I agree, all too often the basic motivation for the villains in the typical fantasy and Disney stories are entirely too simple or are evil for evil's sake, but considering the who the intended audience is, children, the villains exist only for the hero to face and overcome. Their motivations are unimportant so as long as it is in opposition to the hero. AS we get older, we see more and more into the villains, and we understand that there is more than black and white to the world. I like that Urooj is not the traditional villain, that he is simply a man forced into a position, forced to take up a burden that wasn't his and has been shaped to it.
I had a read it a couple of times, there are a lot of 'between the lines' things that aren't explicitly stated, but that makes it all the better, because a stoic pragmatic villain isn't monologing, isn't making grandiose plans and schemes, he's shuffling paperwork and balancing the books, but the values being subtracted and moved are lives.
Nice listing of swords, and the history and mythology behind them is delightful. I like how they in varying instances create themselves (left over liquid metal in the forge) or fall from the sky (Cold Moon could easily be it's own entire submission) and how the various swords are more instruments of heaven than the works of the hands of men. They appear, do their tasks or spread their torment and are lost, or in some cases, turn into birds and fly away. The colorful use of language is something that is also lost in western mythology. Thank you for sharing this. Go to Comment
I can certainly see the Norerell and Strange influence. Fantastic book and I love how it handled the fae, as compared to literally every other writer ever. I like how this has the hallmark Muro grimness and strangeness to it and I am interested to see where it goes. Go to Comment
The world is much changed, but yes it is still relatively backwards in that part of the world. That is relevant of course, because in the more advanced parts of the world, the doctors and cyberneticists are going to look at things like liability and lawsuits, and they are just going to say no. Go to a backwater place, and give the doctors and cigarette smoking cyborg mechanics enough money and they'll shrug, say it's your funeral, and start hacking. The same general vibe from Elysium when the guys who fix the exoskeleton to Max's body, but are covered in tattoos, and they pass around a joint before picking up a bonesaw. Go to Comment
The bows are interesting, but there is a certain wikipedia feel to each entry. Being Chinese mythology, the names aren't familiar, and it took me two tries to read through the entire submission (the first being on a mobile device, damned tiny screens).
I do have one question and it's simple, what do we do with these? I know the basic plot hooks for kick-ass-weapons, but these are drawn from mythology and history, and that makes them a little different from the typical fantasy weapons. What is Hou Yi's Sun Sinker? Is it a relic, is it an artifact, a divine crafted (deifacted) weapon?
Can I answer these questions myself? Of course. I want your interpretation, because you had the insight and interest in writing this. Go to Comment
I think the origin is beautiful, being an auspicious event caused by stone and snow spirits, rather than the works of a craftsman or mage. Chinese mythology has a much more natural and often times more beautiful underlying imagery to it compared to more sweat and toil western interpretations. Go to Comment
Quite a lot of history here, and much more of it revolves around Lie Bei rather than his swords. I think that the sword's power is a hoax makes them even better. Did the swords fly out of Cao Cao's hands from magic, or from the fact that Cao Cao thought them magic and the weapons of his mortal enemy surely would have sought out his blood.
Also, most unfortunate name ever: Cao Pi (Pronounce it Cow Pee or Cow Pie and it's a winner either way.)
I get a half Old School Dungeons and Dragons and half grimdark Game of Thrones vibe from this item, it's suitably complicated to be a wondrous item, and it's use is gruesome enough to land it a place of honor in a bloody dark setting. Reading it, I think the real power of the item might not be the spikes, but in the chains. being used to bind, constrict, sever limbs, asphyxiate victims, decapitate victims, and other horrible things that can only come from a brutal and violent imagination. Go to Comment
I enjoy seeing things I've written being used. I like the rings and how they were created, with their flaw concealed.
Running with the Vallermore setting, I can see something like a tomb of queens, each wearing one of the rings, until some foolish upstart tries to use more than one and basically ends up turning herself into a ringwraith/nazgul. Go to Comment
The Imbrians are like Ozymandias, their empire was great and their accomplishments were far beyond what can be conceived. But like Ozymandias, their dominion is dust and ashes. They turned void and barren planets into resorts and farmland, and then back into rubble and ghosts. Go to Comment