Cast out into a war-torn land and forced to grapple with a preternatural burden which seems to devour both mind and body, Khal is only a boy—too young to make his own way and too caught up in the whims of history to find peace. His arcane curse marks him as prey for an order of huntsmen; his culture makes him an outcast amongst the peoples of the lands; his wit earns him what coin he can come by, and his unyielding will carves his name into the slate of myth. Decades later, a Chronicler with uncertain motives searches through the tales to piece together some truth regarding this legendary figure, and now she has the arcanist himself to speak to, though she quickly finds that his retelling is hardly more reliable than the folktales forming in his wake.
An Introduction & an Explanation
Tapestry is a fantasy serial I’ve been kicking around for a while. It follows a traveler named Khal whose journey takes him across the realms of Alvyria. I have oscillated over how much I should be explicit about its inspirations and motives, but I figure better to lay them on the table here: I first read Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind while going to T.M.S. (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) treatment down near UCSD,1 and I’d read it while the machine did its business (a lot of woodpecker-esque drumming on your skull, interspersed between periods of silence). The process involves a rhythmic stimulation of neurons in a certain portion of the brain, and this often causes the co-stimulation of the muscles in your hand, and so by the end the back of my copy of The Name of the Wind wore the hint of nail marks where I’d held it for hours on end. That may sound a little intimidating, but it’s as intensive a process as sitting down in a dentist’s office, honestly.2
But back to my point, I read The Name of the Wind during this time, and it was phenomenal. I would say it is one of those books that really inspired me to commit to becoming a writer myself. And while I maintain that Rothfuss’s prose is some of the best in the industry, I will not beat around the bush in saying that I felt The Wise Man’s Fear did not live up to the legacy of the first book. I await a third, and perhaps it will rejuvinate my love for the series (I’ll read it no matter what), but the plot and characters in the second book felt lacking.3
Since then, I’ve read such works as Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and her Earthsea series, as well as Nndedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death, and these have further broadened my understanding of what fantasy can be. In my opinion, these two works should be read by anyone who wants to become a speculative fiction writer, no matter the subgenre you prefer, for their fantastic character work and the worlds they weave, so rich with culture and beauty that I can’t help but be drawn back to them time and time again. And so, with these three works in mind, I want to set out to write a series that takes the prose and poetry, esoterica and mystery, and characterization of Kvothe and the other central characters of The Name of the Wind and combines them with all that I’ve just described of Le Guin’s and Okorafor’s immense skill to create a series of stories that can appeal to fans of Rothfuss’s work and to those who want to see the fantasy genre pushed beyond its borders and into realms previously unseen.
Now, this all sounds as though I’m inflating my own ego, and I don’t mean to put myself on the same level as any of these authors. All I mean to do is get across my vision, and then you can read the work itself and decide whether I’ve hit anywhere close to the mark. I imagine if you’re well-acquainted with Rothfuss you’ll notice the influences quite quickly, and for those who are not—well, then it’s all entirely original and there are no outside influences and I’m just a genius, I swear. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise, even me. No, now I’m really inflating my ego, and I should probably get out of my own way before I scare any prospective readers off. So, I hope you enjoy. Here’s Tapestry.
A Note on the Structure of Tapestry
While Tapestry is meant to be a long work, chronicling the life of its central figure, it is built (or will be built, depending on when you’re reading this) such that it is partitioned into “arcs” which can be picked up and read with only minor inconveniences if you haven’t read the previous sections. There will, of course, be characters who overlap these sections, and character arcs and plotlines will build upon one another in the traditional novel sense, but my vision is to have Tapestry include sections that are longer epic-style stories punctuated with short story to novella length sections that work much like the collections of short stories found in Sapkowski’s Witcher series or something out of Asimov’s Foundation series.
So, I’ll be adding a little table of contents below that outlines these sections. I would recommend you begin with arc one, chapter one. Alternatively, starting with chapter nine would work as well if you prefer skipping past a few relatively independent stories that build up to the beginning of arc two. If you decide to pick up Tapestry later and want to know what’s going on right at that moment, then you totally can begin wherever you want (I would only recommend jumping back to the beginning to fill in the holes later). I will be including a brief summary of the previous arc at the beginning of each new one (after “A Melancholy Traveler”) in order to help new and old readers alike. Also, you can find more lore and meta-textual writing below in the section titled Tapestry Unraveled, if that would help with catching up to speed. Enjoy!
Arc One: A Melancholy Traveler
In which a Chronicler travels through the Riverlands in search of the folk hero, Khal of Mhuchel, in order to tease out the truth of his life’s story from the veritable horde of myths that have accumulated around his deeds and character.
However, the Khal she finds is not who she expected, and the weight of his life can be seen in each wrinkle and scar he now carries, so near to the end.
Arc Two: Moonpath to Gaelica
In which a young Khal travels towards Mount Vómakháll with his caravan, only to be introduced to the unlikeliest of visitors: two wizards garbed in blue, who warn him that he must leave in order to keep his family and friends safe from his own otherworldly fate.
However, a burden has settled on young Khal’s shoulders that will plague him until his dying day, and for the teller of this tale, that day seems fast approaching.
Arc Three: Tides of Starlight
More Chapters to be Released
T.M.S., at least in my case, is used to treat clinical depression, and my experience with it was fantastic. There are few, if any, side-effects (and even then, they’re often quite mild), and the benefits were astounding.↩︎
I have no complaints, and it has breathed life back into my life where previous treatments failed.↩︎
It brought Kvothe (the main character, for those who aren’t acquainted) from the edge of self-insert, down into the pits. His escapades across the Four Corners had no great effect on me, certainly not as much as his journey in the first book, clawing up from nothing to become a beloved figure in the fantasy canon, and it left me feeling no great hatred for Rothfuss (I have only sympathy for what he is dealing with) nor a despair at having to wait so many years for an end to the trilogy but, if I may be honest, an apathy for Kvothe and the world he inhabits.↩︎