Z is for Zephyr

ZZ is for Zephyr: In the world of Gossamer Steel, the west winds or zephyrs allow Walen Sokol-Thorson to fly his solar plane east from Mojave to The Country, hoping to find his shaman grandfather Jarilo Sokol, and join the struggle to revitalise the Earth.

A zephyr is a wind that blows from the west, in an eastward direction. In Western tradition, it has usually been considered the mildest and most favourable of the directional winds. The Greek wind gods were each ascribed a cardinal direction from which their respective winds came

In Greek mythology, Zephyrus was the personification of the west wind and the bringer of light spring and early summer breezes; his Roman equivalent was Favonius. In the myth of Cupid and Psyche, Zephyrus was the attendant of Cupid, who brought Psyche to his master’s palace. Zephyrus appears in a number of Greek myths, and in classical art he is portrayed as a handsome winged youth.

As Wikapedia also says, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of the “swete breth” of Zephyrus, and a soft, gentle breeze may be referred to as a zephyr, as in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (IV, ii): “They are as gentle / As zephyrs blowing below the violet, / Not wagging his sweet head.”

Flora and Zephyr ~ William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1875) on display at Musée des Beaux Arts de Mulhouse

Flora and Zephyr ~ William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1875) on display at Musée des Beaux Arts de Mulhouse

Zephyr is also name of various ultra-light aerial craft from recreational kit planes to the lightweight solar-powered UAVs originally designed and built by the United Kingdom company, QinetiQ, and is now part of the Airbus High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme. . The military uses the vehicle for reconnaissance and communications platforms. Civilian and scientific programmes use it for Earth observation. The Zephyr 7 holds the official endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle for its flight from 9 July to 23 July 2010, lasting 336 hours and 22 minutes (2 weeks / 14 days).

Z is also for Zealot as the fanatics that want to control the world and also Zoroastrianism, one of the many religions surviving in Bhārata (India sub-continent).

Z ends these A to Z posts focusing on my Gossamer Steel world. However, they will become the basis for a new Gossamer Steel page – or should it be called Gossamer Steam? Is that more appropriate for my future world? Or Gossamer Dreams or Threads? What do you think?

Finally many thanks to all my visitors, the 2048 participants and the hosts of this amazing A to Z Challenge, especially Arlee Bird.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is for Windsong ~X is for Xerarch ~ Y is for Yggdrasil

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. So this year on April 1 we blogged about something that began with the letter “A.” April 2 was “B,” April 3 was “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers even after the month is over – there are a lot of us out there so there’s plenty to read and get you thinking.

See you around in May, although daily posts might slip to nearer weekly… unless I’m inspired.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

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Y is for Yggdrasil

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Y is for Yggdrasil: To the shaman that follow the  seiðr path in the world of Gossamer Steel, their practices revolve around Yggdrasil, the Nine Worlds, and the Well of the Norns,.

In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist.

According to Encyclopedia Mythica, “Yggdrasil (“The Terrible One’s Horse”), also called the World Tree, is the giant ash tree that links and shelters all the worlds. Beneath the three roots the realms of Asgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim are located. Three wells lie at its base: the Well of Wisdom (Mímisbrunnr), guarded by Mimir; the Well of Fate (Urdarbrunnr), guarded by the Norns; and the Hvergelmir (Roaring Kettle), the source of many rivers.

Four deer run across the branches of the tree and eat the buds; they represent the four winds. There are other inhabitants of the tree, such as the squirrel Ratatosk (“swift teeth”), a notorious gossip, and Vidofnir (“tree snake”), the golden cock that perches on the topmost bough. The roots are gnawed upon by Nidhogg and other serpents. On the day of Ragnarok, the fire giant Surt will set the tree on fire…”

"Die Nornen Urd, Werdanda, Skuld, unter der Welteiche Yggdrasil". The Nornic trio of Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree (called an oak in the caption) Yggdrasil. At the top of the tree is an eagle (likely Veðrfölnir), on the trunk of the tree is a squirrel (likely Ratatoskr), and at the roots of the tree gnaws what appears to be a small dragon (likely Níðhöggr). At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr. ~ Ludwig Burger (1882)

“Die Nornen Urd, Werdanda, Skuld, unter der Welteiche Yggdrasil”. The Nornic trio of Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree (called an oak in the caption) Yggdrasil. At the top of the tree is an eagle (likely Veðrfölnir), on the trunk of the tree is a squirrel (likely Ratatoskr), and at the roots of the tree gnaws what appears to be a small dragon (likely Níðhöggr). At the bottom left of the image is the well Urðarbrunnr. ~ Ludwig Burger (1882)

Y is also for Years of Dust & Death, the years of chaos and survival immediately after the apocalypse.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is forWindsong ~X is for Xerarch

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

X is for Xerarch

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X is for Xerarch: Before the apocalypse that creates the world of Gossamer Steel, ambitious plans for an ill-conceived solar energy project in India were opposed by an ecological group called Xerarch. Even post-apocalypse, Xerarch continues to ensure that such actions cannot threaten the world again.

Xerarch or Xerosere is the Ecological Succession that begins on bare rocks or sand. Ecological succession refers to the general metamorphosis of a geographic area to its most stable ecosystem. Primary succession refers to the settlement/establishment of vegetation in an area previously un-colonized by organisms. Organism which first colonize an area are known as pioneer organisms.

Primary succession which occurs on land is termed Xerarch succession. That which occurs from aquatic ecosystems is known as Hydrarch succession. Secondary succession refers to the re-colonization of a geographic area, which had been previously settled, but somehow disrupted.

Some causes of disruption include fire, volcanism, severe weather, agriculture, development. Both processes result in the most stable type of biome given its geographical location. This is called a climax community. However, with an in­creasing realization that the climate keeps changing, the process of succession is often very slow, and the nature of a region’s vegetation is being determined to a greater extent by human activities, ecologists do not consider the concept of “climax vegetation” to be as useful as they once did.

Lava field with path and encroaching vegetation. Note that despite appearances this is loose rock, not ploughed-up soil. ~ By Nevilley at the English language Wikipedia

Lava field with path and encroaching vegetation. Note that despite appearances this is loose rock, not ploughed-up soil. ~ By Nevilley at the English language Wikipedia

X is also for the ex-Xenobiologist behind Xerarch, and xylotomy, a forensic technique used by the investigative team in ‘Wyrm Bait’.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda ~ W is forWindsong

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

 A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

W is for Windsong

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W is for Windsong: In the world of Gossamer Steel, Windsong is the mare belonging to Coryll. A star-bred reared to match the astrological chart of the Blood-Marked sorceress, Windsong owes her unusual appearance and stamina to her Akhal-Teke ancestry.  Some say that she can bend light and space, and consorts with elementals.

The Akhal-Tekes have a reputation for speed and endurance, intelligence, and a distinctive metallic sheen that led to their nickname “Golden Horses”. These horses are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest existing horse breeds. There are currently about 6,600 Akhal-Tekes in the world, mostly in Turkmenistan and Russia.[More at Wkipedia]

Windsong is the ninth album recorded by American singer-songwriter John Denver, which was released in September 1975. Denver’s popularity was at its peak by this time. But my fictional horse was named for my shaman’s relationship with the elements and her yoik or music. As Ursula Länsman, member of the Sámi Band Angelit says, “There is no way to experience the power of the yoik except to listen to it. Its natural character and the voices of the natural elements do not become apparent until the listener has thrown himself upon the winds.”

Akhal-teke stallion Dagat-Geli, g.buckskin, 2007 (Gaigysyz-Dargi) ~ by Artur Baboev

Akhal-teke stallion Dagat-Geli, g.buckskin, 2007 (Gaigysyz-Dargi) ~ by Artur Baboev

W is also for Willow, which is one of the ruling trees in Ogham, part of the rich folklore traditions that have emerged in The Country. Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Most species are known as willow, but some narrow-leaved shrub species are called osier, and some broader-leaved species are referred to as sallow (from Old English sealh, related to the Latin word salix, willow).

In my first published novel, Spiral of Hooves, the horse central to the plot is called Sorcière des Saules aka Willow Witch. A murder mystery set against the world of eventing, the novel has been described as “A must read for any equestrian enthusiast or thriller lover alike.”

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu~ V is for Vidda

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

V is for Vidda

VV is for Vidda: In the world of Gossamer Steel the Vidda is the northern area of The Country (Scandinavia) and the location of many inhabitants’ spiritual journeys, not least as the most sacred seat of learning is on the northern tip, where Veles is honoured alongside Jarilo.

Finnmarksvidda, is a plateau in northern Norway, the interior of Finnmark, the country’s largest but least populated county. Though it has no exact natural boundaries, the plain’s principal section is about 60 miles (100 km) from east to west and 50 miles from north to south. The Finnmarksvidda, made up of ancient crystalline rock, is characterized by numerous small lakes and bogs, with a few branched river systems draining northward to the Arctic Ocean. Important among these are the Altaelva (west) and the Anarjåkka (Finnish Inarijoki), forming the border with Finland (east). The region is sparsely populated. Most of the inhabitants are Sámi, many of whom live on their herds of reindeer.

Panorama of River Neiden in Finnmark, Norway ~ Photo byOdd-Arild Knutsen

Panorama of River Neiden in Finnmark, Norway ~ Photo by Odd-Arild Knutsen

Veles is a major Slavic supernatural force of earth, waters and the underworld, associated with dragons, cattle, magic, musicians, wealth and trickery. Wikipedia also says, “Ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld… Veles, seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead. This was actually quite a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles’ herds of cattle… In folk tales this land is called Virey or Iriy. Each year, the god of fertility and vegetation, Jarilo, who also dwelt there during winter, would return from across the sea and bring spring into the world of the living.”

V is also for völva, vǫlur, and vísendakona, names for Seiðr sorceresses that are fundamental to the spiritual life of The Country.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

U is for Urdu

U

U is for Urdu: In the world of Gossamer Steel the inhabitants of Bhārata (India sub-continent) speak predominantly Urdu and Hindi, although there are other languages native to the enclave, such as Dravidian languages, like Tamil.

Wikipedia says, “Urdu… or more precisely Modern Standard Urdu, is a standardized register of the Hindustani language. Urdu is historically associated with the Muslims of the region of Hindustan. It is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, and an official language of five Indian states and one of the 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution of India. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, which is associated with the Hindu community. Since the end of the Mughal period in the nineteenth century, varieties of Hindustani have been the lingua franca for much of South Asia.

Urdu and Hindi are nearly identical in basic structure and grammar, and at a colloquial level also in vocabulary and phonology. If considered the same language, the population of Hindi-Urdu speakers is the fourth largest of the languages of the world, after Mandarin Chinese, English and Spanish.”

English: Map of the subcontinent showing areas where Urdu is official or co-official [orange] and where Hindi is official [yellow]. ~ Kwamikagami at English Wikipedia

Map of the subcontinent showing areas where Urdu is official or co-official [orange] and where Hindi is official [yellow]. ~ Kwamikagami at English Wikipedia

Footnote to map: Although Hindi is the official language in four of the Southern states of India, Tamil is one of the official language of Sri Lanka.

U is also for the Vedic texts called The Upanishads, and for Unicorns, one of which stars in a Gossamer Steel novella. For many in my world there is power in the Uroboros, a symbol of eternity and cosmic unity, a snake with the end of its tail in its mouth, like Jörmungandr or the Midgard Serpent in Norse mythology.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology

*

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)