My Legacy Character
Part 3 of 5
Map by Erika M Szabo, based on my original drawing.
In my last installment, I discussed the death and resurrection of Dorgo the Dowser, and gave you some insight to the six novellas that make the first volume of his adventures, Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser. Here now, in Part Three, I’m going to discuss the various schools of magic — Odylic Power — used by the witches and wizards in my world of Tanyime.
Sorcery, wizardry, witchcraft — these words have come to be almost synonymous in so many stories I’ve read. So I’ve come up with three basic schools of Magic: witchcraft, sorcery, and wizardry. Witches and warlocks don’t always have an animal familiar as a companion. But they have sold their souls to the Devil in return for the knowledge to call upon the infernal powers. Witchcraft utilizes the power of the Dark Light. Wizardry, on the other hand, is a religious avocation, wherein one must dedicate his or her life to serving God. Wizards draw upon the White Light for their powers. Sorcery is neither good nor evil, in and of itself. Sorcerers serve neither the Dark nor the White Light, but draw their powers from the Gray Light, and must use some form of magical tool. They serve themselves, first and foremost, and like mercenaries, will play for any team that pays them what they ask.
These three schools can incorporate everything from alchemy and the casting of spells, to necromancy and the invocation of demons. The use of staffs, rods, magic wands and other tools of magic is strictly a personal choice. Now, from where does this power emanate?
I use what, in metaphysics, are called ley lines, and in my tales of Dorgo the Dowser, these crisscross the world of Tanyime like an infinite number of invisible circuits and cables. These ley lines hum with the power of the planet, and they connect to the axial poles of Azimuth and Zenith. Wherever a number of these ley lines intersect, that place is known as a “sweet spot,” a place of powerful magic.
I just started fleshing out this theory after reading Atala Dorothy Toy’s We Are Not ALONE: A Complete Guide to Interdimensional Cooperation, where I learned about ley lines, healing crystals like kyanite and chiastolite, smudging (using smoke and crystals to heal and cleanse a home of negative energy), various forms of dowsing rods, and the American Dowsing Society. I will be delving deeper into all this in my next collection of Dorgo the Dowser tales.
I was initially inspired by Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber. Each wrote a style of sword and sorcery that has much in common with film noir. They wrote stories where heroes often walked in the shadows, where villains boldly operated in the harsh light of day as well as in the dark of night, and women were “more dangerous than crossbows,” to quote a line from one of my stories. There was a hard-boiled sensibility to their sword and sorcery that appealed to me. My other sources of literary inspiration are the timeless works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and many of the cinematic versions of their great novels.
I was even influenced by the Chester Morris series of Boston Blackie programmers of the 1940s. Films such as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Night and the City, and even Casablanca found their way into the pages of Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser. Certain westerns had a hand in molding my Dorgo tales, most notably the Randolph Scott films directed by Budd Boetticher: 7 Men From Now, The Tall T, and Ride Lonesome, to name three of my favorites. Greek mythology, elements of the Roman Empire, and the Universal horror films also played a part in the adventures of Dorgo the Dowser. When I first decided to use mythical figures from Greek mythology — centaurs, satyrs, minotaurs, for example — I decided to turn many of them into characters straight out of Warner Brothers gangster films of the 1930s, which was also the heyday of pulp magazines. And of course, the classic films of special effects maestro, Ray Harryhausen always plays a huge part in my stories.
In my world of Tanyime, these mythicals originally came from our world, having fled the emergence of Christianity and other religions, but mostly because the human race was too savage and violent. Why should quasi-humans continue to live in a world where humans hate and kill their own kind over issues of skin color, religious differences, and the quest for wealth and power?
I’ve always loved stories where the elusive fortune is found and then lost again as Fate steps in uninvited. I enjoy tales where the treasure slips through the fingers of both hero and villain. And I’ve been attracted to stories dealing with the dark underbelly of society, where clever and ruthless men are outfoxed by far more clever and ruthless women — “femme fatales” with secret agendas — for as far back as I can remember. Such tales appeal to my sense of irony, to that cynical side of my nature, and my dark view of the world. And lest I forget . . . the dramatic and comedic possibilities in writing such stories are a veritable gold mine.
So I put everything I knew, everything that had inspired me, and everything I loved into a literary blender . . . and out came Dorgo Mikawber, aka the Dowser. His character was born after watching The Maltese Falcon on television one afternoon back in 1977. His name came later that night, after watching another movie — Gorgo. After watching an old episode of the television show, The Rifleman, wherein a “dowser” had come to town to try and make it rain or find water during a dry season, I thought “Dowser” would make a great epithet for him, considering the trade I decided he would practice and the nature of the stories I had planned to write.
In Part 4, I’ll discuss a little bit more about Dorgo, the films and ideas that inspired and still inspire my writing, and then tell you all about the creation of my second volume of Dorgo’s adventures . . . Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent.
Until next time . . . keep on rocking!
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#heroicfantasy #swordandsorcery #horror #supernatural #paranormal #joebonadonna