The Ruon Chronicles: Worldbuilding the Magic System
This is part 2, in which I go deeper into the Ruon magic system
Hello Dear Reader,
I hope you’re all keeping well!
Today I’m (finally) bringing you the second part of the Ruon magic system, containing all the other types of Ruon nith that exist in The Ruon Chronicles.
I’ve included some videos as well to show the type of needlework or weaving I have in mind - if you only watch one, be sure to watch how Jamdani fabric is made. I could not not put it in the Chronicles!
If you missed part one, don’t worry! That one dealt with the embroidered charms and can still be read here on the site. To read about the embroidered Ruon charms, click here.
But let’s start…
Not to be confused with needlepoint (where canvas is embroidered), the Ruon tapestries refer to woven tapestries that are imbued with nith. This nith gives the tapestry a dynamic quality which means that the picture that is woven can move. Okay, they basically weave a gif. But a gif with class :P
So it's not like a neverending movie that plays itself out on the threads, but rather a short scene (about a minute is the longest) that repeats itself.
It works very well on landscapes (think trees swaying in the wind, etc.), but people and even important battle scenes and other historic moments are also shown in these tapestries. Because they take so many people to make they are very expensive and is the main way for the Ruon sanctuaries to make the money they require to feed and clothe the Keepers of the sanctuaries as well as deliver healing and other services to the communities they serve.
Widely used in the making of clothing for the Tellerassar (eagle shapeshifters), the nith is what causes the Tellerassar to be able to change form and keep their clothes “on” while in shifted form. (Because having your shapeshifters looking for clothing to wear for half the book gets old very quickly.)
The cloth can be made from various materials, most often linen or very fine cotton. Most of the cloth is produced locally in Heimfeie, although the finest cloth (based loosely on Jamdani from India) comes from the north and north-west of Sjahra.
Cloth used in the shrines of Sjahra and Khallahna are also woven in Sjahra by Ruon weavers and imbued with a certain amount of nith.
There are so many styles of knitting, that I’m not going to go through all of it here — especially since the knitting part is the newest part of the magic system and the figuring out of it is still a work in progress!
Much as the nith is trapped in embroidery stitches, so, too, is nith trapped in the knitting stitches. Different patterns can hold different guarding charms and healing charms, though they are usually a lot more specific and intricate than those that are used in the embroidery.
Lace knitting is one of the favourite types of knitting that is used by the Ruon and also gives a very light fabric that is both easy and practical to carry.
In the colder climates in the north of Airtha-Eyrassa, denser fabrics are created in order to be practical for that environment, however. The Eastern Keepers and especially the Northern Keepers specialise in these knitting styles, while the Southern and Western Keepers are usually trained rather to knit lacework or at the most light blankets and cloths.
The sanctuary of Holt Haliern, which lies in the centre of the world, is one of the few places where both “main styles” of knitting is taught and practiced.
The crochet that is imbued with nith is made from fine thread and usually has a very lace-like appearance. The stitches and different motifs contain different kinds of charms or guarding magic.
Here is a video by Olga Poltava showing how crochet — and specifically crocheting with thread — looks:
The crocheted nith usually takes longer to make than the embroidered charms, although crocheted motifs can also be healing charms.
(As an aside for other crocheters - I usually use number 5 thread for all my thread crocheting as other sizes can be tricky to come by where I live. My favourite patterns for doilies are usually Japanese and Russian, while my favourite shawl designer is Jasmin Räsänen.)
The finest of crocheted motifs imbued with nith are made with thread no thicker than sewing thread. This technique, however, is highly specialised because of the delicacy and fineness of the work.
These crocheted motifs can be either worn on the outside of clothing where they are visible, or on the inside of a garment where they are not visible and where they may give someone the upper hand when they need to use nith in a fight.
A shirt may be made of these lace-like motifs and, if it contains enough nith, it can be as hard as… well… mithril.
The first time this kind of nith comes into its own, is in book one of The Ruon Chronicles series when the character Ruenna wears some of the motifs at the beginning of the book.
Right, now on to tatting and lace making.
Tatting and Lace Making
Tatting, which you can see being done in the video below, is not only a craft that I still want to try, but also another type of needlework that can be imbued with nith.
Very fine work — almost as fine as the lace which I will discuss next, the motifs are made up of a series of “knots” so to speak.
Tatted motifs are used as part of guarding magic and those making this kind of lace are held in high esteem because they are quite few and far between.
Here is the video showing how a small motif is made:
Lastly we come to the type of needlework which is most scarce among the Ruon. It is important to again emphasize that not all lace makers are Ruon and that not all lace are imbued with nith.
However, the lace of the Ruon are the finest lace that is available in all of Airtha-Eyrassa. Those practicing the art can only be taught at a few of the Sanctuaries because there are so few lace makers.
Used only for guarding, the lace that the Ruon make is extremely strong with a lot of “concentrated” nith contained in the different “stitches” of the work.
That said, the lace which I have in mind as being the nith-imbued kind, is needle lace and bobbin lace. Here you can see how bobbin lace is made:
And some more in this documentary on Vologda lace and lace making:
Until Friday, stay well and stay safe!