The Worldbuilding of Maaren pt. 2

Like it says in the title, this is the counterpart to an original post about some groups that affect the plot of Storge. That first post got pretty long last week, so I split it up and post the rest of the lore today! This will elaborate on the groups mentioned in part 1, so if you’re confused, you can read part 1 here to learn about the background of the world, geography, Atilan, and Debilan groups!

The Avians

Hundreds of years ago, the avians used to be a nomadic group, but the cliffs of Maaren’s canyon provided the perfect place to build more permanent structures for weathering storms and resting en route. At the time, the land was controlled by the Atilan, and though they didn’t posses the technology at the time to retrieve the precious metals and magical elements from the cliffs, they didn’t want to give it up either. For a time it looked like the clash would turn violent, but the humans, knowing they could be devastated by attacks from the sky, and the avians, not wanting to resort to that violence, came to a different agreement…

A battle of wits would be held. If the avians won, they would be allowed to settle there and establish their own government. If the Atilan won, the avians would not only lose the chance to live there but also the trade ties that provided them with food. Two competitors were chosen – the High Lord and an intelligent girl who was the scribe to the Avian leader. Their riddles were so evenly matched, each had the first two correct, but they couldn’t agree for the last one on loophole grounds, and they settled for a compromise. The avians could settle and begin building, with a council of their own, but they would need to answer to the Atilan council for any final decisions.

This system still exists in the present-day story of Storge. In the intervening time, the cliff city has become a thriving cultural hub for their people. They survive mainly off of trade, having a tradition of master artisans who work with the materials found in the cliffs. Avians cannot perform magic, much like the Debilan aren’t supposed to, but some are incredibly accurate at detecting it, making them invaluable in finding deposits of the materials and making them into charms and devices to be sold to the Atilan. Their society is matriarchal, though while only females may be educated at the prestigious new academy that trains girls in logic, history, law, science, engineering, and the humanities, a sharp wit and cleverness in your work is prized universally. While most follow Daziam, there are many followers of the Artist as well because of its emphasis on creation and beauty, and the smaller religion is not systematically stamped out within their city walls as it is in the human counterpart of Maaren. There are five Magistras on the high council, and they are chosen through a rigorous testing and apprenticeship program. Chara serves as the recently instated Magistra of Trade during the story.

The Anarchists

These are outliers – a tiny and very violent group of furious Debilan and disgraced Atilan who hate the high council and have made it their life’s mission to disable the system. They would call themselves revolutionaries, but they operate through intimidation tactics and terror attacks, disregarding anyone who gets hurt in the crossfire in an attempt to get at the Atilan. They use highly illegal and powerful magic for massive amounts of destruction, and worship of a pantheon of old gods that came before the Daziam ones – only known about from carvings found in ancient carvings in the tunnels and caverns beneath the cities. They focus on deities with an underworld or “madness” connection – death, drunkenness, and general chaos is the great equalizer; magic is a way for them to tap into that power.

Despite being so violent, those within the group care for each other deeply and think of each other as family and there is order within the camp. They are led by a Master and a few of their close friends who serve as lieutenants. Dying for the cause is understood as a likely end, but they are fiercely protective of each other and mourn their dead by celebrating their life and sacrifice with festivities. Over the course of the story, they grow more and more bold with their attacks in an attempt to force the Atilan’s hand, and the city is on the brink of war between the two sects, each trying to wipe out the other. In this conflict, the Debilan and Avians are dragged into the center of something they never started or want to be involved in at all.

That covers the 4 main groups of Maaren, their religions, and their magic! I understand it’s a lot, but in telling this story, I wanted to accurately reflect the complexities that exist in our society, to make the world seem more realistic. This all plays into the plot in various ways, but is revealed in parts over the course of the story, so there’s no exposition dumps right in the first chapter. Again, this is more of a reference guide, so that those of you reading this blog before reading the story can know what I’m actually talking about.

I also have one redaction to make from one of my previous character introductions. In editing, I’ve realized that one of the more complicated aspects of the formerly known as Lady Elize’s backstory isn’t really necessary to the plot, and by changing it to something simpler, not only can I make the backstory less confusing, but I can also make her more intimidating as a villain. I’ve edited that post to reflect this new change, and put a note at the bottom to explain the change, so if you want to read Lyss’s updated bio, you can find that here.

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