Creating the World of Velyn
Precipice, an epic fantasy tale about two sisters driven to retrieve a stolen book of magic before its power can be harnessed for evil.
Anthony DeRouen’s debut novel Precipice offers many intriguing elements to the reader; a dangerous hunt for a book of twisted power, a Lord Marshal leading his massive army against his brethren to the east, thrilling sword battles and clashes of magic, relentless assaults from ruthless pirates, and the discovery a companion from the most unlikely of places - the enemy’s home front.
At the very core of Precipice, however, stands the utter and complete failure of the world’s underpinnings, and the hard choices the protagonists have to make in order to overcome them. Readers are introduced to the world of Velyn through the eyes of Danika Del Ray, a young woman born with a rare gift that allows her to channel healing energies. Beyond her station as a mystical mender of wounds and eviscerator of disease, she holds a military officer’s rank in a country not her birthplace. This is well and good, you see, for the nations of Velyn have enjoyed relative peace for many years. Trade between provinces runs high, and more importantly the trust between kings and lords is firm.
Underneath that blanket of peace, trouble stirs. Shorelines fall under siege, creatures of nightmare overwhelm strongholds, and the Book of Bel’al goes missing. These dark turn of events thrust Danika and her older sister Kiruna, a strong wizard in her own right, into widespread conflict. Each sister embarks on a path to right the wrongs, but soon find themselves ensnared by the very laws and social mores that kept them safe all these years.
I wanted Velyn to be a living, breathing world. An invisible and all-encompassing force you could touch, hear, and smell. As the story progresses and the characters develop and change, so does the setting around them. My inspiration for creating Velyn was three-fold: I used elements of the Roman Empire, ancient Egypt and Somalia, Africa. Surprised by the third-element? I was too, in a way. Somalia is a rudderless, volatile, war-torn country most remembered for the 1993 incursion of U.S. Special Forces and resulting Battle of Mogadishu. Rolling back the clock to circa 1980 you receive a different picture. Glittery white sand beaches, palm trees swaying against a gentle breeze, rolling dunes, and lush vegetation. Marka, Somalia transformed my medieval province of Ahnar, which in itself became the heart of Velyn.
Somalia is part of the African continent whereas Ahnar is a solitary island province in the Sea of Tears. In my creation of the outlying provinces The Sovereign States of Sanura were created, followed by Prystan, The Dalzia Floodplains, and the Wyvern’s Tail. Other countries featured on the world map are Stygia, the largest country in Velyn, Xioun, a poisonous wasteland, and the Shadow Isles. These places are landmarks in history where epic battles and powerful magic eviscerated humanity’s grasp, leaving desolation, frost and flame.
Readers who glance over the world map included with the paperback and e-book editions of Precipice may easily overlook the strip of boundary separating Xioun from Kopani. The Ipera Gate draws some resemblance of Terry’s Goodkind’s boundary separating the Old World and New World, and George R.R. Martin’s colossal Wall along the border of the Seven Kingdoms. In truth, the Ipera Gate draws inspiration from Gustave Dore’s illustration of the Gate of Hell, based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.
Erected under the watchful eye of Dhavid Sandslayer, the last Diviner of Velyn, the Ipera Gate stood as humanity’s greatest achievement. A 20-mile wall of stone and basalt rock reaching upwards of a half-mile, impervious to damage and imbued with magic preventing anyone from crossing over. Legends speak of a corridor within the massive fortification, accessible by a key now lost throughout the ages.
I’m certain other authors have found more unique ways of creating worlds. We can’t help but pull real-life elements into our fictional world. It’s something that comes naturally. Sometimes it’s my dream of visiting the Amber Fort in India or Conway Castle in England. Other times it’s my simple adoration for Hawaii. Music also had a part in the creation of Velyn. Han’s Zimmer score for Tears of the Sun invoked images of a majestic landscape unclouded by western civilization under siege by malevolent forces.
The world of Velyn stands as a vision comprised of places I’ve seen and not seen, cultures I’ve encountered or studied, mixed with fantastical elements that could only exist in a world governed by powers we can never fully understand. Thank you for reading.
About the Book
Precipice is an epic fantasy adventure revolving around Danika and Kiruna Del Ray, two sisters born with unique mystical abilities who must retrieve a stolen book of magic before its power can be harnessed for evil. Together, they must battle to overcome an array of obstacles impeding their quarry, arising not just from the enemy, but also from allies who secretly work against them. Precipice is the first thrilling act in the A Show for the Gods series.
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About the Author
Anthony DeRouen was born and raised in Redwood City, California. Anthony began writing short stories and fan fiction in 2008. He has published one novel and written two others in the A Show for the Gods series: Precipice, Diviner, and End of Dreams.
A growing passion for online role-playing games introduced Anthony to the world of fan fiction where he compiled numerous stories and articles for his fellow guildmates to enjoy.
In 2009 while drafting a fantasy article for a friend’s gaming website he fell love with the concept of a battle healer who defends a country not her own against sinister forces bent on releasing a terrible power. A number of plot lines were developed along with how the world would appear at the height of its economical and political strength in the beginning, and then deteriorate as events unfolded.
When Anthony is not writing, he’s playing MMO’s such as Guild Wars 2 and Everquest 2, or training for obstacle course runs.