Tag Archives: world building

Inktober Day 3

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Continuing with my theme of concept art, this  Zac Scott, Lisa’s older brother. He’s very small for his age, and twelve years old, so his eleven-year-old sister towers over him. Everyone thinks she’s the oldest sibling because of her height and confidence. Timid and brooding Zac, has trouble standing out and hates making decisions, preferring to let his sister take the reins. He has a satchel, in which he carries photographs of his grandparents, some of the only family records his parents had left. They are also some of the only images left in the Universe of Bansha, Ireland and Johannesburg, South Africa before Earth became unsustainable.

His clothes, like his sister’s are a mix of too big and too small. His shoes and jeans are clearly too tight for him, but he wears an over-sized shirt and zipped up jacket, these are other elements that make him seem thin and babyish next to his sister. So that’s Zac.

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Zac Scott, by Monica Marier 2016

 

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Character Spotlight: Tyrrus Gruthsfield

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It’s high time I covered a baddy, so this week’s post is about Tyrrus Gruthsfield. Now, I don’t like to think of him as a baddy, although he’s definitely a villain in books 1 & 2. I just dislike characters who are evil through and through. I grew up watching cartoonishly evil bad guys in movies and on TV that were evil simply for the sake of being evil, and those always bothered me a bit (I should probably write a post on this later.) The point is, Tyrrus isn’t a villain because he wants to be evil. Like all proper villains, Tyrrus thinks he’s the hero of his own story—in this case a story of loss, love and abandonment.

We first meet Tyrrus when he appears in the last act of Must Love Dragons as the ruthless head of the corrupt Rangers Union. But we also know he and Linus have a history together. Let’s look into that, shall we?

 

 

Image copyright ©2014 Monica Marier

Image copyright ©2014 Monica Marier

 HISTORY

Linus met Tyrrus when upon passing his entrance exams at the Rangers Union to become a Pre-One Ranger, or a Ranger-in-training. This is an apprenticeship period where a Ranger is usually assigned to an E-10 Ranger in good standing to have as mentor. The trainers assigned Linus to Tyrrus Gruthsfield, who was in his late 30’s at the time. Tyrrus was a rugged, jovial dandy bachelor, with a love of adventure and a lust for high living. He and Linus bonded straight away. Linus was in awe of this rugged expert of the wilderness and his bombastic personality. Tyrrus fed off of Linus’ admiration, and his youthful outlook made Tyrrus feel like he himself was a young teen again.

When Linus had finished his year under Gruthsfield as a student and graduated to E-1, he continued to travel and work with Tyrrus as a friend and compatriot. Linus became a family to Tyrrus, who had grown up as an orphan in the Rangers Union’s boys home for foundlings and had never known a family.  And Linus, who had always had to fight with his dozen siblings for attention, enjoyed the singular attention Gruthsfield was giving him and eventually left his father’s house to live at the Union boarding house with Gruthsfield and other young bachelors.

Tyrrus tried to advise Linus as best he could on how best to navigate the rocky path of his late teens into adulthood, but it was myopic and sometimes self-serving. Tyrrus had avoided growing up, and didn’t really want Linus to either. It’s possible that a lot of Linus’ early missteps (bad relationships, hijinks, faux pas, his drinking habits) were either from Tyrrus’ lack of direction or from simply bad advice.

It was about five years after their pairing, when Linus began to make friends and peers in his own age-group, that his relationship with the then 40-something Tyrrus became strained. Tyrrus became more controlling of Linus and his free-time and assignments. He subtly tried to orchestrate fallings out between Linus and his friends, and when that didn’t work, he would bombard Linus with accusations of betrayal and callousness.  

Linus didn’t take well to Gruthsfield’s constant intrusion on his life—feeling like he was tied to the apron strings of a clucking, nagging mother hen. By the time when Linus was beginning to slip into depression, alcohol, and a dangerous affair—a time when Gruthsfield genuinely wanted to help Linus—it was too late. Linus had already stopped listening to Grusthfield.

 The incident with Tchineline (as outlined in Runs in Goods Condition) was the final breaking point and, soon after, Linus severed ties with his ex-mentor. Tyrrus and Linus most likely had no contact with eachother until the events of Must Love Dragons. Linus was more than aware of Gruthfield’s rise to power in the Union, but was only a disinterested bystander at the time. He had no idea that during that twenty-some years in-between Gruthfield had spent it brooding on the loss of his only friend and family, and becoming harder and more twisted as the realization of his own mortality grew more apparent and tortured him with the passage of time.

 

Fun Facts:

*The name Tyrrus is (rather obviously) taken from the Greek tyrannos meaning monarch or King.

*Gruthsfield’s actions have always been chiefly fueled by his fear of aging and death. It’s what draws him closer to true villainy as he begins to enter old age.

*He probably assaulted Linus a few times in their younger days, but played it off later as nothing. That unrequited attraction, as well as his emotional manipulation was a key factor in their falling out and later turned into the hatred we see in the books.

*Tyrrus was the one who blackballed Linus from renewing his Ranger’s E-10 license prior to the events of Must Love Dragons. After failing to ban him entirely, he brought up the motion to make Linus restart as an E-1.

* In my head, his voice sounds like the late Tony Jay.

New Map!

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Sorry for the long pause. Looks like summer is eating more of my life than I anticipated. That means posts here will be brief and not on a set schedule for now. I’ll most likely go back to hosting Character Wednesdays when my life slows down again. So anyways… as some of you already know, I’m a big “Micro-to-Macro” girl when I write. I like to look at the small stuff first—the immediate meat—and I get to the whole big Tolkien-y world building stuff later. Readers of the Linus Saga and Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid know that the world takes place in Nor Vredon: a providence of the large Tereand Empire. But apart from the mention of a few cities or vague clues, we don’t know what it looks like. 

So I finally got out the pens and pencils and drew a map that was 5 years coming. Here is:

THE GLORIOUS TEREAND EMPIRE.

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It’s a bit “technicolor,” I know. Sorry, but you can make out some important bits. It’s made up of four provinces: Nor Vredon, Porfenia, Culnyrreth, and Ilsland (pronounced ills-land Not island!). The capital city is in Fionwynn There’s a series of 4 mountain ranges (One big mountain range divided by 3 rivers and one active volcano to the south. It borders the Elven countries up north and a lush desert down north. Distance-wise It’s nearly as expansive as Alexander the Great’s realm, and really Tereand is very much like an ancient power that marched over the world devouring and assimilating the small tribes, fiefdoms, kingdoms, and oligarchies in its path.

It’s a very relaxed empire. No one minds the soliders or the regulation or the taxes so much, because they’d already had those anyway, only now there’s only one Emperor or Empress in faraway places making demands and he/she’s too far away to remember they exist. Plus now there’s better roads and a stable economy so what’s the harm?

No one seems to miss the Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings that were driven out of their lands, especially since all the border skirmishes are finished now and everyone seems to be happy with them, right? Right?

Anyway. That’s all for now. Feel free to leave any questions for me and I’ll see you next time I get the chance to post.

Building Tereand

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Building Tereand

This is the first map I ever drew of Nor Vredon back in 2008, The Northwest province of Tereand, which I refer to in my novels (even Madame Bluestocking!) As you can see it’s pretty rudimentary looking and I suck and things like forests and mountains. I made it to keep things straight in me head. That’s something they don’t tell you about world-building when you jump in. You have to take lots of notes.
I later modified this to look more “mappish” and less “school geography project.” I’ll post that later.
In fact I eventually put in notes by 10-year-old Carson and his Form 6 teacher.