Monthly Archives: January 2022

Of Sails & Dragons

As I’m planning to launch Greater Evil on 28th February, I thought it worthwhile to do a bit of an introduction/refresher to sailed dragons used to travel across the vast distances of void between shards.¬†

The crew of such dragons are known as drakers. Originally, they hailed from the fabled Aerhaunt Archipelago but they spread across the Crevast and mixed with other cultures, leading to most crews have diverse ancestories. They regard themselves as distinct from the peoples living on shards and refer to them as Landlubbers. They worship dragons rather than gods. 

Though fiercely independent, they have built many powerful kingdoms in the past. They were unified briefly under the Emperor of the Crevast, but his empire fractured after his mysterious disappearance. Gyre and Ophigee are two successor states. During the Crevast Empire period, the peoples of the shards called them pyrates, a name that now only applies to those who engage in illegal activity.

Typically, the vessel on the back of the dragon is called the saddledeck. The saddlemaster is the senior officer on the saddledeck. From most viewpoints, it looks like a ship and most parts of it are named using nautical terms. However, the hull has two keels allowing the saddledeck to straddle the dragon’s back. The dragon’s dorsal spikes stick through the hull giving the saddledeck some added ‘grip’. A strap around the dragon’s midriff is critical to keep the saddledeck secure.

This strap is protected by the cinchdeck, a series of connected compartments across the dragon’s belly. These compartments can be used for transporting people or goods. The cinchdecks of most drake-o’-wars are equipped with cannons. The cinchmaster is in charge of the cinchdeck.

The headstall is a structure under the dragon’s frill that extends in a band around the dragon’s head. A key part of it is the pineye, the compartment from where the captain commands. Generally, the pineye is easy to spot because of its large, hemispherical window. The whisperers are also based in the headstall. They are the drakers who communicate directly with the dragon by crawling into the dragon’s ears. They are treated with reverence by the rest of the crew and are paid in dragon wax.

Because the headstall is subject to the movement of the dragon’s head, navigation is managed in a compartment in the saddledeck’s quarterdeck called the whereabout. This contains an attracton, a ‘compass’ which is pulled toward different shards to varying degrees based on their relative positions. The whereabout also communicates with the headstall by means of signal lights. Commands are relayed to the cinchdeck by speaking tubes.

The dragon must bend back its head to facilitate boarding of the headstall from the saddledeck. The gap between them is bridged by the springboard. During flight, the headstall, saddledeck, and cinchdeck are physically isolated from each other so trust between the captain and his two senior officers is critical.

2021 In Review

It’s time for a look back over the progress last year.

(1) I published Fatal Shadow on Amazon, the first book in the Champions of Fate Epic Fantasy series. Despite a less than successful launch, it has come good. Reviews/ratings are trickling in and most people seemed to have enjoyed it.

(2) I published Hoard, a horror short story on Amazon. This was originally written for the newsletter at Halloween and given away free to its subscribers before its official release.

(3) Through Ingram Spark, I expanded the availability of the paperbacks of The Golden Rule series (A Bright Power Rising/The Unconquered Sun/The Parting Gift) and also No Escape. This was largely because the titles were appearing on many on-line retailers but weren’t available. I also sorted out related issues on these sites where the book covers were missing or showed old covers.

(5) I published a background/history of The Golden Rule series in the newsletter and my website.

(6) Fatal Shadow’s sequel, Greater Evil, is finished except for a final proofread. I plan to publish it in February.