Chraest is actually not pure fantasy. It’s science fantasy. If you happen to be a reader or writer who thinks this can’t be done . . . I’m happy to say, it was done before. Probably several times over, but the series/world I’m most familiar with is Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series.
And I’m sort of treating Chraest the same way. Oh, I make reference to different things which make it clear Chraest isn’t pure fantasy, but they’re subtle until the third volume of TPOM. In the middle of Measure of Resistance, in a scene from Asthané’s point of view, I make blunt reference to the fact humans are not native to Chraest.
I had a great deal of fun writing that little bit. Had, in fact, been seeking a way and a place to make it absolutely clear humans aren’t native to Chraest. And, even after the other little hints (references to the hours of the day, the length of the year, naming plants native to Chraest) my blunt statement is still just the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to Chraest and its universe than even I’m aware of at this point.
How did Chraest end up a science-fantasy world?
There’s a story to this development, and here it is:
I like to develop calendars as part of my worldbuilding for my fantasy worlds, and Chraest was no different. The last science fantasy world I developed, I meant to write stories from the natives’ pov, so I had complete freedom—in my mind—to do what I wanted with the calendar, and I had fun with it. With Chraest, it was a bit different. I kept trying to mash it into one of our years, and it just wasn’t working out. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why Chraest wouldn’t function on a 365-day year.
So, I decided to fiddle with the months. I was, to make it clear, in Forward Motion for Writers chat this particular night I was working on Chraest. I wanted to settle the calendar so I could use Aeon Timeline to list out the stories I had planned and a number of events and such I’d worked out in my worldbuilding over the course of TPOM1&2 and Stirrings (whose title will be changed once I figure out what fits better). I fiddled with the months and ended up with twelve—but three of them shorter than the other nine—and still not fitting our Terran year.
At this point, I made a frustrated comment about this issue in chat, and Zette suggested I play with the number of days in the year. At first, I hesitated, then I decided, Why not? and threw myself into it. I forget all the convolutions I took Chraest’s year-length through, but I finally ended up with a year-length of about 540 days. The first month of each third of the year is a two-week Sacred Month, and the other nine are six-week-long Secular Months; weeks all have nine days.
When I announced that I’d figured this out (and the resultant worldbuilding “facts” I’d learned from this process), Zette went on to say that perhaps the days weren’t 24 hours long. At this point, the knowledge Chraest wasn’t a pure fantasy hit, and I mentioned that in chat—along with even more worldbuilding facts which landed in my head at about the same time.
So I blame Zette, but with a big grin, because her suggestions opened up an aspect I hadn’t been looking at and made what I know of Chraest possible.