The antagonists of my latest fantasy novel, Soul Seekers, are none other than the Soul Seekers themselves. On the surface of things, Soul Seekers appear as just another fantasy trope, another type of Nazgûl or Skull Bearer, faithful servants to the really big bad guy. Like the aforementioned, the Soul Seekers are dressed all in black with formless faces, wielding deadly claws that can tear their victims apart, but are they really just another cliché laying waste to a fantasy world? Is there more to the Soul Seekers that that?
A Mysterious Origin
As some of you already know, the Soul Seekers first appear in the fantasy world of Ictar in small groups. Brutal and ruthless, the Seekers attack travelers and small communities in remote areas, leaving only the dead in their wake and taking nothing from them. Many believe the Soul Seekers to be mortal men who, for whatever reasons, delight in the killing of innocents. The various governments of Ictar search in different ways for the Soul Seekers, but no trace of their movements can be found. Could it be that the force of magic, long believed under the control of the Divine, has somehow fallen into the hands of men once more?
Magic, and the “Rules” of the Divine
In the world of Ictar, four Sephirs control the forces of nature. The Sephirs are crystalline relics from another age, and they each contain vast amounts of energy that control one of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. When a Sephir is seated on its altar, it is connected to the spirit world, thereby allowing a free flow of its energy into the land. When it is removed, the Sephir begins to lose its energy, thus reducing the balance between the Four Elements and nature itself.
For this reason, the governments of Ictar gave control of the Sephirs over to the Divine, a religious sect, who guard and care for them. More importantly, the Divine have vowed to keep anyone from drawing on the energy, or magic, within the Sephirs. Anyone shown to use magic is believed to be harvesting energy from the Sephirs, and they will be subjected to the laws of the Divine. The Soul Seekers, believed to be users of magic, draw the attention of the Divine and, by extension, the leaders of Ictar.
A Different Kind of Magic
What the people of Ictar would soon discover is the Soul Seekers are not users of magic. In fact, the Soul Seekers are creations of magic, and they are in no way associated with the magical energies within the Sephirs. The aforementioned spirit world, through which the energy of the Sephirs interacts with the natural world, shares a close connection with all living creatures. An energy called the Light, the basis for all life in the natural world, runs throughout the spirit world. When a creation dies in the natural world, the Light flows back to the spirit realm.
The Soul Seekers are born from the Light itself. Created with the sole purpose of stealing more of the Light for their master, operate like a force of nature. They seek out the Light of the living and destroy the flesh binding it to the natural world. No other motive drives them. They do not use reason. They do not get afraid or angry. Unlike other fantasy “dark forces” the Soul Seekers simply exist, going wherever their master sends them. If an obstacle sits in their path, they run around it or over it, much like a flooding river.
To learn more about the Soul Seekers, please check out The Chosen of the Light series by Jon Carlin Shea.