Here you can find maps, a character guide, and a glossary relating to the Kumasagi story.
- Why is Kumasagi presented in a serialized format?
Kumasagi turned out to be quite a long story. My editor and I both have full-time jobs (hers being a professional editing job—my books go into her spare-time freelance queue). Dividing the story into shorter, easier-to-digest installments helps us fit the editing and production cycle for each book into our already busy schedules!
Kumasagi is the beginning of a multi-generational family saga that will continue in two more novels after Kumasagi is complete. Depending on their length, those novels may or may not be serialized.
- What age group is the intended audience?
- Kumasagi is intended for adult readers. A few scenes are a bit grisly and/or grim. Sexual situations are alluded to, without being explicit.
Click each thumbnail image to enlarge.
Shakti Lake City
The Habitable Lands
Padir's Route to Kandargiri
Note: These character descriptions are based on each character's status or situation upon their first appearance.
- Shakti Lake City
Amala Anjali — The mythical First Amala of Shakti Lake.
Amala Tebbe — The older of two Amalas at Shakti Lake. Mahasagi Tebhan’s mother.
Amala Ushmi — Previous Amala of Shakti Lake.
Amala Vengar — The younger of two Amalas at Shakti Lake. Born in Kandargiri.
Asta Gampoban (Gampo-Saati, “Blue”) — Artist, volunteer at Medical Arts. Jayan’s wife.
Ayal — A boy who fell to his death from a fifth-story railing at the Boys School.
“Blue” — Asta’s nickname when she was a nameless pashi destin. She had a blue ribbon tied around her wrist.
Cayman Natarajan (Nata-Saat) — The bursar of Shakti Lake Temple, who oversees the sale of destins. Maore’s husband, Mathin’s father.
Charu Kalipanan (Kuma-Kali) — Student at Patal University. Friends with Jadil, Lagan, and Vishalin.
Dechen Vrajanan — Mahasagi Tebhan’s First Hand. Rajung’s wife.
Doctor Daldipan — Doctor from Shakti Lake who meets Asta in Orasarana.
Doctor Panarajan — Head doctor at the children’s ward of Medical Arts.
Fara — One of Amala Vengar’s acolytes. Tesame’s friend.
Gavind Sandarapan (Sandi) — Senior diver at Shakti Lake. Gavina and Aubik’s son.
Kahli Kogudalpan — Asta’s sister, born the same day from Shakti lake. Married to the Kogudalpans’ son.
Kogu-Saat and Kogu-Saati — The Kogudalpans maintain the grounds around Nere Lake. They also maintain Najat’s retreat hut near Shakti Lake.
Kumasagi Najat — See Najat Gampoban.
Mahasagi Tebhan — A devaduta (angelic being) who lives in the body of a man. Currently, this holy manifestation is split between two men: Tebhan (the Mahasagi) and Najat (the Kumasagi). Tebhan is Amala Tebbe’s son.
Maore Natarajan (Nata-Saati) — Head midwife at the maternity annex at Medical Arts. Cayman’s wife, Mathin’s mother.
Mathin Natarajan — Maore and Cayman’s son.
Najat Gampoban — The only second child born in the last few hundred years. He is the Kumasagi, which is the twin soul of the Mahasagi (see Mahasagi Tebhan). Formerly a senior diver at Shakti Lake. Jeniya and Delan’s son, Jayan’s brother.
Palen — Junior diver at Shakti Lake.
Rajung Vrajanan — Mahasagi Tebhan’s Second Hand. Dechen’s husband.
Ram — Senior diver at Shakti Lake.
Selda Matirajan (Big Selda) — Amala Tebbe’s First Hand. Seldan's mother.
Seldan Matirajan — Selda’s son.
Suchal — Teenager who works in his family’s teahouse restaurant. Suchali’s son.
Suchali — Owner of the Eastview Teahouse. Suchal’s mother.
Tesame (Tez) — Amala Tebbe’s Second Hand.
Vin — Senior diver at Shakti Lake. Amala Vinshi’s son.
Vishalin — Student at Patal University. Friends with Lagan, Charu, and Jadil.
- Patal University
Dean Purnima Janipan (Dean Jani, Jani-Saati) — Dean of the Botany and Horticulture Department at Patal University. Purnil’s mother.
Purnil Janipan — Professional waterball player. Dean Jani’s son.
Saja-Saat — Horticulture professor.
- Lower Lakes Region
Amala Akshara — Amala of Lake Agra.
Amala Dejali — The younger of two Amalas at Lake Kalan.
Amala Osha — Amala of Lake Khurd.
Amala Vinshi — The older of two Amalas at Lake Kalan. Vin's mother.
A’mama Gampoban — An acolyte of Amala Dejali. Formerly an acolyte of Amala Tebbe. Delan’s mother, Jayan and Najat’s grandmother.
Jadil Borogan (Kuma-Boro) — Student at Patal University. Friends with Charu, Lagan, and Vishalin.
Lagan — Student at Patal University. Friends with Vishalin, Charu, and Jadil.
- Thin River Bend
Aubik Sandarapan — Blind potter. Gavina’s husband, Gavind’s father.
Dandalpan-Saat (Dandal-Saat) — Master boatbuilder at River Bend Boatcrafters.
Gavina Sandarapan — Mosaic artist. Aubik’s wife, Gavind’s mother.
Mae — Teaching assistant at Hubli Canal Day School.
Tanathulpan-Saati (Tana-Saati) — Teacher, owner of Hubli Canal Day School.
- Ghavari Ghat
Amala Mirigar — Born in Kandargiri, former Amala of Sindhupat Island, current Amala of Ghavari Ghat.
Amala Swapnakali — Legendary Amala who discovered the destin pool at Gahvari Ghat and initiated the wild destins there six hundred years ago.
- Dagaragiri / Blackrock Mines
Aijar (Aijar-Saat) — Chief of Operations at the blackrock mines.
Bal — Padir’s best friend and First Hand. Former miner at the blackrock mines.
Gopa (Gopa-Saat) — Former miner at the blackrock mines, now a crewman for Padir.
Lolo — Bal’s wife, Lothup’s mother.
Lothup — Lolo and Bal’s son.
Padir Dagarapan (Daga-Saat) — Owns the blackrock mines at Dagaragiri. Obsessed with studying lopperbeaks. Sopani’s husband, Sopan’s father, Amala Mirigar’s former lover.
Sopan Dagarapan — Sopani and Padir’s son.
Sopani Dagarapan — Born in Kandargiri, now lives in Dagaragiri. Padir’s wife, Sopan’s mother.
- Kandargiri & Nichipur
Amala Tangar — Amala of Kandargiri.
Dorigar — Shigaran’s wife.
Feligar — Amala Tangar’s First Hand.
Pelgaran — Fisherman, missing one hand.
Shigar — Solgaran’s wife, Shigaran’s mother.
Shigaran — A young man in Nichapur who can mind-meld with lopperbeaks.
Solgaran — Fisherman, missing part of one leg. Shigar’s husband, Shigaran’s father.
Tangaran — Master Diver of Kandargiri. Amala Tangar’s son and Second Hand.
- Ayunath (The Old City)
Primordial Amala — A figure of myth and legend from thousands of years ago. The first Amala to initiate the primordial, aquatic destins.
Amala Seyla — Amala of Ayunath, five hundred years ago.
Ta’lak — The Master Diver of Ayunath, five hundred years ago.
- Sindhupat Island
Delan Gampoban — Former Shakti Lake senior diver who now lives on the island. Jayan and Najat’s father, Jeniya’s widower.
Jayan Gampoban (Gampo-Saat) – Explorer with self-taught proficiencies in zoology, botany, and horticulture. Delan and Jeniya’s first son, Najat’s brother, Asta’s husband.
Jeniya Gampoban — Endured giving birth to a second child (Najat), which damaged her health to the point that she died six years later. Delan’s wife, Jayan and Najat’s mother.
ama — Mother. A more affectionate form is “ama-la.”
a’mama — Grandmother.
Amala — An honorific title that means “Revered Mother.” See diksha.
a’pala — Grandfather.
Ayudena the Lifegiver (aka the Mighty Skyfish) — An extradimensional being which is the source of the shaktis, or life-spark, of the destins. It roams the upper atmosphere of the planet. Only mystics can “See” it or sense its presence. See Skyfish.
badam nut — Similar to an almond.
barberry — Shrub with edible red berries.
be-diksha — When a pashi destin mind-melds with someone who is not an Amala. This can mentally damage the destin and/or the victim. See diksha.
be-maran — Untimely death.
cakotara fruit — Similar to grapefruit.
carhana — The process of dying, when a person’s kana transforms back into a shakti and returns to the Ayudena.
choli — Women’s midriff-baring top with short sleeves.
cracking disease — A common condition when a person’s skin and scales become too dry from lack of water or moisturizers. The first stage is dry, cracked, and/or peeling skin. The second stage symptoms include powdery, crumbling scales and cracked fin ridges. In the third stage, dehydration starts to affect internal membranes and organs. It can be fatal if not treated.
destin — Each woman is born from an aquatic, plant-like pod in a fresh water pool, lake, or cave grotto. Their bodies are grown from the earth but their life spark (shakti) comes from the Ayudena. A destin is a woman who is not yet married.
devaduta — Angel-like companions/caretakers of the Ayudena.
diksha — One or more mental/spiritual initiations performed by an Amala to awaken the cognizance of a newly born destin, and to transfer a baseline of knowledge (especially speech/language).
dikshani — When an Amala performs diksha for a destin, the Amala becomes that destin’s dikshani, and the destin becomes that Amala’s daughter.
diver — A mystic who is specifically trained to protect his or her mind from a pashi destin. The divers are master swimmers. They retrieve (or “harvest”) pashi destins that have just been born.
- The Eight Cities — Ayunath, Dagaragiri, Gahvari Ghat, Kalan Town, Kandargiri, Orasarana, Shakti Lake City, Sindhupat Island.
fendel tree / fendelwood — The wood from this tree is traditionally used to make the boxes which hold the braided hair of newborn destins. The oils from the tree are used to make fendelwood incense.
flier(s) — A service that uses trained birds to carry written messages.
- godhi — Whole wheat.
- jawfish — When a person dies their body is typically lowered into a burial lake from a funeral barge. These scavenger fish consume the bodies of the dead.
kana — See shakti.
kuma- (prefix) — “Younger.” Sometimes added before a young man’s last name when addressed by an older person. For example, Charu Kalipanan might be addressed as “Kuma-Kalipanan” or “Kuma-Kali.”
kuma-la — A term of endearment for a young boy, especially one’s son.
Kumasagi — “Younger Mahasagi.” As the Mahasagi gets older, his devaduta essence will split so that part of it manifests in a newborn boy. The boy who shares the essence of the Mahasagi is called the Kumasagi. When the Mahasagi dies, the essence from that body absorbs into the Kumasagi, making him “whole” again, and the Kumasagi becomes the Mahasagi.
- -la (suffix) — Suffix added to a name as a term of endearment.
Mahasagi — The Mahasagi is a revered mystic who has a profound connection to the Ayudena. He is one of the caretakers (devaduta) of the Ayudena, but he is the only devaduta who lives among people, incarnated in the body of a man. The Mahasagi’s role is to ease any mental confusion or suffering as a person dies, and help their spirit (kana) transition back into a shakti and return to the Ayudena. See Kumasagi.
mountains — Achilagiri (Giant Mountain), Agalagiri (Second Mountain), Dagaragiri (named after Padir’s ancestors), Duragiri (Far Away Mountain), Kandargiri (Cliff Mountain), Madhyagiri (Middle Mountain), Nichagiri (Flat Mountain), Shaktigiri (Spirit Mountain).
mystic — A person who possesses powers of heightened awareness and empathy. This may come naturally or by intense training. Although mystics can communicate with each other by mentally conveying ideas, images, or emotions, they can’t send words (such as with verbal telepathy).
- Nakshidra — “Starlight vein.” Each destin lake or pool has a Nakshidra grotto nearby, where the “blood of the earth” flows from the cave wall into a sacred pool, then back underground to nourish the destin pods in the nearby lake. The Nakshidra grottos are connected by a network of underground “veins.”
pala — Father.
pashi — A pashi destin is a woman just born, who has not yet received initiation (diksha) by an Amala. Pashi destins instinctively search for someone to mind-meld with, and may try to do it with someone other than an Amala.
pedicab — A rickshaw-type transport, or even larger, that is pulled by a person (or persons) pedaling two, three, or more wheels.
peipa fruit — Yellow fruit, similar to loquat.
podalcab — A rickshaw-type transport that is pulled by a person on foot.
- runner — A person who can be hired to carry and deliver written messages. Flier stations employ runners to deliver messages brought in by the trained birds.
Saat — Honorific for men, especially when addressing someone older.
Saati — Honorific for women, especially when addressing someone older.
saresa plant — Red seagrass, native to Sindhupat Island. Used to make glue powder.
sea frogs — Biologically related to destins. Sea frogs are the only other life form grown as females in underwater pods and given “life” by shaktis from the Ayudena.
sea quartz — Light green quartz common on Sinduphat Island.
shakti — An ethereal life-spark that comes from the Ayudena, to merge with the physical body of a destin as she is born from her pod. After a skakti becomes part of a living body, it is called “kana.” When it leaves the body at the time of death, it becomes a shakti again and finds the Ayudena to be reabsorbed. Part of a mother’s kana will transfer to her son at conception, to become his own kana/shakti.
shedding — As men pass middle age, their wrist scales (and sometimes ankle scales) will start to ooze a green fluid, in on-and-off cycles for about two years. It makes the scales burn, itch and ache. The only relief is to rinse in the waters of a destin lake, thus passing on DNA to future generations of destins.
sisters — When destins are born from the same lake on the same day, they are called sisters. They may or may not have the same dikshani (Amala).
Sixday Feast — Holiday at the end of the year with feasting, festivals, swimming tournaments, and waterball tournaments.
Skyfish — Another name for the Ayudena. The Ayudena is often depicted in art and sculpture as a golden fish in the sky. However, the real Ayudena has no eyes, fins, tail, etc. It has pale yellow scales on the surface, but its form is simply an elongated blob-like shape.
sliverbark — An experimental medicine used to suppress the immune system.
Starwing — Padir’s largest cargo canoe, used on the trip to Kandargiri.
Swallowtail — Jayan’s one-man canoe. It is small enough that he can carry it over his shoulder on portages.
tari oil — A common moisturizer used to prevent skin and scales from drying out. It is often offered to guests in the home.
tenday — A time period of ten days.
thirty and six — Slang for one year. A year is thirty tendays, plus one six-day “short week” at the end of the year, called the Sixday Feast.
Tines of Ayunath (the Tines) — Five immense sea stacks, located in the Southern Sea, just beyond the shore of Ayunath. One of them was destroyed by an earthquake five hundred years ago.
Waybender (aka Hubli Waybender II) — This canoe is lent by Master Dandalpan to Jayan, Charu, and Asta for their trip to Sindhupat.
wild destins — Primordial-like destins who are born in undiscovered shakti pools. If there is no Amala to perform diksha, the destin(s) will instinctively swim whatever waterway takes them to the ocean.