One of my readers was so fond of the character Sammorien The Moss-Man from my short stories anthology ‘The Stories They Told Their Children’ she decided to create some fan artwork of him. Check out this gorgeous illustration by Raina Nightingale.
The book featuring Sammorien’s story is available now on Amazon:
In addition to being an artist, Raina Nightingale is also a blogger and a fantasy author. She’s written a number of books in a styl she describes as “Dawndark fiction”, set in the fictional Areaer and Alaer universes, where humans live among elves, dragons, griffons and other supernatural creatures. For more details check out her blog:
I’ve recently started working on a new project, a fantasy romance novella called ‘Tiriyanin’s Riddles’, which is set in the Gragiyan Empire, the same universe as my short stories. The mythical universe is a continent resembling ancient Rome, comprising four provinces where humans live among Erai deities, four different Enai clans and water Enai (mer-folk).
‘Tiriyanin Riddles’ tells the story of Emperor Tiriyanin and his poly-amorous relationship with two mistresses Ducissa Skaraila “Darhija” (orchid) & Lady Akrila “Lereia” (rose).
As an introduction to the world, I would like to explain some of the titles used to address the imperial family as well as some of the rules of etiquette at the Emperor’s court.
The correct way to greet a member of the imperial family is to bow in front of them and address them in the appropriate manner. “Your Highness” or “Your Majesty” are the most common. You can also refer to them by their titles:
Aefling – the Gragiyan term for royal consort, the husband of a ruling Ifresija. He has no rights to the throne, as he is neither of royal blood nor chosen by the High Council. However, any children he has with the Ifresija have the right to succeed. Although she has the freedom to choose her spouse, it is expected for the Ifresija Prisis to choose a man of noble status as her Aefling.
Ifresija – the Gragiyan term for Empress, it can refer to either the Emperor’s wife or mother.
Ifresija Prisis – the Gragiyan term for an Empress ruling on her own. There is a law that states if the Emperor’s only legitimate child is a daughter, she may legally become his heir to ensure that the royal blood line does not end upon his death. There have been very few Ifresjia Prisis in the Empire’s long history.
Ifresir – the Gragiyan term for Emperor.
Ifreya – the Gragiyan term for Princess, referring to the sisters or daughters of the Emperor.
Ifrey – the Gragiyan term for Prince, referring to younger brothers or younger sons of the Emperor.
Ifrey Prisis – the Gragiyan term for the Emperor’s oldest son and heir.
Other noble titles include:
Ducissa – the Gragiyan term for a Duchess.
Dux – the Gragiyan term for a Duke.
Marchio – the Gragiyan term for a Marquis, a noble title lower than of a Dux.
Marchionissa – the Gragiyan term for a Marquess, the wife of a Marchio, a noble title lower than that of a Ducissa.
Rules of Court Etiquette
Only members of the Imperial family are permitted to call the Emperor by his first name. Everyone else must refer to him by his title. His mistresses may call him as they wish when inside his private chambers and the palace gardens. When appearing with him at any public event they must address him as Ifresir or “Your Majesty’.
2. It is considered rude and improper for an Ifresija to feed her children in public. A nanny or wet-nurse will be should be used for this purpose.
I am currently editing the story and I hope to publish it at some point in the future, possibly later this year.
Lord Makar the grim and extremely light-sensitive god of death appears to be a favorite for many of my readers so I decided to share some information about my inspirations for the character. My main inspiration for Lord Makar came from the god Hades from Greek mythology and a character called Mandos (also known as Námo) the Vala from J.R.R.Tolkien’s ‘The Silmarillion’.
Like both Hades and Mandos, Lord Makar is depicted as a grim character associated with the land of the dead. Another similarity he has to Mandos is that he performs the function of the judge of the dead and the declaration of fates. Lord Makar is the king of the underworld which is known as the Halls of Makar, inspired by the Halls of Mandos. When writing the story of his origins I tried to think of a reason why he would choose that dark place as his realm. Unlike the Greek god he is inspired by, Lord Makar had the freedom to make his own choice without being coerced or tricked by others. This is how I came up with the concept of him being extremely light-sensitive and thus terrified of bright lights which is ultimately what drove him to create his kingdom underground.
I never envisioned him as an evil entity but rather as someone whose role requires a cold and emotionless demeanor when performing his duties. I decided to contrast this by giving him a softer side depicted by his loving relationship with his queen.
While both Mandos and Hades have queens, neither of them were an inspiration for the character of Lady Morae. Unlike the Greek goddess Persephone, Lord Makar’s wife is a goddess of sorrow who was always destined to become queen of the underworld. The pale enchantress Lady Morae is associated with darkness and sadness which makes her the perfect soulmate for Lord Makar. She entered the underworld willingly and remained there out of love for her husband who never did anything to force her to stay.
Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a child and throughout my teenage years I would often come up with stories, though only a few of which were written and many were left unfinished. As I grew up I abandoned the hobby but maintained an interest in mythology, folklore, horror and fantasy particularly the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Andrzej Sapkowski and J.R.R. Tolkien.
The original idea behind these tales has been in my head for many years but though only recently I finally made a decision to write them down. The following set of stories act as an introduction to the culture, traditions and beliefs of the inhabitants of a fictional continent that later became known as The Gragiyan Empire comprised of four provinces: Gragiya, Arhia, Lavinium and Niralis. The fictional Gragiyan and Enai languages are phonetic with each letter pronounced as it is written; names such as ‘Cri’, ‘Dri’ are meant to be pronounced as (Kr-ee), (Dr-ee) and the same goes for nouns such as ‘lietr’ . The names of the races are always referred to in the plural so Erai, Enai and Morkrai may refer to a single being as well as groups of individuals.
Writing these stories has been a very liberating experience for me and in many ways it has had a very positive impact on my mental health. I feel that it’s provided me with a much need source of escapism away from the grim reality that started with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support.