Reader Message: Around the World

Prompt: What if Bowman got confused about the phrase “around the world”, and Jacob realised Bowman didn’t know that the Earth is round, not flat, and Jacob had to try and both to explain and convince his incredulous lil buddy.

This email got buried in my inbox a little bit, but thank you so much for sending it in! I had fun pondering how much the wood sprites of Wellwood would actually know about the round earth and solar system and such. My guess is there are a few that do actually know about how that works, to a degree, and could even recreate the calculations that Eratosthenes computed to find the circumference of the earth.

Bowman, however, is not a scholarly sprite. If there are sprites studying astronomy, he’s not among them.

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“What does that mean?”

Jacob paused in his walking to glance to the side. Bowman perched on the end of a long, spindly branch, and even his tiny weight barely disturbed it. A focused curiosity fixed on Jacob. “Which part?”

Bowman held up a hand and waved it in a circular gesture. “You said ‘around the world’. What does that mean? Is it just another human thing?”

“Oh,” Jacob turned to address the sprite fully, knowing he had let slip another phrase that he took for granted. For someone four inches tall who had never left his single forest before, Bowman didn’t necessarily have a reason to know. “Well, the earth is round, Bowman, like a … berry, or–”

“Or the moon?” Bowman cut him off with an amused smirk. “I know what round means, giant.”

Jacob grinned. “Yeah. Like how the moon is round. But the earth is way bigger than the moon and it takes a long time for anyone to get all the way around it.”

Bowman contemplated that for a long pause. He’d perched right at Jacob’s eye level, so Jacob could see the journey of realization on Bowman’s face as he tried to reconcile with what he knew. Sunrise and sunset were important parts of a wood sprite’s day, and Jacob wondered how Bowman had viewed them before.

Verdant green wings twitched in annoyance. “Well I almost never pay attention to the sky charts or anything like that,” Bowman dismissed. “Not like I want to fly that far.”

Jacob nudged at the branch so that it swayed slightly. “I know that’s a lie, you’d fly all the way around it if you could.”

“Oh, I know I could,” Bowman boasted. His wings fluttered to life and he dove off the branch to glide ahead of Jacob. “But if it’s so hard for humans to do it, I wouldn’t want to leave you behind.”

“Thanks, dude,” Jacob called after him, resuming his walk.

Fairy Tales Lore Bits #9

Wraith sprite quills can break if put under stress. They usually grow back eventually, but in the meantime it may affect some of their abilities, especially if more than one quill breaks. There aren’t too many nerves out near the tips, so it isn’t necessarily a painful injury to bear, but they can feel the gaps and greater difficulty with mental signals. For a people quite used to sharing surface thoughts with their community, it can get frustrating very fast.

Muunfel Lore Bits #4

Trace is the common name for the god of Mind, Patience, and Curses, but it isn’t the name he originally had. Nobody knows anymore what he used to be called, not even the deities that are supposed to know things like this. As the quiet, emotionless deity that he is, Trace is not forthcoming with the name, or even details about how exactly he lost it.

Diakon, the god of destruction and something of a parent/father to Trace, is said to have destroyed his name. Diakon is not going to elaborate on these rumors anytime soon.

Did you Know?

In Bowman of Wellwood, Jacob Andris was originally going to be a side character. Instead of the chill giant becoming Bowman Leafwing’s best friend among all humans, that honor was going to fall to Bobby Loran.

That’s right, Bobby, who readers may know is not a gentle or calm person at all, was going to be the human that helped Bowman learn how to accept people so vastly different from himself. Then, as the story progressed and I played with different approaches, the truth became clear. Bobby and Bowman will never get along, while Jacob is the perfect personality to ground out the sprite’s wild, sassy nature.

Muunfel Lore Bits #3

In the southeast of Muunfel, Synka and Heptaena are separated by a ridge of mountains called the Dragonrest Mountains. Most travelers can find their way through these mountains with a guide and following the trails, and most don’t have much inclination to try to climb too high.

The dragons that come there to sleep aren’t often friendly to anyone who wakes them up, accident or not. They are more understanding when they come down among the people, and simply request that their rest not be disturbed in return.

Fairy Tales Lore Bits #8

Shadow sprites are a bit different from their cousins. Rather than having to open up a connection to their Spirit and voice a Prayer for magic to use, they are always connected to the Night Spirit. The Lady of Secrets grants Her children a few basic abilities that they can tap into at any time, but this ease comes at a price.

Direct sunlight will drive Her back, and it is painful for the sprite caught in it. Other forms of light are a bit itchy, but don’t have the same symbolic effect on them. As the Spirit retreats from sunlight, so does the magic the sprite needs to survive in the shadows. They can be blinded and their skin can be permanently lightened in places that were illuminated. Healing takes a while, though the Spirit will eventually reconnect if the sprite survives.

Fairy Tales Lore Bits #7

Air sprites are children of the Sky Spirit, the Lady of Freedom. She emphasizes creativity and out of the box thinking in all endeavors, even the magic She provides to the sprites. Prayers to the Sky Spirit usually have wildly varying results, with only a few of them being consistent in any way.

In most cases, a sprite can try to Pray for improved luck, or influence a certain outcome of events. They can also Pray for new ideas or perspectives to help them tackle a problem. This gives them a lot of choices for how they want to approach a task.

Random Facts about Jacob Andris

(From the Chase in Lilliput AU)

This AU version of Jacob still has roughly the same backstory as usual. Son of Greek immigrant parents, lived in Carlisle, Iowa. His father died when he was 8 years old and his mother didn’t remarry until he was 16. He’s an avid outdoorsman and is very good at roughing it, a skill which came in handy once he took up residence in Lilliput.

His memories of how he shipwrecked in the first place are very hazy. The next thing he knew, really, was waking up to find a tiny little person on him. True to Jacob fashion, he was grabby; he’s often grabby when he encounters tiny folk. Once it really sank in that he wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon, Chase sort of became his guide and his anchor. It’s kinda scary to be lost in a strange land, but he has a buddy so he’s okay!

The little folk of Lilliput tend to be very fussy. They’re full of energy and a willingness to scold him or boss him around, and Jacob finds this very amusing. He prefers it to them being scared of him, so he tends to go along with what they say without much argument. He lets Chase think that he’s the one who tamed the giant.

He’s been working on getting the local livestock used to him. A lot of cows have learned that he’s pretty good at giving them scritches, and he very rarely tries to lift them up, so they’re learning. The sheep are more skittish, but he has high hopes. Goats never cared how big he was.

It does bother him sometimes that he has no clue how to get home. He does his best not to let that show when the feeling comes up, since he doesn’t want his small friends to worry. They can’t do something about it any more than he can.

Random Facts about Elias Dawn

Elias has many middle names, and listing them all off gets tedious for him. The city/culture he’s from tends to have a tradition of adding more middle names based on titles earned and accomplishments won. He was already born with a few: Elias Orson Phineas Kingspeaker* Dawn. Since his mother is the Oracle of a temple, he assumed the role of a temple speaker just by being born. Very few people can make sense of what Cira Dawn says due to her difficulties communicating, but Elias always had a knack for it.

He takes after his mother in looks. Since his father is a deity with no set physical form, his natural physical traits were all inherited from Cira (deep red hair, sapphire eyes, sienna skin, strong nose). He’s met his dad a few times, and while there’s no animosity between them, a part of him does blame the guy for the way Cira’s mind was broken.

Elias is pansexual and genderfluid. Since he’s a shapeshifter, he can play around a bit with his presentation. Usually, he will give the people close to him an easy visual cue so they know which pronouns to use, but not always. He sometimes enjoys dating and develops crushes fast, but the thought of anything like marriage or any implication of “forever” sort of freaks him out for reasons he keeps quiet (he has a set “destiny” and he already has a hard enough time with that).

Elias as a character is fun to write because he’s what most people would call “overpowered”. He’s a demigod with a lot of abilities, including storm manipulation, shapeshifting, summoning items out of thin air, and making copies of himself. He also sort of combines his storm and mischief aspects into something he calls “electrickery,” in which he manipulates the electric impulses in someone’s brain. He saves that for dire circumstances since it’s hard to do.

* ”Kingspeaker” is the most convenient translation from what the word is in his first language, since it doesn’t have a distinction between a male and female sovereign.

Random Facts About Chase Lisong

Chase’s actual name is Qi Shi, which according to my research means “to enlighten”. I guess if he keeps chattering away like he’s prone to do, he’s bound to teach something, right? He and his sister Minnie (Minxia, or ”Bright halo”), were given anglicized names by their parents when they moved to the US from Jiuquan. Since they were young kiddos who had to move rather suddenly, their parents wanted to give them some kind of edge, socially.

Chase is bisexual (happy pride month!). He has an ex-girlfriend and an ex-boyfriend, both relatively short relationships that ended on friendly terms. He helped set Jacob Andris up on the one and only date Jacob went on.

Chase’s health is actually quite fragile – he’s not athletic due to his asthma, and cold season tends to lay him low once a year. Despite that, the whole reason his family moved to Iowa was for cleaner air and a less stressful environment, so he’s doing better than he might be elsewhere.

I really really love how much Chase has grown into his own character since I first invented him. He’s technically a side character in the story he originated in, but I could probably write a whole story about him and his misadventures (Chase in Lilliput, anyone?).