about the trilogy

Page last updated: 22 October 2017

WARNING: some minor spoilers ahead – perhaps best if read in retrospect

DESTINY OF FIRE is a work of fantasy.
Yet it’s scope goes beyond that.  I see it as 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 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 gender may not be your gender, her background and her personality might  be nothing like yours, but aren’t these mere details? For her secret longing to find out who she really is also lies at the core of each of us, at the core of every human being who has ever lived.

Yes, it is true that as we grow we increasingly identify with this or with that: we are sons or daughters, 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 these roles what we really are?

I do not believes so.  
To me they are merely ways in which we gauge how we are doing at this life-thing, and we base these evaluations on what we have been taught to value and aspire towards, what we should regard as important and desirable in life.

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, was an enlightened old seeker who did not impose his beliefs upon her, but allowed her to find herself in her own time.  Most of us are not that lucky – most of us have parents.

However, even without parents, Illiom is not immune from the influence of the culture she grows up in.  When she discovers a secret power slumbering inside of her, she is devastated.  For, while this power saves her in a potentially harmful situation, its discovery isolates and alienates her even further by making her different in a way that – if exposed – would lead to suspicion, mistrust and fear.  All of these factors curb Illiom’s attempts to fit in and find a place for herself in her society.  Eventually she desists and tries no more.  Instead she seeks 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,  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 land from a second Devastation.

Against this backdrop, these 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 – some hope – will deliver their world from darkness.

Though she does not know it at the onset, Illiom is one of these Chosen, the heroine of this tale.  It is her fourth year of solitude in the  mountains, and while her isolation has kept her relatively safe it has exacted a terrible price, that of a deep and enduring loneliness.  But now her destiny is about to draw her away from safety and sanctuary.  Someone is coming to bring her back into the world that she has shunned, and Illiom will be forced 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 a fear-filled inner world?

Background to Destiny of Fire

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 series of synchronicities, we could call them).
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 in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) called “Metaphors” that help the practitioner make a connection with the client’s unconscious..
  3. I became fascinated by the concept behind a role-playing game that was creating disturbing ripples in the headlines at the time: Dungeons & Dragons.
  4. I was just at the beginning a spiritual awakening that changed my perception of the world around me.

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 could not close it again.
  2. By implementing NLP techniques in my work (as a youth worker) I began to use these Metaphors 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, the sense that it was in familiar territory
    • a second layer that directed the client towards their inherent resources (whether conscious or unconscious)
    • a third layer where deep, uplifting imbeded messages (truths about the client’s essential goodness) were laid
  3. D&D to me simply offered a possibility of not just reading fantasy, but of living it first-hand.  In the early eighties there was a spate of news articles (persistently negative) about D&D.  The pitch of moral panic caused by the game reached almost hysterical proportions and caused me to take a closer look at what role-playing games like D&D involved.  What I found instead of fear-driven neuroses was powerful tool for potential transformation in playing with “make-believe” (and is that not what all children do?). So I began to look at ways of using this latent power to to trigger positive transformations of upliftment.
  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 higher with my metaphors and not to settle for lesser goals.  The shallowness that I perceived in traditional D&D role-playing games held no interest for me

The First Quest

This came about a year before the spiritual awakening mentioned above.  The game didn’t even have a title: I simply referred to it as “The Quest”.  

The Quest 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 waited inside in order 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 more 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 even though the story had begun to take shape, I was nowhere not able or ready to fit into the shoes that I had created for myself.  The task of being a storyteller who navigated half a dozen people through a fantasy world was incredibly daunting. After a few aborted attempts, I shelved the project and waited to grow into what this new quest required of me.  It was then that another 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 one whole day each month.

The days on which we met and “travelled” to Theregon became literally “days-out-of-time” when the normal rules of existence appeared to become temporarily suspended.  We drifted into deep altered states of consciousness without the ingestion of any substances, driven only by a 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 completely different group of travellers.

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 the need to write Illiom’s story came to fruition.  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. In 2015 I completed the second volume, Keys of Awakening. Now (2017) I have finally finished book three, Into Forbidden Lands and so have completed the story arc of the trilogy.

I want to share something with you that has excited me no end.  
Even though I had extensive notes about the world of Theregon, the journey of the Chosen and the whole plot from my role playing campaigns, I kept being pleasantly surprised by what arose during the writing process.  Instead of the restriction that I had anticipated in committing the story to ink under the weight of so much structure, the opposite occurred.  It was as though the tale unfurled its wings and began to soar higher and higher, reaching into completely unforeseen directions, bringing fresh material, realisation and insights and all the while 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.