Much in my writing life is changing lately. Last Word Before Dying, my online fantasy serial, is written and the last installment will appear online on July 8th. With my poetry collection, The Renaissance Cycle, published I’m now able to return my attention to my fantasy novel, Where Light Devours.
Viewing the time between now and July 8th as a unique block, I’ve decided to examine the Hartise partial’s colleges in my fantasy world, Ontyre.
But what or who are partials? The subject is only lightly addressed in the online tale, but its important to the novel.
Fortunately, I’m going to keep this brief. I have a notebook devoted to magic and the section on partials is 24 pages long (not counting the college maps, blueprints, and diagrams showing how their magic operates).
World building madness.
Anyway, humans who are partials are called such because they develop a specialized magic gift. There are five singular gifts that routinely occur (seers, healers (soothers), sylvans, seekers, and sirens) and there was a college built for each.
It was Queen Pressa who first envisioned training partials, but it was her grandson, Craus, who oversaw building the five colleges when he was king. Please note that in Hartise, unlike outside its borders, partials are often referred to as “senses” because they were viewed as extensions of the various kings and queens. A poem captured the thinking:
Seers of Vistus watch over us and their marble columns gleam.
Soothers in Meacine heal amidst the bright gardens of a dream.
Sirens in Asbray sing praise in tune with their waters cascading.
Sylvans of Horthure grow bounty from the Land of Lands surrounding.
Seekers from Lorne divide good and evil from the cliffs of Pressa.
These senses of our kings and queens serve us as they would Genessa.
This week’s college: Horthure
Year completed: 3404
Location: Southeast Hartise along the edge of Darklight Marsh
Often thought of as “healers of plants,” sylvans, who can be male or female, possess many other talents, including working with farmers to increase yields that contribute to feeding large populations…at least, they contributed until the Ministry outlawed magic. Though they spend the majority of their time outdoors, sylvans enjoy the company of other sylvans and often live communally. Not only does it aid their working together, but their affinity for similar living environments helps create the harmony they cherish. It also isn’t unusual to see sylvans to choose other sylvans as their life partners.
Part of the reason for sylvans to live together is that, unlike the other senses, they can link their magic with other sylvans to become more effective. For instance, though one sylvan can stimulate growth in a single plant if he or she creates a harmony field, a large tree is too great an undertaking for a single person. When many work together to heal or stimulate large flora they’ll form a sylvan ring. Similarly, many can combine their magic to work on a single crop in a single field.
The more advanced sylvans develop the ability to sense the presence of water and can analyze soil quality. All sylvans, of course, study all aspects of nature, especially flora. Harmony is a crucial part of a sylvan’s life, not just harmony with their environment, but also with their fellow sylvans.
Horture was constructed where a shallow valley meets expansive Darklight Marsh. The valley is often referred to as Land of Lands because it’s possible to grow anything there owing to the vast number of ecosystems present. The reason for the land’s fertility can be traced back thousands of years to raw magic. When a one-in-a-billion lightening bolt struck a rock outcropping rich in mysquan and then struck another and another and so on a powerful magic grid was created that spelled the land.
In keeping with sylvan tastes Horthure consists of circular structures that aid harmony. Too, those structures are linked together to form a ring. Each building is set on pilings and connected to the others via walkways that are suspended over the marsh.