Working Timeline of Ihyel for the Curious


Novel, Short Story with Background

The beginning of the world.



“The Mud Woman”

(Unpublished Short)

This is Avensen’s story.  She is the demi-god who represents goals in The Red Khémèresh.  She is the steward of the World Tree.

Assume that Engidu and Humna come later, and that they start testing heroes—and heroines of course!—to see if they’re ready for their hero’s journey.

This story is one I go back to time and time again.  Even in shelved novels, some of the thoughts here come through, like any good folk tale, or myth.

Mythic Creatures and Heroes

Hundreds of years pass.  Most of these I do not write about.  However, their archeological evidence, or mythic evidence is noted in stories like “She Fades with the Firebirds”, and Seek the Monster, and even Sen of the Woods.  Jammon would, however, probably built his castle and forge somewhere in the 600 years after Khémèresh.  None of these “ages” are hard and fast.


End of the Age of Heroes

 The Red Khémèresh

(Published: Book one in Humna’s Arc, but a stand-alone book.)

[NOTE on Humna Arc: If you read Campbell’s The Masks of the Gods, you’ll see that gods travel.  So while this is set in the Tashihyel, the next one set in Yezgyin, and the last in Ismerin.]

Where the horse is–above it, really–is the Tashihyel.

Think Mongolia, with a few twists.  Siberian and Mongolian shamanism stirred up with a thought that arose from Sumerian myth.  I’d also remembered how Siberian shamans would wear a headdress with beads on it to see the other world.  Phayaden wears her beads in her hair, with braids.  It’s another book where the concept of a World Tree comes into the story.

From the British Museum. Click on the pic to go to the site.

The story was inspired by a mask of Humbaba (or Humwawa) that’s now located in the British Museum.   Among many other things.  I saw this face as labyrinthian, and labyrinths are—to a degree—initiatory And Enkidu led Gligamesh to go defeat the Ogre of the Pine forest (Humbaba).  I thought about Temuchen, before he became the great Khan, and his blood brother, whom he ought to have valued very, very high.  I wondered… what would have happened if he didn’t value his vision for Mongolia, and the divided and continually defeated horse clans, more than this blood brother?

Why does this end the age of Heroes?  Because at the end Humna is out of a job, and Engidu gets to find his love, Avensen.  The start of the Humna Arc.

By the way, this doesn’t mean that there are no more heroes, or that heroes and heroines don’t do epic things—but HOW their journeys evolve are different.  Just look at Kuen and Sen in Fate of the Red Queen and Sen of the Woods (which is a trifle unfair as they evolve to become more than just heroines).  Hero, however, in Seek the Monster does something that people touched by “magic” or gods (well, more than what was done through his parents) might not have done.

Tree of the Tile Makers

(Started, shelved.)

 It is a World Tree novel.  Part one (as I’m revising the early draft) could be place at the beginning of the world, or rather soon after.  It is a short book.  The second book, however, follows, at a later date, The Red Khemeresh, and is one of the stories where trees are planted from the fruit of the world tree—as Syra does in Seek the Monster.

The long river goes between deserts. I’m suspecting a bit north of the river, but I’m not sure. Yno Magascar lives in the country further to the south of the river, along the coast I haven’t drawn yet.

It’s set in the desert regions to the south east of Hergila. It starts with the woman who started to understand all the lessons of the World Tree in “The Mud Woman,” and paid the price of rejecting it—trying to spread the word before full understanding.  Later on, apparently, the shaman from The Red Khémèresh, Phayaden, has sons who also bring knowledge to this refuge my “first woman” created where people could bear the pains of being divided from The One God, the creator, because they were impatient, or cocky, that they thought they knew enough.  Re-reading it, I also realized it had more Geberesh in it, and possibly the seeds for understanding the divided Geberesh word for “I”.

But the reason I kept the draft was the image I tried to evoke when Anseya sees the mosaic of tiles. Her yearning to go find the place of the tile makers was inspired, her quest to go beyond her own pain to find this refuge.  Quoting from the incomplete first draft:

 “You are a thing of beauty,” he said. “And I am glad that I can collect beauty.”

She said nothing. 

“It is like the tile pictures in this room,” he said.  “There is a place of learning that is hard to get to.  If you do not know where to go, there is no water for days before you are lost.  People die looking for this place.  But among their study, they make these tiles, and pictures with them.  Fortunately they come into the world, or at least some of the markets, and sell these tiles and other things.  Go look.”

Anseya stood….She looked in surprise at the picture. It was surprising to her that she had not looked before.  But she had always come to this room dreading every moment.  Waiting for him to put out the light.  Or keep her eyes closed while he took possession of her body, attempting to find some way to pretend that she was not displeased.  As a good wife should.

Anseya touched the tiles of the vibrant picture of the tree that crept up the wall, with its canopy spilling up into the curved ceiling of the room.  This fruited tree covered part of the sky painted above this picture. “Oh.  They are small,” she said 

“And look at the colors.  They find them, endlessly searching for them, in the sand.  Some they get from their garden.  A small walled oasis, I’ve heard.”

“Sand?” she exclaimed.  “How so?”

“They say the colors in the sand are there, if one takes the time to look.  And they do.  They are far to the south of here, I understand, and all the sand has become white from their use of it.  But then they use this white sifted sand to make glass.”

“She Fades the Firebirds”

(First published in an online e-zine that is long gone.  Click on the title and you an read the story)

This story could actually go further up this timeline.  The firebirds would have been far more present in the mythic creature age—but they really weren’t mythic.  They were real, and they flew, and they took care of the ailing and dead. Their bones are fossilized in Seek the Monster.

Defenders of the North

(Unwritten)Landscape: Probably not terribly fiord like, but craggy.  I keep seeing icy, slate black landscape with not a lot of ground to really grow things.  I suspect their culture had waves of wealth, like ancient Greenland, because they can have cows, and some crops.  Just not a whole lot.  It’s a culture where ivory might garner them a lot of wealth. Raiding, and trying to get a foothold in regions with more arable (that is easier to get food and wealth), is a lot easier.

Culture: The people here are far more Viking Raider than the people

of Ismerin in Seek the Monster, who are more land based Viking culture than not—though they do end up tormenting Ismerin.

Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone by Robert Gould.

Mythology: So far, I keep seeing an icy Freyja, and—think of some of Robert Gould version of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone images.  Though the Patricia Kennealy Thomas Canty covers come to mind ones work almost better, for the cultural style I like, the tense flowing lines of his gorgeous artistry. Canty’s Queen of Swords, below, might also work, if she were ice blond like Elric.

This is Thomas Canty’s Queen of the Swords. If she were blond, she’d probably fit right into the Defenders of the North’s people.

This book was an answer to why Tengis didn’t go over the mountains and take over the whole continent, including Pyrann.  It would have made the culture of The Bone Reader very different.  I had, till recently, seen the people Tengis had to fight coming from the east, like Genghis Khan had to cope with the Chinese.  However, since these are the same people who give Hero’s parents and people in Ismerin so much trouble in Seek the Monster. I woke up and realized THEY were the ones to give Tengis so much pother.  And the cultural pieces started to come together and… well… for those who read Khémèresh and yearned for the epic… well… that piece might just have made it start to happen!  Other books first, though!

There’s far more to these people.  Recently I wrote about the other continent I haven’t even been able to draw yet, because there’s not enough… “novel” to guide me.  But the people there may have been descended from them.

Yno Magascar is the character—which I’ll put much later down the line.  The lost history of her people possibly start here.

The Defenders of the North didn’t just sail east and south… they went west as well.  To a currently  unknown country and land mass.

My Apology

(Lost Book)

Dedathone and Ster, the first countries I made, including Obrone that is in Sen of the Woods. Ster is the cluster of smaller islands below the larger one of Dedathone.

This one is hard to talk about with Landscape and Mythology.  You have to

remember I started it in the early 1980s, and it probably has more fodder for mythos than a good working mythology—like the earliest versions of Seek the Monster.

Someone has the draft of this.  An early beta reader, in the late 1980s. I lost it in various moves in the 1990s. The first version was written on a Kaypro, and then went from floppy disks, to the harder disks, from PC to Apple and back.  I have some fragments, old files that I listed under a better title of “In Her Choosing.” They were saved, last, in 1999.  The first incarnation was started, probably as early as 1983, around the time I wrote “She Fades with the Fire Birds” and when I got my first rejection.  Jaharia’s apologia is her story, not an apology like, “I’m sorry I did this,” type of thing.

I learned a lot writing this book. One, to trust your characters, even if you end up needed to edit down their panegyrics that help you understand why you had to place them where you intended to place them.  Two, to cut characters that lend nothing to the book.

The demi-gods I invented in this book, in the late 1980’s actually became transformed somewhat when I mashed them together for Sen of the Woods.  There might come a time when I revive this book, but I sometimes wonder if I gained what I needed. There are some things that show it was an early, early book—like an undersea tunnel that my characters travel through that’s longer than Pyrann. I possibly do not need to note that I won’t have them do that if I revive the book. It is possible that if I put characters anywhere near where events take place that the characters will be remembered.  They had quite the impact.  I can’t quite forget the people of Ster, either, even though they had a sinister aspect in this book.

One Beneath All Things

(short story series that is unfinished)

The first story I wrote in this was The Bride of Bra-ne-woui-vann.  It was during a class at Georgia State on the Philosophy of Religion.  Instead of presenting a paper on fundamentalism, I gave the professor this story (and a paper, just to be on the safe side).  It earned me an “A”.

These are stories of the various pocket cultures of multiple gods.  I think, for that reason, it wasn’t working.  There was no arc for the characters, nor any real cohesion.  I wanted to expand on a good idea.  And the only good idea I still come up with is revising the first short story.

If you look at that lower lake, there’s a smaller one just above it.  The short story that started it all started there.

Around this time Jammon has built his castle, and realized he was far ahead of his time.  I have an island that’s kind of an Atlantis where he might have gone to study alchemy—and even magic.  That story hasn’t quite evolved yet, a more firmer grasp on what it wants to be.  It was supposed to be part of Sen of the Woods, as was another book, but they rebelled on me, and wanted their own novel.

Aprox. 700 years after TRK.

Fate of the Red Queen.

(Published: Book two of the Humna Arc—and, again, stand-alone)

[NOTE on Humna Arc: If you read Campbell’s The Masks of the Gods, you’ll see that gods travel.  So this is not set in the Tashihyel, nor is the next one set in Yezgyin].

Landscape: Think Jungle.  Some of the details are from a friend who was an archeologist in South American jungles.  Others are from ideas of the Philippines (such as the martial arts style), but there’s a touch of Thai, mainly in the food, and the idea of the undecomposed dead being cursed comes from something I read about China.

Mythology: Arising from Joseph Campbell’s Mask of the Gods, a discussion about woods, mainly George McDonald’s brilliant quote in The Light Princess, “These forests are very useful in delivering princes from their courtiers, like a sieve that keeps back the bran.”, Tolkien’s deadly swamp.

The events of this book happen over 600 years after The Red Khémèresh.  I didn’t want Human’s story to overtake the novel—because it wasn’t his story.  But there is some more Geberesh in Fate, where the concept of “I” and self is very different than what we have.  Geberesh has a false “I” and a true “I”.  But it’s a language of perception, and probably for shamans, who study very hard to know themselves.  Which, of course, is one of the reasons it is a lost language.  It takes a brave soul to say, “False-self-I did such a thing.”  Or, well, even to say, “True-self-I did such a thing.”

The Bone Reader.

Cover art for the novel, by Grant Searcey.

(Forthcoming 2018)

Landscape & Culture: A bit Moorish Spain. It’s kind of a cheat, because Moorish Spain’s culture and food had a great deal of blending of the Moorish culture, the Judaic culture, and the Spanish culture.  It was incredibly cosmopolitan.  Pyrann, however, hasn’t been invaded, and only the peace garnered by the king allowed for any trade that might influence the food and society.  At the time of the book, it’s probably in its early stages.  I’m quite well aware of how I built the map was to create as obvious a nod to that cultural history as I could.

This, and the series, lands somewhere in the middle between Fate and Seek.  Cemirowl is well aware that evidence is needed, but clearly her second sight is firmly part of the story.  And well, it is in Seek.

Pyrann and Hergila staring at each other across the strait.

Women’s Court

Is… just in journal form… ideas that keep nagging at my brain.  I see the women in their stiff, beautiful uniforms, and the culture they create in a court seemingly ruled by masculine power.  The intriguing bit that still gets to me started off with:

“The royal ladies of _____ were trained from infancy so that not even a gesture was innapropriate.  Anyone could be groomed so well that not a hair was out of place.  That took time, good servants, and no errant breezes.  With these women, there was no random smirk, much less a guffaw at a joke.  Desin was appalled when she met them, and knew they would be her only female companions in her married life.

“She felt as dishevelled as after a hard ride on horseback, and as gauche and gross as if she stank of sweat and horse.

“Desin looked to her future husband and stifled a moment of pity.  He’d had his choice among them, and had chosen to marry, instead, an outsider.  Still, her mother’s serving ladies had spent a considerable time getting her ready.  It was not their fault she felt shabby beneath their gaze.”

Of course I knew, also, that there was a LOT more going on with these royal women than being living versions of mechanical dolls.  And when I can, I’m very much looking forward to discover what’s under all the coiffures, make up, and (forgive me), under their skirts.

The last gasp of the
Age of Heroes.

Seek the Monster

(Forthcoming 2018, or early 2019: Book three of the Humna Arc—it is also stand alone!)

[NOTE on Humna Arc: If you read Campbell’s The Masks of the Gods, you’ll see that gods travel.  So this is neither set in the Tashihyel, nor in Yezgyin, but this last is set in Ismerin.]

Landscape: Icy, they’re to the far east of where Defenders of the North are, a bit calmer.  They do not have to go a-viking. They can just take a short trip across a strait to trade.  That is, once they go far overland—but their ships can hug the coast down to the other continent.

Mythology: Highly superstitious.  No real demi-gods, except the two that come to interfere/help (see Humna arc references.  Plenty of demons most can’t see, but are blamed for any and all bad behavior, rather like the paper Indulgences that got Martin Luther, et al, all hot and bothered.  Inuit Shamanism is the inspiration for at least one intense scene.  The World Tree’s fruit is seeded in this book, as well.

One of the things I wanted was to show why there needed to be an end to the Age of Heroes.  What Hero does in this book—and I will not apologize for his name.  I kept trying to change it, but… that’s his name—is in the mind.  Not in force of arms, or battling a mythic creature, like the firebirds.  He does battle something else, but fighting is the least of it.

Beginning of the Age of Reason

Sen of the Woods

(almost finished)


Landscape: A bit Zimbabwe—the castles, both ancient and new echo Great Zimbabwe.  That is Thanks to Layton Green’s first Dominic Grey book, The Summoner.  There is, however, a bit of mingling of some of the Etruscan countryside.  Or Greek rocky countryside.  The story had been working in my head a bit, but when I rediscovered pictures of Great Zimbabwe, the story began to come alive, having a setting and a landscape.

Mythology: The earliest gods I created, and written about in My Apology, brought up to date and mingled with Etruscan mythology.  The healing culture is inspired by Turner’s Forest of Symbols, and the Ndembu healing ritual.  It went crashing through other inspirations, mind you, so possibly doesn’t bear any resemblance to the original.

This has Sen looking at natural healing, such as herbalism and so on, being muddied by quacks, and poor practices, but also seeing the start of botanical classification, the beginnings of real surgery, and so on.  Her work is possibly where Ihyel takes a far different path than our own medicine.  It’s kind of wild that I do not know where it will go from here.

I was watching Bettany Hughes: Ancient Worlds: Athens, The Truth About Democracy. and a number of ideas came up.  As well as the way they did their make up.  Being one of the more recent books I’ve worked on, it’s much easier to share references that helped me illuminate the culture.  The image is from both the show and the book.  (Mind you, I haven’t read the book, but Goodreads shows some of the images in a review).

Will I have the world evolve into something steam punk?  It’s possible.  That hasn’t been written yet.  The closest I get is the Relic Robbers that is somewhat set in Ihyel’s version of the 1940s.

Mark of Magic

(Story started, derailed by Sen of the Woods needing to be Sen of the Woods, and not part of a series). The difficulty with this book wasn’t its location—the sort of Atlantis island I made—but the fact I kept trying to weave the main character, Hannan, into the story of Sen of the Woods.   Hannan is still speaking to me from time to time, and I see the landscape.  I just need time to finish her story.

Goddess of the Ugly Grotto

(Story started, derailed by Sen of the Woods needing to be Sen of the Woods, and not part of a series). This is more Zehnora’s story.  Sen of the Woods, and Mark of Magic, and Goddess (or Lady) of the Ugly Grotto were all part of getting the demi-goddess Nhor to Three Rivers.  Three Rivers is where the demi-gods go to, well, for lack of a better word, “retire.” Like the place of the World Tree (that’s somewhere in the east side of the mountains between Pyrann and the Tashihyel) it is both real and not easily found. So here and not here.

Wildly, I “found” the concept of Three Rivers on a favorite walk.  Even while I know where it is, in general on the map.  It’s within the region of where those three rivers in the map above.  The concept of Three Rivers was actually more of an understanding of the whole concept of ihyelvhagas, first mentioned in The Red Khemeresh. Ihyel being the word for the material world, and vhagas as a term for the relatively unseen world–the ones that the shamans, bogeh or otherwise, can see. The whole world, the true world has all those with it–the world we normally live in is just one part of it.  I do try to work with that in Sen of the Woods, but Three Rivers is where the demi-gods live, and it is, locationally you could say, where all those parts of the world come together.

Yno Magascar’s book.

She’s the focus of the story.  But let me share what’s in my journal.

“Idarek watched the woman buy the bad swords from Mudofo, the smith.  His first instinct was to curl his brow in disdain, for she was a descendant of the people who had come to these shores—The Ghosts, the walking wraiths.  What was she doing buying rusty swords from Mudofo?….

 “Idareck had seen several the people from the pale lands—they blistered in the sun, red, white skin peeling.  They must have looked diseased when they first arrived.  They brought with them the year without summer, coldness, and death. People starved after they arrived.  No wonder they were reviled.”

Copper head. Found at Wunmonije Compound, Ife, Nigeria. Late 14th-early 16th century. © Karin L. Wills/Museum for African Art/National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria (Click on the pic to get to the link).

I know that her people came from the continent to the west.  That there was a super volcano that exploded, and that the seas brought them to the western edge of the southern content, far below Hergila.  But her people landed in an area that was not at all European, nor with any pale skinned folk.  The deep rich cultures of Africa beautifully displayed in the PBS show Africa’s Great Civilizations I’ll get to explore and revisit. (A short video discussing Ife, culture and art).  Here’s another opportunity to learn more about the beautiful and interesting art and cultures generally not taught in schools.  And if you don’t know, this excites me very, very much!  I’ve got so much work to do till I can get to it, but I’ll slowly be gathering what I call “research” but is just mainly inspiration).   But I grew up with Angela Fischer’s Africa Adorned, and African masks up on the wall, or on the floor (depending on their size) as well as European antiques and plaster death masks of Beethoven, and other people.  

Recent history, as well as ancient—the Dark Ages, and the destruction of many books of scholarship by European Christian leaders of that age, saved and protected by Islamic libraries (thank you!)—made me realize that this particular side of the world didn’t have that problem.  The world was rich, books were saved (where they didn’t rot in the jungles of the south, but then that’s where those bamboo books came from).

I’ll admit this unknown culture/continent gets to me almost as much as that which arises from Defenders of the North.  Who were these people?  I might not know.  Pretty much they get wiped out in that super volcano, or much of them do.  Their impact on my known countries certainly tells part of their story.

These are, again, nearly ice white people—pale, white blond people.  As ideas for Defenders of the North began to grow… the fact that some of their people might have gone west kept going.  I might have red-heads in Pyrann, but for the most part, none of my characters, so far, have been Lilly White.  I’m well aware that I’m South African of Dutch, French, and possibly German descent.  Any other mingling is purely speculative.  I had to come to peace with the fact that I wasn’t trying to deny my heritage, nor white wash any other culture’s rich history. Yno Magascar might be a White Wraith, and will continue to be reviled throughout the book, but she’s also going to take me into cultures I haven’t explored yet.

And that’s the thing.  I could write all of this from Idareck’s perspective, but a familiar culture isn’t going to be revealed except through contrast.  That’s something that  Hannah Crafts The Bondwoman’s Narrative taught me—that they knew it was the first fiction novel by an African American woman by the language, by the way she described people.  Unlike Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Crafts didn’t describe the slaves by their nappy hair, and such. She assumed her readers were like her, and describe the WHITE folk.  I loved that idea the moment I read about it.  I try to respect the cultures I read about, but I know I will flub.


Relic Robbers

(Complete rough draft that started out as a serial.  It needs work!  There’s a page for it, that I’m not going to link to, because it really, really needs work).

Landscape: Yezgyin.  This is set in the presumed 1940esque time period. Indiana Jones meets a multicultural potpourri of mythical relics to find, rob, steal, keep or put in museums.  It started out as a lark, and an attempt to generate money for Charity: Water.  The draft was more than rough—because I was  hoping that it would get people to help me write the story.  But it was too rough, and I was too unknown for that to be any fun for anyone.

BUT… I can still polish it up, and now that I understand how to generate separate reports—I can still use it for Charity: Water, when I polish, and publish the whole.

I know that there are relics and the bones of “mythological” creatures to be found, so these characters might just take off.