Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Guest Post with L. Blankenship: Magic System of Disciple

I love magic. It's probably one of the major reasons I was drawn to the fantasy genre from early on. So I was delighted when L. Blankenship let me in on the promotion of her new novel, Disciple, Part II, by agreeing to come on over and talk about the magic system she uses in the series.

Let's jump into it.


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Magic for the saints of war

There is only one way to perform magic in the "Saints of War" universe of Disciple: using kir. The people don't think of it as magic, since minor kir-mages are common enough. It's just a part of life.

What are kir-mages?

Eight out of ten people could learn to use kir to make a simple charm -- a small magic spell that does one thing, such as create a match-sized bit of fire. Whether those eight ever have the chance, or the kir available to them, to learn such a thing is a different question entirely. Most do not, unless they live in an unusual kingdom like Wodenberg.

One of ten people cannot spin even one simple charm. The ability to shape kir into charms is innate, then trained through practice and will. Some people simply do not have it.

So far, we've described ninety percent of all people. The remaining ten percent can be divided into four levels of kir-mage.

Disciples can master three or four "standard" charms, usually within a certain area of expertise. At the level of Blessed, kir-mages can see beyond formulas and begin to design their own charms. Their efforts are more complex and flexible, though still limited to themselves or those they can directly touch.

Disciples and Blessed are sought out by Elect and Saints; they're trained to the limits of their innate ability and given positions of authority as befits their skills. Saints create a minor bond with their Disciples and Blessed, through which they supply their followers with kir.

Of the gifted ten percent of all people, six are Disciples and four are Blessed -- or not quite four. Elect and Saints are rare things, only a fraction of a percent of the population, but they do exist.

Elect are not limited to charming themselves, or through touch. Their charms can be stable enough to exist until cut by another kir-charm. Elect can weave large, complex, and deadly charms. It's said that the only limits on an Elect are his own wits and that last, vital step to becoming a Saint.

That would be binding kir-founts to oneself.

What are kir-founts?

Founts are places where kir wells up from the earth. This raw stuff of magic always rises up in conjunction with water, regardless of whether a water spring "ought" to be in a given place or not. Why kir rises where it does is an open question, as well.

Any living being can feel kir, when it's as strongly concentrated as it is in a fount. People and animals are naturally drawn to founts, and drinking the kir-laced water is invigorating for anybody.

But only Saints can fully tap that power and bind it to themselves so they can call on the fount's large reservoir of kir at any moment. Their skill at shaping kir into charms is so strong, so detailed, and so instinctive that once they have a fount -- or more than one -- at their command, they are gods.

Well, not truly. They are Saints: sacred, powerful, practically immortal. The people of this world don't need gods.

Saints then distribute the fount's kir to their bound Elect, Blessed, and Disciples. And they guard their founts jealously; Saints struggle for control of more founts, to kill their fellow Saints and harvest their wisdom, and surround themselves with kingdoms full of followers to do this with.

What is kir?

It is a compressible, reactive, malleable, yet indestructible… essence. Kir is green in its normal state, golden when compressed, and can turn white-hot at certain levels of focus. Under a kir-mage's will, it can be shaped like clay, or like steel, and yet it can rush like water, like wind, through the mage's being. A shield woven from kir can stop any steel blade, and yet one snick from a kir-knife and it melts away like so much fog, back to the earth from which it came.

Disciple is a gritty fantasy romance about a teenaged girl, Kate, learning to use her kir-magery to help defend her homeland -- its saints and founts -- against a vast empire.

Back cover of Disciple, Part II

The prince first kissed Kate Carpenter for fear of missing the chance if they didn’t survive the journey home through the monster-prowled mountains.

Now that kiss seems like a fever dream. It’s back to work for her, back to the fellow physicians jealous of her talents and the sneers of an infirmary director who wants her shipped off to some tiny village. Kate means to be on the front lines to save lives. She’s worked too hard to overcome her past to let them deny her the chance to serve her homeland when the enemy’s army reaches their kingdom.

The grand jousting tournament is a chance to prove she can manage combat wounded, and at the royal Solstice banquet Kate means to prove she isn’t an ignorant peasant girl anymore.

But the prince’s kiss still haunts her. Their paths keep crossing, and the easy familiarity they earned on the journey home is a welcome escape from their duties. It’s a small slip from chatting to kisses.

This is no time to be distracted by romance -- a vast and powerful empire is coming to slaughter anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical fount.

Kate ought to break both their hearts, for duty’s sake.

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  Disciple, Part II on sale now
along with Disciple, Part I
at all major online retailers

More information, updates, and extras at Disciple of the Fount

Sample of Part ISample of Part II

Disciple, Part III coming in late 2013

Disciple is complete in six parts and will make a lovely doorstop
when all 400k words have been published.

Goodreads links:

Disciple, Part IDisciple, Part II

Goodreads giveaway!

Begins Monday April 15

I'm giving away a bundle of BOTH paperbacks:

Disciple, Part I and Part II.

One week to enter!

Guest Post by Tracy Falbe, Character Profile: Jafe, bodyguard to a princess

I'm delighted that the very first ever guest post on my blog belongs to Tracy Falbe, author of the Rys Rising fantasy series. In celebration of the conclusion of the four novel series, Tracy is making stops all over as part of her Feel Real Fantasy Blog Tour and giving away prizes, too! Find information below on how to enter to win a $25 Etsy gift card and download a free eBook of Rys Rising, the first novel in the series.

Today's guest post features a profile of the character, Jafe. No one can explain Jafe better than the author who created him, so take it away, Tracy.


FRFblogtour

Today’s stop on the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe introduces readers to Jafe, bodyguard to a princess.

Age: Late teens
Physical appearance: Dark skin, black hair, brown eyes, slight mustache, average height
Special skills: Paying attention, not getting killed, good fighter, loyal, smart
Magical items: None

Jafe started his career as a respectable warrior, but he served a lord who fell out of favor and was defeated. With a few fellow warriors led by an experienced veteran, Jafe escapes into the wild lands beyond villages and towns and becomes an outlaw. His little band is hired to serve as bodyguards to the rogue Princess Demeda who has embraced the outlaw life. She’s only sixteen at the time, and Jafe easily becomes smitten with his extraordinary employer. Her ambitions are firmly fixed upon a notorious warlord, but Jafe remains captive to his growing love for her.

In her employ he takes incredible journeys through many tribal domains and fights in the wars between the magical rys and tabre. For years he stays vigilant as he protects Demeda, but gradually he comes to resent his unrequited love.

Author’s feelings about the character:

Jafe is the nice guy who sticks around hoping to get the girl on the rebound after she has broken up with the jerk she adores. He’s a girl’s best friend. Attentive. Helpful. Respectful. Heroic. His game is the waiting game. He hopes that time is on his side. Although Jafe is a minor supporting character throughout the epic, he has some dramatic and crucial scenes. I enjoyed writing him. I imagine some men will recognize his position and relate to his predicament. He’s a good man caught up in a brutal world. He does not want to be a bad person but he ends up committing some bad deeds, but he does them for love.

Rys Rising seriesFrom Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II

Demeda got her cloak and boots and summoned Luci and her bodyguards. When she explained to them that they were going to meet Onja, apprehension stunned them and only Loxane’s impatience roused them back to action.

Demeda encouraged her companions with a confident smile. She slung her bag over her shoulders and reached automatically for her gloves then stopped. She was supposed to flaunt her royal birth now. Shame unexpectedly stung her for casting away her noble heritage for the outlaw life. Now her blood seemed to be dragging her back to duty, and her love of freedom squirmed in fear.

Everyone started into the hall but Jafe stopped Demeda at the door. He shut it for privacy. His hand was on her shoulder and his needy fingers pressed through her layers of clothes longing for her skin.

“Don’t go,” he whispered.

Demeda looked up at him. Jafe was a temptingly handsome young man, and close to her age. Only a thin mustache outlined his shapely lips. His nose was upturned and small and his brown eyes were flecked with gold and uniquely attractive.

“Amar has summoned me,” Demeda said.

“This could be a trap. They might want to kill all royal blood,” Jafe warned, and the treachery that had ruined his former lord colored his premonition.

She lifted a hand to display a tattoo and said, “I’m to show the people my royal loyalty to Onja. I’m needed.”

“You’re needed for a parade, but then what?” Jafe said and then he put his other hand on her and pulled her close. “I’ll get you away from here. I love you, Demeda. Don’t take this risk. Let’s get away from these people. They’re wicked.” He trembled with his passion.

Jafe moved a hand up her neck until he held her jaw. His touch was tender but lustfully urgent. With his lips coming closer to her, Demeda imagined her life with him. Jafe would be kind and attentive. Of that she had no doubt, and the simplicity of his loving affection beckoned her. What woman would spurn the chance for the uncomplicated devotion of a good man?

But Jafe had no wealth or power or home. He was a mercenary, discarded by society after the disgrace of his petty lord. He had no shelter or prestige to offer. And if she ran off with him, her disobedience to Amar would bring both their deaths.

Start reading Rys Rising for free

Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.

Start reading Rys Rising for free and enter the prize drawing by visiting the link or using the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway