Realm Explorers Part XCVIII: Visit Thac with F.P. Spirit
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: F. P. Spirit
Title of book and/or series: Ruins on Stone Hill/Heroes of Ravenford
Brief summary of the story:
A dark malevolence threatens Ravenford—the town under siege by forces unknown. Their only hope may lie in four newcomers: Lloyd, a young warrior with blades of fire, Glolindir, an elven wizard as deadly to his friends as his enemies, Seth, a cynical halfling who may be an assassin, and Aksel, a quiet gnome whose very touch can heal.
From eerie woods to haunted ruins, secret passages to hidden rooms, they must unearth the root of the darkness that has Ravenford at its mercy. With death breathing down their necks, will they rise to the challenge and become the heroes that Ravenford so sorely needs?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The story is set in the fictional world of Arinthar, on the island continent of Thac. It is a world of magic, populated by humans, mystical races and monsters, all of whom uneasily coexist together. The world has survived for many ages and numerous wars have taken place on its soil over the millennium, the last great conflict being the Thrall Wars nearly 100 years ago. Though other battles still ensue on the mainland, Thac has experienced an unusual period of quiet since then, but recent events have indicated that this brief time of peace may be coming to an end.
If we were to visit Thac as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
The world of Arithar is filled with many beautiful and strange sights. On the island continent of Thac alone, there is the eerie lighthouse, Sentilla Light. On the eastern coast, the magical tower not only lights the night sky, but makes continuous music as it does so.
There is also Kai Arborous in eastern-central Thac, the tree city of the High Elves. Located on the eastern edge of the great forest, Ruanaiaith, the breath-taking elven city sits high among the upper branches of the giant Arcarion that make up a majority of the ancient woods.
Far to the north, the gnomish city of Caprizon is built into the high cliffs on either side of the Stilwyndle. Myriads of cable cars hang over the great ravine, joining the two sides of the city together. To the south lies Lymeridia, the largest city in all of Thac, and perhaps the entire world. It is a sprawling ancient metropolis, and home to the Council of the Magi, the order that rules over all the magical users of Thac.
The island continent itself is divided down the middle by a towering wall of mountains that practically reach up to the sky. They are aptly named the Thertassels, or ‘Sky Wall’ mountains by the elves.
What dangers should we avoid in Thac?
Thankfully Thac is not nearly as dangerous these days as it was one hundred years ago during the Thrall Wars. Back then, demons, dragons, huge golems, zombies, vampires, and all sorts of other undead creatures roamed the island, killing all in sight. Though many lives were lost, thankfully their leaders, the Thrall Masters, were defeated.
The demons have since returned to the Abyss, the dragons now mostly keep to themselves, and the golems and undead have all but disappeared. However, there are rumors of dark things stirring in parts of Thac. The Bendenwoods are plagued by thieves. There are stories of giants descending from the hills and terrorizing farmsteads. Many sailors have claimed to see sea serpents off the coast. In the little town of Ravenford on the east coast, there is talk of spooky lights and sounds coming from the old ruins on top of Stone Hill to the south. The hill itself is surrounded by an eerie forest where most of the trees are dead. Nothing has grown there since anyone can remember.
The seas are also not always that friendly. Aside from serpent sightings, there are pirates the roam the waters between Thac and the mainland. However, thanks to the military might of Penwick, most pirates tend to stay away from the coast of Thac these days.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Thac?
The denizens of Thac enjoy their ale, cider, and other typical brews. Foods are typically fresh from the surrounding farms and home-made. Chicken, steak, fruits, vegetables, pies and cakes are standard fare. Though there are spells that can produce feasts fit for a king, leaving the partakers feeling refreshed and sated for days.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Thac?
The sword, shield, knives, lances, maces, clubs are your standard weaponry in Thac. Yet, some have learned to supplement their combat styles with magic. Some of the more famous groups are the Knights of the Rose, a holy order of the wind god, Cormar. They use divine magic to strike down evil creatures and fell beasts with the swords. There are also the Ruby Knight Vindicators of the great city of Dunwynn. They are another holy order, but of the goddess of law, Wee Jas. The Ruby Knights use sword and spell to vanquish their foes. Finally, there are the Spirit Blades of Penwick. Spirit Blades do not get their power from a divine source. Instead, they are a martial order, training their mind, bodies, and spirits to perform great feats that appear like magic.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Thac?
Travel in Thac is mostly by horse and wagon. Sea faring sailing vessels carry travelers around the coasts and across the channel to the vast mainland. However, there are airships that course through the skies, powered by the magic of great air elementals. Those airships are few though, mostly relegated to military endeavors.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Thac that we don’t see on Earth?
There are many magical races in Thac. Elves, dwarfs, gnomes, and halflings are a few of the friendlier ones. Yet, there are also dark elves, orcs, goblins, trolls, bugbears, all sentient, but not of the friendly variety of people. Dragons are a mixed breed. Metallic dragons are typically friendly, but the chromatic dragons are extremely dangerous to the other races. Arcarion trees can be found across the island continent, but are more prevalent in the forests of Ruanaiaith and the mainland.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Thac?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Magic is quite prevalent throughout the world of Arinthar, though not so much that it is used by everyday folk. Still, there are many different types of magic users in Thac.
Classical spellcraft magic is powered by mana, the energy in and around all things. There are two schools of spell casters, arcane and divine. Arcane casters use their intellect to drive their abilities while divine casters derive their focus from their faith. Spells are cast through a combination of material ingredients, ritual movements, and verbal commands.
There are other types of spell casters who use mana, but gain their focus through a pact with spirits. These magic users are dubbed witches and warlocks. While many mean well, spirits are an unknown quantity. Evil spirits in particular will warp their prodigies into dark witches and the like. Therefore, it is not a widely practiced art.
There is one other school of magic in Thac, or a derivative of magic. It is called Psionics. Unlike classical spellcraft, psionicists do not rely on mana as their source of energy. Instead, their power comes from within—from their spirit or soul. Psionicists use concentration to focus their abilities and do not need material items or motions to invoke their power.
Interestingly enough, there is a direct correlation between psionics and the Spirit Blades of Penwick.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Thac?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
We’ve already discussed airships. Aside from those, there are teleportation rings which can instantaneously transport a person or object to another location on the planet. There are also mage cannon which expell spheres containing great fire elementals. Those can cause massive damage to any target they hit. There are soul gems, jewels that contain the captured souls of a living creature. Those magical items can be fixed into almost any item, be it a weapon, shield, bracer, or other piece of armor, bestowing enhanced powers to the wielder or wearer. There are also rune weapons or armor which function similar to items powered by soul gems. Rune items, however, are driven by the symbols of magic, a far more preferable way to acquire power than through the enslavement of living souls.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Thac.
Entertainment in Thac is mostly found in taverns, the halls of royalty, and events. The Fair in Lukescros is yearly event that ushers in the fall season in Thac. The venue includes everything from duels and jousting to musical competitions. Music is a huge source of entertainment in Thac. Bards travel between the cities and towns, performing both song and dance, as well as telling stories and delivering news.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Thac as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The days of the week are the same as ours. However, the months are different. These are: Ianuarius, Februarius , Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, Quintilis, Sextilis, Setembrius, Octibrius, Notimbrius, Decimbrius. There are numerous fall festivals throughout Thac including the Fair in Lukescros. There is also Festivus during the start of winter at the end of the year. Finally, there is a great celebration on Martius 15th. Known as “Freedom Day,” it is the date the last Thrall Master was defeated some hundred years ago.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Thac?  Please describe what it involves.
The world of Arinthar is a polytheistic society. There exists an entire pantheon of gods and goddess called the Ralnai. Above them all reside the seven greater powers who are never seen nor worshiped individually. Situated below the greater powers are the material gods. These are gods and goddesses who have manifested at times to their worshipers and provide focus to clerics, or divine casters, of their order. The material gods are numerous, each having their own area of dominion. For example, Cormar is the god of winds, Alaric the god of storms, and Arenor the hand of light. There are also dark gods such as Cel, the mistress of death. That is not her full name, but if one were to speak it, she would appear before them and they would die instantly.
What is the political or government structure in Thac?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
There is no one leader in Thac since the overthrow of the mad Emperor Naradon seven hundred years ago. Thac was divided into Dukedoms and Baronies since that time, and has been ruled in that manner to this day. The Council of the Magi in Lymeridia is perhaps the only central ruling body in the entire island continent. There are kingdoms on the mainland such as Lanfor and Isandor, but the rulers of Thac have little direct contact with them other than trade.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Thac?
The elves are a very old and proper race with a long history of propriety and traditions. For instance, they consider it polite to greet and complement each other with formal elven sayings. When Glolindir, the elven wizard, first meets the half-elf merchant, Pheldan, he thanks him with the phrase Aa’ lasser en lle coia orn n’ omenta gurtha. This roughly translates to May the leaves of your life tree never turn brown. Therefore, if you plan on traveling to Kai Arborous, or find yourself in the company of elves, it might be best to brush up on elvish etiquette.
Also, if you are not human, and travel to northeastern Thac, try to avoid the city of Dunwynn. Dunwyneers are extremely xenophobic, and will either run you out of town, or worse.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
The stories of Thac and the Heroes sprang from a role-playing adventure my sons and I participated in over the last few years. It started out as background material for the characters, then grew into short stories, and even entire story arcs. The Heroes series is loosely based on those stories, as sort of a legacy to my sons and our friends. Thus, some of the characters have personality traits which closely mimic some of the people in my life.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Spirituality, the belief in something greater than ourselves, the spirit of cooperation, and the overcoming of our differences are all themes within the books. Racial bigotry and the corruption of power are also two topics that frequently appear in the novels.
Author Autobiography:
F.P. Spirit has always loved fantasy. From the moment he received his very first copy of Lord of the Rings back in high school, he was hooked. Today, somewhere between work and family, F. P. manages to write sword and sorcery fantasy fiction.
His novels, Ruins on Stone Hill, Serpent Cult and Dark Monolith, are the first three books in the series Heroes of Ravenford. The series chronicles the adventures of a band of young heroes in the dangerous world of Thac. F.P. is currently working on the fourth book in the Heroes of Ravenford series, Princess of Lanfor, to be released in 2017.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
The first three books of the Heroes of Ravenford Series can be purchased on Amazon in both ebook and paperback format:
Ruins on Stone Hill – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L5JN5SE
Where can readers connect with you online?
My author website is http://www.fpspirit.com/
I also have a FB page for the Heroes series at https://www.facebook.com/HeroesOfRavenford/

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I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Thac.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

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