Monday, May 28, 2018

The Six Kingdoms of The Conjured Isles

In the modern day there exist 6 kingdoms which can trace their lineage back to one of the ruling nobility from the empire. All have a tentative claim to the fallen empire, yet none have been able to prove their worth as heir. It is tradition that the heirs of each Kingdom make pilgrimages out before their 18th year, solving problems and living the life of adventurers to prove their worth as heirs and make an effort to claim the Empires former throne.

 *********************************************************************************

Kingdom of Novia - Their lineage traces back to the Emperors younger brother, they have ruled through good times and bad for centuries. Theirs is a kingdom known for its prowess in the field of battle (blades and in court), and their great works of art. Princess Vivianne is the only noble child left of this once thriving kingdom, and she has been kept bedridden by illness for years.

 Ergacan Empire - A militaristic kingdom, theirs is might through strength of arms and conquest. Descended from the Emperor's older brother, they are highly competitive and prone to great struggles with their pride. They host a great contest of games every year, inviting athletes from other kingdom a chance at “true honor and glory”. The current Emperor has 5 children, of note is the youngest Prince Philip who is eager to prove his place to his father.

 Kingdom of Vil’Cia - a kingdom founded by the court wizard to the Emperor, Vil’Cia is a kingdom where magic rules the day and your ability in the Arcane arts dictate your place. Each city holds vast storehouses of knowledge and schools to educate. Considered a peaceful nation, owing to their magical powers can overwhelm most armies.

 Confederacy of Dörr - A gathering of nation states under the banner of an elected council, their founding was from the noble council whom advised the Emperor on the actions of the common folk. While under the banner of freely elected officers to manage them, all those elected to various city and nation councils come from a small collection of noble houses that snip and snipe at each other. Known for their vast trading fleets (on land and by sea), their members are more often found traveling the trade caravans between kingdoms.

 Kingdom of Grak - Descended from the nephew to the Emperor, this kingdom makes up for its lack in military and magical might with its technological prowess. Investing in burning the engines of creation, they have harnesses fire and flame to such an extent to be the technological leaders of the Isles. Always planning ahead, they are often overlooked and under appreciated.

 Republic of New Yemozan - While originally founded by the Emperors Queen Consort and her lineage, this kingdom had a revolution which saw power taken from the nobles houses and placed in new hands. The original nobles went underground, becoming rulers of a vast criminal empire while the people above them restructured their lives. Known for their unwillingness to answer to a single sovereign, the Republic of New Yemozan practice a city-state ruling system where all the cities and villages in their “kingdom” rule independently; only coming together to decide joint issues once every few years. This area is known for inventive and sometimes dangerous practices as individual freedoms are prized above all else.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Conjured Isles

As most stories go, in the long long time ago there was nothing but Darkness. Within this primordial Darkness was the nature of all things, the potential for things to be born and unborn all at once. From within this Chaos came the idea of existence, of Order and Life. This first blinding thought, this flash of light and inspiration created the Light and illuminated the great expanse. Once illuminated, Chaos could not stand to look upon its ugly form of disorder and mess and began to organize the parts shining in the new Light into spheres and stars and all forms of structure and order. From this became life, became the world of Yemozan. From this starting point, did the Gods come.

 Unique to this world, the people and cultures do not speak of creation myths that start with the Gods and Goddesses shaping life and starting the engine of creation. It seems that the deities of this world found it quite by accident and were happy to come into the land with its great people and cultures already taking their first steps forward. Various Gods and Goddesses patronize various races and groups in Yemozan, and their influence has changed them both physically and mentally, but even the Gods insist that they are not the creators of life here on the world. They simply found these conjured isles in their travels across the great universe and were happy to settle on in.

 While Yemozan is the official name of the world, named after the first Elven Emperor who united the three lands under his banner and ruled for 500 years, many have taken to calling it The Conjured Isles after the remarking from their deities as well as the peculiar magical nature of the land. Everyone is born with a hint of magic in their blood here, even the simplest child one day wordlessly and without training stumbles upon a cantrip or two they find themselves capable of performing. The land itself at times seems almost otherworldly in its beauty, many of the forests hide fairy rings that lead to the Fey Wyldes or dark catacombs hide secret entrances to the darker realms beyond. Then there is the peculiar incidents that occur all across the land, where people and objects (and sometimes whole towns) simply appear out of nowhere as if conjured by some great magic. These people found are referred to as the Conjured Ones, and though they just began to appear in the span of an instant they seem to come whole cloth with a life and memories of their own as if they had already lived a great deal before.

 1000 years ago, the lineage of Emperors faltered and the Age of Kings began. A great darkness swept over the land, a force of evil that the people of the Conjured isles had never seen before. What exactly occurred has fallen into legend and myth, but it is said a great evil force led by the Lord of Dragons rose up in the far north and laid siege to all of Yemozan. The last Emperor, Yemozan the 9th, fought on the field of battle against the Lord of Dragons. Seeing his forces pushed to the brink, and knowing that if they fell here the rest of the world would soon fall, he removed the Crown of Command from atop his head and broke it in half. The release of the magical energy from within overwhelmed and destroyed most of both armies and shattered the land into a series of small archipelagos. Both the Lord of Dragons and Emperor Yemozan had their souls gathered up by the forces of Light and Dark, to be reincarnated in the future to finish their epic battle.

 It is 1009 AE (After Emperors) and the Conjured Isles are ruled by Kings and magical nobility all whom claim a right to the Throne of Emperors but cannot prove their claim. The golden chair sits in the ruins of a once glorious castle, untouched by age and so far none have had the proper blood right to sit upon it and claim uncontested rule. Whispers of dark forces gathering to the north are on the lips of every Bard and people begin to wonder if this is the time spoken of in the past; when the Emperor Yemozan and the lord of Dragons are reincarnated and the great battle of Light and Dark are to finally reach their conclusion. It is said in this time heroes will rise from among the Conjured Ones and one of royal birth will finally stake their claim for the Throne of Emperors. Each of the Great Kings and many of the noble houses have sent their children into the world to rally the people and make a claim for their “birthright”, but will they succeed? And what is to become of the land and people in a time of growing darkness and war?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Chicken Recipe

I love to cook, for myself and for others. Tonight for dinner I decided to be a little adventurous and try some new things with the chicken.

I started out with a 5oz chicken breast, cleaned up with minimal fat. I let it soak in lemon juice, marinating it to give it a nice flavor. While that was marinating, I started up a nice pot of rice. I boiled it with chicken broth and saffron to give it a lovely flavor, and went back to the chicken.

Once the chicken was finished marinating, I tossed it into a skillet and medium-high heat. Seasoned with marjoram, garlic, ginger, pink salt and a fringe of rosemary and these cooked up nicely. The rice finished just in time, a little light fluffing and it was a delight. I topped it with a bit of fresh butter, because why not ya know?

It was a delightful meal, something I need to make again sometime soon.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Story time reflections

Once upon a time, there were six young children lost in the woods. They had grown up together in a small town at the edge of the woods, but that town was a place of filth and refuse that never truly came clean. Agreeing that they had to strike out on their own to start a new life away from that town, they packed their bags and meager belongings with a few sandwiches. Slipping away with the smallest of goodbyes, they hit the road out of town and walked deep into the woods to cross and find a better life.

As they traveled, the children shared their hopes and dreams for the future and what life they wanted now free of their old town.



"I want to find a place that will let me become a warrior of renown, someone that people will sing my tales for years to come." Thus spoke the first child, and the leaves shook and heard his call.

"I want to live life as one party, traveling from one camp to the next and meeting all the new friends I can." Thus spoke the second child, and the squirrels chit tweed and heard his call.

"I want to be an artist, to bring to life the images I see in my mind, and work for what I want without being beholden to others." Thus spoke the third child, and the bubbling spring flowed fast and heard her call.

"I want to fight the good fight, to work hard for my gain and end the day with a new meal every night. I want purpose." Thus spoke the fourth child, and the wind picked up and heard his call.

"I want a place to call home, to make my way free and have a family." Thus spoke the fifth child, and the birds took to the air and heard her call.

"I want to create something lasting, to help support a great work or some building to have that satisfaction." Thus spoke the sixth child, and the flowers slowly opened in the sunlight and heard his call.

After a time, the children crossed the wood and entered a new kingdom. There they met wonderful people, new friends who took them into their homes and let them sleep a spell in exchange for a few chores around town. There they met the new King and Queen, freshly crowned and ready to make new friends as well. The children decided that this was a place they could call home, and began to settle. They met new friends, new faces, and the influence these good folk had on them helped shaped their growth. As they started their lives, those dreams they shared in the wood began to come true in ways they never could have imagined.



The first child picked up the blade, and though skilled as he was it was his way with the pen that quickly won him renown. His tongue and quill became sharper than any blade he could wield, and there were stories told of his prowess in battle true...but these tales of valor and honor came from his wordsmith skill and the lightness of soul it takes to master speechcraft. Thus, when that first King and Queen came back round to rule the land again the child found his dream had come true. 



The second child did indeed spend his time traveling from camp to camp, traveling to meet new friends and celebrate life. As he traveled, he learned new tales and shared them as he went. He found a love for the bardic arts, studying multiple musical arts and sharing his joy of life to every tent and cabin he found himself. Thus, when that first King and Queen came back round to rule the land again the child found his dream had come true. 



The third child quickly became an artist of renown, earning the respect of the various guilds and rank within. She found joy in creating art for the sake of art, but her heart truly soared when she did art for the sake of another. She dedicated herself to art for the sake of others, raising others up. In the joy of others she found life, and bent to task. Thus, when that first King and Queen came back round to rule the land again the child found her dream had come true. 



The fourth child did find his fight, and his skills with the blade became well known. But his skill became known not for combat, but the kitchen. He worked hard, he ate well and he learned to value his work for others. Dedicating himself to art and work for others, he found purpose. Thus, when that first King and Queen came back round to rule the land again the child found his dream had come true. 



The fifth child found the family she sought, a good man to wed and a doting child to have at her knee. Her family would not simply be them, she would soon discover a whole family who flirting about as the butterfly to take her under their wings. She found a home working the sewing rooms and scribal halls, and was happy. Thus, when that first King and Queen came back round to rule the land again the child found her dream had come true. 



The sixth child found great success with his ability to see what needed to be built, and to create works that others needed. He rebuilt and redesigned a whole tavern and town postal service, he inovated a new method to share festivals held throughout the land and found happiness. All this was good, but still his soul did not know satisfaction. It wasn't until he had wed and held the son he helped bring into the world that he truly knew joy, and the greatest thing he would leave behind as a legacy. Thus, when that first King and Queen came back round to rule the land again the child found his dream had come true. 

In the end, all the children found that their dreams had come true in one fashion or another, and all rested well and in happiness. They toasted the King and Queen, the first ever they remembered having, vowed to continue to support the magical kingdom they had found which made dreams come true.

And they lived happily ever after.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Topic: Religion and Spirituality



Religion -


1) the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
2) a particular system of faith and worship


Spiritual -
1) of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
2) of or relating to religion or religious belief

See? There is a difference!


I've always seen a difference between the two, and understood my need for them in separate manners. Religion is the structure in which I express my spirituality through the lens of culture/time/current ethics or morals. Spirituality is the core truth, the message and the importance it has on me. Spirituality is the code/the message, Religion is the way the message is presented and the ritual I use to express it.


Religion shifts and changes with the culture and time that uses it. Christianity today is vastly different than Christianity 100 years ago, or even just 50 years ago. The message/truth/code/guidelines/expression of reality that Christianity proclaims hasn't changed; what has changed is how we interpret it and how we express it. Christianity in America is different than Christianity in Germany, same day but different culture. At the heart, both cultures draw upon the same information and resources but due to the lens of society interprets it vastly different.


Spirituality however, that is something I feel a bit more fundamental. It is the thing we understand in our hearts as right, it is the moral/ethical code we follow to be a better person. It is those beliefs we have that defy explanation or assumption, it is the way of living that feels right. These are fundamental cores of our nature, the things that are "real" to each of us. These have to be expressed, they defy our understanding in an animistic way, and thus we create filters to understand them. These filters are built out of our cultural heritage and thus the message will change...into Religion.

Can you have pure spirituality and no religion? I think some people do, but they are rare. Isolated monks, spiritual guru's hidden in the wilds, these are people who have no tie to culture or the times and express their spirituality through an unfiltered/less tainted lens. But for the rest of us, our spiritual needs become expressed through the religion we choose to follow. I think it's a good thing to understand that.


What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Artist Life



Artist Life is...

. Being unable to eat, sleep or even control your breathing due to the INTENSITY that you feel you must create art.

. Being nervous about spending $0.99 on an app that will provide a few hours of entertainment, but you cannot pull out your credit card fast enough for a multi-book binding of three 14th Century cooking manuscripts for $100.00.

. Having to pause moments of your day to jot down notes or ideas, as brief bouts of inspiration hit due to random circumstance.

. Meeting a fellow artist, and spending hours just enjoying the shop talk and sharing of knowledge with a new friend. But when someone asks you later who you were talking to...not remembering their name because you realize you forgot to ask it,

. Hating the things that people praise the most, because you feel the praise is unjustified.

. A whole host of superstitions from years of work that infect your every move when creating art. Examples being specific chairs you must sit in to write, temperature/humidity to compose music to, just the right amount of clothing in the right spots to feel inspired to write.

. Seeing the world in a completely alien way than most of the population...and the learning to cope with that separation. 

. Flying into a rage because you could not properly explain to your loved ones the vision you have, the artistic mindset you wish to impart.

. Weeping at the chance to spend weeks of your life slaving away on a project that will perhaps only be experienced by people once, to be put on display for a majority who will never know the pints of blood poured into the task. 

For me, the biggest thing is seeing the world differently. And it's not so much a physical change in what I see...I see the boats on the water just like everyone else. It's just so much more than that.

I see the boats on the water, water stained gold and red with the light of a dying day. The water surges up the side of each ship, bleeding the promise and dreams of deeds done that day before becoming swallowed by the black night and the promise of death. Each ship drifts along, sailing despite the dying day, continuing its journey despite setbacks because it is confidant that with death must follow a new life and a new day. Some boats are pure of heart, some shadowed in an inner darkness reflected out, some striving for that purely human element of the middle which we must all arrive in. Some sails are unfurled to learn what it can of the knowledge of wind, some lowered to trust their own steering of the rudder. Always sailing, forever along the ocean of life and death. 

This is Artist Life.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Recipe: Miso Soup

This recipe posted here is the one i used to make my miso soup served in my Fall Coronation 2015 feast. It got many rave reviews and asks about a recipe, so I figured as I am working on more regular blogging I will share it here! The recipe is broken down to serve 5-10 people.

Miso soup


Ingredients:

3 quarts water - I use standard tap water here, nothing fancy
1 quart of fish stock - This one is a bit tricky, and will depend on how crazy you wanna go. For the stock, I made it from lightly boiling tuna. You can of course buy fish stock in Asian grocery stores (or the odd Publix wth a large international selection), but I made it fresh.
1/4 cup dashi granules - Can be purchased in any Asian grocery store
1/4 cup miso paste - Can be purchased in any Asian grocery store, but I have seen at Publix and Whole Foods!
Salt to taste - I used sea salt, but use your favorite salt here!
1/2 pound fresh cold wakame - I have only found this is Asian grocery stores, but I've heard this can be found in Whole Foods as well.

Instructions

1)
In a large pot with a well fitting lid, add in water and fish stock. Bring to a rolling boil.

2) Once water and fish stock have reached a rolling boil, add in dashi granules. Stir for one minute, until granules are fully mixed in.

3) Once granules have been mixed in, add in wakame. Stir vigorously, until the wakame is broken up and softened.

4) Whisk in miso paste, until water has turned one solid color. Drop heat to a simmer, fit tight with a lid and let simmer for 25 minutes.

5) Remove lid, stir to mix up wakame that may have settled. Sprinkle salt to taste, serve hot.

Enjoy!