Welcome to Realm Explorers! In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Enjoy your travels! And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.
Author’s name: Annie Douglass Lima
Title of book and/or series: King of Malorn (Book 5 in the Annals of Alasia)
Brief summary of the story:
Life as the king’s younger sister should be exciting.
Not for Princess Kalendria. She’s sick of the dissent and of constantly having her family undermined by those who think they could rule Malorn better than King Korram.
Hoping to lighten the mood in the palace, Kalendria plans a ball to celebrate her seventeenth birthday. It doesn’t hurt that their handsome Alasian ally King Jaymin has promised to attend, and she’s been waiting for him to notice her for as long as she can remember.
But unfriendly forces have their own party plans. When Kalendria, Korram, and Jaymin barely survive an assassination attempt, their only recourse is to flee into the wilderness. Tracked by unknown assassins, they must figure out whom they can trust and who is behind the plot. Can Kalendria help her brother reclaim his throne – oh, and catch Jaymin’s attention while she’s at it – before they are all killed and war destroys both kingdoms?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
This post will focus on a new and relatively tiny nation known as Karvasi Territory, which our heroes must pass through on their journey to safety from Malorn to Alasia. Formerly known as the Western Wilderness, this area was part of Malorn until just before the beginning of King of Malorn. Long inhabited by bandits who attacked and robbed travelers and the few settlers who lived there, the Western Wilderness (sometimes called Bandit Territory) has always been dangerous. Malorn's government finally decided it wasn't worth the expense and manpower to protect it, and they gave the land to the bandits, requiring all Malornian residents to leave. (King Korram was furious about this decision, but his High Council outvoted him. Since Malorn is a constitutional monarchy, the king does not have the power to make decisions that the rest of the government disagrees with.)
|See the triangular area to the west, between the two rivers and the mountains (enlarged in the image below)? That's where the Karvasi live.
If we were to visit Karvasi Territory as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Stay away! Karvasi Territory is no place for tourists. The bandits (or Karvasi, as their race calls themselves) do not welcome outsiders. You may find yourself stopped and forced to pay a "toll" before you go on. Furthermore, the land is dry and rocky, full of thornbushes and coarse brush, and only a few crops can even grow there. You may be lucky enough to find a stream for water, but in general, the land itself isn't even friendly.
However, if you find yourself forced to travel through Karvasi Territory, there are a few sights worth seeing. One of the streams there winds through a ravine of reddish rock, in which you can see a scenic waterfall. (The scene depicted on the book cover actually takes place in that ravine.) However, there aren't many safe paths into or out of the ravine. If, like Kalendria and her companions, you find yourself trapped in there and in a hurry to get away, beware! The waterfall is located at a dead end. Unless you can climb straight up the cliff, your enemies will likely catch you.
What dangers should we avoid in Karvasi Territory?
The Karvasi, of course! Apart from robbing travelers, if they think you mean them harm, they will likely kill you, especially if you are Malornian. However, they do have a cordial trading relationship with the Alasians, so if you can convince them you're Alasian, they'll be more likely to let you live. If you must travel through their territory, I recommend bringing a gift of food, tools, or other supplies for them. If you ask nicely and they can see you don't pose a threat, they might even be convinced to give you something in return. But they know that the Malornian government has ceded the land to them, and that no one is supposed to pass through without their permission now, so they don't take kindly to the sight of anyone else in their territory. Unfortunately for them, the Malornian government recently sent a large number of soldiers through their land to guard the Telleck River against the Alasians army (after all, the Alasians have reason to believe the Malornians recently assassinated their king). So, the Karvasi have been grumpy about that and inclined to resent anyone they see.
You'll want to avoid those Malornian soldiers, too. Nothing much has happened since they set up camp by the river, and many of them are bored and looking for trouble.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Karvasi Territory?
Once Malorn's government ceded the land to them, the Karvasi built a village and planted gardens, but those haven't started producing yet. At this point, most of their food comes from birds or rabbits that they hunt or whatever they can trade from the Alasians. However, since so many Malornian soldiers are camped out by the Telleck River, trade has been difficult lately, and the Karvasi have been tightening their belts.
If they have enough to spare and decide that they like you, you may be served a type of round, flat bread folded around slices of cooked meat (rabbit is most common), seasoned with a variety of herbs. They may also include sprigs of raw green onion or other vegetables and leftover fried eggs.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Karvasi Territory?
The Karvasi fight with short, curved scimitars. Some (like the burly Blenniel, one of the men our characters encounter) are experts in unarmed combat, and many are proficient with the longbow. They make a particular type of poison that they often smear on their blades and arrowheads, so even if they don't strike a killing blow, a scratch that merely breaks the skin will leave their victim dead in minutes. So I recommend avoiding fighting with them if at all possible - unless you dare to challenge one of them to unarmed combat, as King Jaymin's bodyguard Erik does.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Karvasi Territory?
The Karvasi travel on foot. Others who pass through their territory might use horses, carts, or wagons. Boats are common on the two rivers that form part of their border.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Karvasi Territory.
At this point, the Karvasi have to put a lot of energy into trying to survive and avoid their enemies. They don't have a lot of time for games or fun activities. However, they do enjoy contests of strength and skill, such as the one in which Erik pits himself against their best warrior. Of course, the stakes are extremely high, so I suggest enjoying such activities as a spectator, not a participant, unless you're quite confident in your own abilities.
What is the political or government structure in Karvasi Territory? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The Karvasi are ruled by a chief named Raddiek. He is in charge not only of the residents of the hidden village our heroes stumble into, but of thousands more Karvasi waiting back in the mountains to the west. When he sends word that it's safe, the rest will come and join the first wave back in their ancestral homeland.
Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her "other" life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students' poetry, and Bible verse coloring and activity books. When she isn't teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
King of Malorn is available in both paperback and Kindle formats here
You can see the rest of the Annals of Alasia here.
Or, take a look at all my books on Amazon here.
Where can readers connect with you online?
email: [email protected]
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Karvasi Territory. Questions about the world or the book? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!
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-Annie Douglass Lima