I’ll admit: it’s frustrating that my progress doesn’t translate well to the format I’ve most commonly existed in over the past three years. I’m eleven followers away from Affiliate status on Twitch, I’ve found that delivering for Amazon Flex is a good way to make money without completely overwhelming myself with another job, and the worldbuilding for Adventures in Aryest is moving along at a satisfying, if ethereal, pace.
It’s well documented that I’m in the stage of the project where I have to knuckle down and firmly establish the workings of my magic, and I’ve known I want certain powers and abilities included from the beginning. But humans are special in my fiction, so I haven’t been able to figure out how to include healing magic. Additionally, aside from territory, I haven’t established an impetus for the intercontinental war necessary to the history and spirituality of my fiction. That is, until this week. So, free of charge, let me tell you about the things empires covet.
Explorers are always pushing the edges of the map out further; it’s in our nature. The ocean and Villesav’s hotspot keep the city relatively mild year-round—certainly relative to Vacen or anything further north along the coast, but it wasn’t until we pushed far enough south to reach the coastal boglands. Although we’ve not fully explored them, as the locals are still very suspicious of us outsiders, we have observed their northernmost reaches, from the ocean to the northwestern corner, where the terrain becomes too hilly to hold water. Many, many rivers flow out of those hills and into this bowl-like depression.
Naturally, it all drains slowly toward the ocean, but the incline is so shallow that the whole swampy system is affected by the tides. Thus, there’s a very obvious gradient of salinity from those western hills to the coast, and that gradient hides a splendid secret (although perhaps, it’s no longer hidden). In alcoves where even the tides barely agitate the waters can be found the larvae of a most intriguing little creature. They begin life like fish, living completely under the water, then undergo a most peculiar change—they grow legs and lose gills and take to the trees, defending their home pool from invading insects and aquatic animals which might try to find their way in.
Another oddity I discovered during my time in the swamps was the curiously long lives of the locals. Ever distrustful of outsiders (and with a language barrier between us), I was unable to learn the secret of their age, but I do not think it natural. I witnessed a scavenger who’d been injured during an outing: a woman came back with a badly mangled hand after a musk boar attack. She was rushed into the healers’ tent with no ado, and we didn’t see her again for only a pair of days before she left again to forage. Her hand was no longer bandaged, but they had not been able to save all of her fingers. The speed with which she recovered is circumstantial proof that they know something we do not.
I noticed that their settlements seem to be concentrated within the band of salinity which allows for the curious, amphibious creatures, and when asked, the locals seemed not to have much to say. If they do hold the secret, I’m sure we could successfully farm them, assuming we could get the water mix right. I understand the swamp locals routinely live to sixty years—some even to seventy-five and beyond. Imagine what our best minds could do with another decade or two…
~Excerpt from a travel journal
This little piece is something I’ve just whipped up to add a little flavor to the piece of worldbuilding which happened this week. The characters in question exist only here, and have no names or backstories (yet). The Zanvyans have basically the same animal on their side of the ocean, and only certain islands between them can be used to cultivate the animals. These are what they fight over: the ability to produce magical healing substances.
I’m out of time for this week, but know that I’m trucking along!