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. 

Halayda Front Cover

Author’s name: Sarah Delena White

Title of book and/or series: Halayda (Star-Fae Trilogy book 1)

Brief summary of the story:
A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.
Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.
King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.
Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.
Sparkly forest
Sparkly Forest

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

Halayda is set in Kyure, a world with several dimensions. The story begins in Sabellyn, a prosperous human city-state with Steampunk technology. It’s a city of industry and trade, located along a major river. Just outside of the city is a gateway into Faerie, a wild land of magic, strange peoples, and semi-sentient forests and mountains.

If we were to visit Kyure as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?

Make sure you go to Sabellyn on a solstice or equinox day! At each change of season, the fae visit the city and hold lavish celebrations to honor the peace treaty between Faerie and the mortal world. Sabellyn is usually pretty drab, but on these days it comes alive with color and magic.

What dangers should we avoid in Kyure?

If you venture into Faerie, make sure you have a trustworthy guide. There are plenty of stories about mortals going there for adventure or a fling with a fae lover and never returning. When you’re in Sabellyn, stay away from the high-ranking alchemists—unless you want to risk becoming a science experiment.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Kyure?

Depends where you go! Each fae people has a favorite food: spiced river weeds for naiads, rich chocolates for Maithe, raw venison for the Wild Hunt (I recommend skipping that last one). The food on Sabellyn is a lot more practical and less interesting (just ask Taylan for his opinion on oatmeal).

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Kyure?

The fae have developed an intricate, elegant sword-fighting style, and they also incorporate magic into their weapons and fighting techniques. On their own, humans are no match for the fae in battle. They’ve spent centuries developing weapons that can effectively counter the fae, though, resulting in excellent firearms and an arsenal of lethal alchemical potions.

Fairy hounds
Faerie Hounds

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Kyure?

Most people in Sabellyn travel on foot or by horse-drawn carriages, or by train or river barge if they’re venturing beyond the city. If you’re traveling in Faerie, you’re walking, unless you can get a ride from a pooka (horse shifter) or a lift from a faerie who’s willing to transport you through the elements. Be careful, though—they’re likely to ask for a favor in return, and that rarely ends well!

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Kyure that we don’t see on Earth?
Faerie itself is semi-sentient, and the land and trees tend to have strong opinions about trespassers. There are many kinds of fae, but they fall into two main groups: elementals, who have a connection to a certain part of the natural world; and shifters, who can switch between human-like and animal forms. Most of the fae peoples are loosely based on creatures from Celtic mythology, such as banshees, faerie hounds, and the tuatha de dannan.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Kyure?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Faerie runs on magic (in Kyure, magic is a natural part of the fae realm rather than a supernatural force). The magic, known as glamour, fills all of Faerie and can be used by each fae race in different ways. Some use it to manipulate the elements, such as the banshees, who can travel and communicate through wind. Others, like pookas and the members of the Wild Hunt, use it to shapeshift. Illusions, mind tricks, and emotional manipulation are other common uses of glamour.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Kyure?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
The people of Sabellyn have fairly high technology, including firearms, indoor plumbing, and railroads. Their crowning achievement is alchemy, an elite science that fuses chemistry with soul energy. Alchemy was primarily created as a weapon that could counter fae magic, but it has many other uses, including medicine, protection, and even weather manipulation.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Kyure.

A dice game called Ruj is popular in Faerie, especially among the lower classes.

Steampunk 1

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Kyure as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?

Days and months have different names, but seasons are the same, and years are the same length. The biggest holidays are solstice and equinox days, when the fae and mortal realms come together. The people of Sabellyn also celebrate a few holidays honoring scientific progress and the founding of the city-state, but their celebrations tend to be low-key for the sake of practicality. The fae, on the other hand, will use any occasion as an excuse for a lavish party.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Kyure? Please describe what it involves.

There are no organized religions , but people fervently adhere to certain philosophies. The fae seek pleasure above all things. The “religion” of Sabellyn is progress, and the people of the city-state see scientific advancement and cultural refinement as their highest ends.

Taylan Ashkalabek, King of Faerie

What is the political or government structure in Kyure? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?

Faerie is always ruled by a monarch, who is the highest magical as well as political power. The current king is Taylan Ashkalabek, who has been in power for 1200 years. He is a capable leader who does his best to govern his unruly realm, but his people see him as a killjoy as best and a traitor at worst. Sabellyn is officially governed by an elected Ruling Council, but its true rulers control the city-state from the shadows.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?

A lot of the world-building were influenced by my real-world experiences and interests. I’ve been interested in Celtic folklore and balladry for years, so it was a natural choice to base my faeries on the traditional Irish, Scottish, and Welsh sorts (although I took a lot of liberties!). Subtle traces of Arab and Turkish languages and cultures sneaked in too, thanks to the time I spent in the Middle East. The locations were mostly just wish fulfillment, though!

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?

None explicitly. My first goal is always to tell a good story. Some subtle commentary on culture worked its way into the world-building, though. There are two contrasting societies in Kyure: the amoral, pleasure-seeking fae and the straight-laced, progress-driven humans. Both of these cultures go extremes and reap the consequences.

DSC_0755bAuthor Biography:

Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is also the Benevolent Firebird (acquisitions editor) for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, drinking tea, and working a variety of odd jobs. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
You can find Halayda in eBook and paperback form here.
The eBook is also available from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, 24 Symbols, and Apple iBooks

Where can readers connect with you online?
https://www.sarahdelenawhite.com/ Website

https://www.facebook.com/SarahDelenaWhite/ Facebook

https://twitter.com/Royal_Vagabond Twitter

https://www.pinterest.com/royalvagabond/ Pinterest

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Kyure.  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