Magic in Casto
As every reader of fantasy knows, there has to be some magic involved in the story. Fantasy and magic go together like – well, like two things that really fit. (I don’t want to abuse any analogies here.) The question, however, is to decide how much magic there should be in a story. If there is too much of it and it can be used too easily, then the story quickly progresses to a point where you need some hilarious ideas just to get the plot going and not having readers asking ‘So why didn’t they just magic their way out of it?”
For Gods of War, I made magic into something that was once there in abundance and is now fading because of order taking over. Magic is closely linked to chaos, for it forgoes all natural rules and allows people to cheat. Ana-Darasa, the world on which my story takes place, was made of raw magic and in order to keep the world habitable, the raw magic had to be used up. Therefore, the goddesses created the human race to tap into the stream and tame it further. When the humans realize that they’re losing their magical abilities because the stream of magic is getting subdued, they turn to another goddess who promises them access to the stream.
When the story of Casto starts, magic is already something rare that can only be used at great personal cost except for Canubis, Renaldo and their Emeris who have natural talents that manifest themselves with every new member to their inner circle. The basic fight between Renaldo and Canubis and the rogue humans who want to keep their magical abilities is one about power that had once been natural and is now taken by order. I do have a certain sympathy for the followers of the Good Mother who only want to keep what they think is their right, once granted by the goddesses themselves. The way they are trying to obtain that goal is of course despicable, but I do believe in setting up good reasons for my characters’ behavior. I just think it’s easier to explain their thinking, to make their actions plausible and, for me as the author, to follow them on their twisted paths. (Just think about all the wars that broke out because somebody claimed something as their ‘natural’ right. Sadly enough, that’s just how we humans are wired.)
A good, multi-layered villain with plenty of nastiness as a resource is a treasure to keep and I do enjoy building my villains up throughout the series. Of course I do have some one-dimensional bad guys as well, cannon fodder for the sake of urging the plot on and helping my main characters grow, but sometimes you need just that. Since my main characters aren’t fine examples of perfect behavior either, I also have the additional thrill of mixing bad and good traits together and blurring the lines.
In one of the first fantasy novels I ever read, the Belgariad Saga by David Eddings, magic was something you had to be born with and that could, in theory, get anything done. Nevertheless, it took a great toll on those using it, because they would feel the strain physically which solved a lot of conundrums such as why they wouldn’t use magic in a certain situation. In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series the wizards of Unseen University are there to not use magic. They know that the bill presented by magic for using it is always more than you can afford. The witches on Discworld know this as well and rely mainly on headology to get people to do what they want them to. I think this is a perfect twist on magic, explaining the power conundrum quite nicely. The more power you have, the more likely you are to misuse it. And with too much power around, you can’t stop using it.
There are many types of magic in fantasy around and I love to explore all of them. For my own series, I decided to make magic more of a hands-on experience that is conducted through the body, at least for those who have a right to it. Others have to force the magic with spells and potions and that also makes a nice distinction between my ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters.
I hope you enjoy reading Casto!
About the Book
SERIES BLURB: All is fair in love and war. Or is it?
On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.
CASTO: All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
About the Author
Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.