I became interested in cultural anthropology when I was seven or eight, maybe younger. Growing up in the diplomatic community and foreign countries formed only part of it, the rest being wandering archaeological digs, exploring museums, and reading about different cultures and historical periods.
With this background, I find most science fiction or fantasy stories that depict worlds without any form of belief structure ring false. You can’t explore human cultures without discovering spiritual aspects, though the specifics vary immensely. Fictional societies with some spiritual element, whether in the background or a critical part of the story, seem more well rounded to me.
In today’s guest post, P.H. Solomon gives us a glimpse of the religious order that plays an important part in the Bow of the Heart Saga, an epic fantasy series. The order has fallen to legend at the time of the novels and yet still has influence. This background has several intriguing aspects, and the prequel short stories mentioned below are both free on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00LU4XNQS/), giving you the chance to explore before starting the saga.
The Mystic Order of Withlings
The Bow of Hart Saga is set in the world of Denaria with its own people-groups, religions, and history. Part of the back-drop for the first book of the series, The Bow of Destiny, is the history of the mystic order of Withlings. This religious order worships their deity, Eloch, by learning to spiritually abide in his presence. Their catch phrase, “What is needed is given,” best describes the outlook of Withlings. They can only serve as Eloch provides.
While this premise seems limiting, it isn’t for Withlings who are capable of performing astounding miracles and speaking prophesies. Often, they will not speak of anything or act unless they determine from their mystic discipline that it is Eloch’s will for them to do so. It is the basis of their lives that they best serve by learning total obedience. This does not make them infallible as they are just as apt as anyone to misunderstand the meaning of their actions and prophesies. Only the wisest of Withlings have learned to withhold their speculations regarding any action taken or events experienced.
At the time in which The Bow of Hart Saga is set, there are few Withlings left in Denaria so that few people have even met one in generations. Tales are remembered from past centuries of these once well-known servants of Eloch, but few know much of them anymore except for the longer-lived people-groups, such as elves and dwarves, who still revere Withlings.
One of the main characters from The Bow of Hart Saga is the Withling Hastra. Part of Hastra’s story is told in the short story, What Is Needed, which explains the events surrounding the demise of the Withlings. Interested readers are invited to read What Is Needed as well as the other prequel short story, Trading Knives.
The Bow of Destiny takes up the story of the Withlings amid much mystery and magic, focusing upon the young ranger of Auguron named Athson. This ranger is drawn into a quest involving a Withling prophecy about a mythic bow. Fantasy readers are welcome to join the hunt for the Bow of Hart by accompanying Athson on his adventure.
An Arrow Against the Wind continues the quest as Athson must determine the best course he should take in matters regarding his past and present, including the shared wisdom of Withlings. But Athson’s distrust of Withlings and his familial past create a set of challenging choices which he is determined to navigate on his own, almost heedless of consequences.
Once The White Arrow begins, Athson is faced with a new choice regarding Withlings, one which will seal his destiny. The march to the final confrontation leads Athson on a far different path than he anticipated and a far different answer to the questions of his past, and his relationship with the Bow of Hart and the prophesied White Arrow.
Find The White Arrow, Book 3, at Amazon.