Beta! Beta! Beta!

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You talkin ta me?

Ha ha… made you say “wut”?

I’m such a weirdo.

Okay, here’s the deal.  I am looking for Beta Readers.  I have a few confirmed, but I would like a small, comfortable herd of interested parties who would be willing to read and fill out a questionnaire (plus whatever other criticism they may have) on my latest edit of Reimarsoga.  Remember, this is going to be a critical read, not just a fun read.  (well okay, it will be fun if I have my druthers.)

Details! (I will provide final instructions in the email)

  1. Start Date: No later than Oct 27th.  (Date is currently pending the completion of latest edit, finalization of the map and questionnaire.  It may come early.)
  2. End Date:  No later than Nov. 21st.  (I need time to make changes before I send it to the editor for a January release).
  3. Provided Materials:
    – 1 Copy of “Reimarsoga: Subtitle Pending” in PDF (including map and glossary)
    – 1 Questionnaire with specific questions by chapter and as a whole.
  4. Bonus Treat:  Participants who complete the beta read will be eligible for a FREE COPY once the book is released currently planned for the 1st week of January!  (I know, right?)
  5. Space is limited, so please don’t be disappointed if you do not get in… Book 2 is right around the corner!

That’s it as I see it.  If you have experience with editing, I am very interested in your input.  Enthusiastic fans of Fantasy, Steampunk, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction are strongly encouraged to apply.

To take the plunge, please reply the Contact page (extra linkypoo) and send a request through the email you wish the files to be sent to.  If you do not receive a confirmation email, you have not been selected, or I did not get it.  If that’s the case, try again before Oct 27th… cause I gotta put a hard deadline somewhere… and we’ll get it cleared up.

Once November starts, I will be focusing on my next Akiniwazi novel…la?  I’m doing NaNoWriMo, so its goal is 50k words and the faster I finish that means bonus stuff for y’all.

Thank you all for your interest!

 

 

 

Timeline of Akiniwazi: 1307-1310AD (39-42 Ad Segregationem)

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(Althing – Icelandic Parliament)  Government Thing Viking Law.  If it helps, pronounce it “Ting”.  But this is a real thing.

 

1307AD (39AS) Halmarpakt- Through the planning of his father, Halmar created the “Akiniwazi Union”, unifying all the Jarls and their Aettir into one cohesive government under him. There were now 13 “Royal” Aettir that united under the plan and became known as the Halmarpakt. Seven of them were given control of one of the lakes of the land while the remaining 5 were given major rivers as their lands while the Visekonge held the Kisiina Sea and the Athrflodjt as the personal lands of the Visekonge.

1310AD (42AS) – The Second Royal Census: In the wake of the Union of Akiniwazi’s creation and the naming of the 13 Royal Aettir, many old clans and families demanded some official recognition in compensation for agreeing to the new Halmarpakt. This prompted the order of the Second Royal Census. This was the first since the Isolation began. Many hoped it could help give closure to the era most Forsamling felt. Included in the census was the tracking of all the Aettir in Akiniwazi.

This, when complete, created the “Peerage of the Aettir”. Five distinct levels of peerage were created in the Halmarpakt.

Vapenaettir or “Crested Aettir” were those who had meritorious service to the Royal Aettir and land. They were given the privilege of a recognized coat of arms, motto, colors and family crest. Royal jewelers and metal smiths were directed to present graven copies of these to the heads of the family as templates for their family broaches and other jewelry.

Landetaettir or “Landed Aettir” were provided the privilege of recognized colors. They often were given much better titles and greater power as the Visekonge wished to rule in concert with the forming blocs of power.

Fargataettir or “Colored Aettir” were those who had provided meritorious service or were allied under one of the three Royal Aettir. They were given the distinction of a color, but took the crest of their patron Aettir.

Sivuaettir or “Paged Aettir” were those without land, industry or meritorious service, but could trace back their lineage to the old world and were still a cohesive family. These families were only listed in the Census Registry index. They had no official heraldry permitted. Their only honorific was the page and line number their family was listed on at the time of tabulation. Often Sivuaettir would have broaches and other decorations with the pair of numbers written on it. Although there was no officially recognized hierarchy, it created a social hierarchy and began to reshape society quickly as both new alliances were formed as the new Halmarpakt was accepted.

The result of the Census was grim. From a peak estimate of approximately 16 million people in the land, not including Thralls and Skaerslinger, only 5 million Forsamling survived the Fimbulvetr and the Aettirkriegen.

Timeline of Akiniwazi: Aettirkriegen!

After the Fimbulvetr, there was a lot of problems that came up for the Forsamling.  Not only was the threat from without by the Skaerslinger, the threat now came from within!  Get ready for a lot of new terms, for there are a lot of things that must be established.  This is a dense setting and now more than ever able to chart its own course.

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1274-1302AD (6AS – 34AS) : Aettirkrigen (War of the Families)

The Isolation was finally being accepted as fact by the Forsamling and caused a societal breakdown on what had become known as the “Old Nobility” because their attachment to the power of the Old World, which had held some in check, suppressing their desires to seize control. The old lines of control were now threatened or completely fell apart.

Originally, the Forsamling were governed by the Union of Nine. These were the 9 families or “Aettir” who had the power, backed by the old world. Four came from kings, called the Gamleverdenaettir, traced their lineage to the vassals of Sveinn Forkbeard and Knut the Great, and 4 were of the families of the sea captains who had been given control of all travel to and from the old world. With the inability to travel across the ocean the Kapteinaettir waned in power, while the Gamleverdenaettir suffered less of a decline. With the decline of real power and control, new aettir rose to power and became strong enough to rival the Visekonge’s Sveinnaettir, or Royal Dynasty as it was called.

A power struggle began when Visekonge Mikko Sveinnson became ill from an unknown disease and his eldest son died. Although Visekonge Mikko survived, his power to control others was weakened, and his only surviving son, Halmar was considered not strong enough to lead and rally the Aettir to his crown. With the talk of rebellion and open war now spoken openly in the streets, Mikko devised a strategy.

On March of 1280ad (10AS), he abdicated his throne to his eldest remaining son, Halmar Mikkosson. This was unheard of and many claimed he could not do this, for his shadow would be cast over his son’s reign as long as he was alive. He went into hiding. By the summer of that year, it was declared he was dead of the disease that had laid him low the year previous and Halmar’s reign was no longer in question. Yet Mikko remained close to Halmar and advised him constantly from secret.

Sensing the end of the Sviennaettir dynasty, Halmar became a lightning rod, drawing many enemies out into the open hoping to kill him and seize power. They did not think of the hidden threat of his father, who acted as his Chamberlain in disguise and rose up in secret against those enemies. Halmar was gifted at drawing in the power hungry self made nobles, while Mikko guided his military forces to crush the militarily inexperienced “new Jarls”.

The risky gamble worked. With many of the individual rabblerousers dead, many of the “New Jarldoms” were easy to subvert and bring to Halmar’s side. The Gamleverdenaettir were not so easily brought to heel as they saw their opportunity to supplant the Sviennaetta’s control grow when the careless were struck down. This helped them concentrate the discontent into their camp.

Mikko and Halmar now worked more as co-equals as he learned under his father’s tutelage. They used their rising power to divest the formerly loyalist Royal Aettir. Without the backing of the former royal houses of the old world, the Gamleverdenaettir were also weakening. For years they had relied more on tradition than merit to keep control over their holdings. With deft manipulations these weaknesses were exposed and exploited. Mikko rolled out his most cunning plan yet. With power passed from father to eldest surviving son or daughter, the Sviennaettir began a campaign that captured and executed the offspring of those families. Mikko saw it as fitting revenge for those who had hoped to do the same to him.

With the death of their lineage, the heads of the remaining rebellious Gamleverdenaettir sought a diplomatic resolution to the war. They were forced to fall back into line with Halmar. The Aettirkriegen ended displaying that he was both ruthless and now popular with the New Jarldom’s Aettir.

To address the problem of the rising power of what became known as the Nyrjarlaettir, or “New Jarl Clans”, Visekonge Halmar Mikkosson gave six of them the same rights and peerage as the Old World Aettir, while the Gamleverdenaettir and Kapteinaettir were reduced to three each.

Mikko, who had been in poor health lingered till 1306ad till he finally passed and was given a secret burial and his death was not announced until after the last of the Aettir came under fealty to the now well established Visekonge Halmar Mikkosson.

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Next up… the Halmarpakt and Second Royal Census!  (1307-1310AD / 39-42AS)

Edit:  Caught a critical error on the number of Royal Aettir.

Timeline of Akiniwazi: Fimbulvetr

Formerly known as “Den Lange Vinteren”.  Why the name change?  Because I have a spectacularly helpful friend in Norway who’s been a great cultural sounding board.  Take another bow, Torfinn!  Where the name comes from is this linkypoo.

The singularly most important event of the history of Akiniwazi!

…and the map.

Main Map of Akiniwazwi

The basic map of Akiniwazi

  • Light Green: mixed forest
  • Medium Green: Deep Forest
  • Dark Green: Swamps,
  • Light Brown: Hills
  • Dark Brown: Mountains
  • White: Icefloes and impassible ocean

 

1266-1269AD – “Fimbulvetr” and the Isolation Era.

The war against the Skaerslinger progressed very well with over 15 million people calling Akiniwazi home. With their prosperity, the dangers of the Skaerslinger became mere nuisances. Heavy logging had begun deeper in the forest as they started cutting into the hardest, thickest hearts of the Pinery. Massive amounts of timber were chopped and sent down rivers to mills and towns to be converted. Rich seams of iron, copper, tin and gold began to be mined. As the forest thinned in areas, farms began to take hold in areas never before open to the sky. Wheat was planted for the first time ever, and Peat cutting was becoming popular for fuel. Profits from shipping had never been greater as the wonders of the land were shipped back over the ocean.

On the day following the Autumnal Equinox in 1266, the ground shook faintly shortly after noon. It was just enough to cause all kyrkja bells to ring and the carillons to jangle incoherently. People began having a feeling of unease that would not diminish all over the land. At Nonae, a peal of thunder that lasted what seemed a half an hour occurred. It was as if the world rumbled like a heavy cart on cobblestones in mid winter. The Kyrkja and all its wisdom were unable to formulate an answer, but knew with dread something horrible was coming.

A few days later, ships coming from Europe gave stories of a massive wave that swept the ports facing the Atlantic Ocean killing tens of thousands. Peals of thunder so loud that it shook fine glass and an earthquake powerful enough to crack stone walls had occurred in the Reykjavik. Several volcanoes in Iceland erupted in sympathy, blotting out the sun in the northern seas with ash and smoke. Ships coming in for their last trip of the season said they were already battling floes of black ice in the ocean, and that clouds so dark they turned day into night and rained ash over half the ocean. For a thousand miles, fish lay dead in the open water, like it was poisoned. No mariner had ever seen such an event before.

Reports from the Pinery kept returning that Skaerslinger war parties and hunters were being spotted hunting far heavier than they ever had before, and even going so far as to rob grain bins on some farms, but never attacking the settlers.

By November, icebergs, never seen before in the Kisiina Sea began to be seen by the farthest lighthouses and clog the known shipping routes. The sunsets had been incredible in their beauty all fall, but were always colder than in past years. Frost came early as well. The autumn storms on the lakes were much stronger, and seemed as if the intelligent force behind them had returned, waiting to pounce on the shipping on the lakes with incredible ferocity. Shipping ceased earlier than it had ever done before, and Lake Ishkode, which was normally ice free all year long began to freeze over on its calm bays.

Winter set in that year in one massive storm. The prevailing easterly winds had grown hot over a week. Then, as if they could no longer fight off the coming winter, they changed. Winter winds blown over the cold seas, generating powerful storms were charged even stronger by the lakes. The killer storm raged for 3 days straight of intense snow. Snow drifted to depths taller than 10 men standing on shoulders. Entire cities were buried, and all the lakes, froze completely over. Most of those who lived in the wilderness perished, trapped, suffocated or crushed in their homes under many yards of snow. All of Akiniwazi became a frozen wasteland.

The snow did not seem to want to stop for a month. It hit with constant regularity, often filling in what had been dug out the day before. Men were exhausted from digging for survival throughout the entire month of November and beyond. But as the Winter Solstice hit, the snow dissipated, and the bitter cold set in. A cold worse than any ever felt before in the land. Tens of thousands more froze to death. Those who did not die from suffocation or freezing faced the grim specter of starvation. Often men braved the cold and snow and went hunting. The hunters were disturbed with the rarity of game and the new tracks in the snow that they had never seen before, giant skeletal human feet set in ice. A new evil was stalking the land.

As starvation began to set in late winter and early spring, the makers of the mysterious tracks were seen. They were giant men of skeletal stature that were like walking dead with feat that sometimes burned or smoked. They attacked the homesteads, killing and eating all inside. Hunters found entire native villages wiped out as well. No one was safe. Word started to circulate that even the natives were afraid of these creatures and called them Wendigo. They could run at incredible speeds through the pinery and leap so far people it was commonly believed they flew.

The terror of the Wendigo continued as the snow slowly melted but finally abated when the frosthold left the ground. After this, the trees and plants refused to bloom and grow. The world had turned brown and gray, refusing to live again. The nights remained cold enough to freeze into mid-summer, and the Northern Kisiina Sea, remained clogged with ice. Very few ships made it through, and the captains complained that the sea was only getting worse. Many began to flee what they saw as certain death coming to them all. People turned to their priests for answers, and were unsatisfied with the answer to their prayers:

The world as you knew it will now pass away.
Save for His Grace upon you, you will soon be alone,
Prepare yourself.

In July, plants began to bloom, and the forest tried to make up for lost time. But the farmer’s troubles only increased. The wheat crops failed, corn did not produce, and other field crops were ruined by the colder wet weather. No plant brought from the Old World seemed to take root or grow well while native plants flourished by comparison. The Pinery produced more or less as usual, but competition for food was fierce. The natives knew somehow it was going to be a horrendous winter, and were trying to make sure that the Forsamling had little to eat. They hunted and gathered deliberately around the cities, stripping them as bare as possible. They burned grain silos and stole from food stores as much as possible. Everyone seemed to know that the winter was coming early and would be just as harsh as the last year.

That September, the last boats arrived, quickly unloaded their cargos and the few remaining immigrants and fled between the thickening ice flows. They were never seen again. Winter struck as it had before, with icy vengeance and storms only a few days after the last ship left. The one bright point in that horrible hard winter was that the Forsamling had prepared and prepared well. It seemed to be enough.

When spring returned early in March, everyone was surprised. It was as if God knew that their supplies were running out. Sadly, the retreating snows and ice revealed a world much changed. It is estimated by the best historians that nearly half of all Forsamling had died during the winter because of cold, suffocation, starvation or Wendigo that had ravaged the countryside. Madness had taken more as it drove them into the wilderness after months of being trapped. No one was sure what happened to them.

The most ominous sign that the world was changed for good was that the Kisiina Sea never thawed. Ice shoves had destroyed seaside towns, ports and structures. Only the sturdiest stone buildings and breakwaters had survived ice the size of hills pushing onto shore. The Pinery took on its former character, and proffered food again in abundance, but the fields had vanished into new growth forest.

Ships never returned from the Old World, and Forsamling built ships could not escape the treacherous ice floes. They were cut off.

Visekonge Mikko Sveinnson sent forth small bands of the heartiest explorers to try and find access to open sea and to travel into the Ondeandkurv Mountains that surrounded the land. None of the explorers found a way to open sea in any direction, and most who tried were killed or never returned from their mission.

All years following 1266ad are also called by the new calendar Ad Segregationem, or “After Isolation”.

1267AD (1 AS) The Order of Anjar, or Anjars are formed by Saint Anjar.

1268AD (2 AS) The Taitian Order is founded by Saint Tait.

 

Coming up next the Aettirkrigen!