World Building and Wonder Series: Zander’s Reaping Vengeance

Umara is the fantasy world created for the ‘Battle for Umara series of novels. It is an expansive world ruled by Gods, mythical creatures, and magic. The ‘Worldbuilding and Wonder series showcases the who, what and where of Umara. And includes tidbits of the inspiration behind them.

Myth: The Serpent

The Sun married the Moon, and the world began. Zander and Alona ruled over their domain, allowing Umara to thrive. According to the desert dwellers a vast snake, envious of Umara’s bounty sought to destroy it. The southern coastal nation believed the snake, frozen from the journey through the stars, desired to thaw itself.

But in the end, either story ends the same; with the giant serpent swallowing the sun. Darkness descended over Umara; the plants wilted, the animals shivered, and worry cascaded over the people.

Zander, furious from the Serpent’s actions, dressed for battle. With his sword in hand, he attacked but the blade couldn’t pierce the scales. Instead, he antagonized the beast enough to unhinge his vast jaw, and swallow Zander whole.

From within the beast’s belly, Zander stabbed the delicate lining, slicing through the flesh. As the pieces fell, the sun emerged; its heavenly brightness kissing Umara. Order was restored and life was once again, flourished.

Zander’s Reaping Vengeance

The period of the sword’s creation was unclear, but scholars placed the creation of magical weapons in the age of the Seventh Magus. During his reign over the Mages, a metalsmith discovered a way to infuse magic into steel. It was also a time where Umara was wild with a abundance of magical creatures. With the new weapons both Mages and Innocents worked alongside each other to occupy the land.

Some believed the sword belonged to Zander himself. Others thought it was a handcrafted weapon inspired by the myth. For centuries it was sought to be a legend in its own right, however, that was about to change.

On a scouting mission along the Alexanderian boarder, a knight stumbled upon a rusty sword in a cave. The sword, although nothing extortionary to the knight, proved to have an abnormal ability.

The hilt, exquisitely crafted, illustrated the mouth of a snake as it swallowed the sun. A strange language craved along the curved double blade. Zack never encountered anything like it. But what he did recognize was a strange call from the sword, something caused him to gravitate to the weapon. And once he felt it, he could never escape.

Inspiration

Development for the series began back in high school (estimated two centuries ago). The inspiration for Zack’s sword, if memory serves correctly stemmed from a mix of Japanese anime recently released in North America and the Final Fantasy RPGs.

The first recollection that comes to mind is ‘Tessiaga’ from the series Inuysaha. It can be described as a feudal Japanese fantasy/fairy tale where various aspects of Japanese legends/heroes are woven in the main plot. The title character is a half man half dog demon who assists the reincarnated priestess to gather the Sacred Jewel Fragments. Inuyasha wields Tessiaga which is also called “the sword of destruction.”

The sword itself has the ability to slay one hundred demons, it keeps Inuyasha’s power in check, is activated when (particularly) a human is threatened, and is capable of shattering magical barriers. A technique intergraded into the Zander’s sword. Other notable swords at the time were Van Fanel’s sword in Vision of Escaflowne, and a sword that needs no introduction, the Buster Sword wielded by Cloud in Final Fantasy VII. So many great swords which were both beautiful and deadly.

Hand drawn sketch of a curved sword from a notebook

Here lies an attempt and earliest version of Zander’s sword from the “lost files“. (circa 2005)

Over time (and countless drafts) Zander’s Reaping Vengeance became more than just a magical sword for the token knight of the series. As the character developed, the sword’s presence in the story became a critical part of his character arch.

A life of a in the King’s Guard allows a sense of security and (perhaps) a false sense of control. The sword, feeds off his strict sense of justice and compensates by (at times) “overreacting” to any sense of fear or injustice Zack is harboring. Zack’s struggle which is introduced in The Thief’s Wager, is more adequately experienced throughout the series.