Tag Archives: The Order of the Ages

Building a Religion in Fantasy – The Sword of Dragons

Hi everyone!

One of the most interesting challenges of writing the Sword of Dragons series has been building up the religion central to the world of Halarite, called The Order of the Ages.  But how did I do it?  How do I continue to do it?

Image Source - theeventchronicle.com
Image Source – theeventchronicle.com

It started with just the basic idea: ascension.  “What’s that,” you might ask?  The most basic definition of ascension is that, after death, one’s soul transcends the physical form to become a higher being.  For instance, the Christian idea of their souls going to heaven after death is a basic example.

In the Sword of Dragons, the idea of ascension, as described by the Order of the Ages, is that the most powerful or the most devout people can ascend to a higher plane of existence, shedding their bodies and becoming celestial beings.

The Six Gods

Image Source - https://www.pinterest.com/imraphox/gods/
Image Source – https://www.pinterest.com/imraphox/gods/

When I decided to make this idea central to the religion, I came up with the ‘founders’ of the religion, what would become known as The Six, the first six humans to have ascended and become known as the gods of the Order.  For each of these six, I came up with their most basic story, how they ascended, and what they are revered for.

This was long before I wrote the first Sword of Dragons novel, and doing this basic development early on allowed me to include the Order into every aspect of the world, even in ways that might not always be so obvious.  The name of the central kingdom, Tal, is named after the 2nd god, Talus.  The name of the First City is Archanon, named after the first god, Archos.

With this basic information in-hand, I began writing what would become the final novel of The Sword of Dragons.  “Wait, that’s it?  You didn’t develop it further?”  Not at the time.  I wanted to leave room for making the religion fit around my first novel’s story.

Which led to further development…

The Covenant of the Order

When I decided that the leaders of the four kingdoms needed to meet along with the Wizards, I knew that the Order would also need representation.  So I needed to come up with a governing body.  Thus the Covenant was born.  With a single member of the Order from each kingdom making up the Covenant, they were the authorities of the world, and even the Kings and Queens were supposed to take their counsel to heart.  Granted, not everyone did (King Beredis ;) ) but all respected them, none-the-less.

However, there’s more to the Covenant’s mission than anyone realizes.  They are the guardians of some of the greatest kept secrets on Halarite, the most shattering of which have yet to be revealed.  However, in book 3, their secrets shall be revealed, and even the most devoted followers will have trouble coming to terms with what has been hidden for ten thousand years…

The Sanctuaries

In book 1, I came up with basic clothing as well as the logo of the Order, six lines expanding outwards from a central point, representing the ascension of the Six.  In book 2, I created their guardian, Anila Kovin, as well as described the most sacred shrine, the Tomb of the Ascended.  Further still, in the Orc War Campaigns, I came up with a lower rank of the Order, the Clerics.

It was also in the Orc War Campaigns that I first mentioned the central place of worship for the Order: The Sanctuaries.  But what are they, exactly?

This was the latest challenge I faced in book 3, as the very first chapter takes readers into one of the smallest Sanctuaries on Halarite.  I looked to religious architecture on Earth for inspiration, and found that in most cases, religious buildings of old were built around the central ideas of their religions.

Image Source - wikipedia
Image Source – wikipedia

I learned that most religious buildings in old times, such as the old gothic-style churches, were full of symbols of the religion, and were meant to make a church-goer feel a sense of awe and feel as if they were truly in the presence of a god, or to feel as if they had stepped into a heavenly place.

Of course, I’m paraphrasing and simplifying everything I learned, but my research led me to realize that there were two aspects that the Sanctuaries needed to have.

You see, as the last of the Six and the founder of the Order, Ziarel believed in the importance of knowledge, and created some of the first books 10,000 years ago.  Thus, Sanctuaries are libraries.  Furthermore, following the design of the symbol of the Order, most Sanctuaries are round, with their stacks of bookshelves radiating out from the center.

Since not everyone on Halarite can read, the center of the buildings are pedestals where the clerics of the Order can read and interpret texts for the lay person.  Which brings me to the 2nd aspect of the Sanctuaries: centered high above, inside of the dome of each Sanctuary, is a sacred crystal, meant to help connect the mind of worshippers to the ascended plane, and to help focus souls of the recently departed so that they, too, might ascend as they pass through the sacred crystals.


Liked this glimpse into the Sword of Dragons and the Order of the Ages?  Click that like button below or click that follow button to the left!  :)

Thanks for reading, everyone, and I’ll see you next weekend!

-Jon Wasik

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The Sword of Dragons – Writing A Prologue

Hi everyone!

Image Source - http://geistig.deviantart.com/
Image Source – http://geistig.deviantart.com/

I have a lot of exciting news to start this post off with!!  :D  Firstly, part 1 of the series finale for The Orc War Campaigns has been posted, and as always, is completely free to read!  So click here to head on over to theswordofdragons.com and check it out!

Just as exciting, earlier this week, I began writing the manuscript for book 3 of the Sword of Dragons saga!  *bounces up and down in excitement*

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but my girlfriend and I always spend Wednesdays together working on our projects (usually she’s working on something cosplay-related while I work on book-related things.)  With the Orc War Campaigns all but finished, there was only one thing left to do :)

But…as is often the case, starting a manuscript is difficult at best.

Prologues – A Good Idea In Theory…

The difficulty I’m running into?  The prologue.

Somewhere back in time, over a decade ago, I thought, “I want to start my fantasy novel with a prologue!”  Fast forward several years to when I started writing book 2, and I thought, “I’ll write a prologue for all of the books!”

…and I decided that even though prologues are so difficult for me to write.  I rewrote book 1’s at least a dozen times, and about half that for Burning Skies.

So when I sat down to write book 3’s prologue…my mind drew a blank.  Maybe it’s my ADHD, which has been worse than usual lately, or maybe it’s just because prologues are difficult.  It took me over an hour to write one page (well, it ran a little bit more than one page), and in the end, I was completely dissatisfied with it.

The Purpose of a Prologue

Prologues tell a story that frame the novel.  What is this novel going to be about?  What might one or more of its themes be?  Or perhaps its primary purpose is to give the reader a little bit of history that isn’t covered in the novel itself, but is important to understand the story.

Image Source - www.ravensnpennies.com
Image Source – http://www.ravensnpennies.com

For The Sword of Dragons (book 1), the prologue told the story of the forging of the Sword and the end of the dragons’ civil war.  For Burning Skies, it framed the origin story of the Necromancers of Vestuul.

Book 3 of the Sword of Dragons will easily be one of the most complex stories I’ve ever told, with multiple threads converging in the final 1/3rd of the novel.  But the biggest event centers around the Order of the Ages, which is the central religion of Halarite, and the gods that the religion believes in.

That is the story the prologue will frame, the origin of the sixth and final god of the Order’s pantheon, named Zairel.  Why?  Well…that, my friends, is a story for another time ;)

In any case, this is the story I’m having trouble framing…not because I don’t know the story, but because a prologue should grab a reader’s attention and make them want to know “What’s going to happen in this novel?”  When Zairel’s story ends 10,000 before the novel starts, it seems (key word) like that’s all there is to tell about his story.

So the question is….how do I make the prologue seem like there’s more to his story, and that the next chapter in his story will be exciting and worth reading?

Moving On

In any case, the prologue is written…for now.  I have no doubt I’ll go back and reread it completely.  But I can’t let this difficulty hold up the rest of the novel.  So yesterday, I started writing chapter 1, and I intend to move forward with the rest of the manuscript.

So, intrepid readers, what do you think about prologues?  Do you like them?  Hate them?  If you’re a writer, do you like to write them?  Do you have any advice for all of the other writers out there about how to write them?

Please feel free to leave comments below, I love hearing from all of you!

Thanks for reading,
-Jon Wasik

Character Reveal – The Covenant’s Guardian

Hi everyone!

With the release of Burning Skies just around the corner, I thought I should start sharing more about the exciting new adventure!  :)

Image Source - background-kid.com
Image Source – background-kid.com

Burning Skies starts six months after the conclusion of The Sword of Dragons.  The new Alliance has fought on a unified front against the orc incursion, and have pushed them back into the Wastelands.

In that time, all contact has been lost with the exploratory colony on the far eastern continent of Trinil.  The Wizards attempt to portal to the colony, but find they are blocked from doing so.  In fact, they cannot create a portal anywhere on the vast new continent.

Screenshot from Skyrim
Screenshot from Skyrim

As further mysteries compound, the Allied Council decides to send Cardin, Sira, and the rest of their team across the vast ocean to investigate.  What they find is an army of undead, poised to strike at Edilas at the will of their necromancer masters.  But who are the Necromancers?  Why must they strike at Edilas?  And how has no one ever encountered them before?

The Covenant of the Order of the Ages

Imagine everything you thought you knew about the universe has suddenly come into question.  What were once known facts have suddenly been proven completely wrong.  And imagine those facts were taught by a central body.

The Covenant, leaders of the Order of the Ages, have managed to retain a seat on the new Allied Council, but at the start of Burning Skies, their position has begun to weaken.  They have openly admitted to misinterpreting the Cronal, the central document that forms the foundation of the Order, and as they attempt to ascertain the truth, they struggle to maintain their place in the world.

But the Covenant’s secrets run even deeper than anyone knows, and as prophecy and apocalypse begins to unfold upon Halarite, more of the Covenant’s secrets begin to unravel.

Anila Kovin – Trusted Guardian of the Order

With such dangerous knowledge beneath the very foundations of Archanon, they have entrusted the protection of their order to an elite few.  Anila Kovin is the greatest of their guardians.

Shrouded in mystery, Anila is one of the most skilled soldiers Cardin has ever encountered.  She wields a sword unlike anything ever encountered on Halarite – long, slender, and curved, light as a dagger, and made with the strongest steel.  Anila is able to hold her own against Cardin despite having no powers.

Image Source - alphacoders.com
Image Source – alphacoders.com

When the mystery of the new colony on Trinil is linked to the Order and its secrets, Anila is dispatched with Cardin and his team to journey across the sea.  There she begins to form a close friendship with Reis, the only other member of the group to be powerless.

This comes as a refreshing change for the Warrior.  Having always been surrounded by Mages, and more recently Wizards, Reis has envied their power and felt out of place.  Anila is the first person he has met who is as powerless as he is, yet can hold their own against those with magic.

However, Anila’s secrets cannot remain hidden forever.  And in the final climactic battle of Burning Skies, the truth of who she is must be unveiled, and Reis’s spirits crushed.


I hope you all enjoyed this glimpse into Burning Skies!  This is still just the beginning, and barely scratches the surface of the epic story told within the pages of Burning Skies.

PS: for those curious minds, Anila’s sword is indeed meant to resemble a samurai sword…  ;)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik