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Weylines: Magic of the Cataclysm

Magic flows through the world. Even before the Cataclysm, and before the Vortex sparked massive flows of magical energy on Earth, there existed a sense of magic in all things. The flow of this magic, named after the Sintari word for magic (Wey), became weylines.

Weylines are crucial to understanding magic in the world of the Kat Drummond Series. They are the source of power for not only wizards, but also serve as energy for many creatures. It is clear from the books and other articles how weylines are channeled to feed wizardry, but not much has been said about how weylines form in the first place.

The essence of weylines can be divided into three categories: power, flow and purity.

Power

The power of the weyline measures how much magical energy exists within a geographical location. This power is determined by a few factors.

  • Proximity to places of power (such as the Vortex, the Titan under the Mountain, and Mt Olympus).
  • A history of use. Weylines can be strengthened by repeated use. Like exercising the environment.
  • And how recently the weyline has been used.

Weylines are renewable, but their power takes time to recharge. Think of places of power as the source of magical energy. On post-Cataclysmic Earth, most weylines originate from the Vortex in Siberia, but some also originate in other places of power that pre-date the Cataclysm, such as Table Mountain, due to the imprisoned Adamastor. Places of power can also be created through intense ritual and cosmic events; which scholars still do not fully understand.

Places of power feed weylines their magic, and wizards who use the magic drain it through its use. Like a bucket of water being drunk from, while it is also being filled up again from a tap.

Wizards using a weyline also strengthen this bucket, however, by stretching its capacity and exercising its uses. So, places with many wizards tend to become stronger weylines in time.

Flow

To continue comparing magic to water: if weylines are the bucket or a lake, and places of power are the tap, then there needs to be a flow connecting them. This flow represents the distance and obstacles between a source of magic and the destination weyline. Weylines with many obstacles also reduce the capacity of a weyline.

Distance is easier to understand. The further from the Vortex you are, the harder it is to channel the Vortexes magic. But natural and manmade barriers also have a role in inhibiting and directing the flow of magic.

Natural flows, like rivers, can carry weyline energy. The Nile river, for instance, carries large quantities of magic to its adjacent weylines.

In urban centres, large buildings and slums can block weyline flow. This is why the slums surrounding Hope City tend to have weak weylines despite their proximity to the Titan.

In creating an environment where magic can flow freely and empower weylines, it is important to keep in mind natural barriers, natural transit points (like rivers) but also the principles of Feng Shui.

Feng shui and other arts of shaping our environments help magical energy flow easier, increasing the flow of magic within a weyline and out of it.

Some greedy wizards don’t want to share, of course, and it is a valid strategy to block off access to places of power through intentionally violating the principles of Feng Shui. The Three Point Line in the State of Good Hope intentionally blocks weyline flow into the neighbouring Zulu Empire. A matter of contention between the states.

Purity

Finally, a weyline has its own nature. It can be dark, light or in between. The nature and purity of a weyline determines what type of magic is effectively cast there. Light magic struggles to be cast in dark weylines, and dark magic struggle to be cast in light weylines. The purity of a weyline also has a tangible effect on the environment. Magical smog, the smell of burnt rubber and an invisible sense of menace hangs over dark weylines, while light weylines encourage the growth of nature and boost its residents’ immune systems.

The psyche of people is also affected by their weyline. Dark weylines breed discontent and abuse. Light weylines encourage goodliness.

The purity of a weyline is initially affected by what type of magic is cast there. Dark magic darkens weylines. Light magic lightens weylines. But other things also affect purity.

Repeated acts of violence, poverty, suffering and abuse can darken a weyline. Even pollution, such as manmade smog and sewage, can darken a weyline.

On the other hand: nature, plant-life and the presence of good fae like pixies clean up weylines of darkness and bring them towards a neutral or even light-level of purity. Fae have become an important part of the magical ecosystem on Earth for this service but are hated by practitioners of dark magic as a result.

Conclusion

I hope this article has enriched your knowledge and experience of Post-Cataclysm Earth and the Kat Drummond Series. While I don’t feel this knowledge is required to understand or enjoy the series, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit more about this world. Maybe, in time, you’ll come to be an expert on wizardry as much as Pranish and Candace.

If you haven’t read the Kat Drummond Series, make sure to check out book 1, Part-Time Monster Hunter, now!

What Kat Drummond Series Character are you?


Adamastor: The Titan Under the Mountain

Readers of Kat Drummond will be familiar with the ominous and powerful Titan Under the Mountain. In the books, the titan Adamastor is a dreadful force of nature that almost destroyed Hope City during the start of the Cataclysm. Now, he is kept asleep by an army of skilled mages. A cult has formed that reveres the titan and prays that he will never awake.

It may surprise some readers to learn that Adamastor is real. Okay, not real, but he is based on mythology from real life.

Adamastor is a character from the Portuguese poet Luís de Camões‘s epic poem Os Lusíadas. In it, Adamastor is portrayed as a titan of Greek myth, who was banished to the Cape of Good Hope by the sea goddess Doris as punishment for falling in love with her daughter Tethis.

Early explorers to the Cape were wracked by sea storms, granting the Cape it’s other name: the Cape of Storms. Camões explains this by personifying the storms as Adamastor, who claims the Cape and Indian Ocean as his domains, destroying anyone attempting to cross it with terrible storms.

“Even as I spoke, an immense shape
Materialised in the night air,
Grotesque and enormous stature
With heavy jowls, and an unkempt beard
Scowling from shrunken, hollow eyes
Its complexion earthy and pale,
Its hair grizzled and matted with clay,
Its mouth coal black, teeth yellow with decay.”

— Camões, The Lusiads Book V

While Adamastor is a force of primordial power and rage in the books, he does have a sense of reason in the poem. The Portuguese sailors are eventually able to convince him to let them pass, and Adamastor agrees to open the way to India.

“I am that vast, secret promontory
you Portuguese call the Cape of Storms
which neither Ptolemy, Pompey or Strabo,
Pliny, nor any authors knew of.
Here Africa ends. Here its coast
Concludes in this, my vast inviolate
Plateau, extending southwards towards the Pole
And, by your daring, struck to my very soul.”

— Camões, The Lusiads Book V

Adamastor has become a strong allegory for the dangers Portuguese sailors had to face around the Cape of Storms, but also on their journey in general. It is a fascinating myth and story and one that has become a big part of the Kat Drummond Universe.

Goldfield and the Extermination Corps

In 1991, the world changed. The Vortex opened. Magic and monsters came flooding into our world. In past articles, I have described a timeline of two other Southern African nations: the State of Good Hope and the Zulu Empire. All articles, including this one, should be read to get the full picture of South Africa’s history after the Cataclysm.

The Goldfield Magocracy

The tale of Goldfield starts on the 18th of November 1993, after 156 protesters were killed by occupying Zulu Empire forces after protesting the annexation of South Africa and the slaughter of not only the government, but the leaders of many liberation movements and political parties.

After the massacre of protesters, the surviving leadership of a collection of trade unions, political parties, business leaders and military officers formed an organisation known as Goldfield, named after the building where the leaders met in Johannesburg.

At this meeting, the Goldfield Movement was formed to combat Zulu occupation and reinstate the sovereign nation of South Africa back to its original borders. But as mass protest action had been shown to be too risky, Goldfield decided to take the war underground. The Goldfield insurgency began and undertook a campaign of sabotage against the Empire. Supply lines were bombed, key figures assassinated, weapons stolen, and insurgents planted throughout the Empire’s administration.

Goldfield made rapid gains, as the South African Defence Force (SADF) in the Cape distracted Zulu forces, allowing the Movement to grow considerably. This pressurised the Zulu Empire, culminating in the Zulu Emperor making a deal with the Izingane Zgazi vampire clan and a cabal of necromancers called Shaka’s Chosen.

Vampire assassins and undead death-squads were sent into Gauteng, slaughtering Goldfield insurgents and innocent civilians. Combined with facing Zulu sorcerers, Goldfield was losing the war.

With its agents being hunted by sorcerers and vampires, and civilians being hounded by demons, undead and other monsters, Goldfield’s council of activists, officers and leaders decided to setup two wings of the Movement: the Mage Corps and the Extermination Corps. The latter will be explained in detail in the next section.

With the role of combatting enemy mages and monsters, respectively, the two new wings helped turn the tide of the war, allowing the Movement to make huge gains and relieve pressure from the SADF.

Eventually, the State of Good Hope was founded and the SADF was disbanded and replaced by the Cape Defence Force (CDF), which cancelled its attempts to re-establish South Africa as a state. The Goldfield Movement on paper was still dedicated to a united South Africa, but the brutality of the rebellion had eliminated much of its idealism. What mattered was keeping the people of Gauteng alive while ousting the occupiers.

The years that followed were slow and violent. The Zulu Empire quashed uprisings while continuing to hunt down Goldfield agents. Vampires continued to ravage Gauteng, causing massive ghoul outbreaks that the Extermination Corps strived to end. While the Extermination Corps and Mage Corps were making huge gains in their wars, the majority of the Movement was flagging.

Seeing weakness in the Movement’s leadership, the Mage Corps took over the Goldfield Movement in 1999. While the coalition government of 1993 had rejected the Zulu King’s ultimatum, and died for it, the leaders of Goldfield now understood the power of magic. They accepted the coup without resistance.

The Goldfield Movement, in all but name, became the Magocracy – ruled by mages who believed themselves to be the only ones capable of winning freedom for their land.

To prove the effectiveness of their new leadership, the Mage Corps sent a crack team of mages and assassins to the Zulu capital in Ulundi, where the Zulu Emperor Ukuhleleka I was training with his elite bodyguard. The mage-assassins neutralised the guards and before the emperor knew he was under attack, he was decimated by a united attack made up of corruption, pyromancy, cryomancy, geomancy and bullets.

Ukuhleleka II took the throne, but his rule was weak. Taking advantage of the assassination, the CDF pushed past the Three Point Line, and the Goldfield Magocracy activated all of its rebel cells, taking the province of Gauteng and defeating its occupiers.

Split on two sides, and facing internal strife, the Zulu Emperor was unable to stop the Magocracy from not only securing Gauteng, but reaching out and taking the Free State, North-West Province and parts of the Northern Cape. When the CDF retreated in 2002, Goldfield had a secure bulwark and massive professional armed forces to sustain conflict until 2006, when the Zulu Empire recognised their sovereignty and peace was declared.

But just because the war ended didn’t mean that enmities stopped. Skirmishes still erupt between Goldfield and the Empire to this day. But the biggest conflict is within the Magocracy. There is a deep and seething resentment against the Empire and its allies, and this has manifested in pogroms against Zulus and non-human sentients.

The Magocracy maintains authority over its territory of the north of what was South Africa with the use of magic, corporatist relations and underground operations to eliminate malcontents and enemies. While life under the Magocracy isn’t overtly oppressive, it is not a democracy, and only those well-connected with the ruling mages will find any success in politics.

Life continues in the Magocracy, and it has grown since the peace of 2006. New frontiers are gained every day in the Cataclysm Badlands of Southern Africa, and the Magocracy promises peace and safety to those under its arcane authority. But is the cost worth it?

A rough map of South Africa as of 2035.

The Extermination Corps

In the shadow of the Cataclysm and the Empire, monsters ravaged the land. Entire cities were left defenceless as their police and military guardians were embroiled in a brutal civil war. This left all manner of undead, demons and beasts to run rampant. All this was exacerbated by the use of vampires and monsters by the Empire to crush the Goldfield Movement.

In response to this monstrous threat, the Extermination Corps was founded. It had a simple prerogative: Slay monsters. Protect humanity. Survive.

The Extermination Corps grew quickly, as war orphans and volunteers flocked to its blank banner. The Corps had no symbol. No emblem. No official insignia. All that denoted membership to its ranks was a tattoo on one’s arm. Two numbers. A division and one’s number in that division.

The Corps started with a skeleton crew of ex-soldiers and police but grew as volunteers were recruited. These volunteers came to be almost exclusively the survivors of monster attacks, and often orphans. Volunteers were often as young as 13 years old.

The modus operandi of the Corps was to recruit survivors at the scene of the attack, after exterminating the assailant. Desperate for revenge, most survivors would join the ranks of monster hunters.

But what they often found was more than revenge. They found a place they belonged. The only people who understood the loss they felt. And the only people they believed were doing something about it.

The Corps’ leadership and members ignored the affairs of the Magocracy, and the mages in charge allowed them to persist as they also felt a resentment towards the monsters and non-humans who had hunted them during the civil war. The Corps ignored the 1999 coup and the mages appreciated their abstention, as it served as passive support. As a result, the Extermination Corps was given increased funding and came to be more well-funded than the police force.

An insignia that would have been worn by some members of the infamous Extermination Corps. While not an official symbol, many of the so-called Defangers would have worn this symbol or had it tattooed on their body, alongside their Corps numerical designation.

Until 2015, when the international community uncovered the Extermination Corps work in executing mass swathes of fae, elves, dryads, goblins, orcs, vampires, werewolves and other sentient non-humans. The international community was outraged and demanded that the Corps be disbanded.

It was – at least officially. While now illegal, the police and influential mages in the Magocracy still supported the cause, and continued funding the Corps. It now acted in the shadows. Without legal oversight or official authority, it was now unchained. During these years, it began to drift from being a military organisation to becoming part warrior order, part cult, part family.

“We sacrifice everything
To avenge the fallen
To purify the world
Of the monsters and the demons.
Never forget
Earth is ours
And we will retake our world.
The darkness holds no terror
That the light cannot purify.
And the Corps will outlast the end of the world.” – Oath of the Extermination Corps

The Corps formulated its own doctrine, philosophy, moral system and unique hierarchy. Rather than being a special police force, the Corps became a body dedicated to vengeance and finding meaning in a world where all one had loved has been brutally killed.

The Corps used child soldiers, but it wasn’t simple exploitation. Every soldier consented. And the dangers of the Corps was not slavery, over-discipline or carnage – it was that the Corps became the only thing that many people had left. They grew a true dependency on the Corps. Every single person from soldier to leader relied on the Corps as their family and community.

For a Corpsman, there was only the Corps and their vendetta. And for many, this was the limits of their world. It was hard to escape the cycle of hatred. But there was also love. Corpsman were united, understanding, and loyal.

While the Corps was divided into specialist squads facing down different monsters (what they called ‘vendettas’), the Corps acted as a monolithic entity. Its members acted in accordance with that idea. All that mattered was the Corps, because the Corps was all they had left. And it would outlast the world.

But it didn’t.

In 2030, the Extermination Corps was shutdown after its key leaders were arrested and all its funding cut-off. The Magocracy police took over monster hunting duties, and the Extermination Corps was expunged from the national memory of the Magocracy – painted in the same brush as the SS in post-WW2 Germany.

But the members of the Corps live on, and they are dedicated to their oaths. While they now call themselves the Silver Brotherhood, or the Defangers, or any other monicker, the Extermination Corps lives on in the hearts and traumatised dreams of its surviving members. And it will outlast the Cataclysm, and the end of the world.

Teri Tenweeve (D&D Character)

Aye, lads and ladies, it is time to gather ‘round the hearth. Stow your pipes and fill ye tankards and ale-horns. Kids, ye also gather around. Lilli! Get me some mead while ye at it. Aye, women. Tis a long tale and I’ll need something to wet me gullet.

Everyone else ready? Great!

Our tale begins on these very isles we call home. What the outsiders call the Moonshae Isles. But us ffolk have always just called it home. In times past, our wonderful isles were beset by war. That is in the past now, and we have our wonderful High Queen Alicia Kendrick to thank for that. Earthmother bless her.

But violence still comes to our villages. And even so great a ruler as the High Queen can’t keep us all safe. And it was on a fateful moonless night, that monsters came to our village. This was before a lot of you were born. But your older brothers and sisters will remember them.

Wreathed in fire, the fiends were. With red skin, dripping blood and goo. It was a disgusting sight! And I will spare ye the gory details. Ye parents won’t forgive, little ones, if I kept ye awake all night. So, it is sufficient to say that the monsters had come to Caer Tenweeth. And a night of horror it was.

Until the sky went white in the moonless sky. Aye…I remember that light like it was the night before. It was bright. Brighter than any light I ever seen. But it didn’t hurt to look at it. And us on the ramparts looked up at it. We forgot about the fiery blighters at the gates. That light gave us a hope. And listen ye young and old – there ain’t nothing as powerful as hope.

The fiends froze in their tracks at the coming of the light, and then we heard an ear-shattering boom! Thunder. But thunder unlike any of us had ever heard before. And with it, the monsters and fiends turned to ash.

But we were too dumbstruck to cheer at our fortune, for a blessed angel hovered with wings of splendid gold and white, just over Caer Tenweeth. Now, Lilli here is pretty…yes, ye are! But this angel was like nothing else. I cannot describe her, for I know I cannot do her visage justice.

She landed among us ugly fools, and with a smile, released any bit of hate we may have had in our hearts then. It was there that our tale truly begins, for she passed to me among the crowd a blanket. And swaddled inside the blanket was but a wee one. A wee one that many of you may know. But for the benefit of the young, let us not spoil this story.

The angel spoke to us in a voice that sounded like ambrosia. It might’ve been. She said her name was Concordia. And she said this:

“You hold in your arms one of my blood. And for granting protection to these lands, I ask only that you grant protection to her. To raise her as one of your own. Her name is Tereal, but you may call her by a name that will less suspicion.”

I nodded dumbly at that time, but do not judge me, children. I was a younger man, and even the oldest among us fainted.

Since then, as ye’ll know, Concordia has guarded these lands from fiends, the undead and other monstrosities. And in exchange for her devotion, this village housed a little baby, with shining amber eyes, skin almost as pale as snow, raven black hair, and an energy we only began to discover years afterwards.

We called her Teri. For Tereal was much too big a name for a wee one. And soon, the village became her family. No one thought of her looks as odd. For, to us, they weren’t. She was just Teri. The baby that an angel gave us.

An Aasimar Paladin concept art that was the inspiration behind Teri’s appearance. (http://thrythlind.blogspot.com/2017/10/arcane-templar-scourge-aasimar-devotion.html)

As Teri grew older, her friendliness increased. And why wouldn’t it? She knew Caer Tenweeth, and we were all good to her. At first because Concordia gave her to us. But as time grew on – because she was our little Teri.

As Teri hit 14 years of age, she was no longer our little Teri. She was taller than all her age. Something about her blood, we guessed. But her friendliness and energy hadn’t abated. She was always eager to help any of us, taking turns sleeping in every house in the village. And don’t think her a vagabond! She worked off all debts, even though we gave her none.

The years went on, and Teri was the only evidence we had of Concordia’s visit. We sometimes told her about the angel who had left her. She would shrug and say: “I know. She tells me.”

Concordia spoke to her, apparently. When I asked her what the angel said, she only grinned, and replied:

“She tells me to do what’s right.”

And I’d ask: “And? Are you?”

“She hasn’t told me I’m not yet.”

An age passed, and Teri eventually came of age. I feared for the lass, as most of her friends had been married already. And while the boys liked our resident angel-born, they would never dare to court her.

But I feared in vain, as Teri came to each of us in the village one by one, thanking us and letting us know she would be back to visit soon.

Forgive my sniffles here, for it is never nice to watch a child leave the nest. And Teri was all our children. But she was ready to leave the village. She told us that she needed to complete her Oath, and that the world was a large place, so she best start early.

I found out soon after she left that she had been training with the sheriff with spear and shield. She was going out into the world to fight. Like Concordia…I presume…

Yes…yes. I’m okay.

That was not the last we heard of Teri, thank the Earthmother. For we received letters back over the years that followed. Letters from her. Letters from her new friends. She’d gone out into the world and befriended more villages, making new families, and protecting them from evil.

I’m not going to lie to ye. A part of me wishes that Teri would come back home. But I know that she’s got an important job out there. The world is full of darkness, wee ones. And Teri is doing her best to give a little light.

“Oi, Ewan. Ye telling tall tales again?” Teri grinned that infectious grin, stowed her glaive and shield by the tavern’s entrance, and embraced those she had left behind. “I’m home. I told ye I’d be back.”

Teri Tenweeve’s Stats

Teri Tenweeve is an Aasimar Paladin following the Oath of Devotion, with the blood of the angel Concordia running through her veins. A combination of her celestial origin and humble background compelled Teri to seek out adventure and friendship far afield.

Teri is trusting, loyal, protective and generous. But her boundless energy is just as easily channelled into slaying fiends and evil men than it is to playing with peasant children or drinking with the farmhands.

Teri has gone out into the world, far from home, to fight evil where she can and save those who deserve to be saved. But while she believes all people deserve redemption, her angelic patron and her own experiences have led her to never trust traitors, and to seldom every forgive them.

Teri is quick to befriend but can hold her own when friendship isn’t enough. More than one fiend has fallen on the blade of her glaive. And many more will. For Aasimar live a long time, and Teri isn’t close to tiring.

For those familiar with D&D, her character sheet is attached.

Art by Kaiz0 and WotC. (https://www.deviantart.com/kaiz0/art/Magic-the-Gathering-Tactics-online-Serra-Angel-375190338)

What type of character would you like to see me create? Also, if you like my writing, make sure to check out Part-Time Monster Hunter, an urban fantasy about a university student who hunts monsters to pay the bills.

Two Nations of the Cataclysm: Empire and Anubis

Continuing the series of nations after the Cataclysm comes only two in this article, as there was a lot of information for the Zulu Empire. Remember to suggest which nations you would like to see featured by leaving a comment below.

Zulu Empire

In 1991, South Africa was facing a crossroads. While Apartheid had not yet formally ended, the country was in the throes of intense negotiation between liberation movements, politicians and civic society. In the back-drop, a low-key civil war was raging between tribalistic factions and recently decriminalised anti-Apartheid groups.

When the Vortex opened and the Cataclysm arrived, South Africa did not get to choose its own way at the crossroads. Martial law was declared, and an interim parliament and cabinet was appointed from key figures of the previous government and new liberation movements. Apartheid was ended by decree as the country faced the new threat of magic and monsters.

This martial law persisted in name only until 1993. The country was ruled by chaos, informal civil war, sorcerer warlords and hordes of monsters.

On the 10th of May 1992, the Zulu King and his heirs were killed by opportunistic criminals, backed by a sorcerer warlord. With the royal line severed, leaders elected a new man to take the place of the murdered royal family.

On the 15th of May 1992, King Ukuhleleka I was crowned. He was a decisive leader, unsatisfied with waiting for the national government to bring order. He commanded great respect among the disparate groups of the Zulu people, in part due to his sorcery and also due to his sheer drive and natural authority.

Zulu political groups, unions and outlying tribes were brought into the fold and either consensually or forcibly came in line under the King’s absolutist vision for a new Kingdom. Migrant workers, previously living far from the Zulu homeland, rushed home to be a part of the new King’s vision.

The creation of a Zulu military was an open secret, which the national government didn’t even attempt to stop, as they faced a breakdown in society.

This new military and the subsequent creation of local militia under a system of decentralised chieftaincies that all owed absolute fealty to the King, brought order and relative peace to the Zulu territories. Many policemen quit their jobs and joined the unofficial law enforcement of the King.

While the rest of the country was facing complete turmoil, worse than civil war in some instances, the Zulu territories were peaceful and prosperous. Seeing this, the King approached the government of South Africa and asked for a position in cabinet. He was refused – he suspects due to fear, spite and tribal conflict.

On the 11th of October 1993, the King led an army of 15 000 impi (warriors) to the South African capital of Pretoria. The Zulu King and his personal bodyguard (the Untouched), stormed the Union Building during a cabinet meeting. The King gave the government an ultimatum:

“Accept me as Emperor, as God has decreed, and I will save this country. We will know peace and prosperity. Our children will be able to live in safety. God knows this. My people know it. And I give you all a chance to know it for yourselves. Allow me to save this country, or die here.”

The cabinet refused and the King killed them all with a flash of immense power, leaving nothing but ash. The already large force of 15 000 was reinforced by others, including groups from the army and police who agreed with the newly crowned Zulu Emperor.

Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous and richest province, was annexed and the Emperor didn’t delay sending out his commanders to secure the rest of South Africa. A large army was sent west, towards the Cape.

The army pressed unopposed up until Port Elizabeth, where it met a concerted defence by the remainders of the South African Defence Force (SADF). The Zulu army was larger, more well-trained, and had superior access to sorcerers and mages. The SADF was crushed and had to pull back.

The Zulu advance was halted not by the SADF, but by trouble in Gauteng. Mass protest action had erupted as a result of Zulu occupation. This came to a bloody head on the 18th of November 1993, when 156 protesters were killed, and thousands were injured in clashes with Zulu impi. The protesters that survived went underground, forming a group that came to be known as Goldfield.

With this insurgent group at home, and increasing monster attacks, not to mention surviving SADF troops constantly probing for weaknesses, the Emperor’s forces were in danger on all sides.

In 1994, the Emperor struck a deal with two warlord dynasties – an Earthborn Vampire clan called the Izingane Zgazi and a cabal of Necromancers who had formed an army of the undead that came to be called Shaka’s Chosen.

The vampires and necromancers plunged into both Gauteng to hunt down insurgents, and towards the SADF front. The new forces were brutal and came to be known to kill Zulu troops alongside actual enemies. Yet, they were effective.

Goldfield attacks and an attempted coup in the heart of the Zulu homeland resulted in forces being pulled back. The SADF pressed forward and made it to Port Elizabeth once again, until they were decimated by the vampires and necromancers.

The surviving forces pulled back to a series of bridges called the Three Point Line, which they manage to hold against the Zulu Empire to this day.

Upon the Western Cape seceding under Peter Jacob’s new idea of political reformation, the Zulu Empire halted their advance towards the Three Point Line and began to consolidate their captured territories – putting down rebellions throughout the Eastern Cape and northern provinces.

Goldfield insurgency never stopped, sapping Empire resources. The use of vampiric assassins to track down the rebels started to result in many dead vampires, as Goldfield developed the Extermination Corps, dedicated to eliminating vampires and monsters.

In 1999, the biggest blow to Zulu imperial authority was dealt. While on manoeuvres with his Untouched, Emperor Ukuhleleka I was assassinated by the Mage Corps of the Goldfield Movement. His son, Ukuhleleka II took the throne immediately, but was not as fierce as his father.

The Cape Defence Force (CDF) pushed past the Three Point Line for the first time since 1993 and the Goldfield Movement came out of hiding and decisively took over Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Ukuhleleka II split his forces too thinly to attempt to combat both the CDF and to retake Pretoria and Johannesburg. The CDF managed to make it all the way to East London, where it stopped due to overstretched supply-lines.

The Zulu army faced profound defeat when attempting to re-take the Gauteng territories, and were pushed south until Goldfield owned the old territories of Gauteng, North West and the Free State.

CDF forces were only dislodged after Ukuhleleka II made a deal with the vampire clans, granting them power to rival his own over the Eastern Cape. He accepted. Vampire armies stormed the Eastern Cape.

In 2002, the CDF retreated back to the Three Point Line and accepted a ceasefire with the Zulu Empire. Conflict continued between Goldfield and the Empire until 2006, when a formal treaty was established, and the Empire agreed to recognise the Goldfield Magocracy as a sovereign state.

The Zulu Vampire Clans ruthlessly rule over the Eastern Cape, causing the international community to harshly condemn the Empire, but despite Ukuhleleka II not being his father, the Empire’s military was still the largest, most advanced and readiest armed forces in Southern Africa. International condemnation was hot air.

While skirmishes have persisted between the CDF, Goldfield, Lesotho, Swazi and other groups against the Zulu Empire, the Empire has remained as a regional hegemon. A constant in the world after the Vortex.

Anubite Syndicate

While Odin was elected democratically to what became the Scandinavian League, and most of the Greek god trapped on Earth have kept quiet, the Egyptian god Anubis was not content to live as equals with the denizens of Earth.

Immediately after the Vortex opened, Anubis found himself in the nation of Egypt. Without a care for learning Earth’s customs, he summoned forth a horde of demonic Anubites to serve in his army. This army tore across Egypt, ravaging the countryside and securing strategic locations near the Nile, which was revealed later to be a powerful weyline.

Anubis’ conquest was halted, however, by the modern Egyptian military. While Anubites were strong, they were not well-armed and could do nothing against modern soldiers. Anubis had to prey on civilians to feed his forces.

This marauding continued until 1996, when a coalition of nations aided Egypt against Anubis, crushing his forces. He disappeared into obscurity, where he came into contact with a cult that had formed in his honour. Intrigued by these holy images of himself, he agreed to learn Earthly languages and ways. He learnt of technology and why his efforts at conquest were thwarted.

In 2001, Anubis formalised his cult into the Anubite Syndicate. With the help of fanatics, planted inside the Egyptian military, he trained his own human army of mages and soldiers, backed by his Anubite army.

In 2002, a military coup weakened the Egyptian army and government, allowing Anubis to come out of hiding. He secured major cities throughout the country, killing all those who opposed him.

In 2004, the whole of Egypt was conquered by the Anubite Syndicate. Coalitions of neighbouring nations attempted to fight the threat but were unable to fully occupy Egyptian cities for long. By 2010, none of the coalition nations continued making an effort. Anubis became de facto leader of Egypt.

Following 2010, Anubis has struggled to expand his borders. His army relies mostly on a rich supply of weyline, limiting their ability to travel far away from the Nile. This has kept the region safe from his grasp.

Life for a human under the Anubite Syndicate is hard. Only a select elite are granted any sort of privilege but are still underneath Anubites on the national hierarchy. A race that has found the new nation pleasant, however, are wights – sentient undead. While unwelcome everywhere else, wights are seen as a natural elite in the Anubite Syndicate and given positions of power.

Anubis continues to rule the Anubite Syndicate with an iron fist and has never stopped his lusting for more territory. One day, he may build an army that can trek far past his own borders. And when that day comes, will the world be ready to face him?

Read more about life after the Cataclysm in the Kat Drummond series, available now.

Three Nations of the Cataclysm: Hope, Elves and Vikings

The events of the Cataclysm in the Kat Drummond series not only brought magic and monsters into the world, but also changed the fundamental political structures of Earth. While some governments and states survived, many were irreparably shifted and changed. While there are hundreds of states on Post-Cataclysm Earth, the following are some interesting nations mentioned in the books.

State of Good Hope

The vast majority of the Kat Drummond series is set in the State of Good Hope, often seen as the last democracy in Southern Africa. It is located in what was the Western Cape, a province of the Republic of South Africa. After a coup in 1993, the South African government was taken over by a Zulu-led military government with the purpose of reinstating order in an already chaotic country flung even further into chaos by the arrival of monsters and magic.

Cape Town, now named Hope City, was home to South Africa’s parliament, while the main cabinet and transitional government was stationed up north in Pretoria. The surviving parliament declared themselves the South African government in exile and engaged in some brutal clashes with the newly proclaimed Zulu Empire. The weaker forces of the surviving South African army were pushed back, shrinking the borders of the Western Cape.

The Cape government couldn’t afford to dedicate much to the war effort, as Table Mountain (a natural wonder and centrepiece of Cape Town) was revealed to be the ancient tomb of a primordial titan named Ademastor. The titan began to awake. Only the swift intervention of some quickly trained mages kept the titan asleep. Now, the Titan Citadel and Titan Cult serve to keep the Titan Under the Mountain asleep.

In 1996, the acting president of the Cape government went behind the parliament’s back and contracted the services of a circle of lawmancers. He used a series of magically-binding contracts and charters to create a semi-sentient Spirit of the Law. This spirit would defend his vision of a new state. The State of Good Hope. With it, he made his own vision of government magically binding under pain of execution by a litigious elemental.

Peter Jacobs was murdered for his actions by a disgruntled member of parliament, but it was too late. South Africa’s government-in-exile was now serving in a new state, with a new system of government and new names.

Now, the State of Good Hope controls much of the Western Cape, up until a series of fortifications on the eastern border called the Three Point Line. A tenuous truce with the Zulu Empire and Goldfield Magocracy has allowed the small-state to thrive economically, as the Titan has become a focus for many powerful weylines, attracting mages and corporations from all over the world.

But Hope City’s wealth isn’t immediately apparent. In the days of total warfare, countless South Africans had flooded into Hope City, creating an unsustainable sprawl that came to be dominated by gangs, magical warlords and monsters. With an apathetic and corrupt government, not much has been done to address this issue.

And for those who live in the better parts of Hope City, they tend not to care. But for those who have seen the sprawling slums, they know that it is knocking on the gates of Hope City proper. And the horrors it contains will not be contained forever.

Scandinavian League

Many gods of myth became trapped on Earth as freak rifts brought them here and the collapse of efficient riftmancy prevented them from coming home. Many tried to dominate Earth by force of arms. Some, like Anubis, succeeded. Others became depressed and went into hiding. But for Odin and Thor, trapped on Earth while their realms faced Ragnarok, they attempted to make the most of their new lot.

In 1996, after liberating large portions of Norway of monsters, Odin ran for prime minister of Norway. He won, democratically, and started a reign so successful that only a god could be expected to have achieved it. While Europe was awash with monsters and warfare, Norway returned to its pre-Cataclysm peace. The boons of the Vortex were harnessed, and Norway became a champion of what a modern state should look like – embodying Norse virtues such as honour, tempered with modern notions of diplomacy and progress.

In 1997, Denmark held a referendum. The decision to merge with Norway was unanimously accepted. The Scandinavian League was born. Sweden followed. Then Finland. Followed by Iceland.

The Scandinavian League engaged in its first international drama in 2002, when territories held by the Russian Federation, including the populations of St Petersburg, insisted on joining the League, the military government of Russia refused. The army was sent into the protesting territories and there were civilian casualties.

Odin gave the Russian government an ultimatum:

“Allow your people to choose their own path. Or meet your ancestors in Valhalla.”

The Russian government were strictly Orthodox and didn’t acknowledge the existence of Valhalla, thinking Odin and Thor were just very convincing con-men who had duped the entire region. They were mistaken.

Thor, and his newly formed group of heroes called the Thunder Corps, infiltrated Russian borders and made it into Moscow, where they abducted the President of the Federation. Showing the effectiveness of such a surgical team, and having the leader of Russia in custody, the Russian government accepted Odin’s ultimatum.

Odin showed massive restraint in this border dispute but explained his reasoning. Russia, despite its immaturity, had an important role to play on Earth. It was the protector of the Vortex. And a Scandinavian invasion of the protector state would be as scandalous as a Catholic nation invading the Vatican.

In the decades that followed, the League has served as an important power broker in Europe, acting as peacekeepers and ensuring that the European states would finally settle down. Only in 2030 is this benevolent role in Europe been threatened. A coalition of European warlords and republics have reformed the Holy Roman Empire, and if the rumours are true, the cabal that runs it from the shadows could come to threaten even Odin himself.

New Sintar

Not all refugees from the worlds beyond the In Between were content to remain destitute and homeless on Earth. The proud elves of Sintar were initially scattered across the world, but starting in the early 2000s, began to rally to the northern island of New Zealand, where they established a large community. The surviving government of New Zealand was initially welcoming, but as the elvish population came to outnumber the humans, mandatory assimilation programs began.

The Sintari didn’t react well. Most of them refused to learn English, preferring to only speak their mother tongue. While there was some trade, specifically in the form of magical knowledge, relations became heated between the humans and elves.

In 2010, an elderly human living on the northern island was murdered by his Sintari neighbours after refusing to learn their language (New Zealand authorities allege that the man was deaf). Police were sent to the community and fired upon by Sintari militia and mages. Three policemen died.

In retaliation, an elf community in Wellington was attacked by human rioters. Houses and shops were torched, and, in rare occasions, elves were publicly executed by vigilantes.

While many elf communities in the north had not been united behind the Trennari, an organisation of Sintari militants, the pogroms led by out of control humans forced their hand. Overnight, Sintari communities executed any human found on the northern island. (There are, however, tales of elves saving their human neighbours, hiding them and sending them to the south where they would be safe)

The New Zealand army had been decimated by rift-surges and dealing with the more obvious monsters of the Cataclysm. Even then, a peace-keeping force was sent to the island. The elven forces had been underestimated. The Trennari had been stockpiling weapons and battle-scrolls for years. Perhaps decades. The peace-keeping forces were eliminated and the 1st Sintari-New Zealand War began.

Two years later, with the threat of a coalition of Australia, the Polynesian states and Japan, the Sintari and New Zealand agreed to a ceasefire. Prisoners of war were released. But New Sintar, the newly dubbed state, refused to give up their new territory. Not wanting to risk more genocide, the coalition of foreign states forced New Zealand to concede.

The northern island was now an elven land.

Skirmishes followed, even during peacetime, with fisherman from both sides vying for the same waters. In 2019, a new war began as the Sintari sent an invasion force across the Cook Strait. A hasty defence by the New Zealand and Australian navies stopped, the bulk of the invasion force, but a detachment managed to land and form a beachhead on Arapawa Island. The New Zealand army was unable to oust them, and the beachhead formed into a Sintari fortress and then settlement.

The 2nd Sintari-New Zealand war ended months after it started, with the Sintari disappointed by their lack of gains, but still the ultimate winner.

On the eve of the Kat Drummond series, the Sintari and New Zealand are facing tumultuous peace talks. Children born during the first war have come to expect to serve in the next. Many, on both sides, want peace.

But when both sides are filled with hate, and both sides refuse to give – can there be peace?

Conclusion

These were just three of the interesting developments in the world of Kat Drummond. What are some nations you would like to see? Let me know in the comments or by email. Would you like to explore more nations surrounding Kat’s home? The United (or are they now?) States of America? The New Holy Roman Empire? Let me know if you would like any of these, or if there’s another country you have in mind.

If you haven’t already, make sure to read the 5-chapter teaser to the Kat Drummond Series, available for free HERE. Kat Drummond’s major release is set for early 2020.

Gods and Legends in Post-Cataclysm Earth

Throughout our history, we have recognised the existence of gods, from the Olympians of Ancient Greece, the Asgardians of Norse mythology and the countless pantheons of our forebears. Much of these tales of heroes, gods and legend are mere mythology, but all myth has a grain of truth. After the Cataclysm, this grain of truth became a boulder in the case of some figures of legend.

The gods now walk among us. From Thor and Odin in the newly established Scandinavian League, to the Anubite Society in Egypt. There have been sightings of men, glowing divinely as they undertake impossible feats of strength, and a woman engaging in both fierce study and brutal warfare, accompanied by an owl.

The gods are not solely a post-Cataclysmic phenomenon. They have been to Earth before, informing human legend and society.

Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks had plenty of encounters with otherworlders of extreme power. Through intentional and accidental rifts, beings from the plane of Olympia entered our world and interacted with us. While not gods in the sense of omnipotent beings, the Olympians were immortals with extremely powerful sparks, allowing them to channel their internal energy into feats approaching godliness.

The Olympians made forays into our world, but seldom stayed long. They were content to meddle in human affairs, and then retreat back to their plane. Some became intimate with humans, but these occasions were relatively rare (still becoming the stuff of legends).

During the Cataclysm, riftmancy became highly volatile and Olympians who previously had adept control over rifts and crossing into other worlds found themselves trapped on Earth. Most of the Olympians on Earth have gone into hiding, fearing the powers of beings from other worlds that could potentially challenge them. This fear isn’t unfounded, as Hermes was struck down within years of being trapped on Earth by a cabal of sorcerers. Since then, the Olympians have kept a low profile.

The Norse Gods

Unlike the Olympians, the gods of Norse myth that found themselves trapped on Earth have been much more outgoing. Odin used his powers and gravitas to unite the ancestral territories of the people who once followed him – Scandinavia. His son, Thor, has devoted himself to the new Earthly profession of monster hunting, and has formed the top monster hunting guild in the world – the Thunder Corps.

Other Norse gods and their families have also found themselves trapped on Earth and have become figures of influence in Odin’s Scandinavian League.

“The Thunder Corps were legends. A top-level global agency run by Thor, the Norse God of Thunder himself. They handled the top missions and operations that this magical world could throw at them. When the legendary Fafnir decided to make Berlin into his own personal hoard, the Thunder Corps were the ones to send him spiralling into the abyss.” – Kat Drummond, Part-Time Monster Hunter

Conclusion

There exist plenty more gods and figures of human legend now trapped on Earth due to the Cataclysm. Many seek to find a way home, while others make a new home on our planet. While viewed as gods, and very powerful, they are not unstoppable – and most of them know this all too well.

It is this vulnerability that has been so poignant after the Cataclysm. We have discovered the flaws of our living legends, and it has revealed our own flaws to us. But in a way, this has made the legends more human. Sincerer. Perhaps, we can learn more from the fallible beings, once of myth, than the perfect heroes we had constructed based on trickery thousands of years ago. With this new knowledge, perchance we can do better than our fallen gods – or become even worse.

The Spark: Magic After the Cataclysm

It started with a spark. Nobody knows where this spark came from. Sure, they know it comes from the Vortex – the colossal tower of pure magical energy that sprung up in the Siberian tundra, giving way for the Cataclysm to occur – but where did it come from before then?

Some say it was here all along. Only hidden. It existed within the wind, the trees, the ocean depths and all elements that make up our world. It was a latent energy that only needed the spark of the Vortex to awaken – like the ignition of tinder.

Other experts argue that magic, the Spark, came from another world in the same manner as all the monsters and otherworldly beings. This world of magic is not a solid plane, like that of Earth, Olympia, the Norse worlds or the countless other planes bleeding onto Earth, but a dimension of pure energy – dripping said energy into our world like rain through a leak in the roof.

Regardless of the true origins of the Spark and the magic it enables, it is here now and humans need to understand it in order to use it.

The Human Spark

After the Vortex appeared, something started happening to seemingly random humans of all ages and backgrounds. They began to feel a well of power within themselves. A latent energy at their core. Through some cosmic fate or pure arbitrariness, some humans now had magic.

“It all started with a spark. The Spark. The Cataclysm didn’t start with monsters and demons. It started with humans. Glowing orbs rising from the hands of office workers, fireballs being flung by homeless people and an overwhelming arrogance by people who had gained immense power by sheer luck.” – Kat Drummond, Part-Time Monster Hunter.

People with a spark are called sorcerers. Sorcery, the term used for their type of magic, involves willpower and self-control to be able to harness their internal magic to do their bidding. This takes the form of controlling elements, manipulating the world around them or simply exerting pure power.

Not all sorcerers are created equally, however. Sorcerers have affinities – certain acts of magic that they naturally prefer. Some may feel an affinity to fire and become natural pyromancers. Others may be more comfortable harnessing their natural power to channel into more refined pursuits, like enchanting or divination.

Affinities aside, sorcerers also have varying levels of power. Initially, power levels were random. Spark is semi-hereditary, however. Strong sorcerers typically give birth to strong sorcerers and carry on a powerful magical bloodline. But, as is the case with all things, this isn’t always true. Some powerful sorcerer families will give birth to a weak sorcerer or, rifts forbid, a husk!

“Husk – a derogatory term for a non-sorcerer.”

An easy way to think about sorcerers and their spark is like a battery. They are their own battery and can harness their own magical energy to use as they will. Willpower and power willing, of course.

Spark is exhausted as a sorcerer uses it, simultaneously exhausting the user physically. After a rest, spark does replenish, in the same manner as stamina. It has been known for sorcerers to turn themselves into husks by over-exerting themselves on particularly harsh and powerful casts, however.

Weylines

The Vortex didn’t only place Spark in the core of humans, but also spread it across the world. Think of the Vortex like a waterfall of magical energy. Now imagine that waterfall snaking out, like rivers or tendrils throughout the world. These rivers of magical energy are called weylines.

When the big rift opened – the Vortex in Siberia – it released tendrils, like roots from a tree. These spread throughout the world. Where they passed, the new magic-users of the world felt immense power. These were dubbed weylines, inspired by the elves who subsequently colonised northern New Zealand and parts of Ireland. People flocked to weylines. Enchantments were stronger there. Magic-users flourished. And people in their vicinity just felt good. Weylines exuded a sense of purity. But not all weylines were good, and not all good weylines necessarily remained so.” – Kat Drummond, Part-Time Monster Hunter.

While sorcerers tap into their own magical reserves to use magic, wizardry is the complex art of tapping into weylines to use magic. This is a complicated process, requiring years of study, experimentation and knowledge. If sorcery is raw power, then wizardry is refined knowledge.

Wizardry, due to its refined nature, is a lot more focused and versatile than sorcery. While sorcerers are typically powerful, if blunt instruments, wizards can fine-tune their incantations and enchantments to suit very specific purposes. But they are limited. Wizards cannot use their magic everywhere. They require weylines of the appropriate type of energy and the knowledge to tap into the weyline and transfer that energy to a suitable incantation, rune or enchantment.

The most basic form of wizardry is incantation. Wizards can figure out how to voice their will into vocal totems or runes. These are called spells. If a wizard knows the words of a spell, they can channel a weyline into the spoken spell to cast it.

Most wizardry is done in the form of enchantment and runemancy. Objects are imbued with magical energy through the use of magical symbols, runes and circles of power. These can take the form of enchanting clothing to always stay dry, or vellum to carry a purifying aura to ward off evils spirits. Once created in a weyline, enchanted items can carry their magic anywhere – but this magic cannot be recycled, only destroyed.

Dark Magic

Weylines have characteristics. Simply: they can be good or bad. The nature of a weyline determines a number of things, but in relation to the topic of this article, weyline characteristics aid in what spells can be cast in it. In addition: the types of spells cast in a weyline determine its characteristics.

Spells of a good nature, like purification and healing magic, clean up a weyline and make it good. Creatures like pixies are also known to clean up weylines.

Spells of neutral characteristics, like elementalism, have no effect, positive or negative.

Dark magic, such as necromancy or demonology, corrupt weylines.

Weylines have profound effects on their denizens. People residing in corrupted weylines are more prone to depression, anger and random acts of violence and crime. Denizens of pure weylines are more likely to feel good and act good.

Conclusion

The Cataclysm, while decades old, is still a relatively new phenomenon. Magic is still an active school of study and much is still unknown about it. Perhaps, humans will discover its origins and nature in time, and with it, discover more about themselves and their interaction with this new power.

Hopefully, with this knowledge, humans will gain the wisdom to not use magic as yet another tool to destroy each other.

Announcing Part-Time Monster Hunter

The Warpmancer Series has reached its ninth book, available September 4th. For fans of my science fiction epic, I hope you enjoy! It is a culmination of all the arcs that came before it, and the first meeting of many of the characters from my extensive cast. It has been an ambitious series and will continue to be so in the upcoming sequels. But I’m not only going to be working on Warpmancer going forward. I have begun work on a new series in a new genre. This new series is called Part-Time Monster Hunter (PTMH).

The series is an urban fantasy set in a twisted and alternate history 21st century, where portals have opened up allowing fantastical beasts, dark magic and the heroes and gods of mythology into our world. It has been decades since the initial opening of these rifts and humanity has begun to adjust to a magical way of life.

I am really excited about this story! I love fantasy, but have only ever written sci-fi. This series lets me explore my other favourite genre, and a new style of storytelling. While Warpmancer focusing on a large cast of major characters, PTMH focuses on a single main character and how she reacts to the world. This allows me to get much more personal and develop a character as I’ve never done before.

Because of the rift aspect of the story, I am able to borrow from many aspects of traditional fantasy and mythology – including Norse, Greek and Arthurian legend. This means an extensive canvas and very fun interactions as the likes of Thor tangles with Athena in a modern setting.

The PTMH universe borrows from the myths and legends of many cultures, including traditional epic fantasy and some creative license on my part.

If you are as excited as I am about the story, you don’t have to wait. You can download a the first five chapters of book one now, and sign up for the opportunity to receive the books for free.

Download the first five chapters here!

I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more info on this exciting new series.