Ancient Dreams Series

The Books

Character Profiles

The Ancient Dreams series is a trilogy I’m currently working on. The first book, Ancient Ruins, has been published already. The second book has been published as well, under the name Spells of Old.Β The third book,Β Halls of Power should be released before October 2017. IΒ do have a tentative map to share. Some of the locations listed haven’t been mentioned in the book as of yet, and I am still working out the exact scale, so this should not be taken too literally. But regardless, here we are.

godsrage-mountains

37 thoughts on “Ancient Dreams Series

  1. Hey. I respect your desire to keep tight lipped about your next books. But could you give a timeline on release dates at least? Pretty please??

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    1. Current plans: This year. Today I hit 69,000 words on Spells of Old (book 2), which is over 2/3’s of the length of Ancient Ruin’s first draft. I hope to have draft 1 done by mid-March. After my friends go through it, I’m going to do a re-write to fix problems and adjust it. Then I’m going to hire an editor to go through it. With all of that, I EXPECT mid-June for Spells of Old. I can’t promise it, though.

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    1. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I honestly expected very little attention on my book, so everything’s been a little overwhelming so far. I’m hoping to have the audiobook of Ancient Ruins out before Spells of Old as well!

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      1. I’ve randomly selected test readers from my mailing list and those who’ve commented on my site. With each book I’m going to do it again, not repeating the same person. If someone is particularly helpful with feedback, I may add them to my ARC list with their permission. So… there you go. ^_^

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  2. It’s a very cult genre truthfully. I’ve only found 2 other series with dungeon MC’s. I’m trying to write my own though I’ve only just got my dungeon born.

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    1. Yeah. I’ve only seen two as well (the slime dungeon series and divine dungeon series), and both were too…malevolent for my tastes. Mind, Sistina would go a bit insane if someone killed Phynis at this point. Oh, the horrors…

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      1. I’m assuming that the jewels will become as important eventually but no spoilers πŸ˜† and those are the two I meant. Did you know they’re putting out a crossover novella?

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      2. I did not know that! Unfortunately, I decided after book 2 of Slime Dungeon that I didn’t care for the writing style, and the reviews of book 2 of the Divine Dungeon turned me away from it.

        I have no intention of getting Sistina pissed off enough to go after people, though. Though I will say my favorite character in the series is Lily.

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      3. Really? πŸ˜‰ I’ll definitely keep a closer look on her lolz. I haven’t paid attention to the reviews of dungeon madness and cal is totally a sociopath but his grief at the end makes him very human. It’s easy to see Sistina reacting like him if Phynis were kidnapped. Especially since dani is his only friend for all but the last few weeks of his life

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      4. Lily isn’t my favorite because she’s the most important character. She isn’t. She’s my favorite because she’s a normal person. Normal woman caught up in enormous events, and who doesn’t want to be important.

        And yeah…I just…couldn’t get myself to read even the sample chapters. Especially with me writing for Sistina. She wants to challenge adventurers, and teach them their limits. She finds them fun to watch. If they overestimate themselves, its their own fault. At least in her view.

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      5. lol I haven’t heard of one two, but I am a huge light novel reader, and there are a few similar kinds of stories around, one in particular that I am slightly reminded of is a two part series called “evil god average”. Hope you will enjoy it if you decide to give it a go!

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      6. I’ve mostly given up the light novel scene, not because I don’t like them, but because they’re such a time sink that I can’t afford.

        Since the comment you responded to, I’ve seen several other dungeon series come out on Amazon, so it’s getting more attention as a trend.

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      7. I honestly, haven’t been looking too Mitch for the last year, and especially not now as I am broke (lol) but I proof and edit some of my friend’s books as well as doing mostly the same for two light novel sites so I see more of them than most. I am gonna say though, this is an amazing series, and it’s been a great pleasure reading! I lost my copies of the first two books toa plane trip in Vegas, but I have just finished the third novel about a day ago, and I’m still caught up in its magic.

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      8. Hehe, autocorrect happens to everyone. The worst is when you can’t blame it on autocorrect. >_>

        As for light novel sites, there are a couple I try to keep up with. At the moment, the only webnovels I read are two on Wuxiaworld, I don’t remember the full names, but I think they’re The Emperor’s Dominion and The Great Ruler. I liked each a little more in the beginning, but some aspects I can’t explain are bugging me.

        But I’m glad you liked the series! I’m trying to make sure the others are as good, but we’ll see how the next novels go. I’m sure I’ll occasionally stumble, but the key is to get back up, admit the mistakes, and try not to make them again.

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  3. [this is a reader encouraging you to continue!] love the work you’re doing though i do have a few tips. first is add more body types! it’s always nice to see authors take into account the millions of different shapes of people there are. also i had a few more but i can’t remember anything bc it’s 5am and i’ve been reading ur book since 11am yesterdayskckcjcjjd BUT despite the lack of body-type diversity it was really good!!!! love how none of them are straight except the slaver guy who blatantly didn’t know about wlw.

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    1. I will try to keep in mind the suggestion. Not certain I’ll necessarily manage it (a lot of the people involved are soldiers) but I’ll try to remember to do so. Hard of me to step away from my own tendencies.

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  4. Hey πŸ˜‹ I found another dungeon based series that I think you might like better than the other two. It’s called “I Was Reincarnated As A Magic Academy”. Illsy is called perviticus idioticus by his wives because of a spell called colly tos and wants to make a great school not a death trap

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  5. I did find that one a couple of weeks ago. It’s available online in first-draft form, and I read what chapters were available before deciding not to keep up with it. While decent at the beginning, it falls into the Dragonball Z power curve trap.

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  6. This series is pretty great so far. I read Ancient Ruins countless times and I’ve already burned through Spells of Old twice. Can’t wait for the next one!

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  7. Hope you don’t consider this rude, but are you considering on perhaps increasing the length of the series, and if not delving into more of the dungeon aspect of this world and its lore?

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    1. It’s not rude at all! There’s several reasons for leaving the setting be for the time being, but I am not abandoning the setting.

      The big reason I’m not continuing beyond the trilogy is because I have several other series I want to write and get out there as well. I have lots of ideas for areas inside the world of Ancient Dreams, but I don’t currently have solid plots aligned around them. Part of me is tempted to do some stuff with Daniel’s adventuring group, but none of them quite have the… spark that I’d need for main characters, if that makes any sense. Maybe with Darak, Joseph, Nirath, and Penelope, but we’ll see.

      I’ve been creating more lore and such as I go, but… well, quite frankly, I don’t find the delving into the dungeons to be as exciting as the interactions between characters and the like. I do intend to write a bunch more short stories and novellas about the setting, though, and we’re very likely to see other dungeons and how they operate in the process. It’ll take time, though. I’m only one person, and I have at least three partially-written series to get done as well. As Ancient Dreams was my debut world, as it were, I’m going to try to put out relatively frequent stories in it, though.

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  8. Mr. Medrano,

    I very much like the two ancient dreams books that you have written so far and have left a direction in my Amazon review to this page for people to catch my thoughts and others on what you’ve built so far. I’m not an editor. I’m not a professional writer. I’m just a reader and an enthusiast of the fantasy and science fiction genres, so please take my thoughts for what they are. These are first impressions and post reading, post scotch considerations. For others, be aware of potential spoilers. I will try and keep it vague.

    Themes:

    If I were to venture a guess I would say that the main theme of the books so far are complacency and and the joys of personal growth through struggle. You have some layers here so you might find that surprising but it’s my knee jerk impression. Sistina is ambushed and is entrapped in a manner that confuses the hell out of her. For a being like her, being side swiped like that is a major faux pas. Complacent. Then she spends basically 10,000 years on her laurels in order to interact with the world again. Not her fault but through the magic melting her down and the passiveness of her world… Complacent. I very much enjoyed the pacing of her genesis as it gave a real sense of time passing. Some might have considered slow… to me, that was the point. The struggle of every day events and the sense of triumph in a budding leaf, fantastic.

    Now complacency seems to be encountered in many other situations as well. The slavers assume they are the most powerful thing in 100 miles when they encounter Sistina. The humans assume that victory is assured due to their overwhelming numbers, skill and fundamental moral superiority. The brand is assumed to be inviolable. The queen presumes she knows what is best for her daughter. The Jewels are assumed to be unbeatable. Sistina is assumed to be a Dungeon. Sistina is assumed to be a nymph or some nymph+. Sistina is assumed to be hostile to the elves or untrustworthy. Ilmas assumes that Daniel is just another slaver human. The mayor presumes his wife has forgiven him. It almost seems like the more certain the assumption the faster and harder the individual is taken down and the more needless the pain. This is the essence of character interplay and tragedy to be sure but the set up for some of these groups is elaborate before they are absolutely punked during the reveal.

    To that point the adventurers are very useful as a breath of fresh air since they seem to be the only group to fight this intellectual laziness that has infected so many groups. The adventurers may make assumptions but they don’t make “dangerous” assumptions. They subscribe to the whole adage of “Assume the worst so all your surprises are pleasant ones.” They are ruthlessly self analytical and I quite like Albert for his ability to work with anyone and everything to get the job done. It’s not his job to judge people, only risks. They remind me of veteran soldiers that have internalized the concept that diversity and open mindedness are not just strengths but critical survival instincts. They even go so far as to pro bono train a group of newbies through the initial dungeon floor. Some might see this as a kindness… and I’m sure it is. I also like to think that this is an essential part of their own training as well though. They train other adventurers semi-regularly so that they can revisit the learning process and review initial lessons that are essential to keeping themselves alive. A stubborn or assured adventurer is meat on the hoof. I like it. I look forward to a stand alone book revolving around a team of dungeon killers.

    Species:

    First off, I enjoy the world. I get the sense that it is a bombed out shell of itself due to the Godsrage where the playing field has been leveled between all the races. This has led to a non standard power dynamic between the different species compared with other fantasy settings and I find myself piecing things together from clues you’ve left in the books either intentionally or not.

    Elves, my impression is that the elves don’t seem very stereotypically elven to me. Narratively they feel like half elves. Taking humans as a baseline they’re a little more graceful, a little more beautiful, a little less strong, they live a little longer, they’re lower on the Kinsey scale and have a sort of hard wired ethical sense that makes them more resistant to changes.

    That’s not a criticism from me, I consider it a clue. The savagery of the Godsrage decimated all races and the places of ancient magic that the elves relied on were likely targeted and hardest hit by gods and angels. The natural result of this is that the lower birthrate elves could no longer focus on the long term as they did before. Magic might come instinctively to them compared with other races but they had to think of the immediate and martial or be out competed by higher birthrate neighbors.

    They became more promiscuous than standard fantasy settings. The legendary wise and ethereal bearings were curbed into a more “forest elf” concept of hunter gatherer, territorial defensiveness and isolationist attitudes as implied by the organization of the two kingdoms. The elven townships and kingdoms began to resemble more human concept constructions due to their immediate pragmatism and efficiency. They still honor the old gods, they still remember the time before the godsrage… but do they GET IT? Do they really? It’s hard to say.

    There is a possible supporting indicator here in that Sistina is a creature of the before times whose effective formative years, given the loss of her memories, were at the height of the elven society. She based her body and likely many of her subtler physical nuances on this. How is she seen by the elves? She is even MORE graceful, beautiful, stately, potent, magical, etc than the elves of today. The way I interpret it is that Sistina is in essence an actual elf in all but physical aspect and a memory of how the elves should be if they had not lost themselves. This has deep implications for the development of Phynis as a character and I wonder at how you are going to present the three individuals who may also recall a time before the godsrage.

    Humans, they got a big ol’ manifest destiny going on here and I can’t really blame them. They seem almost childlike in their enthusiasm to destroy and subborn anything and everything. There attitude is one of immediate utility and short term personal reward. Brilliant. This is an attitude that so many human cultures have held throughout history and was proven over and over again. If you give humans a tool that grants advantage, they will bury themselves neck deep in an effort to catch em’ all.

    The Romans had the legion, the Chinese had the Chu ko nu, the British had the Thompson, the Americans had the Bomb. If a culture has this advantage long enough, particularly when it is held exclusively, thats when things go REALLY nuts. It becomes an encultured divine mandate that due to their hyper competitive ability others are unworthy of being … themselves. You really showed this well with an antagonist given a taste of what it was like to be a slave. The Romans honestly thought that enslaving a populace was the kindest thing they could do as they were proverbially bringing fire to the natives and they considered the brutal treatment of slaves as at best “the price of admission” and at worst “training with staff and rod.”

    I don’t know if that was your intention or not. I gather that the slave culture in the human kingdom is a relatively new thing but after 60 years or so… its enough. Enough that there is at least two generations who have only known this methodology.

    Dwarves… pretty spot on. Bless those dwarves. Granted we’ve only seen one of them that I can recall but he’s as unchanged as the stones themselves. Hilarious.

    Orcs. Very interesting dynamic there. I like the idea that the orcs and humans seem to be old time allies or friendly competitors rather than opponents. They are only touched on lightly but I get that impression and it is a very intriguing concept that orcs might stick to their tribal power structure but they see no issue with being mercenaries for humans… and further that humans see nothing wrong with using orcs in formation battles. This implies a long history of interaction that is likely bloody and brutal… but also involves a very deep understanding and respect for one another to the point that they might kill one another, but they refuse to underestimate or disrespect on another. Humans are likely viewed as “Townies” but they have sophisticated and effective weaponry. Orcs are likely viewed as “Nomadic brutes” but honorable in their savagery. Pure inference but its an interesting idea.

    Succubi. As you warned in your author’s note they seem to have quite an a-typical prominence in your books I don’t think its really an issue in this series since one of the antagonists is a succubus with some minions who are like wise succubi. It fits, it makes sense. It ties into a very prominent element of your magical theory so I don’t see it as any kind of issue. They are duplicitous, conniving and ruthless. They prey on the minds of men and women in a systematic and experienced manner… good… thats how they should be. I think I’d have issues if the Succubi were chicks with wings and tails but they really really aren’t. They have their own motivations and they use intelligence and manipulation rather than strength and brutality to achieve their ends. Wonderful.

    Magic:

    Good system, internally logical. You don’t go too into depth about many of the concepts but the chi-points are a nice touch as well as the concept of the mana thickness of an area. Too much magical theory can bog down a story and I have enough of a sense of what it’s like to develop a concept of where it can go. That is really all I need, particularly on a story that is character driven.

    I don’t know if you have heard of Dakota Krout’s “Dungeon Born” series but the magic system is incredibly similar… like… insanely, wantonly similar. I don’t know if you correspond with Mr. Krout or you’ve drawn from the same source material but I have a pretty firm head cannon that your world is based a few… or a few tens of thousands of years before the Dungeon Born series but based in the same world. I won’t do a comparative analysis here since you may not be interested and I don’t wish to dilute or contaminate what you have without your interest but I like that fact a lot. Hopefully you don’t look at his stuff and hate it because when I hold the two up to one another I think its just peas and carrots with how well the stories go together.

    Sex and Adult Topics:

    Obviously a delicate subject and I’m sure you’ve gotten heat over it. Some have an issue with it. I don’t, within the confines that you have presented it. I think the subjects you bring up are brutal and uncomfortable and you present them as brutal and uncomfortable. I think the brand is such a contemptible violation of common decency and such an invasive and pervasive effect that I honestly think necromancers are more ethical. I am of the opinion that you agree with that fact.

    Many women in these books have sexual relations against their will. It is assumed and lightly touched on at one point in the second book that men are not exempt from this treatment either. Worse, they are not even able to resist and are in fact prisoners in their own minds as their bodies are forced to act at the behest of their rapists wishes like puppets. This is so brutally and insanely damaging to a psyche that it boggles my mind. Absolutely every aspect of their free will is up for grabs due to this magic, particularly once the gem submagic is introduced. Again… maddening. I mean that literally, not figuratively.

    The only thing I can think of is that elven women are considered desirable in particular to slavers because something in them is so latched onto life… so insanely, fundamentally resilient that they can actually handle this treatment. In the back of my head I imagine human women with the brand being treated this way and being loaded onto carts as their minds literally break against the magic and they effectively die while still alive. I honestly think this is what would happen if a healthy individual were subjected to the brand and then treated as a sex slave in the manner that many of these characters were. Dramatic? Maybe, but you have really scraped some barrels here to reset my baseline of immoral villains from baby eating, demonic rapists to Ulvian and his ilk.

    The worst part about this is just how easy it would be for a society to gloss over this whole aspect of itself. Tell a slave to act like everything is fine and they will. Clean up, they will. Go to the market and grab some groceries, interact with your parents, play with your baby sister and then kill her before coming home, eating a dinner of dog feces before you’re raped then going to get some fresh naan bread from the store before we run out. It’s more Stepford than stepford.

    Please continue to pan to blowing curtains before any forced sex scenes because I don’t think I can handle anything explicit there. Similarly I look forward to the freed brothel workers turning into a cadre of the most kick ass and psychopathic vietnam vet, adventurers who live only on the blood of the enemy and consider flirting to be an executable offense.

    My profound admiration to the women in your stories that can handle even a slice of this treatment but its my thought that the only reason the Jewels are handling things as well as they are is due to the fact that they were broken to the point that they were able to. It’s an incredible and rich theme of loss and hurt that I would want nothing to do with as an author. It’s like loading your pages with nitroglycerin. Shake it the wrong way and everything goes up. Please have lots of friends read over such scenes before releasing them into the wild.

    Politics and Antagonists:

    I think you’ve got a pretty good handle on the politics of your world. If politics are looked at as being about culture and safety of the masses I think the various factions are well represented. The humans are Fascists who are caught up in robbing everyone to create the greatest empire of all time. The elves are busy doing everything they can to preserve themselves in an absolutely untenable situation. Their doughty natures are based on pride and disbelief but the policies follow very well when looked through this lens. They are simply unequipped to deal with an enemy that is not just wicked but seems to glory in finding new ways to be even bigger jack asses than the day before.

    Ulvian and his two old adventuring buddies are great foils for the protagonists to cope with. They’ve split the responsibilities and are out of the box thinkers. Their personalities are strong and unexpected. I love a jovial villain. I love the madness behind the eyes that is gleefully looking forward to oblivion in a manner that is both intelligent and self deluded. Its just enough self awareness to be dangerous and just enough insanity to wonder what he’s coming up with next. I love how aware his friends are and I half expect them to just bail at any moment when they see that the cost/benefit analysis isn’t showing any black. Until that happens though their commitment to the cause is brutal, analytical, nuanced. You really get the feeling that they have their act together in so many ways while still having a few character flaws that might be exploited. I doubt that any of them would turn on the others though even under threat. Too much history there. Such a thing avoids tropes and I hope you’ll stick to that impression. That being said… I can see them throwing the protagonists a bone to “test” one of the others if only because in their own minds they can’t trust someone that gets punked so easily. Blah, I’m getting too far into your world. i should stick to my own thoughts.

    I think you could have done a little more foreshadowing on Jared. He always seemed hyper competent and careful to me at the time and I never got the sense that his strengths were as a theorist or that his weakness was in being an armchair general. His arc proved surprising to me in some ways and it was a rewarding read but I felt it finished on a flat note given how involved his plans were all through the book.

    Protagonists:

    Sistina is the star in my mind. No holds barred. Phynis, Daniel, Lily and the others are interesting but when the chapter starts with Sistina I don’t put it down, even to refresh my tea. She is an incredibly powerful, incredibly ancient being with nearly perfect knowledge of everything going on around her. Honestly, that should make her painful to read but she is incredibly compelling to me. You have had to thread a very precise needle here and I doubt I can explain why it works. It might have to do with her flaw not being the Mary Sue “oh she’s got a bad tooth” or “oh she’s clumsy.”

    I think it’s related to the fact that there is this incredibly huge shadow over everything she does; that this entire series is basically a pregnant pause before she is alone again. She will do absolutely everything to make memories and be happy and leave a legacy of honor to those she loves… because they will die and leave her alone again. She knows deep down that soon, as she counts time, she will descend into sleep or madness or both because nothing she does will last compared to her. This is so painfully vulnerable, so shockingly sad that it allows the reader to watch her perform absolutely insane things while effectively shooting from the hip that we cheer her on.

    It’s bizarre and tragic and alien. It’s an inversion of religious beliefs that we should pity our gods because they are slaves to forces we can’t truly understand. She is a victim of her own madness and yet she embraces it because of her fear and pain. How can you not respect the courage it would take to embrace what happiness she can while she can, knowing that when she suffers it will be even worse for having those happy memories to compare against?

    The worst part is that you know the elves will come up with some bullshit legend three generations later about how Sistina vowed to protect all elf kind because she’s good and glorious, etc. No, she’s afraid, and she’s in love and she wants to live as much as she can while she can because she recognizes how precious it is to do so. All of what she does is for her and those she cares about, nobody else, no abstractions.

    Phynis is a good character. Excellent development cycle, potent reveals and wonderful interplay. I really think you’ve captured the right mix of a youth discovering who she is after being freed from responsibilities and not knowing what to do. I think the trauma’s she is exposed to are explored very well. I think that the brand and subsequent threat she is put under in her family home was… needed, in the story. As above I really wondered at the iron wills of some of these women and her absolute damage from even the threat of violence was entirely appropriate to the situation. Anger, blame, regret, despair, mistrust and anxiety that really effected her health… that was excellent as it reflected not only good growth for her but really spoke to the natures of others who had gone through similar experiences.

    Daniel. I really like him. He’s got a great supporting cast and his whole arc has been compelling to see. He’s almost Sistina’s opposite in a lot of ways which is maybe why I think he provides such a good addition to the cast. He starts with virtually no power or knowledge which is the opposite of Sistina and then develops within his focus. He meets many people quickly and learns from everyone. He is overwhelmed regularly but has a passionate driving goal.

    Objectively, he may be a little too likeable. A little too disciplined and focused and warm hearted. He even gets a spirit assistant that reflects this. I can’t say its a bad thing, I’m sick of edgelords and antiheros. I see nothing wrong with a young person trying to do the right thing and letting the complexity evolve from there. He’s doing very well with it so far and I’m interested to see how his relationship evolves with his beau now that Evernium has set its own policies on slaves and she is more accessible to him.

    General Notes:

    Overall I think you have a developed world, interesting characters and something to say. You aren’t just throwing a bunch of people into a crazy situation and seeing what happens. There is a message and its something for the reader to reflect on. That seems to be hard to find in this genre and I really look forward to seeing where you take it.

    If anyone has any questions regarding my thoughts on the books so far I will try and keep track of this thread and expound on them. I really enjoyed thinking on this book series and the world Mr. Medrano has created so please feel free to challenge. I’ve got lots more to say but would rather not continue the wall o’ text without knowing whether its appreciated or not.

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    1. Holy smokes, that is one huge post. I’m not objecting, just stunned by the length of it, as well as the thought that has gone into it. I also think you’re giving me a lot more credit than I’m necessarily due, Seth. I’m going to give a few thoughts on a handful of things, but for the most part I’m going to let people read and mull things over for themselves.

      You’ve got so much this is hard to parse through… but let’s start with the elves. Dawn elves and dusk elves were actually hit even harder than most elves in the world, and thus had more recovery to do. For me elves are people. Good, bad… all the warts of being people. They tend more toward the ‘good’ end of the spectrum more due to their tendency to look toward long-term benefits. They also don’t have a stronger magical affinity than humans. Humans simply die off more quickly than elves, so they ended up with more magi due to the advantage of time. Of course, this means that it also is a very finite advantage.

      I’ve also only touched on the human elements that are rebelling against Ulvian Sorvos and his company. They haven’t come up much, with only one appearance in Ancient Ruins, but they do exist, and they have a role in Halls of Power. I’ll leave that much there.

      Magic: While I read Dakota Krout’s Dungeon Born, it isn’t the same by any means. The basis of the magic of Ancient Dreams is something I’ve been piecing together for several years, and is based on the heavily-developed magic system of another setting of mine. Further development and explanation of the magic will likely wait until the novella on Marin, Marin’s Codex.

      Also, Ulvian Sorvos is the second most despicable, foul pieces of human excrement I could come up with. Of all villains who are sane that are in my repertoire, he comes in as the second most evil. The most evil is in the Dreams of White story idea, so he may never see the light of day, which is probably for the best.

      Now, I could say more… but you said so much in your post, that it’s hard for me to keep things in mind. I’m more than willing to answer questions, and flattered by what you’ve figured out. That being said, I’m also looking forward to seeing how you feel as the threads come together. Now, time to write more. Thanks for inspiration on some parts. ^_^

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  9. Oh my, you actually responded to the post. For whatever reason I thought to leave my comment and thoughts without reading any of the other posts and I see to my embarrassment that you do typically respond.

    Post length. Yes sorry, I tried to have actual data in each part rather that just drowning the reader in a wall of text but I tend towards the overly wordy at times.

    In regards to the elves, more than fair. You have a clear vision of your world and that comes across in your writing. That’s more important than somebody else’s idea of “what is typical.” Obviously I was drawing inferences where there was none thinking of where character development might be going.

    I found myself nodding at your comment that the local elves got hit harder than normal. When the foreign adventurers showed with their artifacts and weaponry I feel like it demonstrated not just how competent they are but how much more advanced the society they recently came from was.

    I look forward to Marin’s codex. I really enjoy meta systems in stories like a cohesive magical theory because they tend to create their own emergent sense of plot. Subtle nods towards why things are the way they are. Why high magic doesn’t exist anymore for the most part or why mages net longer life spans or fortified bodies just for “knowing” magic. It’s the small, thoughtful touches like these more than big events and characterizations that cause the world to be real.

    Like you said, the Divine Dungeon series is much more malevolent and if you don’t like the cut of that jib I can’t argue it. I am interested to see the evolution of the adventurers guild when they recognize that they can potentially negotiate challenges or events with Sistina. Simply knowing that the dungeon isn’t out to kill them overtly is huge from a training and morale standpoint. I would not be shocked at all if the local chapter becomes the world headquarters in time. It’s also interesting because unlike most dungeons an adventurer who gets it in their head that the dungeon needs to be “punished” for some imagined slight has an actual target for their wrath, including friends.

    I read that you like Lily the most and I can see why. She’s a wonderful straight man and I enjoy her additions as somebody trying to live her life. She had enough excitement and fear for several centuries and just wants to be left in peace. I like that Sistina is/was jealous of her boyfriend and I enjoy that Lilly’s romance with him was so soft and relaxed… normal. They like each other, they have a common background as former slaves, its enough. Also, I think its nice to see that her struggles are those of a day to day person cast into major events. When they are compared against one another you are better able to get a sense of scope with what Sistina, Phynis or the Jewels are trying to accomplish.

    Inspiration is a precious thing for an author. If I provided any fuel at all for your thoughts then I count my post as time well spent. Happy writing.

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    1. As I’ve said in at least one other post, in some ways I’m a compulsive ‘explainer.’ I love trying to explain my thoughts on what was going through my head when I wrote something up… at least, if I have a particular clue as to what happened.

      First off, this is in response to your original post. Jared Falgrave’s character arc was originally supposed to go into the final book. I had plans for him, and he was written into the outline. The problem is that I was writing Spells of Old, and Ulvian happened. For all that he’s a jovial fellow that I created, I never expected him to do what he did. It simply felt like the most logical solution for him to use, from his perspective. There, that being said, back to your new post.

      You’re also right about the elves. I’ve written them significantly differently than they’re portrayed in a lot of literature, partially because I think it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction against what I see as a recent trend, making elves either slaves or imperialist conquerors. I couldn’t say what elves I drew on as my inspiration, but I wanted a species that was more relate-able. That reminds me… I need to write up the full profiles for the elven clans for my other setting. *pauses, sets it aside*

      I’m looking forward to writing up Marin’s Codex as well. While I’m not happy with how it has to end, the story is one that I find enjoyable. The big thing is that it’ll show more heavily some of the threads linking to the Ancient Dreams trilogy, and how I’ve linked things together. In actuality, this is why I generally don’t write short stories. I come up with an idea, and then start drawing threads and connections everywhere.

      The adventurers have always been enjoyable to me, in their own way. In many ways they’re insane, yet in others they’re the most sane people in the world. Unlike most people, they have a realistic appreciation for the dangers of dungeons and how powerful magic can be. Alas, I don’t think I’m going to manage to show exactly why Albert was under house arrest in the trilogy… possibly another short story. I’ve got a lot of these… ergh.

      Lily has been joined as my favorite character by Isana Dayrest, actually. Lily is adorable and so very normal in many ways. She is just such a breath of fresh air in a series that started incredibly dark. Isana… well, I feel for characters who manage to get back up after tragedy. And incidentally, it was her example and your comment about the former brothel workers that gave me inspiration. ^_^

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  10. You need to upload a higher resolution version of the map, because I love maps, but I cant read the words on it. If this blog is downsizing it, then you need to post a link to it on google drive or imgur or something like that.

    I mean, its a lovely map, and you have obviously put in allot of work here, but then when I go to look at it, I get this.

    https://imgur.com/a/0aARS

    Is that “WRRANITE PUNT”?
    I cant tell what it says.

    Ok, I’m going back to reading your books now.

    Like

    1. I do understand, it was originally a question of whether I was going to change things, so I didn’t see the point up uploading a multi-megabyte file. After that… well, I may have forgotten to update it. I’ll try to do that a bit later today.

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