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: Jaye L. Knight
Title of book and/or series: Ilyon Chronicles
Brief summary of the story:
Resistance (Book 1)When a cunning emperor threatens the lives of any who refuse to worship his false gods, a half-blood haunted by his bloodstained past and a young woman with a perfect memory must overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.
The King’s Scrolls (Book 2) – When a group of mysterious, dragon-riding cretes arrive seeking aid in a dire mission, those in Landale must face impossible odds and a series of tragedies to try to rescue a teacher of Elôm and the last known copies of the King’s Scrolls.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Ilyon is comprised of five different countries, Arcacia being the largest. The mainland is a heavily forested continent with three major mountain ranges. To the southwest is the smaller island country of Arda. Ilyon has a strong medieval Europe feel to it, but I pulled a lot of inspiration from other cultures and times such as Ancient Rome, Greece, Vikings, and Native American. While there are a few of notable differences such as having dragons and two moons, Ilyon is very similar to our world.

If we were to visit Ilyon as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Valcré, the capital city of Arcacia, would be perfect for anyone who isn’t much of an outdoorsy type and isn’t interested in roughing it. The city is very large and has much to see in the way of libraries, art galleries, and the amazing Auréa Palace. Now, if you do enjoy the outdoors, I would definitely encourage a trip to the forests of Dorland where the cretes live. The trees there grow an astonishing 300 to 400 feet tall, and it is in these trees that the cretes build their cities. If you happen to love tree houses, their lifestyle is definitely for you, though they tend to be a rather aloof people, so don’t count on a particularly warm welcome.
What dangers should we avoid in Ilyon?
You’ll probably want to avoid the Krell Mountains on Ilyon’s southern shore as they are inhabited by cave drakes. Though these dragon-like beasts stick to their caves during the day, you have to be wary at night. They don’t breathe fire like the dragons from the mountains in Dorland, but they are very large and fierce. They aren’t very graceful, especially when flying, but they have been known to destroy villages built too close to the mountains.
You certainly wouldn’t want to travel far to the southeast into Wildmor either. Those deep forests are home to the ryrik people. They’ll attack anyone who isn’t a ryrik. Unless you’re part of a very skilled group of warriors, chances are very slim that you’d survive.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Ilyon?
Pickerins, a type of large wild hog, are very good eating. They are plentiful throughout most of Arcacia, Dorland, and Wildmor. The boars, however, are quite dangerous, so many people don’t attempt to hunt them without a large group. To the north, black deer is a staple food in the country of Samara. If prepared right, it is very tender and savory.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Ilyon?
Swords are a very common weapon. Most young men are trained to use them, at least moderately well. Bows are also common. Though it is frowned upon in Arcacia for women to use swords, many women in higher society are taught self-defense, which can include using a quarterstaff.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Ilyon?
Horses are the main mode of transportation in Ilyon. You can also take ships along the coast. The cretes who live in Dorland ride dragons, which are the lifeblood of their people. Dragons used to be more common in Arcacia, but the cretes are the only people with the skills to train a dragon and they haven’t had dealings with Arcacians in many years.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Ilyon that we don’t see on Earth?
Aside from the dragons and cave drakes, most animals and plants are the same or similar to what we have on Earth. Including humans, Ilyon has five races. While they are all human-like, they each have their unique differences. Talcrins are a tall, dark-skinned race with metallic eyes. They are much more scholars than fighters. Ryriks are also tall and very strong. They are known for their black hair and sea-blue eyes that almost seem to glow when they are angry or under stress. They are also the only race in Ilyon who have pointed ears. Ryriks are a very violent and cruel race, and most people believe them to be soulless and little better than animals. The cretes are a shorter race. They rarely reach six feet tall. They have a very Native American feel to them in that they dress predominately in leather, are brown-skinned, and all have long dark hair. And then there are the giants. At around seven to nine feet tall, they can appear quite intimidating, but they are actually very gentle. They don’t like confrontation and will avoid fighting whenever possible.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Ilyon?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used
I prefer to write fantasy without magic. Realistic fantasy, I like to call it. 🙂 So Ilyon does not have magic, however, some of the people can be very superstitious. It’s a widely held belief that black wolves are possessed by demonic spirits.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Ilyon?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Ilyon’s technology is similar to that of the Middle Ages, though a bit more advanced, particularly in medicine.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Ilyon.
Gladiator games are quite popular throughout Arcacia for those who enjoy such things. Horse racing is also a popular sport. In Valcré, you can see plays and concerts. Men of high society enjoying going out on hunts, especially for large pickerin boars.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Ilyon as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
I do follow the same days of the week and months as we have on Earth. Birthdays are celebrated regularly and each race has their various holidays, though I didn’t get into that too deeply. For those who have faith in Elôm, there is an Old Testament-like sacrifice they take part in every spring.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Ilyon?  Please describe what it involves.
Ilyon is divided into two major religions—those who follow Elôm (the equivalent of Christians) and those who follow Aertus and Vilai, Arcacia’s moon gods. Faith in Elôm at this particular point in the series is much like Old Testament faith. As I mentioned, every spring, believers gather together and sacrifice lambs as atonement for their sins and to look ahead to a coming ultimate Lamb sacrifice. There are far fewer believers in Elôm than in Aertus and Vilai and they have faced growing persecution for many years, particularly in Arcacia, though it is still the main religion among the cretes, talcrins, and in the country of Samara.
The worship of Aertus and Vilai is commanded by the emperor in Arcacia. To refuse to bow before their idols is seen as treason, and any offenders are executed. Temples and idols are set up throughout Arcacia to enforce such worship.
What is the political or government structure in Ilyon?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Each race and country have their own equivalent to a king. Arcacia has the most influence in Ilyon and is ruled over by Emperor Daican. His father is the one who changed the royal title from king to emperor as part of his plan to expand Arcacia’s reach across the continent and create an empire. Most Arcacian citizens would call Daican a fine, even admirable, leader, but he is violently opposed to the followers of Elôm. He sees his rule as a divine gift and believes that anyone questioning his gods will question his rule. He’s very ambitious and has dedicated his life to creating the legacy his father was working toward before his death.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Ilyon?
You probably won’t want to just show up at a crete city. Best to have someone with you who knows them well and they trust. Either that or you should have one of their carved pendants they only give out to those they know are friends. But they don’t give those out lightly. And don’t be surprised if you make a crete friend and he refuses to sleep on the ground! They hate that. They much prefer stringing up a hammock in a tree.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I’ve always had a particular interest in Native American culture. I think it’s beautiful and I drew a lot of inspiration from it for the crete people. Their treehouse cities also came from my childhood dream of living in a treehouse like on Swiss Family Robinson or Robinson Crusoe. I’d still love to live in a treehouse.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Abortion is a topic I do touch on. There is only a brief mention of it in book one, but it’s a bit more prominent in book three (not yet published). Racism, bigotry, and bullying are also topics many of my characters have to face.
Author Autobiography:
Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool-graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?  
Resistance can be found on Amazon for Kindleand in paperback. The King’s Scrolls is also available for Kindleand will be available in paperback very shortly if it isn’t already.
Where can readers connect with you online? 

You can find me on my website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

ResistanceKindle Sale
Haven’t begun the adventure into Ilyon? From February 17th – 23rd, get Resistance, the award-winning first book of Ilyon Chronicles, for your Kindle on sale for only 99 cents! Check it out on Amazon!
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Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed Epic Winter giveaway! Prize pack includes an autographed copy of The King’s Scrolls, a CD by Future World Music (some of Jaye’s favorite writing music), a dragon bookmark, a stone hawk pendant (much like the ones mentioned in the book), and a few packages of Twining’s Winter Spice tea to sip while you read! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)
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I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Ilyon.  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 fantasy world, in Realm Explorers Part XXXIX!
-Annie Douglass Lima