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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke

SON OF THE SIREN Worldbuilding II


Muted colors of a globe from a bird's eye view. Son of the Siren Worldbuilding 2
Photo by Gaël Gaborel - OrbisTerrae on Unsplash

Greetings, friends! I keep ramping up Son of the Siren posts as we get closer and closer to the release date of July 2, 2024!


I found this neat project on Twitter, called #MarchWorldbuilders, created and hosted by Kira of the Wind. Basically it's an introduction to the world you've created for your books. Today we're going to dive into the world of Son of the Siren. If you want to see the first iteration of this meme, read here!


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PART ONE: FLORA


Special tree - the trees that dominate Son of the Siren are pine trees and cedar trees. Pine trees make up the forest of Pinemore, and cedar trees make up the forest of Yanna.


Special flower - In Elythia, the wandering fae forest, there is a special flower called a "gilt flower" that grows in a metallic gold color. The pollen it gives off (and dusts everything) controls the flow of time in Elythia. The flower grows in all seasons and is the quickest way to tell if you've crossed into the fae woods.


SNIPPET: Flower/tree or a specific kind - For the protection of my work, I'm not posting snippets until the book is published wide, but I'm happy to talk about things in the book. There's a magical tree that resembles a willow that birds like to decorate with jewelry and shiny things. If you try to take anything from the tree, its branches will turn around and smack you.


Plant used in symbolism - There's not really a plant used symbolically in the book. Maybe the gilt flowers, which represent the flow of time? I don't have any recurring plant themes or anything like that, though.


Healing/herbalism - Brandegil gets beaten up pretty badly and he tries to heal his swollen, bloody lip with a mosslike plant he chews on before applying to the wound.


Agriculture/edible plant - Because it doesn't really have any point to the story, I don't go into this in the book. Normal edible plants, like fruits and vegetables, exist. Farming exists, but there's no presence of it in the book because it's not a part of the story.


MC's interaction with a plant - Lirien, my main character, interacts with the gilt flowers in Elythia as well as the decorated willow tree. He gets slapped in the face when he tries to recover a necklace that birds stole from him.


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PART TWO: FAUNA


Domesticated/companion animal - Lirien's companion animal is a giant fox named Kitra. Kitra is actually a fae fox, a shapeshifter that can flit between a fox and faery. When she is in her faery form, she looks like a human except for her fox tail, fox ears, and fox eyes. When she is in her fox form, she is the size of a full-drawn carriage, and in emergencies, she'll let Lirien ride her. She also breathes fire and likes to leave fireballs floating in the air to drive people off of their chosen path. After all, she is a trickster spirit!


Animal that doesn't exist on Earth - In the fae forest of Elythia, a Ceffyl Dŵr (water horse) makes its appearance in a marsh. Water horses appear in all sorts of Scottish, Irish, and Welsh folklore, being called an Each Uisge or Kelpie or Ceffyl Dŵr. Depending on the folklore, the horses can be white, gray, or black (mine is black) and they bewitch riders and take them to their death in the water. My Ceffyl Dŵr lives in the water.


SNIPPET: Dog/cat/any animal - In Son of the Siren, the Queen uses a havoc stone to make a wish but it backfires horribly. It turns her children--Lirien's siblings--into wild animals. Sorin is turned into a white stag. Sonalie is turned into a swan. Nina is turned into a white snake. It is up to Lirien to find a way to break the spell on them, because the longer they remain animals, the harder it will be to change them back!


Animal for riding or pulling wagons - Though they don't make an appearance in the book, horses draw the carriages, and oxen pull wagons. Travelling on horseback does appear in the book, mostly by Queen Eira of Asherin, who hunts in a team on horseback.


Animal in symbolism - I don't know if it's a symbol exactly, but I chose Kitra being a fox because I wanted to use a trickster spirit in the book, and foxes have a long history of being tricksy. She was partly inspired by what I'd heard about kitsune when I lived in Japan.


Hunting - there is hunting in Son of the Siren. Queen Eira likes to go hunting and pursues poor Sorin when he is in his stag form!


Animal-based ritual - I don't really have anything like this in the book.


ORGANIZED RELIGION


Worship/prayer/ritual/ceremony - The naming of the Crown Prince ceremony is pretty sacred to the royals of Ardeth. Since Ardeth is considered a kingdom of the sun, the sun figures as a symbol in a lot of the royal proceedings. The Queen dips her fingers in sacred oil and draws the circle of the sun over the heart and the forehead of the Crown Prince, saying, "One heart, one mind, for Ardeth."


God(s) - in the first drafts of The Son of the Siren, I did in fact have a pantheon! But I thought this put the book closer to myth than fairytale, so I deleted all of them. The only mention of a god is when characters pray offhand, stuff like "Dear God, please don't let X happen." Just a one-sentence prayer.


SNIPPET: Priest/priestess or equivalent term - I don't really mention the existence of religious figures in the book, but in a world like Ardeth, priests and priestesses could exist.


Punishment for a sin - usually something very naturally bad happens--poor outcomes of the "sin" for example, where things pile up on each other and blow up in the character's face. There's no hardcore religion in the book that has testaments or commandments, so there are no clear punishments for sin. I don't call anything a "sin" in the book, although there's a general admission that the relationship between a stepmother and stepson crossing the line is very much wrong.


Head of the church - I don't really have an established church in the book, so I don't have a leader, either.


Tithing/sacrifice - I don't have this either!


RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHY


Soul/spirits/ghosts - Though it isn't a part of the story and doesn't come up, there would definitely be spirits and ghosts in this world!


Belief in an afterlife/reincarnation/nothingness - Given the amount of fantastical things that exist in the book, I don't think it's a stretch for characters to believe in an afterlife.


SNIPPET: Belief/believe - I don't really have anything to say for this one!


MC faces with an ethical dilemma - In Son of the Siren, Lirien accidentally bewitches his stepmother the Queen with the siren's song. He doesn't know that its sole purpose is to seduce the listener. His stepmother falls into a sick, twisted "love" for him, and Lirien is faced with a dilemma--either he marries his stepmother, or Ardeth goes to war with Asherin and countless people will die.


Philosophy on wealth, charity, and greed - there are wealthy people in Ardeth, some who worked for it, some who inherited it, and some who stole it. There are differences and unfairness between the socioeconomic classes. Greed is considered bad, hoarding wealth is considered bad...and yet the people are comfortable enough living under a monarchy. There are a lot of conundrums in this world, but given the nature of the story, I don't really explore them.


Philosophy on sex, marriage, and deviance - sex is not looked down upon in this society, and marriage can be both transactional (arranged) or for love. Same-sex couples, polycules, asexual or aromantic people, and more, are all welcomed and treated normally in this world, even if I don't show them all in the book. For example, the Queens of Asherin are married wives who rule the country jointly. I want a place for all sexualities in the world I created. However, there are still some sexual taboos in this world, and things like incest are looked down upon as harmful.


Morality: derived from religion, laws, oneself, etc.? - I think in this world, morality comes from a variety of sources. People in general have moral codes they follow; sometimes laws are created based on that moral code; etc.


EXTRAS


Themes you'd like to see in the future? I'd like to do a post all about magic and mythical creatures.


Favorite thing you've built for your world? The wandering fae forest of Elythia was incredibly fun to create. I had a lot of freedom with it and a lot of it was "anything goes."


What is your worldbuilding for? (A book? A series? A TTRPG? A video game?) Almost always, my worldbuilding is solely made for my novels. Son of the Siren was a joy to create a world for, and I had a lot of fun. I hope when you read the book, you have fun, too.


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Feel free to participate and answer these questions on social media or on your own blog! Here is the original prompt image from Twitter:



Overlaid on a forest background are multiple prompts asking worldbuilding questions for #March Worldbuilders
Image from Twitter

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Son of the Siren is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will also be a part of Kindle Unlimited, where you can read it for free with a KU subscription. It's eBook only at the time of posting, but paperback will be available soon, not just from Amazon, but Barnes & Noble and Bookshop, too, among other places.


The book releases July 2, 2024.


Pre-orders really help! Get the book here. I'm also running a pre-order campaign where you can get three 4x6 character art cards from the incredibly talented artist Juhaihai. All you have to do is upload your receipt here.


Thank you for your support!


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