It may not be obvious from a first reading of Noble: A Faerie Tale, but I am quiet the symbolic writer. Symbolism in writing is something that has interested me for a long time, and thus I have liberally injected various symbols in my own writing for years. Let’s take a look at some of […]
Pop-Culture references. We love ‘em. Movies and TV shows reference each other all the time nowadays, and even music gets into the act from time-to-time. It may be the modern way people use to find their tribe. ‘Hey, did you get that reference?’ we may be subtly asking each other. ‘Do you know that show, […]
Early on in the development of what would eventually become “Noble: A Faerie Tale,” I had decided I wished to place the events of my story in a real historical context. I had recently seen “Ever After: A Cinderella Story,” and was fascinated by the idea of putting a faerie tale in the backdrop of […]
Whenever a movie is made, scenes are shot that don’t make it into the final cut of the film. For whatever reason, they end up on the proverbial cutting-room floor. I say “proverbial” because nowadays no film is physically cut. All editing takes place digitally, using a computer. So, too, with book writing, authors ending […]
September 18, 2020
Whether online or in person, this is the time of year when kids (and some adults) are heading back to school. In the popular Harry Potter novels, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry always started on September the 1st. And in The Worst Witch books, movie, and TV show, the Winter Term at Miss Cackle’s Academy starts in September. But what about the world of my book, Noble: A Faerie Tale? Are the magical boarding schools for Magi and Druids? The short answer is, no, there are not. But that doesn’t mean magical education doesn’t happen. To explore this further, let’s first talk about education in the medieval world.
Schools weren’t a thing in medieval times. If you were a peasant who lived in manor town like Lucas does, your education is of the hands-on practical variety. You are taught to be a farmer. Aside from your religious education at church, nothing is offered or expected. If you wanted to go into a trade, like learning to be a blacksmith, for example, you would apprentice with a master. After many years of learning, you would then be able to practice that trade.
If you were a noble, on the other hand, your education would be completed at home by private tutors. Universities did not get started until the late medieval period (14th Century), and they were run by the Church. The education students received at those early universities was primarily religious in nature, though they did learn things like Latin and Ancient Greek.
magical education in noble
So, how do people learn magic in the world of Noble? The answer depends on what kind of magic-user you are.
For those subscribers who’ve been with me since the start of this newsletter, you’ll recall that the Magi organize themselves rather formally. They have a Magi Council that sets up the rules for their members, makes decisions for the Magi community as a whole, and, of course, sets the guidelines for education of new Magi.
In their case, Magi students apprentice to a master. The elder Magi takes on the young acolyte as a student, and instructs them on everything they need to know to do magic and be a productive and ethical member of the Magi community. Students can start their apprenticeship at twelve, and typically finish at nineteen. At the conclusion of their schooling, the new Magi is then formally inducted into the community.
Druids, if you’ll recall, do not have the formal organization of the Magi. There is no “Druid Council” that governs all Druids. Some conduct their nature magic as solitary practitioners. Many, however, belong to formal “orders” composed of a certain number of Druids who band together to learn and grow from each other. Near the end of Noble, Lucas meets the Sacred Order of the Acorn, a group of twelve Druid women. Orders typically have a Master who heads the organization and trains the younger members. Master Autumn plays this role for the Sacred Order of the Acorn. You’ll meet her and all the other members of the Order near the end of Act II in Noble: A Faerie Tale.
Again, for those of you who’ve been subscribers for a while, you’ll recall that sorcerers are the most rare form of magic-user. As a result, they don’t have any organization at all. They are solitary practitioners by necessity. Most Sorcerers, like Thanatos, end up training as Magi before discovering they are sorcerers. This is good because it means that they get the training they need to learn to control their powers. The unlucky ones who receive no training, well…that never ends well.
So, now you understand the ins and outs of magical education in the world of Noble: A Faerie Tale. Come back next month for another fascinating look into the world-building of the Noble Saga. Thank you for reading.
HALLOWEEN IN THE NOBLE SAGA
October 31, 2020
Does Halloween Exist in the World of Noble?
The world I created for the stories of the Noble Saga to take place in is very much modeled after medieval England. Although there are fantastical elements, such as magic and mythical creatures, and histories that bear little or no resemblance to the real world, I did make an attempt to be as accurate to the medieval period as I could, given the needs of the story. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to look at the real history of Halloween.
What we now call “Halloween” started in ancient Ireland as the Celtic festival of Sanheim (sow-in), a three-day harvest festival. “Sanheim” means “summer’s end”, and it was believed that at this time, the veil separating the world of the living from the world of the dead became permeable. As a result, the Celts thought that those who had died the previous year would come back on this night. To keep the spirits from misbehaving, treats would be left at the edge of the village as offerings, in the hopes the spirits would be placated. Some would dress in disguise in the hopes the spirits wouldn’t recognize them.
By the time we get to the medieval period, Europe has been Christianized, and the Church has little patience for this “pagan” holiday. For November 1st, they create All Saints’ Day, a feast day for all Christian saints who don’t already have a holiday of their own. This was also known as “All Hallows’ Day”, and the evening before was “All Hallows Eve”. Over the centuries, through a corruption of the spelling, it became Halloween.
Sadly, the 31st of October would have been just another day in medieval England. There would have been no trick-or-treating, no dressing up, no telling ghost stories, and no apples would be bobbed for. The closest thing the cities and villages of medieval England would have gotten to Halloween would be All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. This was a day to pray for those who had died in the previous year. It was believed the prayers could get the lost souls out of purgatory and into heaven.
Halloween in Noble
So, back to the story then. No Halloween that we would recognize exists in the Kingdom of Albion. Lucas wouldn’t have grown up with any kind of celebration on 31 October. It would be just a normal blah kind of day as a peasant in a small rural village.
That being said, there is still a strong belief in a spirit world. In an age before science and reason, there is still a great fear of the unknown. You don’t know what’s out there, beyond the safety of your village. What hides in the dark? What kinds of monsters and demons lurk in the deep, dark woods?
As we’ll soon see, certain monsters do, indeed, exist in this world. There is much to legitimately be afraid of. So, although there’s no actual Halloween in the world of the Noble Saga, the spirit of the holiday is very much present. What’s that Lucas sees in the woods? A wolf? Maybe. Or perhaps…something much more sinister.
December 1st, 2020
Character Profile: LUCAS
Full Name: Lucas of Oisin
Birthplace: Kingdom of Denannia
Backstory: Much of Lucas’ backstory will be revealed in the text of the book, so I won’t reveal any spoilers here. Lucas was born on the island of Denannia, but moved to Albyon with his mother when he was just a baby. Lucas never knew his father, but he has a stepfather named Alistair, with whom he has a strained relationship. Lucas knows he was born in his mother’s homeland (the in-world version of Ireland), but as far as he can remember, he’s always lived in Albyon.
Status Quo in Act I: Lucas lives in the small village of Oisin (Oh-sheen) with his mother and stepfather. He is an only child. His family are serfs who work the land for their feudal lord. Among the rest of the village, Lucas is known as a ne’er-do-well. At his age, he’s considered a young man, and should be working out in the fields with the other men. Instead, he’s treated as a child, and behaves as such. In our world, he’d probably be placed on the autism spectrum, and possibly diagnosed with ADD as well. He’s this weird kid no one really likes. At best, he needs extra praying for in church on Sundays, and at worst he’s treated with downright hostility.
In addition to his mum’s love and support, Lucas has one friend, a young man his age named Aiden. Aiden has, what we in our time would call, cerebral palsy. The two have been best mates since Lucas’ arrival, and are both misfits in their community.
Psychology: As one can imagine, being treated as an outcast can really wear on one’s self-esteem. Lucas is one gifted with great imagination, and he uses it to dream of a life outside of Oisin. His lifelong dream is to be a Knight of the Realm, fighting dragons and rescuing princesses and such. Alas, he is a peasant, and so that possibility is not open to him. He dreams of a better life for himself, but sees few prospects for one. In all likelihood, he’ll be trapped in Oisin forever, and have to marry whomever Alistair eventually finds for him.
Yes, this is Lucas’ dreary existence. But then, one day, a chance encounter changes his life forever. And it all happens, at bath time…