This is a big chapter. Like many of my tragedy chapters, it starts with a beautiful day where everyone is happy. It doesn't end that way.
When I created the world, I wanted a reasonable reason for writing a steampunk/industrial magic world. It also had to answer the question “why haven't mages taken over the world.” My answer was resonance which is where powerful magic reacts violently with all other forms of disharmonious energies. In short, powerful mages cause each other pain and artifacts explode in the presence of anyone besides their creator (or someone with a compatible resonance).
Many cities have a resonance. It comes from years of magic seeping into the rocks and wood. A necessary harmony to keep everything from exploding while still getting the benefits of magic. In the desert, it is the clan who claimed them which is why every city, valley, and built-up area is named after a specific clan. The resonance of the clan is the resonance of the area. All energies outside of that can cause destruction as artifacts explode.
There are also laws around resonance. To willfully use powerful, incompatible magic is called Felony Feedback (mashio kajudūfa). It is a crime, punishable up to death or imprisonment based on the amount of destruction that comes from using such magic in close quarters.
Up to this point, Rutejìmo's stories have been relatively isolated as I worked out the details of resonance through short stories. We had a little foray into resonance with Sand and Ash with Mapábyo running through the city but this chapter has two very high powered fighters causing all sorts of destruction. It is a logical progression and something that is going to happen a couple times in this book.
The Call is a concept that completely surprised me in Sand and Ash. I wasn't entirely sure the thought process that came out of it but it seemed like something that would have formed with the magical guardianship between clan members and their warriors.
I thought of it as hearing my children scream. Most parents can tell if a kid is just running around with high-pitched screams verses the scream of pain. More importantly, a lot of parents know that it is their kid and respond faster than just a generals scream of pain.
The Call is a magical version of that child's cry for help. The difference is that it uses more than just sound waves but also the will of the person doing the cry. It has a compulsion with it, a drive to come and help regardless of what the person is doing. It is a drive, a “must help” that is tied directly into the powers of the clan.
Warriors, like most aspects of the desert culture, have a lot more power than the non-warriors.
Rutejìmo is an exception because of his ties to the desert, we'll be seeing that later. I've written about how he is special in how other warriors treat him, that also applies to who will answer his Call.
One of the things I've noticed is that a number of readers don't like it when I say my novel is anime-inspired. I'm not sure what they mean, but I usually attribute the inspiration to fight scenes that destroy scenery, a certain style of special effects, and the over-the-top nature of actions. Personally, I imagine all the characters as anime (Fairy Tail, Slayers) as I'm writing.
This is also my bucket list: to have my novels animated as an anime movie or series.
This fight shows that. The powerful parries leave concussion blasts, there are tornadoes of golden fire, and a mile-long fireball directly influenced from one of my favorite martials movies, Shaolin Soccer. When you through in massive mechanical spiders spitting fire and acid and I think I have a fun little fight.
Sand and Bone 14: Presents
Nifùni sneaks away to accept the job the rest of the clan decided to turn down. What started as a beautiful but expensive day of shopping for Rutejìmo turns violent when he has to find and save his clan member from being murdered.
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