Lore, Misc Posts

Pride Month 2022

Happy Pride Month! As two authors that fall within LGBTQA+, we are passionate about supporting people and writing diverse and inclusive characters. Our real world is not “one size fits all”, and we enjoy reflecting that in our books with characters that have depth, different cultures, varying values, and unique ways of approaching life. To celebrate this year, we want to feature some characters showing their pride, as well!


Captain Sen

Sen is everybody’s friend. Up for a good time, a long night drinking, and a bar brawl, his large size makes him intimidating. Looks can be deceiving, however, because Sen is fiercely loyal and unfailingly kind. Sen is a pirate that loves sailing on his ship, the Scarlet Maiden. Sen is pansexual, enjoying the company of any race and any gender. His longest lasting relationship was with a human woman named Miriam, but they have both gone their own ways. Since then, Sen has enjoyed casual hookups in his adventurous life.

We first meet Sen in Phantom Five, winning his 100th tavern-hosted fight in 100 nights in a row. Quite a way to introduce our easy going dragonborn!

Ruuda Drybarrel

The dual-wielding dark dwarf Ruuda is fast and strong in battle. She is down-to-earth and pragmatic, but that is well-balanced by her large heart and caring spirit, particularly when it comes to animals. She is a protector of animals and an advocate against their slaughter. Ruuda is demisexual, uninterested in sex unless she feels a deeply strong emotional bond with someone. Casual relationships do not intrigue her, as she commits her entire heart to all she does.

We first meet Ruuda in Phantom Five escaping the caste system she grew up in. Teaming up with the dark elf Taliesin, she adventures the Surface to find a new life and purpose.

Taliesin Ostoroth

Talkative, energetic, and rebellious, Taliesin’s endless curiosity gets him into trouble more often than not. He weathers it all with a grin and a shrug, though, seeing life as one grand adventure. While he faces the world with a smile, there is deep hurt in his past, having grown up in an oppressive cult. Taliesin is bisexual, uncaring if he is with a male or female because he values the quality of one’s soul above all.

We first meet Taliesin in Phantom Five, a runaway from his cult hoping to repair the broken pieces of his life. He finds an excellent adventuring companion in Ruuda!

Jasita Yolarin

Jasita is a dedicated researcher at the Citadel, a prestigious establishment of arcane discovery, education, and law. To Jasita, the world is all logical and can be easily analyzed through numbers, patterns, and facts. Archeology is her specialty, especially ancient elven history that has been lost to the ages. Jasita is asexual, preferring to focus on her research and career rather than relationships. Her encounters with sex were beneficial from an experience prospective, but nothing she is interested in having again.

We first meet Jasita at the end of Phantom Five, stationed at a checkpoint tower along the Amakiir River. Her first encounter with Taliesin and Ruuda intrigues her very much, and she sees them as highly beneficial to her research!


Lore, Thread of Souls

World Ocean Day – Bay of Nailo

We are all about the ocean and preserving it to keep animals and beaches safe and clean. With World Ocean Day on June 8, we’re celebrating by visiting the Bay of Nailo in Thread of Souls!

Bay of Nailo

The Bay of Nailo sits between the pristine and luxurious city of Ocealo and the wilderness of the Southern Kingdoms. It’s part of a major trade route that crosses the entirety of Corventos. Merchants who travel the Bay of Nailo make port at Ocealo to collect fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish before delivering them to other cities on their route.

Silvertongue Hollow rests near the banks of the water. It’s a city of thieves and anyone looking to avoid the law. Any merchants willing to travel up the channel only do so to make a deal with the rulers of the lawless and dark town.

The waters of the bay come from the Ice Cap Inlet way in the north of Corventos. They flow down from the elven capital of Eleste’si and split into the Iron River and the Amakiir River. The Amakiir flows through the small village of Vesper and onwards into the Bay of Nailo.

Life in the Bay

The bay is home to much aquatic life including colorful fish, turtles, crabs, jellyfish, and sharks. It’s even home to a guardian that protects Oceala from harm. The great turtle Majora. The behemoth creature guards the port and prevents anyone from entering unless they offer a great amount of tribute.

Jade’s other Home

Jade’s grandparents govern Ocealo and she will often visit them and explore the city. However, she isn’t fond of the ocean or the bay for one specific reason.

A beautiful gem sitting on the coast. Her family visited it often as she was growing up. She recalled days playing with her brother, Heron, in the shallows of the Bay of Nailo. But that was before she’d realized what could live in the water. Before she understood the great depths of the ocean could hold monstrosities larger than castles. Her grandparents had laughed at her fears and assured her the bay had always been safe. But experiences as children tended to stick with people, and Jade had never quite outgrown her fear of the ocean.

The adventuring party known as the Phantom Five travels in the Bay of Nailo in Thread of Souls Book II: Ash & Thunder.


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Thread of Souls

The Spool of Souls – ToS News for June 2022!

Happy June or Loreix in Theretos, the world of our fantasy book series Thread of Souls! Things are heating up and we’ve got several hot announcements for Thread of Souls as well!

Thread of Souls Summer book release

We are putting the final touches on a standalone Thread of Souls book releasing later this summer. It’s a compendium featuring fantasy monsters and creatures found within Thread of Souls. Many of which have yet to make an appearance in the series. While others may be familiar to fans. It contains original art from Talia and a short description of each creature. Look forward to its release near the end of summer.

Thread of Souls Book IV: Asunder

We are editing Part II of Asunder putting us about two-thirds of the way through the entire book. Once we’re finished editing, we’ll move on to Part III at the end of the month.

Animation

We can call ourselves animators now as we are working on animations! Here’s an early draft of Ruuda Drybarrel swinging her sword and hammer. Many more animations are on the way!

ARC Team

We are still adding to our growing ARC team! If you love fantasy and/or TTRPG’s, reach out to become a member of our team. You’ll get free copies of the books to enjoy as well as merch as a thank you for supporting our book launches.

That’s what we’ve got going on for June! So much is going on here at Thread of Souls land and we’re excited to share more in the future!


Lore, Thread of Souls

Character Feature: Ruuda


This month’s character feature is Ruuda Drybarrel, the unblessed dual-wielding dark dwarf that is as pragmatic as she is passionate.

Ruuda was born as the last of twelve children to Clan Drybarrel. Growing up in the industrious city of Balum Guar, Ruuda was surrounded by a culture where worth is determined by productivity in a caste system. Young dark dwarves are taken to the temple of the Forge King to receive a blessing from their god. A priest or priestess will read the runes to determine what that blessing is. It may be woodworking, singing, serving as a soldier, or, as in the case of Clan Drybarrel, brewing beer.

Ruuda, however, found no such blessing. Despite being told she was blessed to do a certain task, she could never do it properly. As a century passed, Ruuda’s parents took her again and again to a priest to find out what her true blessing was. But with each one, she failed.

To escape the shame, Ruuda often took to wandering the outskirts of the city. There she found the gloom stalkers, mercenaries and rangers of the Deep Hollows, in their daily practice. Ruuda observed them and learned their skills, until the day she was spotted by lead gloom stalker Neir Shadowsnare. Impressed by what she had learned from merely observing, Neir took to training Ruuda on his own. But he had to do so in secret, for she was not blessed to be a gloom stalker.

While teaching her how to survive in the Deep Hollows, Ruuda and Neir came across two quag pups, wild animals of the underground. They were sick and had been lost from their pack, so the two decided to keep them. Neir’s quag grew up strong, but Ruuda’s did not survive. The loss of her companion broke her heart.

As Ruuda’s blessings continued to fail, her family accrued debt from her projects left unfinished or with poor quality. Debtors came to collect often, and there was worry that Ruuda would get taken away to be made compliant like other dark dwarves that failed at their blessing. So while on a trade trip to the dark elf city of Berenzia, Ruuda’s family gave her a barrel full of supplies and told her to leave and not return until she figured out what her true blessing was.

Left alone in the Deep Hollows, Ruuda wandered in depression and hopelessness. We meet her in Phantom Five trying to make friends with a pack of quags. Things do not go her way, and she is heavily wounded before being aided by a healer named Taliesin Ostoroth. Both runaways from their homes, the two find common ground to venture out onto the Surface to try and restore what was lost in their lives.

For Ruuda, however, there is one other task she wants to complete. She vows to find the god known as the Forge King, and take vengeance for her unblessing.


Lore

Character Feature: Wash


This month’s character feature is centered on Wash, the former soldier with a dry sense of humor, a strong loyalty to his companions, and grudge against the man who betrayed him.

Wash was born and raised in the coastal city of Sunspire, the City of Ensemble. Raised by a single mother, he knew only a bit about his father. And what he knew he kept closely secret. A traveler from another plane that spent one romantic night with his mother before moving on.

Growing up as an only child, in his adolescence Wash made close friends with a High Elf named Aust Mastralath. He and Aust joined Sunspire’s military together as Solchen guards. One day, however, while on a mission to close interplanar rifts, a sudden change went over Aust. He turned on Wash and attempted to kill him without warning. Wash survived the attack, and Aust vanished.

Disturbed by the events, Wash tried to find his friend and demand answers, but was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until years later that their paths crossed again. Wash was ripped from Sunspire by the magic of a summoning spell. He found himself locked in a circle with strange symbols and languages around it. He was joined by a large spider, fey in nature, summoned from a plane known as the Wilds. Standing before him was his former friend Aust. He had strange strange tattoos running up his forearms and he now wore a mask.

Aust was not in the mood to talk, seeming angry that Wash had appeared in the circle. He said Wash was not the one he intended to summon, and dismissed him back to Sunspire. But Was did not return alone. The strange fey spider was attached to him in spirit. A spider he named Shulva.

Life only got more chaotic for Wash after that day. Not only had he been indirectly involved in an interplanar summoning ritual, but an interplanar creature was attached to him. Magic such as that was illegal by laws of the powerful Citadel, the center for arcane study, research, and regulation. The Citadel sent an Inquisitor by the name of Dorian Aster to hunt him down and bring him in for punishment.

Wash had no plans to allow that to happen. He went on the run. Years passed as he journeyed from one run-down town to another, staying out of sight of the ever-hunting mage Dorian.

When we first meet Wash in the Thread of Souls books, it is in book two, Ash & Thunder. Wash’s travels have taken him to Oceala. Due to its highly guarded nature, he hopes to stay out of the Citadel’s reach. And due to it being a pristine port city, he hopes to find answers about Aust Mastralath, and what happened to his former friend.


Lore

Map Exploration: The Geography of the Expanse


Here is our first map exploration post in what will be many more in the future! For this first one we are doing a deep dive into a location often traveled to in the books: the Expanse. This vast desert exists on the southernmost edge of the Korventine Empire, and it is the southwest corner of Corventos.

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The History

The Expanse is famous across Corventos for being the stage for the Day of Sealing. The day in which Corventos was rid of dragons. This all happened around Soleia. While it is a legendary day in history, the king of Soleia has since disappeared, and the city has now fallen to ruin. The only operational city within the Expanse is the port city of Vonkai.

Features

The port city of Vonkai is a colorful and vibrant coastal home. Mostly Humans live there, but there are a variety of other races. About two days north are the ruins of Soleia. It is a road sometimes traveled by camel, and there is a small settlement of people that live around these ruins. To get to these ruins, travelers must cross the Golden Valleys sand dunes, as well as the general wasteland of the Expanse.

Further north past Soleia is the Gates of Remembrance, a site dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the Day of Sealing. Not far from that is the King’s Oasis, named for Vicrum Grodstrum, king over Soleia. That far east, it is the only comfort a traveler will find. If they venture even further east to Pirate’s Coast, they find themselves on the Bay of Thieves and dangerous waters, indeed.

If we look to the western side of the Expanse, there is a marker for the strange pyramid that Brother Zok ran past during the events of Ash & Thunder. Our heroes did not venture further west, for there are no settlements out there. The Celestial Mesas reach high into the blank blue sky, and the Badlands is not a friendly place for any well-meaning traveler or trader.

The Expanse is bordered on the north by the Black Reach Mountains, the place Jade was born and raised. The Millenium Sea borders the western coast, and it was that route that Sen sailed the Scarlet Maiden down during the voyage in Phantom Five.

In Summary

The Expanse is a harsh environment and not much exists within it since Soleia, the City of the Sun, is no more. But Vonkai is a popular port for merchants, and the people there are open and friendly. Only the bravest risk sailing deep into the Bay of Thieves, but otherwise the waters remain good for sea travel. It is a location our heroes traveled to in Phantom Five, seeking answers regarding High Priest Amon’s death. It was also journeyed to again in Ash & Thunder, following rumors of a storm that never moved. While it was not visited in Path of the Spiders, perhaps it will return again in future installments of Thread of Souls!


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The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

The Spool of Souls – TOS News for April 2022!


Happy April! We have two big news announcements for the world of Thread of Souls that we are excited to share with you!

Thread of Souls Soundtrack

That’s right! A musician we have partnered with has already composed a main TOS theme as well as a Sen and Jade character theme. Right now, we are in the earliest stages, but we are excited to begin building original sounds for this world. In the future, our hope is to have all of these available to listen to and enjoy on Spotify.

Merchandise

We have launched a new merch page! One of our primary features is our new Redbubble store. Right now we have merchandise with the TOS logo on it. Expect more merch across this year including shirts, character designs, and more. That page is also a good one-stop shop for art prints, books, and our DMG/Fantasy Grounds products.

We also are in the earliest stages of conceptualizing two more major merch launches, and we are excited to spread the news in the future! Don’t want to spoil anything just now haha.

ARC Book Launch Team

We are still adding to our growing ARC team! If you love fantasy and/or TTRPG’s, reach out to become a member of our team. You’ll get free copies of the books to enjoy as well as merch as a thank you for supporting our book launches.

Asunder

Book IV of Thread of Souls is more than halfway through its first draft. We are moving along smoothly and really excited for this release in December. Also stay tuned for a fun supplemental book release this summer!

That is all the news for this month! As usual, you can find us all over social media including a young YouTube channel. We also post twice weekly on this website. See you soon!


Misc Posts

How to Overcome Distractions While Creating


It can be difficult for creators to overcome distractions when they sit down (or stand up) to work on a project. Between the tasks of the day, outside noises, interruptions, and our own self-doubts, it can definitely come in the way of producing a product you are proud of! Whether you are a writer, an artist, a TTRPG player, a photographer, or any other passionate creator, we compiled a list of four top tips to help you out! These are items we have found indispensable when we sit down to create Thread of Souls content.

Play Music (Without Lyrics)

A great way to overcome distractions is to play music. But not just any music. Ensure there are no lyrics within the piece, and ensure it is a type of music you enjoy. Unfamiliar with the world of instrumentals? Spotify has a lot of great lo-fi playlists these days to work to. You can also explore soundtracks from your favorite movies or video games.

Keeping a pleasant background noise can give you energy and increase your focus. We’ve also found we get conditioned to entering the “work mindset” when we have our established instrumental playlist going. It makes us more productive and less distraction-prone.

Get in a Comfortable Area

This goes beyond just a comfortable chair, although that is very important. If you sit a lot while creating, it is worth it to invest in a gamer-type of chair to support you. You should have a dedicated creating space that is free from other distractions and always has what you need on-hand. A good desk, an organizer for items, a great lighting source, and quick-reference items all make your space more productive.

We have two gamer-style desks and chairs facing one another (for easy collaboration). We have a lamp and quick reference items on a side table. Between our two desks is a holder for pens, pencils, USB’s, and lip balm. We are also surrounded by depictions of Thread of Souls, keeping us inspired! We are also not far from our healthy snack bowl, ensuring we don’t get sidetracked if we get up to eat.

Complete Any Pressing Tasks Beforehand

One super easy way to overcome distractions is to remove those distractions beforehand. We’re talking about the “putting-off-that-call-laundry-pile-don’t-want-to-do-that” type of tasks. If those are turning in the back of your mind, it will just be a problem and make it harder to create your best work. By getting pressing tasks done upfront, you can free up your mental space and ease the tension.

Have an End-Goal in Mind

Something that has been tremendously helpful for us is to sit down with a goal. Whether that is a daily goal or a weekly goal, having something short-term to work towards is a good motivator. It also helps keep you on track, and can push you forward if you are struggling with your creation. This is flexible for whatever works for you. Maybe you want to complete one chapter a week, or your goal is to write 500 words a day. Maybe you want to do one step of your art each day so by the end of the week you have a full piece. Or if you are world-building, maybe you want to outline one bit of the fictional society a day. It also makes you feel great when you are able to check items off your to-do list for your creations!


Hope these are helpful! Remember that anytime you create something, that is beautiful in and of itself and should be celebrated. By using strategies to stay focused, you can accomplish more of what you want to create.


Lore

International Day of Forests – the Firelit Forest


Tomorrow is the International Day of Forests! To celebrate, we are featuring a key location in the Thread of Souls series, the Firelit Forest.

The Firelit Forest stretches from north to south of Corventos. It serves as the border between the Korventine Empire and the Eleste Lands. This massive expanse of trees is visible for miles. Its name came from the many fireflies that light it up at night.

This forest has been a staging ground for many storylines in the Thread of Souls books. In Ash & Thunder, the Phantom Five travel through the forest on their journey to the capital. They visit Jade’s Druid Circle as well as the hut her late Master Galen lived in. They also have a confrontation with the spellcaster Jenkins in the middle of a ritual.

In Path of the Spiders, Wash, Unolé, Taliesin, and Ruuda flee for safety within the trees while they are being hunted by Dorian Aster of the Citadel. The book ends in a showdown between Wash and Dorian.

Historically speaking, the Firelit Forest plays a role on the grand stage of Corventos. During An’Ock’s Age of Expansion they attempted to settle it, but were unsuccessful against nature. It was decided upon as the border between the Korventine Empire and the Eleste Lands during the War for the World, as well.

Do you have a favorite real-life or fictional forest? Share below!


Misc Posts

Story Prompt – Tarot Card Spread


Coming up with a new story idea always presents a challenge. Whether it is for a book, fanfiction, TTRPG game, or creative video, it often involves some brainstorming for an effective story. We always enjoy seeing fun story prompts online, so we want to bring some of that to you! Using our personal tarot set based off Thread of Souls characters, we used a spread meant for storytelling prompts. Here is the spread below and what each represents. Have fun with it!

The Tarot Spread

  1. What is the central theme of this story?
    • Our top left position is the Humble One. This card is represented by Hwalla, who lives a simple farming life. He is soft-spoken, kind, and puts his children above everything else. This card symbolizes simplicity and focusing on the small things in life.
  2. Who is this story about?
    • The bottom left is the Shadow. The Shadow is represented by Neir Shadowsnare. He is a Gloom Stalker of great skill, and has strict morals to always do the right thing. This card symbolizes quiet action, unseen foes, patience, and anonymity.
  3. What is the obstacle the protagonist must overcome?
    • The top middle is the Barbarian. This card is represented by Sen, a good-nature pirate captain that is always down for a brawl. Despite his large size, Sen has a fear of magic. This card symbolizes strength, recklessness, letting go, and trying to hide inner vulnerability with boastfulness.
  4. How do they overcome this obstacle?
    • The bottom middle is the Criminal. This card is represented by Elisi, also known as the Grandmother and leader of the Shadow Guild. She is feared by even members of her own Guild and uses this to instill loyalty. This card symbolizes breaking the rules, not caring what others think of you, cheating, and moral lines.
  5. How does this change them or their world?
    • The top right card is the Dragon. This card is represented by Draxis, a gold dragon often disguised as a Human. He lives an easy and carefree life, but must keep himself secret. This card symbolizes inner power, epic journeys, and great challenges.
  6. What is the story’s ending?
    • The bottom right card is the Illusionist. This card is represented by Tymus, who is a Gnome Wizard trained at the Citadel. He has a sunny personality and takes his work very seriously. This card symbolizes illusions, analysis, not taking things at face value, and trusting your inner gut.