The Flight of the Phoenix
by Chris McMahon
I am very chuffed to be able to announce the impending publication of my novella The Flight of the Phoenix (available from this Monday – 23rd May) from Naked Reader Press. This story has been around a long time, and pre-dates the other Jakirian novels.
In the novella, the aging general Belin is thrown from a comfortable retirement into conflict with the mysterious Eathal. The cave-dwelling Eathal have conceived a plan to destroy the ancient Bulvuran Empire, striking at the heart of it by assassinating the Emperor Riin and his family.
Belin is beset by visions of the demise of Riin, and sets off across the leagues from the Delta province to the capital Raynor to save Empress Evelyn and her newborn child from death at the hands of the Eathal shapechanger and Sorcerer Geisel (you should be able to see the Delta province and the imperial capital Raynor on the map to the left). The journey is only made possible for Belin by riding his narsiit – a winged steed famous for speed (not that they actually fly – the wings are for mainly for cooling, but do provide some lift).
The general’s legendary greatscythe skills will be put to the test against overwhelming opposition. He must overcome the treachery of those Suul (nobility) who seek to profit from the fall of the Empire – and confront his own fears of Sorcery as he comes face-to-face with Geisel.
Looking back at the development of this work, it is like a layered chronology of the birth of the world of Yos. The very first drafts were very much in a conventional fantasy setting – with swords and metal armour. The elements of the magic were in place, but the system not nearly as refined as it would be later. The whole piece is (not surprisingly) heavily influenced by David Gemmell.
Then as the drafts continued, the swords and metal armour gave way to the special ceramic weapons of Yos. The premise of the Jakirian – that all metal is present as a magical crystal or glowmetal – was at last in place.
A precept of magic on Yos is that glowmetals can neither by created nor destroyed. Although sometimes useful in magic, their essential raw nature cannot be changed i.e. they cannot be forged or refined. The consequence is that weapons have to be either constructed of natural materials, or in most cases extremely sophisticated composite ceramics of various classes. Lanedd – which can be used for blades, holding a razor-sharp edge, yet avoiding the brittleness of pure ceramics. Mought – incredibly tough material cast into shape as armour or used for the haft of various weapons.
The limit on the effective length of a blade (due to the brittleness of lanedd) has made the long-knife or calv dominant (hence Calvanni = knife-fighter). There are no swords on Yos. Instead the dualist’s weapon of choice is the greatscythe – a staff of cast mought that has retractable lanedd blades at either end.
To celebrate the lauch of The Flight of the Phoenix – first in the Jakirian related books to come out from Naked Reader Press – I am giving away an electronic copy of The Flight of the Phoenix. The copy goes to the first to email me at chrismcmahon11AToptusnet.com.au with the name of the Eathal shapechanger that Belin faces in the story (hint: it’s above:)).
The schedule for the other Jakirian books is:
The Calvanni: June 2011 (electronic & POD)
Scytheman: December 2011 (electronic & POD)
Sorcerer: June 2012 (electronic & POD)