I’m sitting in my car right now on this bright, brisk and beautiful morning. Enya is weaving a river of music into my ears and thoughts of this afternoon come to mind. One of my good friends is going to be married, two actually; one of my “adopted” older sisters, and a guy I’ve looked up to as an older brother for a long time. Granted, he was an older brother constantly recovering from crazy/stupid stunts that consistently gave him concussions, tore his fingers, and broke bones. I wish them well

I made myself a promise that I’d try to update at least once a week, and I decided that I’d try to make that day Saturday. Now, I’ve had a busy week, and my weekend is busy as well; I’m shooting the wedding at 1 (as I’m likely writing this in two or more bits) and after I’ve got more work that needs doing, in three places, and tomorrow I’ll be attending the SLO Youth Philharmonics sometime after church.

Appropriately, Reflections by Mae just turned on (anyone who doesn’t know me well who reads this will know that my world is full of music, not High Earth so much, but my mind; its a traveling iTunes.) I say appropriate because this entry is a reflection on High Earth. I briefly mentioned last time that people had changed and names needed to be changed, and I’ll expand on that today. I’m also planning on codifying a few of the Shaper rules, as well as explaining a bit more what Shapers are.

To business.

Originally, most of the characters that had the most meaning to me in the story, as much as I’d had written and planned out, were real people. That is, the two main characters I’d written and the dozen or so minor characters, were all based on real people in some way or another. Phoerix obviously, was me, though I’ve not white hair in real life. Aerin’s mirror would have been easy to divine then when I started writing this. But people change, and not always for the better. I’ve been rolling High Earth around in my mind like a tumbler shining a pretty stone for over five years now, though I know not how effective the time has been. None of the people who were exist as they are now.

I’ve changed a great deal, and they’ve changed a great deal, and the world has changed a great deal. Ironically, at the onset of my writing Phoerix was a loner and an orphan, with little hope of much better than skill as a blacksmith and a good fighter. I say ironic now because he was quite angsty, and while the character was fairly untrusting, I was relatively naive and trusting I’m also no blacksmith, by any stretch of the imagination. I was, and still am thankfully, a slightly below average height, thin editor and worker on computers. I’m also boyishly/roguishly good looking and have hoards of fangirls who think we’re in an Axe commercial and need to be cleaned… oh wait, not quite.

Today however, I’m much more of a cynic, Machiavellian, Calvinst, angry white man. All rolled up in a cheerful (hopefully) demeanor and largely polite. Oh, and full of sarcasm and dry humor. And yet Phoerix Reborn, as I’ve taken to working him, is no longer an orphan, part of a functional family, and is the captain of one of the best Shaper teams in the country, at one of the top universities. Talk about ego huh?

Aerin is no longer who she was to Phoerix, not in real life, and not in narrative. Because of real life, it wouldn’t be appropriate to keep them so. But Aerin is no longer any one person either. Neither are most of the other characters I’d written character sketches in my mind. (And speaking of sketches, if any artists are reading this, please talk to me if you’d like to help out some.) So I’ve decided to make them into archetypes of sorts. Phoerix aside, most characters are a mix of different friends I’ve had, with traits and mannerisms taken person to person. This probably makes it a bit safer for me because it’ll be less certain when I’m talking about a specific person, if I even am at that point.

As for changing names, most of you who read this know I adore Latin. So Latin, Greek, and Hebrew words are used as names for various characters (read, everyone who was in that first I posted last week, though I haven’t revealed Jade’s name yet.) If this sounds like a suspicious rip off of some great authorial technique, it is. Pilgrim’s Progress written by Paul Bunyan in the 1600’s is one of my favorite books, and the author used this extensively, though he at least kept the names in english.

So, “For added fun!” as I continue to write, try to figure out who you are and what the names mean, and feel free to give me a bit of guidance if you like. I’ll listen at the very least, and I might even implement your suggestions.

High Earth is in many ways a mirror of our world, but its also a kind of dreamworld for myself, how I might wish things were. Not fully, because computers have not been introduced yet (though I may write a scifi High Earth later.) Angels and Demons walk the world, or fly if they wish it. Magic exists partially, dragons and pegasi and gryphons live not quite in peace together. Vampires not only exist, but only sparkle in the sun as they combust. Pirates routinely whomp on the ninja’s, the Dodgers have won seven of the past ten World Series… and elemental control is not only possible, but fairly frequently possible.

Enter Shapers. Not magic exactly, its an inherited trait that occasionally manifests itself in non-shaper families, and is physically exhibited by otherwise non-natural hair color. Seven branches of Shapers exist; Air, Earth, Electricity, Fire, Gravity, Plant, and Water. Simply, each branch has an affinity with the given element (and yes, I know very well that those are not all the “classic” elements. Bite me.) and is able to “shape” it to their will, within a certain limit. Strength is variable, a well as endurance and skill, and to a small extent dictate your physical build. A highly skilled Shaper can completely negate a much stranger in the same branch simply be disrupting the latter’s concentration and efforts. Shaping is also fairly exhausting, like a muscle the skill/talent may be built up and stretched, but like a muscle, it will hate you for it after a point.

Air Shapers are gifted with white to silver hair, and are usually fairly thin. The can build up or diminish winds, guiding the air to go where they will. As a result they are usually good archers and projectile users, and prefer light, broad blades in a fight. The can step into the wind and use it to speed up incredibly, and affect a limited form of gliding and flight.

Earth Shapers are among the harder to identify by hair, being gifted with various shades of brown. Bulkier than most other Shapers, they have the ability to mold stone and earth. Often they are found in art institutions as sculptors and as excavators, surveyors and masons. They can fins a bit of stone in the ground and pull it out, fashioning it in to a wall or platform as needed. When in battle, they usually ear armor made of stone that is repairable as the fight goes on with minor additions of stone melded in.

Electricity (Thunder/Lightning) are the blonds of the Shaper world. Contrary to the stereotype however, they are usually the tinkerers and engineers, making complex machines that they power themselves. Able to make flashes and shocks, their most recognizable trademark is a lightning bolt, with more skilled Shapers able to chain their blast among several targets.

Fire Shapers somewhat unimaginatively are redheads. Their control over fire extends to creation as well as growth and diminishment. The most heavy handed of the Shapers, they are masters at clearing the field, be it sport or war, and in defending.

Gravity is a somewhat unusual element, and hard to tell outright as black hair is another natural color. Their powers resemble Air Shapers loosely. They create singularities that alter weights through gravitational pulls. An arrow can be guided much as an Air Shaper can, by tugging it from one direction to the other. They typically wear what would be oversized armor for most people their size, though by lightening the weight they can easily manage it. By multiplying the weight midjump, they can crash with great result.

The most unique of the branches perhaps are the Plant Shapers, usually named “Gardeners” and gifted with dark brown to mossy green hair. These Shapers manipulate plants on a fundamental level, causing them to rapidly grow or die off and alter their poisons and healing properties. Many Gardeners are doctors or nurses, tailoring plants and teas to their patients specific needs. In a fight, they can shape the foliage around them to aid them, make thorns sprout and grasp, or poisonous pollen to spray out at their enemies. This last skill makes them watched carefully during Shaper matches.

Finally, Water Shapers are gifted with various shades of blue hair. Much like Fire Shapers, Water work with a fairly common element. Able to give life to bodies of water, Water Shapers can draw water from the air to form pools or puddles of water. Agriculture is a common area of work due to irrigation and the ability to make rain, as well as maritime due to their control over currents.

So, I suppose this is all that I’m going to get done tonight. I’ll work on the rules a bit later, hope that works for you as far as getting to know the Shapers a bit better 🙂

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