Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Worlds of Nicki Chapelway: Part Five Varelis


I haven't done one of these "Worlds of Nicki Chapelway" posts in a while, but with the looming release of An Apprentice of Death (February 13th is 15 days away!) I figured I should share a little bit about it, namely by sharing a glimpse into Varelis. A place that is arguably the most complex world I've ever created, so with all that said... let's get into this.

Climate and Terrain: 

Varelis is a large land that is divided across eleven houses (the equivalent of kingdoms), I would say that the majority of Varelis is forested or elevated in mountains or foothills, however Castrele is very much a water-locked kingdom. Drasson and Dramont also have their share of marshlands.

Varelis experiences four seasons: frostfall, springtide, eversun, and autumnglade. Although as you may have noticed from the northernmost part of the map, there is a frozen section. That's where a powerful, ancient water mage known as the Ice King found his eternal rest. His dormant magic continues to make the area near where he may be found frozen.

Creatures and Monsters: 

Varelis was originally the home of the elves, of which there were seven races: sun elves, sea elves, blood elves, death elves, kindred elves, dark elves, and wood elves.

At some point however, humans came from the East and settled in the south of Varelis

A time after that, human pilgrims sailed from the north seeking safety from religious persecution. They eventually broke into two houses, the House of Man and the House of Dragons.

Then it was discovered that the land under Varelis was also inhabited by dwarfs.

Now all these factions live together, not at all peacefully.

There are many monsters in Varelis. So much so that I couldn't possibly list them all here. However, I can name a few. There are dragons, of course, majestic creatures that have a special bond with one of the human houses. Goblins and gravellins, which are creatures that are a less intelligent form of goblin, both roam in the caverns under the mountains and the dwarfs are dedicated to keeping them at bay.

And then there are liches and wraiths, two forms of undead creatures. Wraiths are made such against their will and liches are powerful men who seek to use enchantments to help them find a way to cheat death.

Political Atmosphere: 

Varelis has no ruler, there is a high throne, but it is frozen in ice in the Ice King's lands. The eleven houses are all ruled by various rulers from a council to a jarl to being under the commands of the high priest. They operate separately from each other. Some such as the House Fraterya/Fate and the dwarven House Under the Mountain have little to no contact with the outside world, others such as Castrele and Balvlin clash far more noticeably and have been embroiled in a war for a good many years.

Each house is in varying states of decay and all are dealing with their own issues that could very well lead to their destruction.

The House of Death has already fallen and the question is which house will follow it down to the Nethers next.


Each elf is born with a heritage magic that compliments their house. For instance, sea elves are born capable of manipulating water and death elves possessing the ability to cheat death (at the cost of the last person that they touched) and so on.

Outside of heritage magic, there is really only one other form of magic and that is the kind granted to the Royal Blooded (also known as mages in the human tongue), these individuals are chosen by Regala the goddess of magic. One person is chosen from each house so there are eleven such individuals. They are the only ones capable of wielding spells (and the royal blooded from the human and dwarven houses are the only humans and dwarfs to possess any sort of magic), they are also the only ones who can vie for the high throne, due to the fact that they're the only people powerful enough to unite Varelis.


There are several elven gods, eight of the houses are dedicated each to a different god or goddess of the elves. Despite believing in all these gods, the elves and humans of these houses only ever serve their patron god. It is considered a heresy to follow a god outside of your patron.

The humans and dwarfs also have their own religions.

All, however, believe in a common afterlife: the Nethers.

Sound like a world you would like to know more about? Pre-order An Apprentice of Death and dive into the world of Varelis just in time for Valentine's Day!

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