Up Against Mooneye takes place in a world of seven nations, in which sorcery has been well-known for as far as history can remember, but where technology is also moving forwards at a steady pace.
Sorcerers once roamed the world as loners or small communities, but a grand order named Fiengismo was built one day, gathering sorcerers all over the world to create a nation of its own. The order lasted for almost a millennium before it collapsed, leaving behind a long, convoluted history and many wonders that were lost to time, some of which deliberately so...
A tragic event known as Mountain's Passing is often blamed for Fiengismo's collapse, but the details of what really happened are shrouded in layers upon layers of mystery. What is known is that the event had a disastrous impact on the economy, and many places were struck with poverty.
Saolan Hu grew up on the streets as a poor orphan. He lived a life of theft and cons until his brother managed to find a way for them to live a legitimate life.
Having tried and failed to find a legitimate path for himself, Saolan became bitter and lost. One day, he is given the incredible opportunity to become a sorcerer's apprentice, which is a dangerous thing to be in his home nation, where a tragic event once led to all sorcerers being shunned.
Saolan is sharp-witted, curious and impulsive, but is held back by bitterness, guilt and shame. A lack of education has also caused him to have huge gaps in his knowledge about the world.
Of all the spells a sorcerer can learn, he becomes most effective with greenfire (which comes from anger) and shrinking (which comes from small, humble thoughts).
Meylen Nelso is Saolan's mentor. She is a sophisticated, outgoing woman who has a crippling fear of deep water despite having grown up in a peaceful port town.
A brilliant sorceress, Meylen was chosen by the other sorcerers to find and train an apprentice to break a curse that has affected them all. She was deliberate in choosing a place where people would rarely get such a chance. Her run-in with Saolan convinced her that he was the ideal choice.
Meylen is well-educated, well-mannered and comforting, but has a darkness to her that sometimes slips to the surface. She is most effective with lightning (conjured from righteous fury) and barriers (made from hardened defiance).
Mooneye is a less-than-affectionate (but VERY accurate) nickname for the last Huakanren, a species that came about on the night of Mountain's Passing, when a mysterious spell shattered the world's tallest mountain and transformed the native monkeys into horrifying monsters. The biggest and most powerful of these tragic things, Mooneye has waged war on every sorcerer in the world for a century since, forcing the various camps and gatherings to stick together as much as they can.
Everyone was fooled when Mooneye finally seemed beaten after one last battle years ago, but soon before the story begins, Mooneye reappears and places a curse that severely weakens every sorcerer in the world. Not knowing that curses always take something from those who place it, Mooneye himself is also weakened, and the curse does not affect those who do not yet practice sorcerery.
The few who have gotten close to Mooneye and survived know that the beast only want two things: To "be the best" and to "get back at them".
© 2021, Mikkel Høst
Illustration © 2020, Florian Garbay