Castle Keepers


Origins

 

The name Bannock came from Scottish bread: bannock. There are sessions when I’m writing quickly, and I don’t have much time to search for a name because I want to ride the story wave. In this case, I think I may have been listening to Dean Brody’s Mountain Man and in it, he says he can make bannock.

BAM! The name of a village was born because it was as good as any I could find in that desperate moment.

 

The Land of Ath-o’Lea

 

We first hear of the village in Healing Stones. It lies along the trail between Moonsface and Inglenook. At the entry of the elf settlement is a sign post created from stone and a thick, carved log that reads: Welcome to Bannock, the hubbery of Knollton Mountain Range: Population 2,467.

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Origins

 

I’m a genealogist in my spare time, and this hobby provides the perfect opportunity to discover unique names, including place names. When I stumbled upon Moonsface in an old record for Newfoundland, I knew it was also a place within the Land of Ath-o’Lea. The place name no longer exists on Earth maps, but it was supposed to be in the Burgeo-La Poile District and was used as early as 1825 and as late as 1857.

 

The Land of Ath-o’Lea

 

We first hear about Moonsface in Shadows in the Stone, book 1 of the Castle Keepers series. Lady Glynn Dasia of Aruam Castle mentions it and says she was born there. In book 2, Scattered Stones, Morrigan Fae tells others she was born in Moonsface.

In the short story, The Pledge, Alaura of Niamh mentions she might visit the village one day.

The cast of Castle Keepers don’t visit the large village of Moonsface until Healing Stones. It’s located on the long, winding water course Blue Myst River. It’s situated south of Edgewood and north of Eld’s Keep. By horseback, it’s about 35 days from Maskil, longer in bad weather.

We only get a glimpse of Moonsface. We learn the majority of the population are elf and in the centre of the village, there’s a pillory in a small green space. The two shops named are Ample Bothain, where the group drops off a package and picks up another job, and Eoghan’s Keep. They are located across the dirt lane from each other with wooden sidewalks in front. Ample Bothain is owned and operated by mates Bess and Harry.

 

Ample Bothain from Isla’s perspective

The little shop overflowed with a wide variety of foods, and the magnificent aromas filled her nostrils and made her think of the bakery in Maskil. When they were done, she planned to buy several of the fruit displayed on the counter. They were like nothing she’d seen before. They resembled an apple, but they were dark purple.

I’m certain we’ll visit Moonsface in future stories.

Not only is this the start of a new year, it’s the start of a new decade. We’re entering the Roaring 20s. Or shall we call it something else? The Fantastical 20s. That sounds perfect to me.

Healing Stones, the 4th book in the Castle Keepers series is set to launch soon.

The story opens with Isla of Maura, McGuigan Mulryan and Lyneth camped on the outskirts of Moonsface. Isla is waiting for the other two to stop arguing when someone steals her horse. She gives chase and the action begins.

This story takes place three moons after where Revelation Stones ends. The trio spent six weeks in Maskil, healing, working and earning coins to finance their trip to Wandsworth where they’ll search for Liam Jenkins.

Moonsface is a large village on the Blue Myst River, south of Edgewood. It has taken the group more than a full moon cycle to reach it from Maskil. They still have at least two weeks of travelling before they reach Wandsworth, but the weather is mild and they are enjoying the journey.

The Land of Ath-o’Lea

Tomatoes and chamomile from my garden.

I’ve read a lot about world building in fantasy lands. Of course, there’s systems to figure out: government, social classes, transportation, money…the list goes on. But for me, one of the most vital components in creating the Land of Ath-o’Lea was where its population got its food.

There’s the usual places: shops and markets in cities, towns and villages. Like in the old west, supply shops on the trail, where travellers stopped, picked up the necessities, usually food, and carried on, are also found in my stories. I call them keeps. Depending on location and how busy it is, there may be an inn, tavern or a place to camp on site.

Given the Land of Ath-o’Lea is in an archaic setting, it’s easy to surmise many inhabitants grow their food. Those in the city may be dependent on the supply chain, but all other areas possess some form of gardening. Not only does it fit into the world, I love gardening, so it gives me a chance to talk about it.

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This isn’t the finished product, but it’s close to it. The front and back cover of Healing Stones, the 4th book in the Castle Keepers series has a slightly different design than books one to three. On the back cover, the poppy remembers our veterans, and the maple leaf symbolizes Canada.

2019 has been an extremely busy year. It’s also been a year of many changes on the personal front. On top of all this, I feel an overwhelming desire to learn. I’m thirsty for knowledge. Most of the research I’ve done will influence my books, but some of the material was for personal development. However, if one is analysing one self, a writer can turn this into analysing a character. So perhaps all my research will influence my stories.

With winter knocking on the door and long nights allowing for extended periods of quiet time in the evening, I’m writing more.

Book 4 of the Castle Keepers series, Healing Stones, is in the editing stage. Excluding any wild catastrophes, it will be released by the end of the year.

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