I’m part of the blog tour for fellow fantasy author J.L. Mbewe, whose newest book, Darkened Hope, released a few weeks ago. I’m happy to have her here to do a guest post on the powers found in her created world of Nälu.
First, a peek into the story of Darkened Hope.
Ayianna is a cursed half-elf betrothed to Desmond, but her heart belongs to another. After discovering the cure for the Sorceress’s curse, she and her companions embark on a dangerous quest to retrieve the ingredients.
When dragons descend upon their party, Ayianna realizes the Sorceress is searching not just for the corrupted dagger, but a human sacrifice that will open a portal to the underworld. Battling deadly creatures and natural disasters, Ayianna is forced more and more to confront her insecurities and conflicted heart.
Now she must decide whether to be true to her family or true to herself. As the nations rally for war, betrayal threatens to destroy them all, and it’s a race against time to return before the curse devastates the plains people.
Be sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post for the chance to win some cool prizes, including a signed copy of Darkened Hope.
Now onward to the guest post. 🙂
The Powers of Nälu
When the kingdom of Badara fell, Prince Vian realized that there might be more to the Tóas Dikon than he thought, or that the Yenzo Tanil actually exist. But what is it?
Before we can explore what the Yenzo Tanil is, we need to understand how it came to be in the first place. We need to go back to the beginning. Not of time, but of Nälu’s earliest records.
Dark times gripped the world during Lord Stygian’s long, oppressive rule. The people clung to the myths of a place across land and time. Zohar, where threads of silver flowed over the mountains like rivers yet hung like curtains above golden bowls and flames. And as each life met its end, a silver thread snapped, a flame grew cold, and a golden bowl shattered like porcelain against rock.
Somewhere, someone had once spoken of a promise. Bards once sang of it, until their voices were silenced, and their songs faded with time. But whispers of the promise remained, breathed by the trees, guarded by the Naajiso. Help would come from Zohar. And it did.
The defeat of Lord Stygian released the people, breaking the hold of the Tainted One, Taethza of the Underworld, but she vowed to return. Who would stop her then? Who should rule the nations? What would become of the giants? Could they be trusted? The questions gave way to chaos, but Karasi, one of the lost rulers of Zohar, long imprisoned by the Taethza and Stygian, brought peace again and established the first Guardian Circle. They were charged with guiding and teaching of the nations, so they would never have to endure another oppressive rule such as Lord Stygian’s again.
In the Circle’s infancy, Karasi and an elderly elf named Njira chose the first men and women among the nations who would later become the Guardians. These would receive the Yenzo Tanil, the gifting from the Shadow God. Some call it magic, but they are specialized gifts to carry out their duties. Once the students finish their apprenticeships and are approved, they pledge themselves to the Circle and all of Nälu. Thus they receive their gifting and are bound to their calling for life, but if used against its nature, the bond will break, and they will lose their power.
Which brings us to the Tóas Dikon and the ever elusive Queen of the Underworld.
She burrows tunnels through the underworld searching for a portal, a weakening of the barrier between the living and the dead. Scratching beneath the surface of the land, yearning to break through. Sometimes during the coldest days of winter, when all is quiet and the fabric between the worlds is the thinnest, you might hear her scratching.
Who is she? Perhaps she is Raezana the Beautiful. The Ruwach who fell in love with a human and whose heart turned from Zohar to create her own empire. Was she a lover spurned? Or did life and death separate him from her? For what mortal can equal an immortal?
Or is she someone even more sinister?
The guardians call her Taethza. The Ruwach who rose up against Zohar and failed. She birthed the Tóas Dikon and tainted the land and the people. She is waiting, scheming, looking for an ear ready to hear her whisperings, her scratching. Her desire? Revenge. To destroy all of Nälu. For if she can’t enjoy it, who should?
Perhaps, they are one in the same. Taethza and Raezana. Queen of the Underworld. All somehow woven together with the Tóas Dikon.
The Tóas Dikon remains a mystery. A tainting of the gifts. It might give you the power you desire. It might seem stronger than the Yenzo Tanil, but as with all such power, it comes at a cost. Are you willing to pay the price? Some thought so. Semine, for one. But then, she believes she is righting a wrong. Only time will tell.
Thanks to Jennette for that fantastic post. Even with that short description, you can see the depth and creativity that’s gone into the worldbuilding of Nälu. Fascinating stuff.
Speaking of fascinating, do you know about Facebook parties? If you don’t, you really should. They’re a lot of fun. You can ask questions, enter to win prizes, and all sorts of fun stuff. The Darkened Hope Facebook party is this Saturday, so check that out.
- Nälu fashion
- Interview with Prince Vian
- Author interview
- Behind-the-scenes look at worldbuilding (going live tomorrow)
- The journey of the story and it’s meaning to Jennette (going live tomorrow)
Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and swords, among other things. Here, between reality and dreams, you will find her busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. She has two short stories published in The Clockwork Dragon anthology, and four short stories set in the world of Nälu. Her debut novel, Secrets Kept, was nominated for the 2014 Clive Staples Award, and its sequel, Darkened Hope is coming May 2016.