This castle in Bratislava was the perfect inspiration for the Kamateros Palace, set in the heart of Verno. Behind the palace is the town, fuzzy because of the morning fog that rolls in off the sea. (Photo Credit: Vina Grey, Bratislava)
The Glacier Lily found in the Rockies as the snow recedes (http://www.lewis-clark.org/article/2166)
The Parijaat is a special tree that features in many Indian myths. In India, there are two epic stories, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In the latter, Kunti is the mother of the heroic Pandava brothers who fight in the mighty Kurukshetra war. The Parijaat tree is believed to have grown from Kunti’s ashes. Another legend says the tree was brought from the heavens by Arjuna (one of the 5 brothers), so his mother could make an offering of its flowers to Lord Shiva. which is said to grow from Kunti’s ashes. And a third story is that Lord Krishna brought the Parijaat from the heavens for his two queens (Satyabhama and Rukmini).
We’ve adapted these tales for our world. In Orbus Arcana, the Parijaat tree is found in all four Orders, but only flowers in Boreas and Auster. No one knows why. Buds begin to appear about the end of winter as small green pods. While there may be up to twenty pods on a branch, only about 5 will actually flower. The white petals with an orange cone in the center, lets out a fragrance that is sweet and spicy at the same time, and some say addictive. Some branches may not flower at all. Couples in love visit the tree for blessings and tie two entwined ribbons on the lower branches, usually the colors of their family houses/line, asking for a long and happy life. In Boreas and Auster, it is forbidden to pick the flowers, unless they are on the ground. A gift of the Parijaat flower is a rare and auspicious gift. The Parijaat tree is a Kalpavriksha, or wish-bearing tree, which only grows in heaven. Stay tuned for more about the Parijaat tree in coming books and certainly in the short stories and novellas about Vince and John’s continuing romance.