Like a lot of other fantasy writers, I chose to use prophecy as a plot device to help drive my story, in my aptly named series, The Soulstone Prophecies.

There are many great sources to pull from. I don’t want to detail them, but if your interested, here is a well written article by fantasy writer, Thomas M. D. Brooke, who gives some insight on the benefits and challenges of using prophecy in a story and shares some great examples from stories like George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones and Robert Jordan’s epic, Wheel of Time.  Great Fantasy Prophecies.

When I think of Prophecy as a plot device it reminds me of what I was taught in my military days concerning giving a briefing. “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.” But unlike a briefing, where you don’t want any ambiguity, with prophecy, you strive for it.

In book one of The Soulstone Prophecy, Cradle of the Gods, prophecy is first introduced near the end of the book. Here is some details from the series explaining where the prophecy I created came from.

Hjurl was the first dwarf created by Daomur, one of the Primordials. The Primordials are the children of the All Mother, Allwyn, creator of the world in which my story takes place. Daomur chiseled Hjurl from stone and then took a small piece of himself and placed it into Hjurl’s chest. He then breathed over Hjurl, which gave him life.

Hjurl spent many years with Daomur discussing philosophy, life and existence. Like the stone he came from, Hjurl was strong and steadfast. He was also stubborn to a fault. Daomur liked his creation and wanted it to multiply as many of Allwyn’s creations did. So, Daomur created another being, who he called Hafu.

Over time, Hjurl engraved what he wanted his progeny to know into stone tablets, which later became the Book of Hjurl.

When Hjurl was much older and too feeble to hold the hammer and chisel, he sons carved his words. Near the end of his life, his ramblings became prophetic and he spoke of dark things. This portion of the Book of Hjurl is known as The Prophecies. Twenty-seven tablets were engraved with the “Prophecies of Hjurl”.  Nine of those tablets detail the “Prophecy of the Vessels”, that portion of The Prophecies that spoke of a mad primordial (Haurtu), his progeny (humans), his imprisonment, and eventual escape. It was this prophecy that drove most of the conflict in my stories.

But, prophecy needs to make enough sense to drive the story, but not so much that the reader knows what is going to happen. If done correctly, there should be an “aha!” moment where things fall into place.

These verses where shared in book one.

Now marked, his chosen must gather,

Where once his progeny thrived.

His hunger compels them to journey,

In his cities they survive.

It was interpreted, at the time, to mean the stonechosen would gather in the now ancient cities of the humans and thrive there. While that was somewhat true, a second meaning for the final line, “In his cities they survice” was introduced in book two, Time of the Stonechosen.

In book three, Tomb of the Fallen, which I’m working on now, another verse is shared.

Torn asunder, his chosen will free him.

Where he fell, once again he shall rise.

In shadows they meet to conceive him

Now mark the stone children’s demise

Hopefully, the complete meaning of these verses will not make sense until more of the story unfolds. This is not only true for the reader, but also for characters, themselves, who look to the Prophecies as an indicator for the direction they should take, both in trying to complete the prophecy and prevent it.

Elves of Allwyn


Image created and owned by Nataliasoleil @

It’s November! So, anyone who knows me knows I’m deep in the throes of another month of NaNoWriMo. I try to take advantage of the event to help keep my writing focused on rough drafting chapters, getting those words down on paper in the rawest form and to avoid that temptation in the back of my mind. The one pointing out mistakes and urging me to rewrite that one sentence twenty times until it’s perfect.

As I’m working on the third and final book in the Soulstone Prophecy series, Tomb of the Fallen, I find myself paging through the first two books to research places and things I touched on earlier. One thing I noted during my research was details on the elves of Allwyn, better known as the Alvar. I wanted to take a little time and share some information about the Alvar. Now, November is not the wisest of times to do this, with the pressure of a NaNoWriMo’s daily word count hanging over my head, but I must answer the muse’s call when I hear it.

In book one, Cradle of the Gods, there were only a couple mentions of the elves. But, in book two, Time of the Stonechosen, I introduced the elves and their home, the Deepwood.

When creating the elves of Allwyn, I researched various historic lore on elves. There are many references to elves in various cultures’ mythology. For example, in Norse mythology they were originally a race of minor gods of nature and fertility. There are many references to them in German and English folklore in prayers, ballads, folktales, and even medical texts.

Of course, our first impression of elves is heavily influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic work, The Lord of the Rings, and from that work they have spread across modern fantasy.

Allwyn is a fantasy world and I knew I wanted elves to play a part in the story, but I also wanted them to be unique to Allwyn. As I did more research, I found myself being pulled to the stories of Nymphs and Dryads. They too had a long history in various myths and folklore, but had more of a connection with specific places in nature. A tree, a hidden glade, and so on. I decided to combine aspects of all three into Allwyn’s definition of an elf.

I felt I needed to differentiate my version of elves from any preconceived notions, so I decided to help by having them refer to themselves by a different name. They would call themselves the Alvar. I had found my elves. I just need to create their story.

In the creation myths of Allwyn, the Primordials (Daomur, Ilsmur, Haurtu, etc.) created the various races by imbuing a piece of themselves into the flora or fauna of Allwyn.  The Goddess Islmur chose trees.

Different trees produce different looks to the Alvar. All Alvar are female, like Islmur, and procreate from joining with trees themselves, thus why they are so protective of them, even more so for the tree they came from.

The Alvar are protectors of the trees, groves, woods and mountain forests. They are the ladies of the oaks, pines, poplar, and ash. They defend the forests from anything that threatens them.

Alvar are shy creatures, who spend much of their time enjoying the gifts of Allwyn. They could spend hours watching a stream flowing by or how the wind rustles the leaves of a tree. They are simple and content beings. They find the attempts of other races to change Allwyn’s gifts a waste of time. Stonework is ugly to them as is civilization. They spend their time in isolation, wandering their forest home.

In book two Ghile first encounters the Alvar, Arenuin:

He knew immediately it was female, that it was a she. And she was beautiful. Where there should’ve been a trunk, he could make out a body and two long, thin legs, the white bark freckled with grey, diamond-shaped specks. What he had mistaken for a branch touching the water, was her arm. Her willowy fingers still gently stirred the water’s surface. Where there should’ve been hair were small, light green leaves, a silver sheen playing throughout. It reminded Ghile of the school of minnows he used to chase through the shallow blue waters along the shore of Crystal Lake. The silvery leaves framed a long face and fell past lithe shoulders. But what captured him more than anything else, were her eyes. They were large, taking up more than twice as much space as a human’s and a radiant blue. Even from this distance, he could see little specks of light flowing through them, like a river of stars.”

Alvar grow their entire lives. So, the age of an Alvar can somewhat be determined by their size. When first born, they are already larger than humans, standing close to nine feet tall. The oldest are as tall as most trees, rising as high as fifty to sixty feet.

Since there are only female Alvar and they can trace their ancestry through a single line, they use a matronymic naming convention. We see this when Ghile meets his first Alvar, Arenuin.

“She rose and stepped forward to tower over Ghile. “This one is Arenuin of Arenell of Areduin of Arethell of. . . ”

Magic in Allwyn runs through everything and is named the Dreamsong, since many describe it as the music of life, flowing through and connecting all things. Islmur is the Goddess of Magic and her progeny, the Alvar, see the Dreamsong in all things. This ability to see the actual flow of magic is reflected in their large almond-shaped eyes.

The Alvar speak a language that sounds like singing to others, those who hear it often cry at its beauty. Very few, other than Alvar, can understand Alvarsong. The Alvar have the ability to bestow the gift of understanding on others, but it often changes the recipient profoundly, both physically and mentally. An example of this is the dwarf, Dagbar, who was granted the ability to understand Alvarsong by the Goddess Islmur herself. Dagbar’s eyes reflect this change. One eye is now solid white, the other a solid blue.

With their special affinity with magic and trees, the Alvar have unique magical abilities associated with trees. The first is known as treestepping. It is the Alvar’s form of traveling long distances. They are able to step through one tree and emerge from another. Treestepping has its limits. The trees they traveled through must be touching through root or limb. The other ability is treesinging. It was how the Alvar communicate. The Alvar sing a message which is then held within the surrounding trees. Other Alvar who enter that area of the forest can then hear the message reverberating within the surround trees.

Alvar’s ability to actually see magic also makes them some of the most gifted users of magic in Allwyn. The most talented among them are known as Spellsingers. All of nature responds to their call. The trees, plants, animals, and even the weather will answer their call.

When an Alvar decides to reproduce, she chooses a tree and bonds with it. This is like treestepping, except the Alvar melds with the tree and remains there for a year. During this time, a cocoon like shape slowly develops on the tree’s trunk. After this gestation period, the Alvar emerges from the tree. Later that same day, a newborn Alvar steps shakily from the tree. Almost immediately the tree loses its leaves and its bark lightens and takes on a silvery hue. The tree becomes a Silverwood, the hardest and rarest tree in all of Allwyn. The Alvar name the tree, Anualmar which translates into ancestor tree. This birthing is one of the few times the reclusive Alvar gather in significant numbers. They both welcome the new sister and sing their respect to the Anualmar for its sacrifice.

If you want to learn more about the Alvar or the world of Allwyn, consider picking up a copy of the first book in the series, Cradle of the Gods!

Back at it! Working on book three, Tomb of the Fallen!

Well, I’m back in the zone and plugging away at what will be the third and final book in the Soulstone Prophecy series, Tomb of the Fallen. <Crowd goes wild!>

After completing book two, Time of the Stonechosen back in late February, I took a well earned break and tore the shrink wrap off Fallout 4. The game had been mocking me for a while and I promised to lose myself in it as a reward for completing the second book. Man was it worth it. What a great game! Bethesda does not disappoint.

For those who are curious and have played the game, I sided with the Railroad and the Minutemen. I had no issue taking on the Brotherhood of Steel, but wished there could have been a different way of dealing with the Institute. Oh, and Piper and me are a thing, just saying…

Anywho, with my gaming fix sated and controller stored away, it is time to take the story of Ghile Stonechosen to its completion. Instead of just dropping of the grid for the next year, I thought I would come up for air every now and again to throw a post on my blog about where I’m at in the writing process.

Now as a Plotter, the first thing I do is review all my previous work and start jotting down ideas that pop up as I read. This helps refresh everything in my head and get the creative juices flowing. I also write down any conflicts I’ve created and make sure I’ve resolved them. If not, then they get written down as scenes so I remember to resolve them in this book. I don’t want to break any contracts I’ve made with the reader and introducing a conflict and not resolving it at some point is a big no-no.

Next, I start writing down each of my characters and what their motivations are. This helps remind me why they are doing what they are doing and see things through their eyes. As I’m doing this, I’m writing down more scenes as they come to me. For example, What is going on with the sudden love interest between Gaidel and Riff? One second they hate each other then one near death experience later… So, definitely have to remember to explain that.

At this point, I start ordering scenes, post it notes are great for this, and start filling in the blanks. How does Ghile get from here to there? Insert scene. What is going to motivate Finngyr to do this next? Insert scene. Before long I have a timeline. I need a battle scene here and here. Insert. Insert.

That is where I’m at now, laying out the timeline, discovering the plot and defining the beginning, middle, and end of the book.

It is great to be back in my recliner with my feet up, laptop and coffee before me, creating more of Allwyn to share with you! I’ll keep you posted.