The Mute of Abr takes place in the city of Abr, far away from Lake G’desh, where Drowning the Sands of G’desh takes place. Where religion is everything at the lake, in Abr they are animistic, praying to the sand, mountains, and salt. The salt, the center of their trade, is especially revered.
The salt trade idea came from the Mali Empire in Africa, one of several very powerful African empires. The rest of the city was based around an Arabic center of commerce.
But the monsters are the fun part. Giant creatures glide through the sands, disrupting the salt trade by destroying skiffs and eating workers, which are often slaves. Men are tiny in comparison to their girth.
It was a lot of fun coming up with the creatures, and I actually worked with someone who is well versed in animals, the way they form, and how animals must give up one trait for another. A creature with poison sacrificed energy in other areas in order to create the poison.
I’m not going to claim I stuck to these guidelines, though I suppose one breaths fire and another has poison. Difficult trade off.
The idea of the monsters came from a game my brother got me into years ago. Monster Hunter has been a love of mine since the Wii version came out. It was a methodical use of the monsters to create weapons and armor, and I wanted to mimic that in The Mute of Abr.
She uses the spikes of a poisonous monster as spears. Actually that’s what is in the picture. The flame sacks of the red drake can be used in potions to create explosions.
The Mute of Abr is about an ex-slave and new mother who had her tongue removed. Now she is trying to provide for her child and get rich in order to buck the merchant system that took her ability to speak. Will she rise to the top, or will they cut her down before she can reach those heights?