it is often a challenge.

The tapestries are full of worlds twisted from the expected course of history by broken threads in their weaves. Essentially, something has gone wrong in the passage of Turan's history, and until it's fixed, the future of the Great Circle is threatened. It becomes Jamus' task to discover the flaw and mend it, restoring the tapestry's integrity, thus assuring the existence of the world he knows.

These flaws are the riddles he must solve on his path to become the Rivermaster. Each riddle solved takes him one step nearer to his ultimate destiny to protect the world from The Black Dragon's ambition to end the Great Circle and plunge the world back into ignorance where he and his minions can rule mankind.

Usually, a tapestry is woven of the Eldenlore, the ancient history of Turan. They tend to be filled with real people who once lived in the land. Still the twisted threads can distort the rules, creating worlds with unexpected Magic. Again, as Jamus' destiny demands, he must learn that Magic and master it in order to restore Turan's Way.

So, as far as the rules go in Magiskeep, it all depends on where and when you are.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just a Little Summary

The Saga of Magiskeep

Bred by Magic, born by Magic, blessed by Magic and cursed by Magic, Jamus the hero of "The Saga of Magiskeep" follows his destiny in this new fantasy novel series by Jean E. Dvorak

Ruled by his destiny to become the Rivermaster, the Master of all Turan's Magic, Jamus must constantly battle forces he cannot control to maintain his own sense of integrity. The lure of power challenges him at every turning. From his childhood as the foster son of The Master Mage Sagari, to his manhood as Master of Magiskeep, Jamus faces Reflections from the Way of Mirrors, riddles in the elden tapestries, Shadows spawned by the Black Dragon, and petty rulers on his life's journey. Enchanted horses, noble lords, alluring ladies, Seers and Hags, warriors and Riders travel the path of Turan's Way as the adventure unfolds. Meet Jamus in "Kingdom Beyond the Rim," learn of his trials in "Honor's Way," enter a forbidden world in "The Wall Between," face deceptions in "Silvren Shards," fly on the power of the "White Wind," face the Darkness in "Blackwing Rising," and solve the final riddle of "The Fifth Dragon." Each novel brings new adventures, new challenges and one more discovery of the Magic River's secrets.

Books already published are: "Kingdom Beyond the Rim," "Honor's Way," and "The Wall Between."

All books will be available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon. Epub versions are for sale at Smashwords, Nook, IBooks, Kobo, and Lulu. Why not join in the epic adventure?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Magic Still Rules

Rules, What Rules?

As I've noted in my last post on Magic, it's important that, in order to maintain a sense of integrity in a fantasy, the rules the author sets up must be followed.

Readers of fantasy need to stay in a state of "willing suspension of disbelief." What that means is that anyone reading a fantasy is ready to believe in the fantasy world, and decides to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy the story and all its "made up stuff."  It's up to the writer to stick to the rules and keep the world consistent so readers will not stop believing in its fantastical elements.

For instance, if one of the rules is that Magic is that a Sorcerer cannot heal himself, it's important that never happens in the story. Otherwise the reader will suddenly lose patience with the fantasy. "What? How did he do that? That's impossible."  Disbelief is no longer suspended and the basic premise of the story fails.

Magicians in Magic can never use Magic directly on themselves. They can create illusions around themselves to change their appearance, but they cannot really change themselves. Nor can they Heal themselves in case of injury or illness.

One of the interesting exceptions is the ability to fly, a skill Jarien shows in "Master of the Clouds." Master Magicians are able to lift their horse's strides through the air, but they themselves cannot use that same Magic on their own bodies. Or can they?
Illustration by David Melanson

Clearly, Jarien proves that wrong. But there is a mystery there. He is not an ordinary boy and while his story is not essential to the plot of the larger novel, the riddle of his unique ability lingers. He longs to take to the clouds with a belief so strong that somehow it works for him until the moment he is told it's impossible. Then, he falls.  Something strange is at work.

I have to leave it there because the essence of that mystery is revealed much later in the Saga. Needless to say, Jamus himself will encounter the riddle. As the Rivermaster, all riddles belong to him in the end. His Magic flows in the deepest currents of the River and is quite extraordinary in all of Magiskeep's legends.

Early on in the Saga, he proves again and again that he can do what others have called "impossible" even in the face of such powerful Sorcerers as Sagari.  Both Whim and Simen are proof of that.

The River's waters flow at his command. As the Saga unfolds, their deepest secrets will reveal themselves.  And in the end, all the riddles will be answered.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

SOUTH BRUNSWICK: The epic journey | CentralJersey.com

SOUTH BRUNSWICK: The epic journey | CentralJersey.com

Rules of Magic

Only If You Believe

Once an author creates a fantasy world, she must also create the rules and laws that govern how it works. In an earlier post I wrote about the Magic of Magiskeep. Magic Rivers    This sets up the basics of "Magic 101" in the Saga.

But what about the rules within the Seven Arts?

The first is actually the Rule and Vow of Magic taught to all young Prentices from the start. It is a consequence of Wizardchase, the ancient times when Magicians overused the Magic in the world of Turan, creating the rift between the world of mortal men and the world of sorcery that led to the creation of the Rim.  "Magic is the Power, none other need be sought, if deeds for any other need be done, then deeds have best be deeds undone."  Once he has Magic, the Magician needs no other power over the world, and especially over other men. It is not the Sorcerer's right to try to conquer and dominate the world with his Magic. Magic is all the power he needs. If he thinks he has need of more power, and decides to do something to gain it, he is in the wrong and those acts are better left undone.

Magicians who use their power to manipulate others for their own gain, are treading the path of immorality in Magiskeep's world. However, human nature is difficult to overcome. Time and time again in the Saga, Sorcerers will work on their own desires rather than for the good of the rest of the world. Usually, they must pay the consequences when they do, but power is an easily corrupting force. Lord Acton said best and he was right. Power is a strong temptation and a person who has it often finds it hard not to use it for his own gain.

This is one of the temptations Jamus faces over and over. Turan's Way seems to have destined him to become one the most powerful Magicians who ever lived--the Rivermaster. His struggle against the lure of that destiny and all the challenges it brings is an essential driving force in the Saga.
Illustration by David Melanson

What would you do if you could have anything you wanted with just a wave of your hand? What if you held the power of life and death on your fingertips? Could you contain your rage against your enemies? What would your world be like if you never had any difficulties to overcome? What if every passion, every desire could be fulfilled in a breath? What if you never had to "wait for Christmas" any more?

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great mean are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority." Lord Acton

Is it possible to be a good man with absolute power? That is certainly the goal of Magiskeep's principles. But it's never easy in a world that demands justice.

As far as Magic goes. this is one of the questions the Saga poses. It's worth thinking about.

News: I am featured in the local paper with my novels.
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