Books, Debates, and Lightning: The Scepter of Knowledge World Building

Today’s post features a behind-the-scenes look into the world building for Sekastra’s Scepter of Knowlege as part of the blog tour celebrating the release of Faithless by Janeen Ippolito (available October 18th). More about Faithless, the author, and the blog tour, including details about a Facebook party with the author, games, and giveaways, is included at the bottom of this post.

Pick up an autographed copy of Faithless directly from the publisher: here.



Each of the four Scepters in Sekastra have their own focus areas—commerce, pleasure, knowledge, and industry. Lawless: The Ironfire Legacy Book 1 focused on the Scepter of Commerce, as did Priceless: An Ironfire Legacy Novella (1.5). While it was fun spending all that time in the same city-state, I was ready to dive into a new place in Faithless: The Ironfire Legacy Book 2.

The Scepter of Knowledge is in northwestern Sekastra, next to the Cresida Inlet and near the ocean. My inspiration for the climate was a combination of Seattle, Acadia, Maine, and Boston—all of those great northern coastal areas. The city-state features buildings of stone and red brick, paneled with creamy white pinwood from the Pinwood Forest to the north of the city. There is perpetual mist and fog and sea breezes flowing through the streets, and fish and other seafood feature prominently in local cuisine.

Picture1Unlike the Scepter of Commerce, which is run by a nominated council and the largest businesses, the Scepter of Knowledge is run in a sort of democratic republic, with citizens electing representatives, but also taking part in direct electoral processes. The highest authority is the Meritas, and this individual can be displaced by debate courts and elections. Because of the dependency on elections, private and public debates are a major part of the political process, and all citizens are expected to be educated on many matters to vote with discernment. This system also means things can move very slowly. Even after twenty years, the Scepter of Knowledge is the only city-state that has not officially entered the dragon-human war, because the decision is still tied up in the debate courts.

Other inspiration for the Scepter of Knowledge was the late 1700s Enlightenment period, especially in the northeastern United States with the focus on new ideas, improvement, and experimentation. For the steampunk angle, I opted to add lightning rod electro-carriages and feature three summer festivals featuring different inventions that might not work in practice, but look really cool. In terms of fashion, the Scepter of Knowledge is more conservative and typically Victorian than the Scepter of Knowledge, with very high collars, stiff corsets, long skirts, hats, and all the rest. As a throwback to the 1700s, I had the city maintain the tradition of men wearing stockings with breeches—partly because it’s a fun throwback and partly to annoy the male characters a teense.

Picture2A final major part of the Scepter of Knowledge is the libraries. There are have huge libraries in tall buildings for every single topic imaginable. When you’ve checked out a stack, auto-wators transport your books directly to your door so that the paper isn’t damaged by the damp air. If you love reading, be prepared to get lost in this city-state! But made sure to emerge from your bookish hermitage for a hot beverage at one of the many coffee and tea shops. One shop features twenty-six different flavors of tea.

Books, hot beverages, seafood, and fresh salty air—the Scepter of Knowledge definitely has a lot to offer!

Thanks for joining me today on this brief tour.

About Faithless

FaithlessCoverSmall_optOne wild night, Shance Windkeeper discovers he’s married to a death unicorn.

But that’s the least of his troubles.

As an agent for the Lawless, Shance is working with dragonshifters Kesia Ironfire and Zephryn Nightstalker, trying to end the dragon-human war and the organization that masterminded it. While on a mission in the Scepter of Knowledge, the Lawless is hit with a devastating death unicorn attack.

Out of the wreckage new allies emerge: Lirome Ukerys, and his twin sister Maira, the death unicorn queen – Shance’s long-lost wife.

Recently freed from captivity, Maira is fighting to regain control of her herd. Lurien Alistil, a rogue death unicorn, has bespelled the Scepter of Knowledge and taken Maira’s son. When Kesia unexpectedly challenges Lurien to a public debate over the fate of the city, the Lawless has a chance to break the usurper’s hold. To obtain vital information they must infiltrate her lair – and as the husband of the death unicorn queen, Shance Windkeeper is the perfect prize to go in.

But Lurien’s power is stronger and more insidious than they realize. And if the final pieces of her plan fall into place, not even Shance’s newfound Talents and knowledge will be enough to stop her.

A steampunk fantasy adventure with much intrigue, unexpected romance, sudden tragedy, and a snarky cat-dragon.

Faithless is available from AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and iBooks. Or pick up an autographed paperback directly from the publisher here.

Add Faithless to your reading list on Goodreads:

About the AuthorJaneen-016_opt

Janeen Ippolito believes words transform worlds. She creates writing resources and writes steampunk fantasy. She’s also an experienced teacher, editor, author coach, and the editor in chief of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her website:

Blog Tour Schedule


Celebrate the launch of Faithless: The Ironfire Legacy Book 2 with featured author Janeen Ippolito and guest authors Angelique Anderson and R.J. Metcalf! Get your fill of steampunk, dragons, adventures, and more (re: death unicorns and a cat-dragon) with this fun-filled evening that includes giveaways, games, and an exclusive reveal or two.

Hosted by Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester and Uncommon Universes Press!

Facebook Party Link:

Faithless FB Party Banner

Published by K.A. Cummins

K.A. Cummins is an award-winning author and artist. Her publications include Havok Publishing, Rattle, Blue Mesa Review, and her middle-grade series, Snow Globe Travelers.

4 thoughts on “Books, Debates, and Lightning: The Scepter of Knowledge World Building

  1. I’ve really enjoyed exploring The Scepter of Knowledge in Faithless! I thought the debates and have the citizens involved was extremely fascinating. Thanks so much for the tour! :)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the tour, Laura! :) The Scepter of Knowledge is my favorite of the scepters in Janeen’s world of Sekastra. It would be amazing to spend a day there exploring their libraries.

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