(This post includes background information about the Blackflame Empire: the setting of Blackflame and the next few books in Cradle. No specific story elements are spoiled.)
The Blackflame Empire was founded by dragons.
In Cradle, dragons are a race of sacred beasts that can...well, they're dragons. You know what they can do. Like all sacred beasts and Remnants, their intelligence is based largely on their age and advancement levels, so many of them have human-level intelligence or better.
A family of black dragons once conquered and ruled half a continent, which is a truly massive amount of territory in a world the size of Cradle. They held their empire against all rivals for centuries.
Until a mysterious disaster killed most of the dragons, crippling their ability to continue the bloodline. As you know, no one in a fantasy novel ever discovers the truth behind ancient disasters, so I'm sure it will remain a mystery forever.
With their rulers dead or dying, a clan of humans stumbled upon a method of harnessing the dragons' power. They abandoned their old Path, instead choosing to develop the same sacred arts used by the dragons.
The Blackflame Empire shrunk in size, the humans lacking the ability to control quite as much territory as the dragons could, though it was still home to over a billion people.*
This clan started calling their main branch the Blackflame family, for obvious reasons, and they stayed in control for almost five hundred years.
But human bodies were not well-suited to the power of dragons. Slowly, the family declined, until even those who lived in the heart of the empire thought of them more as symbols and legends than actual individuals.
More and more of the day-to-day workings of the Empire were left to the Blackflames' traditional servants, the Naru clan. They became the face of the Blackflame empire, with their loyal reputation and shining emerald wings, and the people grew to know and trust them.
Fifty years ago, they quietly ascended the throne.
The first Naru clan Empress has since moved into private seclusion, and her son now rules the Empire. As for the Blackflame family themselves, they died out decades ago, gradually eaten from the inside out by their own madra.
That's the story, anyway.
*(A truly ridiculous number of people live in Cradle. The main planet of Iteration 110 is quite a bit bigger than Earth.)
P.S. I didn't want to share more from the actual document, so I thought I'd whip up a world-building thing. Hope you like it! And if you don't, don't worry, I'll be mixing it up again next week.
Jon-e da ogre is me Jon-e HAPPY
3/15/2017 04:49:34 pm
Jon-e fac-unge piszt
3/15/2017 08:30:19 pm
Ned meer na-wah
3/15/2017 04:53:59 pm
omg, i'm starving. I'll have to continue stellar transformations until the sundering (blackflame release).
3/15/2017 05:21:01 pm
Just don't go into Life-Death closed door seclusion, trying to break through the finishing book bottle neck.
3/17/2017 04:38:34 pm
go out and defeat opponents, take their madra and loot and rejoice.
3/15/2017 04:54:57 pm
Yup, empire-shacking catastrophes never become important story elements. Ever. Honest.
3/16/2017 02:16:14 pm
Nothing to see here just a dash of exposition that has nothing at all to do with anything plot related. Honest. You all believe me right?
3/15/2017 08:23:23 pm
Whenever ancient unknown catastrophes that wiped out civilization in the past are mentioned in books I always just assume it was super gonorrhea.
3/15/2017 08:44:23 pm
3/15/2017 04:58:06 pm
Do these dragons happen to breath black fire?
3/15/2017 09:09:54 pm
So you're a Mystery writer now Will? Don't diversify on me, I need more fantasy!
3/15/2017 05:16:25 pm
We talking fu manchu dragons or those pesky ones with wings and legs? It's important... for science
3/15/2017 10:35:12 pm
Their beards must be fireproof, or else they wouldn't have them for long.
3/15/2017 10:37:28 pm
By the way, I figure that is what happened to Patrick Rothfuss. He used up all his energy growing his beard and does not have enough left to finish his damn book.
3/15/2017 05:47:10 pm
And... Yerin's dark passenger?
3/16/2017 05:21:03 am
What do you mean by dark passenger?
3/16/2017 06:50:29 am
Probably confused Yerin's "unwelcome guest" with Dexter's "dark passenger".
3/15/2017 07:08:38 pm
The dragon advances.
3/16/2017 11:25:25 am
I think he meant that the Blackflame family's servants became the ruling family
3/15/2017 07:20:23 pm
Teasers are awesome keep 'em coming!
3/15/2017 07:39:13 pm
More next week, so i guess its safe to assume 2 weeks at the earliest. =(
3/17/2017 01:08:49 am
Because the release is actually this weekend? We know your wicked ways Will. :)
3/15/2017 07:47:48 pm
3/15/2017 07:55:14 pm
Love this type of stuff Will! It tides us over a bit and ups the anticipation even more plus hopefully it gives you a little break from focusing on the book itself so much.
3/15/2017 08:43:06 pm
So, did Valin ever visit the Blackface Empire during his wanderings?
3/15/2017 08:46:40 pm
Urghhh, auto-correct. Blackflame. Curse your made up, compound words, Will Wight.
3/17/2017 12:51:39 pm
Do sacred artists of the blackface empire gather mandra by being giant dicks to everyone? Like would their houses just be completely covered in racist insults?
3/15/2017 11:27:43 pm
I doubt I can go 2 for 2...and this one required a Googling beforehand. I thought I recognized a name...
3/16/2017 12:54:01 am
Just give us the book!! Or don't... it give me more time to outline mine.. thanks!
3/16/2017 12:58:43 am
Urggg auto corrected by the iPhone.. gives..
3/16/2017 01:07:08 am
New merchandise, huh. Sweet!
3/16/2017 01:11:32 am
I believe it is P.S.S
3/16/2017 06:55:06 am
You believe incorrectly. The "p" is for post, Latin for after, and "s" is for "scriptum", meaning "written" or "writing". So something written after a postscript would be a post postscript, or p.p.s.
3/16/2017 04:41:46 am
So will, Question time:
3/16/2017 06:38:15 am
Now that Will has given us the history of the Blackflame empire, you have to wonder if Lindon is going to fill one of his cores with the power of dragons since we know he faces on if the teaser is correct.
3/16/2017 08:43:48 am
The toxic resilient and healing power of his "scorpion iron body" (at least that is how i remember it) will nicely counteract the corruptive tendencies of his new dragon core....idk probably not though. Also says they were "eaten from inside out by their madra" but maybe Lindons handicap of already low madra will protect him from this..... but he has already reached iron and seems to be progressing well so maybe that really isn't even a factor anymore.
3/18/2017 02:03:16 pm
I don't think just the Blood Forged Iron body is going to be sufficient for Lindon to survive using the dragon path. It's not like it appears to be some secret technique the Black Flame emperors wouldn't know about. It probably helped but you use madra to heal damage using the blood forged body and if the dragon madra is corrosive enough (more so than the venomous madra the sandvipers used) then it may cause low level damage even as it heals major wounds.
3/16/2017 12:10:05 pm
This was exactly what I thought of when I read they were eaten inside out by their madra. Seems the power of the bloodforged iron body would restore and counteract the caustic effects of the dragon madra. It also seems like Eithan was probably planning exactly that by conveniently showing up with the Sandviper method in Lindon's time of need. We know the next book features Eithan giving Lindon a "tour" of the various paths practiced in the blackflame empire so I imagine one of those paths may be the blackflame (or whatever Will ends up calling it), that or Lindon comes into contact with someone in the empire who can pass on the dragon's methods during one of the training sessions/trials he is going to face. Will also said before that the covers on his books have to something important to do with Lindon's growth (or something to that effect) and the current cover looks a lot like a core covered in blackflame. That could just be symbolic of the empire's training because he said all the covers would feature a round object, but it looks a bit too convenient for me considering one of the possible lines in the next book has someone's core being filled with dark bloody light.
3/22/2017 02:20:28 pm
The cover for Blackflame, the flame isn’t truly black. But more blackish red. You could pretty much describe it as a dark, bloody color. And seeing how madra is seen as light…one might jumps to the conclusion that Blackflame madra would look like dark, bloody light. Now seeing how Blackflame madra gradually eats you from the inside out. I wonder what would happen if say, someone with a super Bloodforged Iron body that heals itself with ones own spirit were to take in Blackflame madra?
3/17/2017 08:39:00 am
The dragon advances.
3/16/2017 10:02:36 am
The loyal servants of the Empire with green wings are Light creatures from World of Warcraft? :o
3/16/2017 11:43:50 pm
Quit with the writing here on the web site and get more with the writing in the, you know, the actual book thing!
3/17/2017 11:36:45 am
While I'm sure this was meant tongue-in-cheek, I just want to say that as fast as Will puts out books, I'm happy to see him post updates on his blog. The updates are always relevant (even a post about merchandise is relevant IMO because it's directly related to promoting an ongoing series) and are great interactions with the audience. So thanks for that Will!
3/17/2017 12:39:03 am
If the world is so large.... does gravity not work the same way in this universe?
3/17/2017 12:58:59 pm
The planet may be hollow or it may be made of less dense matter or the gravitational constant could be significantly lower in the universe or yeah it could be magic. Though if humans exist it must have some relation to the basic model or they wouldn't be human.
3/18/2017 02:28:36 am
Thanks for answering this Will. I always wonder how much thoughts of details like this enter into the minds of fantasy authors.
Zeussaxis the Amateur Geologist
3/17/2017 02:44:27 pm
Consider that the gravity of a planet is (in part) determined by the density and material of its core, it's atmospheric makeup, size, number, etc. of its moons, and proximity to other celestial bodies.
3/17/2017 03:10:23 pm
What are you talking about? The gravity of a planet is determined by the mass of the planet, and the distance between the effective center of mass of the planet and the place where the gravity is measured. Anything else non-magical has a negligible effect on the weight of a person or thing.
3/17/2017 03:32:51 pm
I appreciate the physics...I'm sure that applies if you want to assign a gravitational quotient (is that a thing?) to a planet as a whole. I'm certainly not an expert in the subject.
3/17/2017 05:23:40 pm
Again, anything beyond the mass of the planet and the distance from the center of mass is negligible in determining the force of gravity on a person or object on the surface of the planet. The moon has a negligible effect on your weight -- you cannot measure a difference in your weight 12 hours apart (with the moon on different sides of the planet).
ZeussaXIS isnt an astrophysicist
3/17/2017 06:06:35 pm
I still feel you've missed the point. I have to agree with your physics-based arguments related to our universe because a) it's not my bag, and b) the conclusions sound reasonable.
3/17/2017 06:49:29 pm
You just continue to make incorrect statements. Keep digging your hole deeper and you will change your weight eventually.
ZEUSSAXIS ISN'T JOHN
3/17/2017 07:39:18 pm
Where I'm wrong:
Since it looks like this has become a real discussion, I'll give a real answer!
3/21/2017 03:56:08 pm
You may not enjoy figuring out how magic interacts with and is subject to physics, but I would feel sure you wouold enjoy the fact that Sanderson has done so.
Jeremiah, what I like and appreciate is all the thought and planning that Sanderson puts into developing his magic system, and how clear the rules usually are. AND what an impact they always have on the surrounding society.
3/29/2017 12:30:42 pm
I may be weird, but yes, things like that bug me. Less in fantasy as the author can say "because magic" and it works (though some take that to an extreme, which usually is enough to turn me off from a book) but in sci-fi that is a definite deal-breaker)
Apparently that's a pretty common view, April, and that's fine!
3/17/2017 08:47:12 am
OK, not exactly a comment on this post, but I've been ruminating on a theory, so I'm gonna drop it and see what happens:
3/17/2017 11:38:35 am
That....would be hilarious and awesome!
3/17/2017 01:01:27 pm
That would be fantastic and very keeping with wills style.
3/17/2017 01:47:44 pm
Hey Will. If I copy Enkidu's post can I send you my email and get some spoilers too?
3/17/2017 02:54:47 pm
I send you an email, (my name is Brandon). That theory has been bouncing around my head since I read Soulsmith for the 4th time. If Ilona Andrews would release White Hot (I know, but I like it...) I would have something else to obsess over.
3/17/2017 02:56:05 pm
3/17/2017 07:28:22 pm
OMG Enkidu, AWESOME theory! Unfortunately you are probably sworn to secrecy by now and will be killed by garden gnomes if you tell us what will told you.
I can see it
3/18/2017 07:56:02 am
Will, didn't you kinda confirm this theory with your comment?
3/18/2017 02:08:53 am
3/18/2017 10:30:41 pm
Wow! If that wasn't actually the case a non-canon short-story should be written where it is true because that theory is great!
3/17/2017 01:03:46 pm
So if there is sword mandra that gathers on edged weapons does that mean there is club mandra that gathers around blunt objects?
not a madra expert
3/20/2017 04:07:17 pm
From what I can tell of the world and the usage of Madra in particular, I think the most analogous form of "blunt" madra would likely be named "force madra" or somesuch. Sword madra seems to have less to do with swords specifically and more to do with cutting or sharp edged implements. I'm reasonably certain (fact checking would be appreciated) that Jai Long has "sword madra" in his sacred path, yet he uses a bladed spear rather than a sword. As a side point, the name sword madra just sounds so much better then sharp madra or cutting madra that it makes sense to use it.
You've nailed it.
3/17/2017 06:00:07 pm
Seems to me that while London does want power, it is because of the suffering he endured while in Sacredy Valley. At least it started there. Even still he wants to protect the valley from an impending Dreadgod attack. So he wants power for himself and to save others. His goals don't really seem conpletely selfless though. I think he will find a noble cause. Giving power to those that have none. I think he may actually fix Jai Long's sister's core, or give her a new one that he constructed. A Soulsmith if you will. Which I would think would be a vastly overpowered in potential.
3/17/2017 07:27:32 pm
Brain fart here - where is it mentioned that jai long's sisters core is damaged? I'm sure your right I just can't remember this in the books
3/17/2017 09:01:13 pm
Soulsmith chapter 6 towards the end of the chapter. It says that her core is cracked.
3/17/2017 06:39:37 pm
You have until I finish Iron Fist to get this book out. Tick tock.
3/19/2017 01:09:06 pm
Hey if you all want a book to read in the mean time you could try the Daniel black series by e. William brown. Be advised it does have explicit moments so you can ignore this if you don't enjoy that kind of thing but it is a very well written entertaining fantasy series.
3/20/2017 05:56:07 am
I am curious. What did you like about the Daniel Black Series? It read to me like a 14 year olds fantasy life.
3/20/2017 05:58:32 pm
I personally enjoyed the blend of classical magic with science based applications and the fact that it revolved around adults and wasn't a coming of age story about a special snowflake of a bratty teenager.
3/20/2017 06:02:46 pm
Admittedly the first book has some flaws. Mainly that yeah it does kinda read like a 14 year olds dream life but it's not a long book and the take takes off a lot from there
I liked them too, actually, which kind of caught me off-guard. I almost quit reading several times in the first two chapters. Harem stories normally give me eye cancer, and I started off skipping ten pages at a time as the story seemed to exist only to highlight how awesome Daniel was.
3/20/2017 10:46:01 pm
You know the sex never really bugged me in those books. the sex scenes were never particularly intrinsic to the plot but they weren't really as far from normal human interactions as most of western society would think. Could the books have been written with out sex and been great still? Yes. But just from reading his work I think that mr brown has studied some human psychology because from a neurological perspective emotions are essentially a series of drugs that are designed to help you survive as an organism. The need to breed(AKA sex to us humans) is right up there with fear and rage as the most important emotion required for a species that can't replecate themselves to survive. In humans this emotion is amplified tremendously by adrenaline which is in rather large supply as one is constantly fighting for ones life in a post apocalyptic wasteland. Layering that on top of the fact that the girls in question grew up in a society where sleeping with some one is a reasonable plan to get them to protect/care/provide for you and the fact that both girls are either A part sex demon or B designed to be easy to suduce for the sake of an old witch's evil plot and you end up with something that, while not really necessary, is not an illogical conclusion to the scenario brown crafted in his novels.
"...they weren't really as far from normal human interactions as most of western society would think..."
3/22/2017 11:43:31 am
That wasn't really what I was trying to say. The gust of what I was attempting to say was that taken individually any of the situations where he ends up sleeping with the various women are entirely plausible and that's why the sex in those books doesn't bug me. That being said however all four coinciding at ruffly the same time is stretching the bounds of plausibility and wandering into the realm of wish for filament like you said. I was simply attempting to explain why it does not bug me as it seems to bug most of the people here. Sorry if that came across poorly I am not the best at explaining myself.
3/22/2017 09:32:28 am
If Daniel Black is not your cup of tea I might suggest "Perilous Waif" by the same author. That book was a blast!
3/19/2017 01:19:54 pm
All this discussion of Jai Long's sister's core made me remember something I was thinking about after I finished Soulsmith.
3/19/2017 10:28:06 pm
I have a few questions for you, Will.
Family of Cremlings in a trench coat disguised as a family of raccoons in a trench coat disguised as a human in a trench coat even though nobody normal wears a trench coat
3/20/2017 05:11:07 am
Rock asks very good questions.
I can't believe you typed out that entire name. Now I want to hear you sing it.
3/20/2017 09:45:45 am
On the second answer.
FAMILY OF CREMLINGS IN A TRENCH COAT DISGUISED AS A FAMILY OF RACCOONS IN A TRENCH COAT DISGUISED AS A HUMAN IN A TRENCH COAT EVEN THOUGH NOBODY NORMAL WEARS A TRENCH COAT
3/20/2017 10:08:12 am
Will, I've been wondering this for a while now. Why exactly would someone want to ascend to another world?
As it turns out, I completely misunderstood your question.
3/20/2017 09:23:58 pm
I know, that this is basically spoiler territory and you don't have to answer me. If someone from Cradle goes to Asylum( haven't read EE ) and the world has a different magic system, will they use that new magic system or Madra?
3/20/2017 07:00:26 am
I am curious. How far out do you outline? I am curious, because if the post about Lindon's wife being Jai's sister has any truth, that would imply you either outline a fair amount of the upcoming book, or that you were just able to conveniently make that work because you leave certain aspects vague enough to accommodate it.
That's a great question, John.
3/20/2017 01:04:47 pm
Okay, I'm a bit confused on how Cradle has that many people living on it. I know Will said that the planet is bigger and that vital aura helps to keep people alive, but I'm still not sure how it has such a huge population if there are so many dangerous conditions(monsters, remnants, kill-happy people, poisonous plants, etc.) and how there doesn't seem to be much large-scale agriculture(at least from what we've read). Is there agriculture that we haven't seen? Are they completely immune to disease? Is the planet just ridiculously huge(many times bigger than earth) to the point where that stuff could happen and still support a population of billions?
3/20/2017 06:07:58 pm
I think will already said in an earlier post that it was just ridiculously huge. Could be wrong though
3/20/2017 07:04:01 pm
In addition to the larger planet, you also have to remember that aside from the valley, we've only seen the outer fringes of the empire which are a fairly lawless. I'm sure living conditions are much more stable for the commoner person more within the various states.
It has many times more surface area than Earth.
3/21/2017 11:11:15 am
The inside of a volcano? The top of a rainbow? The back of a turtle? In a glacier? On a glacier? Under a desert? Suspended on a moon beam? Floating on sunlight? Deep under ground?
3/22/2017 09:24:19 am
Could a city be on the plain? Could a city be a moving train? Could a city be in the air? Will makes cities everywhere!
On the topic of the planet Cradle and vital aura. Is the planet called Cradle because it's great for cultivation? OR is there another reason like some awesome being in the center who is not yet hatched / or is being suppressed? Such an incredible entity might be the source of the vital aura that makes Cradle such an great place to cultivate.
1.) It's called Cradle because it's great for cultivation, but there are often double meanings in Abidan designations. The Elder Empire world is called Asylum, which means protection, but it is also has...other implications.
3/21/2017 11:16:18 am
How advanced is their scientific understanding on cradle? Cause I mean I know they have lots of knowledge of their magic and their alchemy equivalent but do they understand stuff like, there is a top of the atmosphere, cradle revolves around the sun, space is empty, other planets exist... stuff like that
It's not great in Sacred Valley, but there are places in Cradle where their scientific understanding is pretty advanced.
3/22/2017 11:50:14 am
Cool. Thanks for answering will, I figured they wouldn't have much of a tech base when people can learn to fly but I was curious if their knowledge was more advanced than their purely none magical tech.
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Hey, what about those short stories you claim to have already written?
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