As we draw closer to the end of another year I’m pleased to have Will Hahn back on the site. Will is touring in support of his latest novel, Reunion of Souls. As such he’s dropped off quite a nice little read on the items of power which exist in his world. Have a read, and make sure to check out the blurb for more on this installment of Judgement’s Tale. Of course, if you check carefully below, you’ll find Will’s giveaway as well…
Artefacts in the Lands of Hope
by Will Hahn
Lots of epic fantasy stories feature magical objects, and several have hinged on an item of great power: we could each list ten without breaking a sweat. In the Lands of Hope there are several limitations on the use of magic power, and much lore has been lost since the ancient days. It seems clear that at least in a few cases, the heroes of the past were able to create enormously powerful items that broke many of the current limitations and boundaries understood by the mages of today. These are commonly referred to as artefacts.
How to Make an Artefact- If You’re Sure
Age alone does not make an artefact; in fact there is strong evidence that the heroes were able to do things more quickly than their descendants, beginning with the miracle that transformed their fleet hulls to city walls in one night upon their first invasion. But the secret of making such powerful weapons, staves, and other items has been lost to the lore of later generations.
Mages and Preachers of Hope can enchant and bless items, with certain procedures that are well understood. Swords that cut more effectively and even affect ghosts, helms allowing sight in darkness, armbands that increase strength, these are not uncommon to the nobles, though among the commoners they are rare. Artefacts, however, are different in several ways:
- Power- artefacts usually wield the strength to spread their effects over larger areas, or with longer lasting effects, than “mundane” magic
- Breadth- while it’s time-consuming and expensive to give a normal item even one enchantment, artefacts typically have three or more powers. And whereas some magic items are exhausting to the wielder, artefacts often work without cost (provided they work at all)
- Durable- with enough effort any item can be marred or broken, but artefacts are notoriously tough, nearly indestructible
So why aren’t artefacts as common as loaves of bread? It may be that even the heroes found these items hard or costly to create, though almost nothing is known of the process. Sages cannot be certain, but the most likely answer is that the heroes of Hope learned, very early in the wars against Despair, that such powerful items were dangerous and burdensome. The original creators felt responsible for any misuse, for example if the item fell into the enemy’s hands. Most artefacts created in ancient days were for the especial use of the heroes themselves, and none are known to have escaped their sight. Some claim, however, that through sincere prayer in times of crisis such artefacts have been made temporarily available to a Child of Hope. Naturally, these miracles are impossible to verify. There are accounts of certain weapons, crowns, wands and so forth that are heavily limited as to their use; only those whose character radiates Hope, or who can say “Ar Aralte!” in the Ancient tongue, or perhaps only relatives of the creator. Again, how these limitations can be so powerfully imposed, and whether they could ever be evaded, is unknown.
Finally, there are some indications that the Lords of Hope may have set aside some of their most powerful items in a hidden place known as the Hopeward. How to reach this trove, what protections lie upon it, and why the heroes would volunteer to weaken their own cause even as they struggled to free the Lands, are mysteries without an answer.
Artefacts in the Age of Adventure (since ~1995 ADR)
In the southern city of Cryssigens in early 2002 ADR, some seek a fabled artefact dating back over a thousand years ago, called The Brow of the Ecclesiast. A triple-banded gold crown set with enormous gems, it is said to confer the ability to dazzle listeners through speech and persuade them to the wearer’s intent; it can also repulse or even destroy demonic creatures and poison-bearing beasts. But the wearer of this crown must be worthy, or else the slightest touch of the Brow on the head results in incineration. Perhaps it would be best if an item that powerful is never found. But with the threat of civil war, ambitious persons from both sides search for the artefact. The Brow is an important part of the action in Fencing Reputation.
In the Percentalion of 1995-96 ADR, a band of adventurers hunts the legendary Tridium, three artefacts created to invest the ruling line with power to “make the ways straight” in the Land of One Hundred Castles. Since the descendants of Areghel have not held the throne in over four hundred years, chaos rules that central kingdom as it lapses back towards the conditions it had under the sway of Kog the Earth-Demon. But even without the heir to the throne, the sword, crown and scepter of the rightful kings could be powerful weapons against Despair—if they can be found in time. The Tridium is sought in Judgement’s Tale.
With a world in crisis, its heroes reach out to find companions, to take stock for the struggle ahead, and to look beneath the surface at clues that may make the difference between a person’s fame and a nation’s doom.
On the fringe of the cursed Percentalion, Treaman’s adventuring band revives the glory-days of Trainertown, celebrated by all—except themselves—as the hand of destiny. Somewhere in the remote Marble Swords, Sir Renan abandons name and fortune to seek a brotherhood that no one else believes exists. Near the forests north of Shilar, Prince Gareth wrestles with the choice to preserve his honor alone, or rejoin his royal father’s house and in so doing, cause a war between the children of Hope.
Now at the heart of Conar—safest city in the Lands—Solemn Judgement, the Man in Grey, uncovers the gateway to peril; he is thrown among adventurers that include his only friend, the woman who refused to teach him, and a man who has vowed his death, in… Reunion of Souls.
About Will Hahn
Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.
Will didn’t always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-sticklike object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.
Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). His current epic is Judgement’s Tale; parts one and two, Games of Chance and Strength of Conviction came out in 2014 and part three, Reunion of Souls is available starting December 26th.
Will’s Weirdly Whimsical Website is where he posts news about upcoming releases and blogs about writing, classic fantasy works you’ve never read and the unique photo-based series “It Figures”.
The Lands of Hope Facebook page contains a chronology of the Lands.