Milly, Final Thoughts on Jathy and the Story

This will be the final entry in the series  of my fifth book design notes. Jathy is a place where I got to play with a lot of fun locations. One part I didn’t get to do that much was a mirage. I wanted to, but I couldn’t find a good place to put it in. I tried to do something, but it was more of a side thing to show off some different settings and creatures.

I did get two fun places into the desert, and that’s an underground ruins and a sea of sand. For the underground ruin, the visual I kept in mind was from Toriko, a manga about ingredient hunters. In one story, the main character is searching for an ingredient in ruins hidden underneath the desert. He enters through a massive building, but later on, it’s revealed that massive building is like the tip of the iceberg. The building was just one small tower out of something bigger. While I didn’t make mine quite that large, it still inspired me when I made the underground ruins.

That was also the place where I added in a bit more backstory on the world of Bentas. This is, perhaps, the first hint of another ongoing plotline rather than Milly trying to get home. Yes, it is kind of late, but I have alluded to it in previous books. This will just formalize the backstory of Bentas as something to be looked at going forwards.

The other area I liked doing is the sand sea. I don’t know why, but I tried to give it some kind of explanation other than somehow, the sand in this area is fluid enough for giant worms to swim through. I just like the visual of giant sand monsters. You can find them all over, and perhaps Dune is the best example. It’s just a fantastic visual for me. I tried to make the sand sea part the strangest part of Jathy, to make that place feel even more alien and out there.

Out of all the leaders in other provinces, I think I like Ashar the best. I can’t point to any one reason, but I just want her to succeed and be happy. Being the writer, I could do that, but it’s Milly’s story, and her role in that part is done.

I know this book didn’t have any of Milly trying to get home, but I wanted to change it up. I didn’t want every book to be Milly tries to get home but for some reason or another, she fails. This time, I’m showing Milly off as the Ambassador of Province Relations. She is doing work for this book, and she is decent at it.

That’s it for Jathy! Join me next time for Balab with a new POV character, Rona.

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Milly, Animals of Jathy

This will be some of my thoughts and notes on the animals of Jathy. None of the animals of Jathy have a huge impact on the story. They’re mostly around for flavor and effect. I tried to add some dangerous moments with the local animals. There are a lot of lizards and other reptiles in Jathy, some hares, some birds.

The main animals used as beasts of burden are large lizards with a hump on the back. Their short tails are helpful in not getting caught by the wheels of the carriage. There is another lizard, known as the skiffer, that are also used to pull things. They have longer  tails, but it trails behind them enough not to hit the wheels.

An animal raised for food are some sheep-like animals with short fur. A while animal is something called frog hares. Imagine a furry frog with long ears. I guess I wanted to combine two animals known for jumping. They’re pretty fast.

The klicker is an animal with more of a role in the story. I used them as a danger when Milly was at a cactus patch. They live within the plants and they are also covered in spines. They can shoot out their spines, unlike real animals. They can also shoot out their tongue to attack. The klickers are quite vicious.

Now for something more interesting, the sand dunes. I wanted that place to feel more wild and strange, so I added more strange animals. Of course there are lizards. The main one is the sand runner. I based them off lizards that can run on water, only these are much bigger and run on top of liquid sand.

For a strange, I have the striders. They are animals that filled with gas allowing the main body to float. They pull themselves around on tall, spindly legs. They can capture prey between the legs and lower the body down to eat them, or they can eat high prey easily.

The main animals there are the sand worms. Of course I had to have them. What fantasy desert would be complete with giant sand monstrousities? They are just a great striking view that’s an awe to behold. I really wanted them in the story.

The last “animal” and I use that term here because I haven’t really decided, are the shadow spirits. They aren’t dangerous, but they are curious. They are like tall, shadowy pillars looking at people in the desert. They are more there for a mysterious feeling, to give a sense of wonder to the place. They aren’t dangerous, but they will get defensive if approached. It’s best to ignore them, even as they stare.

That’s it for the animals of Jathy. Next time, a bit more about the land! And maybe some closing thoughts depending on how long that gets.

Milly, Characters of Jathy

This time, it’s about some of the characters we meet in Jathy. First up, the talka. Tonzi is the talka guide, taking Milly on his half of the quest. When I decided to have two guides, it seems to make sense to have two separate pieces to find and to have one of them be the guide to each.

Tonzi is the one that took Milly to the valley where they must find convince the local tribe to help them. He’s a friendly guy, moreso than some of his is fellow tribesmates.

The chief of the Shimmer Moon Tribe is Raerdu. I don’t have too much notes on him.

For the people of the valley, the Sand Keeper tribe, I wanted do show something different from the rest of the talka tribes. While the Sand Keeper tribe is generally suspicious of outsiders, they do try to be welcoming, especially to those that show good intentions.

On the kaafu side, the guide is Karik. So, when I decided to make two separate quests, I also decided to split up the guides. It just made things easier and to not have too many characters, especially since the guides were going to be arguing a lot if they were together.

Karik is friendly and helpful. He’s a bit more laid back out of the two.

The other major kaafu character is Jakwindo. I wanted to show another side of the kaafu, so he is an inventor. I also wanted to show that just because a race can fly naturally, they would still want machines to help them fly. He would be the steampunk inventor type of character. A haughty fellow that wants to show off his creations.

The last character I wanted to talk about is Ashar, the high priestess of the city. Now, this will be spoilers for people that haven’t read the book, so please go read it!

Anyway, when I had two separate races, of course you are going to wonder if they can crossbreed, and Ashar is the answer. While Ashar is special and the leader of a city, I wanted to show a lot of her insecurities as well. It’s not easy being the leader, especially if people only put you there because you’re special.

By using her separated aspects, I could show how she was feeling, the things she would hide when she had full control of her emotions. There is a lot of hurt and anger underneath her calm exterior.

At the end of the story, Ashar gets some support, so I hope she becomes a good leader for the first city with both talka and kaafu.

Milly, People of Jathy

For a while, I decided that I wanted there to be two dominant races in Jathy. I tried to base them off common desert animals. One is a race of cat-people. The other is a race of bird people, more like falcons. While they weren’t originally going to be small, I think I like the direction with that. They are the small races of Bentas, being around children’s height. Still, both of them are quite strong.

The cat-people are the Talka. They live as nomadic tribes and are usually active at night. Everything they own is easy to pack up, pick up and move. They travel across the desert looking for supplies and water, though most of the tribes have certain routes they always follow. They even have animal pens to keep livestock.

Each tribe is like a small village that consists of a few families. There are around thirty to fifty people for each tribe.

Most of the tribe names are related to the skies above, but there is one tribe that isn’t nomadic, the Sand Keeper tribe. They live in a valley, and the valley gives them everything they need. They are the only tribe that is good at farming.

The other two named tribes are the Shimmer Moon Tribe and the Slippery Star Tribe.

The other major race in Jathy are the Kaafu, the bird-people. They are active during the day. They have great wingspans, especially when compared to their height. Each wing is around as tall as they are, maybe more. They mostly fly, but when on land, they prefer to hop around on sharp talons.

The kaafu live on top of mesas. They build small outposts with a lot of wooden towers. There are lots of places for them to perch, though it’s not that comfortable for anyone else. There are also swings that they use for fun.

The kaafu are mostly active during the day. They soar through the skies to hunt, but they also practice some farming. It’s not easy to farm in rock on top of the mesas, so they have certain spots on the ground nearby where they farm. It’s not a problem to them going up and down.

The kaafu mainly wear loose robes. They are firm enough not to snag on their wings or talons, but give good airflow and can block the sun.

Both the talka and kaafu enjoy wearing jewelry, though the talka use more bone and stones while the kaafu will use metal on occasion.

Next time, I’ll talk about the individual characters a bit more.

Milly and the City In Between

It’s finally here, for those that asked for it! (Which was none of you). But it’s time for my writing notes and thoughts on the fifth book in my NaNoWriMo series, Milly. This time, she is off to the Desert Province, and I am almost certain I spelled it wrong in the book. This one turned out a bit different than how I envisioned it, mostly due to the constraints of NaNoWriMo.

First, let me tell you what was the same. Jathy, the Desert province was always a place where there were two races. I was thinking a bit on Elder Scrolls 4, Oblivion when I made it, specifically the Shivering Isles. Of course, it’s not as dangerous, but I wanted a place where two races were in charge. In this case, they are the Talka and the Kaafu. The talka are cat people and they’re awake during the day. The Kaafu, on the other side, are bird people and they’re awake during the night. While they mostly don’t interact, I wanted the central conflict of the story to have something to do with the both of them. That’s why I had the grand city of Zhaba-Toru or Toru-Zhaba.

What changed. I think in my original notes, I had Jathy as being full of mirages, though I don’t think they played much of a part at all. I did want to throw in an oasis part and a buried temple part, though. Though not quite as grand, I wanted the buried temple part to be like having 1% or less visible above ground with a majority hidden away.

Another thing that changed was that originally, Milly was going to spend more time in the main city to figure out what was going on. To do that, though, I was going to have to write slower, since I needed to figure out what to investigate and how to lay out the clues. I couldn’t do that for NaNoWriMo, since I had to write at a certain pace. So I mainly had Milly and her friends exploring outside of the city.

I mainly cut out a lot of the getting to know the city part by turning the inhabitants into some sort of magical state where they were stuck in a loop. That gave me an easy way not to have Milly bothering with more long-term actions.

I think it turned out fine. It gave me a lot to do around the desert. I had a lot of cliche settings I wanted to show off. I know you might have seen them before, but I think they’re still great fun all the same.

Next time, I’ll get more into the people of Jathy as well as the city. Stay tuned!

Milly 4, Animals of Vias

Welcome to my thoughts and notes on the animals of Vias! They are a mixture of fish and furry animals. Some are adorable, some are dangerous, but I tried to throw in some strange and wild stuff, too.

Bullbop are large fish that’s used a lot for food. It’s where the kundun get their steak.

The doxon are furry, yak-like creatures. They’re mostly used for milk.

Ribbon dog. I didn’t give them an official name, but they’re like the pets and guard animals. They are pretty friendly, though, so their main use is alerting people someone is there.

The ginka. I had fun with these. They are round penguins! I think making things into the shape of a ball makes them adorable. I have some stuff animals like that. I wanted them to be cute and non-threatening.

The wallowtail are fish that live in the mist. They never stop moving, and they move really fast. They have sharp turns that easily makes people lose their position, meaning they are among the toughest fish to catch.

The junka are the work aniamls of the kundun. They’re kind of like doxon, but with thicker fur and humps on their backs. Oh, and they have webbed feet. For that, I was sort of going for a snowshoe like effect that allows them to stay on top of the snow.

Wind Squirrels are squirrels. They live in what little trees there are in Vias and they have wind magic.

The Baringa, now these were something I wanted to add. They are like merpeople, and what fantasy story couldn’t use some merpeople? I made them the dangerous kind that lures people in. Vias was the only place with a lot of water, so I had to throw them in.

I had fun with the entire section. It’s an entire wrecked ship area that just has a great feel to it, for me. I hope it was atmospheric for you, too.

The clossis. Now these guys are something I added for the sense of wonder and danger. One thing I’m afraid of in deep-sea animals is things so large that they can’t possibly be supported on land. These are not quite that big, but they are the sea serpents that show up on the maps. Their design is based on a similar monster in a video game. I had them eat magems mostly as an excuse for them to attack the cruise ship, because otherwise cruise ships would be far too dangerous in Vias. Most of the time, they stick to themselves.

Alright, now for the spackilo. These are the giant mosnters of the depth that I think about, things so large that if you’re too close, you think you’re looking at a wall. These fulfill the fantasy of an entire town being inside of a living creature. I want one massive-type animal for each province, like ancient spirits that have always been around. The spackilo are those for Vias.

There are a few named once, but Vannuk is the oldest. Maybe there are other spackilo’s with whole towns inside them. Who knows? But they are considered guardians of the ocean. They are helpful and rescue people that fall in. It’s sort of what they do, though they don’t let people out afterwards.

The spackilo people was perhaps my favorite part of the book. It’s just a interesting town that survives and thrives inside a giant whale. I don’t have much more backstory to the spackilo people, though. They aren’t some offshoot of the kundun. They are their own thing that has always lived inside the spackilo. I wanted to give them a mysterious feel, so I had them all wrapped up. They get dried out easily, so they need all that protection.

That’s it for the creature and animals of Vias. Next time, some closing thoughts on the book!

Milly 4, the Kundun

The kunduns are the residents of Vias, the Ice Province. Their design is based on an old video game character. You know Darkstalkers? It is an old Capcom fighting game. There is a character in there called Sasquatch. He pretty much is what his name implies, a furry, cute guy with a huge mouth. That’s what I wanted the kundun to look like, but I made them smaller.

For their culture, I probably mixed together a whole bunch of cold weather stuff. I took insipiration from Alaskan Natives a lot as well as some other places, but mostly, I made stuff up. Some of their building designs come from viking stuff, others were thick, log structures. I think Skyrim structures influenced my thinking a lot. I liked that the kundun are an artistic race, but they mainly keep their art to themselves.

Some notes individual characters. For the kundun, the ship captains are in charge when out in the ocean. It’s not really like a military, though, more like civilian ships. Things aren’t that strict, but a captain’s order are expected to be followed. Like Captain Ratu, who is a fishing vessel captain, or Captain Varq of a cruise ship.

There’s Halmin, who is just a wise old woman.

Balli, the guide for this province, wasn’t even created when I first started the story. Originally, I thought Captain Varq would be the guide. But then I realised his personality wouldn’t allow for it. I needed someone else to help Milly through the province, so I made up Balli. That’s the reason for his relatively late introduction compared to the other guides. It did help give him a good reason for helping Milly, though, against what his people would normally do.

That’s it for the kundun. Next time, the animals and creatures of the Ice Province!