When I was a child I had a recurring dream for years. Even today, I can remember it with such vivid clarity that I feel it clotted in my stomach like a rag drenched in old frying oil. I feel it around my neck, squeezing.
The dream was quick. Not one of those all-nighters where you travel from place to place, long into the wee hours of the night. It came like a slap in the face, or like a jump into a cold lake… and yet it seemed so benign.
I dreamed a coil of thread.
It was just a simple spiral of thread, but it filled my entire frame of vision from top to bottom, from left to right, as if I were very very close to it. It was a tattered brown-red coil of frayed fibers, and it was all I could see. At first, it wouldn’t move at all, and I would peer into the center of the coil, the dark abyssal center, my vision panning forward so it seemed to widen and gape.
Then, suddenly, once I couldn’t get any closer, the coil would spin. It spun like madness, so fast I thought if I blinked it might be gone. But the coil never went anywhere, it just spun, the end of its thread being pulled somewhere out of the picture.
Eventually, it would feel as if I were the coil, moving a million miles an hour but going nowhere. Every aspect of my being was rushing, rushing, panicked, rushing. My breaths came quick, rasping, desperate, and I felt like I was falling, falling--falling forever.
It terrified me to be motionless and yet feel like I was racing so fast I would explode in a crescendo. All I could do was fixate on the dark center of the coil as it spun like a vortex, turning faster and faster and faster, while my chest grew tighter and tighter and tighter until I thought I would die or go mad. Then everything would just--
And this is when you would say the nightmare was over; when I would wake up. You would think that. A normal person would think it was all just a strange version of the classic falling dream, where the person wakes up just before they smash against the ground. For years, when I remembered the dream, I would tell myself that was where I woke up. I would tell myself that when the coil stopped spinning, the nightmare ended. Yet as I grew older I realized that was just a lie I told myself, because that’s not really what happened when the coil stopped, when the racing panic stopped.
You see, I was still there when the coil stopped, when the thread disappeared, when all that was left was the black vortex in the center. I was still there. Still trapped. Still dreaming. And the worst part of the nightmare, the part I sometimes repressed in later memory, was the feeling that I was dreaming of death.
I dreamed the panic of knowing an end was coming and then continued to dream that end. I experienced the blackness. I felt it. I breathed in the vacuum of nothing. I existed in that non-space where nothing exists, where the simple idea of nothing is too much of anything.
I remember feeling at that moment that my heart was a shadow, and it would never be more than a shadow again. I remember settling in that dark place. I remember existing there. I remember thinking I was dead inside.
Yet… I was so wrong about that dream.
What I never realized until now, until this very moment, was the power in living through the end. To absorb all the darkness and endure is to show strength indomitable. To be surrounded by such emptiness and still be full is power. To be riddled with fear but continue to find courage is might. To take the abuse of the world and still be left standing means I am made of so much more than can ever be taken from me.
In the darkness, I am light kept alive by a heart of flame.
Thanks for reading and please check out Everflame: Mystic Wild for kindle!
– Dylan Lee Peters
The evening before the night of the earth’s demise was beautiful. I found my mother watching the sunset while sitting on the long cushioned bench on our back porch. The golden sun and the light pink sky reflected off the surface of the small pond behind our house. Ducks played with each other in the water. They seemed happy and unaware of my mother’s presence. She seemed happy and unaware of mine.
I walked out onto the porch quietly. I always walk quietly.
The air was warm, but not hot. The breeze swept my hair into my eyes and I pushed it away. I looked at my mother, and she looked old. I guess I had never really considered her age before. We had celebrated her forty-seventh birthday about a month ago. We had celebrated my sixteenth just a week before that. She wasn’t old, really. But this evening she looked—well, she looked wise.
She looked peaceful.
Once my mom noticed me, she smiled warmly and waved me over to her. I sat down on the bench next to her and stared at the purpling sky. She stared at me in the way mothers stare at their sons, the way a sculptor might stare at her work. Is it finished? Does it need a final touch?
“Arthur, you look more and more like your father every day,” she said.
“I wouldn’t know,” I said.
My mother shook her head. “Okay, go ahead, be the victim. Be the poor young boy always afflicted by the absence of the father he never knew.”
“I was just kidding,” I said without joy.
She didn’t respond right away, but sighed and joined me in staring at the vanishing sun. I could sense something weighing on her mind. I wish I had been more willing to talk to her about it.
“Your life is not going to be like this forever, Arthur,” my mother said. “The world is bigger than high school, and I know it’s hard to see that now, but it is. It will be for you. You won’t always have to worry about—”
“It’s okay, Mom.”
She looked at me with deep concern in her eyes. It hurt for a moment because I knew she was blaming herself for things I had done, things that were my fault.
“It’s not okay, Arthur,” she said. “And I don’t think you think it’s okay, either. Maybe not having a father in your life has left you without certain… resources. If it has, that’s my fault, and I want you to know I’m sorry.”
“Mom,” I said in my annoyed voice. I didn’t want to have this conversation. I didn’t want to have to think about why I was awkward, or why I was different, or why every other kid I came across sniffed that difference out like a predator, pounced on it, and exposed it for everyone else to see and abuse. And I never ever again wanted to have to talk about what happened as a result of coping with that suffering, what I did. “It’s fine,” I lied. “Just let’s leave it alone.”
And she did. She left it alone.
The sun set and we went inside for the night. I sat in my room and read a book, and I don’t know what my mom spent her night doing. Everything was quiet until I got tired and fell asleep. Everything was normal until I awoke to hear my mother shouting.
“Get up!” I heard her cry. “Arthur! Get up!”
I sprung out of bed, pulled on a pair of jeans, and ran out onto the back porch. What I saw in the night sky was both the most beautiful and terrifying thing I could imagine. It looked like a thousand clouds of multicolored light were exploding in slow motion. I noticed my mother standing against the porch railing, and she looked overwhelmed.
“What’s happening?” I asked.
My mother just shook her head with her mouth hanging wide.
The colored clouds slowly grew all across the sky, blooming like a celestial fire. Immense billows of yellow, blue, green, and pink drifted and pulsed the way sand kicked up underwater does before it settles again and the water clears. Yet this wasn’t sand in the water, and the sky gave no sign of clearing.
The colored light grew more and more intense, and now a loud rumble came from the sky. I looked at my mother and the colors reflected off of her face the way a fireworks display might. We were mesmerized, petrified, and unable to explain what was happening other than to wonder if we were somehow in a dream. Though it was beyond obvious this wasn’t a dream. My body felt more awake than I can ever remember. It was as if every vein in my body was flushed with adrenaline.
Then, as we stood on the porch in the glow of the impossible, the clouds broke open, and the fires fell to earth.
“Should we run?” I shouted above the increasing barrage of sound coming from above.
“To where?” my mother asked, though I never heard her words. I merely read her lips, as the roar of the sky falling upon us was all that could be heard.
The ground shook fast and terrible, and we fell down on the wooden slats of the porch. It was like being underneath a rocket as it prepared to blast off. The world was nothing but tremor and dissonance. I yelled for my mother and tried to reach for her, but the last thing I saw was her face disappear into the blinding white light.
And I lost her.
And then there was nothing but black.
I can’t remember what came next.
• • •
“Hey, get up,” I heard someone mutter. My head hurt and my mouth was dry. I didn’t want to respond, but the voice came again with more urgency. “C’mon get up, please. We need to get away from the Nullwood. We’re way too close, and if they see you…” I could hear the fear in the voice, a girl’s voice.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Seriously, please get up,” the girl said with mounting panic. “We need to get out of here.”
I slowly opened my eyes to a vast blue blur that was painfully bright. I shaded my eyes as they adjusted, and soon realized I was sitting under a blue sky in the middle of the day.
“We need to get away from the Nullwood,” the girl repeated.
I shook my throbbing head and swallowed hard against my dry throat. In front of me was a girl in a wheelchair who wore black-rimmed glasses. Her hair was long and light brown, pushed back with a thin white headband. She stared at me with green eyes, and her lips were pursed tight. It was obvious that she was upset I was being so slow. Her arms were tensed and ready to propel her wheelchair, her hands hovering just above the top arc of each wheel.
“Quick,” the girl said and spun the wheelchair around. “Follow me.”
She started wheeling her chair away from me, but I was disoriented. My head still hurt, and my back hurt too. As I lifted my arms to stretch I realized I wasn’t wearing a shirt. In fact, I didn’t have shoes on either. I was only wearing a baggy pair of jeans. I looked behind me, wondering where my other clothes might be, and received another shock.
Stretching out before me was a forest of gnarled black trees, so thick you could barely see into it. I stood up and staggered back from the massive growth. The trees looked dead, and the forest looked out of place in contrast to the green grass and blue sky. It was as if the trees marked a border into another world, a dark world. I took a couple more steps away from the tree line and felt a chill. Had I been in that place? Is this what the girl had been calling the Nullwood?
The girl was still wheeling herself away from me, and away from the Nullwood. I gathered myself and then ran after her.
“How long were you in there?” she asked me as I approached.
“I was in there?” I asked incredulously.
“Yeah,” she answered. “I saw you running out of the Nullwood before you collapsed onto the grass. So how long were you in there?”
“I don’t remember being in there,” I said, and suddenly felt afraid to tell the girl more. Yet I kept talking as if I had no control of my own mouth. “The last thing I remember is the sky opening.”
The girl stopped wheeling herself forward and turned to me with one thin eyebrow raised.
Immediately, I felt like an idiot who had just told a stranger about a bad dream. The sky hadn’t opened up. I realized how stupid that sounded only after it came out of my mouth.
“That can’t be the last thing you remember,” the girl said. “That happened like a month ago.”
I was shocked and speechless. Here I was, just outside a ghoulish black forest I had never seen before, sometime after an event I was ready to convince myself was a dream, and I was now being told that it wasn’t a dream, and I might have been in the woods for a month without recalling being there.
“You really don’t remember anything after the sky opened?” the girl asked after a moment of awkward silence. A bit of sympathy had entered her voice for the first time.
I simply shook my head.
The girl started wheeling herself forward again. What else could I do but follow?
“My name is Anna Leona,” she said. “If you want, I can take you to where I’m staying now. There are clothes that’ll probably fit you, plus food and water. What’s your name?”
“Arthur Kage,” I answered.
“Well, nice to meet you, Arthur who doesn’t remember anything,” she said in a brighter tone, almost as if she were amusing herself. Yet the brightness disappeared instantly as she continued. “I promise I’m not a danger to you, Arthur… but before we go any further, you should know that you can never tell anyone you came out of the Nullwood.” Anna turned to look at me again with her serious green-eyed glare, though I could see compassion behind its intensity. “Never.”
“Okay,” I said. Though I really wanted to ask why. Not saying what I wanted to say was a problem I had, as well as sometimes saying things I didn’t want to say.
We continued to move away from the Nullwood, but I turned briefly to glance back at it again. It was massive, stretching as far to the right and left horizons as I could see. It looked like something out of a Halloween nightmare. Tall barren trees, black as iron, and twisted like dead roots.
When I looked forward again, the scenery was both brighter and somehow more depressing. The grass was green and the sun shined in the clear blue sky, but life was missing. We were walking through a neighborhood, but it was a ghost town. The pavement was a ruin and every home looked like it had suffered in a terrible earthquake. A charred home on the left had half of its roof caved in. Another house on the right had walls that had fallen away, leaving it looking like a giant dollhouse. Back on my left, an abandoned car was left crashed into someone’s living room.
“What happened?” I asked, knowing full well that this is what had happened the night the sky opened.
Anna stopped and put a finger to her mouth. “Shh. Did you hear that?”
“Do you want me to be quiet, or tell you if I heard something?” I asked, even though I knew people didn’t like it when I asked questions like that.
Anna frowned at me, but then her head snapped around and she looked down the street. “Quick,” she said, now lowering her voice. “Wheel me over to that broken brown house. We need to hide inside.”
I did as she asked. I was in no position to argue.
As we reached the house, I had to lift Anna and her chair up over a jagged lip of foundation, floor, and exposed framework. I never would have described myself as strong, but Anna was light and the chair wasn’t very bulky. Once we were up onto the cracked tile floor of the house, she wheeled herself behind a large brown sofa and waved me over frantically.
“Please get down and don’t make a single sound,” she said in a whisper. “I really don’t want them to hurt you.”
I did what she said, getting down on my hands and knees. Anna stayed in her chair but slouched down so she was hidden behind the couch. There was a dusty throw blanket on the couch. She snatched it and quickly threw it over us. I held my breath, not knowing what we were hiding from, but then I heard voices out on the street.
“Dinner still two hours off,” a male voice grumbled. “I prefer six o’clock to seven. We should change it to six.”
“Doesn’t matter,” a female voice replied. “We can’t go back until the perimeter check is complete, and I’m guessing we’ve got two hours or more before we get it finished.”
The man grumbled something unintelligible, and the woman laughed.
“Did you complain this much before the Demise?” she asked.
The man didn’t answer.
Anna slowly lifted her cover just enough to peer out. I was racked with curiosity, so I parted the blanket enough to see and ducked my head just slightly around the corner of the couch. To the left, the broken wall of the house granted me an unimpeded view of the Nullwood off in the distance. Then through the open front door of the house, I could see two people walking down the street in drab clothing, both carrying long black guns at their sides.
I had so many questions I wanted to ask at that moment. Who were those people? Did Anna know them? What were they checking the perimeter for, and what were they walking the perimeter of? But most importantly, why did two innocent teenagers need to hide from them?
Then Anna sneezed.
We both ducked quickly back under the blanket. By the bit of dim light coming through the fabric, I could see Anna’s face twisted in frustration, and she was silently mouthing swears.
“Did you hear that?” the woman asked out on the street.
“Sure did,” the man answered. “Look over there. We got a couple coming out of the Nullwood.”
Anna’s eyes shot open, and she slowly peered out of the blanket again. I followed her lead and looked out the broken wall toward the Nullwood. Sure enough, there were two people coming out of the black trees, but they were far enough away that it was hard to see much detail.
“Stop where you are!” the woman yelled, as she and the man raised their guns.
They jogged out toward the people emerging from the Nullwood, and after a minute it got hard to see what was going on. I certainly couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. A moment passed as I watched, and then there was some shouting.
“Don’t watch, Arthur,” Anna whispered.
I didn’t listen to her, but I should have. Gunshots rang out, and one of the people who came out of the Nullwood fell to the ground. The other screamed. Then came more gunshots and that person fell also. I tucked myself back under the blanket and tried to calm my breathing.
They shot them. They shot the people who came out of the Nullwood.
“They’ll shoot anyone that comes out of the Nullwood,” Anna whispered as if she had heard my thoughts. Her voice was laced with shame. “We have to stay silent and under the blanket until they go away.”
There was no part of me that was ready for this. Somehow I had landed, half-naked, in a new world, and I understood none of what was happening. I couldn’t even ask the first person I met to explain it for fear that making noise might get me killed, and killed for what, I didn’t even know. All I knew was that we were lucky those people had come out of the Nullwood just as Anna had sneezed. Those people might have saved my life.
We spent a long time in silence before Anna finally moved and peered outside of the blanket. I couldn’t move with all of the thoughts racing through my mind, and waited for her to report back. More minutes passed, and then she pulled the blanket off of us. Anna sat up in her chair, and I sat on the floor with my back against the couch. I hugged my knees into my chest and stared at Anna. She must have realized I couldn’t find my voice because she started explaining.
“A lot of people died the night the sky opened,” Anna said. “Fire and rock fell down on everything. That’s why these houses are the way you see them, and it’s like this everywhere. There are not a lot of survivors. There’s no electricity. It’s like the end of the world. David has the survivors calling it the Demise.”
“David?” I asked.
“He’s the guy who sort of runs things now,” Anna said. “Most survivors live in the high school with him. I guess he used to be in the military or something. He has a lot of guns, and he’s the one who decided to kill everyone who comes out of the Nullwood.”
I just shook my head in confusion. It was too much to comprehend. I didn’t even know what I wanted to know, or what question I wanted to ask. I guess the silence got awkward because Anna kept talking.
“The Nullwood was just there the morning after the Demise. No one knows why or how it grew, but it’s massive. Scouts have traveled north and south along its border to find the end of it, and can’t. No one will go into it though.”
“So, is this still…” I was afraid to ask my question.
“This is Florida,” Anna said. “Flagler County. Is this where you’re from?”
I nodded silently, completely awestruck. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to admit this had happened to my home. It would somehow have been easier to imagine I had been transported to another world, or another place. At least then I could dream of a way to get back to where I belonged; I could dream of a way to get back to the way things used to be. But this… I couldn’t reconcile this.
“How long did you say it’s been?” I asked.
“Some of the survivors have been counting the days,” Anna answered, and then looked down. “I haven’t. It doesn’t really seem to matter anymore, but… I think it’s been maybe a month since the Demise.”
“How have I lost that much time?” Tears welled in my eyes, but then shame kept them from falling. I couldn’t cry in front of Anna.
“You really don’t remember being in the Nullwood at all?” Anna asked.
“No.” I couldn’t remember a thing. “Where are we now? I mean, what parts of Flagler County are Nullwood now?”
“The Nullwood starts about where Belle Terre Parkway used to be,” Anna said. “The scouts say the tree line sort of runs north and south. I’m guessing you lived west of Belle Terre.”
“So you’ve been in the Nullwood for a month,” Anna said, looking as pale as I felt.
I nodded again.
“You can’t tell anyone,” she added. “Ever.”
“Why?” I asked, tears threatening to return.
“They’ll kill you, Arthur,” Anna said.
“I know that.” I was getting angry now. “I saw that. But why? Why? There might be millions of people still alive in the Nullwood who need help.”
“Some bad things come out of the forest,” Anna said meekly. “People are scared. No one knows what to do.”
“Bad things?” I asked. My anger faded because Anna seemed genuinely afraid.
“Monsters,” she said, and I could see she felt foolish saying it that way. “Mynahs, we call them. They come out of the Nullwood at night, and they kill people. Sometimes they take people. David says that people who go into the Nullwood eventually turn into mynahs. So he thinks we should kill everything that comes out of the Nullwood… even if it’s people.”
Stupidly, it only now occurred to me that I had come out of the Nullwood, and Anna had not killed me. She had helped me. She had protected me.
“You don’t agree with David, do you?” I asked her.
Anna shook her head and paused before speaking. “My parents always used to say that when people don’t understand something, they get afraid, and then they get dangerous. We don’t understand what happened to us, but that doesn’t mean that our decisions should be made in fear. It doesn’t mean we should kill people just because we’re afraid.”
A tear fell down Anna’s cheek.
I wanted to hug her, but I didn’t. I wanted to thank her. I didn’t do that either.
“Why were you near the Nullwood?” I asked.
Anna brushed her cheek with the back of her hand, and then grabbed the wheels of her chair.
“We have to get to Esteban’s Bar before the sun goes down,” she said.
“You mean that old bar on the beach that always has a special on crab legs?”
“It’s where I stay now,” she said. “Come on. Let’s go.”
• • •
The sun had almost set and only dim light remained, but even in the twilight the familiar sound of the waves breaking against the shore and the smell of salt in the air would have let me know where I was. My mother and I had come to this beach hundreds of times over the years. I grew up here. So it was devastating to see the state it was in now.
Restaurants I had eaten at dozens of times were leveled. Even the road along the beach was missing massive chunks, like a hurricane had swept through and eroded the land. It felt like a foreign place when contrasted with my memories. I used to read books on the other side of the dunes. I used to draw sketches of the crabs that came out of their holes to try to scavenge a meal. I used to watch people play in the water with their dogs, or walk along in the wet sand, hand in hand. I used to hear the music coming from some of the patio restaurants and bars. I used to smell the fried fish.
It was all gone now, but Esteban’s still remained.
I had never been inside Esteban’s. I was too young to drink, and my mother didn’t like crab legs. She said it was a dive, and I think one time she used the adjective scummy. Honestly, all I remembered about Esteban’s was that everyone except for my mother raved about their crab legs. Well, that and the old wooden sign they had over the front awning that had the name of the bar painted in big white letters. It was pretty ugly, really, but at this moment it was something familiar and comfortable to hold onto in a world that had turned into a nightmare.
At the service entrance to Esteban’s, Anna knocked on the red metal door. She said the front doors were barricaded, and the only way Jim and Kay would know it was her was to knock four times on the back service entrance. Anna had been staying with Jim and Kay since the Demise.
The door swung open, and a big guy with wavy blonde hair and a decent tan stood in our way.
“We were wondering where you had gotten off to, Ann– whoa, whoa, whoa.” The big guy reached for something just inside the door, and then the spade end of a shovel was thrust right up under my chin. “Who are you?”
“He’s obviously with me, Jim,” Anna said in annoyance. “Would you put the shovel down and let us in?”
Jim looked me over with caution before slowly lowering the shovel. “Who is this guy?” he asked.
“His name is Arthur, and I found him on the beach to the south,” Anna said. “He must have fallen and hit his head because he doesn’t remember anything. He doesn’t even remember where his shirt and shoes are.”
That sounded prepared, I thought.
“That sounded prepared,” Jim said.
“Would you just let us in,” Anna griped. “It’s getting dark out here.”
Jim stepped out of the way, and Anna wheeled herself inside Esteban’s. It was odd to see Anna regard Jim with such scorn. She had been gentle and compassionate with me. Her change in attitude was unexpected. I made to follow but Jim barred my way with one of his massive arms. He turned and stood over me, and I had to look up at him. Jim must have been at least six-foot-five.
“If you try to hurt her,” he said. “I will break you in half.”
Jim dropped his massive arm after his threat and shot me a fake smile. I wanted to say something witty and condescending to him. But I didn’t think of anything, and I probably wouldn’t have said it even if I had.
I walked past Jim into Esteban’s and followed Anna as she wheeled herself down a hallway. When I caught up to her we moved through a side door into a large room. It was the bar room, and all of the tables and chairs had been pushed up against the doors and windows as barricades. The sun was setting outside, so there was a small fire in an iron bowl sitting in the center of the room. A girl sat next to the fire, and she looked up at me as Anna and I approached. She had pretty blue eyes that stood out in the dim room, and suddenly I felt very aware that I wasn’t wearing a shirt.
“We’re taking in strays now?” she asked with a crooked smile.
“His name is Arthur,” Anna said. “Arthur, this is Kay.”
“He has amnesia,” Jim said sarcastically from behind me. He appeared out of the darkness and tossed me a white shirt. “Here. I’ll get boots for you in the morning.”
“Thanks,” I said and quickly put the white tee shirt on. It was much too big for me. I assumed it was Jim’s.
Jim sat down next to Kay and crossed his legs. He was barefoot, in red shorts and a white tank top. He looked like the stereotype of a good-looking blonde guy at the beach, sitting down next to his girl to roast marshmallows on an open fire. When he casually put his hand on Kay’s thigh and she barely reacted to his touch, I realized my guess wasn’t too far off.
“You really have amnesia?” Kay asked.
“You’re lucky,” she said. “There are things I’d certainly like to forget.”
Kay’s eyes grew wistful, and Jim put an arm around her shoulders to comfort her. Though he was very tan, his arms were pale in the firelight against Kay’s brown shoulders. She looked up at him and his tough facade melted at her gaze.
I realized everyone here must have lost quite a bit recently, and then I thought of my mother. My breath caught and I couldn’t believe myself. How was this the first time I had thought about my mother since waking up? Was I that terrible of a son? Before I could shame myself into stopping, I ended up crying in front of three strangers.
Silent minutes passed as the small fire flickered before us. Outside the wind whipped off of the ocean and against the front of Esteban’s. It howled as night fell, as if in response to my sadness.
The guilt of not looking for my mother immediately stung, and was compounded because I had been so cold to her during our last night together. Why couldn’t I just have had a real conversation with her? I never told my mother anything that would have mattered to her, at least not the way she would have wanted to hear it. She wanted to know that she had done all right by me. She wanted to know I appreciated her. In our last night together on the back porch, she was giving me another chance. Now, I might have lost my chance forever. What if I couldn’t find her again? What if she was…
I wiped my eyes on the back of my hand and then realized I wasn’t the only one crying. Jim was red in the face, and wet in the eyes, but he refused to let his tears fall. Kay leaned against him sniffling, staring into the fire, her cheeks wet. Anna’s glasses were on her lap, and she was rubbing the wetness from her eyes just like me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m worried about my mother. I don’t remember anything that happened after the sky opened. I don’t know what happened to her.”
“She was all you had?” Jim asked.
He stood up and left the light of the fire, but only briefly, returning with four rolled sleeping bags. He dropped two next to Kay, tossed one to me, and then walked over to Anna. There he held out the last rolled sleeping bag.
“Can I help?” he asked her.
“No,” Anna answered curtly. “I wish you’d stop asking me that.”
“Sorry,” Jim muttered, seeming sheepish for the first time.
He turned and walked back to Kay, and then everyone laid their sleeping bag out. It was obvious they were finished talking for the night. I was hungry and thirsty but didn’t want to talk any more. In truth, I wanted to close my eyes and be done with the day more than I wanted to eat or drink, so I followed suit and stayed silent.
I’d never prayed before, but as I lay in that sleeping bag, in a world that had almost completely been destroyed, I prayed for dreamless sleep. I prayed for a never-ending dreamless sleep so I would never have to deal with this changed world, so I would never have to think about the things I had lost, and so I would never have to figure out what came next. I prayed because, in a world that had grown so dark, I didn’t know how I would ever find a guiding light again.
Laying on my side, I stared at the flame in the center of the room. I watched as it flickered and shrank, and as I did, I slowly fell asleep.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
Everflame: Mystic Wild will be released Summer 2019. To make sure you know when follow me on social media or sign up for my newsletter.
As always, thanks for reading! – Dylan Lee Peters
A brief warning: if you are not up to date with the show, having watched season eight, episode fi—aww seven hells, does it even matter at this point?
I’m not boasting, but I did get a fair amount of predictions right last week. (Though they were fairly easy to peg as we get closer to the end).
I predicted Dany would become the Mad Queen and torch King’s Landing, and though I did not predict the correct manner of death, I did predict the deaths of Euron, Qyburn, The Mountain, The Hound, Jaime, Cersei, and Varys. I also predicted they would bring the show back to Winterfell for the final episode, as Arya would escape the ruins of King’s Landing to let Sansa know the Mad Queen is coming for her.
So I did get some things right, amid the morass of things I got wrong.
I invite you to read last week’s blog post here. I hope it’s at least entertaining if not clairvoyant.
• • •
But moving forward and setting our sights on the series finale, I find myself pondering the epic amount of disappointment this season has wrought. I have my own opinions, of course, but I’ve also talked to a fair amount of GoT viewers and have yet to find someone who thinks the writers have been hitting home runs all season long. People are disappointed with the ending. It’s moving from opinion to fact as fast as Daenerys Targaryen turning from Breaker of Chains to Murderer of Children.
I mean, we all knew it wasn’t going to be a happy ending.
But did we think we were going to be left unsatisfied? I can’t say that I did.
Mother of Dragons fans were prepared for their heroine’s death, but were they prepared for her story arc to be far less than heroic, and logically problematic. Tyrion Lannister fans thought they would see their man go out as the “god of tits and wine,” not as the biggest fool in all of Westeros. We wanted to see Jaime dead, but redeemed. We wanted to see Cersei dead, but through Stark vengeance. We wanted another Red Wedding. We wanted Joffrey’s poisoning.
What we are getting this season can only be described as limp.
Quick side note: I’m not advocating for the happy ending. I’m comfortable with “things going wrong” such as the idea of Daenerys breaking bad. But it needs to be earned, and feel organic. With a shortened last season, and so much to tie up, they were never going to have enough time for added character building. They needed to lean on the character arcs of past seasons, so unfortunately Dany going cray-cray just doesn’t make sense. She’s been alone in the past; she’s lost loved ones in the past, yet she still maintained her cool, and her purpose. I mean we just watched her torch a city full of kids and innocent people because she couldn’t get laid. WTF? It was highly out of character, and I’m sorry, but that’s just lazy storytelling.
Think of your favorite character, large or small, and tell me you’ve been satisfied with their story this season. There are a few, sure, but mostly you can’t. From the Night King down to Ghost we wanted more. From Varys to Cersei we expected greater intrigue. From Jaime to Jon Snow we just wanted it all to have more gravity.
So I’m left to wonder. Is this incompetence? Are the show writers mailing it in? Is this just what happens when there are too many egos, too much money, and not enough time?
OR is disappointment the intended theme.
Maybe the existential battle we wanted was the Night King versus the living, but the existential battle we’re getting is our heroes versus the inevitability of failure.
So that is the theme I’m going to use for predicting episode six. Disappointment and the inevitability of failure. We wanted Jaime dead, but also wanted him to stand as proof that people can change. Except what we got was a reminder that change is hard, and more often than not people don’t change. More often than not an arrogant, callous, incestuous prick is just that and nothing more. Jaime doesn’t learn from his mistakes and make a life with Brienne, he tucks tail and runs back to his sister to be buried under the mess his family made.
It’s depressing… but that’s Game of Thrones. Here’s my predictions:
Tormund Giantsbane, Yara Greyjoy, Samwell Tarly, Gilly, Little Sam, Ghost and Nymeria – These characters are actually just gone. They won’t pop back up for the final episode to play some important part in defending Winterfell. We won’t get to see what’s going on with their new lives. It’s just done, because sometimes people leave and there is no closure. Sometimes people just go, and it’s awkward or depressing. Sometimes Jon doesn’t pet his dog goodbye, and it just ends that way. Stop crying! There’s no crying in Game of Thrones! Just stare off into the void and do nothing under the unbearable weight of existence like the rest of us…
Podrick Payne – Oh he’ll get like thirty seconds of camera time, standing behind Brienne or something, and that will literally be all he does. Because Game of Thrones wants to remind the try-hards of the world that no one actually cares.
Bran Stark – Speaking of doing next to nothing, that’ll be what Bran does too. He’ll probably just crawl into a hole under the Weirwood tree in Winterfell, get all comfy in the roots, and spend a generation seeing the world through other people’s eyes. Bran is that one friend you had in high school who was a really smart kid with a bright future, then smoked weed one time and it was over. That kid turned into a burn out, forever lost in a cloud of smoke, talking about weird shit like three-eyed ravens. Someone get Bran a bag of Cheetos for episode six.
Greyworm – is going to commit suicide amid the ashes of King’s Landing. This will be the intro scene for the episode. Good times.
Davos Seaworth – Davos will be the misplaced coffee cup in episode six. He won’t even be in costume. He’ll just show up in jeans and crocs, throwing out modern jargon like YOLO and resting bitch face (that’s for Daenerys). Jon Snow will laugh like he knows EXACTLY what his man Davos is talking about.
Drogon – Dany will inexplicably fly her dragon into the outer wall of Winterfell for some totally illogical reason like she saw Sansa glaring at her, and it just made her lose her mind. Because we all know, when Game of Thrones needs to get rid of the fantasy element of a show, they do so quickly and without any logical reason at all. Can I get a ‘hell yeah’ from the children of the forest?
Brienne – is actually going to die from shyness.
Tyrion Lannister – is going to get stabbed in the heart by a prostitute.
Sansa Stark – is going to stay alive forever just so she can tell everyone she meets “I tooold Jon not to trust her,” and “no I don’t feel sorry for him, he’s stuuupid.” And she’ll say it all in that Sansa Stark voice that sounds like what you’d imagine an eye-roll to sound like if an eye-roll had a voice. She will also do a lot of cross stitching.
Gendry and Arya Stark – Arya will hunt down Gendry and try to accept his marriage proposal, because for some reason she inexplicably decided there’s more to life than killing people, even though her character has literally never had one on camera moment of thinking that way, but you know, the Hound said some shit so everything changed. Then Gendry will rip off his face to reveal Jaqen H’ghar, (no I’m not letting this prediction die) who will kill Arya for the many-faced god, because even in our fantasy fiction there will always be assholes killing people for no reason because some god "told" them to.
Jon Snow – will do nothing important or intelligent or heroic in episode six. His destiny will be to travel north of the wall and build cabins for underprivileged wildling youth. No one will ever see him again, but he will die one day in an avalanche caused by a dire wolf.
Daenerys Targaryen – In the final episode of the series Daenerys will continue losing things, because that’s what she does. She’ll lose her army, lose her dragon, lose her alliance with anyone in Westeros, and continue to lose her mind. She will then be kidnapped and dropped off the side of a boat in a bundle of chains she will be ironically unable to break.
And who will do the kidnapping?
Bronn of the Blackwater – The final scene of Game of Thrones will be Bronn walking into the deserted former home of the Umbers, Last Hearth. You remember, the place the Night King tacked that dead kid to the wall in a spiral of body parts? Turns out Sansa gave it to Bronn in exchange for the kidnap and murder of the Mad Queen. Bronn will stroll in, arm in arm with some former brothel worker, and sit down in a big chair. He’ll pour himself some wine, raise a glass and then look at the woman.
“Don’t look so fucking disappointed,” he’ll say. “I’ve waited a long time for this.”
Thanks for reading,
Dylan Lee Peters
All of my books take place in the same “universe.” What I mean by that is all of my books take place in and around our earth, but a parallel version. This sounds kind of strange, but it’s a very popular concept used in speculative entertainment (books, TV, and motion picture). The MARVEL cinematic universe is a great example. The adventures of the Avengers take place in and around earth, our earth, albeit a very different version. My books follow this same model, and I’ve provided a visual to help explain that, a sort of timeline.
While the Everflame series, and The Dean Machine have almost nothing to do with each other, elements of those stories come together in a new storyline that is The Hands of Ruin series.
The first and most obvious example of this is the introduction of Echo Valkzdokker in The Hands of Ruin: Book One. Echo was the main heroine of The Dean Machine, and The Hands of Ruin, in part, explains what happens to Echo after her departure from the hive. Her story is intertwined with the main characters of The Hands of Ruin and she has a prominent role in both Book One and Book Two.
The second example is the mythology of the Everflame series living on in the land of Ferren, a place featured prominently in The Hands of Ruin. In fact, the four tribes of Ferren are named for characters that fans of the Everflame series are likely to recognize (Whiteclaw tribe, Zehnder tribe, Andor tribe, and Tiber tribe). Below is an excerpt from The Hands of Ruin: Book One that describes two characters walking into the Temple of Origin, a sacred place in Ferren that celebrates the past history of the Everflame series.
• • •
The men walked into an expansive entrance chamber, with glass windows in the ceiling that bathed an ornately sculpted fountain in sunlight. It looked as if the rays of the sun were sent down from the heavens for no other reason than to shine on the fountain. Endemall was not going to admit it, but Gildwyn had been right. The Temple of Origin was impressive, and he found himself closing his open jaw for fear of looking wonderstruck.
“The fountain is sculpted in white stone and is hundreds of years old,” Gildwyn told Endemall as they walked through the main room. “I assume you recognize the likenesses of the Ancients.”
Endemall nodded, still silent in a reverence he hadn’t anticipated. The great sculpture was beautiful, a statue of three of the four ancient creators of man. Tenturo the griffin and Bahknar the dragon were standing back to back, while the beautiful mermaid Chera sat at their side, delivering water into the fountain from her gracious hands. Endemall knew all these deities from the stories of his youth, but he had never been as mesmerized by them as he was now.
However, the beauty of the fountain was nothing in comparison to the majesty of the gigantic mural painted on the far wall behind it. As the men passed the fountain and the sun’s rays now fell behind them, Endemall sighed audibly at the mural that extended up the entire thirty-foot height of the wall.
“You weren’t kidding, were you, Nye?” Endemall was floored.
“I assume you recognize the scene the mural depicts,” Gildwyn said.
“Of course.” Endemall was like a child at the foot of his heroes. “That’s the moon god, Densa, in his battle against the Great Tyrant, and above them is the sun god, Evercloud. My father used to tell my brother and me that story of old Earth almost every night before we were sent to bed. It’s like that mural was painted right out of my imagination.”
• • •
The final example of how my stories come together in The Hands of Ruin might be the most exciting for fans of the Everflame series. I don’t want to give too much away, but in The Hands of Ruin: Book Two we see the return of a major character from Everflame. It may seem farfetched given the amount of time that has elapsed between Everflame and The Hands of Ruin, but keep in mind that Ferren is a place filled with a mystical substance called zulis that Masters wield in amazing ways. Zulis can be used for good, and it can be used for evil. It can be used to destroy, and it can be used to resurrect.
Please check out The Hands of Ruin, and I hope you enjoy!
The Hands of Ruin: Book One is available for FREE on kindle, nook, iBooks, and kobo
The Hands of Ruin: Book Two is also available from the same retailers.
1. I will, with almost 100% certainty, never write another novel under the title of Everflame. In that respect, the Everflame Series is completed.
2. Everflame and The Dean Machine are parts of a larger story that will be told in my next series of novels. They are connected in that they each take place in the same universe. The Everflame Series is a story of this universe’s ancient past, and The Dean Machine a story of its future.
3. Characters from both The Everflame Series and The Dean Machine will have major roles in this new series I will be writing.
Stay tuned for more information about this new project, and clues as to which characters will be along for the next adventure. In the meantime, make sure you are caught up with the story in the Everflame Series, and The Dean Machine.
Amazon Kindle has a neat little function where readers can highlight passages in their favorite books and everyone gets to see what they like. (Don’t I sound like a hundred-year-old man marveling at the magic of the Interweb?) From time to time, I look at these highlights. I find it interesting personally to see what it is I’ve written that others find highlight-worthy, but more importantly, I pay attention to it to help my future writing.
I do want to strike a chord with people when I write. It’s always been my ambition to write something that a person can find some meaning in, whether it prompts a person to think about the world in a different way, or if it simply echoes the way someone already feels about life. So, I thought I would write a blog post that details the things that are striking a chord with readers of the Everflame series. Who knows, maybe your highlight is in here?
Highlights from Everflame:
“You are a mystery my son, like a cloud that continues forever. No one can see through to what lies on the other side.”
“We all have the ability to judge our own hearts, and we should all have the courage to do so.”
“That’s the funny thing about truth. Give it enough time and it’ll see its own way through.”
“Strange are the ways of the mind, and stranger is the fuel of emotion.”
“The Everflame is a symbol, Tomas. It has no power. It’s just a reminder of something we all have, our spirit. And it is to this spirit that we are accountable, not to an all-powerful tyrant, not even to ancient creators, simply to ourselves. By making an oath to the Everflame, I am merely making an oath to all that I am. If I break that oath, it is I who suffer the greatest loss, and nothing can change that. All these men who barter with their Holy for forgiveness should ask themselves, first, for this forgiveness. They would not find it so easy to come by. We all have the ability to judge our own hearts, and we should all have the courage to do so.”
Highlights from Everflame 2: The Burning Man:
“Every day, every hour, every minute. We choose right or we choose wrong. We are not defined by our past and we are not defined by our future. Only our present.”
“No being can be good or evil. It is actions that are good and evil.”
“Everyone has darkness inside of them. Every being on this Earth has the potential for great good and great evil. We all must fight to keep the darkness from consuming us, keep it from burning inside.”
“People are afraid of the unknown. It’s the most powerful fear I’ve ever seen. The sad thing about it is that it prevents most of the world from opening their eyes to the things that are right in front of them.”
“Everyone needs a reason to protect that which is good in the world. Without it, the darkness can convince you that the world isn’t worth your efforts.”
“I want so desperately to know good from evil. What if the difference is only a matter of perspective?”
“A young boy asks his father why all of the other children are afraid of the darkness. The boy’s father replies simply that the other children are afraid because they cannot see in the darkness and there might be dangerous things that they cannot see. The young boy smiles and laughs at his father’s answer. Don’t the children know? Asks the boy. They cannot be seen in the darkness either.”
Charles believes that the purpose of every human being is to find one relationship and devote themselves to it completely and totally. He said that one should treat it like an artist’s masterpiece. Charles said that the masterpiece is called love.
“He is a man who has the knowledge to see the world for what it really is, and the wisdom to let it be.”
“A flame will keep the darkness at bay, but only as long as it burns.”
“Heroes never live to tell their own tales.”
Highlights from Everflame 3: War Cry:
“The best decision is not always a matter of right or wrong, it depends on reason and purpose.”
The world cares not for heroes. It will bend and break their will through the maddening chaos of its existence. It will drag their dreams across its sandy crust, crushing hope beneath the weight of its rocky bones. The world cares not for heroes. It destroys them.
Suicide is the will to change and therefore cannot be an acceptance of defeat.
“There is suffering that comes from hope, but because of hope, suffering can never defeat you.”
A moment often comes to pass that defines the nature of an individual. It is a moment where the world forces you to bend to its will or suffer the consequences, a moment where it becomes painful and clear that there is no victory to be had over the will of the world, but to continue the fight, undaunted, is within itself a prize. To fight for one more minute of life; to fight for one more perfect moment in a world that does not easily afford such things; to fight for those who have given to you their all.
“It is my burden! You wish to see it laid out in front of you?... Fine… you shall have it. You ask me if I love you, no. Love is a word and a definition and a thing that has been given limits. What I feel because of you is all; it is everything. Reason has no place within my heart because my heart is full of you. You are my motivation, my faith, the blood that lives within me. Everything I am is for you and you alone… I know my desire is futile, and I do not care. I will walk this world alone for the whole of time and I will carry this in me forever… and every step taken… will be for you. There is no other way for me.” With tears falling from her eyes, she rushed forward and kissed him as hard as she could. Her arms wrapped tightly around him and as they did, his defenses fell and he returned her kiss. He surrendered to her and for the first time in his life, his heart knew a pain that was joy.
“It was not long ago that I realized that love is not an unknown adventure in a far off land, love is a warm blanket waiting at home.”
I will build myself. I will become. Every waking moment I possess will be a moment I spend working on me.
“There is good in this world. There are things I’ve found in this world that are precious to me, because they bring light into my darkness; they chase away my darkness. I know now that my life is about those things. My purpose is to fight for those things, fight for the things that fill me with light, and fight against the things that threaten them.
Highlights from Everflame 4: As The Darkness Waits:
Among equals, there is no such thing as treason. Treason only exists in the hands of those with power, and they may only use it against those who are without.
But what is the use of wisdom when one has a sword? What use is freedom when one fears treason? And what use is life when one has honor?
We are all following dreams and visions; we who are cursed and graced by this fire called hope. However, I will not be a slave to dreams and visions; I will lead myself. I am strong and I am a singularity. I am a builder of self, in wisdom, body and spirit. I have the faith to believe in and cast judgment upon myself. I will stand the line between the light and the darkness. I will master myself for as long as I am lost in the gray.
They walked onward for escape, not for hope, but escape can never come for those who walk with hell in their heads.
We are not good or evil, we just are, and it is only our actions that can be defined.
Dreams have always been an integral part of my creative process. I dream vividly, at length, and regularly. For a time during my youth, I imagined that everyone dreamed in the same way that I did. It wasn’t until open dialogue about dreaming, with friends and family, that I discovered dream patterns can be very different for every individual. I was stunned, frankly, to learn that some people don’t even remember their dreams when they wake. The thought was strange to me, mostly because my own dreams were so lucid, regular, and often left a deep impression on me. There have been many days of my life where the previous night’s dreams have affected my mood throughout the entire day.
When I was younger, I suffered through something called Incubus Attacks (though I didn’t know what they were at the time). An Incubus Attack occurs when there is discord between the sleeping mind and the sleeping body. The results can be quite terrifying because, essentially, you can dream when your body is awake.
These episodes didn’t happen erratically, and spontaneously, during the day. It’s not as if I had a form of schizophrenia. Incubus Attacks usually take place in the time when your mind is transitioning to sleep, or transitioning awake. It’s as if the world of dream bleeds slightly into the conscious world.
I was four years old the first time I can remember having an Incubus Attack. I had awaked in the middle of the night, and for one reason or another, left my bed. I looked out the window and saw, at a distance, Grover. Yes, Grover from Sesame Street. Grover turned, looked at me, and then began running toward my window, screaming and flailing his arms. Naturally, I began screaming, and my parents found me crying below the window in my bedroom.
I experienced many Incubus Attacks in my youth, but not all were so lively. Mostly, I would feel something touching me that wasn’t there, or I could hear someone yelling at me that wasn’t there. These specific attacks would usually occur as I transitioned to sleep.
The last graphic Incubus Attack I remember took place when I was fifteen. I woke in the middle of the night and sat up in bed. I looked into the corner of my room and found an orb, glowing and floating about four feet off of the ground. As I watched it, it shot a red laser beam toward the foot of my bed. I got out of bed and walked over to the light switch, which was at the other side of the bedroom, all the while keeping my eye on the orb. When I turned the light switch on, the orb was gone. I was alone, standing in my bedroom, wondering what was happening to me. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I came across the term and realized that I had been having Incubus Attacks as a child.
Though the attacks stopped, my spirited dreaming did not. I would have to say that I have always had rich dreams on a nightly basis, with rare exception. However, it wasn’t until I began writing that I found a way to make my dreams work for me. In fact, the first two chapters of Everflame were from a dream I had. In the dream, I was Evercloud, the helpless child. I was prisoner to the events going on around me, and I can remember having some distinct connection with the bears that controlled my fate. The dream didn’t detail everything that I’ve written in those chapters, but I can still recall the memory of the mountain and the flame to this day.
As an adult, the types of dreams I have are what I call video game dreams. I’m usually in some life or death situation, where the circumstances are very fantastical, and I have to find some special object, or defeat some evil foe. Very often, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. I suppose I didn’t have much of a choice but to become a fantasy adventure writer.
The book I’m currently working on, The Dean Machine, has a lot of influence from my dreaming as well. The impetus for the book was a real-life event that affected me deeply, however much of the plotline comes directly from my dreams. I can remember being the main character of The Dean Machine, Dan Delacor. I can still feel the panic that overtook me as I ran from the great wall of Yellow City, running as far as I could from the clutches of the evil Chancellor Elgrey Vinsidian. I can remember, quite vividly, the confusion of wandering with my little dog, Dean, not knowing where we were. I can remember the sickness in my stomach as I discovered that I was… well, I won’t ruin it for you. Besides, the book is not finished, and who knows what I might dream up tonight.
And I suppose that’s the truth of my writing, and the source of my imagination. I have no method, no tactics, and no brainstorming techniques. I dream. I simply lay my head down and immerse myself in the unknown. I’ll try to keep you apprised of what I find.
ORIGINALLY POSTED 10/31/2014
What if Everflame became a movie? It’s a question I’ve thought about. (I’d be lying if said I hadn’t). Whenever you read a book, you imagine what the characters look like, and sometimes, you imagine a famous actor or actress is playing the role. When you are writing a book, it’s no different. You develop your character, and in your mind’s eye, you know what the characters look like. There are even times when you see a performance that reminds you of a character you have written. So here are some of my ideas of who would make great Everflame characters, and at the end of this blog post, I’ll choose my favorite choice from the fan forums.
Note: I totally agree with the idea that movies of this type should be cast with relative unknowns in the world of acting. It allows the fantasy to become just a little bit more real, and in many cases, it’s necessary in movies that can be otherwise unbelievable. Mark Hamill is Luke Skywalker, and Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter. We never had to see them in a role prior to those iconic roles, so it became easier to accept them as those characters. When you see Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, it’s harder to suspend disbelief. (Sorry Mr. Jackson). Ideally, I would want Evercloud, Densa and Iolana to be cast with unknowns, but for the purpose of this blog post, we’re not going to stick to that ideal. The nature of this blog post is to be fun. So, here we go.
ORIGINALLY POSTED 8/7/2014
Years before I began the Everflame Series, I fashioned myself as a musician. I was a singer/songwriter with a yellow and black Gibson, fronting a band that played at bars and house parties along the New England seacoast. Although my contribution to music came to a fast and uneventful end, my love for music and its influence on me have never wavered. Below is a list of twenty songs that I listened to a lot while writing the Everflame Series. I encourage you to listen to them. Feel free to guess what parts of the series each song influenced and leave your ideas in the comments.
1. Just Like You Imagined – Nine Inch Nails
2. Dust Bowl Dance – Mumford & Sons
3. Not With Haste – Mumford & Sons
4. Roll Away Your Soul – Mumford & Sons
5. I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons
6. La Mer – Nine Inch Nails
7. The Way Out is Through – Nine Inch Nails
8. The Day the World Went Away – Nine Inch Nails
9. A Warm Place – Nine Inch Nails
10. Right Where it Belongs – Nine Inch Nails
11. We’re in This Together Now – Nine Inch Nails
12. King of Pain – Police
13. Eye in the Sky – The Alan Parsons Project
14. Army of Me – Bjork
15. Awake – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
16. Furr – Blitzen Trapper
17. All These Things I’ve Done – The Killers
18. Take a Bow – Muse
19. The Night – Rob Dickinson
20. The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
ORIGINALLY POSTED 7/10/2014
I have received comments and questions from readers in regard to some of the names that I use in the Everflame series, and I thought it might make for a good blog post to divulge how I created certain character names. Names such as Tomas and Ben Floyd have no real meaning behind them, they just happened to be the names that popped into my head at the time I was creating the characters. Names such as Evercloud have meaning, but are also explained in the books. “You are a mystery, my son, like a cloud that continues forever. No one can see through to what lies on the other side.” Yet, there are names that I chose for certain characters that were chosen with reason and purpose that the books don’t necessarily explain with clarity. You may have guessed at why I chose certain names, (if you have some knowledge of Latin, the meaning of a name like Lithlillian becomes obvious) but I figured I’d take out the guesswork on a few names for you. So, here… we… go.
The Daughters of Earth and Sun
There is no great mystery involved in how I named these characters. However, I was looking for more than just simple feminine names. I did want names that sounded feminine, but that were also grounded in meanings associated with the earth aspect that each daughter represents.
Harena – the word is Latin and means “grains of sand” or “a sandy land.” As I’ve already said. There is no great mystery as to why I chose this.
Dendrata – dendro- is a Greek prefix meaning “tree.” I simply changed the end of the word to make it sound like a woman’s name.
Nivalia – nivalis in Latin means “snowy.” Again, I made a slight change to the word.
Tallulah – is of Native American origin, and the meaning of Tallulah is "leaping water."
Aella – Means "whirlwind" in Greek.
Lithlillian – litho- is a prefix meaning “stone.” (Are you seeing a pattern here?) I thought Lithlillian sounded melodic.
Selva – selva is Portuguese and means “tropical rain forest” or “jungle.”
Amber – Amber is a semi-precious gem formed of fossilized tree resin, and the name may refer either to the gem itself or to its color. In the Hindi language, Amber is derived from Sanskrit, and means "the sky."
Other notable language derivatives:
King Aplistia – aplistia is Greek for “greed.”
The Kingdom of Nefas – nefas is Latin for “wickedness.”
Have any questions about other names in the Everflame series? Leave a comment and I promise I’ll answer your question.