When I was a kid my favourite stories were those that had to do with heroes who could control the elements. It started with shows like the Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog and Captain Planet. I wanted nothing more than to be able to wield fire or control the wind. These were the most magical of all the fantasy stories to me. I never grew out of them. I can still recall a perfect Saturday morning when I woke up to watch KTV (South Africans will know!) and to my delight, they showed repeats of another elemental show I loved- W.I.T.C.H. I must have been 12 or so at the time, and spent the rest of the day pretending that I too was a Guardian.
But one thing the stories I adored all seemed to have in common, was the idea that magic is supernatural. Furthermore, elemental powers were usually given to the chosen ones; the worthy, the bearers of amulets and rings and armour. I didn’t mind that at all. It is a formula that worked well.
One fine Thursday afternoon in 2008, I sat down after school with a stack of grilled cheese sandwiches and prepared to marathon 3 hours of kids shows (again, on KTV). At 15:00, a show I had never watched or heard about before debuted. It was Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it changed my life.
In the world of Avatar, controlling the elements isn’t magic; it’s bending. More art than sorcery. The world is divided into four nations, each designated an element. In those nations, benders are numerous. It is not power that is given to a select few. It does not come from magical artefacts. The bender doesn’t have to call their power or undergo a transformation to become a hero. They are simply benders. Nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing secret or hidden or fantastic.
But there is one rule. Only one person at a time- the Avatar- can wield all four elements.
You can just imagine the joy I felt at this refreshing story. It automatically became my favourite series of them all and, to this day, nothing has changed.
You might be wondering what this has to do with how The Disincarnates Series came to be.
Well, you have to understand; I OBSESSED over Avatar: The Last Airbender to the point that my life revolved around watching it. The outside world did not exist on Thursday afternoons. That was Avatar time and NOTHING got in the way of Avatar time. When the episode of the day ended, I had a ritual. I’d sit in the backyard, by myself, and contemplate how amazing the show was.
One day I thought to myself, “I wonder how different the story would be if there was more than one Avatar at a time.”
That, my friends, is how The Disincarnates Series came to be.
I have no shame in saying that it started out as near fan- fiction of The Last Airbender. In fact, its original idea was not so much a story as it was an experiment. What you have to remember though is that I was only 16 years old, and my ideas were pure crap.
But good came from it. It dawned on me that since I loved elemental magic so much, I could write my own elemental story. No one would ever have to read it. I had nothing to lose. So using two characters I had previously created out of boredom, I began to plan my masterpiece.
9 years later, I wouldn’t exactly call it a masterpiece, but when I read it now, I am amazed by how far it’s come.
A simple question, about a story that wasn’t my own, developed into an entire universe I have spent the last 9 years in.
What is that universe?
The Disincarnates Series takes place on an Earth much like ours. The primary difference is that magic is common. In fact, 40% of the world’s population are magicians. Think of it as a world where superheroes cannot exist because there would be nothing super about them. Your neighbour might be a weather witch, your daughter could be a shape shifter, and you might be able to walk through walls, or breathe underwater, or read minds.
Of all the magicians on Earth, there are four who are special: The Elemental Warriors. Everyone on Earth is aware that they are, in fact, the most powerful magicians of the lot and so most people worship them. The Elemental Warriors are the only people who can manipulate the elements (one each), they are the only magicians who have multiple magical abilities, and most importantly, they are the only people who have ever been the Warriors because (surprise, surprise) they reincarnate.
Most of that was inspired by Avatar. Now onto the ideas that I developed on my own.
The series kicks off with The Fifth Warrior.
Damien Day is 16 years old, telekinetic and so obsessed with the Elemental Warriors, she can’t function properly. She dreams of nothing more than finding the Warriors (who are currently unknown to the world because they have not returned yet). She is carefree, fearless, a trouble maker and a bit of a loser.
Enter the Syrolai- a terrorist organization who believe magicians are a disease. They want to eradicate magic from earth and so target the ones who keep it alive; the Warriors.
After a string of particularly nasty attacks, Damien meets a boy named Matthew, who she instantly forms an uncanny bond with. Through Matthew, Damien learns that her purpose is not to find the Warriors, but to join them in their war against the Syrolai.
Without her, magic and the world are doomed. She is more important than she ever imagined, and it all has to do with pieces of her soul that she lost touch with a long time ago.
I say this every time I try to describe the series.
It is a story of souls, of spirits and of the one thing that cannot be destroyed: love.
It is not so much about the elements, as it is about the bond between those who control them.
Of all the ideas I have ever had (or in this case, developed) The Disincarnates Series is the one I am most proud of. It is the story I want to leave behind in this world. I want to be known for it.
I said it is a story of souls. It is my soul.
It is a story of spirits, because it is my spirit.
And it is a story of love, because of all the stories I have ever thought of, The Disincarnates Series is the one I love the most.