Most people think of Lancelot or the various Knights of the Round Table. However, our myths are riddled with almost-paladins; warriors who fought for divine belief and received special powers because of it. When the world ends, the paladins will survive. I have no doubt of it. No one can endure impossible odds and suffering and retain the disposition required to survive and carry through with solely honor and integrity; something else is required.
In a fantasy world, one with magic and gods, I challenged myself to create a world that allowed for both. After all, how many stories are told where there are both and yet, magic trumps the gods? In this world, a paladin is rare breed of fighter who fights by faith, inspiration, and revelation. Where a normal fighter relies on their skill, training, and experience, the paladin takes this an extra step further and says, "I've trained. I've developed skills. I'm going to take to the next level and allow the divine to guide my hand, to use me as a tool to achieve divine ends." This results in a lot of straightforward fighting, but also takes the paladin off the straight course of hack, slash, and chop chop chop to victory.
While paladins have certain powers, part of paladin training is to strengthen defenses against other deities and magic in general while opening themselves to their own god's power. God by god, the requirements for a paladin differ as does the type of inspiration a paladin receives in combat. A paladin of good will be energized when battling an evil foe, however if that evil foe is in opposition to the particular god served by the paladin, they will be inspired and guided to win. Going up against a skilled warrior is terrifying. Going up against a divinely inspired paladin is beyond terrifying. Tania recognizes multiple orders of paladins, each tasked with certain objectives. These orders are, at the highest level: Elemental and Tactical.
The tactical orders are organized around protecting valued assets as follows:
Elemental orders are named by their element and have objectives that align with them. While they are all generally equal, their purpose and use by Tania is:
Late Friday evening, 9/29/16, I logged into CreateSpace and finalized Dar Tania. From there, I next went to Amazon Kindle Publishing and spent 45 minutes finalizing everything and hitting the various approvals to activate it. It's a bit surreal when something you've worked on this long is suddenly subject to public scrutiny. Lacking a publisher, I had little thought that this would immediately become a runaway success. Still, within 5 days, 17 people - of which only 9 were friends and family - had picked Dar Tania up. Surreal does not adequately describe that experience.
One of my goals with all my writing is to have strong female leads that are real. Dar Tania, I hope comes across as a strong female lead and I sought to have her reactions be in line with her character. Going from someone known within a tribe to comrades with what you had always believed was your god, to having a direct responsibility with an actual goddess... I wanted her to be real. Behind all of this, you have a millennial eugenics program to create a culture that accepts certain things not just as faith, but as "this is how it is and always has been". It's a powerful culture, but one that does not bend easily.
I got an email from one of the readers about "strong female leads". I can't promise that all my writing with have strong female leads, but they will be there. With Malcor's Story almost done, I can tell you that there are strong females, but they are not the lead characters. The 3rd book - Bomoki's Gate - will more directly feature characters like Seline - a female paladin of the Order of Fire, Ayden - a myrmidon officer, and Dar Ana - high priestess of the Temple At Bloodstone.