As a preface, Tales from Atelinor is a side project to my main blog Geekritique. A way to help me hone my skills as a writer of fiction. I’ve been writing short fiction on and off for most of my young life, and the past few years I’ve been rather slack in productivity. But since I’ve focused more of my time reading and reviewing genre fiction in the past year, I’ve learned a lot about what makes fictional settings tick, how character arcs can and should be carried, and most importantly I’ve learned what I want to see in a story.
I’ve always envisioned myself creating a sprawling world of fantasy and legend and beauty, with many characters. Old, young, feeble, strong. It is my belief that for a fantasy setting to come alive, it need be a place I can see myself wanting to explore. And more poignantly, the characters involved must be engaging both in the extreme and the mundane. I want each character involved in my world to take a life of his/her own. There are many voices I’ve kept bottled inside, many ideas I’ve let grow in my mind, and I feel now is the time I let them free.
The short tales I post here likely won’t involve the true epic I wish to convey. When it’s time I let that take flight, I’ll know, and you will also. Instead I wish to build my world around some characters I never truly planned to incorporate, be they tertiary, on a different continent or landmass, or from a different time altogether. It is my hope that by spending the time needed exploring my world to its fullest degree, the true tale I wish to tell will be all the better for it. The Akarian Calendar is perhaps one of the farthest tales I wish to visit in Atelinor’s past, and it does tease quite a bit about the nature of the world.
1st of Enasembra, 7AP
His calculations were less than a day off. Again. But he had finished. 2522 days have passed since the Beginning, and his work was near completion. Sol’Enasé sat at nearly the same Zenith it had all those many days ago. No, years. 6 years ago. Any moment now…
Bellar Akar adjusted his assessment. Not 420 days. No, it wasn’t quite so simple. It took just over that amount for the planet to fully orbit Sol’Enasé. 420.166 days. ‘But how could we note that? Perhaps… we add an intercalary day at the end of every sixth year? So a 31st day in Fourteembra? It’ll work…‘ Any moment now.
Bellar took down his final notes and put his pencil aside. He felt the weight of six years settle off his shoulders. ‘We have a calendar!‘ He smiled, which soon turned to laughter. ‘Had She not decreed we destroy all records and books, we’d have figured this out ages ago. And then She commissioned this calendar.’ He continued laughing, relief flooding him. He didn’t care about Her right now. He completed the calendar for himself. He stood up and walked outside.
Any moment now and Sol’Enasé would hit Prime Zenith, marking the new year. “Four hundred twenty days,” he spoke aloud. “And then some.” Sol’Enasé hit it’s peak, beginning a new day. Beginning a new year. The seventh year After Purge. The sky distorted in waves of color. No longer just the pale blue, but purple, and red, and corin, and green, and more. At Zenith each day the sky distorts to some degree, but at Prime Zenith it’s truly triumphant fanfare. The sound of revelry erupted from all around Bellar, as the masses welcomed in the new year with their clamor. ‘And now we have months to break up the year,‘ he thought with a grin.
Bellar waited a moment until Prime Zenith passed. ‘I must learn why it causes such a magnificent distortion some day.‘ He went back inside, collected his work in his pack, and exited again, back into town.
The town of Velundane was new, as were all towns. Only six years had passed since the Purge and there was nothing from before to build upon. Much of the homes were shoddy, not much more than huts or shacks. But some individuals still held memory of masonry, and tended homes of brick and stone. Streets were paved with nothing more than the trampling of foot on dirt. That would change eventually. Bellar strode down the end of the main street towards a large stone house, the greatest establishment yet built, commissioned by the Woman within.
Bellar paused before knocking. He was always unsettled by Her appearance, strikingly beautiful as she was. He raised his hand to the door, but it opened before he could do anything further. “Oh, I’m sorry my Lady… I…” Bellar struggled to find the correct words, and dropped his raised arm.
She beheld him without a hint of amusement, her pitch black eyes gleaming. “It’s alright. I saw you from the window.” She pointed to her left, and Bellar nodded curtly. “What brings you? Do you have news?”
“Better than news, my Lady.”
“Right, come in, please.” She turned back inside with her usual eery grace, and sat down by the fire. Bellar noted the metal strip atop the back of her head, attaching itself down her neck and following her spine just past her shoulder blades. Seven conical spikes of bright silver, each decreasing in size as the piece descended, sent awed chills down the backs of all who looked upon her. It was beautifully wrought and menacingly cold. It parted her pearly white hair, which fell down low on her back and draped over a dress which managed to be impressively whiter still.
“I’ve finished the solar calendar!” He said, spitting the words out faster than he would have preferred. She made him nervous, and with good reason. He splayed out the notes on the desk in front of her. The pages were littered with sketches, calculations, scribblings, crossing outs and other nonsense, but she saw where it came together after some perusal.
She smiled then. Bellar let out a breath he had not known he was withholding. “You’re a genius, Akar!” She jumped up to hug him, quite unlike her usual self. She straightened up then. Looking back to the notes, she mused “so today would be the first day of… Enasembra, year 7.” Bellar nodded. She hadn’t noticed. She continued. “You’ve split the year up by increments of 30. And…” She flipped over one of the sheets. “The lunar cycles don’t necessarily match up, but that’s well enough.” She looked up at him with a glint in her eye. “This is impeccable timing, Akar.”
“Please, my Lady, call me Bellar. And yes, my calculations finally made sense after Prime Zenith failed to occur yesterday. I knew it couldn’t have been exactly four hundred twenty days but just over that amount.” Bellar was oozing with pride. He knew no masonry, no carpentry. He was no fisher or farmer. He was born an intellectual.
Her demeanor slipped back into cool pensiveness. “Fantastic. We’ll make the announcement soon. You’ll be compensated handsomely for your brilliance, I hope you know.” She walked over to her window, looking out at the merrymaking. “However, let me be clear: your work for me is far from complete. The amount of satisfaction we’ll collectively receive from the knowledge of a finished Solar calendar will be overwhelming, but fleeting. We know little else about anything. And our people need educating. Our people need laws, order. We need maps, genealogies, histories.”
Bellar felt the heat rising in him then. He had finished his task. He raised his voice, saying “had we not burned all our pre-Purge records we’d know far more about our situation than…” She cut him off.
“Silence!” She spat the word out, spinning to face him. “From this day forth we are not to speak of the Purge.” Her voice became more level, calculating. “I’m afraid we must change the era you’ve chosen for your calendar.” Walking back over to the table, she rifled through the notes until she found it. “After Purge. No, this will not do.” Her spikes moved threateningly as she crossed out the titling. “It should be After Prime, be it that each year starts after Prime Zenith, according to your calendar.”
All Bellar could do was nod his agreement. He couldn’t understand her fascination with starting everything entirely anew. ‘After Prime it was.‘
“Good. Now. Your next task will take a while longer. I have arranged plans to build a school. I need you to be at the heart of the project. You’ve made your mark on the world with this…” She paused to consider. “…Akarian Calendar. Now I need you to take it a step further.”