Celebrimbor: a cautionary tale

Celebrimbor and Annatar (WETA Shadow of Mordor)

Note: this was an academic paper that my friend and beta reader Martha and I submitted for consideration to an academic book about the Tolkien Legendarium, but didn’t make the cut. So we thought in sharing it here for you to read.

Celebrimbor: a cautionary tale

Ricardo Victoria-Uribe

Martha Elba González-Alcaraz


Fairy tales were meant to be cautionary tales to teach children about the dangers of the world. Like the legends and fairy tales that inspired it, the Tolkien Legendarium contains several lessons, including but not limited, to important ecological messages or how easy it is to fall prey of evil even with the best intentions. In particular, this last lesson derives from being responsible of our actions and considering their impact on the wider world, best exemplified by the tale of Celebrimbor.

Celebrimbor is possibly one of the most tragic characters of the Tolkien Legendarium. Previously only known by being the creator of the rings of power, fooled and later betrayed by Sauron, his life ended in a gruesome, sad way. His use in the videogames of Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War brought him wider recognition to the casual fans, speaking of how interesting this character is. In Celebrimbor’s character arc, it’s possible to see the practical application of the old saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. As the last surviving member of the House of Feanor entering the Second Age, Celebrimbor sought to redeem the evil deeds of his ancestors –especially those of his father Curufin, of whom he renounced- by creating works that helped others, by fostering friendly relationships with the dwarfs and by trying to be a good person. But it was in this quest that he fell prey of deception because he never stopped to consider one of the fatal flaws of his kin: it is not a question of whether you can do something, it’s a question of whether it is a good idea to do so. In a way, Celebrimbor is like modern creators that conceive objects at fast pace, rarely taking the time to consider the impact that their actions and designs have in the world around them.  This paper aims to explore the character of Celebrimbor and how it became a cautionary tale.

A brief review of Celebrimbor’s life and times

Celebrimbor was the son of Curufin, fifth son of Fëanor and Nerdanel, which meant that he was somewhat akin to a Noldorin prince by bloodline. During the First Age, when his grandfather dragged the Noldor back to Beleriand to recover the Silmarills from Morgoth –and in turn was included in the Doom of Mandos-, Celebrimbor fought alongside his family in the battles of Dagor-nuin-Giliath, Dagor Aglareb, and Dagor Bragollach. After that last battle, he moved alongside his father to Nargothrond, where he remained in good standing after repudiating his own father due to the later’s evil deeds and eventual banishment from the realm of Finrod Felagund. He later fought at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and in the Sack of Nargothrond. After the fall of Nargothrond due to the ill thought advise of Turin Turámbar, Celebrimbor moved to Gondolin where he integrated into the life of the city until its fall. Unlike the rest of his family, he survived the War of Wrath and decided to stay in Middle Earth.

During the Second Age, Celebrimbor established in Eregion, at the time ruled by Galadriel and her husband Celeborn. It is interesting to note a couple of things here, as Celebrimbor becomes a more present character during the Second Age than during the First (where he admittedly was somewhat of a background character). To begin with, his relationship with Galadriel. It is well known that Galadriel had no love for Fëanor or his house, as she didn’t return to Beleriand to follow him in his foolish quest for the Simarils, but rather so she could rule a kingdom on her own, and she even fought on the side of the Teleri during the Kinslaying at Alqualondë. She also had a marked animosity towards Fëanor, who requested at least three times one of her golden hairs, request that she rejected every time (unlike with Gimli, who only asked once and received three hairs in a crystal locket). However, it seemed that Galadriel and Celebrimbor were in good, or at least decent terms, as she allowed him to enter Eregion and even counseled him later on. Here is where things become a tad muddied as there are two versions of what happened next: in one version, Galadriel and Celeborn left of their own accord, moving to Lothlórien and eventually becoming its rulers after the last Sindar King, Amroth, was lost at sea, leaving Eregion under the rule of Celebrimbor. In other version, Celebrimbor staged some sort of soft coup d’état or peaceful takeover of Eregion from Galadriel, after which she and her husband left to Lothlórien (Voices of Geekdom, 2021). Regardless of which version happened, the relationships between both kingdoms and their rulers remained friendly.

It was as leader of Eregion, when Celebrimbor made the two biggest changes on elven culture at the time: The first was the friendship with the dwarves of Moria and the elves of Eregion. Of note was the creation of the West Gate alongside his friend Narvi, a renowned dwarven craftsman. It was this friendship that allowed to have peace and stability in the region for a time.

The second one was trying to recover, or at least preserve, what was left of the essence of the land where the elves had been living for millennia and that had been in decline since Morgoth arrived to Beleriand during the First Age. What jumpstarted the project was the arrival of Annatar, Lord of Gifts and supposedly a representative of Aüle, the Valar of craftsmanship. Under his guidance, and against advice from Galadriel, who didn’t trust Annatar, Celebrimbor and his Elven smiths forged minor magic rings and later on the Rings of Power. Unbeknownst to them, the technique taught to them by Annatar, incorporated secret binding spells. Said spells had a resemblance to what Morgoth did during the Song of the Ainur, pouring his very essence, and thus creating evil upon the land, on Arda. The rings just did it in a smaller scale. At some point Celebrimbor must have suspected something, for he crafted the Three Eleven Rings on his own and in secret. By the time Annatar revealed himself as Sauron, forging and putting on his finger the One Ring, Celebrimbor had sensed the treason and sent away the Rings to Galadriel for safekeeping and distribution among those elves she considered worthy. This ignited a war in which Eregion was devastated, the elves fled the region, the dwarves closed Moria (Scott, 1972) and Celebrimbor –after a valiant effort to defend his people– was captured and tortured, dying at the hands of Sauron. His body was later used by the orcs as a ‘banner’ of sorts as they attacked the elves. This ended the lineage of Fëanor and the Doom of Mandos was fulfilled, as Sauron casted a shadow over Middle Earth for millennia to come, until his final defeat during the War of the Ring.

Overcorrection, overconfidence, or gullibility?

It is interesting to examine Celebrimbor’s personality. Of the House of Feänor, he is the closest to his forebear in skill at creating things. One could say that the rings of power have as much weight historically wise as the Silmarils. However, Celebrimbor is for the most part described as the further opposite to Feänor and to his father Curufin.  While Fëanor was selfish and hotheaded, and Curufin, for lack of a better term, was devious and evil, Celebrimbor is portrayed in the stories as someone selfless, kind and who easily shared his creations with others. Even heroic in the defense of others, as his actions during the First Age wars and the defense of Eregion during the Second Age demonstrate. It was argued that he wasn’t prideful, but it is the belief of the authors that Celebrimbor was full of pride, although unlike his forefathers, he usually kept said pride in check, and channeled it by taking bigger challenges instead of doing boastful remarks about his skills. His character became taciturn and anxious once he sensed what Sauron was doing with the Ring of Power, but by then it was too late.

Going back to the point of pride, it could be argued that like Fëanor, Celebrimbor sought to transcend the limits of what was possible to do, of his own existence (Ellison, 1990). While Fëanor managed to capture the light of the Two Trees and transform something that belonged to all into a possession coveted by him and later both his sons and Melkor himself, Celebrimbor worked to create the Three Rings trying to capture something elusive: the atemporal beauty of a land that was no more. Both were overconfident in their skills because they were that good. But whereas Fëanor became overly possessive of the Silmarils and went to war against Melkor for them, Celebrimbor went the other way and parted with them to keep them from Sauron. Fëanor never allowed to let go of the Silmarils voluntarily –in fact, he refused to hand them over to heal the Trees after Ungoliant drained and poisoned them. Celebrimbor decided to send away the rings before they were captured by Sauron, thus leaving them open to the Dark Lord.

Another aspect worth noticing of Celebrimbor and how he differentiates for his forebears are his relationships with others, especially with the Dwarfs and Galadriel, as noted in the previous section. He sought friendship where Fëanor only sought adulation and domination, and where Curufin only saw either pawns or obstacles for his ambition.

This leads to ponder whether Celebrimbor was like that by nature: less selfish and more cautious; or whether he made a conscious effort to distance himself from the worst aspects of his family and kept the family pride in check. Some children develop the opposite personalities to their parents, and it is more marked when said children are immortal elves that have had millennia to develop their own personalities. In either case, this led him to ignore other flaws he had: his gullibility, or naivety.

Why did he trust Annatar? It is clear that Sauron, as a former Maia of Aüle, did know enough craftsmanship to teach things that Celebrimbor and his elven smiths ignored or weren’t capable of discovering on their own. It has to be noted as well, that in “The Lost Tales” it’s mentioned that on those times, Sauron still possessed part of his original Maia beauty and shapeshifting powers, and remained a powerful sorcerer, which certainly helped to keep his true identity hidden, with only the most insightful elves, such as Galadriel, suspicious of the real menace beneath. Added to an evil insight which clearly Celebrimbor didn’t have, the task of creating rings that could preserve things was an attractive proposition to the elf. Celebrimbor was eager to achieve the maximum expression of his craft, thus when a stranger came with teachings that allowed him to do that, he jumped at the opportunity. It was this flaw that Sauron exploited, as he was more devious than his own former master in that regard. Whereas Morgoth was evil like a hammer, Sauron was a scalpel, and thus perhaps more dangerous to the people of Middle Earth.

Even after Galadriel warned Celebrimbor against working with Annatar, the former kept doing it. Why? It could be argued that a combination of pride, naiveté and overconfidence led Celebrimbor to think that he could overcome any danger.  After all, he had survived the War of Wrath and the previous battles. It was only when Sauron revealed his hand that Celebrimbor realized the ruse. In his search to create a magical device that would preserve the elven lands as timeless regions, he had helped the Dark Lord to create the most powerful weapon Middle Earth had seen till then. It does sound familiar to what has happened in the real world with our technology and its impact.

The impact of our actions on the wider world

Although Tolkien was adamant to refute any suggestion that elements from his legendarium were inspired by events of the real world –and for this, we must take the intention of the author at face value- it’s hard to not draw certain parallelism with Celebrimbor’s actions and those from the developer of the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Without trying to fall into an argument by hindsight, the story of Celebrimbor and the Rings of power certainly draws parallels with the development and application of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), or with Oppenheimer’s development of the atomic bomb. While he lamented that the bomb killed thousands, he kept still looking for ways to make them more effective and never regretted having created it. It seems that he was actually proud of how well it worked. We are enamored with our technological development but barely consider the unintended consequences of their creation. But first, it is necessary to understand why the Rings, and in particular the Elven Rings were created.

In the elven rings, the elves projected their need to attempt preserving the world into which they were born at first and that had been severely scarred and in decline due to the wars against Morgoth. Decline that while initiated by Morgoth, the elves were complicit in accelerating, in particular thanks to Feänor and his sons. The Three Rings symbolize the fear that the elves had of fading away in a world increasingly dominated by Men –and not even the Edain-. It is in this bout of nostalgia and yearning for a past long gone, that Sauron wedges his influence under the guise of Annatar, Lord of Gifts, directing these desires into the crafting of the first sixteen rings, with the willing participation of Celebrimbor, who no doubt, thought this would be an undertaking that would rival the Silmarils or at the very least would be recognized as one of the finest and wondrous in all elven history.  

Celebrimbor had been around since the First Age. Had witnessed the best of elven creation and the horrors of the wars against Morgoth. It is a normal motivation to want to improve things, or to return them to a time where they were ‘better’ from certain point of view. Although warned by Galadriel, who suspected of Annatar’s identity and intentions (Voice of Geekdom, 2021), Celebrimbor continued. The fact that he forged the Three Elven Rings on his own and in secret could point to the assumption that at the end he was somewhat suspicious of Annatar, but not enough to cut all ties with him. He has just suspicious enough to try and use the magic techniques taught to him by Annatar on his own (Voice of Geekdom, 2021) to pour this ‘elven’ essence into the rings. In a crude modern analogy, it can be argued that all the Rings of Power, if they were software, share the same source code, although the Three Elven Rings work inside a walled environment that kept them somewhat freed from the One Ring’s corruption, but still open to Sauron’s influence if not used carefully.

This is where parallels can be drawn to modern technology. Isaac Asimov (1982) in his essay “Ring of Evil”, offers the argument that the Ring of Power, and by extension the other rings, works as an analogy of our dependence on technology and how it is causing severe damage to the world. We are reluctant of letting go technology that while highly polluting, it’s easier to use, cheaper. We are so bewitched by our creations that we prefer to remain in our zone of comfort rather than look for better options because they are unknown to us. The Three Elven Rings represent a similar desire to keep things within the familiar, the comfortable. Afterall, we now have the power to shape our own world at an unprecedented scale. Victor Papanek (1985), one of the first designers to speak about sustainable design once famously wrote that “Designers, have become a dangerous race”, for their ability to churn out products of little real value, to create needs people didn’t have before and making them more and more attached to their own possessions and technology (which on itself has an interesting parallel to the effect that the Rings of Power have on the Dwarfs).

Using the example about the development of the CFCs, these chemicals were developed to solve an increasing human need: to prolong food storage by keeping it cold for longer periods without using ice. At the time these chemicals were developed, it was unknown that they would create the ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas effects on the atmosphere, for these effects started being detected after 30 years of use. In both cases we can see that, by trying to make life more comfortable, the creations had bigger impact on the world than what was originally intended.

Fate or Freedom of choice?

Was Celebrimbor doomed from the start? It depends on which perspective it’s seen from. Let’s review first the basics of the Doom of Mandos, which comprised eight conditions (Tolkien, 1977):

1. No one who follows Fëanor or his followers will be able to return to Valinor.

2. Anyone under the Doom will suffer greatly.

3. Fëanor’s oath to recover the silmarils will drive their lives, but it will also betray them and cause them to lose the treasures they pursue.

4. Anything they start will end badly, even if it started well.

5. Those from the house of Fëanor and his followers will always be dispossessed.

6. They will have gruesome deaths. Either murdered, tormented or in pain.

7. Their spirits will not be able to return to life for a very long time and they will find little pity around them.

8. Those who don’t die will grow weary of the world and become as shadows of regret before the humans appear on the world.

There are a couple caveats to this Doom that have to be mentioned.  While it was aimed mainly to Fëanor family’s, it also applied to any Noldor that decided to follow Fëanor’s lead into Beleriand. However, Galadriel, her siblings and family barely escaped it because while they went there, it wasn’t because they liked or followed Fëanor, rather they had other ideas in mind, mostly protect their people from his madness or in the case of Galadriel, forge a kingdom of her own. Thus, they stayed out of the House of Fëanor misadventures, except when they involved in their schemes, as was the case with Turgon (founder of Gondolin) and with Finrod Felagund (founder of Nargothrond); or like Thingol, king of Doriath, who tied his kingdom’s destiny to that of the House of Fëanor by requesting Beren to go and find a Silmaril in order to allow him to marry Lúthien.

Although Celebrimbor didn’t join in the evil deeds of his father (even getting him expelled from Nargothrond) and grandfather, he was still of the House of Fëanor and left Valinor, and thus, the Doom followed him. The interesting thing with prophecies, -which is what the Doom ultimately is- is that they can be interpreted in all different ways, in order to fit the agenda or the historical perspective of those that follow it. The very same text of Lord of the Rings provides what is perhaps the best example of this via the ‘No living man being able to kill’ prophecy of the Witch King, which got upended by Eowyn cleverly pointing out that she was no man. Some prophecies, both in real life and in fantasy, on the other hand have the tendency to become self-fulfilling, as with Turin, which draws parallels to Oedipus’ own tragedy. Lastly, prophecies in literature are as much a study and a commentary on human nature as a fantasy element to guide the plot. Thus, it could be argued that the Doom Mandos casted upon the House of Feänor was a self-fulfilling prophecy because Mandos knew very well the kind of psyche Feänor had and had instilled in his own family. In a way, the Doom was as much a prophecy as it was a warning about how the flaws of the family would spell problems for them if left unchecked, which is what happened at the end.

From a meta level, of course, he was doomed because the story required him to be. Regardless of how Tolkien merged his initial legendarium with the later works of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, by the time the reader gets to know about Celebrimbor, his doom is a done deal, a necessity to explain the backstory of the Rings of Power. In the same meta level, the writer is the creator god of the story, manipulating the events to fit the narrative they wish to tell. Thus, the characters fit what a growing number of philosophers and even scientist argue, which is that free will does not exist and everything is preordained (Burkeman, 2021). This would absolve Celebrimbor of any misgivings because he wasn’t responsible for them. However, aside the fact that taking that perspective would open a can a of worms outside the scope of this paper, it would be better to keep an in-story perspective.After all, this paper is about the character as it exists within the story and not about the intention of the author when creating it.

Then, from an in-story point of view, like all the other Noldorin elves that followed Fëanor, was followed by the Doom. He showed again and again that he was willing to go against the tide that was the House of Feänor if their course of actions contradicted his own beliefs. The problem was, as mentioned above, and Mandos knew that very well, that the whole house shared some inherent traits and flaws, be it that they were inherited or instilled, and the biggest flaw of the house was pride. They were a prideful people, well acquainted with their own unparalleled skill that thought that any challenge thrown their way would be easily conquerable. In that regard, while Celebrimbor was described as having ‘an almost “dwarvish” obsession with crafts’ (Tolkien, 1980), he was also a more thoughtful, conscientious elf than his forebears, and yet, he still went willingly and helped forge the rings without asking himself not whether he could, but whether he should create them. An elf his age knew very well, or at least should have heard of the kind of trickery that Morgoth first, and Sauron later, were capable of. But he found very tempting the challenge to help Sauron as Annatar, to create the rings.

In Celebrimbor two major flaws collide, pride, like Feänor, and gullibility (Voice of Geekdom, 2021), which certainly is a curious contrast to his grandfather’s paranoia. The extremes touch at some point. Celebrimbor dedicated most of his time to his craft, which yielded tangible results. It could be argued that once he saw the development of the Rings of Power and decided to create his own improved version to prove himself the superior craftsman. Or craftselve in this case. Fisher (2008) considers that the creation of the Three Rings and their destinies, echo the work of Feänor and the Silmarils. Following this path, Celebrimbor, like Feänor before him, had at every moment an opportunity to back off, to change of idea, and in the case of former to investigate his new associate, of listening to Galadriel’s warning. But the pride and the allure of seeing himself as a legendary craftsman blinded him until it was too late, and the changes he did to the Elven rings were too little. However, in his defense, and unlike Feänor who coveted the Silmarils over anything else, Celebrimbor gave away the Three Rings to keep them away from Sauron and thus they remained somewhat unspoiled by the corruption. This proves that he had choices, that he could have changed paths if he so desired. It was just too late to change paths by the time things came to a head. Many of us tend to act the same way, forced to change our patterns or habits only when things have reached an extreme that puts at risk something we care –health, family, the planet-, not always managing to solve the problem.

Celebrimbor had the opportunity to change that fate by returning to Valinor instead of remaining in the Middle Earth after the Downfall of Melkor, but he didn’t. He fell prey of his own flaws because he never stopped to consider them, to reflect upon the failings of his predecessors and how they formed his own choices. Being member of an immortal race, one may have expected that his apparent superiority and long life should have made him more reflective, and yet, his pride over his craftsmanship won over. The pride that resulted from such action called forth the Doom and dragged him, the remaining elves in Middle Earth and pretty much the whole world into a conflict that would turn into the land a lesser version of what it used to be, the very opposite effect of what the elves wanted to achieve.


Celebrimbor serves as a cautionary tale in many levels: the need to be socially responsible of our actions and choices, the need to keep in check our own pride, to be aware of our own flaws, of the use of our technological prowess without carefully examining possible consequences. Celebrimbor is in a way, one of the best examples that the road to Hell, or in this case Mordor, is paved with good intentions.

Celebrimbor fell prey to Sauron’s tricks and although Galadriel warned him about it, he didn’t listen because he was busy trying to achieve the next level of craftmanship, which may or may not have equivalent to his grandfather’s Silmarils. Good intentions alone are not enough, we need to make a conscious effort to keep out worst instincts at bay and ponder the effects that our decisions have in the world at large.


Asimov, I. 1982. Ring of Evil. Asimov on Science Fiction. New York. Avon Books.
Burkeman, O. 2021 The clockwork universe: Is free will an illusion? The Long Read. The Guardian. Available through: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/apr/27/the-clockwork-universe-is-free-will-an-illusion [Accessed April 28 2021]

Ellison, J. 1990 “From Fëanor to Doctor Faustus: a creator’s path to self-destruction.” 5th Tolkien Society Workshop.

Fisher, J. 2008. Three Rings for—Whom Exactly? And Why?: Justifying the Disposition of the Three Elven Rings. Tolkien Studies 5, 99-108.

Mulder K.F. (2013) Impact of New Technologies: How to Assess the Intended and Unintended Effects of New Technologies?. In: Kauffman J., Lee KM. (eds) Handbook of Sustainable Engineering. Dordrecht, Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8939-8_35

Papanek, V. (1985). Design for the Real World. New York. Pantheon Books.

Scott, Nan C. (1972).”War and Pacifism in The Lord of the Rings,” Tolkien Journal: Vol. 5 : Iss. 1 Article 9. Available at: https://dc.swosu.edu/tolkien_journal/vol5/iss1/9

Tolkien, J. R. R., & Tolkien, C. (1977). The Silmarillion. London, Allen & Unwin.

Tolkien, J.R.R., / Tolkien, C. (1980) Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth. New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Voice of Geekdom, 2021. Celebrimbor – Forger of the Rings of Power | DISCUSSION. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1mGQhhZt_g&ab_channel=VoiceofGeekdom [Accessed 27 May 2021].

Science vs Magic in Tempest Blades. Part 1


A few weeks ago, I posted a twitter an open request for questions from readers about the setting of Tempest Blades. The most intriguing questions that evolved into a long post were by Leo McBride:

You have magic and technology side-by-side in your world – are there notable examples of tension between adherents of the two sides, and was there outright conflict as technology was first introduced?

Yes, and in a big way. When the 3 species arrived to Theia, humans had lost all their tech. Samoharo took theirs to their continent and kept it hidden for millennia. Magick was exclusive of the Freefolk for their biology made them the only ones able to channel magick energies. While dragons (still alive back then) and samoharo served as mediators, the Freefolk soon became the major power of the world. Especially after the Titan Hunt. Humans being humans, developed technology from scratch to level the field.

Sometimes with help of the Freefolk (see titanarmors, which are basically magick infused armors), sometimes to fight them (rifles, explosives and so on). It all came to a head when the Asurian Empire declared war on the Freefolk (the whole species). An intercontinental war erupted between the two powers, with increased escalation (IBMs, bioweapons -see Buried Sins-), that ended by killing all the dragons, erasing the Empire from the face of the planet, and ending the power of the Freefolk.

The trigger point, technologically, that prompted that?

The Asurian Empire was an expansionist power that believed that they should police the world. They feared the Freefolk because their magick, unlike the human version, doesn’t require long, complicated rituals. 1 in 10 Freefolk can cast magick naturally. And magick back then beat most regular weapons. The Asurian had already conquered the Straits, were encroaching the Kuni Empire and wanted all the lands above the World’s Scar, for they are rich in ore. But those lands were Freefolk. When they clashed, the Freefolk handed them a massive defeat. So for the next century, the Asurians worked on developing countermeasures for magick, including enhancing tech that could allow soldiers to kill Freefolk with ease and ballistic weapons. That tracked and exploded in contact with the magick energies. That’s why dragons had to intervene to stop both sides from killing each other, and in turn ended dying.

What are the legacies of that in social terms in the modern setting? Prejudices, laws, etc?

The Freefolk are seen with distrust (although that stems from when they were shapeshifters, before the magick) because of their innate power for magick, so they lost most of their lands south of the Scar and there are political parties that use them as scapegoats. When things go wrong (like in the Great War, despite the fact that the Freefolk were victims of massacre during the war and only 3 of the actually participated on it, Fionn and Izia for the Free Alliance and Peremir for the Blood Horde). So they are subject of racism. Magick is usually only allowed within Freefolk territory, for magic shows, school, research, emergencies or with a special permit. Bioweapons and nukes are banned (although most of that tech got lost after the Fall of the Empire).

Fionn’s actions during the War and after, the peopletarian work of the Foundation, the arcanotech research, better education, and the threat by the Samoharo to step it (which scares the hell of everyone) has helped to erode the racism towards Freefolk, except from certain political parties across the Alliance that see them as rivals for power and refuse to return them their lands. The Kuni have good relationships with the Freefolk (as they were also enemies of the Empire). And the Freefolk mostly stay on their lands to avoid more problems. And the Empire is seen as the example of the worst of humankind, the cautionary tale of what not to do and most people would prefer to see it erased from history. Only its capital, Meteora, remains as a city state in the Wastelands, a hive of scum a villainy.

So there it is, a bit of info on the backstory of Tempest Blades that informs what’s happening currently in the books (yes, plural, more on that later).

The one where I talk about Saint Seiya, the problem with the Gold Saints and my own novel setting issue.

Whoah, that was a really looooong title.

*Warning: spoilers for a 30-year-old anime show… and my own novel.*

If you were a kid from Mexico in the early 90s’, odds are that you woke up early every Saturday to watch the legendary anime “Los Caballeros del Zodiaco”, the original name “Saint Seiya” (for the purists) and known in the US as “Knights of the Zodiac” after a bastardized adaptation. And odds are that if you are Mexican kid that grew up in the early 90s’, is that Saint Seiya is your favorite anime -or one of them-.

Me? I’m a fan, not a big fan as some of my close friends (one of them even has every single figure released since the heyday of the show), but I would lie if I say I’m not a fan. The concept is pretty simple (the video below gives a remastered, succinct explanation for the visually inclined): every 300 years, ancient gods return in the shape of avatars to take over the world, so Athena (yes, that one), reincarnates in a human body**, calls forth her Saints or Knights, who wearing special armors inspired by the 88 western constellations, will face these gods -Poseidon, Hades- to protect humanity. The Saints are divided into the humble Bronze, the flashy Silver, and the godlike 12 Gold Saints -that follow the Western Zodiac-. However, this time, something went wrong, Athena and a few of her ‘weaker’*** saints are in the run of the most powerful ones and have to face them in a grueling marathon to uncover the truth, the traitor and fix everything before Poseidon, Hades and their armies return.

The show has a favorite character for everyone, especially if your zodiac sign had a cool representative among the Golden Saints, the top of the cream of warriors in the show. Really 10 out of 12 signs had a great character representing it-unless you are a Cancer or a Pisces, then I’m sorry your respective saints suck big time-. My wife has Shaka, Virgo Saint, the closest man to God and basically a buddha* with the power to traverse every single hell and heaven from anywhere. And is more dangerous when he actually opens his eyes.


Mine, is this man:


Dokho, Saint of Libra, custodian of the 12 sacred weapons of Athena, watcher of the Rozan peaks where the specters of Hades are trapped, having lived for 243 years and trained an old incarnation of the Pegasus Saint and the current Dragon Saint, Shiryu (my other favorite character). Dokho, who is the Yoda of the show that -spoiler- when the time comes and things get dire near the end, returns through a special technique to his peak form, that looks like this:


The shortest, hot-tempered, goofball Gold Saint ready to take names and kick ass. In this form he is… well, the Obi-Wan of the show, even to the other Gold Saints. And even if he looks like a hyperactive teenager (which he technically still is).

But I digress… the show is entertaining -if a bit repetitive as older anime usually is-. The music is superb (think a rock group playing with an orchestra waaay before Metallica did it). And you grow fond of the characters -unlike they are Pisces and Cancer, seriously, they need a better PR spokesperson-. And I really enjoy it, to the point that I’m addicted to the new mobile game. But there is an issue here… I get that Seiya, the Pegasus Saint and titular character, and friends are the main heroes. And the show is about their growth into heroes. But the thing that most of my friends and I agree is that as much as the show sells you the idea of the Gold Saints being these beastly, godlike beings capable of facing gods when they show up in the show… they barely actually show up.

Yeah, I have the same expression as you, Dohko.


Don’t get me wrong, some of the battles between the 5 Bronze Saints -Pegasus Seiya, Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromeda Shun and Phoenix Ikki- and the Gold Saints are nail bitters, especially those between Ikki and Shaka, Hyoga and his master Aquarius Camus, Shiryu vs Cancer Deathmask**** and Capricorn Shura, and the last stand of Seiya against the evil side of Geminis Saga before Athena dies -look, it’s really complicated to explain-. But the rest are… a mixed bag. Aries Mu is an ally of the heroes. Taurus Aldebaran is convinced by the heroes that they are right, Dohko is busy being a Yoda, till Hades returns in Season 3. Scorpio Milo gives a good fight but he is a good guy and changes his mind and Pisces… he is so damn annoying and his fight with Shun really drags on. Aiolia Leo is being brainwashed by the main bad guy so he has to be freed from his control and Saggitarius Aiolos has been dead for 13 years. And when the Poseidon Chapter comes, nothing happens with them. The Hades chapter was meant to redeem them, but it only worked for Dohko and Kannon, the evil twin of Geminis Saga that now is the good twin -that family has ISSUES-. Then came Soul of Gold that tried to redeem them but the animation did them no favor at all. And Lost Canvas, which is not canon, did use well ALL the Gold Saints, but they were from a previous incarnation, taking place in 1743 and the only known character there is Dokho who is kinda a rookie then (this Obi-Wan in Episode I).

And here is the thing that bothers me: they are not that awe-inspiring when they appear, aside Saga whose power set is broken (which makes him a good villain).  I get that the animation techniques back then (the series started in the 80s’ even if it arrived at this side of the world in the 90s’) didn’t allow for much spectacle and thus the powers seem subsided, reduced. But when I was a kid I remember dreading the day the 5 Bros were about to face the Gold Saints because of the show’ propensity to sell you the idea that the later were nigh impossible to defeat. That their powers were earth-shattering -literally in the case of Capricorn-. But when the fights came about, they were not that different from the main 5. Which led to a sense of power escalation in later seasons -as many shonen***** anime do- that never allowed the Gold Saints to show their prowess against feared rivals like Poseidon’s Marines or Hades’ Specters. They were punked.

Which leaves me a sour taste in the mouth, because the Gold Saints should be downright terrifying. The kind of guys that inspire myths because what they can do is off the charts: create tears into the space-time continuum, freeze things to atomic level reaching absolute zero (the show plays fast and loose with physic laws), cut through the Earth itself, move at the speed of light, send your soul to the Underworld, crash a planet on your head… you get the idea.  They are the stuff of nightmares, even if they are, for most of the part, the good guys.

Rather, they are not so spectacular.


Yes, it’s kinda sad, kinda amusing, Dohko.

This is a particular issue of concern for me while I work in the sequel of Tempest Blades. Fionn -and really, any of the Gifted- is known as a powerful warrior whose abilities are way beyond the ken of mortal men. But due to the peculiarities of the villain in the first book, he had to fight with a literal hand tied to his back. Same for Gaby and Alex. Now, for the sequel, they have free reign, more training, and more experience under their belts to show off all that they can do. However, I know the risk of power escalation, which can destroy the suspension of disbelief within the setting, making the Marty/Mary Sues, if I just give them more power. That’s a serious problem.

So that left me thinking…


The solution is already set in the first book. In the POV of the only regular character of my cast: Harland. And others like him.

I don’t need to increase their powers. There is no need because they are already that powerful. What I need is to show how the powers they have, without the restrictions, posed by the plot of the first book, look to others from the outside. Namely, for Alex, manipulating energy might seem normal after 10 years. But for Harland, who is a regular human, it might be downright scary. And what about when Fionn truly let go. So far he has barely shown his full potential, for fear of collateral damage. But if the restriction is lifted… Gaby… well, you will see. That’s why in the new book I’m introducing a couple of characters that will give the perspective of how is like to watch a Gifted with a Tempest Blade in hand, going full out. Because while for my main cast, Harland aside, doing what they do is part of their daily lives, for the people watching from the sidelines, what they do, is the stuff of nightmares. Even if they are the good guys.

I just hope Athena can guide me to make it work.



*Well, not basically a buddha, he is actually a reincarnation of Buddha.
**She is like the Christ-like figure of the story. Seriously, Saint Seiya is a hot podge of myths, religions and everything between, but seen through the greek mythology glasses and anime tropes.
***Weaker, sort to speak. While the 5 main characters: Pegasus Seiya, Dragon Shiryu, Cygnus Hyoga, Andromeda Shun and Phoenix Ikki are Bronze Saints and thus the lower step of the stair, they -in very shonen fashion- grow to be more than a match for the Gold Saints and assorted deities.
****No, really, that’s his birth name. Kurumada has the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
*****Shonen is anime aimed for male audiences, think Dragon Ball.

It’s been a long road… the stories within the continuity of Tempest Blades.

It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.
It’s been a long time, but my time is finally near.
And I will see my dream come alive at last. I will touch the sky…

I think “Where My Heart Will Take Me” lyrics encapsulate the way having my novel published and released in a few months. But the world where it happens, the inhabitants living there, the main characters, have a history. And I’ve been working (and publishing) on bits of that history, connected one way or another to the main series.

This is a short list of stories already out and how they connect with the novel. They are ordered in chronological order, within the universe, rather than in publishing order in our universe.


It’s been a long time, but my time is finally near…

Asherah’s Pilgrimage (8,000 to 10,000 years before present day):

It’s the ‘true’ story behind the legend of the foundation of the Freefolk first kingdom and the source of most of their major cultural beliefs and customs. It is also the story of how modern Freefolk came to be as they are now in the times of the Withered King. It will be published in Tales of Magic & Destiny in a few months, this year.

Silver Horn (around 152 years before present day):

My very first published story actually. It’s the folk tale -not the actual events- of how a young man undertook a quest to return a dangerous item deep inside a mystical place related to the Freefolk. Being a folk tale, it is more comedic and takes liberties about the actual events, but it’s the kind of tale a father would tell his son about his own exploits, to inspire the kid to become an adventurer and a hero. The young man in the story? It was the father of Fionn, the main character of my novel. It was featured in Tales from the Tower.

Buried Sins (around 110 years before the present day):

Around the world, there are multiple events taking place. Some are of no consequence, others have repercussions across space and time. And major wars always have different fronts, different battles. Some are big scale, like the Longhorn Valley battle at the start of Withered King and some are more personal. Buried Sins take place around the same time as the first chapter of the novel, across an ocean in a different land and is a tale about a man haunted by its inner monster, trying to stop mercenaries that are trying to dig up a weapon that could change the War portrayed in chapter 1 of the novel. And the events of this story will also affect the potential sequel of the novel. It was featured in Tales from the Underground.

Cosmic Egg (around 50-80 years after the present day):

Part sequel, part spin-off, it’s the tale of the first space expedition from Theia to explore the rest of the galaxy. None of the characters of Tempest Blades. The Withered King appears here, but most of the story’s characters are related to them in one way or another. Also, in the novel, you can see the technological precursors of the Fireraven, the ship featured in Cosmic Egg and the mention of a legend connected to a character from Asherah’s Pilgrimage. It was featured in Tales from the Universe.

So there you have a current list of stories tied to my novel.

Writing stories to flesh out the world of my novel has been helpful, not only for putting down historical events that can’t be included in the main series without bogging it down; but have also helped me to practice my writing skills and improve them. Bear in mind, and I’m being honest here, that the style has changed over the years. And I hope it has changed for good as I aim to be a good writer. Thus, the stories vary somewhat between them. Nonetheless, I hope you like them all as well as I hope you like my novel. That’s more than I can ask.

The world of Theia. Part 1: Ionis.

mapa ricardo5

Every story, every adventure needs a place to… well, take place. So this is Theia, the world where Tempest Blades takes place. Actually, it’s just one of the continents in Theia, where the story of this particular arc of Tempest Blades takes place.

But first a few data on Theia: it’s a planet similar to Earth, orbiting a sun within the habitable zone. It has two moons: one is round like ours, the other is a smaller, elongated one (no one really knows what the hell it is) that appears only when something on the mystic side takes place. It also has a thick ionosphere, with the result of massive storms rolling over the continents, and affecting the development of telecommunications and high altitude flight. Thus they have developed differently. Weather is mostly the same, but a bit more extreme and has both similar species to Earth (and from two other planets) and endemic ones. It also has a highly stable magick energy field atop the magnetic one.

Ionis is the central east continent of the planet, the most densely populated despite being the second or third ‘colonized’. It’s part of a larger landmass, divided by mountain ranges such as the Jagged Mountains and inner seas on the south. The Grasslands is where the most eastern continent starts. Nowadays the continent is organized under the rule of the Free Alliance, a coalition of city-states and small kingdoms and republics that formed after the Great War took down the Old Kingdoms. There are no nominal borders within its territory, although each city-state has under its protection the smaller ones, as well as towns.

The freefolk nations shares space with humans with relative peace and their settlements rule themselves but in an alliance with the city-states as formal members of the Alliance. Freefolk and human intermingle with such frequency that it’s almost impossible to distinguish one from another (unless someone uses magick). Samoharos are a rare sight in the continent, only visiting ports such as Portis, Saint Lucy or the Seven Watersnakes.

Weather and vegetation are similar to that of British Columbia. There are still cultural, economic and sports-related rivalries within its regions, which sometimes can spill into minor conflicts. But for the most part, Ionis has endured a century of peace since the war ended. Think the European Union or the Carolingian Empire.

The map, for the sake and brevity, only depicts places that are mentioned in the actual story or are really important (such as the three main cities). There are more places there, but it would have been madness to fit all in that space. So this is a primer on the places marked there. In alphabetical order.

Belfrost: the short name of Belger’s Frost, in honor of Belger, the famous explorer that mapped most of the continent and founded the city as last stop before going into the Grasslands, where he would get lost forever. Now is considered the “city of spies”.

Carffadon: important commercial and touristic town in the Emerald Island due to its key location on the banks of the river Breen. Home of artists, poets, merchants, and pubs.

Emerald Island: the major power of the region, it coalesced into a single rule under King Castlemartell the leader of the Alliance during the war and now ruled by his daughter, Queen Brenda ‘The Long-Lived’. It has the largest overall population of freefolk outside the regions neighboring the World’s Scar.

Lemast: tiny town in the shadows of the Jagged Mountains. Only memorable for their particular architecture, the strange mausoleum in the middle of a cemetery and the regiment posted there to guard it.

Longhorn Valley: the place where the war was won by the Alliance and where the Light Explosion took place.

Manfeld: the oldest city in the continent is now a major commercial, cultural and industrial center. Its high walls, location upon a hill and easy access to water made it the perfect defensive spot and was the only mainland city to don’t fall during the war, although the siege that took place did a number on the city. It also has the largest population of city freefolks.

Maze, The: a  most peculiar region of the World’s Scar. It is said that it’s the exact spot where a certain goddess entered the world the first time. As such, is a place with reality warping properties, gravitational waves and endless roads that can get you lost. Also, it has dangerous predators there. It is the most important place for the freefolk nations as it is considered the location of the birth of their culture and where they discovered how to use magick. Visiting the place at least once in their lives is a significant goal of every freefolk on the planet.

Mercia University: one of the many universities on the continent. Recognized by its advanced programs in arcanotech –first of its kind-, design & engineering and freefolk-human relationships. It has an exchange program with Ravenstone.

Portis: the merchant city. It controls all the islands and maritime trade routes from and to the continent (think Venetia during the Renaissance). Famous for its legendary swordsmen and swashbuckling escapades that inspired hundreds of novels. Rumored to be founded by sailors that worshipped a strange sea deity. Most megacorps such as that from the Galfano Family have their main offices there.

Ravenstone: THE place to learn magick. It’s a mostly an only-freefolk school, although it does take human students with an aptitude for magick. Reaching it’s hard, but that’s on purpose, given that housed students of all ages, it needs to be a safe place for them. Located deep into the Maze region of the World’s Scar, it’s the perfect place to practice magick without blowing up the neighborhood.

Saint Lucy: capital of the Emerald Island and one of the three main cities. Founded on the remains of an ancient capital by King Castlemartell and named in honor of his deceased wife. It’s also known as the ‘city of blinding lights’. Queen Brenda rules from there.

Samheil Mountain: tallest peak in the Emerald Island. It is said to be haunted by fey –will-o-wisp creatures- and it’s the place where Fionn decided to settle after his return.

Sandtown: Its original freefolk name is lost, but it is believed that it was the location of the capital of the freefolk Kingdom of Umo (or Ulmo, spelling varies from tribe to tribe), before its fall almost a millennia ago due to a terrible catastrophe. Nowadays it’s a small town that houses Queen Brenda’s secret retreat and the nominal seat of the Free Alliance ruling council. Although nowadays the council rotates location between the Three major cities (Portis, Manfeld, and Saint Lucy).

Seven Watersnakes: a most fertile region on the continent, home of farms, cities, and ports. The region was in ancient times home to three quarreling kingdoms whose inhabitants’ exploits formed the basis for the Romances of Monstegur, a popular series of books, movies, and video games.

Skarabear: town located in the extreme north of the Emerald Island. Hometown of Fionn, it is the prime example of human-freefolk friendly coexistence, thanks to its legendary daughter and son and their exploits during and after the Great War. While part of the Emerald Island, it’s a town that tends to consider itself independent of the main rule from Saint Lucy and while friendly to outcasts, its inhabitants keep to themselves for a mysterious reason.

Thunder Pass: the nominal south-eastern border of the continent. Known for the endless thunderstorms that take place there. Currently the home of the power farms that provide energy to the continent.

World’s Scar: it’s a canyon… that crosses the whole planet (yes even under the ocean it’s rumored to have walkable spots. The place with most magick energy. In older times it was considered the geographical northern border of Ionis, but with the inclusion of the northern freefolk settlements of the Boreal Forests & the Mistlands, that became part of the past, with now the start of the Tundric lands the new frontier. Legend says that it was created when a certain goddess entered the world in her full form.


Creating the map of your setting is not an easy task. Coming with shapes, names and geologically coherent structure is an intricate work of love. Thankfully I have a great illustrator -who is also a science buff- on my corner: Mr. Marco García.

He usually draws dinosaurs, cryptozoologist guides, and storyboards, but he agreed to help me with this, providing we stuck to geology and geography rules, with one exception (which is a magical place that violates the laws of nature on purpose). His input has been invaluable and even helped me to reexamine how some bits of my worldbuilding should go on.

The image above is the result of such collaboration. It is the location where the adventures of my characters from Tempest Blades takes place (at least the first novel-arc) It is not a complete map of the world (there are like 3 more continents still on the works) and of course the places pointed in the map are not the only ones in existence, just the ones used in the novel.

I have to say, I love the little details and the coherence between rivers, marshes, and mountains. Even the little, unnamed islands and the waves. As a first approach to this, I can’t be any happier. And if you want to see more of Marco’s work, go to his DeviantArt page.

The Trickster Goddess.


The Trickster Goddess from the Tempest Blades universe is an odd creature. Yes I know, is a deity and is bound to be inscrutable. But as the author, I’m privy to what goes behind the curtain regarding my characters. And yet, she does honor her sobriquet in a way, because no matter the story I write in that setting, she finds a way to get in it. She doesn’t appear that much in my novel or related stories… yet. But the very question of how to create a somewhat relatable deity without resorting in a deus ex machina was on my mind when I created the backstory of my setting and the character of the Trickster Goddess. While her character doesn’t appear per se, she has a considerable impact on the world.

I won’t reveal the name she goes by these days as it would be a spoiler for the novel, (I’m still working on publishing it). But I can reveal a few tidbits on her and if you read the novel you will understand who she is right away.

-She is a deity (obviously), but not a creator deity. She works for one and is related in a way that’s not entirely clear.

-Time runs differently for her than for a mortal. Not necessarily at an accelerated pace (e.g. a year for us is a day for her), nor she can see what’s in the future (she has visions of multiple futures though).

-She is older than THIS universe (the Tempest Blades ones) but not necessarily older than the entire creation.

-She was part of an ancient civilization of deities.

-Being as old as the universe (even if time works differently for her kind) tends to make one a tad unhinged so she (or at least her avatar that is the one doing the rounds in the novel) relies on a few tricks to remain relatable to the mortals she is watching over

-She likes technology, but prefer to do things by hand.

She keeps a library with the records of all that happens in the world and replicas of all inventions, but instead of a highly advanced computational system to keep track of everything (which she could create with ease), she likes to do it by hand, painstakingly classifying every bit on her own. After all, she has all the time in the world.

-She can’t enter directly into the mortal world or Realspace in her full form as the mere presence of her kind in that form is liable to break things: glasses, mountains, planets. The Wolrd’s Scar is the prime example of her doing that. I took her a few planets to learn not doing it. So now she uses an avatar -a female girl-, that’s part of her but not entirely her. The avatar has most of her memories (the rest are tucked in her library which is an avatar of sorts too) and a decent chunk of her power, but most of it and her true conscience is kept at the Overspace. That doesn’t mean the avatar is independent. It’s actually her without being her. You know, metaphysics. It also means that the avatar is indestructible.

-She likes to take the form of a red and black Raven. Mostly because the feeling of the wind caressing her feathers feels nice. Also because she likes to gossip and a raven used to go unnoticed.

-She likes to make the same pilgrimage that a whole of the Freefolk does from one point of the planet to another once in their lives (it was her idea originally). But she does in her avatar form and on foot every decade or so.

-She likes the company of mortals, mostly Freefolk.

-Once she fell in love with a human, during the Dawn Age of Theia. From that love she had two children, twins that are the ones forging the Tempest Blades from their hideout, so she is trying to emulate a family. They are still alive (they are demigods) but no one has seen them and have to follow some strict rules. Nothing is known about her partner.

-She finds mortals inspiring in a way. That’s why she aids those that become heroes. In a way.

-She doesn’t like to intervene. She can fight, but won’t do it. Don’t ask her for miracles. She expects mortals to be able to do their thing and only helps in indirect ways. And only when she is in the mood. She is a Trickster after all.

-Which means that her aid will be indirect and in the form of a pep talk, or scolding someone. Only a universal level of threat might compel her to act directly. And any favor she does to you will have to be paid back with interest. She is the strict teacher of the school.

-She likes to take on a student of the magical arts from time to time, mostly to have someone to talk about and go to the cinema. The said student might know the true identity of her avatar, but that won’t help him/her. There is a reason behind their selection.

-And she likes to annoy the hell out of a hero or two (mainly Fionn these days) under her several disguises, living different lives through her avatar.

-She had one mortal friend once, Asherah of the Freefolk, the First Magi and the first DragonQueen (that was back then when the Freefolk were still humanoid shapeshifters without a defined appearance).

-She has at least six other known siblings, but she doesn’t see eye to eye with them since she is the one taking a bigger interest in mortals and the Realspace. The rest are usually busy keeping eldritch beings (such as the Golden Emperor and the Crawling Chaos) away from creation.

-However, she argues that their duty would be better fulfilled if her siblings took the time actually know what they are fighting for rather than just following an ancient order. The point she makes to her siblings is this: how can you claim to be a guardian of the mortal world if you don’t experience it to understand it. So far the only one that has followed her advice is her older brother the Jailer.*

-As result of the above, the Jailer is, ironically and given their opposite functions, purviews, and points of view, the sibling she actually gets along. In a way. Their arguments about philosophy can be epic and last for centuries.

-She doesn’t demand worship. She doesn’t care and certainly doesn’t need it. In reality, finds it embarrassing. And yet she is the patron of Freefolk, magi, rogues, babies, and heroes. She is the one having faith in mortals.

-Used to play the bagpipe, but she lost hers.

-She hates being called a Goddess because she doesn’t feel she is divine, just is what she is. It’s complicated. But most mortals will call her that way rather than her one of her actual names, so after a while, it doesn’t bother her as much. She just ignores it.

-And she likes candies.

*Only when he can escape his job of keeping the evilest beings trapped in Hell, known as the Infinity Pits. He is the equivalent to Lucifer in the sense of being a punisher of evildoers, rather than the source of evil.

Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 4: Freefolk religion & lost beliefs.

For Part 1: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 1: an introduction

For Part 2: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 2: Samoharo religions.

For Part 3: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 3: Human Religions.


Freefolk religion.

After the fall of the last great Kingdom, the Kingdom of Ulmo, most of the organized religion of the freefolk fell into disarray, becoming a varied collection of ideas. It’s the less organized of the religions but probably one of the oldest if not the oldest. However, all the clans believe in certain core beliefs:

The Eight: the main gods and goddesses of the freefolk, of which the Trickster Goddess is the main one, not in terms of power but because she has bestowed her full attention on what she calls her children. Of her, we will talk later in detail.  The Eight are considered the first generation of the children of the Great Maker, the being that expelled chaos (as in entropy) from the universe. The Eight are the leaders of the Children –whom according to some legends from the Grasslands are the akeleth themselves- and each represents certain aspects and in turn, is represented by a mythical creature. This will be expanded in future posts, but of the Eight, the most revered are the Guardian, the Trickster, the Seer, the Healer and the Jailer.

Magick: is the gift from the Great Maker to the freefolk people, it is the blood of the planet and the stars and should be used for neutral or good aims. Magick is the innermost connection a freefolk can expect to achieve with the world itself. When it is corrupted then it calls upon the Eternal Ones, the eldritch beings living in the deepest of the Infinity Pits, or Hell.

Pilgrimage: Every certain number of years, a freefolk, a family or even a tribe is called into the Pilgrimage, a journey of self-discovery that makes that person or persons to walk the earth inside the World’s Scar from the Yumenomori Forest in the westernmost peninsula of Auris to the easternmost hill in the Grasslands of Ionis  and Balakef. In that journey, they are often tested by the Trickster Goddess herself in order to learn something about themselves and thus enhance their connection with the world –understanding that as reality itself- regardless if they possess or not the ability to channel magick.

The Tempest: the conflux of energies that separate the astral or spiritual plane from the living plane. Basically, the astral plane is where souls go after death but before choosing a final destination. The Tempest is that manifestation when the Veil that separates both planes is ruptured and travel between both can be done. The Samoharo dreamwalking is similar in that aspect.

The communion: the main goal of the freefolk religion is for its adherents to be in communion with the world around them so when they die, they go to the spiritual plane of the world, joining a network of memories that can be accessed through the Tempest and said plane.

The Long Moon: the mysterious object that orbits around Theia in conjunction with its moon. The freefolk believe that their erratic apparitions are omens from the Eight warning freefolk of events of magnitude.

The religious leaders of the freefolk are shamans that claim to commute with the world or reality itself through the use of special powder, storytelling, and riddles.

Lost beliefs.

The beliefs of the Akeleth and the Montoc Dragons:  Little is known about the religious beliefs of the Montoc Dragons or the Akeleth. It is plausible, based on the few records left behind in the Grasslands that they shared beliefs about the Great Consciousness of the Universe that begotten them. The Montoc Dragons claimed to be born from the stars themselves, while the akeleth apparently believed to be stars themselves in mortal form. Both mention the struggles against the Great Enemy, the Original Sin or mistake born from the same event that created the Universe.

Some scholars believe that the ancient religion that both species followed was the source for the rest of the faiths in Theia.  Each species -or individual groups- took elements that fitted their vision of the universe. This discussion comes from the fact that higher and lower dimensions are not only shared between all religions in the world, they share the same names and experimental proof that they exist. They are called Last Heaven and Infinity Pits. They are real and people have glimpsed them through history. The most common version is when an ‘incursion’ occurs. An incursion is when a creature from the Pits, usually through magick, materializes into the world to unleash havoc. Each religion and science as well have found ways to deal with them, with more or less success. But they all agree that the spiritual plane, Heaven, and Hell exist, even if no one can be sure what they actually are.


Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 3: Human Religions.

For Part 1: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 1: an introduction

For Part 2: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 2: Samoharo religions.



The religions mentioned here are the current, modern ones and with more adherents. Or the one that has caused more mayhem through time. Others have existed, long gone or with little clusters over the populated world.

Universe’s Consciousness or Universality: The mainstream, modern religion in most human territories, particularly in Ionis and the Free Alliance. It has several branches and temples all over the world. Their core belief is that mankind can aspire to be one with the Universe Consciousness through acts that improve the Universe’s plan. Universality preaches that being parts of the legacy of the Universe it is the duty of a person to help others and create a balance of good acts that counter the evil or corrupt acts of others, often promoted by the Discord, the enemy of the Universe and source of evil. It preaches what it is called RAKs or ‘random acts of kindness’ to balance the scale. This balancing of the scales has the aim of cleansing the soul of the person so it can rejoin the Universe after learning about the reality. The main teachings were developed by the Wise Students, twelve followers of the two Great Masters that taught humanity about the universe in the past.  While the actual teachings of the Great Masters are lost to time, it is considered that the teachings of the Wise students codify enough of them. It is rumored that one of the Master later crossed the Core Ocean and developed the Kamisava of the Kuni, making it a distant relative.

The two mainstream versions of Universality are Gaian and Cosmo. Gain focuses their teaching in taking care of the planet where humankind lives, talking about some mysterious past that cost humanity’s their first world or paradise. This is the branch that has been more influenced by the Paths of the samoharo. Cosmo takes a more orthodox approach of balancing the scales in a general sense. Some scholars see a parallel between the Wise Students and the Eight of the freefolk. Other scholars conflagrate them with the so-called ‘Founding Fathers’, a mythological group that led humanity from their original land into Theia and from which most human nations arose.

The Kamisava of Kuni Empire: the official religion of Kuni Empire and the second most organized in the world. Similar to Universality in a few core concepts, the Kamisava preaches that living beings are already part of the universe and thus attaining ‘godhood’ is possible. In fact, they believe that some lesser gods walk among them as we speak. In ancient times, when the so-called ‘Mortal Gods’ -demigods of unclear origin- ruled Theia and mortals rebelled against them with the help of the akeleth, the Mortal Gods of the Kuni Empire sided with mortals. As such it is rumored that a few ones –including the Empress- live hidden lives with them. The most famous of such gods is the folk hero Storm God that lives in the God’s Eye volcano right in the middle of the Auris Gulf. Kamisava is also the religion with a more open approach to dealing with ‘incursions’, through the ‘demonhunters’*, warrior-priest that walk the land destroying any creature from or influenced by the Infinity Pits. Kamisava also believes in reincarnation although unlike Universality, in what one can reincarnate is more varied, the ‘Wheel of purification’. As result, they are more prone to carry out rites of the animistic kind as ancestors can exist as any part of nature, given that souls are already part of the universe and need only to be purified. There has been some overlap between Kamisava and the Paths of the stargazers due to the proximity between the Empire and the Hegemony.

The Straits’s religion: it doesn’t have an official name as in theory is a branch of Universality, given that the region was originally colonized by people from Ionis. However it is a very syncretic religion that adds elements from the Kamisava –the reverence to ancestors- and the Paths of the stargazers –mainly the dreamwalking-  and even the Tempest concept of the freefolk religion and mixes it with a peculiar outlook of the death –a few people from the Straits have the ability of ghostsighting- that makes them celebrate it during the days of the year when the Tempest manifest. Their approach to life and death mostly comes from the fact that the Straits are a dangerous place to live –due the extreme weather and the proximity to the Wastelands.

Assuran religion: in old times was one of the most important human religions. Now it is only followed by the inhabitants of the Western Wastelands and the Cursed City of Meteora. At its apogee, it was highly organized, with thousands of warlock priests carrying out rites in front of multitudes. It was polytheistic in structure and many of its deities have been compared to what other religions call creature from the Infinity Pits but the Assuran called the Great Gods. Major gods include the Crawling Chaos and the Golden King while minor ones included the Bestial and the Narsubanipal. It was the main human religion that granted its followers magick channeling abilities through the use of drugs such as the murcana. At some point in history, its priests called on a sacred war against the freefolk that caused a transcontinental war, which ended with the fall of the Empire from which Meteora was capital and transforming its territory in a wasteland full of buried cities, unforgiving deserts and mutated beings. Outside the wastelands, the religion is found in small clusters of cultists such as the Brotherhood of Gadol or the Cult of the Deep God in the catacombs beneath Portis.

Other humans beliefs: There are other religions, such as those from the people of the Chains across the Core Ocean or the strange animistic religion of the people from the Grasslands or the lost religion of the Iskandar, however, those will be explored in another entry under minority religions further down the road.

Interesting fact(s): in Universality, the Universe or the consciousness that created it and maintains it is referred as ‘Her’, ‘Mother’ or ‘Kaana’ and considers it an actual being. It also preaches reincarnation and rebirth into a second or third human life as a way to balance the scales across ages.

*Universality has their own version of clerical exorcists, but they usually work undercover rather than in the open as demonhunters and usually are less ‘physical’ in combat.

Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 2: Samoharo religions.

For Part 1: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 1: an introduction


The samoharo, secretive as they are, live their reptilian lives mostly within the territory of the southwestern continent of Genis, naming their land ‘The Hegemony’. Few is know of their religious beliefs, but the generalities can be talked about.

Paths of the stargazers: the main religion (but not the only one) of the Samoharo Hegemony. It is deeply entwined with the magical beliefs of the samoharo and as such, their religious caste is as well their main –if not only- magical practitioners. It combines aspects of their more tribal customs such as pathfinding, dreamwalking and stargazing with the teachings of that who they call ‘The Prophet’ that in a far flung past united both samoharo races in a single nation in order to avoid extinction. Samoharos believe that they came from the stars, like the dragons before them and their destiny is to join the universe and the stars.

The prophet they follow, ‘the Child of the Wind’, also known as the ‘Feathered Dragon’ taught them the ‘Paths’, mostly composed of solidarity, honor and patience and communion with the planet as they see taking care of Theia (or any other planet) as part of the Path to reunite with the stars. Stars then take the role of deities, the ‘godstars’, of which the samoharo have several that represent certain aspects of time and space and thus have their own Path, explained by the Prophet. Some variants of the Paths found within the Hegemony practice bloodletting sacrifices -as in an individual offering a few drops of their blood to a particular star- as to empower certain spells.

Each samoharo tribe or clan tends to follow a particular Path of a godstar, each representing an element of nature. However, the Paths are flexible and individuals are welcomed to follow more than one. The Path or combinations of them tend to affect life’s outlook of a particular individual.

The Windstar or Star of the Morning: mostly followed by the royal clan, teaches flexibility, wisdom, and leadership.

The Rainstar: teaches foresight, healing, and cleansing.

The Firestar or Sun: teaches honor, combat prowess, and personal improvement. Most warriors tend to follow this path.

The Grassstar: teaches the value of handcraftsmanship, taking care of the land, fertility, and family.

The Ghoststar: teaches dreamwalking, lore keeping, respect to the death, the ancestors and the spirit plane. Most priests follow this path, mixed with the one of the Rainstar.

Cult of the Smoking Mirror: samoharos are by nature very secretive and reclusive, thus there is little information on what this religion practices, it is believed that most militaristic samoharo follow it, believing that blood sacrifices will awaken some hidden power within the samoharo genetic code. It is said to be taught on the principles stated by the half-brother of the Child of the Wind and a godstar by himself by the name of the Mirrorstar. It started as a Path unto itself, but a schism separated it and made it a secret cult.

Interesting fact(s): The Paths have influenced the religious beliefs of the humans living in the Straits, specifically the Ghoststar path, evolving in a celebration of the death.

Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 1: an introduction


Talking about faith is always a tricky proposition, even if we are talking about fictional settings. However, I think that how a society relates to the greater mysteries of their world is a key element of world building because it affects how a character might react to certain events.

In the Tempest Blades universe, usually, there is little mention of religions and spiritual faiths, despite being a constant mention of a particular goddess. Even characters that don’t follow her cult mention her, but that is because she has been quite active in history. Other than her and perhaps the beliefs of fringe groups such as those sponsoring the villains, religion plays little to no role on how my characters act. There is a reason for that.

In most parts of Theia, religious beliefs tend to be a personal matter rather than something bigger. Religion is thus one of many defining characteristics but not a major one. There are, of course, organized religions and faiths. But in a world where magic can be used, where there are verified accounts of ‘demons’ & gods’, and certain degree of certainty about the existence of Hell & Heaven, religion takes a different role: instead of being used to explain random phenomena, it is used as a mean to find the place of a person of the universe or conversely, the relationship between a person and the universe. It doesn’t mean it has been always like that, in the past religious groups had a bigger impact in life, remnants of them can be seen in groups such as the Sisters of Mercy. However, by the time the stories take place, religion has become what I said, something more personal, even if a given person belongs to a particular congregation.

What defined the way a particular region or civilization of Theia developed a faith and later a religion depends on of a few factors: their ‘arrival myth’ & species they belong*, their relationship with the precursors known as akeleths**, how they fared during the age of the ‘mortal gods’*** and a few other factors as cultural mores, extradimensional incursions and the use of magic. In the following weeks, I will briefly explain a few of the major beliefs in Theia.

For Part 2: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 2: Samoharo religions.

For Part 3: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 3: Human Religions.

For Part 4: Faith in the Tempest Blades Universe Part 4: Freefolk religion & lost beliefs.


*Unlike our world, most of the species have arrival myths on par of creation myths. That is, along their myths on how the universe came to be, they have (and it plays a bigger role in certain sectors) an arrival myth that explains how that particular race got to be in Theia, as most recognize or at least begrudgingly suspect that none originated on the planet, but instead were transported there somehow, probably by the akeleth aeons ago.

**The akeleths (more on them in another post), are the mysterious precursor race that inhabited Theia in times beyond recording. It’s  fact they existed because their ruins still pepper the surface of the planet and some of the current technology the species have is derived from it. Freefolk believe they are as the forefathers, almost lesser gods related to their main Eight deities, with their ruins being sacred places for them; while humans find them an inscrutable mystery to be solved -especially when it comes to appropriate their technology-. Samoharos for their part find them strange and on par of the oldest beings in the universe.

*** The mortal gods is an age when certain individuals, probably demigods born from the younger species and the akeleth or the Eight of the freefolk, with the aim of protecting the younger species at the Dawn Age. However most became corrupted and regular mortals, helped by the Montoc Dragons and a few good Mortal Gods, hunted and killed them. The only mortal gods rumored to still be around -mostly inside Kuni territory- are the Storm God, the Shadowbreaker, the Twins of the Forge and the Makin.