Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest blog with Richard Denning author of The Last Seal

The nature of Demons and of Magic in the world of The Last Seal
The Last Seal is a historical fantasy where the real world of 1666 – the world of Pepys, King Charles II and the Great Fire of London is blended with a supernatural world of sorcery and demons.
In The Last Seal, the race of demons exist and are almost indestructible and very ancient creatures who existed on our earth centuries before mankind. Our ancestors fought a war in prehistoric times – a war fought with weapons and with sorcery – and in time banished the demons to the void outside our world.
All races have stories of powerful and terrifying creatures which are said to be immortal and almost invincible. These ‘demons’ in some form or other pervade our folklore, enter our legends and also find their place in our religions. To the Christian church they are fallen angels; once servants of the almighty who fought a war against him but finally lost and were then banished to the underworld where they remain as supernatural, malevolent spirits plotting the downfall of man and the destruction of heaven.
Hindu myths also speak of ‘Asuras’ or demons who are evil spirits forever battling against the divinities. In Islamic legends we read of the Jinn, creatures made of fire just as we men are made of clay. Some Jinn are not evil and many are benevolent but like the fallen angels of Christianity others rejected Allah and like them were banished to dark places from which they can tempt, torment and mislead humanity.
The Babylonians, Persians, Chinese and many others have such fables about demons, deva, daimons or some other name for this type of creature. Is this coincidence or is there perhaps something behind it all? Is there some memory in our oldest traditions of terrifying encounters with creatures beyond our comprehension and certainly beyond our powers? It was these thoughts that led to me having demons as the old enemy of mankind in The Last Seal.
Mankind set themselves to the task of trying to fight against the demons, futile though it might seem with merely flint and spear, fire and rock but try they did and the first great warriors of our race were born. Some though reasoned that only through power could power be defeated and became dedicated to learning all that could be learned of arcane knowledge and sorcery and so in time the first wizards and warlocks came to be.
The wars were ferocious and brutal but through the strength of our arms, the powers of our minds and the resilience of our spirits we defeated the Great Enemy, banishing them to the void beyond the world and were at last free to rule ourselves. The demons though were not content to live an immortal existence in that dark wilderness and through the endless millennia have endeavoured to find a way back. And through these endless millennia there have been those who have strived to help them and gain for themselves – just like their ancestor’s before them – their share of power and glory.
Over the centuries some men tried to bring the demons back and to free them from their captivity – these became the Liberati. Others strives to protect our world from the demons and these were the Praesidium. Their battle raged on through the centuries.
In the 14th Century Blake – a Liberati – managed to free the demon Dantalion. His triumph was short lived as Cornelius – a Praesidium – bound the demon in a tablet and buried the tablet under the city of London. Now, three hundred years later, the Liberati are poised to release Dantalion and a new battle to save the city and the world will ensue. That is the situation at the start of The Last Seal.
Words of Power
“Words can be powerful. They can lead men to fight against extraordinary odds, defy evil, fight for good, defend a King - or defeat one, maybe. Words can make you draw on strengths you never knew you had. Even so, I am talking here of ordinary words spoken by ordinary, if occasionally inspired, men.”
Gabriel sipped from his cup again, but did not take his gaze off Ben. “Then there are others that are more than just a collection of lines and shapes written on a page. Some words seem to be an echo of yet more ancient tongues: angelic, divine or maybe demonic and infernal. These are words that our ancestors heard spoken in the deep past, in times more ancient than you can begin to imagine.”
I agree with Gabriel. Words are powerful and it is something about that concept that wormed its way into my thinking when I developed the idea of how magic works in the Last Seal.  In this excerpt Gabriel describes how to use them:
“Kipofu‒Lumen‒Glimt,” Gabriel had shouted and then had explained how the words usually combined the different components needed to make the power work.
“Firstly, there is always a word that represents the type of effect desired: perhaps to fire a projected bolt of energy, maybe influencing the mind, or altering the physical world. The word focuses the mind on the end result. Secondly, comes a word that summons the force or power that will actually be used to make it happen, such as fire or light, pressure or subtle hypnotic effects. Finally, another word actually triggers the effect, in much the same way that an officer shouting the command, ‘Fire’ to his men will result in them shooting at the enemy. As you learn the words you have to work out what part of the syntax or the grammar they are and then you can combine them to build up different phrases with wide-ranging effects.”
“Like learning a language at school I guess,” Ben had mused.
“Exactly the same really, so then, go ahead and try.”
Benjamin had tried and found that not only could he master it, but the power and force he used were much more than Gabriel had produced. The older man had nodded appreciatively, but then looked anxious. Ben had tried to appear modest, but inside he had felt the raw power build up and channel through him. It was intoxicating. It took away the pain of his parents’ death and replaced it with a giddy, exhilarating sensation. He had to learn more; he must know more.
In The Last Seal Gabriel, Artemas and Ben use Words of Power as weapons with which to fight, a means of defence and a method of summoning a demon. I envisaged that these were once words that the demons spoke in their infernal language and which held power. These same words found their way into our many languages, buried away in a thousand dialects, but both the Liberati and the Praesidium have discovered and combined the words and now they can use these words in their conflict. Here are some of these words, which I used in this book. I have included here the words used and shown the languages they come from as well as a pronunciation guide.
Flash bang: “Kipofu-Lumen-Glimt”
Blind (Swahili Kipofu); Light (Latin Lumen) ; Flash (Norweigian Glimt) 
Bolt of Lightning: “Calamus Aστραπή  Cтрелять”
Arrow (Latin calamus); Lightning (Greek astrapi); Shoot (Russian strelyat)
Rite of freeing Dantalion: “Eleuthero  Libertas Dantalion”
Separate (Eleuthero Greek) Freedom (Liberats Latin) Dantalion (name of the demon)
Cone of Ice: “κώνος , jää , décharge!”
Cone (Greek Konus ) Ice (Finish Yar); discharge (French daysharge)
Dismissing Illusion: “Ostendu, Realität, núhwílum!”
Reveal (Latin ostendu) ; Reality (German realitate) ; Now (Old English newveelum)
Mystical Shield:“Contego,Aeris, Minä!”
Shield (Latin contego), Air (Latin airis), Myself (Finish mineh)
Open doorway to Abyss “Ingang, Vácuo Nepokriven”
Entance (German ingank); Vacuum (Portuguese vaqwo) Open (Serbian nepocriven)
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  1. Cool words. I like how certain genres promote this kind of creativity.

  2. To anyone interested in getting a copy of this book check back tomorrow for my review and sign up to win!