The Condemned Courier: Setting

The serial version of The Condemned Courier was published on JukePop Serials.

I made up the world for The Condemned Courier after I built a map for it:

Map 1

Condemned Courier

You’ll notice that my map got mutated more than once as I came up with reasons in the story for needing different people in different places. A lot of my maps look like this.

As I often do, I borrow Earth cultures for my story worlds. Schafland borrows name parts and other info bits from Germany. I don’t speak German, but I have a translation dictionary and I’m not afraid to use it … for at least one or two words at a time.

The Aelstrians (blue on the map), on the other hand, are totally made up. I developed their culture and even an accent for them to use when speaking to Schaflanders based on what would make sense for an out-sized bird.

Condemned Courier Cover art CKoepp

The time frame, again, is a Renaissance era analog. That let me play with both rapiers and black powder pistols again.

The expanded novel version of The Condemned Courier will be coming from PDMI Publishing. We’re in the midst of edits just now.

The Oldest Prophecy from a Prophet

What is the oldest prophecy uttered by a prophet?

 

The prophet in question is Enoch.  You find his prophecy not in Genesis but in Jude 1:14-16.  The subject matter?  The 2nd coming of Christ.

Jude 1:14-16 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.  These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

 

 

Remnant in the Stars: Setting

Remnant in the Stars was published by Under the Moon.

Remnant in the Stars takes place in the future. Earth has colonized many of the major moons in the solar system as well as several space stations scattered here, there, and yonder. Although they have interstellar travel, they got that from the Aolanians in exchange for trade agreements and resources.

There are two major locations for this story. The first is onboard Gyrfalcon, a small scout ship. It’s big enough to hold a half-dozen people easily. In the sequel, we’ll find that — as long as folks don’t mind roomies — they can do half that again without too much trouble.

The ship has storage space, a control center, engine room, doctor’s office, crew quarters, and kitchen. Although not intended to be a warship, it can defend itself decently, and it’s fairly maneuverable both in space and in atmosphere.

The other location in the story is a planet where the exploration ship crashes. The planet once had a thriving ecology until the greedier members of the sentient race went after the easily-available resources with devastating results. (I didn’t intend for this tale to be an environmentalist commentary, but it kinda turned into one). The only habitable area now is a small region on the coast of a continent stretching back into a nearby mountain range.

 

 

An Interesting Father

Yes, I know I’m about a month late for Father’s Day, but I just found this in one of my file archives, so I’m going to share now, anyway.😉

 

Abraham is known as the Father of the Faithful1.  His story starts in Genesis 11 and goes all the way through 1 Peter, but relax.  We’re not going take the whole thing at once.  There are a couple very interesting ways that Abraham serves as a model for our Father in heaven, and those are where we’re going today.

We first run into Abraham, or Abram before God changes his name, in Genesis 11 where he’s part of a genealogy, but he doesn’t really get going until Chapter 12.  Notice how that starts, “The Lord had said…”  That gives me the impression that God had told Abraham to get moving, but he didn’t at first.  When he did get moving he was already seventy-five years old and childless.  Yes, this was at a time when people were still living longer lives than we have now, and it is true that we have examples today of gentlemen who sire children in their very elderly years, but Abraham makes for an unlikely daddy.  Nevertheless, God commits to Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land2.  He wanders around for a while, gets into some grand adventures, talks to God and a couple angels, and finally at the young age of 100 years old, has a son he names Isaac3.

Before we get into how Abraham, Isaac, and an unnamed servant model the Trinity, you need to understand something about prophecy.  We, being educated in the West, have this notion that prophecy is prediction and fulfillment, and there are uncountable examples of that in the Scriptures.  There is, however, another way to view prophecy.  Others view prophecy as pattern.  Events can be used as models of similar things that will happen in the future4.

Here, take an example of an event in Genesis 22 that’s called the Akedah.  God instructed Abraham to take his son Isaac to a mountain in the ridge system called Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering.  Early the next morning, Abraham took his son, 2 other guys, and a donkey and set out.  Three days later, they arrived.  Abraham and Isaac left the other two there and headed up the mountain with the wood and the fire.  They got up to the peak; and, just before Abraham sacrificed his son, an angel interrupted him.  There was a ram stuck in the brush by the horns5.

This sounds like a bizarre thing for a good daddy to do to his kid, but he trusted that God would resurrect Isaac because there was a promise from God that Isaac would have children, and this belief was counted for him as righteousness6.  Abraham also knew he was acting out prophecy. First, look at Genesis 22:8 where Abraham says, “My son, God will provide himself an offering.”  That looks a little like he’s stalling the kid, but is he?  Look at that again.  “Himself” is an object of the verb.  God is going to provide himself.  Then, look at what Abraham calls the place.  “In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”  Mount Moriah is the same ridge system where Jerusalem ends up.  The top of the ridge system is where our eternal Father did sacrifice His own Son for us.  Because of Sunday school pictures, we get the idea that Isaac is just a child, but the text doesn’t say that.  Jewish tradition holds that he may have been in his thirties when this happened7.

Isaac disappears from the scene for a while, all the way until Genesis 24, when Abraham sent his eldest servant to find a bride for the young man.  The servant gets to where Abraham’s family lives and sets out a request for a sign from God as to who a good bride for Isaac would be.  Rebekah fits the bill and leaves with the servant to go back to marry Isaac, whom she’s never met in person.

This is a model of the Trinity and the Church.  Isaac is in the role of the Son.  Abraham is again in the role of the Father who is sending out his unnamed servant.  In the Scriptures, “unnamed servants” are often the Holy Spirit.  This particular unnamed servant actually does have a name, but you have to go back to Genesis 15:2 to figure out who he is. Why is the Spirit usually unnamed?  He won’t testify of himself8.  Who’s Rebekah?  Well, if Isaac is the Son, who is the bride of the Son?  That would have to be the Church9.

Now if you stand back and look at the whole sequence of events, Abraham is ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Isaac disappears from the account until an unnamed servant goes out to collect the bride.  Translate the model, and you get the Son is sacrificed and goes away until the Father tells the Spirit to go get the Church for the marriage.  Huh.  Interesting, eh?  The model is holding up rather well, isn’t it?

 

Endnotes:

1 Galatians 3:7

2 Genesis 12:1-7

3 Genesis 21:5

4 Missler, Chuck.  Prophecy 101 (and others).  Koinonia House.

5 Genesis 22:1-14

6 Genesis 21:12

7 Missler, Chuck.  Genesis Commentary.  Koinonia House; Romans 4:3

8 John 16:13

9 John 3:29, Revelation 21:9

 

Mindstorm: Parley at Ologo: Setting

Mindstorm: Parley at Ologo was published by Splashdown Books.

Mindstorm takes place on a space station that doesn’t currently exist and on two planets that might exist, but if they do, we haven’t found them yet.😉

The story opens during a negotiation that literally blows up around the characters. The planet, Cordil, is populated by huge centipedes. Although they’re mentioned, they don’t really show up in the story.

The space station, on the other hand, is in the tale frequently. It’s a big donut-shaped space station that spins to provide gravity. There are several levels to the station, and as a general rule, the further up you live, the more affluent you are. The lowest levels of the station are used for trash recycling and other stuff of that sort.

Haidar Station orbits Earth. It was originally built by Terrans, but their genetically modified citizens got fed up with mistreatment, revolted, and took over the station. (Yes, this may become a novel in the future). In the treaty that ended the conflict, Earth gave their genetically weird offspring the station, not that they had a lot of choice in that.

The other location is Ologo, where the second negotation takes place. I wanted Ologo to be more than just some Earth analog, so I decided it needed a few quirks. I put a second planet in the orbit with it. That, of course, would have major effects on the ecology of Ologo. Our little, puny moon creates our tides, for example. Put something planet-sized in orbit with the world, and those tides become more impressive.

So, the land-dwelling race (Gotrians) built their cities in the trees because the tides turned the ground into a swamp. The water-dwelling race (Olvians) are amphibious when mature, so they can come out on the land when the waters recede and make them swampy a couple times a day. The humans who have a corporate office (Pharmacorp) there built their company and the nearby mini-city on a stilted platform to keep their shoes dry.

In retrospect, I probably should have had land-tides, too, with a mass that big that close, but that didn’t occur to me until later.

As for the timing of the story, I never exactly nailed that down. It’s far enough in the future that even non-genetically-weird humans can go interstellar distances.

Yes, I do have a sequel and maybe a prequel in the planning stages.

Cities of Refuge

Consider Numbers 35:10-28.  How do the Cities of Refuge reflect Christ and relate to us?

This gets a little convoluted.  Ready?

First, you’ll need some historical background on ancient Israel.  A great deal of responsibility was placed on the next nearest male kin.  This person was called the Goel or Kinsman Redeemer.  The Goel had the job of redeeming land for the family if they lost it somehow.  He also had the responsibility of raising up offspring if his dead kinsman had no heir.  Some of these duties were required.  Some were voluntary.  If you give the book of Ruth a quick read, you’ll find Boaz.  He ends up being Naomi’s – and Ruth’s – Goel after a nearer kinsman bails out.

One thing Boaz doesn’t demonstrate when he acted as the Goel is vengeance.  When Israel first possessed Canaan, there were no policemen or prisons.  If someone was murdered, the Goel was expected to become the Avenger of Blood, go hunt down the murderer, and take him out.

Just like today, sometimes accidents happen, though.  A person might accidentally do something that results in another person’s death.  These days, we call that “manslaughter.”  This is where the Cities of Refuge come into play.

When Israel entered the land, God told them to set up 6 Cities of Refuge, three on each side of the Jordan.  The purpose of these cities was to provide a refuge for someone who killed another person accidentally.  Someone guilty of manslaughter had to race to a City of Refuge and get there before the Goel caught them.  Upon arrival, the person had to convince the city elders that the situation was really manslaughter rather than murder.  If the person succeeded, he had to stay in the City of Refuge to be safe from the vengeance of the Goel.  If person ever left the city, he was fair game if the Goel could catch him.  This situation remained until the High Priest in Jerusalem died.  After that, the person could go free and return to their previous adventures without fear of the Goel.

That’s an interesting process, though more than a little odd.  I mean, why would the death of the High Priest have any bearing on whether someone guilty of manslaughter could go free or not?

Believe it or not, the whole thing falls into place when you recall Psalm 40:7, John 5:39, and Hebrews 10:7.  The whole book is written about Jesus.  This includes the Cities of Refuge idea.

Consider this.  To take advantage of the Cities of Refuge, we would have to be guilty of manslaughter, unintentional murder.  Remember what Jesus said from the cross in Luke 23:34?  “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Well, if we humans didn’t know what we were doing, then it’s manslaughter, not murder.  We qualify to flee to the City of Refuge.

Who is our refuge?  At least 15 times in Psalms and Proverbs, God is said to be our refuge.  So we should flee to God to avoid the wrath of the Goel in his Avenger of Blood role.

How long do we have to stay in the City of Refuge?  Until the High Priest dies.  Well, who’s our High Priest?  That would be Jesus.  Hebrews says so several times.

Jesus died on the cross several years ago, making us free.

Pretty cool, huh?

 

Source: Chuck Missler.  Recurring explanation in several of his commentaries.

Lines of Succession: Setting

Lines of Succession was published by Under the Moon.

This tale doesn’t take place on any Earth we know.

I designed a map then populated it with people we may be familiar with, in some cases. (Honestly, the further you go down the list, the more I totally made up).

The region is called the Ibari Peninsula. If that strikes you as somewhat like “Iberian Peninsula,” there’s probably a good reason for that, but the similarity doesn’t extend much past the name.

There are 5 countries on the peninsula and a sixth on an island south of it.

Most of the story takes place in Corby, which is divided into provinces each ruled by a baron (or by the duke in one case). I had the grand idea that Corby had once been two countries, but one had been overrun by the other a long time go. Southern areas tend to have Germanic names and northern areas are a little more British.

To the west, there’s Sonjikstan, where Elaina attends school. They’re Russian, sort of, but with a greater fondness for martial arts and a somewhat more Catholic religion.

East of Corby, there are two countries: Gada and Toshiro. I stopped gathering cultural aspects of real countries, but used name parts (a little less so for Toshiro) from Israel and Japan, respectively.

South of Corby, there’s Indira, and if you guess India as the source for names and other little quirks, you’d be right there.

The island nation of Dabir is south of the peninsula. That one is loosely (very loosely, even more loosely than Toshiro is Japan and Indira is India) Arabic.

The sequel is going to take place (so far) in Corby and Toshiro.

When is this happening? I picked the Renaissance era. Most fantasy tales, whether they contain sorcery or not, tend toward the Medieval era. It’s all swords and snazzy armor and so on. I picked the Renaissance because that gave me rapiers to play with (Elaina is fairly skilled with one), and I used to study Renaissance fencing, so I know a bit or two about it.

Then, after I’d written the first couple drafts, a beta reader suggested I needed black powder weapons. If the tale is Renaissance, they had muskets, black powder pistols, cannons, and so on.

Okay! A bit of research and a few YouTube vids later, and I became an impromptu “expert” (ex = former, spurt = drip under pressure, so “expert” = former drip under pressure) on black powder weapons.  Have I ever fired one?  Well, sort of.

One year, I got to play in a San Jacinto (last major battle of the Texas Revolution) re-enactment. At the end of the second day, one of the gents had a few shots left and asked me if I wanted to give it a try. He loaded the rifle, and I tried to lift it so I could pull the trigger, but the silly thing was too heavy (I am an original 100-pound wimp). He helped me out, and I pulled the trigger. That’s as close as I got to shooting a black powder gun.

So, anyway, Lines of Succession took place in a made-up world in a roughly Renaissance time frame.