Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Magic of Rizkaland

Magic. It's the dividing line in Christian Fantasy. On one hand, you have those who argue that it's fantasy, not reality, and it doesn't matter. On the other, you have those who'll point to verses that clearly denote magic as sin, and refuse to have anything to do with it.

Me? I sit on that line. Yes, it needs to reflect reality and not praise magic that is truly from the devil, but on the other, it is fantasy, it's (usually) not our own world, so who's to say that other worlds function under the same laws as our own. I read and love magical fantasy (as well as non-magical), and I write it. Rizkaland, being my first series, is no exception.

So, in this post, I'd like to take the time to say exactly how magic works in Rizkaland, for those of you who magic is a touchy point. It's something I ought to do with Bookania as well, but we'll get to that later.

First of all, my broad approach to magic that I have throughout my writing. I call it the "natural" system because, for my purposes, a mere "good vrs. evil" is too simplified and I'm not sure it quite reflects reality. It's a system that I've given much thought and prayer to over the years, influenced by several articles by some of my fellow authors.

To start off, we have Supernatural Magic. This is God's power, or power given by God to certain individuals to further his glory. In the real world, it would be referred to as miracles, but you can also think of Gandalf's power in Middle Earth, or the Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time in Narnia.

Secondly, we have Natural Magic, which, in most cases, isn't actual magic at all, but sleight of hand, science-y things like electricity, or even what is merely the differences from one world to another. Natural Magic is anything that can't be easily explained, but functions fully within the natural laws of the world. This is the broadest category.

And third, we have Unnatural Magic, which is what most people think of when you say "magic," the magic that God condemns, and I never portray this in a good light. However, interestingly enough, many times the actual power began as Supernatural or Natural (the devil has no power beyond what God gives him), it's just twisted away from its original purpose, and wielded by those who were never supposed to touch it.

So, that's how I approach magic - so how do I apply it in Rizkaland. Well, let's begin.

To start with, this a portal fantasy, so I'll explain the portals. My approach is rather mathematical, and inspired by my geometry textbook. Basically, you know how multiple planes can exist, layered up against each other, intersecting at certain points? That's how worlds work, but you have to add in a fourth dimension, and it will make your head hurt, so let's move on.

The other half of the equation is Laura, the Doorkeeper, who is capable of breaking through one world to another. Her power is, in part Supernatural, and partially Natural as well. I can't say much at the moment how, exactly, she got her powers, but over the course of the series, and in some of the companion novels, you will see her collecting various items that have similar powers to hers. I'll explain in book 6 what she does with them.

Moving on, we have the elves. They don't have a large role in WPFP, but book two has several elves as major characters, so I feel like talking about them. Like traditional elves, Rizkan elves take a more spiritual role in Rizkan society, but unlike traditional elves, they are very much physically inferior, being in general smaller, weaker, and less enduring than humans. To make up for this, they have what they call gifts. Some elves can fly, some can turn invisible, some have healing touch, and so on and so forth. It is part of their natural abilities, though they are concentrated (thanks to a typo by Jack Lewis Baillot) in wooden boxes that they wear as necklaces.

However, their is one family that also has prophetic powers. The Bookholder and the Bookdaughters. The Bookholder has a special Book (hence the name) that tells him prophecies from Alphego. The Bookdaughters (who are, as the name implies, the daughters of the Bookholder), speak prophecies directly from Alphego. Again, I'll explain how this works in book 2, but for now, know that it is Supernatural.

And, on the subject of boxes and gifts, the reigning kings and queens of Rizkaland have them as well. Unlike the elves, however, their boxes are silver, denoting that it is a gift of Alphego, rather than their natural abilities. Otherwise, they function the same as the elves' gifts.

The rulers over the island of Klarand do not usually receive gifts. However, (Spoiler alert here) the Leaf Princess, Wind Prince, Water Princess, and Fire Prince each have a ring that can generate their named element. This power is given to them by Alphego in order to help them protect their land from Amber.

Reaching back into Rizkan history, I must address the Eight and the Ten, the original rulers over (respectively) Rizkaland itself and the island of Klarand. With the Ten, Alphego granted each a particular skill or knowledge, such as archery, tracking, science, or the sword. The Eight were given (in pairs) power over the four elements. Again, I'll get into this better in book two, but along with the power, they were given special weapons. (... Such as Jane and Ralph of Fire and Electricity receiving bowls. I'm creative like that.

Reaching forward, I will put a heads up that two characters will receive telepathic abilities in future books. I personally have very few issues with telepathy (indeed, I have a few whole cultures that are based upon the ability, and one of my favorite Biblical hypotheses is that pre-Bable, humans were telepathic), but I know that some of my potential readers have issues with it, so I'm going to go ahead and address it. This ability is one given only to these two characters, holds a very important role in the books, and is one that they are very careful with (usually they just use it to communicate with each other.)

Moving onward, we have the Steeds who live on the Isle of the Talking Beasts. I haven't world-built into them as much as some of the other parts of Rizkaland. I'll start with the Sentaur because I know the least about him. There's only one Sentaur, he's as old as Rizkaland itself, very wise, a bit mystical, and looks like your normal centaur.

Then we have the Rowandas, which, given Rizkan etymology, literally means "Rainbow Horse" (rowa = rainbow, anda = horse). As their name denotes they come in every color, but what makes them unique and special is that they are the fastest creature in Rizkaland, and have the most powerful jump. It isn't confirmed, but it's also said that they have the ability to bend time to their whim.

Harandas (Horned horse) are my version of a unicorn. They have telepathic power with their horn, but their most powerful ability is that they can travel anywhere they wish with a mere thought. Beyond that, little is known about them, for they are aloof and very rarely hold dealings even with their fellow steeds. The Rizkans do use the hairs from their tails to make special doors with which I will address in a bit.

Hinequas are my version of a Pegasus. They have wings. They can possibly manipulate gravity.

And then there is one more steed that I can't call its name off the top of my head. Basically, it can bend light and is practically invisible.

Back to the doors. In exchange for being left alone, the Harandas will trade hairs from their tails to Rizkaland. These hairs are then woven into special mats that are then used to travel from one part of Rizkaland to another. They are mainly used on the mainland.

Travel between the islands and the mainland is accopmlished by the Hills. According to legend, Alphego stood on a certain Hill, which stands in the exact center of Rizkaland, around which Loray castle is built. There is a replica of this Hill in the exact center of each island, as well as one in each of the four lesser castles in Klarand. If a person stands on one of these Hills, and petitions Alphego in prayer, they can be transported to one of the other Hills.

Then we have the Tylith Cords, which are an essential element of the Rizkan Tying ceremony (Which is technically an Engagement Ceremony, but is as serious as our Weddings). A bit spoilery here, but basically, they're tied around a young couple's hands and arms, and then are absorbed into the skin overnight. No one's really quite sure how they work, and even I am iffy on the details, but I think they'd classify under the Supernatural, because Alphego is involved.

Finally, last but not least, we have Amber, the villain. She is described as a "Sorceress capable of turning herself into a dragon." She has a LOT of magic in her possession, even I am unaware of its full array. Since she's the villain, you probably won't be surprised that much of her magic is unnatural, in particular the one by which she can turn into a dragon, and the one where she received the immortality. However, a good deal of her magic is also Natural, as she was collecting them even before she was corrupted. I'll get into this better in the second book. I will say this: none of her magic is natural to her person, she just has a knack for finding and using magical items.

So, that's the magic of Rizkaland and my reasoning behind it.


  1. That's impressive. I'll have to come back and read it all more closely . . . still, I definitely haven't put that much thought into any of my magic systems!

    1. I wouldn't exactly call it a "system." More like the biggest mess of magical stuff to ever be confined to one world.

  2. Fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to write this all out and explain it. Agh, I haven't even gotten to Do You Take This Quest yet... my time for reading has been severely limited this year. I can't wait to venture into Rizkaland.

    Personally I don't have any problem with magic in fantasy. Magic in my books tends to fall into a fourth category (special abilities people are born with because of their race: mer-folk, wizards, dragons, etc). It's like eye color or an innate talent for speed-reading, it's part of who the character is. I suppose you could classify it near Supernatural magic, as it is definitely the Creator who is ultimately in control of all that, but it's not a specific granting of a gift or ability. (Specific gifts do come into play in the third and fourth books, but ... ahem... spoilers). :)

    It's also neither good nor evil... but more like a tool. The use of it or the user can be good or evil, but whichever path they choose is not the magic's fault. If that makes sense.

    Anyway, loved this post!

    1. Actually, I categorize what you're describing under Natural magic. As you said, like eye color or anything else hereditary, it's a natural talent that other people just can't quite explain.

  3. On principle I'm not fond of magic, but this is one of my exceptions. The thing this has in common with most of my other exceptions is a sort of brightness and quirkyness. That and it mostly being a gift or an object that the magic come from. Dark or serious magic turns me off.

    1. I quite agree. I don't like dark magic AT ALL, and I'm iffy on serious magic, but some good clean fun with what you can't quite explain is just my cup of tea.

  4. I enjoy reading stories with magic in them, but I shy away from writing it because I don't want to come up with all the rules. :P But when I do write magic in, it's usually of the Supernatural kind. I think it can be more interesting to write than the other types you described.
    Awesome post! Love the detail! How do you come up with names?

    1. Names ... uh ... I just mess around with syllables and letters until I come up with something I like. With few exceptions, I put very little thought into naming things.

    2. Haha! That kinda sounds like what I end up doing. :P

  5. Great explanation. It's cool, it makes sense, and I don't see any theological problems. Not that I had any problem with it before. And...I think probably everything else I would say about it we already talked about on my magic post.

    1. I've had years to work through theological problems with this world. It'd better be good! XD

  6. It was neat reading about your magic system. I'm a Christian, but magic in fantasy fiction doesn't bother me. It's not our world, time, or place after all in a fictional book.

    In my fantasy world of Libera, the magic is called manna (alternatively called magic or energy) that manifests in different ways and different forms of energy. Most of the manna is "normal," even with villainous characters, although it is a general belief in Libera that if a person uses magic for bad purposes, it's called necromancy. However, people can actually corrupt magic, and some magical entities can become malevolent due to corruption, or necromancy.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. It doesn't really bother me, either, unless it's blatant witchcraft/necromancy/demonic and portrayed as good. Ugh. I just happen to know that it's a sticky point with some of my potential readers, so I wanted to lay it on the table and let them how I use it.

      Yours sounds quite interesting!

  7. YES!!! A map of Klarand!! This is exactly what I have been looking for!!

    I really, really like how you described all this. Plus it was wonderful to get a further look into the workings of Rizkaland.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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