Although some fantasies ignore the topics of creation and religion completely, many authors take the time not only to imagine the creator or deity in their world, but also to work it into their stories. Two great examples of these, which both influenced my own writing, are J. R. Ward in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series and the television version of True Blood (not to be confused with the very different books). In both these series, what started out as a little bit of backstory in one book/season subsequently turned into major plotlines.
Though I don’t foresee my series focusing on the religious aspect of the world I’ve created, my Creator and the beliefs surrounding her do play a crucial role in the conflict between the two covens. The Rectinatti vampires believe they are maintaining the balance between sought by the Creator by protecting humans. The Vengatti believe they’re reestablishing that balance by feeding from humans. Unlike True Blood or BDB, though, my creator won’t be appearing in person (or hallucination) any time soon!
Creator – The deity worshipped by the vampires, depicted as a virginal female who created both humans and vampires. It is believed the Creator wanted there to be a balance to everything. Gifts are balanced with dangers, like a Seer’s maturity. Strength is balanced with vulnerabilities, like the vampires losing their ability to be out in daylight beyond the lifespan of a human (around eighty to hundred years).
Creator’s Day – A day of the year set aside to give thanks to the Creator, celebrated on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year and therefore the night vampires have the most freedom for which to thank the Creator. The celebration begins at midnight and lasts through noon, to recognize both their strength and their vulnerability. Traditionally Rectinatti vampires wear white and silver on the holiday. Silver symbolizes the coven; white represents the purity of the Creator. Decorations include a wreath of moonflower with a sliver dagger placed in the center. The flower, a white, night blooming flower which, although beautiful, is poisonous, represents the females or protectors. The dagger symbolizes the males or warriors.
Nearly every culture has its own creation story, so it just seemed natural that my vampires would have one as well. Since I was writing urban fantasy I wanted one that included both the humans and the vampires. That was where the idea of balance began. As I began to develop my world it was clear that each gender, species, coven, and gift came with a balance of positive and negative traits. Related to that is why I chose to have a female deity. Biologically females are the weaker gender, but we’re also the ones who have the gift and responsibility to bear children. We are ‘creators’, so why shouldn’t god, the ‘ultimate creator’ be a girl?
“Why are Knowers marked, but not Seers?” Not that she wanted some visible sign that she was odd, but it did seem unfair.
“I don’t really have a direct connection to the Creator to ask her why we were made the way we were,” Sage mocked, but continued anyway. “My guess is, though, it’s because you won’t need anything to make you stand out more; once you mature and your essence reaches full strength, any vampire within a mile of you will be able to smell you and know you’re not a normal human. That will make you vulnerable enough, no matter how strong your powers develop.”
Alex wasn’t exactly comforted by this contradiction. What was the point of having ‘power’ if it made her a walking target?
“Power is dangerous, both to those wielding it and to those having it wielded upon them. The Creator knew that; our whole world is about balance. A Seer’s gift is more hidden and, as you’ll see—if you ever get back to reading—potentially more dangerous to others. To balance that it was given to the weaker species, which makes it more dangerous to you, too.”
Rocky didn’t react as she continued, didn’t try to stop her. He welcomed what little pain she could inflict to help ease his guilt over what he had just said to her. As with Sage, it was easy to forget Alex’s gift was often unpleasant, even painful to her. Others saw the power and knowledge it provided and overlooked the sacrifice that balanced it. Their world was a balancing act according to their beliefs. Normally, the Creator saw to that balance. Now the Vengatti were playing God, taking Ellie because they couldn’t have Alex.
When you read fantasy books involving different species, is it important for you to know how/why/when that species came to be?