Detailing a world gone to ruin (The Underlands)
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
The Requiem of Stone series has been a lot of fun to work on, not only for it's central concepts and themes, but also because of its world.
You see, the world of the series is a battered dystopian land... that doesn't realize it's in a dystopian state.
There are two main realms to the story, the Overlands and the Underlands. Up till the point, the reader has not seen much of the Overlands, since the first few books are set in the Underlands. So, I will not be talking about those today.
Now, the Underlands are unigue in that, they aren't the typical cave system one might imagine from our world. Sure, there are areas within that do resemble them, but the majority of the land is a very different thing. I guess, one of the best ways to describe it, is like a bubble. The Underlands sit in a sort of bubble below the overlands. The barrier of the earth between the two is miles apart, far out of reach by normal man. The only time it is close is near the edges, where the earth meets the ground. This world is supported by the occasional vent that filters air below and crystals that illuminate and have other properties.
Two such crystals are called the day and night stones. These stones, embedded into the roof of the earth, glow with a fierce light, as if replicating the sun above. The day stones are not sunlight, but they do shed warmth into the stretches of cold earth below. The night stones, while not moonlight, cast the same bluish radiance over the world.
The existence of these crystals is only understood by the original denizens of the Underland, but they aren't telling and have no reason too.
After all, about a hundred years before the beginning of the story, a great human-demon war erupted and the humans became the victors. The demons, as a result, were enslaved.
The demons were the original residents... and now have no reason to tell why and how these crystals are created.
However, humans still find and scrounge them up for various uses. Some are for heating, some for keeping cool, some for fresh water which is pretty plentiful in the Underlands and a rare few for creating wind.
These stones have become a part of life in the Underlands alongside the slave trade caused by the war.
I loved the simplicity of the concept, yet, there is a subtle complexity to it that makes the world click that much more. People, humans, search for convenience. What's more convenient than an underground land without storms, with powerful slaves at your disposal and unigue stones for things to make your life easier?
It's not perfect, but it's interesting to think about. For instance, communication, food and other such issues have arisen in the Underlands. Communication, once utilizing bats, has become useless due to problems in the Underlands. Other forms of communication doesn't exist and so a lot of it is left up to the merchants and travelers who go from region to region.
Heck, there is a conversation from book one of my series which speaks of how some of the lower class of the underlands obtain food... and it isn't pretty.
“Something else I question about these lands.” Milos watched the carriage go impassively. “Wouldn’t it be more productive to find or use an animal? Or treat the slave properly? I’ve noticed there is only that sheep type animal down here, is it possible others didn’t survive? Or they can’t be tamed.”
Rita sighed at all his questions. Even having lived in the Underlands, she didn’t really have answers to any of those questions. He must have noticed her expression, because he decided to forgo those questions, instead switching to another, much to her chagrin. “That’s another thing. As I said, all I’ve seen is those sheep, what do those of the Underlands use for meat?”
Rita felt herself stiffen at the question, and noted, out of the corner of her eye, Alex glance at her worriedly.
Milos also seemed to notice, drawing to a stop. “I have a feeling it is not good information.”
“Depends…” Rita got out, pushing herself to move forward once more. She could see the boys exchange looks before following. She drew in a breath and continued. “Most meat we get is from the east. Cattle and pig farms crowd those lands where slaves raise them for slaughter. Meat from there is more expensive, but healthier. Then there is the… I can’t even call it meat, but the produce from the west.”
Milos’ brow was furrowed, a slight frown adorning his face. Alex peered at her, matching pace with her, his expression showing his concern. She sent him a quick grin that felt weak even to her as she tried desperately to push the thoughts away. “Ever wonder what happens to excess slaves? The ones too old or sickly?”
Milos seemed to understand her train of thought, the one she was specifically trying to ignore, almost instantly. Disgust flashed across his face, a hand inching toward his mouth.
Alex, bless his soul, just appeared merely confused. “I figured they were... I mean. Wouldn’t they be left alone? Or die or something? I mean…” he seemed hesitant, looking upset even at those thoughts.
“So you say the food from the west is made from-“
Rita sent Milos a look, trying to shut him up. If Alex didn’t get it, she wasn’t going to force it. She didn’t want to see what would happen if Alex realized. But he’d said enough. Alex froze, eyes widening as his hands shifted close to his face. She didn’t even have to read his expression to get what was going on in his head. She saw him quickly turn away, hand to his stomach and another over his mouth, gagging harshly. Milos, still perturbed, turned to Rita. “The Martinets and others condone this?”
Rita nodded. “After all, food from the east is expensive, they can only raise so much livestock and there is a large amount of people in these lands. It’s not easy getting things from the Overlands, as you can probably see. And considering slaves aren’t even thought of as people…”
Rita didn’t feel the need to expand anymore. She saw Alex trembling and pale, dragging in deep breaths. Rita was surprised he hadn’t hurled.
The Underlands, while beautiful and fun to write about, definitely have their darker sides, which you can read about in my book, Demon's Song and my book out February 7th Demon's Call.
To be frank, there is so much to tell of this world and it's wonders. I have simply spoken of the Underlands here. The Overlands? The world itself? Well, let's just say, there is a lot more to speak about there.
However, that is for my stories to tell. For now, I'll leave you with these little tidbits of history and a little description of the world you will find yourself in reading the Requiem of Stone series.
As always, stay safe, have a good day and I will see you next time!