Today, I'm glad to have Melinda Van Lone here to share about the House of Xannon in her new urban fantasy release, Promise of Magic. Be sure to check out her book and also the fantastic giveaway contest at the bottom of this post.
In the House of Xannon series, there are three factions: humans, Ancients, and daemon. Any and all magic steps from the Ancients, each governing an element (fire, earth, air, water). Daemons, the first to evolve after Ancients, have more than their fair share of magic power, and it’s entirely Air based. Because they’ve been around longer, they’ve had longer to fight amongst themselves. Over the centuries, they split into two factions: Benata and Mayfanata, each with their own set of codes, beliefs, and values. Eventually, their fighting led to so many humans deaths that magic was nearly annihilated, so the world was split into two planes of existence with a buffer in between, to keep the humans safe and the daemon from destroying anything else, thus providing an uneasy balance.
I got the idea for this daemon political system first from Scottish folklore tales of fairy courts. I added a dose of modern politics, of course, but the inspiration was the Seelie and Unseelie courts. I took the idea of fairies divided and twisted it a bit more, because it seemed to me that daemon, like humans, have good and bad on both sides of politics and that some ideals can get twisted along the path of political gain. What started out one way (good) can become just the opposite when distorted by time, and vice versa.
I’ll admit I also took inspiration from our current American political structure, though magnified a bit because they’re daemon and obviously much more advanced than mere humans (or so they think). The Benata (meaning blessed ones for the side of judgment and wisdom), for example, believe themselves to be the superior faction and race in every way. Their code is based on honor and truth. They feel the Mayfanata are, frankly, selfish bastards, and that humans are too young to have any sort of moral compass. To them, humans are toddlers, barely out of infancy, and so beneath notice.
The Benata Way
• Death before dishonor
• The good of the many outweighs the needs of a few
• The strong are responsible to the weak
• Synergy leads to enlightenment
• Success is achieved through sacrifice of self.
The Mayfanata of course have their own set of guidelines or beliefs. They don’t consider them hard and fast rules. If anything, they’re main rule is “there are no rules.” However, their defining characteristics are summed up like this:
The Mayfanata Code
• Change is good, security is an illusion, chaos is necessary.
• Power is the path to truth.
• Honor without sense of self is not possible.
• Passion before duty.
• The needs of one can lead to the good of many.
The problem with rules is that often they don’t take into account individual desires or, perhaps, deliberately ignore them. What begins as an admirable, if restrictive, way to live can become twisted over the years when tossed up agains the twists and turns of life and of human (daemon) nature. If rules don’t allow for change and growth, they’re bound to crumble and fall eventually. At least, that’s my take on it, and the basis of behavior for some major players in the series. What seems selfish might, in the long run, not be selfish at all. The surface choice to act for the good of many can be an ultimately selfish act, if done for the wrong reasons or with dishonest intentions.
Is it any wonder that daemon have been separated from humans for so long? Though humans managed to learn their system of politics before being sequestered, sadly. Or maybe it’s just that anytime people get together, differences are bound to erupt, no matter what species you are. In any case, it makes for a lot of conflict and a good story!
Promise of Magic
House of Xannon
Genre: urban fantasy
Word Count: 65k
Cover Artist: bookcovercorner.com
On instinct, Tarian bowed her head in return, shocked. “Dulra. Welcome.” She breathed the words, awed by the presence of creatures she’d only known through legends. What is the Balance Court doing here?
“Tarian A’marie Maitea Xannon, of the House of Xannon, Keeper of the Water Artifact, you are summoned to the Balance Court.”
She’d been summoned, and every particle of her being cried out to answer it.
Despite the advanced stage of her pregnancy, Tarian has some explaining to do. Fulfilling her Agreement with the Carraig was an issue of honor—but it led to complications. The Keeper of the House of Xannon is called to account, and Tarian must embark on a dangerous mission which could cost her the life of her unborn daughter, end in disaster for all planes of existence—or save the world.
Some promises are deadly to keep. Will the promise of magic be one of them?
Tarian forced her eyes open to focus on the rock in front of her. Earth as dense as anything she’d ever seen, more power than she’d ever experienced. The feeling of old that surrounded it. The sense of longing as if the stone itself wanted freedom from the long and arduous task it had been set. She grabbed onto the longing and let the stream of energy pour into it, into the Stulos, then twisted it as she’d done once before. Another twist, and the flow of power into the Stulos reversed. Three streams of colored light became one solid column of white.
A thousand voices sounded in her head. High ones, low ones, her sister’s voice, dolphin cries and emotion, all around and through her. The energy bound them into something greater than mere humans and Ancients. They were timeless. Eternal. It was almost like she felt when she made love with Daric, but…different. At once more intense and at the same time more encompassing. Less personal. More global. As though the universe spoke through her, and she through it. The awe of it. Tears spilled onto her cheeks.
Another cramp gripped her body and she swayed on her knees, gripping the rock as it crumbled, trying to maintain her balance as the ground shifted and her body twisted. Not now. Too soon. Not now. Too soon. She couldn’t be…the baby couldn’t be…
The voices rose in her head. Everyone joined in as the power flowed around and through, around and through, until she, the Caraigg, her sister, the baby, and the dolphins were all one with it. The crack in the Stulos widened, a giant lesion extending from the floor all the way up until she couldn’t see the end. Cold retreated, heat entered. A loud snap. The Stulos shattered into a million pieces that hung suspended in air for a flash of eternity before rushing outward to the edges of the cavern.
A dolphin cry sounded, triumphant, exalted, as the world exploded in a rain of cold fire, magic power, ash and lava.
About the Author:
Melinda VanLone writes fantasy and science fiction, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and furbabies. When she's not playing with her imaginary friends you can find her playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or nursing coffee in Starbucks.
a Rafflecopter giveaway2 - $15 Amazon Gift Cards1 – Stronger Than Magic audio book (digital, from Audible)2 – Finding Flame ebooks