I began reading D&D novels close to age 13; they drew me into their world, the majority of them meant for adult readers, and I was hooked instantly. When it became my turn to dream up my own world, I may have taken a few pages from Aber Toril as inspiration, but I really did set out to create something unique and different.

Unlike the realms of D&D, magic is an unlikely companion for nearly every soul on Zepzier. There are those that possess ability strong enough to shatter a blade into a hundred pieces of terribly sharp steel as it descends upon them then send the slivers directly into the throat of the wielder. But those number two in the entire world, one of which no longer makes his residence on Zepzier anyway. However, there is an outbreak of something magical, green waves of power spilling from a rend in the earth near the west edge of the Arrow Tip Mountains. Zeraskyr, a demon bent on destruction uses this conflux of power to raise his own small army.

What, then, is the great appeal for readers when it comes to Baronfall, the country TOS takes place in, and Zepzier. Well, despite magic not abounding rampantly, it sits cradled in the hands of those few who seek to use it creatively, making for quite an interesting usage of it. The people who exist in the cities within Baronfall (Durthlem, Arnamos, Nemere, Cavia, and the Deth Uk tribes who dwell in the Arrows) steal the show, as they should. For me, stories have always been about characters and how they react to extraneous situations. All of them have a rich history, just as Baronfall does.

Phalax is a man who eventually discovers the ability to will steel harder and sharper than any metal from a disk in his chest then fashion it into weapons and armor and channel his emotion into a blast of concussive force that rends skin and shatters bone. But, before all that, and more importantly, he was a child who became an orphan and was raised by his city to become its most famed protector. He falls in love with a woman, Felicia, and they have a son together, Holris. He stands firmly upon the faith in his god, his city, and, most importantly, his family. The events that befall him in TOS change every fiber of his being, but it remains his words, his emotions, and his actions that drive the story.

Many others serve as companions to Phalax, with special abilities and histories to set them apart. Ultimately, though, Thoughts of Steel and the entire Ruination Gods series is a story about something dear to us all. While it may not be apparent until book 2 or 3, once you do find the meaning, you will see all the terrible events, the bellowed curses, and the spilt blood in a new light.

The only way for me to impart on you my meaning, is for you to read TOS and then follow Phalax’s journey through Zepzier, other worlds spinning across the cosmos, and through his haunted past as it comes to destroy him in the present.