Thursday, October 30, 2014

the lowdown on WINTERKILN

(it only took two months) 
Heeyyy, guys! Remember back in August when I was all pumped to do a short series on the story notebooks I've got my pen in? heheh... yeeah.
 I give up trying to figure out this whole "life" and "work" thing. I think by now we both know that I can't always get around it. Being a grown-up kinda sucks that way. But you didn't click over here to listen to me bemoan my nonexistent work/play/write routine.

I have always been intensely intrigued by the roles of angels, demons, and their spiritual ilk. How they might be involved in the physical world, what their 'jobs' are/could be,  and other threads & imaginings intensified by writer in the middle of The Screwtape Letters.
 Winterkiln came to be a sort of outlet for all the inspiration and ideas on the subject that sparked whilst I read parts of the Bible, the above mentioned, and various myths and legends.
 I want to make it quite clear up front that I am not attempting any type of allegory in Winterkiln. I don't want to limit myself by trying to interpret what the Bible has to say on the subject, as I have neither the smarts nor the courage to even try. This story, like most of my others, is certainly drawn from facts and real world inspiration, but is purely fantasy.
 So, in a nutshell, if I ever die famous like Lewis or Tolkien, I don't want you all to go picking about in it searching for heavenly revelations. That is all. ha

I can tell you that there are beings like angels*, creatures like demons*, and... well, Man. But he's just about as clueless as he's ever been so moving on.
 This is a story about the eternal battleground between good and evil, light and dark, black and white, and that awful grey betwixt them...

Unlike the Skyrian post, I'm not going to give a 'summary of so far', because there isn't much of a 'so far' yet. I'm still hashing out where I think the story is going (for now), and so really only have a couple of pages of draft. Though lots of character sketches, reference, snippets of scenes, and a blurry outline.

The World of Winterkiln
As far as real world era equivalent, I would put it around 280 - 400 AD, still pretty archaic as far as technology goes, since this is primarily set in the North. It reminds me of Roman Britain.

It is a world distinctly divided by race. 'Angels' are first and foremost servants of the 'Light' (whyyyy can't I come up with brilliant names in a pinch??), but secondly the guardians of men. The majority of them are soldiers, and all must attend a military school from a young age, though not all go on to be fighters. Some become government leaders, teachers, doctors, and the like. In the more populous and educated southern parts they live openly amongst Men, but in more barbaric regions must disguise their nature, for though they are capable of laying waste to entire armies of the dark, they may not defend themselves against the ignorance & suspicions of men. And thus the dog barks at the chained lion.

Men are still making mistakes, blunders, and learning things the hard way, while simultaneously building, exploring, creating, and living.

'Demons'. The buggers are giving me a heck of a time trying to figure them out. I know what I don't want, and that's shadowy figures with red eyes creeping on the innocent. Nor are they all Lucifers with power to rival arch angels. No, the majority of these are more crafty underlings, whose strength is in numbers and deception. Shape-shifters and changelings. But there are greater demons, too, and who can forget the King of Sheol with his appetite for the power of human souls.
The land is also torn in half by a strict border between the angelically perceived Light and Dark, a no man's land well guarded by the Light in order to hold back the insidious forces beyond. And also the riffraff. Man lives in nearly equal parts on either side of the border and their foolish insistence on mixing and tearing down the border's walls causes great headaches for the angels.
 Other than that, the good land is a lot like anywhere. It's warm in the south, where the Light has its seat of power in the golden city of Qumrana, where angels and men live side by side. The North (that's with a capital n), however is frozen and buried in snow nine months of the year, and its people are poor and often hostile to outsiders.

Meet the MC
Hadriel: the (angel) through whose eyes we will see the world.
Daughter of the ex-general Hadrian, Hadriel is a graduate of Qumrana's elite military academy. Recently completing her first assignment in the city, her rank allows her the opportunity to volunteer for a post in locations across the country. Expected to remain near the capital and rise through the ranks like her father before her, there is only one place that stirs her strong sense of duty: a remote border post far away in the frozen North. It's dangerous, it's remote, and it's in need of a new captain. Precisely what she has been training for.
Only one problem: she's engaged to be married.
I love Hadriel. She's who I want to be when I grow up. She is a soldier, a master of her craft. Calm and calculating, never revealing all her cards. Intensely driven by her duty and incredibly capable of carrying it out, no matter the challenge. She defines quiet confidence.
At least, she all these things before I send her north... (insert diabolical laughter)

There are of course supporting characters I could talk a little about, but the plot does move very quickly and two of them play pivotal roles that if I blabbed about could give everything away. And the lesser ones don't have pictures yet. You see my dilemma? I'm afraid you'll just have to gaze upon the pale beauty above a wonder about her future since, I realize, I've given you very little of the actual plot. I'm saving 'story mode' for another post. Sorry!
In the meantime, have a look into Hadriel's world...
the capital city of qumrana
better days: young hadriel & her father

northern outpost
by tony diterlizzi

Oddly, it has been much easier to find pictures that evoke the feeling and bent of Winterkiln than it ever has been for Skyrian. Which really surprised me since medieval-esque stories are more or less 'in' right now. But whatever. I'll take my pins as they come. :)

*if anyone knows of better names for these creatures, give me a shout! I've been hunting in different languages, Hebrew, Hindi, Gaelic, and Arabic but haven't found anything satisfactory.

disclaimer: i of course own none of these pictures, all were found via


  1. Winterkiln sounds fascinating. I've certainly never read a book like that before. When it's published, I'm SO buying it. :)

    1. If and when I do get published (i'm sure i'll be at least forty by then lol), you'll be one of the firsts to know!

  2. (I don't think my comment is posting. If it posts twice I apologize. >.>)

    I read that as ON WITH THE SNOW. Because Winterkiln. Whoops...
    I absolutely looooove the idea of this thing!!! Getting to mess with angels/demons but without the responsibility (irresponsibility?) of trying to make it fit in with Biblical stuff (because I really wouldn't want to get it wrong; and yet people try all the time and it can annoy me...) And I love the LOOK and FEEL of the thing!! The warm south and the cold North and just that whole contrast of the feel and the pictures and just... IT SOUNDS SO UNIQUE AND AWESOME AND I LOVE IT. HOW ARE YOU SO BRILLIANT HAZEL? YOU'RE JUST SO BRILLIANT WITH THE COOLEST STORIES AND I ALWAYS WANT TO READ THEM THIS VERY INSTANT WHENEVER I HEAR ABOUT THEM. <3

    Thanks for this loverly post. ^_^ I ALWAYS love hearing about your stories! ...I just wish they were written and published so I could read them. >:D

    1. Exactly - I wasn't about to throw my self into /that/ theological bog, and so took the easy (and perhaps cowardly) road of making it all up myself :}
      You enthusiasm is contagious! What I wouldn't give for a button that would write the whole thing out for me!! As it is I'm having a devil of a time just trying to wedge bit of writing time in here and there throughout the day (and sometimes week :( ) BUT I hope to get a great deal (won't say all) of it written this November. I won't say NaNoWriMo either, because my past three were ALL cursed with medical and veterinary emergencies! So I'm not going to jinx anything THIS year.

    2. Theological bog. I like. XD And really, making it all up is the best way to go. ;)
      Best of luck on your writing! And I hear you about NaNo. I'm doing it and am fairly doomed since I'll be on a road trip for two weeks (so I sort of have to write the whole thing in two weeks instead of four...), but I totally see why it's best if you just write as much as you can while pretending that you're actually not. ;) I hope you get a bunch written! <3

    3. i'm gonna need it - and good luck to you too!!

  3. Winterkiln sounds fascinating (even the name just made me interested)!

    1. That is music to my ears (type to my eyes?)! Stay tuned for more in the future!