Backstory: Rocánonom the Giant

Rocánonom’s Manual of Magic

This season, full of turmoil and menace, as well as hope, reckoning, and hoped-for regeneration, is also the fifth and third anniversary of my two novels, Malevir: Dragons Return and Where Dragons Follow (its stand-alone sequel). This essay reviews the novels’ background, setting and a major character featured in both books. They are available in several formats on

Before people settled in the Veiled Valley of Dragonwolder, before a powerful dragon clan called the Orferans made their home in a mountain cave, and well before the Malevir menaced it all, other beings lived there. Sprites built their dwellings and worked their gentle magic to sweeten the land. Three giants endowed with magical powers later set out to join them. Each had left the icy Beyonds, regions outside more temperate parts of Dragonwolder’s world, for the warmth and verdant plains of the Veiled Valley. They came from different points: the graying, stooped wood giant Haldoren who entered the northern Coldside Desert from its farthest boundaries; sturdy rock giant Enderfon, a smile always rounding his jagged blue cheeks, who had trudged up from the shore beyond the easternmost Warmside; and rugged Rocánonom, the man giant, who had arrived from the western Coldside Sea. Many Turnings of the World ago, they agreed to find each other and prepare the land for people they had known were seeking refuge from a mysterious shape-shifting menace, the Malevir.  These giants were to be Protectors of the Trace, the Forest, and the Mountains giving shape to the world of Dragonwolder.

Only one giant would survive the journey. Haldoren skirted basilisk pits and nests that pocked the surface of the desert, but a two-headed aiglonax ambushed him, according to the sprites. Swooping down from the mountains, the little ones said it had pulled him apart with its beaks, torn the giant in two, and devoured him. Enderfon faced a different menace—the heat. Stifling winds were drying lakes and rivers that crossed the Warmside. Grasses and flowers withered and trees became skeletal. Dust devils danced across the barren expanses and soon the half-rock giant collapsed under a mountain overhang. Before the next Moon-Rising, Enderfon moved no more. The Malevir had turned his heart to stone.

Rocánonom, however, dragged his boat onto the shore of the Coldside Sea, and trekked through mountain passes until he reached low, rolling hills and meadows that would become known as the Anonom Trace.  In his pack, he carried a vellum-paged book, bound in stiff leather—the grimoire he had found hiding within a stone wall of the castle that rose from an island of the Coldside Sea.

Invocations filled the pages of the manual of magic, enchantments that gave Rocánonom the power to call on the Great Forces when he needed their help. For example, as he was sailing eastward, the sea rose in 40-foot waves and would have drowned him, but it froze at his command. pulling his boat across the ice, he trudged to shore and safety. Impossibly steep mountains in his path might have stopped him, but gusts of wind pushed him gently up the slopes and righted him when he stumbled. He arrived at the Trace and waited for the other giants.

As Where Dragons Follow opens and the joys and perils of Dragonwolder’s people continue, Rocánonom is pacing within his tower. He cannot rest until another spell takes hold, a spell meant to protect the suffering main character of this novel, a young man named Kurnan. To learn about Kurnan’s personal journey to redemption, join Rocánonom on page one!

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