The Land of Lythinall

Lythinall is my first ever created project for a novel. I’ve created worlds before, right down to the pantheon of Gods the people worship, but never for anything bigger than a game or short story. It started as a small land, surrounded my mountains and forests, as well as neighboring lands that aren’t always friendly. You don’t see much of these however, but I wanted to leave room to expand later. When I was designing my land I knew I had to come up with a name of the world in general. The world itself is called Seren’Dir (damn elves name everything right?) I also had to have a history, but I wanted to have that history guarded. What I mean is that not everyone would know the true history; some parts would be wiped from the books or destroyed, while others would simply change the details over time to exclude their part in it. What came about was an intriguing tale that the reader doesn’t fully understand until the last book, when they are told by an elven Seer about the horrible truth.

Karsis in Everknight
Artwork by Derek Mailhot

The land of Lythinall

When I started drawing the map I only included what I needed for the ideas in my head. I had the beginning and ending all planned out, so I knew the “edges” of my puzzle before I even started typing. As I filled in the parts of my story I found that I was mentioning other parts off of the map so I made notes. With the third book done I now feel the need to widen my map to show the reader where some of these places exist in the world of Seren’Dir.


Guarded History

The first appearance of the history appears in The Darkness Returns, when Rhoe Discusses his love for reading:

Rhoe was fascinated with books. Any book. He’d read anything just for the knowledge inside, no matter how trivial. He particularly loved books on the history of the world. Books on Lythinall were rare, but he’d read every one of them, including the Ancient Rule of the Elves. He wasn’t supposed to read those, but he had found them in the basement of the church dedicated to the goddess Syll. He had read every book in the church library and had stumbled on a loose board in the wall that had stored volumes of books on the subject. So he read one at a time, sneaking them out to his tree and slipping them back at dusk, when no one was looking of course.

The elves of ancient times had enslaved humankind. They were made to be workers, playthings, even traded amongst the royal houses in bets sometimes, and all because they could. The elves’ magic kept the humans from fighting back. Eventually, some of the humans learned a crude form of magic, and retaliated. Every child in Lythinall knew the story, told mostly at bedtime or when parents wished to remind their children of how far they had come in the world. But seeing the words written and preserved for all time in something treasured by the church made it seem more real to him. Gone were the fantasies that the humans had decided one day to rise up and be free like so many children thought. No, these books told the gruesome history of the oppression and the breaking of the human spirit. If only he could find books on how they finally did break free. But nothing remained of the times that humans and elves made war on each other. That dark time was lost to human history. Of course, one could always ask the elves, but you would have to live long enough to get the answer.

As one could see there wasn’t much information then, and the church of the Goddess Syll (Goddess of Magic and Nature) kept those records sealed. Sadly, even their copies weren’t accurate. The second time the reader is introduced to the back story of this land it is by Karsis the bard, yet even he seems guarded with telling the whole truth.

“In the history of this land, the elves ruled supreme. They commanded the forces of nature as friends and allies, and when the humans came from the far south, they had bitter war. The elves prevailed, and soon after the humans were their slaves.” He paused, almost reflecting on something, then took a deep breath and stared at the young boy with silver eyes intent on his very soul. “But compassion won out in the end. After the war against the Dark One’s Incarnation, there were some who marveled at the strength of some of the humans. There were then pairings of human and elf, if one would believe such a thing. But I digress. In the end, there was one who taught humans elven magic. For this they were banished.” He was still for a long time before collecting himself once more. “These elves traveled to the southern reaches of their great forest, there to make a community for themselves. They had brought their human slaves, and the ones who now commanded magic, began teaching them as well. However, their magic was different. They were too hasty, and demanding. They never grasped the concept of asking. They had been slaves for so long, that their despair flowed into their magic. When they used their magic, they ripped apart the very nature they were using, forcing the elements to obey them. Thus started the second great war between the humans and the elves.”

It is plain there are things he seems to be leaving out, on purpose one could surmise, yet we don’t really get to see that in this novel. Book 2 The Darkness Within only touches on this in part, when they discover who is really ruling in G’harr.

“Madam Ill’lyth G’harr was the original elven matron who taught her human lover magic.” Janna recited. Her thoughts however, went  somewhere else when she spoke of this story. She didn’t even bother with music. “Back when the humans were slaves, there was one who broke the rules and taught her human lover the ways of elven magic, she even started teaching their children, but then they were banished. She went south with what followers she could gather to her cause and started the land of G’harr. This of course started the second great war, but that’s not where this gets scary. She was a vicious woman, powerful in the art and wicked with it. She was slain long ago by one of the last elves seen, and her body burned in the square of G’harr’s capitol city.” Janna sat down cross-legged on the floor, all strength fleeing her body. She knew how bad this really was.

This really only expands what we kind of already know, not really adding a whole lot, yet still giving the reader a bit more. During the final book, The Darkness Falls, we get to hear the awful truth from the elven Seer, Adrilian Everence. Below is the full accounting, but be warned; if you haven’t read the books you may miss out on the flavor of gradually discovering the truth. That said, I can’t stop the curious, and my love of sharing this crafted world outweighs my sense of caution. Good luck and happy reading

History of Lythinall

“Knowledge is like the glowing coals of a campfire, needed to make the fire stable, but dangerous to handle without thinking.” – Karsis the bard



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