Making Something Out of National Novel Writing Month: Adversaries Together, Ascendant Realms Book 1

So I finally pulled the trigger and self-published the fantasy novel I wrote last November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve written about that process before, but I decided that it didn’t make sense for me to just sit on a 200 page novel. So I decided to embrace Kindle Direct Publishing, and I hope to make the book available on the Nook soon as well. I am in the process of writing book two (tentatively titled “Stricken Cities”) now and hope to have it available in the Spring of 2015. I plan on augmenting the novels with posts here to explain in more detail aspects of the story and inspiration for ideas in the story.

Adversaries Together, Ascendant Realms Book 1

I’m fairly certain this photo is by William Azcona (, I found it on Tumblr but I could never track down the original site for it

I’ve been mulling over the story for a long time. It has essentially grown out of my time spent playing World of Warcraft and Skyrim and wishing I could craft an original story within those worlds. Imagine a game that would allow you to do that?

Anyway, I created a world–Syr Nebra–based on the geologic map recreations of  Dr. Ron Blakey. I still plan on sketching a map but this will suffice.

NaNoWriMo Map with cities (2)

This world is one of city-states and nascent nations. The theme of the series is how these city-states grow into nations or empires by looking to control resources, threaten war, and spread religion. I made it a point to keep magic out of the mix. I’m never very interested in magic when reading fantasy fiction, it always feels like a shortcut to me. I’d rather see ordinary people surviving in a fantastic world.

There is one major religion in this world, it is a kind of Sun worship and is seated in the city of Sulecin. This city is like the Vatican, it’s the capital of the region/nation called Cassubia, sometimes call the Lake District but most often referred to as The Cathedral. The Cathedral of the Light dominates the city and is the center of the world’s religion, simply referred to as the Light.

To the east, is the region/nation of Silvincia the capitol of which is Ardavass. The capitol and by extension the nation is called The Seven Spires as the city of Ardavass is made up of seven tall spires each built by one of the city’s founding clans. The west is controlled by the nation of Essia, its main city is the port of Rikonen. The southern and eastern coasts of the Novostos Sea is the country of Adrenia. Over the Ragan Mountains, which divide the known world into two halves, to the far south is the city of Lappala, the capitol of the nation/region called The Aral.

The dynamics between these nations is every changing. As the story opens, The Seven Spires have been laying siege to Rikonen for more than a thousand days in order to wrest control of sea trade over the Novostos Sea. Primarily, this means that Silvincia wants to move Lappalan trade to its port of Anhra. Trade with Lappala is vital because it is the only source of bithumin, a mined substance that when refined becomes a fertilizer that increases yield ten fold.  The siege is of the port of Rikonen only, it has come to be called The Blockade.

The Blockade has allowed The Seven Spires to become the richest, most important nation north of the Ragan Mountains. There is a faction within the Seven Spires that want to extend The Blockade into a full invasion to annex Essia. In order to do so, the Seven Spires must get the sanctioning of The Cathedral or else smaller city-states and its own people will resist the move.

The Cathedral has stayed out of the conflict between Essia and Silvincia for two reasons. First, there has been no disruption in the supply of bithumin. Second, The Cathedral is plotting to side with Silvincia in order to split Essia up between them. There is a secret society within the priesthood of The Cathedral working to overthrow the current leadership, annex the entirety of Essia, and ally with Lappala in order to check Silvincia’s imperial ambition.

Against this backdrop the characters of Adversaries Together find themselves. There is Kira Ambrose and Goshen Staad, an alm (a nun-like rank) and a paladin, who are sent by The Cathedral on a mission to solidify an alliance with Lappala. Spies from the other nations discover this move. The Seven Spires hires the mercenary Declan Rainway to follow the pair and ultimately guide them to their agents. As the duo travel, they are ambushed by bandits. In the process of fighting the bandits off, the pair stumble upon Avery Roth, a wanderer. The attack leaves Goshen unconscious and poisoned, so Roth helps Kira bring him to Anhra. He also arranges to have a Jena Char escort the pair on to the city of Bandra where Goshen can get better medical attention.

However, the bandits that attacked the pair go after them again in the city of Anhra. The bandits kidnap Kira and Roth, while planting a fake Kira with Jena and Goshen. The bandits head west, Jena and Goshen being followed by Declan head east. The kidnappers are looking to bring Kira to the remains of the Rikonen government, which hopes to use her as leverage to end The Blockade. During the voyage, Roth is thrown overboard. In Rikonen, a city leader Wynne Landis is found surviving in isolation. The city is being starved; there have been roving gangs as well as mobs of cannibals and the once fertile lands around the city have mysteriously turned into a dust bowl. Wynne is found and brought back into the Rikonen government, which has also rescued his daughter Fery Landis. When Kira is delivered by the pirate, Asa Salda, Wynne changes the plan and looks to bring Kira back to The Cathedral in order to curry favor to end The Blockade.

Roth survives and looks to find Kira. When he does, he joins with Fery and Wynne to return Kira to The Cathedral. In the process of finding Kira and breaking into Rikonen, Roth makes an enemy of Asa who goes hunting him. Meanwhile, Goshen arrives in the city of Bandra where he is immediately arrested. The fake Kira had attempted to kill Goshen and Jena just before they arrived. However, Jena is more than a match for her. Unfortunately, the Bandra officials think Jena was the danger and she has to fight her way free. Believing that she is Goshen’s accomplice and that the fake Kira was the real Kira, the Bandra officials put Goshen on trial and sentence him to life in prison. After enduring weeks of solitary confinement and being fed a gruel that kept him weak, Goshen is freed by Declan and brought to Jena. The three escape Bandra and sail back to the Anhra region, where Jena will take them to the rendezvous that she and Roth had earlier determined. 

With Roth, Kira, Wynne, and Fery moving to the rendezvous point in the Siracene Highlands (the mountains between Rikonen and Anhra, south of Sulecin) from the west and Jena, Declan, and Goshen moving toward it from the east, Asa and his pirates show up between them. Once the group meets up for the first time, they are immediately being followed by Asa and his men who are looking to kill them. The novel ends after the battle between the group of seven and Asa.

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