Tzalaran's favorite hangout, hence it is the name of my blog on the web. Here i'll talk about the writing of "Scales of the Assassin", working title of the start of Tzalaran's saga, and give background information on the world Tzal lives in.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just finished the rough draft of Scales of the Assassin

i need to still draft the last paragraph or so, because i had the perfect ending but then i lost it. so now i'm waiting for that train of thought to come back to me. should finalize those words tomorrow or friday.

This is the culmination of a long, long process for me. started writing this with no clue about anything, and feel that i've grown so much as a novelist during the past few months that i just kept my fingers to the keyboard and typed.

So share a shot of zarzn with me, or better yet get your own. Now i get to start on the sequel to SotA, Scales of Karat-Sizan. Where SotA is mostly about Tzalaran's hunt for a necromancer, SoKS is the story of Tzal starting a war with the lords and nobles of the city who are in league with Axius. this was initially going to be the end of SotA, but due to publishable word length, i've moved those plotlines into a second novel. SoKS is the first novel i will attempt to get representation for, as SotA has some major issues due to how it got cut for word length. i currently am too close to give it the surgery it needs, and i'm hoping that after writing the sequel i'll be up for editing the first.

i'm happy tonight, and hope all of you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Del-Krazeen, the city under Karat-Sizan

on the home stretch to finish SotA, so all my words have been going to work or my draft. my goal date is the 25th, but i might not finish until the 30th...


The central Del city during the rise of their civilization, after the rise of the fiends it was relegated to a Zaranzim stronghold. Del-Triel legends say that this was the reason their people left, as they saw the evil motives in moving the seat of government to one of the newer undercities that had been shaped through their connection with the lower planes.

Today, Del-Krazeen is a rarely remembered name. Known locally as the pit, the only path into the city comes from a shaft connected to the Horned Devil. The uppermost level that connects to the Devil has been cleared of most denizens, and is used as a training ground for the local toughs and street gangs of the city. They wager against one another, placing the coins into a bag that is placed by runners who work for Kruz-Alzeen. One gang goes down and gets a 10 minute head start, and the goal is to retrieve the bag and return to the Devil before your opponents. It rarely happens that way, as the gangs generally fight upon seeing one another, and few of the Tillians don't engage in these contests for the combat.

Below the uppermost level, little is known that isn't rumor or tall tales. Rumors of a thriving town in the deeps persist, despite the attempts to crush the tales. No one living has been to the ancient city of the Del, moved here during the breaking, but there are areas of the upper levels that acted like suburbs that have preserved many artifacts from the Del crafters. According to Del-Triel legends, Del-Krazeen was home to the great pool of Karzuldorn, their chief deity believed to be the spirit of the world itself. Another legend is that the Zaranzim leader still prowls Del-Krazeen, defending it from the fiends until the end of time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Karat-Sizan - Popular establishments 2

been busy so this post came a bit later than i intended... anyway, back to more of the notable businesses of the city.

Dernal's Wares

Hidden in a back alley off Aldana street in the Palace district, this merchant carries many of the odd items that are useful to the sailors, adventurers, and rogues of the city. Clothing, rations, lamps, lanterns, candles, and other essentials can usually be found here. The shelves are not as well stocked as when Dernal was younger, and the old Moglith is more eager to tell tales of his youth when sailing the sea.

Many Valok captains still come here to talk with the old sea dog, and rumor has it that he acts as a fence between them and the Tillians they prefer not to deal with. Odd items purchased from the far reaches of the world can sometimes be found here, but there are other shops where these items are more consistent. Dernal has no problem adjusting his prices based on how much he likes the person he is dealing with, and many Tillians simply stop shopping here because of his dislike for them.

Zaranzar's Fine Weapons

The Moglith owner, Zaranzar, is a huge Tillian. He is forced to duck in order to use the main door, and usually turns sideways in order to avoid slamming his shoulders into the frame. The weapons here are more expensive than anywhere else in the city, but that doesn't prevent him from doing business at all. The weapons found here have the highest craftsmanship in all of Tillia, and carrying a Zaranzar weapon is a status symbol outside the city.

The main room of the shop holds racks of weapons for sale, and Zaranzar watches the room like a hawk. There is a door that leads to the smithy, but no patron has ever been allowed to enter that room because Zaranzar guards his crafting secrets closer than his coin till. Rumors abound regarding the reason for this, but Zaranzar will never answer questions about his smithy, and any rogue who has attempted to sneak in has been left lying dead in front of the main door for the street cleaning crews to dispose of.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Karat-Sizan - Popular establishments

These are primary areas of interest in Scales, along with some of me rambling about the city.

The Horned Devil

The most prominent establishment is the Horned Devil. located on the corner just northeast of the main south gate, the wide cobblestone streets help to ensure that traffic in the area can travel quickly. Although it is a long walk from the docks, the Sailors often travel to this establishment to bet their wages with their friends and the tables devoted to dice and cards.

There are drinks and meals available for purchase, and although the fare isn't known for its high quality it is consumed in large quantities. Krabuz is the owner, and even though he has gone to pasture for twenty years, he is still a formidable Dal-Shiz. He is a known contact for muscle, and many of the current bodyguards of Kruz Alzeen have gotten their positions by impressing Krabuz. He treats his people fairly, and is very protective of his patrons, allowing no fighting in the establishment. That's what the pit is for anyway.

The pit is what caused Krabuz to buy the building in the first place, and during his youth he explored the depths with his old friends. From there, he made enough money to purchase the building, and most of the block. How much he knows of the depths no one has ever heard, save perhaps his old adventuring companions when they talk about the old times. With help of hired muscle, Krabuz and Kruz have made the uppermost level relatively clear of creatures native to the ancient underground city. Here many street gangs come to test their strength and skill against one another, forming another gambling operation that Kruz runs with Krabuz's permission. There are strange things found in the lower levels, and the ones who laugh at tales of the Del and their magic don't laugh upon coming out from a trek into the depths, when they come out at all.

The staff is hard working and friendly for Tillians, treating their customers with courtesy as long as they don't get out of line. There is an old priest of Zilanon who has taken up residence in one of the booths at Krabuz's request, and he treats the wounded who return from the depths in exchange for a healthy tithe for his temple. He has recently taken on an apprentice, a small Moglith youth who has yet to grow his tusks. The apprentice seems to be a quick learner, and has been very helpful and eager to ease the hurts of the Tillians who emerge from the pit.

The Taste of Paradise

A converted wharehouse, this brothel has become the highest class establishment of its kind in the city. The proprietor, Miss Amber, has provided a safe environment for her girls. The head of security, Tienken, is rumored to be one of Krabuz's old adventuring companions, and is an imposing Feznar known for his abnormal intelligence and cunning. He is rumored to have connections to the lords, and provides them with hitmen and muscle when they need it.

Attached to the north of the main stage is an exotic shop. trinkets and odd items from far away lands line the shelves, and fine silks and other expensive goods can also be found here. The Valok sailors seem to have an agreement with Amber to bring her interesting things from the places they sail. There are also a few books to be found lining the shelves, one of a handful of places where written works may be found in the city.

The stage shows here are quite impressive, and draw many patrons who are willing to pay more for their drinks in order to watch the ladies performing on the stage. Their is a chef who's children assist her in the kitchen to feed the staff, but they rarely feed the patrons except during festivals and a few other holidays. There are many rooms which house the staff on the upper floor, and the girls are allowed the most extravagant furnishings that can be found to their desires.

well, next time i'll talk more about some of the other highlights of the city. Plixant's Tomes, Zaranzar's smithy, some of the taverns and inns near the palace, the apothecary's shop, Tower Shields the armory, the leathermaster. still have to talk about the palace, coliseum, bathhouses, mines, the different districts and their lords.

might take a few weeks to get through. kinda nice to have an easily accessible atlas/encyclopedia of the world though. one of these days i'll have to see if i can actually give it a good name...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The state of Sarlion, and Karat-Sizan

Karat Sizan is the capital of Sarlion, but is not the only city of the state. Here is a map (no color) that outlines Sarlion's boundaries. (this is basically the straight scan of the color pencil map into an electronic file)

Tzenot along the southern coast of the state is the primary shipyard. Although Karat-Sizan has shipbuilding facilities, Tzenot's entire economy and infrastructure are based around the shipyards. Many fishermen provide the mainstay of the citizen's diet, and the city trades pearls that the fishermen find for grains and other agricultural products from their neighbors. at any time, up to 60 military vessels will be in production, and this city has been working in overdrive for the past ten years as Dranzeem began preparing for war with Axius.

Sarlion has no standing army to speak of, but with every Tillian that can walk eager and willing to join combat, large militias can be formed swiftly in the state. The navy of Sarlion is perhaps the largest in the world, but few of their vessels are able to pass the open sea. The recent ships built for the Sarlion navy show a drastic leap forward in maneuverability and seaworthiness, and rumors speak of a large group of Valok who have settled in Tzenot and are improving their knowledge of shipbuilding in hopes of preventing Axius from spreading further.

Northeast from Tzenot on the northern coast is Ritzkers. Ritzkers is the central hub to the most fertile farming ground in the state, and it has a steady stream of barges that traverse the calm Kirak Sea flowing to Karat Sizan and other port cities of the Nation. Precious metals are being found in the hills to the south of this region, creating many more towns and villages.

The area around Karat-Sizan on the tip of the Sarlion peninsula provides many resources and allows the capital to be self sufficient when necessary. most of the orchards of the state are found here, and until the recent discoveries of metals it was the primary source of iron, copper, and silver for the rest of the state. A constant presence of military ships based out of Karat-Sizan controls the strait connecting the Kirak Sea with the Sea of Carkoon. Axius has not yet attempted to break this blockade, although there was once where a Jyn-Lao fleet drew Axius vessels into conflict, with only a single vessel escaping the Tillian victory.

The other towns generally serve as regional centerpoints, with the farmer's and country Tillians bringing their goods for barter and picking up the things they need. There are lords of each town, who have learned that being fair to their subjects keeps them alive much longer, as angry Tillians in force can easily overrun the most well paid guards when they have nothing left to lose.

Sarlion has active and open trade with the states of Tolzar and Jalarad, but less active relations with other states due to its rivalry with the High Priest of Dranzeem. The conflict with Axius has forced them to work with Khilon more than desired, but the refugees from Valok and Noricum that have relocated in Sarlion have steeled the Tillian towards resistance to Axius.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The city of Karat-Sizan

The Jewel of Tillia, and the largest port city in the world, Karat-Sizan is a melting pot of Tillians, humans, and other races that come to live in the bustling free city. The capital of the state of Sarlion, it is home to the largest Tillian navy and the second largest army in the country. Both military forces are patrolling for Axius spies, and last winter the navy repelled a beachhead fleet that was looking to land in Khilon where the armies of Dranzeem could not be brought to face them.

The nearly seamless white wall that surrounds the city proper was built by the Del-Triel long ago, and a large tent slum has sprung up to the south of the main gate into the city. a few of the more prosperous and enterprising Tillians have begun to build more permanent structures there, and there is talk of building another outer wall that would provide both farmland and room to expand building that would be protected from invasions.

Rule of the city lies with the lords, a group of organized criminals whose wealth and power allow their families to live well while the vast majority of the city struggles to survive in the crowded slums. Nobility is derived from wealth, but the existing lords work hard to ensure that their positions are not taken by others who have recently come into wealth. Assassination is common in the city, and feuds between families have been know to turn areas of the city into warzones during the most tense times. The goal of many poor Tillians is to become hired muscle for the nobles, and to thereby make enough to start their own business or carve out a subsection of the city and rule it in the name of the noble family who they serve, kicking back profits to the family.

The coliseum between the south gate and palace is a marvel of architecture, and during the times when it is full holds 200,000, or about 1/10th the population of the city. Gladiators are worshipped by the young Tillians, and cheers during the games can be heard as far as the city park across town. The large public park is part graveyard, with large crematoriums that house the remains of the commoners, and private tombs build by those families with enough wealth to care about how their bodies are stored in the afterlife. wildflowers and more organized gardens and trees accompany the burial houses, but large grass covered areas serve as areas for children (and some adults) to play zzrat, a fast paced game of strength and skill popular in Tillia due to its brutality. 12 players on each side work towards moving an oblong tzarla skin ball into a scoring zone on the opposite end of the field.

to be continued...

Monday, October 26, 2009

How this writing project came to be

Well, back around the fall of 1999 i ran into an old girlfriend at a bar. the night is somewhat of a blur, as i was still in the throes of full blown alcoholism and typically drank until i was walking around unconscious. What i do remember is giving her a hug, talking, and waking up next to her. ok, actually i remember this tiny elfin face with a wild mane of platinum hair pinching my face asking who i was, but that was kinda cool too.

She told her son to get off me, and nervously looked at me wondering how fast i'd hit the door. i asked her if this would be a permanent thing, to which she replied "we'll see." (to cut to the chase before people start making incorrect assumptions as to my character, we got married in April of 2000, and since that night have never been away from each other for more than 5 days, and that was when she visited her mom in Maine this past spring. i should also add that i haven't let the bottle run my life for 8 years, and i talk about drinking more than i actually consume alcohol).

This led to me spending time with our oldest son when he was two and a half years old, and us delving into common interests. She knew that during high school i'd played alot of rpgs (paper and dice kind) and tabletop miniature wargames. she asked if i would be interested in teaching her how to play, so i began the sketches of the maps i've posted here in November of 1999.

a year passed, and for that time we lived in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. I developed the world in my spare time, and we even had her make a character and ran some solo adventures, but it wasn't much fun. We moved back to Lincoln, NE, and she convinced a few of her friends to give gaming with me a shot. This ended up creating a group that for about 2 years played weekly or bi-weekly.

from those adventures, an epic scope story began to unfold, but as is the nature of circles, our gaming friends eventually moved, changed careers, and i started taking night classes and our gaming sessions were forced to end. still wanting to develop the story that i'd worked on for the past few years, one day while waiting for my next class i started writing what becomes the flashback in chapter 2: the first time young Tzalaran encounters the Zarachtil Tzolanzen mercenary band.

soon, on my lunch break at work i would scribble notes and scenes into my 3 ring binder, and this started to take up all my spare moments between juggling work, school, and my family (which by now had another little boy that did his best to keep me busy and out of trouble).

About 4 years ago, i transitioned this all into the novel i'm currently writing. The initial vision has been cut to conform to publishing standards, (my outline for the first installment would have come in at 250,000+ words based on all the things i had in it) and now i'm focusing on the brothers and their rise to prominence in Karat-Sizan. (because it is all told from Tzal's perspective his motivations and such are more forward, but in heart the story is about the brothers).

life and my own lack of knowledge/confidence with the writing process caused the next few years to not see much progress on the novel, finishing chapter 1 about 3 years ago, chapter 2 a year later, and chapters 3-4 in the spring of this year. in late July, i put all my other projects and interests to the side and started working on writing in earnest. since August 1st, i've finished chapters 5-17, and have written daily except for the first couple of weeks in October when we were out of town for my sister's wedding.

i've recently passed the 76,000 word mark, and i'm almost 2/3rds the way through my outline (chapter 18 of 29-30). i've cut an entire storyline that was initially the focus of this book's ending to be a second volume, in order to avoid the 250,000 word debut novel which had no hope of being published. if i don't get picked up by an agent for this, i'll write the sequel and see how that goes. should they both fail, i'll look at condensing them into one volume as i initially envisioned and self publish them so my friends and gaming group can get physical copies that they can read (since they have asked for them and seem to assume if i finish the book, it will be published. lol, only i've done enough research to know better).

So, in a nutshell (long nutshell but not bad for a 10 year summary) that is how i came to this point. My wife and sons have been a great help and inspiration in this endeavor, even if the boys can't refrain from being quiet when i'm trying to write, the few times they do make up for any of their transgressions. i'd never have been able to come this far without 2 websites, (story architecture is a must know piece of information for any storyteller) and, (write a book with me has kept me working on my novel like no other tool i've found) both of which i link to in the sidebar. for any aspiring writer, i suggest that you look at those sites and absorb the valuable information that they contain.

That's how i got my start, and thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

OK, i love the ability to post my maps here...

So here are the two main maps.

World map:

Maps of Karat-Sizan:
Base sketch:

City Detail area:

Both maps pulled into 1 digital file to expand into a full detail map (still working on expanding this to the whole city...):


The Empire of Axius has grown significantly in territory over the past century, as the ascendancy of Tzarana Rai to the throne triggered an expansion unprecedented in the world. The Nations of Noricum and Valokan fell to the armies of Axius in a 5 year span, and over the next few years they expanded to the borders of Tillia, conquering the entire west of the Trenal Continent.

The primary reason for this swift military victory were the legions of Tordal. Tordal are a large bipedal canine race, with jet black pelts and heads similar to a doberman pincher. They are fanatically loyal to the Empress, and are known to make pacts with fiends in order to more ruthlessly combat their opponents. The peaceful Valok fell to the legions of Tordal quickly, with most of their race fleeing from their island homes and sailing the seas in their fleet.

Noricum, westernmost nation of the Trenal continent was more difficult to conquer, and the invasion would never have been successful except for the betrayal of the Shilear clan. They allowed the Tordal access to the port city of Queld, and from there assisted in targeted assassination of all other leaders of Noricum. Tales of Noricum resistance to Axius still travel the empire, rumor holding that they retreated into ancient fortresses in the mountains that Axius has never been able to infiltrate.

Axius' expansion has slowed now that they have reached the border of Tillia and the Drandal armies of Khilon. The shipbuilding facilities of the southern port cities of old Noricum have been building a fleet for years, and the navy of Axius is now pushing to dominate the sea of Carkoon and Kirak Sea of Tillia, and only the Admirals of Sarlion have prevented this from happening.

Tzarana Rai has ruled Axius for 50 years now, and rumors of her agelessness have began to circulate speculation that she has ties to the lower planar creatures who caused the breaking. anyone in the Empire caught speaking of this have gone missing, and rumors of dungeons deep under the black city of Axius have spread throughout the world.

The Tillian Confederacy

This post outlines the basic geography and political structuring of Tillia. eventually, i'll get around to writing more in depth reviews of each state, but this is enough to get anyone reading my work familiar with the general region. The map i've posted is also unfinished, as the original color pencil drawings that i made have been lost for many years, and the digital file that i've worked on is not complete. i've got the base geography colored back in, but have not taken the time to redo the political map markings or label geographic features. eventually, i'll have the entire world map set up interactively, but that won't be a priority for many years at this point.

Geography – The Kirak Sea is the largest geographical feature of the region, and its attachment to the Sea of Carkoon helps to keep the majority of the states in the confederacy very temperate, the sole exception entirely being Tolzar, which borders the great northern ocean. The Badlands of Khilon is the next largest feature of the area, cliffs, canyons, and near desert badlands that have rich mines, providing the wealth this state uses to keep all other states in the confederacy subservient to their desires. Their border with the expanding nation of Axius necessitates the Drandal who live here to be in a constant state of war preparations, and their defenses throughout the region have prevented an invader from laying siege to the capital, Dranzeem. The Dreznoz mountains run down the center of the western peninsula, sweeping west at the north and southern ends of the range. These mountains feed the many rivers that cut across Tillia, but the natives have never progressed beyond the ability to steer barges and skiffs along the waterways. Sarlion and Zeldun have rolling hills that provide ample farmland for the nation as a whole. The northern and eastern coast of Tolzar is tundra, and is cold year round.

Politics – Tillia is a Confederacy, with each of the 7 states being ruled by the wealthiest and most powerful noble family. Nobility in Tillia is solely based upon wealth, but the established families are quick to eliminate any weak rivals, and breaking into the uppermost circles is next to impossible for the newly rich. Khilon is the most powerful state, where the Zultan is high priest of Zaebonz, patron diety of the Drandal. Although wealthy, it is the armies of Khilon that ensure their dominance of the nation, as the Drandal are fearsome opponents who terrify all but the most battle hardened soldier.

Sarlion is the next major state, who boasts the largest port in the world, as well as the most populous city, Karat-Sizan. The ruling family has been a constant for as long as anyone can remember, and their expansion of the Sarlion Navy has done much to protect the Confederacy as a whole since the fall of Valok to Axius.

Tolzar is a state of mostly Noric humans, although some tribes of Feznar are known to populate the mountains there. Few other Tilians have migrated to this cold state, preferring the warmth of the more southern states, and allowing the Noric people to thrive in relative peace. This state maintains its status through its disciplined military, as its economic status lacks the opportunities that other states in the confederacy enjoy. Forestry and fishing provide for most of the state’s needs, while a few mines in the mountains are now popping up in order to better equip their armies without depleting their coffers.

Zeldun is a state that recent mining sources have greatly increased its standing in the confederacy, and their military and naval strength are the primary reason for this. Mercenary bands are often looked for here, as swordarms and adventurers are common in this wild, relatively untamed land. The Zarachtil Tzolanzin are the largest mercenary force in the state, and has been directly hired by the ruler to be the standing army of Zeldun. Kriefels, the capital city has grown significantly over the past few years, expanding on both sides of the Kzargalni river. Rumor has it that the state has recruited a Del-Triel engineering team to construct bridges and tunnels through the mountains in order to make transportation throughout the state easier, but this has never been proven.

Jalared and Falzar are both states that depend on trade with other states for their needs, as their own natural resources do not cover the needs for cities very well. Falzar’s small fishing fleet helps to provide for the coastal towns, and sheltered from the north winds by the Dreznoz Mountains, it has much better farmland than Jalared, whose winters can be brutal and long. The two rulers of these states have allied themselves together, and are currently in the high priest’s pocket.

Kortan is ruled by another puppet of Dranzeem, and everything that is produced in this state goes to Dranzeem to fund and assist their war effort. Many mines can be found near the border to Khilon, and the river basin provides enough farmland to cover the needs of both states. The Khan of Kortan has formed the large Dernak population to be impressive guerilla fighters, and regiments from this state rotate along with the guards of Dranzeem to patrol and defend the border with Axius.

The Del and their descendants

The Del were an ancient race of miners, stonemasons, smiths, and jewelers who created large underground complexes in the mountain ranges of the old world. History says that the Del began to have a split in the large common house, their main governmental body. This split is believed to be about the supernatural patrons that many of the Del had summoned to the plane. There became two distinct philosophies among the Del, one that felt it was their destiny to conquer the subterranean world and move on to the surface world, and another advocating using supernatural powers only to protect and advance their race. The priests and solitary groups of these warlocks who had devoted themselves to protecting the world from evil gathered those Del who were against the militant, expansionist ideal that was taking hold of the populace, and they left the Zwerghaus mountains, searching for new areas to call home. These wanderers became the Del-Triel, or the Sky People.

The Del that remained worked at many great tasks, and the most impressive of their works are looked upon now with awe, but the evil that began to fester eventually rankled many of the older Del, who remembered the working of stone with their hands, and the old song they heard from the stones before the coming of warlocks. The groups quickly went to war, with foul demons streaming into the homes of those who opposed their masters. In a final act of desperation, the depleted forces opposing the demons struck back, sending these fiends back to their home planes. This is the cause of what is now known as the Breaking, and the Del-Zuran are the remnant of these who have survived amongst the foul creatures who have returned, and now inhabit their ancient empire under the Zwerghaus.

Del-Zuran– This race rarely reaches 4’ tall, but they are broad shouldered and extremely stout. They all seem to have jet black hair, with long full beards. Longbeards lead their communities, and the length and thickness of the beard somehow plays into this. Del-Zuran have a slight red tinge to their skin, something like a sunburn that was healthy. The Del-Zuran are a decimated people, just trying to survive in an area that is uninhabitable to most other races. There are fiends of immense power who have freed themselves from their prisons, and are making war upon each other. These supernatural beings have taken over ancient Del cities from which to strike out at their enemies. Large tribes of Dal Molan have also taken over ruins in the Zwerghaus, as of yet their aims and leaders are unknown, but the Del-Zuran of Glitterdelve have fought off many raiding parties of these large humanoids.

The Del-Zuran are by necessity warriors, and legends have been made of their heroes that border on the divine. The priesthood of Karzuldorn has returned to the Del-Zuran, giving the Del-Zuran a new purpose, to unite themselves and return to the ancient Del capital. There are also rumors of a group called the Zaranzim, who are known to take on patrons in order to defend their race from the supernatural forces aligned against them. These noble warlocks are often doomed to a tragic fate, as the power they align with eventually devours them.

Del-Triel– These distant cousins of the Del-Zuran are found in much greater numbers. They stand 5’6” tall at most, and are thick, but not massive like their cousins. The Del-Triel have been living in communities that they founded around the time of the breaking, and have turned away from the evil that so haunt their cousins. The Del-Triel have turned away from the subterranean realm, and remained on the surface, using underground places only as fortresses in times of emergency. They have fallen in love with soil, farming, forestry, and the pursuit of knowledge. Del-Triel cities are wonders of engineering, and often incorporate the base of a mountain for defensive purposes. They typically have a tan complexion, with light brown or red hair. Most Del-Triel wear beards, although some are known to shave.

The Del-Triel are great warriors, but the rangers of this race are the real surprise. They seem to vanish into the wilderness as if the land itself swallows them, and they follow a trail as if the earth tells them what transpired. They are surprisingly agile as a race, and there are some able rogues among them. There are druids who tend to groves, and many priests of Karzurina, the Earth Father. The Del-Triel are said to have many great minstrels who travel the lands, helping to spread happiness to those who are downtrodden.

The Humans

There are three root human societies that are known in Tillia. only the Noric have a state in the Confederacy, Tolzar in the north.

Noric- These tall,(6’-6’6”) pale skinned people have populated the Trenal continent. Their hair ranges from black to light brown, with some from Tolzar in Tillia having blonde and red. Their eyes range from brown to hazel, blue to green. They are generally muscular, but there are exceptions to every rule. The majority of the Noric homeland has been conquered by Axius over the past half century, and the citizens of the Empire are now predominantly Noric.

The people of this race can be found in any and all professions. In areas that they populate alone they occupy all necessary jobs, and have taken to the merchant role very well in Tillia. They can be found as soldiers, gladiators, thieves, bounty hunters, but rare is the tale of a Noric warlock told, as they have a healthy distrust of anything magical. Priests are uncommon, but the priesthood of Kchalu has spread throughout the Empire, and a few of Kchalu’s prophets have ventured from the Empire’s borders.

Valok- Sailors and merchants, these dark skinned humans are rarely found far from the sea. Legends exist of the old Valok homeland, a place of peace and beauty, but it was savagely destroyed by the armies of Axius. They have spread to wherever the oceans could take them, settling many port cities and resettling some ancient ruins of cities that they came across. The Valok people are usually slightly over six feet in height, with muscular if not hulking frames. The women of the Valok are just as tall, and seem to be accorded all the rights of the men. Many Valok captains are women, especially of the huge trading ships that ferry goods of the Jyn-Lao all across the world. Valok people are known for a fondness of jewelry, especially in odd spots on their bodies. Their skin ranges from a chocolate brown to ebony, and they tend to wear loose breeches and little else.

Most Valok men are warriors, but others have thieving abilities. There is a strange hierarchy between the sexes of this race, with the captains of the floating cities of the Valok are females, and they have an entorague of female advisors. Men are captains of the military vessels that are always found patrolling around these sea cities, and seem to decide the route, but there is always a female advisor who ranks somewhere above first mate who seems to act as an advisor.

Jyn-Lao– This human race has the oldest recorded empire in the world since the Del’s fall. They control the entire southeast peninsula, from the south of the Zwerghaus mountains to the Anital jungle. They have a large military force on the northeast border of their empire facing the Zarzanna wasteland, although most legends of the ancient evil deep in the wasteland are not totally believed in anymore, the monks of Baphonai still keep the citizens in an alert state. The emperor of this nation rules from a hidden city, with his samurai minions delivering Imperial decrees to the nobility, who rule in his name. There have been many assassination attempts on the Imperial family over the past twenty years, with a few being successful over the past ten years. The current Emperor, a boy of thirteen, has taken himself into hiding to better protect the Imperial line. Noble families are clawing and scratching at each other in order to gain higher standing in case of another strike on the Imperial family now that they feel safe from his gaze.

Jyn-Lao can choose any adventuring profession, but few follow the warrior path like other races. Most of the defenders of the Jyn-Lao borders are from the monastic orders. They have some truly militant orders, but for the most part self-awareness takes precedence to combat ability. There are clerical orders that oversee much of the populace, running schools, hospitals, and other services for the populace. Thievery is frowned upon, and unsuccessful thieves tend to have short careers as the penalties are severe. Magic is something that the common man doesn’t see often, but there are alchemists and hedge wizards, and there are rumors of nobles who have made pacts with supernatural beings of evil nature, if these rumors are true, no one has ever returned to tell for certain.

The Tillian Races

Tillia is a confederation of states ruled by a council of the members. The six humanoid races that form the bulk of the nation are an unlikely group of races to exist in a successful society. The larger of these races are content to use physical domination to get what they want, and it seems that they might have been bred to do just that. Each fills a rather specialized role, but none are true inventors. They would never be at they cultural level that they have attained if the Del had not left a huge void to fill. With the wonders of that ancient race to use as a model, these humanoids have created a thriving civilization that is becoming threatened by the Empire of Axius to the west.

Moglith –This large, brutish race dominates most of civilized Tillia, and is also the greatest in numbers. They stand six feet in height, but if they were to straighten up their hunched over back, they would stand much taller. They are broad shouldered, with masses of muscles covering the majority of their frame. Moglith faces are bestial, with tusks pointing out of their mouth, smashed in snouts, and yellow to red eyes. Coarse hair covers some of this race, generally those that come from the more mountainous areas. They are known in Tillia for their aggressive attitude and violent temper.

Might at arms is all that matter to this race. There are few who choose to do anything other than follow the soldier's path. Many of the wealthier mogliths turn into gladiators, partly because most don’t have the intelligence to lead armies. There are a few who turn to thievery, and there have been an increasing number of holy men sprouting amongst the more educated of this race.

Dal-Shiz –Tall, muscular, scaly skinned humanoids who have warfare pumping through their veins. A Dal-Shiz’s scales range from yellow to red, with orange or red eyes. In general, their face is elongated, with prominent cheekbones, and severely pointed ears. Black hair grows on their heads, and in some places a hairstyle represents social class. Dal-Shiz have sharp teeth, which is necessary to their carnivorous diet, and their fingernails are like bone spikes. They have a generally frightening appearance, similar to a devil from some child’s nightmare.

One trait dominates this race, military order. Aggressive, strong, arrogant, and cunning, most Dal-Shiz strive to prove their dominance over the other races of Tillia. Many are found working in mercenary bands, as mariners, or for whatever charismatic leader is in the area at the time. Dal-Shiz are found in many different professions, but most are some sort of multi-classed warrior or a bounty hunter. Thieves are the most common mix, but there are rumors of those who make unholy pacts with lower planar creatures, combining fighting ability with supernatural power, but most Dal-Shiz prefer fighting to any other way of resolving disputes.

Feznar –Standing erect at near seven feet in height, these bestial humanoids have powerful frames that belie their agility. Most Feznar have dark yellow to light brown fur, although some have been seen with a darker hide coloration. A thick pelt covers most of a Feznar’s body, leaving only patches bare around flattened snout, fang filled mouth, and eye sockets. Their ears are overly large, and sweep out to exaggerated points. A Feznar’s eyes carry a bloodthirsty glint, and most seem to be constantly hungry.

The stealth of this race combined with their powerful physical nature makes many Feznar turn to the bounty hunting profession. Any warrior class fits this powerful race, yet they also have natural thieving ability, and can freely combine the two. Some from the untamed mountains are spiritual leaders, and seem to advise the chieftain’s of these clans. Most Feznar who are in civilized lands are involved in mercenary bands, and groups of Feznar raiders and dungeon crawlers are not unknown.

Dernak –The smallest of the Tillian races, these lizard-like creatures have long snouts filled with short, pointy teeth. Most have black scales, but a few other colorations have been seen. Most have small red eyes that seem to glow in torchlight, and there is a spine of small bone protrusions on the backs of the males. The only reason these creatures have survived is because they fill an important role, they are the merchants, shopkeepers, and craftsmen of all sorts. Without this race the much of the area’s economy would collapse, leading to anarchy, and an easy victim for Axius.

The Dernak have a well earned reputation for being swindlers, and an even more deserving reputation for cowardice. Most adventuring Dernak take a profession as thieves, which they can excel at. Others have been known to become warriors, and others combine stealth with combat ability. With this crafty race, almost anything is possible.

Shnize –These short, scrawny, filthy humanoids are the bottom of Tillian society. They have a variety of nauseating colors that may cover their rubbery looking hide, and generally have large pointed ears, with long thin noses protruding above an oversized mouth filled with short, sharp teeth. Slaves and laborers, no other race in Tillia would allow them to lace up their boots without supervision. They have the most racial variation out of the Tillian races, probably because there are many different people who have become wealthy through the sale of Shnize slaves.

Most Shnize adventurers are thieves, stealing their way on the underbelly of society, while others have shown a little ability as warriors, especially with someone they fear driving them into battle.

Drandal –No race of Tillia puts fear in their opponents more than an enraged Drandal. Standing well over six and a half feet in height, these canine humanoids look like red pelted pit bulls. Extremely muscled, they are unnaturally quick for their massive size. They walk with an air of superiority, and are condescending to all other inhabitants of Tillia, generally looking for a reason to prove the reason for their opinion. They are only found in numbers in the city of Dranzeem, capital of Kholtar. This is probably a good thing for the entire area.

Thievery is unknown to the Drandal, but taking whatever they want from those unable to stop them is completely acceptable. They are aggressive, brutal melee fighters, and some are known to be extremely proficient hunters. They are ruled by the High Priest of Zaebonz, who is openly known to have many magical powers bestowed to him by his deity. There are also a few who are said to have connections to powerful supernatural beings, and wield fell magic upon their enemies. Most Drandal swear an oath of fealty to Zaebonz through his high priest, but rumors of rogue Drandal on the run from Dranzeem are known. No Drandal has ever been seen fighting with another Drandal however.

Well, at least i still don't have myspace or facebook (yet)...

Apparently i've decided that i need one more thing to post on every day, so i've started this blog. Actually, i wanted to start looking at other ways of delivering background information on the setting of the novel i'm working on, and thought that this platform might work well for that. I'll still avoid Facebook and MySpace like the plague, as i've never been a social creature and i prefer my limited anonymity. If the day comes where all of the sudden i'm found on facebook, trust me that there will be multiple shots of zarzn* accompanying my wife's pointing and cackling.

There are also a few short stories with this character that i'm brainstorming and outlining now that i will post here once complete. These short stories will eventually be used for a few 3d animated shorts that i will make, but that will probably have to wait until my boys are out of their house. Don't have enough time to write, keep up with their needs, and study 3d (i'm a slow learner when it comes to art, and the cubs tend to take up alot of time. they are fairly helpful about being quiet when i'm trying to write though. :) ).

There is another blog that i use as a writing diary, i've put a link in the sidebar, and i'll probably update that daily to keep track of my progress as i've found that keeping an online diary of my writing helps to keep me moving forward on this project. that blog has never gotten many views, so i like the idea of keeping it as my writing diary, and i might eventually become savvy enough to link it to here (pfft. we'll see on that one).

So, welcome to my corner of the internet.

*zarzn - a Tillian liquor preferred by Tzalaran, that tastes an awful lot like spiced rum...