about illiom

Page last updated: 26 January 2014

A work of spiritual fantasy

Clearly the DESTINY OF FIRE trilogy is a work of fantasy.
Yet it is also much more than that, for it is a journey into the mythical and spiritual dimensions of our soul.  Despite thousands of years of growth, development and – more recently – unprecedented leaps in the realms of science and technology, we still find ourselves where we have always been: at the very beginning, unable to answer the most simple and fundamental questions about our existence.  Questions like: “Who am I?  Why am I here?  What is the meaning of my life?  Does it even have a meaning?  Is there more to this than meets the eye?”

Illiom

Illiom is you and me.
Her background may be different, her personality might not be like ours, but these are mere details, for her secret longing to find out who she really is lies at the core of all of us, at the core of every human being who has ever lived. Yes, it is true that as we grow we begin to identify with this or that: son or daughter, male or female, rich or poor, black or white or yellow or red … and so on; and these identifications grow in complexity the more we ‘mature’.  But are they really who we are?

Of course they’re not.  They are merely ways in which we gauge how we are doing at this life-thing, and we base our evaluation on what we have been told and taught to value and aspire towards, what we should regard as important and desirable.

In this sense Illiom is fortunate.  Life has thrown her into circumstances that do not hide the mystery surrounding her true nature.  She is a foundling.  She is severed from her roots.  No one is there to tell her what she is or is not. Grael Munn, the monk who found her, is an enlightened old seeker who does not impose his beliefs upon her, but allows her to find herself in her own time.

When Illiom eventually discovers a secret power slumbering inside of her, she is devastated.  For, while the power saves her from a harmful situation, its discovery isolates and alienates her even further by making her different in a way that is commonly despised.  All of these factors curb all of Illiom’s attempts to fit in and find a place for herself amongst people.  Eventually she desists and tries no more.  Instead she finds refuge in the beautiful and unforgiving Sevrock Mountains, where she lives alone, her only companion an owl who communicates with her directly and who thereby adds to the list of mysteries that pursue her like a curse.

Here, in this pristine loneliness, Illiom tries to survive, grappling with who she is and is not, living the life of a hermit, the owl Who as her only companion and friend, until…

Theregon

In the beautiful land of Theregon things are not as they seem, for deep beneath a calm and peaceful exterior, the cogs of fate rumble perilously towards disaster.  Seven Chosen are summoned to Kuon, to help unravel the dark mysteries that plague the city and to embark on a race against time to save the entire land from falling into a second Devastation.

These seven Chosen, unremarkable men and women who seem to share nothing in common, are summoned by power, magic and prophecy to embark on a journey that they hope will deliver their world from darkness.

Meet Illiom, one of the Chosen and the heroine of this tale.  It is her fourth year of solitude in the Sevrock Mountains, and while her isolation has kept her safe it has come at a terrible price, that of a deep and enduring loneliness.  But now the world is about to draw her away from her sanctuary.  One is coming to bring her back into the world that she has shunned and to face, willing or not, her deepest fear: her own dormant power.

Meet Tarmel, Rider of Queen Eranel’s elite Black Ward and the one tasked to bring Illiom back to Kuon.  Loyal, dedicated and skilled in the art of death, he finds himself challenged and out of his depth with Illiom.  How will he deal with this young woman who brims with mystery and potential for power and yet seems hopelessly lost in her fear-filled inner world?

Background

Illiom did not start off as a novel.  The concept was born back in the early 80s when four different strands converged together in my awareness (a synchronicity, we might call it).
Here they are:

  1. I had just finished reading my first ever fantasy novel: Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen Donaldson.
  2. I was introduced to a psychological intervention technique that went by the acronym of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
  3. I was fascinated by the concept behind a new role-playing game (RPG)  that was creating disturbing ripples in the headlines at the time: Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).
  4. I was just beginning to experience a spiritual awakening that was rocking my world.

So what do these four things share in common?  Precious little, I suppose; and yet for me at that time I found in each something that gave birth to my first Quest.

  1. Ah, Fantasy!  When I finally managed to face it and read it, it opened up wonderful worlds of great poignancy and beauty.  The genre where the battle between Good and Evil (duality) was finally explored to the hilt, where magic and mystery came to life, and where the mythological still lived and breathed in the contemporary world.  Once I opened that door, I never looked back.
  2. By implementing NLP techniques in my work (as a youth worker) I began to use metaphors (as understood within the NLP context) to do life changing interventions with some of the more troubled youth in my care.  I don’t know if it worked well or not because the turnover of clients in the Youth Shelter was so fast that it was impossible to make any long term observations.  But what is relevant here is that the metaphors I learned to construct had at least three layers:
    • a superficial layer to distract the conscious mind and lull it into a false sense of security that it was in familiar territory;
    • a second layer that directed the client towards their inherent resources (whether conscious or unconscious;
    • third layer, where deep, uplifting imbeded messages (truths) were laid.
  3. D&D to me simply offered a possibility of not just reading a fantasy, but of living it first-hand.  In the early eighties there was a spate of news articles (persistently negative) about the then relatively new fad of D&D.  The attention that the media placed on D&D was too frequent to be ignored.  Whether real or imagined, D&D had triggered an almost irrational fear in many and the reputation of RPGs in general suffered as a result.  To me this indicated that there was a potential power in RPGs and I began to look at ways of using this latent power to uplift.
  4. In 1984 I came in from the wilderness and began to practice a form of spirituality known as Siddha Yoga.  I soon started to have powerful and liminal experiences that inspired me to aim high with my metaphors and not to settle for anything lesser.  I was not interested in the shallowness I percieved in traditional D&D role-play.

The First Quest

This came about a year before the spiritual awakening mentioned above.  The game didn’t even have a title: we simply referred to it as “The Quest”.  It was set in a land called Surmur where a mysterious tower had appeared seemingly out of nowhere, a tower that soon began to spread death and destruction in all directions.  The Quest had a largely environmental focus.  I play-tested it with a small group of intrepid friends whose task it became to go into the tower and face whatever awaited inside it to save the world.

We locked ourselves away in a house for 2 whole weekends and played deep into the wee hours of the night, confronting evil and more or less powerful enemies until we reached some sort of resolution and the quest was complete.  While I enjoyed that first forage into role-playing fantasy, it left me hungry for more depth and meaning.

The Quest for Sudra’s Orb

I began work on the Quest for Sudra’s Orb in 1985 , and Illiom, a character specifically intended for me to play, was also born in the process.  But if the story began to take shape, I was nowhere near ready to fit into the shoes that I had created for myself.  After a few aborted attempts, I shelved the project until the year 2000 and waited to grow into what the new quest required of me.  It was then that a second group of friends came together to explore the reaches of Theregon and the lands beyond.  It took us over a year to complete that journey, meeting and travelling together roughly once a month.

The days on which we met and left the mundane world behind became literally “days-out-of-time” when the normal rules of existence were temporarily suspended.  We drifted into deep altered states of consciousness without the ingestion of any substances other than our willingness to embrace the mythical and act as if it were real.  I still treasure that experience and the gifts that it brought me.

2005 found me and Sa living in Adelaide and again we revisited Theregon, albeit with a different group of travelers.

The Book

In 2007, after my father died, Sa and I travelled through India on a 3 month-long adventure, and it was then that I conceived the need to write Illiom’s story (for me it has always been about her) into a trilogy.  The rest is history. Five years later, in 2012, I published Illiom as an eBook on Amazon and nine months later (June 2013) I finished my first print-run.

I just want to share something that has excited me no end.  Even though I have extensive notes about the world of Theregon, the journey of the Chosen and the plot for the whole thing, I keep being surprised by what  arises during the writing process.  Instead of the restriction I anticipated from committing the story to ink, it is as if the tale has unfurled its wings and is now soaring higher and higher, reaching into completely unforeseen directions, inviting me to rise up to its challenge!

 I love this story so much, I love the characters and the world they populate, and I am in awe of this tale that has chosen me as its vehicle for delivery into the consciousness of its readers.  For this I am forever grateful.

Keys of Awakening is here!

Keys of Awakening is here!

- - - - - And now available for purchase - - - - -

KEYS OF AWAKENING HAS BEEN PUBLISHED!

Posted 20 September 2015

Well, it's finally done!
The second volume in Destiny of Fire is out.

I've started to deliver and post out all the books to those of you who have so generously supported me in the Pozible crowd-funding venture.

If you haven't received your copy yet, you will soon enough.

I hope you enjoy the book and will give me some feedback - I've put a lot of love and energy into it.
May it reach and inspire every one of you.

And once again: thank you.