- Broken Sky
"Broken Sky" is a
novelseries that draws on heavy animeinfluence, and was written by Chris Woodingbetween the years 1999 and 2001. It contains 9 volumes in its widely known form, but has been released in various formats. The story focuses on the twin worlds of The Dominions and Kirin Taq, which are widely seen as parallel universes, and deals with issues of race relations, resistance movementsand the coming of ageof its main characters, Ryushi and Kia.
The story of Broken Sky takes place across two worlds, The Dominions and Kirin Taq, which are parallel universes, with characters known as Resonants able to "shift" themselves, others, and objects between the two worlds. The name "Broken Sky" comes from a myth introduced in the series that the two worlds of Kirin Taq and The Dominions were once one world, before the sky ‘split’ and they became two; though whether this is meant in a more figurative sense is left unclear throughout.
The Dominions are a varied yet sun-washed continent, with mountainous rocky plains to the north, arid deserts in the south, green steppes in the east, wind-swept craggy grasslands to the west and a fertile central mass. It is surrounded by a massive sea which sailors are unable to cross due to huge monsters destroying any ships that come near the world’s vast, uncharted ocean, referred to as Deepwater. The people of the Dominions are tanned, and generally Caucasian.
Kirin Taq is a land in constant twilight - its single unmoving sun permanently eclipsed. The people of Kirin Taq, however, are a dark bluish black or grey colour. It is also shown that Kirin sight is far more adapted to the dark due to them living in semi-darkness all their lives.
Netherfane is the legendary world of the deliverers, rumoured to exist between the two worlds. Very little of it is known, except to the deliverers themselves. The normal rules of space and time do not apply here, and it can cause amnesia/insanity if glimpsed upon by someone who is not a deliverer.
The story revolves around the journeys and trials of a pair of twins, Ryushi and Kia. Forced to flee from their home during a violent and seemingly unprovoked attack by the forces of the King they adored, they are pressed to reconsider their naive world-view caused by their sheltered upbringing as they are caught up in events beyond their control and larger than either of them imagined. What starts with an underground resistance soon develops into a full-fledged rebellion against the tyrannical King Macaan and his equally malicious daughter Aurin, with Kia, Ryushi and all those close to them at the center of it all.
Objects, Items or Stones
Both worlds in Broken Sky are reliant to a large degree by Spirit Stones. Implanted by Deliverers shortly after birth, each color of stone imbues a certain 'power'. The amount of spirit stones implanted increases the person's control over this power, as well as how much they can use, but also costs the parent more in monetary terms. It is said that, on average, people have about two or three. In Kirin-Taq it is outlawed to have spirit stones so most have none. Each stone's color allows its owner to tune, or manipulate, the ley energy into its corresponding power.
Deep Red – Earth elemental stones granting the user abilities that range from creating golems from the ground to moving rock, sand, and clay. It also bestows upon its user the ability to sense through the earth and pick up vibrations. Kia has these stones.
Pale Blue – Air elemental stones, which give the user the ability to manipulate air into concussive energy. This allows the user to create shields or obliterate an enemy with a wave of compacted air, or ‘force’. Ryushi, and the majority of the Guardsmen, have these stones.
Black – Stones of construction, the bearers of which are immediately recruited into the Machinist's Guild. These people are able to build hi-tech machines that require massive amounts of energy obtainable only by a pilot. All Machinists have these stones.
Green – Stones that grant an affinity with machines, as well as the power necessary to make them function; those with green stones are recruited into the Pilot's Guild. These people are capable of, generally single-handedly, powering and operating machines built by machinists. Ty, and all other Pilots, have these stones.
Charcoal Black - Blacksmith stones, bearers of these are the best blacksmiths. Not that other people cannot become blacksmiths, but these stones give a 'natural' talent for it.
Noman Stones – Noman Stones, so named because they appear to be a variety of stone unique to the Noman tribe, give the user the rare ability to manipulate how others perceive them, in both appearance and sound. The most noticeable drawback is that the more people that are targeted, the harder it becomes to hold the image. Apparently there are several different variations of this power, one of which is invisibility. Gerdi, the only main character to have these stones, is famous for playing tricks with his.
Silver – These rare stones create a symbiotic link between a user who has a high friendship with any animal, allowing the user to enter the eyes of that being – for example, Whist is capable of seeing through his canine companion Blink's eyes and vice versa. Whist is the only appearing character in Broken Sky to possess these stones.
Milky-white – These stones bestow the gift of
Psychometryon the user; allowing them to view associated events or emotions that have occurred from contact with an object, such as powerful memories or other times of heightened emotion in the objects presence or, ideally, when the object is touching the person’s skin. Calica possesses these stones.
Various colors - Ethereal Fire: Allows the user to manipulate and create fire. Takami uses these stones in a manner similar to Ryushi, in the forms of shields and blasts.
Yellow – A person who is given these yellow stones, enabling them to ‘heal’ another being by taking the damage onto themselves, are the healers of the desert tribes. Though yellow stones also increase the speed of their natural healing rate, they have limits to their restorative abilities and so those given these stones are taken after their pah'nu'kah into a monastery to learn how to use their ability without killing themselves.
Purple and Grey – The stones of a torturer, they give a person the ability to inflict pain in others. The taskmasters of the mines in the Dominions, as well as their bosses, have these.
Swirling Green and Black – These stones possess the power of chaos; entropy, destruction. They allow a person to utterly destroy whatever is around them (thereby causing ‘chaos’). Princess Aurin has these.
White and Red – The stones of regeneration, they are used only when the host is badly wounded.
King Macaan has this purple stone in his forehead. Corresponding stones are placed in many of his subordinates, including the Jachyra and the Keriags. Using this stone, it takes a mere thought from him to wipe out any or all life connected to the trigger stone. This is generally used to keep rebellious or unwilling but useful servants/slaves under tight control.
The heartstone is a stone Princess Aurin wears around her neck. Somewhat similar to the trigger stone, it is used to control the Keriags. Lesser heartstones are implanted in all the Keriag Queens, and if Aurin takes it away from her pulse for more than a cycle, all the Keriags would die. Only one other person can wear the stone - Aurin's splitling, Calica.
Glowstones are stones that emanate light. They're used in place of electric lights in the world of Broken Sky. Mainly appearing in the Dominions, Kirin Taq usually makes do with lit torches or other kinds of
brazier. They appear in both orange and white colours - the white stones are more expensive as they show colours as they really are.
Damper stones are stones that limit the use of spirit stones near them. Like spirit stones, the more there are, the greater their effect. In large numbers, they can cancel out any use of spirit stones in a whole room. Usually, however, they are used alone, set into a metal collar. This lone stone, when touching the skin, is enough to dampen the spirit stone use of the person it touches and possibly anyone who comes too close.
The Communion is possibly a stone, but we know it only as the glowing light in the Koth Macquai's chest. It contains all the memories of all the previous Macquais, and thus all of Koth Taraan history. It is always passed on to the oldest Koth Taraan.
Parakka are a resistance movement set up to overthrow King Macaan from the Dominions, and Princess Aurin from Kirin Taq. They are led by a Council, which many of the main characters sit upon. Parakka starts off in the Dominions alone in a hidden base called Gar Jenna, with just one or two people situated in Kirin Taq. However, after their failed attempts at stopping the Integration (Macaan's culling of the worlds using Resonant energy), they flee to Kirin Taq, while Macaan and Princess Aurin believe they are dead. Here they begin recruiting among the Kirin people, and make their home in a barren, rocky area called the Rifts. They call their new home 'Base Usido'. Aurin soon learns of Parakka's transfer to Kirin Taq, and begins searching for them. In order to protect themselves against her forces, mainly comprised of the monsterous, spider-like Keriags, Kia and several other members of Parakka seek aid from the Koth Taraan. After a tenuous start, the Koth Taraan become staunch allies of Parakka. Eventually, Parakka become a main force in protecting the world after a crazed King Macaan invades the Machinists' Citadel, and activates the Pulse Hammer - attracting the huge monsters of the Deepwater onto land. Together with remnants of Macaan's forces, Parakka attempts to hold off the Deepwater monsters while Ryushi, Kia and the others head inside to reverse the Pulse Hammer's effects, driving the Deepwater monsters away, and stop Macaan once and for all. After the defeat of Macaan Parakka was dissolved as it fulfilled its purpose of freeing the two worlds from the tyrant king.
Macaan's Guardsmen make up the bulk of his army. Aurin has the Keriags, but Macaan's Guardsmen are just as numerous. For many years it had been the rule that every child given 'force' spirit stones would be conscripted. Thus, Macaan's army is not only immense, but also unmatched in destructive power. They are loyal firstly to Macaan, even those under the command of Princess Aurin. However it was mentioned in the 2nd last book that after the "death" of Aurin and the liberation of Kirin Taq by the Parakkans Macaan eventually began conscripting any male of servicable age that led to a large number of his army deserting him before the final battle, and the negation of using halberds as cannons.
The Machinists are a coalition of mercenaries who work solely for the highest bidder, so as to finance more of their technological efforts in their Citadel (located in the Dominion plains). Machinist technology is used by nearly everyone, including King Macaan - from Augmentations to Resonants to create Jachyra, to large magma derricks to fuel Tusami City's energy needs, to physical Augmentations for the Machinists themselves. Machinists work in tandem with the Pilot's Guild, who provide the energy required to run all of the Machinists' piloted units. They eventually construct the Pulse Hammer, a design that is theoretically capable of repelling the creatures that live in Deepwater, allowing for traversing of the ocean. However, it is eventually used for the opposite - attracting the Deepwater monsters to wreak havoc.
Resonants are not given spirit stones at all, and it is stated by Elani (see below) that Resonants cannot use spirit stones. Instead, they are able to shift between the worlds of Kirin Taq and the Dominions, and take along anyone they are touching. It is theorized that while spirit stones give control over certain things such as the earth, fire, memory or physical force, Resonants control time. According to Resonant theory, Kirin Taq exists between each second of The Dominions, just as The Dominions exists in between the time of Kirin Taq. The most prominent Resonant in the novels, Elani, refers to the two worlds as being a clock - the Dominions being the 'tick' and Kirin Taq the 'tock' of the pendulum. Macaan has been secretly gathering huge numbers of Resonants for many years. He uses a great number of these to cause the Integration - the setting up of huge 'Ley Warrens’ that allow mass transports of personnel and equipment between Kirin Taq and the Dominions.
The Jachyra are Macaan's secret police. The general public know very little about them, and believe even less. They are, according to popular myth, invisible and always watching you - so even if people did believe all the tales, it would only help Macaan's cause, as they would think they are always being watched. In fact, the myths aren't too far off. The Jachyra can see and travel through mirrors, or any other decently reflective surface. They were once Resonants, but after being augmented by the Machinists, are no longer able to shift between worlds. It has been theorized that the manipulation of their bodies has also manipulated their powers. They are no longer whole in body, being comprised mostly of metal Augmentations to make them fast and deadly. Covered in rags, not many people have seen just how much they have changed. The Jachyra, however, unlike the Guardsmen, hate Macaan. He made them into monsters, and they hate him for it. But thanks to the trigger stone in his forehead, Macaan retains complete control - he has to merely think it, and they would all die, due to being implanted with stones connected to the trigger stone. While this may not be such a loss to many of them, who feel their lives are already long over, the glimmer of humanity left in them prevents them from forcing Macaan to kill them off.
They are an ancient race, sharing the same ancestry as the Keriags. They are large, bulky and heavily armoured. Because of this, they are much slower than their Keriag brethren. They fight using the large claws on their hands. The Koth Taraan breed very slowly, but live long. Because of this, they are said to have been almost defeated by the fast-breeding Keriags in an ancient war, and were forced to flee. They are led by the Koth Macquai - the oldest of the Koth Taraan. The Macquai has a glowing shard in his center, comprising of all the memories of the previous Koth Macquais. Also, because the Koth Taraan share a kind of mental communion, a form of mass
telepathy, their memory is eternal, as each generation knows everything that the previous generation knew, going back to the very beginning. They communicate with humans through a similar telepathy, speaking directly into their minds. Younger Koth Taraan lack the subtle control of this power that their elders possess, and cannot help expressing their emotions as flashes of color that people see in their minds.
The Keriags are another ancient race, which shares a common ancestor with the Koth Taraan. They are spider-like, much like a
centaurwith spider's legs, except that their whole body is chitinous and resembles an insect's exoskeletonin texture. They fight using deadly jagged spears called gaer bolga, which have serrations designed to cause maximum damage affixed to the blade. They are held under the command of Princess Aurin, due to the heartstone around her neck - a fragment of a larger stone, whose siblings are attached to the Keriag Queens. If she should take it off for more than a Kirin Taq cycle (approximately one Dominions day), all the Keriags would die. However, the Keriags would know the minute she took it off, would swarm, and attack her palace, in an attempt to put it back on her. At the very least, they would take her down with them. However, Macaan has added a failsafe in case Aurin should ever attempt to use the Keriags against her father. The Keriags' stones are also connected to the trigger stone in Macaan's forehead - and so he could kill them all with a single thought.
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