Guest Post from Russell Archey, author of dark fantasy Ashes of Aldyr
The world of Alda is broken, destroyed by an event the survivors call “The Rupture.” The aldyrs, magical trees connected to the soul of the world and once grew in breathtaking groves, are dead. Elf-kind, who shared a close bond with these trees, are dying off due to shortened life-spans as a result. The dwarves have retreated into their mountain homes. Humans gather in crumbling settlements. Sinister, god-like beings, each uniquely horrific, exert their influences over the world. Each story is a different thread forming a larger tapestry that shows the scope of the horror and insanity brought by the elusive and mind-numbing entity known as the Obscured Throne. The world was once saved from this threat and Alda was hidden and sealed away. Now, an ancient and shadowy cult called the Black Gnarl have broken enough seals to expose Alda to the Obscured Throne…and It’s coming.
Excerpt from Ashes of Aldyr
I placed my quill to the side, near the inkwell, and turned to face her. I always had to steel myself for this. Her dark skin and captivating eyes always turned my well-meaning words into nonsense. I suppose this made me look quite aloof or even cross, but it was far better than to reveal the clumsy, foolish truth. The question of what she wanted from the restricted section immediately began teasing my higher reasoning skills.
Admittedly, much of the restricted section was limited to the mundane. Many books of recorded history and bureaucratic archives that had yet to be copied for posterity and preservation comprised the bulk of the selection. Scrolls of personal information regarding merchant sales and noble lineages filled in the gaps. However, there were a few volumes of ill repute that gave the restricted section its air of forbidding allure. I’d seen books detailing the Fourth Sect: the magic of death, necromantic practices, and disreputable alchemical applications. Their bindings were sealed with small locks that only Chronicler Germanius himself could access.
Some Words from Russell Archey
Q: Where’d you get the inspiration for your worldbuilding?
In Ashes of Aldyr, the first book The Obscured Throne Trilogy, the setting is the whole world of Alda. It’s a high fantasy setting affected by a mysterious, apocalyptic event survivors have come to call “The Rupture.” The Rupture brought this high fantasy world of city-states, elf-kind and dwarven kingdoms, high mountains, lush forests, goblins, dragons and the like down to a dark, post-apocalyptic state that’s haunted by eldritch, insanity-inducing entities and creatures.
The fantasy elements are inspired by my favorite fantasy works: Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc. There are city-states rather than kingdoms, but function similarly enough. Elf-kind have their own forest kingdoms as do the dwarves who live both within and outside of the major mountain ranges.
The horror aspects draw heavily from weird fiction and cosmic horror such the mythos’ of H.P. Lovecraft, Laird Barron, and Robert Chambers. This is what makes them more horrific than the already large variety of creatures a fantasy setting’s civilized cultures would already confront on a daily basis.
Humans, dwarves, and elf-kind (because I wanted something a little different than elves…it’s my prerogative as a writer, right?) have seen strange creatures and godly acts of magic. But the things that showed up after the rupture are very wrong to them. This is where I get to use my creativity to describe what the horrific things are and what they’re to Alda and its people.
I take more from Barron’s approach in that my eldritch entities aren’t morally ambiguous or just disinterested in humanity; the damage they do is the result of simply how horrific and psychologically unacceptable they just are. My entities, like Barron’s, are much eviler and more malicious in their intent.
My goal is to have all this build to a head by the third and final book.
About Russell Archey
Fantasy and horror have always been Russell’s preferred genres. Some of his favorite stories often combine them–and the grittier the better. His eclectic tastes in this genre originated when he discovered Lovecraft’s stories of beings so vast and incomprehensible that just thinking about them will melt your brain. Later, he would discover the more sinister but equally unfathomable creations of Laird Barron and, combined, these two influences would create Russell’s desire to fashion his own story of cosmic horrors, but with a fantasy flair. Fantasy often holds many horrific aspects of its own, but Russell enjoys finding ways to take those facets and run with them.
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Russell Archey will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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