The hidden symbolism and concepts in the Aetherstorm Chronicles, Erebus

One of the hidden, underlying themes in Book 1 of the Aetherstorm chronicles is addiction. It may be an addiction to power or to a substance but the effects that it has on the characters and how it determines an outcome has always fascinated me. Although it is mostly visible in the character of Shylocke and his need for whiskey to maintain his sanity, it also manifests as an object in the weapon called Erebus. The concept came from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign long ago where the DM gave a character a weapon of enormous power. However, to use it could possibly cost the character his life. Such is the cost of wielding the ultimate weapon.
I added to this by making the weapon a part of its host, thus it could simply not be discarded away. The temptation to use it is always there and it torments its possessor, reminding them that it is always present, always ready to take control. It also leaves a physical mark, one that is obvious and hard to hide. Addiction in its most visible sense if one thinks about it. In Tesla’s case it formed a glowing tattoo like mark across her left arm. Luther Von Voss talks about it in chapter 26.

Tesla St. Vrain

“Artifact number 676. It is full of anecdotes as there is not much known about it. But…according to the notes, it is the most dangerous of the seven witch blades. Once it is bound to its host, it can never be removed. It is believed to be a living fragment from an entity called Erebus. When its name is spoken by the host, it manifests as a flaming sword that has an unbreakable blade that is engulfed in aetheric and tartarustic fire. The combination of these two elements of fire steals the life force from anything struck by the blade, which it then consumes. Afterward, the soul of the being is burned into nonexistence. Essentially, it is hellfire.”
“Sounds like quite the formidable weapon,” Captain Laveau said, listening intently.
“Wait, there is more,” Von Voss replied, adjusting his monocle to a comfortable position before reading again. “What makes this artifact especially dangerous is that it gives the host a small amount of the stolen life force. A scholarly study on this medium suggested that it has an addictive quality that creates a sense of euphoria in the host. The artifact uses this to its advantage by making the host an addict, thus eventually manipulating the will of the host,” he paused, turning several pages before continuing. “There is a handwritten note on the bottom of the last page. It says that every person who has become a host to this artifact has died after the blood lust turned them upon their friends, allies, or subjects. There is also a brief list of the known former hosts, Ramesses III, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.”

 

The hidden symbolism and concepts in the Aetherstorm Chronicles, the Ghostwalker

The concept of the “ghost-walker” is one of the first concepts for my main character that was developed. The actual term comes from my days of being a tour guide for a ghost tour. The guides were called called ghost-walkers in a tongue and cheek sort of way. However in my book it is a person who has the ability to cross over the veil that separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. Thus, in a way, becoming a ghost. However, as i developed this idea i quickly found that such an ability has the potential to turn my MC into a superhero too quickly. Think about it. The ability to move through matter, invisibility and all of the other traits that ghosts display are practically superhuman in themselves. So, I had to limit my MC’s ability to use it. I did this by introducing a limitation. She had to stay focused on staying on the “other side” or she would pop back into the material world.

The idea and symbolism for this came from the  Law of Focus.  This simple law says that we move toward that which we focus on. You don’t walk down the street looking behind you. You look ahead so that you can see where you are going. Where the eyes lead, the body follows. You go where you look. It can also suggest that your past is not your future. If you want to change your life, simply look toward what you want. By all means learn from your mistakes, but do not dwell on them. Focusing on the negatives only brings more negatives. So why not have a positive outlook? Teach yourself to find and acknowledge the positive things and you will find that more of the good stuff seems to come around.

The Secrets of the Airship Divinity

As a writer creating a steampunk universe, how do you make an airship that is something extraordinary?  My concept was to make it originate from antiquity, an ancient vessel that was able to travel in the space that exists in-between the various worlds of existence (known as the Aether in my book). I additionally linked its origin to Egyptian s, using their mythology to “flesh-out” its back-story.

From Chapter 12

“My concern for Tesla St. Vrain is more than a mere humanitarian interest. The Ministry was formed to address supernatural issues that are imposed on our world due to tears in the aether. We know that the tears are caused by the Aether storm, yet we know little of the phenomenon itself. The only way to understand the Aether storm is to study it, and that would require an ability to observe and measure it.

“Heka is the deity, the power that watches over one’s soul, gives it power, energy, and allows it to be elevated in death to the afterlife. Because of his protective powers, he was given a prominent place in the barque of the sun god as it traveled through the underworld at night. In other words, magick is what powers the barque.”

“What does the barque of the sun god have to do with any of this?” Dante asked with a curious look, his patience was running thin.

“We already possess the barque of the sun god. It is the aether airship called the Divinity. All it requires to operate is a magickal battery…a capacitor…an empowered quintessent. It is the only known vehicle capable of traveling into the aether. If I am correct, she will be of great value to the Ministry in these scientific endeavors. I trust that you understand my intentions now?”

“I do,” Dante replied as he smiled slightly. “Always three steps ahead of the game. Good luck, old man.”

As I am currently writing the second book in the series, the Airship Divinity takes on a more significant role. Although I cannot reveal the details at this time, rest assured that they are just as fantastic and mystical as you would expect.

The hidden symbolism and concepts in the Aetherstorm Chronicles: Quintessence

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for symbolism and foreshadowing.  Perhaps it is my love of mysteries that fuels these ideas but they are a large but hidden part of my fictional work. Today I will be discussing the concept of Quintessence as it applies to my story.

In my story’s universe, quintessence the physical manifestation of magical power, much like psi is the operational element of many supposed paranormal abilities.  In ancient and medieval philosophy, it is the fifth essence or element, Aether, supposed to be the constituent matter of the heavenly bodies, the others being air, fire, earth, and water. However, it is actually a very real thing. In physics, quintessence is a hypothetical form of dark energy. It can be either attractive or repulsive depending on the ratio of its kinetic and potential energy. By combining these two concepts I created the idea of how magic works in my story’s universe.

I have this image of my heroine, Tesla St. Vrain, being able to absorb a small quantity of this magical substance and then generating vast amounts of it.  Fundamentally, it is based on the concept of karma .  It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect. Whatever one puts out into the Universe will come back to them. For pagans and occultists, it is called the rule of three. It states that whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times.

However, I did not want a world where magic was readily available, so I restricted its usage by making it rare. Thus, Tesla’s ability to amplify quintessence is highly sought after due to this principle.

From Chapter 8

“A sorcerer simply absorbs the quintessence from the environment around him,” Sidgwick replied. “The quintessence he takes in to initiate his magick is merely released back into his surroundings in another form. So the levels of quintessence in the environment essentially stay constant. The one exception occurs only if the sorcerer had used quintessence stored in an appropriate container, like a crystal. Even then, the residual quintessence levels would still be quite low. The levels we measured at the ritual site were ten times the average strength.”

Von Voss placed his handkerchief back into his pocket and put the monocle back over his right eye. He adjusted it before directing his attention to Dante.

 “Quintessence originates from the sun. Having similar properties with cosmic rays, it travels through space until it reaches the Earth. There the Earth’s electromagnetic field diverts it, so it does not strike the surface directly. It is the moon that reflects it, sending it back down to our planet where it is absorbed. This is why many occult rituals are performed during the full moon when the highest amount of quintessence is available.”

 

Tesla St. Vrain: The Power Within (The Aetherstorm Chronicles) is now available!

My latest book Tesla St. Vrain: The Power Within (The Aetherstorm Chronicles) is finally finished. I spent the entire year of 2019 working on this project and I’m really excited that it has been printed.

Back Cover text:

“In the year 1899, women are expected to behave, but Tesla St. Vrain is no ordinary young woman. Hiding her psychic powers from the world, she wants nothing more than to lead an everyday Victorian life. But after a simple witchcraft ritual goes awry, she is bestowed with the magical power of quintessence and forced down a path of darkness.
Determined to use her newfound powers to protect the Earth from the sleeping horrors and terrors long forgotten by humanity, she joins a secret organization, the Ministry of Psychical Defense, taking up an ancient quest to secure the evil sources of darkness, the Spheres of Nether. But can she come to terms with her powers and complete her
training before the Spheres fall into the wrong hands?”

You can find it on the links below.

Amazon

Google Books

Kindle

It will soon be available on iTunes and Nook.

 

 

 

Henry Sidgwick, Character Card

Next up is Henry Sidgwick. “Seated at the far side of the table was Henry Sidgwick. He might have been a handsome man at one time, but his otherwise delicate features were offset by his long beak-like nose that had apparently been broken and reset several times in the past. His long beard was gray-haired and shaggy, like an unshorn sheep. His weather-worn face was oddly juxtaposed to the crispness of his suit, likely tailored to perfection in a high-end London tailor’s shop. His eyes had a look of grave concern that lingered beneath his heavily wrinkled eyelids. (Chapter 8)

Dante Laveau, Character Card

The next character card is Dante Laveau, the last and hidden son of Marie Laveau and the Voodoo King of New Orleans. I wanted to add something different, some other kind of “super-power” which I had never seen used in a steampunk book and voodoo fit the bill.

“The man had brown skin and was wearing an expensive suit that was immaculately tailored and pressed. Looking up, he gazed into the golden eyes of the brown man, his face surrounded by long black dreadlocks that ran down onto his frock coat like tamed serpents that had been captured in the dark jungles of Africa.” (Chapter 8)

Dante Laveau

Luther Von Voss, Character Card

Here is my next . Will Little created the character of Luther Von Voss, playing him in a Ravenloft campaign called the Masque of the Red Death. Although I am told that Will envisioned this character as more of a fighter, I used his high intelligence to add a degree of expertise to the story. As such, I used him to introduce the reader to the complexities of the world that exists in this novel.
“Across from Sidgwick sat the renowned German Egyptologist and adventurer Luther Von Voss. His face was strong and defined as if his features had been molded from granite. His bone structure was symmetrical, cheekbones high and prominent. His platinum blond hair was mostly concealed by his top hat as his eyebrows sloped downward in a serious expression.” (Chapter 8)

Luther Von Voss

Huilliam Shylocke, Character Card

Next up is a character that was initially created in a Ravenloft campaign called the Masque of the Red Death and played for 14 years before I was allowed to use him for this story. Huilliam Shylocke was created and played by Mason Evans. I found the idea of a terrorist evolving into a hero to be quite fun and fascinating.
“As the steam cleared, a man appeared in the entry. Wearing a bowler hat, he was dressed in a neatly pressed suit, the kind you only see on high priced lawyers. He appeared to be in his mid-forties. His hair was done very nicely, as he had some form of oil mixed into the black strands to give it a rough shape. His forehead was imposing, almost square, and was accentuated by a few wrinkles that revealed his age. However, his most striking feature was a bushy handlebar mustache that grew outwards to small points resembling a bicycle’s handlebars. He descended down the steps carrying a large carpet bag as he greeted Dante with a slight nod. To his friends, he was known as Huilliam Shylocke. To his enemies, he was known merely as “that bastard.(Chapter 8)

Huilliam Shylocke

Tesla St. Vrain, First Character Card

So here is the first character card. This is my main character, Tesla St. Vrain. When I started this project, I wanted my MC to have a unique name and identity since the fad of common names is beginning to wear off.
“In the year 1899, women are expected to behave, but Tesla St. Vrain is no ordinary young woman. Hiding her psychic powers from the world, she wants nothing more than to lead an everyday Victorian life. But after a simple witchcraft ritual goes awry, she is bestowed with the magical power of quintessence and forced down a path of darkness.
Determined to use her newfound powers to protect the Earth from the sleeping horrors and terrors long forgotten by humanity, she joins a secret organization, the Ministry of Psychical Defense, taking up an ancient quest to secure the evil sources of darkness, the Spheres of Nether. But can she come to terms with her powers and complete her training before the Spheres fall into the wrong hands?” (back cover text)

Tesla St. Vrain

The Aetherstorm is coming!

The Aetherstorm is coming! I have spent all of 2019 writing my first fiction novel. It is a unique mixture of steampunk, horror and paranormal. I have finished the final draft and it should hit the hands of my beta readers next week. it looks like the release will happen in February. I will be posting character cards and other miscellaneous info about it over the next several weeks.

#horror #steampunk #indieauthor #paranormalfiction #steampunkbook #horrornovel #fantasynovel #sciencefiction #sciencefictionbook #author #authorlife