The World of Mavinor and Beyond

Those of you who listened to my interview on The Christian Authors Show heard me say that I am more of a plot-driven writer than a character artist. For those who may not be aware, a plot-driven writer creates the story first and then develops characters who can fit into that story, whereas a character artist will create the characters first and then build the story around them.

When I put the outlines together for The Medallion of Mavinor series, the first thing I did was come up with a story that would intrigue readers and pique their interest. But high fantasy is different from all other genres in that you not only need to develop a story and form characters to fit into the plot. You have to create a whole, entire world.

Make no mistake about it. Creating a new world is a challenge, and takes a lot of time and contemplation. Ever since The Quest of the Thirteen was released, readers have asked me how I went about creating the world of Mavinor and the mystical lands beyond it. The answer might surprise you, for what spurred me to create this world was none other than my own spiritual journey.

Those who have read the book know how the quest begins. The thirteen enter a dark, forbidden forest known as the “Tenebrae.” The foliage from the trees is so thick that sunlight can barely filter through, giving the forest an aura of gloom that is rarely experienced by anyone traveling through the woods. By the way, for those who might be curious, the name “Tenebrae” simply comes from the Latin word for “darkness.”

When I conceived of the Tenebrae, I thought about those periods of darkness in our lives when we’re unsure of the path we’re on. We’re virtually lost, doing everything we can to navigate our way through the blackness that surrounds us. It’s difficult to see the road ahead, but we strive to keep trudging forward and cling to faith that somehow everything will work out in the end.

Eventually we will come to our darkest, lowest point before we can cross back over into the light. In The Quest of the Thirteen, this is symbolized by the Black Hollow. The thirteen have to cross the Black Hollow before they can leave the gloom and doom of the Tenebrae behind them. Once they get to the other side, they come to an oasis of sorts when they arrive at The Author’s Garden and encounter The Great Tree. This symbolizes the great sense of relief and comfort we feel when we leave the darkness behind us.

The next land the thirteen enter is that of the rolling hills of Mizar. To me, this symbolizes the routine ups and downs of life that all of us encounter. The high we experience after enduring the darkness and making it back into the light can’t last forever. Eventually those ups and downs are going to come back, and we’re simply going to have to deal with them.

When they leave Mizar, the thirteen enter the forest kingdom of the Strya. The forest here is nothing like the Tenebrae. It is described as bright and open, with lots of light filtering through the trees. But as safe as it appears, there is danger lurking everywhere. Here the thirteen face some of their toughest challenges: a battle with the Strya, a daring rescue attempt when Minstro is captured, and a raging river with a waterfall that nearly thwarts their escape. Even on their way back to Mavinor, they are ambushed by the frightening creature known as the “Caurio.”

This symbolizes those times in our lives when the road ahead seems free and clear. Things are moving along smoothly, and we don’t anticipate anything obstructing our path. But then we are blindsided by something that throws us off track. We never see it coming, and it stirs feelings of fear and anxiety. But like the thirteen, we have to face those challenges head on and overcome them.

From there, the thirteen trek through the dreaded Mortuus Valley. The land is hot and dry, and there is little water available to them as they journey toward the Northern Mountains. It is here that Cidivus’ selfishness and treachery manifests itself as he clandestinely raids the water supply, breeding mistrust among the members of the group. The Mortuus Valley is also where they do battle with the dreaded beasts called the “Cyporsks,” with several of them narrowly escaping death.

The Mortuus Valley symbolizes the lowest points of our lives, which are also the most dangerous. After being blindsided on our journey—at a time we least expected it to happen—we could easily get down on ourselves and fall into a malaise that permanently knocks us off course. But once again, we have to fight with every ounce of our being and find a way to weather the storm.

Finally, the thirteen reach their destination when they enter the Northern Mountains. The path is winding and it is difficult for them to find their way. They get lost at one point, and only find their way back through the advice of the Seers of Fate. Even then they cannot find the Labryinth of Secrets, where the Medallion was allegedly hidden. It is almost through sheer luck that they finally discover the entrance. Once inside, they meander along a circuitous route and again get lost on several occasions. They even reach a point where many of them lose hope of ever escaping the maze. But in the end, through courage, strength, ingenuity, and perseverance, they manage to make it out alive. Well, most of them anyway.

For us, the Northern Mountains are a symbol of our ultimate destiny, the purpose of why we are here on earth. Finding the Medallion is akin to us achieving our goals, which will no doubt be a long, arduous journey. We will always need some luck and friendly advice to guide us on the way. Even as we inch closer to the pinnacle and find our goals well within reach, there will still be dangers lurking that can keep us from crossing the finish line. These are represented in the book by Lilith and a second attack from the Strya, who have tracked the thirteen all the way through the labyrinth.

So to answer the question I have often been asked, my own personal experiences during my spiritual journey are what enabled me to create the world of Mavinor and beyond. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be blogging about several other aspects of The Quest of the Thirteen, including the origins of the characters and creatures, scriptural references, and Christian themes. I hope you enjoy reading about them. Until then, may God be with you as you continue down the path that you have been called to travel.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,