Muunfel’s Inspiration

It’s the final day of World building June, and I made it to the end! Somehow I managed to condense a bunch of my nerding out over this project into smaller posts that I hope were easy to follow! For the final bit of world building, I want to go into the first ever inspiration for the world of Muunfel.

Way back in my high school days, I had a random dream about a train in a desert. That train was derailed and tipped over by bandits. That’s all I really remember from the dream itself, but it sparked much more.

From that inspiration I came up with the story of a certain thief on a prison train, and what would happen if some other criminals came to his rescue. Rutan and Korvasin became the first countries I thought of for Muunfel, and from there I developed the train network, the fiery desert, and the maps of these places (which I then continued to expand and expand, adding more paper as I needed). Before I knew it, I was coming up with lore halfway across the continent and completely unrelated to this prison train.

But I won’t forget my roots. The Desert Rises is the first planned story in the Muunfel project, and for July I am going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, just like last year! It’s back to Ness and Aaron and Calista, my desert golden trio. This story will shape the history of Rutan and Korvasin, and hopefully you’ll tune in for any Letters from Camp posts I might make, with updates on progress and excerpts from what I’m working on.

Korvasin Folly

One of the more popular songs in Korvasin and Rutan, well before Rutan had even become a recognized country, was the Korvasin Folly. It told a tale of a curse supposedly laid on the empire by the fairies, though no one truly believed it for a long time.

In Korvasin there lived a king,
son of last king’s daughter.
He ruled the Empire from a tower
o’erlooking Snake Eye water

The King of Crows flew out to war
with the Forest of the Fair.
At Yarrow’s Gate he made his claim
on rivers, trees, and air.

Sweet Una, patient Aubery
laughed gaily at this game
“The Queen gave up her crown too soon,
her cub lacks Lion’s Mane!”

“Though valiant among mortals, he
is wanting in her wisdom.”
With anger on his brow, the King
struck out at their Fair Kingdom.

A woeful day for Fae and Man,
when a Korvasin Grey Arrow
struck lovely Una, gentle queen,
through spine and shattered marrow.

Her body lamed, her lonely cry
brought end to that short battle.
The king had wronged the Fairy kind,
but only he was rattled.

The Aub’ry, standing tall and strong
did scold the King of Crows
for seeking more of what he has
instead of what he knows.

“Your kingdom never East shall go,
nor south from where you are.
You seal the fate of Korvasin,
you blot its brightest star.”

The King of Man could tell a curse,
much like one tells a blessing.
He pleaded with the Una then,
“O please, I’ve learned my lesson!”

With painful breath the Una sighed
and honored last king’s daughter.
“I spare your kingdom from its death,
but ban you from West Water.”

“The Ocean you will never touch,
O Korvasin the Mighty,
your line will break, I promise you
your heirs will e’er be fighting.”

“A brother casts a brother out!
An heir goes to the Fire!
And in his heart, O King of Man,
the power to inspire!”

“Your Korvasin will break, O King,
much like the heart you broke,
when you did choose to chase a dream
and felled me in one stroke.”

The Una never walked the earth
Not on her own white feet,
since Korvasin’s young foolish king
did she in battle meet.


Beings of time, the Vay are named after Vayla herself out of respect for how much she oversees. There aren’t as many Vay as there are among the other classes of beings, but it can be argued that there are more because some of them are not fixed to one point in time. They are as mysterious and difficult to pin down as the goddess they’re named for.

The abilities of the Vay are inextricably linked to time. Some are more attached to the time of day, and others to the day of the week. Since they tend to look human and can even blend in among humans most of the time, sometimes the abilities may crop up much to their own surprise as much as anyone else’s. Some of the more documented Vaykind include:

Prophets, people who can see the future, are not to be mistaken with spellcasters who use magic to look forward in time. With Prophets, it is an innate ability that can lay dormant for generations among humans with Vay bloodlines.

Season witches wax and wane with the turning of the seasons. White (winter), Red (summer), Green (spring), and Gold (autumn) witches are most powerful at their respective solstice/equinox.

Time knights are able to step through time. There aren’t many of them, and they have strict rules about what they can do when they emerge in a new time. Their view of time is fractured compared to Vayla’s all-encompassing, linear view, and they pray to her often for guidance.

The Winged One

Underneath the capitol of Rutan, there is a dungeon chamber that has existed since the solians built the first part of the city. For almost 1000 years (as of the current year in Muunfel), a solian of considerable power has been imprisoned down there.

Her name is lost to the records, and even she scarcely remembers being called anything but “The Winged One”. She is trapped in a circle with manacles leading to her limbs, with extras on her wings. She is fairly free to move around, but within the circle she’s unable to use her magic. She could even pull free of the circle if she really desired, but the Sunforged Steel chains are latched on in such a way that this would tear her wings beyond repair.

Only a few members of the court of Rutan are aware of the prisoner underneath their city. Rutan’s current king is well aware that the end of her mysterious sentence approaches, and is prepared to make sure no one gets in her way when she makes her exit.

Colloquialisms in Muunfel

Heavenly Forge – The sun. It is long believed that the goddess of the sun uses it as a forge when she creates some of the toughest metalworks known to mortals. Sunforged Steel takes its name from this colloquial term.

Leleurya’s Sweet Sleeping Earth – The planet. This refers to the fact that everything in creation was made by Leleurya singing a lullaby to put energy to sleep.

Sing that to the Gods – “Take it to the bank”. Basically, you can count on it.

The Vexing Door – The gate to the afterlife. Named for Wiavex, the goddess of souls.

Gods’ Ire – A milder, psuedo-polite version of godsdamn.

Fairy Playground – A creepy place. It earns its name from the way non-fae can become so lost within the vast forests of the Faekind. Fairy magic makes mapping such regions impossible. A place that gives a sense of lost direction often earns this descriptor.

Vayla Forget – “Heaven forbid”. An oath most commonly used in the east. It laments an event and expresses wishful thinking, that is wishing Valya (goddess of time and memory) would forget an event so that it never happened.

Double Feature Pt. 2: Baota’s Battlemages

Before the current archmage took his seat at Scytheshadow College, the rules were much stricter about what kind of studies could be conducted in the college. Development of new ways had stagnated for decades due to adherence to traditions and old ways. Many magic users became disillusioned with the place.

One of these up-and-coming mages was Zhabor Ito, a half-elf whose work on developing new and better magical foci put him close to the Scytheshadow Staff quite often. As he studied the famed focus, Zhabor came to some ideas about how magic could be used in relation to a focus.

Noting that many magic users don’t employ a focus at all, Ito argued that it was the person’s connection to the focus that gave it its efficacy. At the time, this was a radical idea. A focus was a tool, not an extension of the wizard.

Disagreeing, Ito eventually took his studies and what few acolytes he had and left the college. They were on a boat in the middle of the bay when Baota himself appeared to them.

The god of channeling magic blessed Ito’s work and confirmed that he was absolutely correct. With this encouragement, Ito and his followers founded their own small community separate from the college to develop their new school of thought.

Eventually, this lead to Ito and his students developing arcane weapons, weapons that could channel unique spells through them to cater to the fighter’s existing style. These battlemages trained and honed their skills and drew in more, both from the college and from elsewhere, and their fame grew. To this day, they accept new students, who are then trained in the art of crafting their own weapon and imbuing it with a personal connection. They are some of the most fluid battlemages Muunfel has ever seen.

“When the new archmage took over, he invited us to return to the college. With no hard feelings, I told him that we had formed our own community and settlement. We need room for training, anyway.” – Zhabor Ito, Battlemage of Baota

Double Feature Pt. 1: Scytheshadow College

Like any world in which magic exists, there exist people who study its uses. In Muunfel, the first place that comes to mind as a major destination for magical scholars is Scytheshadow College.

On the far eastern coast of Synka, a peninsula juts out into the Kela Ocean. The peninsula has a unique scythe shape (for a real-world example, think Cape Cod). This shape is the reason the bay cradled in the curve of the peninsula is called “Scytheshadow Bay”, the namesake of a college built on the edge of the peninsula itself.

The college is a stronghold of information, with records dating back to the earliest humans to set foot on Muunfel. Experimentation and development of magical skills is encouraged there, and many young mages and sorcerers find themselves training with the scholars. It was built with a focus on those who don’t have inherent magic in their blood, but in recent years there have been Fae and Tam teachers to give their own insight on the workings of magic.

The top mage of the college is one of the younger wizards in its history to earn the title, rising to the top by his late thirties. As the leader of the college, he carries the Sytheshadow Staff, one of the most iconic magical foci in the world.

“It’s not easy, earning this spot. I didn’t get here by counting buttons or letting musty old books tell me what I can’t do.” – Valen, archmage of Scytheshadow

Korvasin Grey Metal

Throughout history, the people of Muunfel have found reasons to fight one another and drive rifts between them. One of the most violent rifts is between the people who can channel magic directly (Tamkind, gods, and fairies) and those who must direct it some other way (wizards and sorcerers, etc).

This fighting saw a turning point when scholars of Korvasin discovered and developed what they simply dubbed “Grey Metal”. This material, created through alchemy, enchanting, and rigorous rituals, can be shaped into almost anything. It is an absolute bane on magic channellers.

When it comes into contact with someone with magic in their blood, it floods them with its own strange, false magic. The afflicted person cannot use this Grey Magic, and are rendered almost helpless because of it.

Grey Metal has been made into chains and manacles as well as weapons. In some regions, it is common for magic folk to be detained using Grey Metal, while in others there are those who lobby against its use at all. The ethics behind its use are often brought into discussion, and many of the naysayers cite some of its more catastrophic uses as reasons to ban it without considering its usefulness:

  1. Manacles made of Grey Metal were used on Trace, Biim, and Fiorebell in the incident that resulted in Fiorebell’s death. The land surrounding the village where this took place still cannot support any growth, and Biim himself received an incurable curse thanks to the way his and Trace’s godly magic fled.
  2. The previous Una of the Fae was shot through the spine with an arrow tipped in Grey Metal. Because she was unable to heal, she spent the rest of her days unable to walk. The Aubry placed a curse on the entire empire of Korvasin for this, and it has yet to recover from it.

Regardless of anyone’s stance on the subject, Grey Metal is dangerous and not to be used lightly in any scenario.

Folklore: The Towers

Muunfel is commonly known as the land of the gods because the gods themselves walk the earth there more than on any other continent. Rumors abound that it should also be known as the Land of the Three, because of the three towers found on the far ends of the vast island.

Time, Nature, and Magic each have a strange tower dedicated to them. They are immune to the elements and remain very plain. No known peoples can claim responsibility for their construction. It is believed that they existed as soon as the world did to stand tribute to the energies that made all things.

The Tower of Time is located in the wilds of Synka. The Tower of Magic is located in Meraev, and is a common gathering place for the solians. Not much is known about the Tower of Nature, but it rests somewhere in the Faelands, guarded by the fairies.

These towers aren’t especially high, and in fact mortals have built taller ones throughout history. And yet, few have the desire to climb them. Those that do always seem to turn back before they reach the highest rooms.

Pantheon Spotlight: Elias

Elias Dawn, in life, was a human bard and interpreter to an oracle in Meraev (solian homeland). His demigod heritage gifted him several abilities, when he chose to use them. However, the trickster side of him could tend to overwhelm him if he did this too much, and Elias did his best to rein that in whenever he could.

After ascending to godhood fairly recently in Muunfel’s history (a story for another time), Elias gained much more control of his abilities. He was able to find more inner peace, as well, as he took on his role as the god of storms. His other domains include the hunt and protection.

His laid back but mischievous nature remains. Elias isn’t officially a god of mischief (there isn’t one), but he’s one of the tricksters of the pantheon and he’s probably the most active in that regard. He likes to mess with people just the same as he did when he was mortal.

In most places, Elias is prayed to out of fear of the destructive storms he can bring. However, in Rutan, where the deserts are harshest, Elias is given his own holiday in the hopes of drawing his eye (and a few rainstorms).

“Gods above, below, and in between, friend, where’s your sense of fun?” – Elias, shortly before his ascension.