Sano dreams to explore the world and to be a hero, which is a little difficult considering nobody’s supposed to know he exists. When his mother leaves him for a few days, a careless display of magic catapults Sano out of his reclusion, and he finds himself pursued by the king’s warriors. Thrust into the world he knows next to nothing about, aided only by a superstitious girl who wants stronger magic, he must find a way to reunite with his mother.
But it’s a dangerous time to be a fugitive in the Kingdom of Dayung. Friction among the regions is getting palpable. A shameful, shadowy past is creeping back to haunt its people. The greedy, ruthless king is desperate to eliminate any threats to his power. And to top it all, a mysterious wind is plaguing the kingdom, turning all wrongdoers into wood.
As Sano navigates the world for the first time, he must make choices that challenge his dreams, and forces him to confront what it truly means to be part of the world.
Genre: children, fantasy, adventure
A Note about the Setting
My story takes place in a world inspired by precolonial Philippnes, but is not wholly set in it. What does this mean? Think of it as an alternate universe in which the peoples and culture bear resemblance to precolonial Filipinos and where magic exists. (Sort of how Amestris in Fullmetal Alchemist was inspired by 1900 England, but is not set in England.)
There are a couple of reasons why I feel it’s important to differentiate this:
1) First, there is a lack of accurate historical resources. I can’t claim that my story exactly represents precolonial Philippines when there aren’t even many existing resources to consult. Barangay by William Scott is probably the most comprehensive resource I’ve read.
2) The Philippines is home to almost 200 ethnolinguistic groups. I don’t believe a single story can represent the diversity and richness of the Philippines. I’m afraid that an attempt to do so would result in a poor caricature of the peoples, which is far from my intent.
My story contains fictional regions and ethnic groups. This project is really my attempt to rediscover and return to my own roots, so you might see a strong reflection of Tagalog and Kapampangan cultures.
I really try to be conscious and critical about my world-building. I like fantasy novels where magic has cultural, historical, economical and political impact, and I’m one of those people who hate it when other authors brush off big cultural fails with, “It’s fantasy, I can do what I want!” Philippines, after all, is already underrepresented in fantasy literature, and precolonial Philippines is even more vulnerable to misrepresentation considering the kind of history we were taught. I will try my best to make a respectful depiction of this rich, complex, and beautiful culture.
That said, I also acknowledge my limitations. While I strive to do my best in terms of research, I know that I am not fully capable (ie. financially, academically, or physically, since I live in Canada now) of studying every detail. I just hope my readers would be patient with me as I embark on this challenge. And if you have resources you believe I should check out, feel free to let me know!
I submitted the most recent draft to an editor, and received feedback for improvements. I’m currently working on new edits.