Much of writing is creating an adequate stage upon which your characters may act. The process of making this platform is called ‘world building.’
For some works of fiction, world building can be quite simple. If for example, the story takes place in the modern world, the writer doesn’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about how cars, government, or money works. World building can be very complicated if the story takes place in some fantastical place such as a parallel universe, a fantasy realm, or in the deep past.
In all works of fiction, however, something about the world in which the characters live is different than the world of the reader.
Your challenge today:
Describe some aspect of the world in which your characters dwell that distinguishes it from the world of your readers.
My Herongarde trilogy is speculative fiction set in what might appear as 14th century Europe. You know, knights, and swords, and jousting, and all that. Good stuff. That in itself distinguishes the nation of Herongarde from modern reality.
One thing about Herongarde that distinguishes it from anything on Earth, modern or historical, is the honor known as “The Mark.” Those that bear the Mark (which is a tattoo on the right forearm) are selected by the King as his elite defenders. Mark-bearers spend their lives in direct service to the King, training nearly daily in the arts of battle. Aside from this daily training and constant preparedness for battle, Mark-bearers live lives of relative luxury. Any man willing to sacrifice his life at a moment’s notice deserves this.
It is a high honor to carry the Mark. A Mark-bearer possesses an authority exceeded only by that of the King himself (who also carries the Mark). You don’t screw with a Mark-bearer.
In Herongarde, there are about 30 Mark-bearers. Most have earned the title through training and testing that begins at the age of six and ends at sixteen, when they either pass the trials and gain the Mark, or fail and move on. There are a select few who earn the Mark through special deeds of service to the King. All of this is outlined in the Codes of Herongarde.
Those that carry the Mark form a tight brotherhood. Though they may quarrel occasionally, these men all stand together in service to the King and to Herongarde.
Is there something unique in your world that most distinguishes it from other worlds? Tell us about it.