Tag Archives: Ivaldi

The True True Seaborn

A few of you have read some portion of the fantasy novel I’ve been writing for almost 20 years (and still haven’t finished). You may have wondered where I came up with the name of the protagonist, True Seaborn. Even if you haven’t, I’m about to tell you (patience – I do have a reason). Read More…

A few of you have read some portion of the fantasy novel I’ve been writing for almost 20 years (and still haven’t finished). You may have wondered where I came up with the name of the protagonist, True Seaborn. Even if you haven’t, I’m about to tell you (patience – I do have a reason).

When I first started this back in college around 1983, I collected interesting words and names that I thought I might use ­ I’m not Tolkien and am not going to invent entire languages! I was then working part-time at a printing company, and saw the name “True Seaborn” on the masthead of a magazine that happened to be lying around. I thought it was about the coolest name I’d ever heard of, so I appropriated it for my hero who, among other things, is a sailor. I even wrote a bit of backstory to explain how my character came to have that name, though I’ve always wondered how the original True Seaborn got such a great name. It has class and is full of meaning, yet it’s easy to spell and pronounce – the best of all possible worlds, in a name!

It’s been in the back of my mind for some months to get in touch with the original owner of the name and ask his permission to use it, in case I ever do finish this novel and get it published. I did a Google search and found him easily enough. But then I got distracted and never finished searching out an email address for him.


Well, I didn’t have to. Last week, True Seaborn got in touch with me. It threw me at first, seeing email in my In box from the name I associate with a fictional creation of my own. (Probably there’s the germ of a novel in that, but I digress…). Mr. Seaborn was feeling equally confused. He said: “It is a strange experience to stumble onto a work of fiction that appears at first glance to be written about oneself, by an author one has never met. Of course I’m not quite so vain as to believe you actually wrote your City of Light about me. Still, the name of your protagonist seems like a remarkable coincidence. Would you mind telling me how you came up with it?”

So I explained it to him, and he has graciously consented to let me go on using his name, with some very kind compliments on my writing (he’s now reading through the whole novel). The real True Seaborn turns out to be a very nice person, which is a relief – I might have become hopelessly confused about my protagonist had he been otherwise.


He also told me how he got his name:


“The name Seaborn has two possible origins. One was a family legend that described a young couple from Wales who boarded a ship bound for the New World sometime in the 17th or early 18th century. Either the voyage originated in London and stopped at Liverpool or vice-versa, but according to the story the young man jumped ship at the first stop, leaving his wife to continue the voyage alone. She died in childbirth along the way, and the captain placed the newborn with a family on the coast of Virginia, hence the name. This story supposedly appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, or Colliers, or some such popular magazine sometime in the 1920’s. Whatever the provenance of the name, I’m inclined to believe the magazine story was the source of the family legend and not the reverse.


Militating against the orphan story is the fact that there are a great many Seaborns in Wales and North England today. I met a few of them myself in a trip there about 25 years ago, in an unsuccessful search for relatives. I suppose it’s conceivable an orphan could have been given the name in Virginia, independent of all the real Seaborns living in the Old World, but as you can imagine, I have a built-in bias against such a shameful origin.


I’ve traced our family in this country to a Benjamin Seaborn who died in Tidelands, Virginia, in 1782. I have since learned from a distant cousin that Benjamin was the son of one of two brothers who arrived in Virginia as indentured servants. After Benjamin, the record is pretty reliable – from Virginia, to Tennessee, to Oklahoma, to California.


Another distant cousin let me know he had discovered that the root was Sigbjorne or Sigbjorn, a common Norwegian name today, meaning – I think he said – spear carrier or spear thrower.

The origin of True is fairly direct: I was named after one of my father’s old girlfriends (Mary Ann True). My parents went to their graves without volunteering to explain how that came about, or how my mother felt about it. And I never had the nerve to ask.”


I don’t suppose anyone will ever write a novel with a Deirdré Straughan as the main character – too weird-looking in print, and impossible to spell or pronounce.

Ivaldi: Table of Contents

Available chapters are shown as links below. Book 1: True Seaborn The City of Light 01Light supplement: The Ivaldin Calendar The Font of Knowledge 02fontknow Overnight Success 03Overnight Bard in a Gilded Cage 04Bard More Tales from the Font of Knowledge 05MoreTales Carilla and the Long Arm of the Law 06Carillalaw Chitra Has an Engagement 07Chitraengaged Book 2: Teja Red-Headed Stranger b201red Read More…

Available chapters are shown as links below.

Book 1: True Seaborn

The City of Light 01Light

supplement: The Ivaldin Calendar

The Font of Knowledge 02fontknow

Overnight Success 03Overnight

Bard in a Gilded Cage 04Bard

More Tales from the Font of Knowledge 05MoreTales

Carilla and the Long Arm of the Law 06Carillalaw

Chitra Has an Engagement 07Chitraengaged

Book 2: Teja

Red-Headed Stranger b201red

Kanya’s Story b202kanya

Harem Childhood b203harem

The King’s Birthday Feast b204bday

The Gift of the Moon b205moon

Flight from Ivaldi b206flight

A House in the Hills b207hills

Disappearance b208disapp

Blood b209blood

From the Lost Papers of the Six-Fingered Mage b210papers

Strange Tales in the Hills b211strange

The Demon-Killer b212killer


Extras: Creation x_creation| Ancient History x_ancient| About Magic x_magic | About True Seaborn x_seaborn


Book 3: Meshvir

A Wand’ring Minstrel Eye b301eye

The Hall of the Mountain King b302hall

The Embassy from the Golden Land b303embassy

The Deathbed of a King b304deathbed

Taking the High Road b305high

My Darkest Hour b306darkest

Reunion b307reunion

(Untitled Chapter)

Interview with Chitra

Interview with Janse

(Untitled Chapter)

Bonding

The Thundering Herd

Return to Meshvir

The Field of Kings

Conversations Before a Battle Battle

The Victory Feast

Memory

Fiction: Ivaldi

I began Ivaldi during my undergraduate years at the University of Texas at Austin. Douglass Parker, a professor of Classics, taught a course in Parageography – the geography of fantasy worlds. The reading list ranged from The Odyssey to Tolkein, and I remember vividly the day Dr. Parker came bounding into class, waving a book Read More…

I began Ivaldi during my undergraduate years at the University of Texas at Austin. Douglass Parker, a professor of Classics, taught a course in Parageography – the geography of fantasy worlds. The reading list ranged from The Odyssey to Tolkein, and I remember vividly the day Dr. Parker came bounding into class, waving a book and exclaiming, “You all have to read this!” It was Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, just published; that was my first exposure to Italian literature.

The major project for the semester was to develop your own fantasy world, and document it – in some form other than narrative fiction. Some students drew maps and charts and plans; I wrote a guide to the city of Ivaldi.

Throughout the course, Dr. Parker also shared with us snippets (mostly in the form of poetry) from his own created world and the adventures therein of his alter ego, Dionysius Simplicissimus Periphrastes. His documentation was rich and fun, but sometimes short on detail. So in the final exam, which consisted of questions on the world DSP found himself in, we were expected to simply make up whatever we could not have deduced from the documentation. I don’t remember exactly what I said about DSP, but it must have been scurrilous, because I do remember Dr. Parker’s notes on the returned exam: “Lies! Slander, all of it!” But he gave me an A anyhow. <grin>

I’ve been working on this novel in fits and starts ever since, and it’s still not quite finished – maybe about 15% remains to write, and I’ll do yet another revision as I start posting it here (again; it’s been available off and on for years, depending on web server space). To get started, go to the table of contents.

Doug Parker probably figured out long ago that one of the characters is him.

NYT article on the Parageography class

 

Also: how my hero got his name

The Ivaldin Calendar

The Ivaldin year consists of eight months of 45 days, each divided into nine morens of 1, 2, 3,… 9 days: One Month Moren 1 Day 1 Moren 2 Day 1 Moren 2 Day 2 Moren 3 Day 1 3-2 Moren 3 Day 3 Moren 4 Day 1 4-2 4-3 Moren 4 Day 4 Moren Read More…

The Ivaldin year consists of eight months of 45 days, each divided into nine morens of 1, 2, 3,… 9 days:

One Month

Moren 1 Day 1
Moren 2 Day 1 Moren 2 Day 2
Moren 3 Day 1 3-2 Moren 3 Day 3
Moren 4 Day 1 4-2 4-3 Moren 4 Day 4
Moren 5 Day 1 5-2 5-3 5-4 Moren 5 Day 5
Moren 6 Day 1 6-2 6-3 6-4 6-5 Moren 6 Day 6
Moren 7 Day 1 7-2 7-3 7-4 7-5 7-6 Moren 7 Day 7
Moren 8 Day 1 8-2 8-3 8-4 8-5 8-6 8-7 Moren 8 Day 8
Moren 9 Day 1 9-2 9-3 9-4 9-5 9-6 9-7 9-8 Moren 9 Day 9
High Holiday
Low Holiday

Two days of every moren are business and school holidays, but most shops remain open for the “low holiday.” Certain other days are sacred to particular gods, when rituals are performed in their honor.

There are four seasons: Bursat (the monsoon), Chhota Garm (warm), Tand (cold) and Bara Garm (hot). Each is two months long (thus, the months are called First Bursat, Second Bursat, First Chhota Garm, etc.). The calendar is adjusted to fit the seasons, with the New Year and the month of First Bursat beginning with the first rainfall. At the end of Second Bursat, when there has been no rain for five days, the rains are considered to be over, and First Chhota Garm begins. After two months, First Tand begins, coincident with the winds’ shift from the eastern sea to the cold northwestern mountains. Bara Garm begins when the wind shifts again, to blow from the warm south.

At the change of months there are five holidays in a row (9-9 to 3-1), to make up for the previous long morens of work. No one remembers how this peculiar calendar came about, but the Ivaldin insist that they like the varied rhythm it gives to their lives.