Piaffe: The Sacred Groves

The Sacred Manda Grove
It was in drafting a spiritual system for Piaffe's world that trees became a major player. I didn't want there to be religious structure, per se, but I did want to create a measure of spirituality in the form of respect for the planet and all its inhabitants. A sharing of resources and space.

Filtered Sunlight
Because their language system is heavily Latinus influenced, I opted to transform Gaia into Ommat, literally "all things are," from om mat, which means "mother of all." She began not so much a specific goddess entity as she is a communion with nature. The sacred groves were space set aside for rites in which the dead were returned to the earth, the final embrace.

I was in the throes of working these details back into the story, trolling the internet for images of what these groves might look like. How old were they? What kind of trees were mandas, beyond being old, dense, and dark? That was when my longtime friend Amara hit me up. She was working on a shiny, and she wasn't sure if the stones worked so well together. She was debating scrapping the combination entirely and beginning again. Artist to artist, I sympathized with her pain.

"Send me a pic of what it looks like," I told her. "I'll tell you if it works or not."

The Original Manda, by Freia Inguz.
The moment I saw the purple and yellow leaves creating the canopy, I knew my mandas needed to be more than wood and chlorophyll. So I gave them veins of ametrine -- so that they could have leaves of amethyst that paled to citrine with age. In a world of magicks, where auras are power, energy must pool somewhere. It must be cleansed and regenerated, stored. That's what the groves do, in part. They are a place of restoration, of such power that one can be disoriented by the aura hanging in the air. Just as the crystal caverns in Mexico are so strong that researchers and geologists can only enter for short periods of time without feeling adverse effects. Lashekyn, the largest and oldest grove, looms in the memories and constant awareness of the mardonken, reaching forward from the past, manipulating their superstitions and beliefs.

Ancient Manda
Instead of being a simple backdrop for pagan rites, the manda groves became a passive presence influencing the events playing out within their scope. There are three major events which take place within the sheltering canopy of the manda groves, and each one has far-reaching consequences for the characters involved.

Tomorrow I'll delve into something slightly spoilery, and picspam some images of the secondary characters, flesh out the rest of the cast.