As this entire site is about Llurien, this page is more about the 30-year history of the project. In that time, several principles have been followed:
- The setting would not be created to tell specific stories, but for its own sake
- If Ellefson has seen it before, it will be avoided in favor of something new
- Most if not all his novels would be set here
Ellefson has spent so much time on this that he’s also authored a three volume series, The Art of World Building.
He never planned to spend decades creating Llurien, so how did it happen? One day at a time. The development has often been affected by (and alternated with) his personal life, music career, and writing novels.
Llurien began in 1988 when he wasn’t a particularly serious teenager. Initially created for a trilogy, Llurien had the usual elves, dragons, and other fantasy staples. He’d become serious by 1991, adding three species (mandeans, kryll, and jhaikan) to join the first race (morkais) from 1988. He also created a history, map, major settlements on Antaria (the continent he started on), and new military groups (Coiryn Riders and Warders). He began to think about removing fantasy races in favor of his own.
While in college, Ellefson added many supernatural elements and removed standard races, adding another original species (kais) and a race (daekais). This was the main period of gestation and included legends, ships, and the great birds of prey and winged riders. Many items were repeatedly re-worked.
Ellefson created two more species (querra and riven), the afterlife, valend cards, and a detailed and related structure for the gods, species, and calendar. He attempted to finalize the project so he could focus on writing books.
Ellefson spent less time on Llurien in favor of writing novels and pursuing a music career, but he kept a growing list of ideas that included races and hybrids, kingdoms, continents, and material concerns like a monetary system. Most ideas were finally fleshed out in more detail in the next period.
Putting fiction front and center, Ellefson resumed world building, creating plants, animals, a system of magic (including spells), myths and magic items for the gods, supernatural elements (like the Moon Gates and Ever Pathways), and more. Cities were once again revamped to include more involvement from other species (besides humans), for example, and species-specific settlements were created. He also added the continent Llorus. And more is to come.