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Carving Myths And Gospels In The Surface Of Blackbloom

As you know, the Gods of Blackbloom have been chosen.

And we know a great many other awesome things about Blackbloom, too.

Best of all, a Wiki is slowly forming (but will need your help to get it there):

And now, we come to what I think may be my favorite worldbuilding exercise.

I want to hear some myths and legends and gospels of the aforementioned gods of Blackbloom.

You’re going to write them.

You have free rein as to how you write them. As flash fiction? As an epic poem? As a professor giving a lecture, as a man telling the myth to his children around a fire?

You have no more than 1000 words.

I’d recommend focusing on one or two gods in a myth — myths that claim many gods will be harder to reconcile with the other myths written in this exercise. Plus, that lets you strike more succinctly.

Further, don’t forget that myths cover a broad spectrum — creation myths, apocalyptic myths, myths of love, myths of trickery, journeys into the underworld, heroic tales, morality lessons, and so forth.

You have two weeks.

Return to us on the Eve of Christmas Eve — December 23rd, by noon, Friday.

I will choose my favorites —

Er, though perhaps not that day given that, well, that’s a holiday weekend. And I’ll be drunk on egg nog, draped in one of your Christmas trees, wearing only your stockings to cover my shame.

You’ve got lots of room to play here.

So: go play.

The Chosen Cartography Of Blackbloom

(Need to catch up with Blackbloom? Follow all the Blackbloom posts here.)

I asked you to describe for me one aspect of Blackbloom’s geography.

And boy howdy, you answered.

I chose ten.

I could’ve chosen them all, honestly — and maybe should’ve, but I felt inclined to narrow down instead of painting with too wide a brush? Another fascinating experiment, a glimpse into the weirdness of worldbuilding.

Two things are becoming abundantly clear:

First, we’re eventually going to need to track all this stuff. A Wiki, maybe. I have zero experience with that and, further, zero time to deal with it, so that’s maybe wishful thinking.

Second, we may eventually need a map. Same problem: I am no cartographer, and my time is zilch-o.

My fear — and it’s a good fear, in a way — is that eventually this thing will get too big and cumbersome to even continue building, but for now, we’ll just keep on trekking forward.

(Which reminds me, this week’s worldbuilding challenge — “Tell Us Three Things About Blackbloom” — is looking light. Go over there and fix that, will you?)

Anyway —

The Geographical Selections

The Ghost Marshes stretch for 500 miles in the south of the foggy island of Iertu. It is a fertile land of hidden swamps, where every step can mean an eternity trapped in sludge. The lucky ones are absorbed, turned into peat; the unlucky ones find their bodies everlastingly preserved while their souls wander the black-green morass. The tribes of Iertu avoid the marshes if possible, using ancient roadways visible only to those whose eyes are blessed by Tallyr if necessary. Rumors say the rare Blackbloom grows at the center of the marshes, guarded by the spirits of the Bog-sleepers. — Daniel Perez

The End Of The World – the name given to the southern hemisphere saltpan 75 miles long. Frequent but light rains maintain a surface of water around 8 inches deep; high salinity means there isn’t much more than insect life. Old roads once bisected the lakebed, now flooded; between the roads that disappear into the lake’s mirrored surface and the salt winds, the pan’s given name is understandable. Folklore suggests that the lake was formed by Torrda’s tears as she wept for daughter, Diome, and her fate; given that very little that we know of grows here, this is suspect. — Liam K

The Exomorphic Archipelago (more commonly called the Kinnis Maw) is a series of 60 or so geographic formations stretching off the western coast of Blackbloom. The formations are composed of brittle rock that stretch hundreds–even thousands–of feet in the air but are only a dozen or more feet wide. The brittleness of the rock makes them essentially unclimbable. Moreover, periodically a tower will snap and fall back into the ocean. Scholars hypothesize that they are the result of a burst of volcanic activity many ages ago. Common folk have more … colorful … explanations. — Justin Jacobson

Ringing the equator of Blackbloom are towering volcanoes called the Inferno Tors. Rivers of lava paint their slopes, exuding noxious gases and blistering heat. Creatures of fire live here, known by different names as they age: newborn Sparks; young Flames; adult Blazes; and enormous ancient Infernos, for whom the crags are named. In the dark season, frost falls constantly from the air and unseen entities roam the world, feeding on hope and thoughts. The fire creatures, which dispel these dangers, entice hunters known as Firechasers to travel to the Tors in hopes of snaring a valuable Spark or Flame. — Angela Perry

At the top of the world, if it still exists, you’ll find Pure. The air is clean and grass still grows knee-tall. They say this is where the sky is sewn to the earth, where the rivers pour down from the great mountain, and where you’ll find the caves that descend into the underworld. — Josin

The Chasmlands comprise a 1,000 mile stretch of land punctuated by hundreds of deep sinkholes. Some of these pits are only a dozen feet in diameter; the largest is almost half a mile across. All are thousands of feet deep; the larger holes contain their own unique microclimates – and ecosystems – that change as one goes deeper. The Chasmlands extend through a range of geographies and climes. The sinkholes are joined at the bottom by the deep, slow river that runs beneath them all. Many cities sit along the edge of these pits, and more than one has disappeared into them. — Kraig

The Delves of A’kaar are vast caverns that riddle the world of Blackbloom. No human has ever come close to accurately mapping these immense passages. Even were it not for the insane, twisted monstrocities that dwell there, there is a single facet which keeps peoples of all cultures from the Delves. Those who travel within, return… changed. There is something within the caverns which slowly and subtly, twists, depraves and pollutes the minds and bodies of all who have traveled within. Most believe that the inhabitants of the caverns were once humans, who simply journeyed too deeply. — JM Guillen

Glanworn Isle, once the abode of Osren, God of the golden breath: this small island, (362 miles in length, 60 miles across at its widest point) lies midway between Tears and the Feral forest. A citadel island, crumbling barricades rise and fall along the slopes and cliffs of its 1,766 miles of coastline. Magnificent groves of orange and blue Pocker trees touch the heavens on its mountainous north coast. Glanworn loses its island status—and much of its soil—twice yearly during the great Bidal Tides. An endangered herd of silk furred tri-horned flacs survive on its eastern shores. — EC Sheedy

During the three months of Dark, the Shining Hills become either a pilgrimage site or a tourist attraction. Comprising quartz-shot granite and covered in a phosphorescent lichen that may be distantly related to Maritae’s algae, the Hills are dank and forbidding in the Wet season, and dusty and drab in the Dry. But in the Dark, the quartz collects and magnifies the lichen-glow, green or pink or purple or blue, until the Hills shine with a shifting kaleidoscope of color and light. The lichen is poisonous to touch. The pilgrims know this. The tourists don’t. — ChiaLynn

Few features on Blackbloom baffle thaumatologists and technoscientists alike more than the Wandering Bayou, a large patch of creeks, marshy lowlands, riparian forests and mangroves that seem to permanently evade the dry season. The Bayou moves around the globe in no predictable manner, disappearing from one place and gradually reappearing at another locale, where it stays for the duration of the wet/dark season. There’s no record that the Bayou has ever settled itself down either on Blackbloom Ridge or the sentient cities. Its flora and fauna are well known, and the screeching water-puppy is sought for as a weapon component. — MC Zanini

Tell Us Three Things About Blackbloom

I’ll be picking the choices from the Geography of Blackbloom later today — but for now, let’s get started on the next challenge, shall we? This time, an easy one —

Tell me three things about Blackbloom.

Three status quo things.

Can be about anything at all: religion, commerce, society, creatures, history, diplomacy, culture, geography, climate, whatever. Can be very broad or very specific. Feel free to incorporate what we already know.

Certainly don’t countermand what we know, if you can help it.

You must give three things — not one, not two, but three. One entry of three only, if you please.

Deadline is December 9th, by noon.

Put all of your “things” in the comments below.

Then, in two weeks, I’ll pick — well, as many as needed!

Go forth and build worlds, you architects of the divine.

The Geography Of Blackbloom, Part One

Last week’s challenge has borne fruit:


(All Blackbloom entries are here.)

I thought initially we might leap in and do some creation or other divine myths surrounding the gods we chose, but then I thought, well, it’d be nice to have a greater sense of what these gods create.

Thus, it’s time to examine the physical world of Blackbloom.

What is this place?

What does it look like?

Where can you go? What vistas and nightmares can one explore?

We know a few things.

We know that seas of sand exist.

We know the place is fairly diverse.

We know it’s subject to three seasons (rainy, dry, dark).

But we don’t know much else.

So, you have 100 words.

With those 100 words, describe a place in the natural geography of the planet — think about how Earth has Everest or the Grand Canyon or the Hawaiian Islands or whatever. Go nuts. Go big. Go weird. Blackbloom is not a world for timidity. Note, however, we don’t want to talk about cities. The cities of Blackbloom — which are sentient and can communicate — will get their own challenge. For now: think geography, not man-made (though certainly divinely-made and feel free to incorporate the gods if you feel it’s valuable). Give us the names and the places and the madness of this new world writ large.

You’ve got two weeks. Till Friday, 11/25, noon EST.

Post your 100-word entries below.

Please: only one entry per person.

Further, again, you’re likelier to have your entry chosen if it’s written more like an entry from an encyclopedia (or, for more salient reference, from a roleplaying game book).

I’ll pick — well, I dunno. However many helps us start to cobble together a map of the planet. Because that’s what we want. Not a whole map, not yet — we’ll still have those Here There Be Dragons portions — but enough so we start to see the world in all its splendor and terror.

The Gods Of Blackbloom Are Chosen

This week’s challenge — The Geography of Blackbloom! — is live.

You people? You’re killing me.

What with your awesome (and oft-conflicting) entries.

Killing me.

Took me hours to sift through the killer options for gods and goddesses.

But, I think I’ve nailed it.

Some early comments:

While the more fictional and non-encyclopedic entries were welcome and fun to read, they often contained not enough information to go on and so they really didn’t end up getting included.

Also, a number of well-written entries conflicted with others I’d chosen, so this is less about me choosing which ones are coolest and instead about choosing which ones fit together. Part of the fun (and frustration) for me is looking for themes and picking them out and playing them up. I did find a few themes at work. I tried to grab hold of the ones I saw and run with ’em.

Just as the denizens of Blackbloom are separated by caste, so too, I believe, are the gods.

We also see mention at times of a court — a court that appears both defunct (in terms of power?) yet active (in terms of gathering?). Not sure what that means or how it plays out. (Part of the fun of this process is the raw potential — ideas yet to cement, undetermined, floating in the ether.)

The separation of the gods is as such:

We have the pair of Supreme Deities: Life and Death. They have no names, only identities.

They are parents to both gods and men — and their children (and, I suspect, their children’s children) form the middle of three tiers, or castes. This doesn’t have a name, yet — so, for now, I think it’s suitable just to think of them as the gods of the Common Pantheon.

But I also noticed that many had conjured what appeared to be “lesser” beings (some were fun, but were so lesser as to be almost silly), and these gods all seemed to be lower caste and, in many cases, dirty.

These, then, are the Unclean Gods. Lesser, somehow. For reasons as yet untold.

I also liked that a lot of the names sounded like they belonged together. Feels like everything’s a little more “together” then. A couple-few names in the Unclean Gods stand out as odd, though (Ashpuddle, Gloss, Sudswaller). That may be fine, or maybe that’s a naming convention unique to the Unclean? I can’t be sure.

Finally, I dug the sense that many of these gods are connected, that they have family and lovers and all the tangled drama and relations one comes to expect from a pantheon.

Given that the gods and goddesses “rained” upon Blackbloom, I don’t think these divinities are the only ones of Blackbloom. I expect we’ve many more to see, but this is a good start, at least.

Feel free to comment below — but note that any comments here are theorizing. It’s all heresy and apocrypha until we canonize things during challenges, so, don’t expect anything in the comments below to be “truth.”

Also, this week’s challenge will be up shortly.

In the meantime…

I’m going to work up a loose graphic to highlight the “family tree” at some point (and this calls to mind the fact we’re probably going to need a Wiki or something eventually), but for now, the gods in short:


Life and Death


The First Namer: Isyrm

The Three Children: Maritae is the god of the rainy season, I’m citing Tallyr as the god of the dark season, and the god of the dry season is as-yet-unnamed.

The Sisters: Koreth (Invention), Liam (Imagination), Perena (Luck)

Brother and Sister: Zephyr (Wind) & Chloe (Flowers)

The Family: Pasone (Love) & Torrda (Fertility) have a daughter: Diome (Apathy)

The Dancer: Yasri (Disorder and Madness)

The Duelist: Marriri (Passion and Violence)

The Abandoned: Kinnis (Otherworld/Underworld)


Sudswaller (Kitchen Sinks and Drains)

Ashpuddle (Collector of Broken-Yet-Precious Things)

Gloss (Language)

Tatamiri (The Book-Keeper)

Tylin (Underdogs)

Tomtar (The Question)


In the beginning, there were two gods: husband and wife. The wife was Life and the husband Death. They lived in a castle in the clouds. Together, they populated the world, giving birth to both gods and people, depending on the sexual position they used when conceiving. Their children fell from the sky like rain. One day, the goddess of Jealousy asked Death to strike down her false lover, but Death ignored her plea. In a rage, she killed her father. His blood rained down into a pond at the top of a mountain, where the Blackblooms now grow. (Sarah E. Olson)

After Death was killed by his wrathful daughter, Jealousy, their once-mortal children on Blackbloom discovered a way to live for eternity with a Second Life, using the flowers that bloomed in Death’s blood. With their new-found longevity, the humans ceased to believe in Gods; indeed, they began to perceive themselves as God-like entities. And so, without the strength of faith, the children of Life and Death became unrecognisable. In their anger, Life’s children began to wreak havoc upon Blackbloom, while she herself withdrew, burdened by grief at the loss of her husband. (LoveTheBadGuy)

Maritae is the eldest of the Three Children, who hold dominion over the changing seasons. Long ago she was worshiped during the annual rains. Angered over being forgotten, she spends her season wandering the cities, animating the algae-like creature and taken great glee when it devours someone’s pet. Her siblings find her yearly outburst amusing, which leads to greater annoyance and a spread of the algae problem each year. The rest of the time she can be found anywhere serving alcohol in search of interesting – and by interesting, we mean edible – company. (Kate Haggard)

The Sisters, named Koreth, Lian and Perena command the three principles of Invention; Imagination, Need and Luck. Each sister controls one of the principles and they have the power to influence it for better or for worse. The sisters have to work together but they often disagree. People worshipped The Sisters and in return they were granted fantastic discoveries and knowledge. When the people became arrogance and stopped worshipping, The Sisters felt abandoned and resentful. Now they covertly inspire the people to create more and more powerful weapons and magic so that they might one day destroy themselves. (Jim Franklin)

Isyrm is the First Namer, who speaks the tongue of the unflickering flame. His unfathomable words sing breath into the world, his touch brings the light of consciousness. He is most disturbed by the strangeness which makes the mortals unable to perceive him and the other gods. For the past two centuries, he has begun a plan to reach out to humanity, by slowly granting life to the world around them, hoping that other beings will perceive the gods and remind humanity of divinity lost. It is Isyrm who awakened the cities themselves from murmuring slumber. (J.M. Guillen)

Tallyr is the god-goddess of the Blackbloom flowers, which grant un-death. Tallyr was once called the Lightless Garden as he/she grew the Blackbloom flowers during the third season, when Blackbloom enters into an eclipse, when her power over shadows and their secrets ripens. It is said that his/her body is the soil and the seeds from which the Blackbloom flowers grow. Now, Tallyr walks as a frail figure with eye lids grown shut and the way he/she hears is through the vibrations in the ground. (Harry Markov)

Zephyr is the God of wind, and twin of Chloe, Goddess of flowers. It is said that both siblings have disliked one-another since they were created. The root of their animosity is unknown, but Zephyr’s effects on the world do not help matters. Constantly, Zephyr massages the winds to disrupt pollen spreads, including the much-revered, Blackbloom flower. Due to his hatred of these very things, he lives on the sand oceans and captains the Dune Drifter, a frigate he uses to raid Blackbloom shipments across the trading routes. Sailors pray to him, and do not believe in the un-life. (Ryan G. Sanders)

Diome, god of apathy. Bastard son of Pasone, outlawed love god, and Torrda, low level goddess of fertility, he takes two forms: human and wind. Diome creates apathy and/or impotence at will. He is rooted in spite and ruin. He detests children. In human form he is handsome, charming, and conniving. As wind he can pass through a living being’s soul, and replace human desire with torpor and lethargy. Ambitious to rule Blackbloom, Diome is a highly dangerous god. His pleasure comes not from causing death but in creating malleable subjects with long lives made empty and meaningless. (E.C. Sheedy)

Yasri the Dancer, Goddess of Disorder and Madness. Her dance is constant but ever-changing; perpetually in motion, it is thought that when she stands still it will bring the end of all existence. She spreads Chaos to combat the stifling stagnation of Order, for only through change can life be renewed. Some say she created the Games to upset the caste system. Passionate emotion and obsession are her hallmarks. Artists are most likely to perceive her true nature, but to know her is to lose touch with reality. All whores are her cultists but not all her cultists are whores. (Rachel T.)

Kinnis is the god of the otherworld, the land after death. For millennia his kingdom flowed with the finest art, music and food, produced by those who had passed. But, since the discovery of the Blackbloom’s power, his kingdom has only the poor and unwanted in its halls. Furious, Kinnis cursed those who take the flower, so they cannot leave the surface, and sets out to make their second life a living hell. (Alexa)

Marriri, goddess of passion and violent acts. Fallen from worship with the rest of the gods, she now travels throughout Blackbloom, encouraging fights, inciting riots, and acting as a catalyst for romantic affairs. Depicted as an ivory maiden with bloody fingertips, Marriri is the reason why it’s customary to wear white in a duel, or any overtly passionate activity. (A.J. English – note, I removed the last part of this so as to avoid conflict)

SUDSWALLER is a deity particularly overlooked by adults, though still recognized by lower caste smallings who are forced to wash after-dinner dishes for their spending coins.
Short and crusty in appearance, and somewhat foul smelling if ignored for long, this demi-god holds dominion over kitchen sinks and drains, and is appeased by anointments of soapy water and lemon oil. Prayers should be spoken in Sewer-tongue. The Sandsailor’s Lament refers to the god in the 103rd haiku: The galley grumbles, When Suds wont clean the trenchers, In Dark Season’s moon. (Kirsten)

Tatamiri, the Book-Keeper. She is the vagrant lady from the Veleto caste (the beggars) who sits on your doorsteps every evening, spreading all around her papers, records, datapads and what have you, items that she had gathered from trashcans, gutters and dumpsters. And she stays there for hours, crunching numbers and figures, speaking them under her breath. Tatamiri is keeping tabs on every soul the Blackbloom has robbed from Death. The ancients say that whenever her figures amount to nine billion, the Bloomed wither and their desiccated remains are scattered to the winds. And Tatamiri starts all over again. (MC Zanini)

Tylin is the god of the underdog. Ever since his attempted coup and resulting exile from the now defunct Court, he has taken a keen interest in the lives of mortals, whether they be flesh and blood or stone and steel. He seeks, above all, to raise the low above the high. As part of his punishment, each fresh memory erases an old one, leaving the limits of his abilities unknown even to him. Those who seek his aid must remember while that Tylin’s might can be a great boon, you may very well make yourself his next target. (Ryan Jassil)

Blackbloom gods are like minor nobility: a home estate and a place at court. Ashpuddle’s estate is at the bottom of the sandy ocean; that is, if something is lost anywhere in the sandy ocean, eventually currents in the sand will (thousands of years later) dump it in her domain. Everything there is worn smooth. A weakling goddes, her place at court is as guardian of the oft-Bloomed; she is said to be very small, dirty, shy, and an inveterate collector of things that are broken but still precious. (DeAnna)

Gloss is the god of language. He is seen on the streets, begging in bloody rags and murmuring to himself in tongues. All who meet the skinny wretch assume him mad, but in secret he speaks directly to the cities, and moves between them, exchanging plans. (Matt Roberts)

Tomtar – Most commonly seen as a pack of unruly children (species matters not) roaming the streets, looking into alleys and doorways, going up to strangers and posing odd questions about the state of reality with the unblinking innocence of a child but never waiting for an answer. Tomtar is the hermaphroditic god of the question. Associated with scholars, nomads and hobos when it was known as a god, it’s name has lost its significance only to be replaced as a slur directed towards the homeless and insane and even the foreign – tomtar. (Sven Nomaddson)

Worldbuilding Challenge: The Gods Of Blackbloom

(The first Blackbloom challenge reached fruition yesterday. Slugbears! Forgotten gods! Indentured dead! Sentient cities! Check out the results, won’t you?)

Before I say anything else, let’s get an administrative issue out of the way: I’m going to start doing these every other week, alternating with flash fiction challenges. That way the worldbuilding won’t go stale and we’ll get more than just 12 major “sessions” in a given year. So, just a head’s up.

Now, let’s talk about the gods of Blackbloom.

Here’s all we know:

Blackbloom has gods. Plural. “Several,” if you care about the specific language.

They have power over given dominions. What this means is unclear, but that’s okay.

The gods walk among men but are forgotten and unrecognized. Nobody believes in them anymore.

And yet they retain power — “god-like power” — and cause chaos. To what purpose remains unclear.

That’s it. That’s all we know.

It’s time, then, to populate this pantheon.

Your job:

Come up with a god or goddess of the world known as Blackbloom.

You have 100 words, and only that — I’m going to be strict and discount entries that go beyond that. In part because I don’t have time to read fifty 2,000-word entries. In part because brevity is its own powerful creative challenge.

Now, you should feel free to tie them to some of the other facts we already know. Writing a god in a way so that it further embellishes upon the other points is a winner.

That said, it’s also not necessary. Do as you see fit.

Write in a way as if you’re writing an encyclopedia entry. Pretend it’s fact, not fiction. We should also get a small but potent look at the characters of these gods — and characters, they most certainly are.

I will choose as many gods as I find fit into the pantheon. No less than three. But possibly many more if the entries strike the right mood and end up interlocking.

Go forth, then, and continue this mad genesis, world-builders.