As I mentioned in a recent post, I had already built a fantasy world, then decided to abandon it entirely and start over. That being said, I don’t want to completely erase my old stories, so many of them will live on as in-world mythology.
Since I still do not have access to my CAD software for a while, I figure that this would be a good time to discuss the lore behind my next model-related post: Fighting Vehicles of the Nine Empires, Part 5: the Jenůfa Nószimål Tank. You’re probably wondering where that name comes from, and more importantly, how the bloody hell it’s pronounced. Well, if, like me, you are an opera lover, than you ought to already know. The best I can give you is “Ye-NOO-fah Naws-zim-AAL.” Trust me, it works better in Cyrillic (Енуфа Носзимял), though that’s hardly the point. Why would someone name a tank after her? Well, the short version (the long version I will likely include in the post about the tank itself) is that she was the Grand Marshal of the Rhûnnish Empire – the ONLY Grand Marshal in the empire’s five-century history. Not only did Nószimål help to found the empire to begin with, but she was commander of the entire military for the empire’s entire existence, answering only to the emperor. She is also a character that I took directly from my old fantasy world, though her backstory has changed significantly.
Nószimål was originally supernatural, and to a degree, still is. Most of her original story, however, I have decided to preserve strictly in the form of legends that surround her, thus giving her a reputation of being far more powerful than she actually was. So that you see what I mean, I shall give you the TL;DR version of her original backstory, going all the way back to the beginning.
In my original fantasy world, life formed on its own, guided in certain directions only vaguely by a group of beings from a higher dimension with no capability of physically manifesting on the planet. In order to better interact with this planetary experiment, they fashioned a number of immortal beings that were capable of perceiving the higher dimensions. These beings were the nymphs, tasked with guiding the intelligent apes on the road to civilisation. I’ll discuss these at length at a later date, since I have all this stuff already written down, I just have to sort through my mess of files and find it. Anyway, the elder ice-nymph, Valona, was about as cold and uncaring as you might expect, and found the entire “help humanity” charge to be rather vexing. One day, she got into an argument with a water nymph (I basically put my icy O.C. into the Dvořak opera Rusalka) who fell in love with a human. See, said human had actually fallen in love with his own reflection (myth of Narcissus), but the poor nymph below thought that he was in love with her. Valona, trying desperately to slap some reality back into the water nymph without losing her temper (as Valona had been known to torture water nymphs by freezing the river around them when they pissed her off), decided to demonstrate her points about the wickedness of humanity by shedding her true form and jumping into the body of a dead infant floating in the river (WHERE do you think the name “Jenůfa” comes in?!). Valona reanimates the dead girl (a deviation from the Janáček opera; BTW, I’m not related to Leoš Janáček, it’s just a really common Moravian surname) and goes about trolling the human population of a nearby village to make her point. Unfortunately, dead human infants are terrible vessels for containing the spirit of the winter’s herald, and Valona’s terrible power, the Strachzima (literally “dread winter”) escaped from her grasp and plunged the world into an ice age. Meanwhile, the portion of her power that she actually held on to slowly transmogrified the dead human body into a 2,3-metre (7’6″) tall superhuman terror, with the strength of a hundred ordinary men. Below is my most recent concept art for her, depicting her in armour (I have yet to make a helmet) and wielding a sword-breaker and great sword. When I start making 3D versions of all my characters, I’ll have a much better version to show you:
This is where the stories converge. The above story, incidentally, I’ll preserve as one of the legends surrounding the Rhûnnish Grand Marshal. However, Nószimål is still real, yet the ice-nymphs are relegated to mythology in my new fantasy world. So what is she, if not an ice-nymph? Well, the actual story goes back to the fall of Durkuz, when one of the Skharnovs was leading an army against the Feresteks, but was ambushed. His forces were routed, and his young daughter fled deep into the forest. She then ran into the Green-Eyed Raven, a terrifying creature of the night. But the raven wasn’t interested in eating her, for there was much more at stake than a simple meal.
The Green-Eyed Raven was one of the nicknames given to the young Ëna (“yaw-na”) Blackwing, the only chuyinka ever known to have completely black hair and feathers. When she came of age (well, not exactly, it’s a bit more complicated than that, I’ll explain later), she was told to choose her adult name. Because of her long-established nickname, she chose the name “Veyra,” the Kiralessan (language I made up) word for “raven.” Aside from her colour, she was a normal chuyinka, at least to the extent that chuyinka can be normal. Looking down upon this tiny creature, however, one who worshiped the chuyinka as gods, yet taught to keep her distance, Veyra was a bit confused; food, after all, does not normally come this close of its own volition. Veyra picked up the child and studied her for a bit, asking in a rasping whisper why she was here. The girl burst into tears, blubbering and blathering about how her father and all his men had gotten ambushed and were being slaughtered as they spoke, because they tried to stop the Feresteks from waging a war against the gods themselves, and no-one could convince them that they could never possibly win, and then, and then…
“UNACCEPTABLE!” Veyra roared, once she got the gist of the child’s panicked rambling. It is unknown what manner of blood oath Veyra made with the young Skharnov girl, but the result was that her life became tied to the Skharnov line. As long as there was a Skharnov alive, Veyra would live. Since chuyinka do not age, and instead simply “switch off” after thirty years (which is roughly 198 Earth years, in case you’ve forgotten), this meant that Veyra ended up living far longer than a normal chuyinka. Around the time that Kazímir Skharnov was born, Veyra had worked out shape-shifting, and the chuyinka began walking among the Skharans. It was, by taking humanoid form and donning black armour, that Veyra Blackwing became Jenůfa Nószimål. She later went on to advise Kazímir, telling him to begin his campaign against the Minkutian Empire. The reasons for that are quite complex, and I will discuss that later. Actually, I could discuss them right now. Next post!