The Story Behind Pride of Ashna by Emmanuel M Arriaga
04 May 2021
By Emmanuel M Arriaga
About 11 years ago, I embarked on the journey of turning a dream into a reality. Growing up, I had a vivid imagination and was the kid that sat in the corner constantly daydreaming. My dad was a movie buff, whether it be epic fantasy adventures of sci-fi horror films. He almost always brought along his young son who at the time had no idea how much those movies would influence the course of his life. I became a movie buff like my dad and that love of fantastical adventures eventually branched out into reading novels, playing video games and roleplaying in tabletop Dungeons & Dragons.
Back in 2010, I started work on what would eventually become Foundra, a sci-fi space opera with elements of epic fantasy woven into its core. I experimented with many different writing processes over the course of the novel’s creation. In the early days I used the basics I learned in my high school creative writing class but picked up more professional skills as I ironed out draft after draft and started working with editors. Eventually, I created the mechanism by which all my future novels would be written.
My current writing process utilizes a hacked version of the snowflake method. I start with a story concept or idea, clearly defining how it begins and how it ends. This then branches out to become a full-fledged outline of the story. I regularly deviate from my outline as I write, the story taking on a life of its own with me playing the role of an observer. The characters come alive in a surreal way that’s hard to explain. It’s truly a humbling experience as I watch the story unfold like a movie in my head. This process is also how I approach the overall Foundra series. There is a definitive end, each novel one step on the journey that will lead us all to the epic conclusion. The next step on that journey is Pride of Ashna.
Pride of Ashna starts shortly after the events of Foundra and kicks off with the introduction of a new main character, Serah’Elax Rez Ashfalen. She’s part of an alien species called the Das’Vin, who are pacifists that avoid conflict. Sadly, Serah’Elax isn’t like other Das’Vin and was born in the Outer Rim. She went through some traumatic events at a young age and has grown up with a deep-seated hatred for the marauders who killed her family. This leads to her becoming a Scion in the Ashna Maidens, a type of battlefield commander who utilizes dual blades with sickening efficiency. The Ashna Maidens are a faction mentioned briefly during the first novel consisting of an all-female fighting force who police the poverty-stricken Outer Rim.
The Ashna Maidens encounter a hostile alien armada that has encroached onto their space with a terrifying force left over from the galactic war in the first novel. First contact doesn’t go well for the holy warriors as they scramble to safeguard their existence. All while another threat lurks in the shadows as a being from another plane of existence converges on the homeworld of the Ashna Maidens.
Almost halfway across the galaxy, the heroes from the first novel are taking a much-needed vacation in the aftermath of the events from Foundra. Several of these Founder’s Elites decide to go on a pleasure cruise and their story picks up shortly before the ship is hijacked by a highly coordinated force of marauders who have wandered deep into Alliance space on an ambitious raid. The raid doesn’t go as planned as the pirates encounter a highly trained group of military specialists, forcing an early end to the Founder’s Elites vacation.
This is the setup for Pride of Ashna and you’ll have to pick up the book to see how the story evolves. The official book trailer for Pride of Ashna can be found here.
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