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A Photo Journey: Inspiring Places Ascendant: Saga of Valor

"Take only memories, leave only footprints" - Chief Seattle

Nothing is created in a vacuum for us humans. Everything rides on the shoulders of those who have come before us. Even when we don’t realize it, the zeitgeist of the human story carries a weave that ties binds us and manifests similar stories. Fairy tale’s are a prime example of this. Despite the barriers of culture, language, and space, those stories are eerily similar. Personally, I believe it is that the human soul has similar wants, needs, and understandings that manifest similarly into the lexicon.

It is no surprise then that Ascendant has many inspirations, some formed in history, other tales, and places. In 2018 my wife and I took an amazing trip through Europe. We played in Iceland, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, and the UK. All of these places had something extra special about them but it was Iceland that captured my imagination. From the northern lights to the hair-raising taste of Hakral—fermented shark—my imagination was awed. That trip led to my patronage of the History channels, Vikings, stirring the pot, and inspiring Ascendant: Saga of Valor.

We arrived in Reykjavik at 5 am and our Airbnb check-in wasn’t until 2 pm.

Just how I imagine much of Hasbal's coast to appear
A Rocky Coast

My wife and I made the best of it, finding a breakfast spot to hit the chow, and exploring what we could.

I did pick his nose. . . because they made its so life like
6 AM, 4 Coffees in, and I'm pretty sure I thought Mr. Troll was real

But our flight had been long and it wasn’t long before we passed out on a park bench

It was a surreal moment to know what it felt like to be "homeless"
Courtney, Minutes Before Passing Out

The next few days really allowed us to explore. The surrounding area that time of year (fall) is quite gray, with its rocky shores, and lapping northern waters—the city, however, is anything but dull.

I fell in love with the vibrancy of culture, contrast of color to the land, and the history
A Few Colors Among A Sea Of Vibrant Buildings

The buildings are vibrant, pastel colors bringing life to the city.

This is where the shark is hung to develop its crust after fermenting in the ground
Where The Harkral Is Made

We tried Harkral—it was offered and I think because the locals thought it would be funny—and I thought I might die. That stuff is no joke. It is an acquired taste. I don’t understand how one can acquire a love for the flavor of ammonia that you can feel in your toes but some obviously do.

And of course we had to visit the year round Christmas store.
Us in Our Newly Acquired Hat and Sweater

We haggled for clothes and made many friends

At the time I had no idea that this place would capture my imagination but it did. I think it had something to do with the landscape and water. Iceland feels a bit like a ghostly land, empty and yet full of wonder. I think, subconsciously, I wanted Hasbal to feel a bit like this. A ghostly place where the past can thrive in the actual geography—like an echo, in a manner. But also a place where immense beauty can also exist in the togetherness such a land calls for its inhabitants in order to survive.

Me at the steps of a beautiful church
For The Love Of Beautiful Architecture

Sculpture of a longboat
A Breathtaking Piece Harkening Back To The Vikings

Also for fun. . . a few more photos inspiring Ascendant: Saga of Valor

You can backpack to this spot at
How I Imagine the Sun Rising Over Garnet

Check this out at the Seattle Japanese Gardens
Moments Before Japanese Tea Ceremony That Inspired Hasbian Tea Tradition

In a weird way this pup does remind me of Iguai
Just For Fun, A Silly Friend I Made At The Sir Walter Mile

That's it, now you know the places inspiring Ascendant: Saga of Valor and subsequent books.

Have questions or want to chat? You can reach out to me at

Live long, and May the Force be with you!

Izaic Y

P.S. That saying is purposefully wrong ;)

Learn more about Izaic and his work at where fantastical tales can be consumed and other goodies await your discovery


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