It’s great to be back.
It’s been four months since the last News from Ashlora issue. Progress has been glacial as usual, I’m starting to think this project might not work out after all. But, I’m not giving up just yet. There’s still one more central character plot I can explore: the Inventor.
LEO THE INVENTOR
There’s a whole different cast of characters surrounding the Inventor and his story focused on very mundane problems different from the Witch and the Priestess’s plot driver. The main driver of the previous two narrators is external and these characters are set up by circumstances for internal changes.
Unlike the other two narrators who derived their internal goal from the circumstances, the Inventor starts off with an agenda and he’ll use the circumstances to drive his own goal. In fact, almost everything that happened in the Witch and the Priestess’s narrative was a part of his grand scheme to alter the political landscape of Ashlora.
The list of characters who will be deeply involved in his plotline are:
– Sir Richard, the Baron
– Steve, the Ironsmith
– Felacia, the Bishop
– Alex, the Informat
– Katherine, the Knight
Turn out, Princess Lilia and Eliot the Witch won’t be key actors in this narrative. They are, instead, the goals, the antagonistic forces to overcome. I’m omitting Morgan the Scholar character for now as his story started after the Inventor’s great scheme had ended.
One more new development in this iteration, four characters are now revealed to have fancy full names to reflect their culture: Eliot Gradren Alse Forse, Leonardo de Price, Alexander D’Amore, and Richard Gregory.
I’m just jotting these names down here to finalize them, I plan to come up with a full name for Katherine and Felacia as well but nothing solid came to mind yet.
A TORUS WORLD
When I explored the idea of a torus (doughnut-shaped) world, I discovered a few key implications that conveninently explain parts of Ashlora’s lore.
In a torus world, the moon can oscillate up and down through the center hole of the planet many times in the same solar day, most suitably in a vase orbit that will result in varying moon sizes depending on the season. This matches the “Prism cycle” and “great blue moon” concept observed by the Witch in chapter 4 of her narrative.
In addition, it might be possible to observe the other side of the world through the center hole. It would be day in Azeth when it was night in Ironheart. Someone with a giant telescope would be able to observe the stretch of lit up land at the far end of the night sky. This justifies the existence of the Solaris Observatory as an espionage instrument.
This also implies the sky city of Fa’el might actually be…on the moon (or a piece of land stuck between the moon’s and the earth’s gravitational field). There are other military applications of a vase orbit moon, an aerial attack from Azeth to Ironheart can be prepared half lunar-cycle ahead of time and launched from the moon when it is closest to the target city.
Or, in the case of the Archbishop’s dragon, it can just use the moon’s gravitation field to slingshot itself to Ironheart. This makes the concept “Light of Azeth” in the very first draft of this novel (and on the goddamn cover!) essentially a space elevator; an extremely powerful asset in a world where people still ride horses.
A CONFUSING TIME DIVISION
With these special characteristics of a torus world, it is inevitable that the perception of time in Ashlora would be different from ours.
In our world, day and night are marked by the rise and set of the sun. This idea remains the same in Ashlora, except in a Torus world, a solar day would last a lot longer; so much so that a “day” in Ashlora is essentially the equivalence of a month in our world!
So what is the equivalence of our day in Ashlora? A “moon”, is the closest equivalence. In Ashlora, the moon tranverses the sky thirty-two times in a solar day. The first moon starts at sunset and the sixteen moon marks sunrise.
Assuming the solar orbit remains the same as our world, a “season” in Ashlora would consist of only three “solar days” and when they say “week”, they mean “6 days” or “half a year”.
The concept of month is phased out completely.
The least confusing part of this entirely new time division system is “year”, which is roughly the same length as our year.
To sum it up, in Ashlora
Year = 2 weeks = 4 seasons = 12 days = 384 moons = 384 Earth’s days
“Hours”, in our world, originated from a set of 24 stars across the sky. Since stars don’t have any plot influence, I might as well just make the assumption that there were the same 24 stars in Ashlora’s night sky and the concept of hours evolved in the same manner.
Luckily, the concept of “minutes” and “seconds” are not tied to any astronomial phenomenon and I can keep them the same 60 seconds a minute and 60 minutes an hour like in our world.
A moon starts with a period of darkness, then a time of lunar daylight (when the moon goes overhead and reflects the most sunlight) and then another period of darkness as the moon goes down. Due to the moon’s deceleration towards the extremes of its orbit, a lunar day is generally very brief and lasts only a few hours, typically from 9AM to 3PM and drastically shorter in winter.
That’s it for this issue of News from Ashlora!
Expect a second commentary on White Destiny project and finally an actual excerpt from the novel on either the Silverflow Council or the character Ironsmith within the month. It’s a promise!