Hey guys, I'm back for another round this week and eager to share a little about my first novel series! Namely, I want to address some recent questions that have arisen about how I developed characters, cities, and even the world of Myrrosil. Contrary to popular opinion, authors often have very specific reasons for naming and developing people and places in their tales. I, for one, have gone to great lengths to place meaning and depth behind all that I have created in Myrrosil. SPOILER ALERT! There will be a few references in this blog that may reveal parts of the tale that you aren't ready for yet! So if you haven't finished the first novel in the series, Dawn's Touch, I would advise that you postpone this one for now and get your copy of The Myrrosil Chronicles: Dawn's Touch today!
How about we begin with the BIG one: Why call the world 'Myrrosil'? A few have asked whether the world simply came from imagination or if I had purposefully used the term. Well, the answer is a little of both, I suppose. Although the term seemed 'right' and it fit as a strange name for a strange new world, there was a little more thought behind it than simply that. The best way to explain it is to delve into the fascinating subject of Etymology (The study of the origins of words)! Yea... maybe it's not that exciting, but it certainly helped me in my journey.
So, let's begin by breaking down the word 'Myrrosil'. The prefix 'Myr' dates back to a powerful and poetic tale of Greek Mythology: The Iliad. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, there were a lot of weird names fighting each other during the Trojan War. I mostly forget all of that. But there was one group of legendary people that were formed during the tale called the Myrmidons. We can skip all the rest, because this was the sole source of inspiration. This army of beings was loyal to a fault. They blindly obeyed orders and were considered mindless drones as history progressed and people read back on the Iliad. Their origins and the name 'Myrmidon' was derived from a colony of ants, particularly worker ants, hence the prefix 'Myr' as per the Greek name for ants, 'Myrmex'. You following me? Good! So when I began creating this realm, I had one goal in mind for the people and for Cyrus: I wanted it to be abundantly clear that fate (A.K.A. God) was calling the shots. From the early era of The Schism War (The history of Myrrosil recounted in the earlier chapters of Dawn's Touch) to the very moment when Cyrus lands in the strange world himself, there is a force beyond knowing, beyond seeing, that pulls the strings of life and to which all things obey. Like worker ants in a colony, the people of Myrrosil are confined to the sovereign desires of something greater than themselves. The tides of destiny tug on and wash over every person in the realm, ultimately leading them to the moment where Cyrus enters the picture... I must pause in going further though friends, as not to give away too much in the remainder of the story!
But let's not miss the wider implications of what we are talking about here. The idea that something bigger than us is pulling the strings in our lives is unsettling to say the least! And this is precisely what I am painting an image of in The Myrrosil Chronicles. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that such a prospect can be difficult to wrestle with and often is frightening beyond reason. It raises the all-too-familiar question of Free Will vs. Predestination. I'm sure that you have heard of, and likely have a stance on, this conversation.
We, as human beings, so crave free will. We want to be the ones who make the decisions, follow through with our plans, and ultimately rule our own destinies. It was that way since the very first humans, Adam and Eve, seized control of their lives by eating of the forbidden fruit. They wanted to call the shots and so do we. It's human nature. But the fact is, even though God allows us room to move about and make our own choices, He is still Sovereign. When God desires something to be accomplished, we should pull back the veil of selfishness and conceit and realize that despite what we, or anyone else, wants, God will see His plans through to the letter. There is zero chance that we can intervene or alter our own paths if God sees fit to use us to an end.
Which brings me to the name of the main character: Cyrus. If you haven't read the scriptures of Isaiah chapters 40-45, then I would encourage you to do so! These passages offer a clear, crisp picture of God's ultimate authority in the world, and how He can and will use anyone He so desires to fulfill His plans. Cyrus the Great was the Persian king during the times of the Israelites' Babylonian captivity. So the story goes that God's people decided it was time to forget all about Him and focus on themselves a lot more, which led to some more poor decisions. Long story short: they wound up as slaves to the Babylonian empire for nearly a century. After letting them stew in their own mess for a while, God returns to intervene and declare that they will be delivered back to the promised lands. The beauty of the story lies in multiple places, but one of the most striking is God's use of Cyrus the Great, a foreigner.
Check this out. It gives me goosebumps to read. This is God's call to Cyrus the Great:
"God’s Message to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whom he took by the hand
To give the task of taming the nations,
of terrifying their kings--
He gave him free rein,
“I’ll go ahead of you,
clearing and paving the road.
I’ll break down bronze city gates,
smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances.
I’ll lead you to buried treasures,
secret caches of valuables--
Confirmations that it is, in fact, I, God,
the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
It’s because of my dear servant Jacob,
Israel my chosen,
That I’ve singled you out, called you by name,
and given you this privileged work.
And you don’t even know me!
I am God, the only God there is.
Besides me there are no real gods.
I’m the one who armed you for this work,
though you don’t even know me,
So that everyone, from east to west, will know
that I have no god-rivals.
I am God, the only God there is.
I form light and create darkness,
I make harmonies and create discords.
I, God, do all these things." (Isaiah 45:1-7, MSG)
So once God was fed up with the abuse that His children were taking, He decided to make a point to the nations that He was in charge of everything and that there are no others that can stand against His judgments. He chose a man, a king, who knew nothing of God or His statutes and laws, and forged him into a weapon for his own purposes. There is a stark truth here, friends. When God wishes to build something or tear it down, He has a tool shed the size of the universe, and He will use whatever tool He deems fit in order to accomplish the project. You and I may just be those tools. Something to chew on.
Thus, I named the main man Cyrus Farrington. A fitting name, I thought, for such a young guy that was destined for great things. He was called out. chosen, and equipped for all that has happened so far and is to come in The Myrrosil Chronicles. As for the rest of the characters and places, I may simply add those in to future blogs as I go. So you'll have to stay tuned to find out the stories behind Raze, Enigma, Tantasphere, and more!
As a little gift to keep you guys thinking about the omnipotence of God, how about this: First five people to comment the word "Sovereign" in the area below will receive the first copies of book two, Anima's Grip, at its release! Free stuff is always nice, right? Here's to hoping that God sovereignly leads you to this blog! ;) Out...