During my time writing the Roots of Conviction series I have done a lot of research and work to develop how I see the world and the people that inhabit it. One of the first things that I did was to mock up some combat shields and symbols for the major houses and militaries that play a large part in the story. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the work I have done and perhaps it will help bring the stories to life a little more for you. Below I will give you the shield along with the symbolism and inspiration behind the crest.
Heraldry was seen throughout history as a tool that militaries on every continent used to identify which side they were on and where special units were located. This has changed in modern combat due to the necessity for camouflage, but it is still used in a formal setting by military units. For a story of military-style fantasy, it is needed to tie this tradition into the story to make it more believable.
Tedia has a very special symbolism to me because it is based on my paternal family war banner. Since its first appearance in about 900 a.d. the banner has lead millions of men into battle and has been a rallying cry for my ancestors. Because of its special significance, I felt I had to make this one of the banners of the kingdom of one of the main characters.
The background of the shield is just as important as the eagle in this crest. The gold arrow signifies the light of the rising sun piercing the blackness of grief and despair. This is meant to symbolize the wisdom and generosity of the kingdom removing those who would destroy them.
This symbolism is doubled down on by the golden eagle with its wings spread in flight as it leads the way for the rising rays of the sun. With its wings held wide, it is protecting those that follow it as it presses into the night. Because the eagle's head is held high it also shows the kingdom's attention to the world and it threatens any who should stand against them as they try and serve the light.
Puswa is also a crest that is similar to heraldry that many of my ancestors used, but I gave it a few small alterations to make it meaningful to the kingdom it symbolizes. My favorite part of this heraldry is the implied threat that it carries. The rose is always a symbol of peace and love, but along with its nature, it also bears thorns. This is meant to let any who would disturb their peace that they will have a lot of blood spilled if they attempt to break the peace of this kingdom.
This symbolism is echoed in the colors with the silver that surrounds the shield symbolizing the all-encompassing peace that the kingdom enjoys. The red stripe down the center and the red rose to symbolize the blood that will be spilled if pressed to defend their peace. This symbolism has been used in several places throughout the world, but it was most notably used by the Tudor dynasty that ruled England.
Zandita also holds a lot of symbolism, but this was pointed more towards the story, than historical meaning. For example, the Chinese dragon at the center of the shield represents two separate things depending on which side of the shield you are on. For the person holding the shield or the soldiers behind it, the dragon symbolizes luck and protection, but to the person in from of the shield, the dragon symbolized the destructive power that was approaching.
This is matched by the colors of the background symbolizing the blood and destruction that the divine elemental is bringing to you should you be fighting against it. Similar heraldry was seen throughout Asia during the unification period in China and later during the rise of Genghis Khan.
The heraldry of Sclizar is another very symbolic of its nature in the story. The three colors of the background have a shared meaning, signifying the types of truth that encompass the empire. The silver, as mentioned earlier in the heraldry of Puswa, signifies truth and peace. Blue symbolizes the truth of reality and black symbolizes the truth of despair. With these three combined, it shows that the empire seeks truth and justice for all no matter what the results are.
The twin golden Griffins that look towards the center share a similar meaning. The golden griffin symbolizes divine vigilance. With two looking towards the center, it states that even their diety looks towards their heart for truth and justice.
Laral uses one of the most common heraldries that is seen throughout the history of the world, but the colors tell a different story than the standard gold lion on the field of red that is seen on several historical banners. The lion became a symbol of Dauntless Courage long ago and has been seen on banners throughout the old world. This is why I chose it as the symbol of the only remaining empire in Azela when the novel begins.
The colors I chose are also significant to the story, giving an important meaning to the banner. Making the lion silver changes it to mean pure dauntless courage, displaying the divine power of their empire. The purple background is also significant, symbolizing regal justice.
Vedal was inspired by two of the major religious societies in the western world, the Druids of Ancient England and the Levites of Ancient Israel. For the symbolism, I used the colors and symbol used by the ancient druids to represent the home of their ancient religion and the men and women who defended it. A lot more of the culture is the books pulls from the ancient Israelites, but I did my best to mix the two cultures that had a major influence on my ancestors.
The symbolism of colors that I chose have stayed the same throughout the centuries and I wanted them to have the same meaning in my world as well. The green that makes up the majority of the crest can mean a lot of things, but it's two biggest meanings that I want to use as well are Hope and Loyalty. The gold and the Tree of Life mark in what direction the hope and loyalty of the people of Vedal are directed. Both are symbols of the Divine, denoting that this nation is a holy nation that focuses on growing the will of its deity.
Gegala was once a majestic kingdom that was ruled by some of the most highly respected kings of Azela before this series begins. I wanted their crest to symbolize this when I began to create it. The biggest part of this is the black stag at its center. The black stag has been the symbol of the diplomat and counselor, usually being given to the rulers that were expert peacemakers.
The colors match this as well. The combination of orange and black is a color that symbolizes prudent ambition. Meaning that this kingdom seeks to improve the lives of their people, but wishes to do it in a way that betters the world around them.
Maldavid was another fun heraldry to design. Its symbolism is simple but is crucial to the culture of the people of Maldavid. The colors of the background with the quartered blue and red symbolize the strength of the military and the will of the nation to fight.
This is countered by the serpent, which symbolizes the strength of the earth to create and destroy. Because the serpent is silver this makes it symbolize the creation of peace on earth while symbolizing the ability of the earth to destroy those who should seek to destroy that peace.
Olhur has a very unique symbolism that is not commonly seen in the heraldry of the ancient and modern world. This unique banner begins with the color of the background. Teal is a color that has never been used on a national banner in recorded history but was assigned symbolism as a combination of blue and green. The elephant is also a very uncommon animal in heraldry, used mostly in India and North Africa, but it was used on a few occasions by soldiers that were knighted while on crusade.
Teal in this case symbolizes the serine strength of the kingdom along with its sophistication and high-spirited nature. The elephant also holds a lot of symbolization, giving the banner a regal nature. The majestic beast stands for the longevity of the kingdom along with the great strength of the kingdom should they choose to fight.
Nonov is the newest of the kingdoms of Azela, but its banner holds a lot of symbolism for its people as well. Like Olhur you see the teal color used on the bison, which holds a similar meaning. But used in conjunction with the bison it also takes on an additional significance.
Because Nonov was formed by a conglomerate of many small city-states the teal bison symbolizes the serene strength of a nation united. The color brown also communicates the strength in unity and the predicted longevity of the kingdom.
Gereth is a kingdom that has not really been introduced in the series yet, but will soon be taking on a much larger role in the war in future books. This kingdom is very different from the others because it is an elected monarchy. This often leads to power games between tribes and they are often too busy fighting each other to notice what is going on in the rest of Azela.
The bear that is the national symbol of Gereth, is very symbolic of the nature of the people of this nation. Bears in heraldry have always symbolized the ferocity in defending one's kindred, which is the central principle of life in Gereth. The brown symbolizes the projected eternal existence of this kingdom while the green signifies the hope for the future.
Sewitt is a nation that is introduced in "Breakers of the Dawn". It is a very unique culture where wisdom and knowledge are valued above all else. This is the driving factor when they fight and what tools they use to further their nation's success.
The banner is the symbolic version of their national motto that is written on the senate hall and on the weapons of the royal family. "Prudence is wisdom and wit is peace."