One of the things you figure out pretty fast when you write in the fantasy genre is that, so long as you can explain it in world, you can pretty much do anything you damn well please. The only real rules are the ones you create for the world itself, and while you must treat those as inviolate, everything else is more or less up for grabs.
Over the years as I developed the world setting for The Mythic Age, where War Witch takes place, one of the things I kept tinkering with was magic. Since the first conception of the world, I’d known that some people could use it, while others could not. It wasn’t even just a question of training, so much as it was an inherent ability.
This quickly lead to the various different kinds of mages the world features, from Spellweavers, who can work magic from birth, to Sorcerers, who must undergo an occasionally deadly ritual in order to gain the ability to work magic. Most often, the ability to work magic manifests as a person becomes an adult, allowing them to decide which of the other three paths of magic to pursue, be it as a Wizard, a Cleric, or a Druid.
The thing that was still missing, however, was the cause of this, which I eventually worked out as being what is known as an Avatar Spark, a living spirit of pure magic energy that is entwined with the mages soul. In turn, this helped me flesh out the creation myth of The Mythic Age a little better, as these Avatar Sparks became the original element used to first create life by the Gods.
Everyone has an Avatar Spark dwelling within them, but they sleep and experience the life of a mortal as a dream. Those that have Awakened, however, allow a person to use magic, by channeling the primal forces of creation. Everything is then explained, and the world can move on.
Except, it still didn’t feel like enough to me. Something was missing. I didn’t know just what, but I could feel it. Eventually, it was the Gods of The Mythic Age themselves that gave me the answer.
An Awakened Avatar is a sentient spirit, after all, both part of the mortal it lives inside, yet a separate and distinct entity all its own. That though lead me to forming the Avatars in the image of the Gods, the first beings the Avatar Sparks ever encountered. When they agreed to be used to create life, they took on the appearance of the Gods, making them animal spirits.
This ended up being one of the things that required the most rewrites in regards to the original drafts of War Witch, and the one that has now seen publication. Before I fleshed out the nature of the Avatars, Ramora simply has one, and worked magic with little to no real exploration of what it all was, or meant.
Afterwards, in the rewrites, her Avatar became an additional character in the story. A happy, energetic, and frequently randy little rabbit spirit that interacts with her, holds conversations, offers advice, or just tries to get her to relax a little now and then. It also became one of the better comedic characters I’ve ever come up with, as it frequently tries to lighten her occasionally dour mood with various silly antics.
In The Mythic Age, Altimar, the rabbit goddess, oversees childbirth, marriage and sex. Since Ramora’s Avatar is connected to Altimar by way of being a rabbit, well, I’m sure can guess what the little ball of fluff thinks is the answer to all of life’s problems.
Lots and lots of getting laid. Since Ramora is occasionally a tad stoic, this makes for some interesting conversations, and plenty of funny moments as her Avatar tries to be helpful, but only ends up embarrassing her, which is made ever more comedic since no one but her can see or hear the Avatar, and has no idea why she’s suddenly blushing furiously out of nowhere.
Which isn’t to say that her little rabbit spirit is only there for comedy. Far from it. When push comes to shove, Ramora’s bunny is the one who always has her back, no matter what, and will happily give of itself to help her.
Back when War Witch saw its first release with BookTrope, digital artist J.N. Sheats did up some wonderful character teasers for me, like the one below that showcases the bond between Ramora, and her rabbit Avatar.
Rise: Book One of the War Witch Saga is available now at the links on the sidebar, from Dragon Moon Press.