Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nine Disciplines

I've been agonizing about not having a very good magic system for my novels, but a few month ago, that finally changed. Below is a set of guidelines and lists for my magic system, known as the Nine Disciplines. This is the magic system I am using for my series, The Proanadi, as well as the world in which the scene Prisoner is set in. If you read closely, you can figure out how Alaeph can do what he does.

The way it works is thus: any known magic-user has access to one, several, or all of these Disciplines. All "magic" as people know it derives itself ultimately from the Nine Disciplines. Where magic-users differ is WHERE they get their power from--their power source. There can also be differences in areas of focus, and ways that they use the different disciplines (because, the possibilities within the Disciplines are almost unlimited).

Here are the Nine Disciplines below, grouped as they would be commonly, with three groups of three:

The Nine Disciplines

1 Physical (change in physical matter)
2 Sensory (change in perception)
3 Elemental (manipulation of the elements)

1 Influential (change in feeling)
2 Intellectual (change in thought)
3 Essential (manipulation of life energies)

1 Continuous (disruptions in space or time)
2 Creative (creation of new energy or matter)
3 Potential (manipulation of force)

Examples of something being done with each Discipline below:

Physical: Enhances your (or another's) strength
Sensory: Tricking another individual's perceptions, making you effectively invisible
Elemental: Shooting fire from your hands
Influential: Providing a morale boost to your comrades
Intellectual: Tampering with someone's memory
Essential: Bringing someone back to life
Continuous: Teleportation (space) or slowing time (time)
Creative: Creating food and water out of nothing
Potential: Throwing up a wall of pure force

Now, there are many different limitations and tricks associated with each Discipline, and points where they overlap, but different Disciplines work better in different situations. Where the line is drawn between the different types of magic-users in the world comes from one major thing (though there are other, less important differences): Power Source. Where do they derive their power from?

Below is a list of some magic-users and their power sources:

Wizards – Power through learning (words and rituals that channel the energy)
Clerics – Power through prayer*
Sorcerers – Power through lineage (having some form of magical creature’s blood in your DNA)
Favored Soul – Power through divine connection*
Dragosamns – Power through dragon totems (similar to Stewardic power)**
Roshi – Power through Chaos**
Druids – Power through natural connection and energy
Talir-Knights – Power through one’s own energy
Demons – Power through destruction (breaking down of matter or energy)

* Both Clerics and Favored Souls gain their ultimate power from the Stewards. Only the means are different.
** Although both Roshi and Dragosamns gain their abilities through their dragon blood, their actual power sources come from outside their bloodline, unlike sorcerers.

Different ways of organizing the same categories of energy are found below:

Clerical Blessings

Earthly Blessings
1 Physical (Blessing of the Flesh)
2 Sensory (Blessing of the Eyes)
3 Influential (Blessing of the Heart)
4 Intellectual (Blessing of the Mind)

Holy Blessings
1 Elemental (Blessing of the Burning Blood)
2 Essential (Blessing of the Living Blood)
3 Potential (Blessing of the Compelling Blood)

Heavenly Blessings
1 Continuous (Blessing of the Soaring Soul/Eternal Soul)
2 Creative (Blessing of the Inceptive Soul)

Dragosamn Totems

Physical (Totem of Substance)
Sensory (Totem of Image)
Elemental (Totem of [Insert Element Name Here])
Influential (Totem of Presence/Inspiration)
Intellectual (Totem of Reason)
Essential (Totem of Blood)
Continuous (Totem of Foresight/Passage/Intervention)
Creative (Totem of Origin)
Potential (Totem of Impact)

That is the extent of it, but there is much more in the way of details to be ironed out with this system. Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Today I sat down to write. But I wasn't sure what to write. So many ideas were running through my head, but none of them were ready to be worked on yet. So I tried something I hadn't done in a while--I wrote something completely random.

A website I like,, is filled with random generators for writing and role-playing games. One specific generator is a writing exercise generator. It gives you something random to write about, whether it be "Write for at least 250 words about a purchase, a rodent, and a payment." or "Write for at least two minutes about a heroic deed, a thug, and a businessman."

With no thought beforehand, I ran the generator, and came up with: "Write for at least five minutes about a prison and a bottle. Focus on creating one compelling character." And so I wrote a random scene, set in the world of my trilogy, the Proanadi. But in a completely distant section of the world that I hadn't worked on much before--an elven nation in the east with a pseudo-Asian culture, Peraian.

And that is where Alaeph and Hatrex were born. Here is the full scene, at least, as much as I've written so far.


Alaeph sat up in his cell, head thumping from a hangover. He pressed a hand to his temple and sighed, wondering how he had gotten here. The iron bars of the cell door were rusted, only barely hanging on their hinges, and the floor of the small, cramped chamber was incredibly dirty. Alaeph cringed, taking his hand away from the side of his head. As he feared, it was covered in a thick layer of grime.

Lovely, the Perenari thought, wiping the hand on his silk trousers. Another pair of pants soiled. At least this time it’s not directly my fault.

“You’ve made quite a mess of yourself,” a voice said from outside the cell. The owner was another elf wearing a cotton uniform, a gold badge pinned to the front. Some sort of prison guard? The clothing is a bit too nice, though…

Alaeph ignored him and shook out his fatigue, getting to his feet and looking around. Pale light filtered in from a small barred window at the corner of the room, and though it only slightly illuminated the tiny chamber, it was like fire to Alaeph’s sensitive eyes.

”You are a matter of public record, my friend,” the guard continued, taking a drink from a cup. Alaeph’s eyes adjusted to the light, and he saw clearly now that the man sat at a wood table a few feet away from the door of the cell, in the corner of the chamber beyond the iron bars. “You’ve been arrested seventeen times in the last six months. Three of those times for disturbing the peace, seven for thievery, three for resisting arrest, and the other four for public indecency.”

“I was under extraneous circumstances,” Alaeph said off-handedly, squinting at the guard as his eyes tried to fight through the stabbing pain that the light caused. “Who are you, again?”

“My name is Hatrex,” the guard said, taking another drink from his cup. “I'm the jamini of the city you just shocked so profoundly.”

Of course, Alaeph thought. That explains the badge.

“Why are you here, Hatrex?” Alaeph asked, his curiosity heightened suddenly. “Couldn’t a less important man be sent to coddle me while I rot in this cell?”

“You know why I’m here,” Hatrex said, smiling. “I really don’t think I have to mention the sixteen times you’ve broken out of prison under the noses of less important men.”

Alaeph didn’t return the jamini’s smile. “You won’t be able to stop me. No one else has, and I don’t plan on living out the rest of my life in a filthy hole in the ground.”

“We’ll see about that, my little magician,” Hatrex said. Alaeph gave him a look, and the jamini smiled again. “Yes, I know about your little secret.”

“You don’t know the half of it, lawman,” Alaeph retorted, turning away. The elf sat deliberately on the other side of the cell, facing away from the man. “We’ll see how important you really are in a few moments.”

Alaeph crossed his legs, concentrating. He cleared his mind and brought the force of his will to bear, channeling the energy around him, and causing it to flow into the Continuous Discipline.

And then, Alaeph stopped time.


Who is Alaeph, and how is he capable of stopping time itself? How did he commit the crimes he did, and for what reason? Who exactly is Hatrex?

I have no idea. But I'm hoping, as I write a little more of this, I will start to understand it myself. This is pretty short, and mostly improvised, just making it up as I went along, but I feel there is a story here--something bigger that I have yet to unravel.

We'll see where this goes, and if I go anywhere with it. But that's all for now--thanks for reading this!

Note: A jamini is just a word that sounded exotic that I used for a profession that is basically a sheriff. The role a jamini plays might change as I figure this budding story out, but that's the basis of it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Lamb (Preconception)

Tonight at youth group, my dad began teaching on a topic that is going to take us a few weeks to cover--a subject that is of vital importance... really, of the utmost importance.

Jesus Christ, dying on the cross, for the sins of the world.

Sermons cover everything, from divorce to creation to the end times, but the singular most important aspect of Christianity, and the aspect that all sermons should point to, is Jesus, and the sacrifice he made.

I like writing. It's something I'm good at and passionate about. As I listened to my dad teach on what happened in Gethsemane and the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, I began to get an idea. What if I wrote a historical short story that detailed the events before, during, and after the death of Jesus? This was something I really wanted to do--something I could praise God with.

I had a similar idea near Christmas, to write a short scene from the viewpoint of John the Baptist, as he set off to begin the ministry God had called him to. It was brief, but interesting--at least, it was to me as I wrote it. I had always been thinking about doing something like this--a novel or the like of historical narrative that brought the Bible to life in a story form. There are amazing events in the Bible, but unfortunately, it only gives us a "telling" of the story, not a "showing". Hopefully, in the next few months, I can "show" an interpretation of the Bible's narrative. And hopefully you like it.

For right now, I'm going to leave you with the short scene I wrote for Christmas, to give you a feel for what I'd like to do--thanks!

He Is Coming

John stood there, overlooking the town of Bethlehem.

He knew what had happened there, almost thirty years ago now, though he had been little more than an infant when it had occurred. He had heard the stories, though--from his mother and father--about his cousin Mary and her husband, Joseph. He had heard of the night when Mary's baby had been born, and the newlywed mother had laid her offspring in a manger, swaddled in cloth. He had listened to the story of the shepherds, who had been told by an angel of the Lord of the infant's birth in Bethlehem.

And now, finally, John came to the place where God had been born among men.

He had been meaning to come to see the place for some time, but it had only been now, on his way to the Jordan River, when he'd finally gotten around to it. It was an unassuming town, though it had been the home of King David about a thousand years ago. John stared across the land, trying to imagine in his mind the star that had appeared over the city, guiding the magi to the place where the child lived.

What a sight that would have been, John thought, squinting as the desert sun glared down at him from the sky.

John--who would come to be known as John the Baptist--sighed, and started off again towards the Jordan, his spirit aflame with anticipation for what would soon come to this land. He would've liked to visit Bethlehem, and possibly see if he could find the house where Joseph and his wife had stayed, but there was no time for that now. There was too much to be done, and John had been given the task of doing it. He had to prepare the way for the Messiah's arrival, and that would start with preparing men's' hearts first.

"He is coming," he whispered to himself as he took one last look at the lonely town of Bethlehem, and then set off towards the Jordan River, and his ministry.

He is coming.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Proanadi

As some of you may know, I am in the process of writing an epic fantasy (swords, magic, armies, dragons...  you know, the works) trilogy entitled The Proanadi. I've actually been in that process for over a year now, but I've only gotten about a hundred pages done--mostly because I've only seriously buckled down and began plugging away at it for a few months now. The funny thing is, that hundred pages, sixty-two thousand words, and eleven chapters is only Part 1 (and that part isn't even finished yet!) of an enormous work that is going to take years to complete.

The story is based off the adventures my friends and I played through in a role-playing game, albeit loosely. There are six prominent characters (bumped up to eight in the second book), each played by one of my good friends in our game. The plot has changed drastically since I first decided that I wanted to write a book (now trilogy) detailing the characters, places, and events that occurred in our collective storytelling effort--so drastically, in fact, that the world of our game is vastly different in every way from the world I've begun to create for The Proanadi

For those of you who didn't know I was writing a book, and haven't read anything I've written yet, never fear! As soon as I finish and then polish up the first part of the first book, known by the working title Incipient, I'm going to try to get it to anyone who is interested. If you end up reading it, I hope you enjoy it! I've put some serious blood, sweat, tears, and nausea behind those hundred or so pages. 

And for those of you who are interested in it now, here's a brief synopsis for you to hang on to:

A horror that the planet has never known corrupts all.
Those that protected the world are dead, their blood spilled at the hands of men who once shared their convictions. The land is ravaged by war, hunger, plague, death, as it eats itself from the inside out. First, the hearts of men, then the souls of those once noble are devoured. Even the heroes now cower at the darkness that lies at the threshold of the meager light that remains. 
The sins of the fathers break the lives of the sons.
Ordinary men, their blood fating them to become saviors, try to fight a force they cannot begin to understand. A swordsmith has everything taken away from him. A rebel desperately tries to regain his usurped throne. A monster stained with his misdeeds sinks further into despair. 
 A single drop of redemption falls into an ocean of blood. 
Secrets that none possess reveal the past, a stained history of nobility intertwined with horrible sins. The world stands on the brink, awaiting those that would decide its fate, for good or ill. A creature with the blood of a dragon is king and god. A merchant betrayed faces his curse. A man with no memories is torn by his mistakes. 
The ground underfoot begins to crumble.

Yes, I know that's a little vague, but it's actually quite simple. Just reading the first part allows you to understand fully this little synopsis. Well, that's all for now--I'll be updating the blog with news of how the writing is going, as well as some different snippets of scenes and writing I've done for this or other works of mine. I know what you're thinking: "Wait, he's writing other books, too?" Yes, yes I am. None of my other ideas are in any way as fleshed out as this one, but I do have plenty of other novels in the works, including a series about superheroes, and an enormous collective novel (another epic fantasy work, though much more unique) written by some of my friends and I .

All right, that's about it. Thanks for reading these ramblings (unless you just skimmed this and saw the bottom line, then shame on you!)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Core of All Thought

The purpose of this blog is twofold: 

  1. To allow me to write down my thoughts in a journal-esque manner, and to do so much quicker than writing with pen and paper.
  2. To be a place to practice writing in its various forms--whether it be about spiritual concepts, stuff going on in the world, the various universes that are contained within my mind (different book ideas, magic systems, and settings), or just about writing itself.
I'm always thinking about things, sometimes to distraction. My parents will tell you this--I often have to return to them two or three times to be reminded of exactly what it was they just told me to do. Although this is obviously not a good thing sometimes, especially when I forget something important, it's really just the way I am. A thinker.

This translates directly into writing. A quote from my favorite author, David Eddings, explains this: "Words are the core of all thought. Without words, there is no thought." Words, at their very essence, are the building blocks of thoughts, ideas, and dreams. With words we capture concepts and whole worlds in the net of our minds. This is how I express myself--through words.

This leads me to the meaning behind the name of this blog. A story does indeed live in all of us, though it is not always told with only words. Even though at their essence, stories are crafted with the building blocks known as words, they are not always expressed with them.

Everyone has a story to tell. And I'm not just saying that everyone is going to or should be a writer--not at all. Rather, I'm saying that everyone has a journey, or a dream, to share or discover.

Once again, I am a thinker. This might sound a little weird, but I tend to think of everything in the terms of stories, even going so far as to try to contemplate the effects of each minor event that occurs. When you come right down to it, everything is made up of stories. Say you are in line at a fast food place. There is someone in front of you. This person might seem ordinary, mundane, just a minor character in your own journey. Though, in your story, they are, the role they play in their own life is incredibly important--in that story, they are the main character. The story revolves around them.

This thought is at once simple and yet immensely vast: everyone has their own personal story. Everything might seem to revolve around you, because to you, it seems as if you are the main character. But everyone else is too. As this thought starts to sink in, think about how that should affect your view of life. Everyone is going through their own problems, many of which are much harder than your own. It kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? What seems so important to you is only a background event to everyone else, and an occurrence that is monumental to that person in line at the fast food restaurant, you don't even give a second glance.

Hmm... that was a tangent. I can already tell that this blog is going to be full of them, but that thought has been nagging at me for a while now... Back to my point, however. Everyone has a journey, or a dream. They are different for each person, and some have both.

A journey is a story within your own life--an experience, good or bad, that changes who you are and where you are going. This is primarily based on reality. Though a person might write about their life experiences later, it doesn't always happen. Many people's personal stories never get "out there". But the story remains, and for those who take the time to learn from it, they can find much of value in each and every person's personal journey.

A dream isn't based on reality, and falls within the realm of writers, artists, and other people who spend far too much time doing what the name implies--dreaming. J.R.R. Tolkien's world of Middle-Earth, and the stories told within, are prime examples of this. This was Tolkien's dream--the story he told, the story that made a mark on the world.

Just as every thought is based on words, every dream is based on stories. The painter is telling a story as he creates an image. A musician is telling a story as he writes a song. A writer is telling a story as he pens the words that will become a part of the library of history.

This is what I wish, first and foremost, to do.

I want to serve my God and Savior, and see my story unfold, page by page, as I follow in His steps. I want my journey to be revolved around Him--and in that, I will see a great masterpiece be uncovered.

I also want to dream. And I want to make that dream into something great. Whether this ends up being with music, words, or both, only time will tell, but a story lives in all of us.

Now is the time to tell that story.