Making The Wild Huntsman

In spring of 2021, as lockdowns were starting to ease in Norway, and after having spent the previous year writing my first novel, I felt the need to flex my filmmaking muscles again and decided to make a short Fantasy film. Equipped with a meagre budget of roughly 10,000 NOK (the equivalent of about $900 or £700) and not much else—I was pretty much on my own and had little to no experience with the small film culture that exists on the Norwegian south-west coast around my hometown of Stavanger.

Inspired by the English folktale of the Odinic character Herne the Hunter, I quickly wrote a simple script and set out looking for my cast and crew.

My biggest stroke of luck was when I come in contact with actor and model Thor Rosland, who is generally known for his commercials for The Beard Struggle, in which dressed as a Viking, he promotes a series of beard oils and grooming products in comedic skits which had become something on an online sensation.

And with the upcoming release of The Pendragon Cycle, in which Thor plays Hengist, the warlord of the Saxons, this seemed like a good opportunity to reminisce a little about my short film with Thor; The Wild Huntsman.

Thor Rosland as The Huntsman. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.


First off, I should probably explain in more details where I got the idea for the Huntsman and why I chose to make a short film out of it. 

I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales, folk stories and myths from across the world. I'm especially fascinated by symbolic archetypes, doubly so when they appear across borders in the myths of neighbouring cultures. So, while looking for inspiration for my script, I came across the Danish/German folk tale of "The Fairy Hunter," a simple story about a hunter that kills an elf-girl (note that elf in this case refers to a more mischievous fay-like creature rather than the noble elves popularised by books/films like Lord of the Rings). Shortly after I came across the British legend of Herne the hunter, an antlered huntsman who is believed to be an incarnation of both the Celtic god Cernunnos and the head of the Norse gods; Odin—the latter of which is also the leader of the Wild Hunt. With these two simple stories in mind, I decided to combine them and create my own little cross-cultural archetype myth.

Thor Rosland as The Huntsman. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

The simplicity of both stories also made them perfect for my meagre budget and resources. I knew that my hometown of Stavanger could provide me with plenty of beautiful nature scenery befitting both folk tales, but also a perfect replica of an Iron Age farmhouse. I contacted the owners early on in the production and received permission to shoot parts of my short there, as well as borrow some of their period-accurate costumes.

I was off to a good start.


The lead (different from the titular character) proved to be the most difficult to cast as I required someone fairly young but who still had a Viking-quality to his appearance. The casting of Thor as the Huntsman had been something of a lucky stroke, and all the characters (despite there only being four) proved difficult. Stavanger simply isn’t a place with that large a film industry or acting community, and the fact I was producing a micro budget short film and was only offering to cover expenses didn’t exactly help much either. 

All attempts at casting the lead led me to an assortment of Oslo actors that had to be rejected due to the travel costs, though I eventually got into contact with Vegard Heggelund, a young actor with a proper Nordic look to him who, despite living and studying in Oslo, was actually from Karmøy—a large island not far north of Stavanger. It just so happened that he was planning a visit home for the summer holiday and he was more than willing to sacrifice a weekend for this project provided I could cover the cost of the relatively short trip down to Stavanger and accommodation, a request I was more than happy to oblige.

Actor Vegard Heggelund. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

The shooting crew consisted of three media students from the University in Stavanger, a somewhat meager number for a film shoot but perfectly serviceable for a small project like this—it's worth mentioning that I have worked with less in the past, though I wouldn't recommend it. Still, it was an odd adjustment after having recently spent some time in London with film crews of at least a dozen or so people (which is still quite small). 

At the risk of sounding like a money pincher, I've found that you can save a lot of money by "hiring" students as they are usually more than happy to get the chance to add any project to their CV before they've even finished their education. I also got the camera equipment for free via the university as I had borrowed from them before, so they knew I was someone who could be trusted with their equipment.

A small but very efficient film crew. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

The on-set photographer; Kornelius Kiil Enoksen, (whose excellent photos I’ve used throughout this article) is a friend of mine from my days studying Media & Communications. The rest of the crew consisted of pretty much every family member, friend, or friend-of-a-friend that I could convince to spend a weekend in July hanging out in a park while the rest of us were running about within the nearby woods getting our shots.


In the same way that digital cameras have become a godsend for the low budget filmmaker (though I do love analogue film), so has Etsy for the micro budget prop-maker. 

You’d think the Huntsman’s antlers would have proven to be the most difficult part of the pre-production—and in a sense it still was—but after some brief online searching I came across someone who made realistic looking horns and antlers for fantasy cosplayers. As luck would have it, she was also Norwegian, albeit living in Oslo, but after contacting her and explaining what I needed she was more than willing to make me some custom antlers with strengthened supports for the production. 

Etsy also provided me with a pretty convincing ancient-looking spearhead made from fiberglass and polyester resin, as well as the Mystery Girls’ animal appendage. One learns many strange things while working on projects like this, and the fact that you can buy real cow tails online is one of those things that really shouldn't surprise you, but receiving one in the mail is a whole other thing.  

Vegard Heggelund mending a prop between takes. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

The more “normal” props, such as a mediaeval fishing rod, I constructed myself. There’s not much to say about the making of the rod, it’s about what you’d expect, a bit of whittling, some twine, glue, etc. and the bone hooks were fashioned out of clay. But the one thing that I am quite proud of about this prop is just how historically accurate it turned out to be. No fishing rods have ever been found by archaeologist in Scandinavia, though based on the numerous discoveries of hooks made from deer bone it is safe to assume that they were used during the Viking Age. The simple rod I made was based off recreations of English fishing rods from the Middle Ages, but only a year or so after the film’s premiere I went to the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger and saw an exhibition of experimental recreations of bone hooks, and I was pleased to see that they looked virtually identical to my fake ones.

A few weeks before the shoot I met Thor in his home for a costume fitting and to try out the newly arrived antlers from Oslo. 

When it came to the costume for the Huntsman, I chose, both for practical and thematic reasons, to do the complete opposite that I planned on doing for the main character (the "Young Viking") and his family, and ignored historical accuracy completely. The practical reason for this was, of course, primarily because Thor could provide his own costume, which was more Hollywood inspired than anything based on history or archaeology. But because I knew the Huntsman would have to stand out and appear otherworldly when compared to the more "normal" characters, the exaggerated costumes he used for his Beard Struggle commercials fit perfectly, though admittedly I did end up choosing the most down to earth pieces he had in his wardrobe. Being a mythical creature that is part of the natural order I felt the brown leather gave him a suitably “earthy” look, while the fur around his shoulders complimented the animal-hybrid look of the antlers, making him appear somewhat elemental. 

Thor Rosland putting on his costume. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.


To paraphrase what I wrote in a previous blog article (The Locations that Inspired The Starseed); Just a few kilometres uphill from the inlet where Harald Fairhair united the tribes of Norway into a single nation after the battle of Hafrsfjord in 872 AD, a trio of carefully reconstructed Iron Age longhouses lie in the shadows of three brutalist apartment blocks from the mid-1970s.

I’ve been coming to this location semi-regularly since childhood (I even spent a night there as a Boy Scout) and have always been fascinated by the feeling of being transported back in time when visiting, that is, as long as you look away from the aforementioned apartment blocks, or the nearby visitors centre, and if you look south you can pretty much see the entirety of the University in Stavanger, but, if you point your camera in the right direction, or simply stay within the longhouses, then it really does feel like you’ve travelled back to the Iron Age. And that’s exactly what I ended up doing.

Setting up a shot at the Iron Age Farm in Ullandhaug. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

As mentioned, I had contacted the manager of the Iron Age Farm early on in the project and I quickly received permission from her to shoot in and about the open-door museum, that is, provided we arrived before opening time, so as to not crash with any potential visitors. We were also given permission to pick out some of the authentic period-costumes they had for Vegard to wear throughout the shoot (even when not filming on the site) and we were told that the shoot would be overseen by one of their regular hosts—in costume no less. They were, however, somewhat vague on who exactly would be there when we arrived for the shoot, but assured me that whoever they were, they wouldn’t mind being on camera. So, I adjusted the script slightly by adding a brother/sister/mother background character, depending on who actually did show up.

We arrived early in the morning on June 26, having pretty much just a little over an hour to prepare and shoot everything we needed before the tourist would start arriving. We were greeted by a young woman in a period accurate dress named Johanne, and as such the main character ended up with a sister. Vegard was taken to the costume room and quickly fitted with his costume, while actor Pål Gunnar Eid Gribbestad, who played his father, provided his own costume. 

Pål Gunnar Eid Gribbestad inside the Iron Age longhouse. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

The host proved very enthusiastic about the project and lit a fire within the largest longhouse. She even dropped by the kitchen in the visitor centre café to get some fish to cook on the stone plate to add some domestic realism to the film's opening scene. She had no qualms about being on camera and even ended up becoming the first character we see in the finished film. Lit primarily by the fire (and a flickering red LED light), the opening shots of Johanne and Paul Gunnar are, I think, some of the best in the film. 

All went according to schedule, and we managed to wrap up just as the doors officially opened on the Iron Age Farm. While the film crew began carrying all the camera equipment away from the longhouses towards the visitor centre a small group of period-dressed hosts crossed us going in the opposite direction carrying wooden swords and other replicas of Iron Age implements meant to entertain and educate visitors.

Vegard Heggelund. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.


The rest of the film was shot around a small lake called Lille Stokkavann (lit: Little Stokka Lake) a short walk from where my mother, aunts and uncle grew up—I even spent part of my own childhood here, so it was very familiar territory.

When we arrived at our "green room," a nearby barn turned into a community centre, the rest of the crew had already unpacked and were waiting for us. We shot everything needed around the lake that day, as well as a long sequence within the nearby woods which in the final edit was cut down to a mere two shots. That’s filmmaking for you.

Discussing the scene with Vegard Heggelund. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

We returned to the same location for the second day, this time being joined by Thor Rosland, and spent the entire day within a small clearing close to a well-travelled gravel footpath hugging the edge of the lake. The crew of friends and family kept watch while the rest of us were working within the forest, informing joggers and people simply out for a stroll that there was a shoot going on. Most people were quite polite and passed by quietly, though we did receive a fair number of curious onlookers peeking at us through the bramble. Hardly surprising really, it’s not every day you see a large Viking with antlers while walking your dog. 

I had originally planned to use a smoke machine for this sequence to add a haunting, mystical atmosphere to the already picturesque forest clearing, but although I had acquired one via the university and had successfully tested it in the studio there a few days earlier, once we set it up in the forest, with a portable battery, spare fluid and everything, the little box-like machine merely sputtered out a few wimpy whisp of smoke and refused to give us anything else. 

Vegard Heggelund & Thor Rosland between takes. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

While irksome, the smoke machine was hardly necessary to finish the scene, even if I did loose much of the mythic aura I wanted to convey. At least the lights worked as intended, and I could console myself by getting a chance to play with some coloured gels for the first time, something which I learned a lot from and intend to continue to do in future film projects. I may have been denied my smoke, but I did succeed in using the unnatural green lighting as a means of conveying that there was something otherworldly about this forest and its two supernatural inhabitants.

Once the broken smoke machine had been ditched the shoot went quite smoothly, that is as smoothly as a shoot can be when an actor is forced to wear wobbly antlers on his head inside a dense forest, but apart from the logistics of shooting everything out of order (more so than usual) there were little to complain about, that is, except for the poor actress playing the Mystery Girl, who, unlike the two men, wore a pretty skimpy dress that made her an easy target to a swarm of very persistent gnats. I later learned she’d been bitten quite often, but she had merely soldiered on and finished the shoot with very few complaints.

Directing a scene with Thor Rosland. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.


Now, unless you're a Scandinavian, or just so happen to be well-read on Nordic folklore, you are probably not familiar with the creature that the Mystery Girl is revealed to be at the end of the short film. Although certain liberties have been taken with this myth, most Scandinavians watching the short will instantly recognise her as a Hulder (or Huldra) the moment her cow tail is revealed.

The Hulder is for all intents and purposes the Nordic equivalent of a siren or nymph, i.e. a seductress that leads men to their doom by enticing them to follow her into the forest.

Shooting a scene with Helen Sertsu. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.

As with most folklore it’s hard to pin down the exact nature of a Hulder, though they are consistently depicted as young, beautiful blonde girls with a cow’s tail (which they usually try to hide). In many stories they also have a large hole on their back described as resembling a rotten tree stump. My Hulder obviously deviates a fair bit from much of this, the back-hole simply because it wouldn’t have been doable within the tiny budget (and frankly I don’t see what the point of it is beyond being weird) and although I originally intended to cast a Norwegian actress with blonde hair, actress Helen Sertsu was chosen due to her enthusiasm for the project and her availability. With this change in ethnicity, I decided to update the originally planned costume from an Iron Age dress to something more Mediterranean, specifically a Greek-inspired Khiton dress, implying that this creature in human form did not solely prey on Scandinavians, but had been chased by the Huntsman across multiple countries for who knows how many centuries. I also added additional details to her costume to further imply this long history, such as an amber necklace which suggested she had been in central Europe, a Celtic broch attached to her belt, and I even had some silver thread worked into the hem of the dress to add a subtle anachronism that made her seem just a little out of place in the “real world” of the Young Viking. 

Helen Sertsu. Photo © Kornelius Kiil Enoksen.


The post-production phase proved to be somewhat more international than the shoot. The music was composed by Swedish artist Zacharias Wolfe, whom I had first heard of via The London Film Academy, and “Yggdrasill,” the song which plays over the end credits was licensed from Dutch singer and songwriter Jonathan Barendsma, AKA Gealdýr. The visual effects were done by Guilherme Filipe, while the rest of the process, such as film editing, colour grading, etc. was either done by myself or Kevin Nordlander (who was also the Assistant Director).

The Wild Huntsman had its premiere in the US, February 18, 2022, at the Pensacon Short Film Festival in Pensacola, Florida.

Dawn of the Karabu Lore: The Animal Clans

The following text is taken from a "fact sheet" I made to assist me during the writing process of what would become my 2020 novel, Dawn of the Karabu. This second part is a summary of the culture, religion and social hierarchy related to the faction known as The Animal Clans. If you have not yet read the first part covering the human faction, you can read it here; The Children of the Light.

Whether this is merely a reminder or your first time reading about the world of my novel, I hope you will find it interesting. 

I do, however, want to make it clear to anyone who has not yet read the book that this, and the previous article, are in no ways required to understand the world depicted in the novel. I took great care to reveal the lore piece by piece through the narrative in a natural manner, so please consider this as either reference material or as trivia.

NOTE: No story spoilers have been included in this article, but the nuances of the Animal Clans can by itself be considered mild spoilers for the 2nd half of the novel. The text has also been partially altered and updated from the original to fix some minor incongruities between the final novel and the original document. Most of the reference photos originally used had to be removed for copyright reasons and have been replaced with stock images.

War always marks the beginning of change
- from the Extended Discourses by Bala-Chatur Ō-Inari.


Before the transfiguration of the Talos there was the great beast-war. With knowledge now lost, and for reasons intentionally forgotten, the first men to call themselves the Karabu uplifted the animals in the wild by bestowing them with human qualities. This angered the Talos, who strived for human perfection, and the practice was deemed heretical. 
- from A Summary of the History and Religion of the Children of the Light by The Master Chronicler in service of the Karabu Queen, first ruler of the 2nd dynasty.

The first animals to be uplifted were the Apes; Chimps and Gorillas, due to their physiology and intellect being the closest to humans. They were used as warriors.

Second came the Pigs. They served humanity as labourers.

Third came the Dolphins, chosen for their intellect and manoeuvrability under water. It is said they were given artificial arms to carry out underwater repairs and even sabotage to the enemy navy. Little is known about their current state as they are, without their arms, completely indistinguishable from natural Dolphins. However, legends do persist among both humans and animals that tell of societies of intelligent Dolphins living somewhere in foreign oceans. 

Finally, as a last effort to win the war, Foxes were uplifted and used as spies, saboteurs, and assassins.

The Animal Clans is a triad consisting of the Ape Clan, the Pig Clan and the Fox Clan.



The Saru Kuran (lit. “Ape Clan”) are the warriors of the Animal Clans. They follow a strict warrior code. Honour and authority are of the utmost importance to them. Since their ancestors once fought side-by-side with humans they speak the same language, albeit with some different words (the same applies to the Pigs and the Foxes). In addition to speech, they employ a complex sign language. This is said to be a remnant from their pre-uplift years, from before Man taught them to speak. Their use of sign language has proven itself useful in battle as a silent way to give orders and tactical information.


All warfare is based on deception. Appear weak when you are strong, emerge where you are not expected, then strike when your opponent thinks he is untouchable. 
- excerpts from A Treatise on War by The Warlord Xerxes of the Chandra clan.

The majority of the Ape army is stationed in a series of fortified settlements lining the edge of the thin strip of desert, roughly 40km across, that divides the land of the Animal Clans from the territory of the humans. The sands of the desert stretches all the way from the western sea to a gap in the great mountain range referred to as the Shield Wall which protects them from the greater toxic desert known as the Forbidden Lands. Little is known of this mysterious wasteland other than what is told in myth and legend. It was once the domain of the mythic Talos, the name used by the humans before recorded history, before they used their now forgotten craft of uplifting. (For more on the legends of the Forbidden Lands refer to previous article on the Children of the Light.) Unlike the sands of the toxic desert the desert strip can be crossed without any harm beyond the natural perils of an inhospitable desert. It has effectively served as a neutral zone between the Animal Clans and the humans for several millennia, though in the past land has been occupied on either side. 

The border forts, much like the human ones on the other side of the desert strip, though larger and more complex, are effectively partially self-sufficient towns surrounded by wooden battlements. Within can be found everything that an army needs to function and survive, and although they generally rely on a regular stream of supplies from the nearby Pig Region, they can, if needed, survive for several months in the even of a prolonged siege (though no human has set foot on Ape territory for several centuries, more so on a large scale). Each fort stands roughly 7km apart from its neighbour on either side.

The centre of all military activity, which can also be considered the closest the Apes have to a capital city, is called Durga Candrodaya ("Fort Moonrise"). It is the largest and most central of the forts and lies more-or-less parallel with the city of Tanagra on the other side of the desert strip.  

The land considered part of the Ape Regions near the border consist of a fairly thin strip of land, functioning more as a secondary border between the desert strip and the nearby border to the Pig Regions. Although most of the Ape Clan's culture revolve around the military to some capacity, and most juvenile and senior Apes live among the Pigs, there are rural areas inhabited primarily by Apes, such as the tropical Wanay region to the north-west (the home of the gorillas). With this one exception, the Apes simply do not require as much land as the Pig Clan do, and the Ape Regions are therefore nearly synonymous with the land owned by the military. 


Ape armour is made of braided leather scales interwoven with small metal plates. Although this offers far less protection than the steel-plate armour of the humans it has the benefit of allowing far greater movement, something which compliments the inherent agility of the apes. The lack of added weight also allows them to swiftly charge at their enemy. It is not uncommon for the humans to have to face down a horde of apes sprinting towards them on all four while screeching and howling as a means of demoralization. 

Though seemingly crude when compared to the elaborate steel-plate armour of the humans, Ape armour allowed greater mobility and stealth.

Battle Rituals

Out gunned, and often outnumbered, the apes commonly use intimidation to gain the upper hand in battle. A common practice before a battle, when facing off against the enemy, is to rythmically beat-their chests to demonstrate strenght, resolve and battle-readiness. A general or commander (often a gorilla) will then call for a charge by stepping forward and giving a battle cry in the form of a ferocious roar. 

The chest-beating ritual is sometimes accompanied by a taunting chant intended to rouse the enemy into attacking first.

Headhunting has always been a common practice among the Ape Clan for as long as anyone can remember. When a battle is over a warrior will ceremoniously present trophy heads to his superiors (usually a general) who will in turn reward him with either promotion in rank, wealth, or land depending on the importance of the slain individual. The higher in status and caste the slain human is the higher the reward is. If the head belongs to someone of the utmost importance to human society, like f.ex a nobleman or a famous general, then it will be proudly displayed either in a public place or remain a priced possession of the general in charge of the battle. To achieve the latter the heads will be either mummified or shrunk in order to preserve them.

It is also common practice among the foot soldiers to collect human scalps to wear as decoration on their armour or as trophies in their homes. Silver hair of older members of the High Caste is especially prestigious.


Though their technology is quite crude compared to that of the humans, the apes are by no means primitive. Though they prefer to fight with blades, much like the humans, they possess an arsenal of sturdy and efficient flint-lock rifles. These are often used to fire off an initial volley to thin the ranks of Lumasi grunt spearmen protecting the Knights before they charge at them with their swords and/or daggers. Despite the heavy armour used by the Knights, the apes are well-versed in their weak-spots and can kill quickly with brutal efficiency.

Apes have been known to employ crude grenades in battle, but prefer the more direct approach. Even rifles are seen as somewhat cowardly and have generally been used out of necessity ever since the humans started to employ firearms.

The introduction of aviation among the humans three centuries ago did for a while greatly shift the balance of power. Not only did it allow the humans to recon their lands in a way that had never before been possible, but the subsequent air raids also devastated their border forts, forcing them to retreat into the nearby forests for the first time in remembered history. The Apes, with help from the Pig engineers, did however quickly come up with an ingenious solution in the form of bamboo rockets.

Simple but efficient, these disposable anti-air rockets consist of four parts: an arrowhead packed with explosives, the arrow barrel, the arrow feather, and the gunpowder tube. The gunpowder tubes, made from hollowed-out bamboo trunks, are filled with gunpowder for propulsion. A small hole is drilled into the tube for the fuse. When ignited, the gunpowder burns inside the tube, producing a large amount of gas, which, while shooting backwards at high speed, produce enormous forward-propelling force. Though generally fired one at the time, usually by a pair of Apes (or an Ape with a Pig armourer) in a manner comparable to firing a mortar canon, it is quite common to see bamboo rockets fired from a 'battle-wagon' which allows for the near-instantaneous firing of dozens of rockets at once. Despite the unpredictability of the rockets' trajectory, their low production cost means that when fired off in large enough numbers they can provide a deadly barrage that will take down all but the most skilled pilots.

Despite considerably lagging behind the humans technology-wise, the Apes (and Pigs) have proven quite ingenious when it comes to weaponry. 

Although not exclusively connected to the military, it is worth pointing out that the Apes are currently in the early stages of electricity-based technology and have in recent decades employed a simple but far-reaching system of telegraph wires, most between the border forts and various desert look-out posts, as well as the nearest Pig settlements, allowing them to efficiently warn of coming attacks or air raids. The code used derives from an ancient "talking drum" language employed by the Apes for as long as they can remember.

The Shogun

The current Shogun of the Ape army is General Khshayarsha (known as Xerxes among the humans) of the Chandra clan (“the Shining Moon clan”). Xerxes, which translates to “ruler over heroes”, was a name given to the general after he led the successful skirmish on Fort Alkaios. This was the first time in over a century that a force of apes had managed to get behind enemy lines. 

His birth name was Bhadran (meaning “auspicious” or “fortunate one”) Chandraketu (meaning “moon banner”). The general is known for being a traditionalist and a stern leader, the latter being a logical result of his famous military career which can best be described as highly offensive. He is a highly spiritual man, and as his clan-name suggest is a devotee of the Moon Spirit. The moon is not only an important symbol for his clan and his religious piety, but also for his military tactics which famously take place at night, aided only by the light of the moon. His night-time skirmishes are the stuff of modern legend among the Animal clans and earned him the title of Shogun. His reputation as a military leader, as well as his clan’s high standing, not to mention his high intellect, has made him one of the most efficient leaders of the Animal clans in a very long time. His leadership methods have blurred the line between fear and respect, something not unusual among the apes, but Xerxes has used it to better results than any known leader before him. His aggressive politics have garnered him much dissatisfaction among the Dayaamay (the political leaders of the animal clans), as well as the monks. His own devotion to the spiritual has however managed to avoid any direct conflict with the religious authorities.

The lunar symbol of clan Chandraketu has become a symbol of heroism among the Animal Clans and a harbinger of terror and death among the humans.

Apes Among Pigs

Although the farmland regions are generally inhabited by the Pigs, there is a small number of Apes living among them. In most Pig villages the local law enforcers are usually Apes, and if not all of them are, the sheriff is practically always an Ape. The majority of these are retired Ape military men enjoying a simpler life among their Pig brethren on the countryside while at the same time making themselves useful. Although crime is rare, and murder is practically unheard of, the position of sheriff and police officer is still considered more appropriate for Apes than Pigs, although no one would oppose the alternative. Ex-military Apes are however more qualified for the positions than Pig labourers and farmers. Law enforcers controlling larger towns, or whole regions, are commonly retired generals, whose experience in leadership, bureaucracy, and battle are ideal for the job. These ex-military apes commonly take their families with them when moving to countryside. Eventually their sons will be drafted into the army and will then travel to the Ape regions to be trained, only to later be transferred to the front lines. Those who survive will then choose whether to remain in the Ape regions and train future cadets or follow in their fathers’ footsteps and move to the country to take employment as lawmen among the Pigs, and eventually retire there. There are of course those who choose to become the law among the Apes, though this is usually a very common military advancement when living among their own people.


The Buta Kuran (“Pig Clan”) lives on and maintain farmland, feeding themselves and the Ape clan. The Pigs similarly provide the Apes with tools and weapons, build their vehicles, and provide them with housing. The Pigs also take care of all bureaucratic responsibilities for both clans, maintaining their economy. They are generally the scribes and artists of the clans, but these are not skills considered exclusive to them. Many retired Apes become scribes, and many of the Animal Clan’s greatest artists have been warriors.

The Pigs are known for their gentle and often timid nature, and live quiet, rural lives that are in stark contrast to the harsh and aggressive culture of the Ape Clan. Despite this contrast, their placidity is never looked down upon by the Apes, in fact, they are revered for the peaceful ways, though they are at times perceived as a little naïve. The Apes see it as their sacred duty to protect the Pig Clan and to preserve their innocent way of life. It is unheard of for Apes to harass or bully Pigs, even when serving as labourers within their own territory and military forts, though it is worth pointing out that Pigs can consider the rigorous structure of the forts to be highly stressful and rarely remain for long.

Most Pigs lead a quiet rural life. There are no cities in the Pig Regions. The largest settlements are modestly-sized towns that function as bureaucratical centres and trading hubs.

Pigs in the Army

Though Pigs generally shun violence, and it is in no way required for them to assist the apes in combat, many Pigs, especially younger ones, do volunteer for work in the army. The most common work carried out by pigs are that of medics, though it is not uncommon for them to act as armourers and weapon bearers during battle, a task usually carried out by young, low-ranking apes. Note that most Pigs working within the forts are not part of the army but merely labourers that work within Ape territory. 

Lumasi Among Pigs

The half-human, half-animal slave cast known as the Untouchables by the humans (known as Lumasi by the clans) are somewhat respected by the Animal Clans and, if captured in battle and successfully re-educated, are allowed to live in their own smaller colonies within the territories of the Pig Clan. They are generally treated well, though a close eye is always kept on them. Though the pigs generally keep them at arm’s length, only checking in on them to the extent that is legally or practically required, they are allowed to venture freely within the lands of the Animal Clans (with the exception of the military forts) and some Lumasi have been known to become respected members of Animal Clan society.


The Kitsune Kuran (“Fox Clan”) were the last of the animals to be uplifted as the beast-war drew close to the end, as a result they were bred in limited numbers and their population remain small to this day. They were uplifted to serve as assassins and saboteurs due to their nimble bodies and quick wits. Even after the human wars had ended, they continued fighting against the human castes that were eventually left behind. For a long time, they served their original function as assassins and saboteurs and were essentially a side-branch of the warrior clans. However, as the millennia went on, they eventually lost their interest in war, lacking the natural instinct of the apes and initially only fighting to serve a purpose and to appease the gods. They eventually decided to serve the gods through meditation and maintaining the land, and they left the fighting to the Apes.

Without their simple robes the Foxes are almost entirely indistinguishable from regular wild foxes. Only their squirrel-like hands (with opposable thumbs) and flat feet betray their true nature.


There is only one known Fox settlement, a small sanctuary known simply as Fox Village. This small settlement lies beyond the Pig regions and is hidden within a large forest that rests at the very edge of the Forbidden Lands near the only known natural opening in the Shield Wall. There the Fox Clan lives in harmony with nature, within the last patch of life before the barren wasteland created by the Talos untold ages ago.

They live off the forest and each individual or family unit is responsible for their own farming or hunting. The ascetics live a quiet life dominated by meditation and the study of philosophy and ancient history, though they also practice the clan's unique form of martial arts, though, unlike the hunters or the Guardians of the Forest, they use it primarily to maintain their health. The Foxes in general do not disapprove of violence but try to avoid it at all costs. Despite their peaceful ways, they are all descendants of warriors and are always ready for a fight. 


Due to their rarity, they retain a legendary status among both humans and the animal clans. Most humans however, having never seen an uplifted Fox, mostly assume that they are either extinct or that they never existed in the first place. Among the animal clans however they have a legendary status and are highly revered for their spiritual ways.

Foxes make numerous appearances in Pig and Ape folktales where they often possess magic powers. In fables depicting both uplifted foxes and regular foxes they are mischievous and very intelligent. They usually have the final laugh. However, there are other depictions of foxes as mystical, sacred creatures that can either bring wonder or ruin to ambitious animals.

In human folklore, foxes take on a much more sinister role. In these tales they are known to be able to shapeshift into beautiful women in order to seduce and transform humans into animals. They also appear as familiars in tales of witchcraft and heresy. Although few still believe in actual witchcraft, foxes still represent heretical behaviour for many. In fables they have become associated with wiliness and fraudulent acts. This is often exaggerated to the point of villainy. Mischievous conduct is applied to both uplifted foxes and regular foxes in human fables, especially moral tales intended as warnings for children.



The Dayaamay (meaning; “full of mercy”) act as the local political figureheads. As the name suggests they are expected to act mercifully when dealing with the types of problems that take place in the Animal villages. Both Apes and Pigs can act as Dayaamay. However, no Fox has ever held this position as it would be perceived as being below them since they live lives of spiritual fulfilment and should not ever take on positions of power.

The shared banner of the Animal Clans. The three dots symbolise the three major clans with the outer circle, representing the great Karabu spirits holding them all together.


There is only one specific occupation, not counting anything necessary to survive like farming, that is available to all three clans; Monkhood. In fact, there exists no such thing as a single Monk, as a life devoted to spirituality must represent the three clans.

When an individual decides to devout his life to the spirits, he must seek out a mandatory partner, and make a spiritual journey to the land of the Fox Clan. A single person robed as a monk will often suggest a student monk who has yet to fulfil his spiritual journey. When, for example, an Ape decides to become a monk he will immediately journey to the Pig regions. Pigs on the other hand, knowing that a potential Ape partner will eventually have to come to them, since they reside between the Ape regions and the Fox region, will merely stay in their own village/town and wait for an Ape to come to them. It is a very common sight to see a lone Pig monk-in-training sitting in the streets of a Pig village, meditating in front of a begging bowl (for both money and food) waiting for his spiritual partner to come to him. Practically all Apes and Pigs will literally team up with the first monk-in-training that they meet, as the desire of both to dedicate their lives to the spirits is more than enough for ascetics to get along. It is a very common sight that an Ape in monk robes will casually walk up to a meditating Pig, politely bow, and give a simple blessing, the Pig will then stand up, return the gesture, and then they will both, without another word, simply start their pilgrimage towards the land of the Fox-clan.

The reason for this pilgrimage and partnership is that Monkhood consists of three individuals spiritually linked, representing the spiritual connection between the three clans. The term “a Monk” is by default a reference to three individuals, as a monk is three individuals linked as one. A monk is neither Ape, Pig, nor Fox, “he” is an “Animal,” a spiritual representation of the three clans. These individuals living as one will live together for the rest of their lives, never being separated willingly. It is absolutely mandatory for a Monk to consist of one member of each clan, but as the Fox-clan already lives a life of high spirituality, as well as segregation, the third member is always represented by a figurine, or effigy, referred to as a katabori-netsuke (meaning “sculpture” & “root” + attach”), representing his spiritual presence in the trinity. The Ape and the Pig will always carry with them this figurine of their Fox companion whom they both met and meditated with on their spiritual pilgrimage. Since there is a small number of Foxes it is common for one Fox monk to be part of several trinities. He will meet the travelling Ape and Pig, and they will meditate together and perform several rituals together. These rituals are mostly about creating the spiritual bond that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. The last ritual will consist of the Fox carving his own effigy, and they will likewise make effigies of themselves to remain with the Fox.

Two very typical katabori-netsuke made from ivory. Wood is most common but there are no rules for what material can be used, so figurines have also been made from metal and porcelain.

For any serious religious ceremony or ritual to possess any form of legitimacy a monk troupe will have to be present. Whether praying before a battle, performing a marriage or a funeral, an Ape and a Pig will always be seated next to one another (the Ape on the right, the Pig on the left, representing their species’ roles in society as warriors and labourers) with the Fox figurine sitting in between them, and slightly in front. Should a Fox die, it would have no effect on the trio as his spiritual link to them would still be valid without his physical form.

When a Fox monk dies, he will be buried along with the effigies of all his Ape and Pig brethren. Should an Ape or a Pig die on the other hand, the survivor is expected to search for a new partner. Many spiritual men go through more than one partner, as the first one they encounter is often an old man who’s recently become incomplete. There have however existed some controversial individuals who refused to find a new partner, and instead opted for making an effigy of their dead Ape/Pig companion. These individuals are considered mavericks and reformers, and despite never having faced harassment, they were rarely taken serious as a proper Monk. These individuals have gone down in history, and folklore as lone spiritual men meditating alone alongside the effigies of their two dead brethren. Many of these live on as local folk heroes.


The Ape Clan; Proud warriors, determined to protect the animal lands at all costs from their common enemy: They are the right hand of the great Karabu spirit ⁘ The Pig Clan; Gentle creatures dedicated to the maintenance and well-being of the clans: They are the left hand of the great Karabu spirit ⁘ The Fox Clan; The heart of the great Karabu spirit. They live in peace and tranquility, always meditating, always hoping for peace ⁘ Such is the harmony of the Animal Clans. 
- from the Wéydos Scrolls on Existence, Consciousness & Bliss.

The Animal Clans, though a very spiritual people, don't have a system of gods, per say, though in addition to a series of guardian spirits, they share a single, unifying figure representing the triad that holds the three clans together; the Great Karabu Spirits.

Also known as the many-faced spirit, the Great Karabu Spirit is the embodiment of the concept of the World Soul. Depictions of the spirit are traditionally featureless, showing only abstract outlines of the common characteristics of all three clans, such as two arms and legs, and a head commonly depicted with three blank faces (four in the first dynastic era). Usually made of wood, they bear no ornaments or identifiable carvings other than the depiction of a heart at the center. Each of its three core limbs representing the three core virtues of the clans as represented by the societal duties of the Apes, Pigs and Foxes.

These figures are the centerpiece of any clan shrine and is often prayed to for spiritual guidance. The Apes, f.ex. will often gather in their fort shrine to pray before a battle. 

When told to describe the great Karabu spirit the Fox elder Gotami of the 1st dynasty famously answered; “None.” There is no other and more appropriate description than this. The Karabu spirit does not possess any distinguishing features that can be described by words. By eliminating all differences, it becomes a symbol beyond all distinguishing marks such as name, action, species or allegiance. The Karabu is beyond specification as it represents the entire world soul. 
- from the Extended Discourses by Bala-Chatur Ō-Inari.

How a School Exam Became a Short Film

While rummaging through some old carboard boxes left in the back of a closet my mother recently discovered some old school documents I’d written long ago. One was an article dating back to 2008, my last year in Ungdomskolen—the Norwegian equivalent of Junior High School, where I detailed the broad strokes of the history of time travel in fiction. Much to my surprise, however, stapled to the back of this report was a five-page short story simply titled The Time Loop.

Hardly a masterpiece, but not terrible for something written by a Norwegian teenager in about an hour.

It was written in English and was part of my final exam that year (I got an A if you were wondering). It tells the story of an Oxford student named Ian McDougal who is accidentally sent three decades forward in time while working on an experimental device being developed by an eccentric professor. In the future Ian stumbles upon a lecture being held on a now common teleportation device. He decides to steal one of these devices and take it back to the present, figuring it will make him a rich man. The lecturer, who’s also the inventor if this device, catches him in the act and chases after him. Ian succeeds in getting back to the time machine and subsequently back to the present with the stolen device. In the following years he claims the device as his own invention, patents the idea, and becomes one of the richest men in the world. Then, one day thirty years after his time travel incident, while lecturing at his old university he sees someone trying to steal his device, chases after him, only to realise that the young man is his younger self, thereby bringing the circle of events to a final close.

Fourteen years after I wrote this story, in December of 2022, I released a short film on my YouTube channel titled Paradox, and if you’ve already seen it you might have recognised that the plot I described above is nearly identical to the plot of this film. 

This is obviously no coincidence, though you might be surprised to know that until this recent rediscovery by my mother, I was convinced this document had been lost.

Paradox actually started in late 2018 at the London Film Academy, when I was encouraged by the joint principal, Daisy Gili, to write and direct a 10-15 min. short film that would be co-produced by the school. I was at the time getting ready to travel back home to Norway in just a few days and would have to hand in a script before leaving. This didn’t give me much time to come up with a story. Luckily, I remembered the basic plot of The Time Loop, and the following day I handed her the first draft of the script. Ian was now Morgan, Oxford had changed to London, but all the story beats remained pretty much the same. She was pleased with the script and felt it was doable with the agreed budget, so we set a date for the following year when I would return to London to shoot the film.

The shoot itself went quite well, but the post-production can only be described as one of the most frustrating things I have been through. I will keep it short, but suffice it to say that Covid-19 caused many delays and that I did not get a proper “final” cut done until early 2021. Initial screenings to friends and family forced me to admit that I’d made a pretty serious casting error and the following year I decided to reshoot every scene with the middle-aged version of the protagonist, a process requiring multiple green-screen set-ups in London (which was shot by a second unit), something which created many time consuming VFX shots, and the final film was not completed until December 2022. Keep in mind that during the more than three years that had passed between the shoot and the final release, I had written a whole novel, started work on two more, not to mention written, produced, shot, edited and released a whole other short film earlier that year. It’s safe to say that this is by far the longest I have ever worked on a single story—for better and for worse.

Despite all this, I must say it was a fun experience finally getting to hold the original short story in my hands and being able to read the original idea for the first time in sixteen years (even if the writing wasn't very good).

The film crew, plus lead actor Perry Jaques, on wrap day in August 2019.

Dawn of the Karabu Lore: The Children of the Light

The following text is taken from a "fact sheet" I made to assist me during the writing process of what would become my 2020 novel, Dawn of the Karabu. This first part is a summary of the culture, religion, social hierarchy and geography related to the faction known as The Children of the Light, of which the novel's main character is a part of.

Whether this is merely a reminder or your first time reading about the world of my novel, I hope you will find it interesting. 

I do, however, want to make it clear to anyone who has not yet read the book that this article is in no ways required to understand the world depicted in the novel. I took great care to reveal the lore piece by piece through the narrative in a natural manner, so please consider this as either reference material or as trivia.

NOTE: No story spoilers have been included in this first part. The text has also been partially altered and updated from the original to fix some minor incongruities between the final novel and the original document. Most of the reference photos originally used had to be removed for copyright reasons and have been replaced with stock images.

Before the Light, there was darkness ⁘ And the darkness is Karabu; the man-beast
- from the Book of Ascension, Chapter I, Verses 1-2.

THE TRANSCENDED as seen by the humans

The Transcended, now referred to as Legion, are the humans of the past who achieved perfection of both body and mind and evolved beyond the physical form into beings of pure thought and energy; Enlightened beings.

The first humans who transcended wished to share their achievement with the lower human forms and made a religion to aid them in achieving enlightenment. They created the cycle of rebirth and the caste system to encourage humans in their quest for perfection and transcendence. Those who work against it are punished by being reborn in lower forms, and those who achieved perfection are allowed to keep it in the next life.

A common symbol depicting the many helping hands of Legion.

Before the first transcended beings there was a war of conflicting ideals. Some humans perversely wanted to return to animal form and even uplifted the animals by giving them human qualities. This perversion of perfection angered the humans striving for perfection and war broke out. The war was eventually won as the transcended moved beyond physical form. Those who supported the Transcended were rewarded with karma and rebirth so that they could also one day achieve perfection. The enemy was punished by removing their ability to gain good karma, but nonetheless cursed with rebirth. They will forever be reborn as the animalistic abominations that they created.

Herein lies the Animal Clans’ contempt for humanity and their perfection.

Before the doctrine of Light, yet after the age of the Beast, there was the Talos ⁘ The Talos rejected the darkness, but the Light was yet out of reach: and they pondered on matters of transcendence for centuries ⁘ The age of Light began when the Talos, once many, became One: Legion ⁘ Light and Mind became One, formless and pure  

- from the Book of Ascension, Chapter II, Verses 1-2,4-5.


A karma-based spirituality that teaches that your caste is determined by your accomplishments in your previous life.

The High-Caste is the reborn form of previous members of the Middle-Caste who strived for perfection and transcendence.  The beauty, strength and intellect gained through their hard work is rewarded as a permanent feature in the next life. Thus, they retain their achievements of perfection in birth, unless they commit sin or embrace non-perfection. Then they will be reborn in a lower caste.

The Middle-Caste consists of the neutral individuals who neither deserved reward nor punishment for their past deeds. Their past life was one of indifference towards perfection. Thus, one remains in the middle.

The Untouchables consists of those who have been punished for past evils and have therefore been given animalistic features and must work hard to redeem themselves. In their past lives they stood in the way of perfection or broke the holy laws. Their punishment is slavery and the shame of being cursed with animalistic aspects. By living up to their caste's responsibilities and hard work they will be reborn in the Middle-Caste after an honourable death.

A simple breakdown of the hierarchy of the Children of the Light.

Then Legion spoke unto man and said; grieve not, for Transcendence will be thy legacy, and our teaching ⁘ Thou shalt reject the darkness, and embrace the Light: that is perfection of thy mind and body ⁘ All that is dark shall remain dark, and all that is Light shall remain Light ⁘ Though the task be difficult, thou shalt be blessed by death temporary, and thou shalt live again until purity of body and mind is achieved ⁘ Then Legion went silent: And thusly the doctrine of Light was founded 
- from the Book of Ascension, Chapter III, Verses 2-5, 8.


They are the most genetically perfect among the human castes. Possessing the highest achievable physical form, they are the highest of the earthbound states of being. In addition to extreme physical beauty, they are stronger and more intelligent than the other castes. Their aging process is considerably slowed down, and a youthful appearance is maintained until death. The average life expectancy for those in the High-Caste is about 200 years. Only the loss of hair colour (into silver grey) and some level of strength and vitality separate the old from adult. 


Though simple soldiering is reserved for the Untouchables, it is common for High-Caste individuals to become Knights and Pilots. There are many classes(/occupations) available for the Highest Caste, most of which are also available for the Middle-Caste:

Monks are the most revered and respected members of the caste. Only the genetically perfect are allowed to seek final transcendence.  

Priesthood is a very prestigious position in society. Unlike the Monkhood it is possible for Middle-Caste members to teach the gospel.

Knighthood is the most popular and prestigious position in society. Knights are commonly former athletes or pilots. Only a member of the royal family can grant the title of Knight, and it is not uncommon for Middle-Caste member to be awarded this title. The Knights serve under the King or Queen as the generals and military strategists of the royal army. They are easily identified by their polished steel-plate armour, commonly forged to accentuated the shape of their athletic bodies. The higher the rank, the more ornate and elaborate the designs will be. The image of the brave Knight in shining armour is one of the most enduring symbols of the Children of the Light.

Pilots consist of the best athletes and intellectuals of society. Like Knighthood it is not uncommon for Middle-Caste members to become pilots. As piloting requires intellect and skill, rather than brute strength, it is a revered skill to be able to pilot a fighter jet. It is worth noting is that piloting is a field overrepresented by women. Pilots are identified by their dark-blue coatee dress-uniforms when off-duty. Otherwise they are usually seen wearing somewhat bulky, but practical flight suits. Higher ranking officers, such as Captains, do not have to adhere to any dress code and are generally more elaborately dressed, often embellishing their fashionable outfits with their medals. Cadets refer to this as "Captain's privilege." Only the golden epaulettes that signify their rank are mandatory.

Athletes consist of the fittest members of both the High and Middle-Caste. Athletes are more or less celebrities in society, always competing to entertain the masses. The class exist as a testament to the virtue of the individual’s journey to perfection. It serves as both entertainment and as encouragement to the masses. Most athletes become Knights or pilots, many become actors. It is uncommon for someone to remain an Athlete more than a decade or so.

Magistrates are the head of the law in each respected region and is attainable by both High and Middle castes.

Archons are powerful nobles who operate as provincial governors. Although the position is achievable by both upper castes it is rare for a Middle-Caste member to reach such a status. The Archons rule their respective regions according to the law and answer only to the King, and the Grand Archon council in the Capital city.

Companions are men and women who act as hosts and whose skills include performing various arts such as classical music, dance, games, conversation, sex, and religious rituals for individuals of high standing. The qualifications for becoming Companions are very high, both in terms of education and physical attractiveness, and as a result Companions are nearly exclusively High-Caste.

Nearly every aspect of their society is a celebration of the human body and spirit.

You who are willing to die, I salute you ⁘ You who sacrifice thy body, I salute you ⁘ I who salute you, will be honored to be thy Mara; thy death and rebirth incarnate ⁘ I am honored to guide thy body on its journey to perfection through death temporary 

- selected excerpts from the lengthy Marana ritual, generally performed on the eve of battle (provided a Companion was available).


The current head of the Royal family is the King Regent Ozymandias II, the third ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty (also know as the "Modern Era"), son of Menmaatre I, and grandson of Ozymandias I; also known as "The Pilot King" or "The Aviator."

His wife, the Queen Amarantham (“eternally beautiful”), comes from High-Caste Nobility. She is a veritable fashion icon and is considered to be the epitome of the “Modern Woman.” She is often used in propaganda as the symbol of High-Caste purity. When it became apparent that Amarantham (nicknamed “Amara”) was being courted by the Prince Regent Ozymandias, there came forth a lot of speculation regarding her distinct purple-coloured eyes. Some argued that such an unusual colour must be the result of a genetic mutation, ergo an imperfection, spurring much religious and scientific debate. While the Monks and Priests tirelessly argued over what she might have done in a previous life to deserve an imperfection despite her High-Caste, the scientists were scratching their heads over how such an abnormality could have occurred among the High-Caste to begin with. After much deliberation, it was eventually concluded that her purple eyes were in fact not a mutation, nor a karma punishment, but rather a rare and unique sign of beauty, which in fact only made her even more perfect than most people. Her fans even started to describe her eyes as “The Queen’s Blessing” implying that she’d been unusually perfect and pure in her past life. A popular rumour even suggested that she might actually be the reincarnation of the mythical Aglea; the First Queen. She is often referred to as Callisto; the “most beautiful.”


The Middle-Caste consists of ordinary humans without any form of genetic improvements. They are practically identical to the humans of the pre-enlightenment past, possessing average lifespans, physical strength, intellect, and beauty.

Individual improvement is key to the Middle-Caste as the strongest, prettiest, and smartest individuals get rewarded with distinctions in society. Those who live up to the perfection of the High-Caste has their caste restrictions removed and can even become Knights and Priests. Although the Middle-Caste acknowledges their imperfections, they revel in the opportunity to improve and transcend. Middle-Caste individuals must be accepted by the High-Caste in order to enter their settlements/cities and live with them.

The Middle-Caste lives in towns and small villages. They enjoy a much more simple and natural lifestyle than those living in the cities. The elevated members however tend to live in the capital city, unless they return to rule as local Governors, Magistrates or Priests.

High-Caste members have unlimited access to Middle-Caste settlements and must be treated with reverence. Unlike the Untouchables, the elderly do not have to hide from the High-Caste but must treat them with the utmost respect.

Their past life was one of indifference towards perfection ⁘ Thus one remains in the middle 

- excerpt regarding the Middle-Caste from the Helios Praxis.


“The Untouchables” are the lowest of the human castes. They are the descendants of the humans who, in the ancient past, altered themselves with long forgotten dark arts to have the abilities of certain animals. A side effect of these abilities is a degree of animalistic appearance and behaviour. Being the furthest away from achieving physical perfection they are stigmatised in human society and perceived as a lower form of humans. In fact, they are barely considered human at all.

In their past lives they stood in the way of perfection or broke the holy laws ⁘ Their punishment is to labour all their days and to live with the shame of their grotesque forms ⁘ By fulfilling their caste responsibilities they will be reborn in the Middle after an honourable death 

- excerpt regarding the Untouchables from the Helios Praxis.


The caste is divided into two groups; Warriors and Labourers.

The Warrior Class is always required to always wear their armour while on duty to spare their superiors of their animalistic appearance. Their animalistic features depend on their role in the military.

The Foot soldiers have the higher muscle density, agility & aggressiveness from chimpanzees. They possess mammalian Endotherma as well as the 340-degree eyesight of goats. They are hairy to the point of having fur and their eyes are noticeably goat like.

The Berserkers have the higher muscle density of gorillas and the extreme aggression of baboons and boars. They too are extremely hairy. Many of them are known to grow tusks.

The Sharpshooters have the heightened eyesight of eagles and the night-vision of owls. They possess large birdlike eyes.

The Assassins have the sonar abilities of bats, night-vision from felines, Poikilotherma from snakes and the camouflage of octopi. They have noticeably feline eyes and grey skin.

It is considered shameful for an Untouchable to be seen without helm or face covering, especially by a member of the High-Caste.

The Untouchables are sometimes given the derogatory nickname “Karabu”, a reference to a heathen mythological character of the past that embodied both human and animal features. Many people, especially those that are particularly religious, believe the Untouchables to be a curse upon humanity for their impure past.

Among the animal clans however, the Untouchables are referred to as “Lumasi” (“Apsasû” in the case of the females) their own reference to ancient gods that combined human and animal features. To the Animal Clans the Untouchables are seen as respectable beings.


The beginning of the Nineteenth Dynasty marked more than just a change of royal family, but proved to be the beginning of the Children of the Light's industrial age. As a society focus on perfecting the body and soul, as well as being deeply traditionalist and cautious off anything that might resemble the technological monstrosities created during the fabled Age of the Talos, innovation has generally been slow. This all changed after the coronation of King Ozymandias I, the so-called "Pilot King," who uncharacteristic of his forebears, had a strong passion for technology, particularly aviation. A bit of a rogue in his days he sought inspiration from the birds, an idea which initially drew criticism for glorifying the features of a lesser being; a beast of the wild, with many sceptics arguing that the new regent was flirting with the evils of the mythic Karabu King during the pre-enlightenment age who consorted with the Animal Clans. But Ozymandias rejected such claims, being more interested in the mechanics and physics of bird wings, arguing that such a boon must be replicated by humanity in order to truly claim to be the superior being. 

The King eventually succeeded in creating the first aeroplane, an innovation which was quickly adapted by the military for use against the Animal Clans, giving them, for the first time in centuries, the upper hand in the war. 

Following this invention Helios and the regions around it quickly entered the early stages of an industrial revolution which quickly produced everything from advanced firearmsa huge improvement to the crude flint-locks used previouslyto the first automobiles. Soon followed other inventions such as radio and photography, both of which were quickly embraced by the relatively new Ministry of Propaganda (an off-shot of the much older Inquisitorius) which had mostly kept a watch over the printing press for the past few centuries. 

The son of Ozymandias I, Menmaatre I, did not share his father's passion for technology, but was wise enough to never actively discourage innovation, a tradition maintained by his son, the current ruler; Ozymandias II. In the centuries since his grandfather, aviation has blossomed into a bona fide armada which stands in stark contrast to the still traditionalist army of Grunt Soldiers and Knights who still operate much according to tradition, often charging into battle on horseback armed with a sword and a pistol.  

Despite the still primitive technology of the Animal Clans, they quickly devised clever anti-air measures that continues to make aviation nearly as dangerous as being a ground trooper.


The Seven Regions

The land of the Children of the Light is divided into seven regions.

Helios is the smallest but most important region, known for housing the capital city of Heliopolis. The land surrounding the great marble city is primarily made out of plains, they it borders on the shrublands near the borders to the Animal Regions. Helios enjoys a humid subtropical climate. The people that reside here are referred to as the Helosians and are primarily High-Caste.

Hyksos borders with Helios to the north. The land here is lush and tropical, with the southern regions consisting of the same plains that stretch down to Helios. The culture here is very much an extension of Helios and is a popular place for the ruling elite to establish their villas away from the capital city. The people that reside here are referred to as the Hyksonians and are primarily High-Caste. The capital city of Hyksos is called Avaris.

Byblos (meaning "Well of the Gods") borders with Helios to the west and is the region that borders with the strip of desert that separates the Children of the Light from the Animal Clans. The environment here is mostly shrublands, arid plains, mountains and some grasslands near the Helosian border. The people that live here are called Byblosians and has at all times a roughly 70/30% divide between High and Middle-Caste. The majority of the military, not counting the cadets of the capital city, are located somewhere in Byblos, either residing in one of the border cities or stationed in one of the many permanent military forts. The capital city is the ancient walled settlement of Tanagra.

Argolis is another fairly small region which borders with Byblos to the north-west, Helios to the north, and Edonis to the south. The climate is mild, bordering on temperate and the land consists mostly of grasslands. Like the region of Edonis a large percentage of the region is farmland, however, it's most famous export is technology. Due its close locations to the military settlements in Byblos, while also having land more suited for agriculture, which also makes it self-sustainable, it has become the centre of most weapons manufacture and military research. Much of this research is highly classified, making many of the settlements insular communities consisting of researchers and their families sworn to secrecy. It is as such one of the least recreationally visited regions, with the exception of the Outlaying Regions. The farmlands here also cater to the settlements of Byblos and to a lesser degree, Helios. The people here are referred to as Argosians and are primarily High-Caste. The capital city is called Argo.

Harari is one of the largest regions and lies to the north-east of Helios, almost as far away from the capital to the east as the Outlaying Regions are to the south, making it one of the more distinct regions. The population here is primarily dark skinned rather than the bronze hues of the Helosians and Hyksonians or the pale skin of the people of the southern regions. The climate is similar to the northern parts of Hyksos, being primarily tropical. The people here are referred to as Hararians and are primarily Middle-Caste. The capital city of Harari is called Harar.

Edonis is located south of Argolis and borders with the Outlaying Regions in the south. The climate is temperate and the land mostly consists of grasslands and forests, making it the most agricultural of the seven regions. It has the largest percentage of farmland and is the source of most imported produce. The people here are referred to as Edonisians and are primarily Middle-Caste.

The Outlaying Regions, officially named Memnon, is the oldest of the seven regions, and is known for its many ruins dating back to the pre-enlightenment age, during which it was named Achoris. It was once under the rule of the infamous Karabu King, the last king of the blasphemous union between man and beast before Aglea the blessed became the first queen of the first dynasty and founded her new kingdom in Helios. The most famous ruins are the Two Colossi and the ruins of Abydos (former capital of the Karabu King). The climate is fairly temperate, with cold winters and mild summers. The landscape is mostly mountainous and has limited vegetation (though the norther parts bordering with Edonis is mostly grasslands and forests), resulting in scattered settlements with makes this the poorest and least technologically advanced of the seven regions. It is the only region which borders the great ocean to the south-west. The largest city, which is generally treated as the capital, is called Luxor. The name means "fortified camp" suggesting it was once a military outpost. The people that lives here are almost exclusively Middle-Caste and there is only a tiny population of Untouchables, who mostly acts as private servants to the few magistrates and archons who reside here. 

The Capital of Heliopolis

The most important members of the High-Caste live in the capital city of Heliopolis (meaning “City of the Sun”). It is located not far from the desert borders and lies east of the majority to the Middle-Caste settlements.

The capital of Heliopolis is a marvellous marble city. The splendour and white marble stand as a testament to the glory and purity of those who have achieved physical perfection. The city exists as a celebration of this accomplishment. No member of the transgenic caste can enter the city unless they’ve performed a cleansing ritual and wear full body suits at all times. Even Middle-Caste individuals that have not been granted permanent citizenship must partake in a minor washing ritual before entering the gates. The city’s most important function is as the location of the Royal House and for housing all the major political centres representing all the human castes.

The city is often referred to as the "Great Marble City," in reference to its white pinnacles which can be seen coruscating in the light of the sun from many miles away.

Tanagra & The Border Cities

A minority of High-Caste members consisting mostly of Knights and Pilots, as well as their families, live alongside Middle-Caste citizens, also mostly Knights and Pilots, in the border cities near the military forts that guard the edge of the desert strip that serves as a neutral zone between the land of the Children of the Light and the Animal Clans. These moderately large population centres are all located within exactly 20km from a fort.

These cities are infamous for their large populations of Untouchables who serve as both grunt soldiers and labourers. Every border city has their own unique “grunt quarters” which, rather than being separated from the main settlement, surrounds the High/Middle-Caste quarters to serve as protection in case of an attack. In such a situation the grunt soldiers will protect the outer walls, while the High and Middle-Caste Knights will hold the centre. Although no Apes have gotten near a border city in centuries, it has in the past proved an effective method to limited High and Middle-Caste casualties.

The oldest, largest, and most famous of these border cities is called Tanagra. Built during the first dynasty it is the template from which the other border cities were based. The nearest military fort, which relies on Tanagra for supplies and reinforcements, is called Fort Hadrian. 

The Desert Strip, The Shield Wall & The Forbidden Lands

This thin strip of desert, roughly 40km across, pours out from a gap in the great Eukyklos mountain range, colloquially referred to as the Shield Wall, that protects the lands of the Children of the Light, as well as the lands of the Animal Clans, from the toxic desert of the Forbidden Lands that was once the domain of the Talos in the pre-enlightenment age. Little is known of the toxic desert other than what is told in myth and legend. All that is truly known is that it is a barren land in which the very air itself is so poisonous that no living thing can survive there. As for legend, it is said that giants roam the desert; automaton left behind by the Talos. They exist now for a single purpose; to pull apart and moulder the materials of the once great cities of the forgotten age so that no token of their dark crafts can corrupt the Children of the Light.

From a gap in the Shield Wall, said to have been blasted by the mythic weapons of the ancient Talos, the sand has poured out over the centuries, creating a 'strip' of arid desert that reaches all the way to the sea. Unlike the toxic desert it can be crossed, though like any desert, it is barren and inhospitable. It has effectively served as a border between the Children of the Light and the Animal Clans for several thousand years, though at times in the past land has been occupied on either side. 

Each side of the desert is guarded by strategically placed military forts and look-out posts. 

Much blood has been absorbed into the sands of the Desert Strip which have served as battleground for untold millennia. 

Cliff Town

The easternmost of the villages in the Outlaying Regions, "Cliff Town" rests about 2km from the edge of the cliffs alongside the coast. About 50km north of the village lays the eastern mountain range connecting to the desert neutral zone.

Although the Apes haven’t attacked by seaway in several centuries the Town and its smaller outlying villages still man and maintain the old Cliffside cannons. Although the population is fairly small it could hold back a large-scale attack for weeks due to the dangerous reeves and the hard to climb cliffs. Even so, any large-scale navy would be spotted by the northern mountain villages along the coast well in advance. Cliff Town also has a decently large airstrip and enough fighter jets to do massive damage to an attacking fleet.

The beach at the bottom of the eponymous cliffs are lined with ancient statues depicting monstrous chimeras. They have stood for so long that most have worn down beyond recognition, appearing almost as natural rock formations. 

The cold, misty mountains of the Outlaying Regions stand in harsh contrast to the warm and sunny flatlands generally associated with the Children of the Light.

And it is here the story of the Dawn of the Karabu begins, with a young Middle-Caste pilot on the day of her ascension; the day of her acceptance into the military academy in Heliopolis. 

However long the night, the dawn will break. 

- from the Helios Praxis.


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