As I flesh out the world of The Taleweaver’s Song, I’m finding inspiration all around.
I’ve long read fantasy; from Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms at the beginning to A Song of Ice and Fire, Riyria Revelations, Shannara, Wheel of Time and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn later in life. I’ve taken bits and pieces from each to craft my world, kept what I liked and discarded what I didn’t.
For The Orc Plains, there is quite a lot of time spent on the Orcs (they are part of the book’s title after all) and well there was a bit on the dvorkan (Merelein’s version of the classic fantasy dwarves) in The Skeleton Stone there is more from the Orc Plains. Both the orcs and dvorkan have inspiration in a couple of my favorite things.
First the dvorkan. I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again (started when it first launched and stopped sometime after the Wrath of the Lich King expansion) and the architecture of the Alliance dwarves are a heavy influence on my dvorkan. In WoW, the dwarves aren’t confined to just their underground city, they have towns and outposts that are built above ground, parts of the buildings exposed and parts buried in the mountain and hillsides. I’ve always liked that idea, that the dwarves are just as at home underground as they are above, but even when above ground there is still that need to be buried and surrounded by stone (as most of the above ground structures are buried in the hillsides and you usually enter on the top level).
There isn’t much in The Orc Plains, but you get your first taste of what the dvorkan will be like in the world of The Taleweaver’s Song.
Now for the orcs I wanted to get away from the standard stereotypical fantasy orc but still keep many of those elements. I found my answers in the creations of Boss Fight Studio and their fantasy series. My orcs look more like what BFS has designed and even has some of the skin color differences (plus some added for my world). As you read The Orc Plains, you’ll see why my orcs are different from the normal fantasy orcs. And yes, the Blasted Land Orc‘s red skin color will appear someday, along with other skin colors. After all, if humans can have a wide variety, why not orcs?
Think of this as the first “behind the scenes” look at the creation of Merelein. My inspriation comes from all over the place. I have a folder on my hard drive with pictures that serve as inspiration for specific places and events. Those will appear over time and when they do, I’ll make sure to explain where and why.
And in The Orc Plains, when Osten and Kathwen mention their small house on the cliffs near Caer ConVall, if you’ve played The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and had the house called Breezehome then you’ll have an idea of what their house looks like.