Just as the scene with Roka and the pilots in Chapter 1 was a way for me to finally start introducing the Unified military, this scene is its counterpart in introducing readers to the Tet’Sali.

The ship design for this scene was very difficult. Basically, as an alliance, I wanted all three races to have similar attributes, so that readers would be able to quickly connect them as all being on the same side and being visually different from Unified ships. On top of that, I also wanted each ship to convey its respective race visually, sharing distinctive physical features and/or colors so readers could easily associate which ships belonged to which race. Finally, I wanted all the ships of one race to have a similar aesthetic, so that small fighters, medium transports, and large capital ships of one race would all immediately look like they belonged together.

It took a long time to settle on the names of the three Tet’Sali races, since I needed them to all work together and not just be completely their own thing. I deliberately worked to find names that had similar vowel and consonant sounds as “Tet’Sali,” so that when you heard the names “Tas’Qelar,” Cetii,” and “Liotian,” it would be easier to associate them with “Tet’Sali” due to similar sounds. But at the same time, I didn’t want the three to sound too similar to each other. So they each needed to be distinct from one another, but they all, in some way, had to sound like “Tet’Sali.”

Regarding the name “Tas’Qelar,” it has since come to my attention that there is a board game called Tash-Kalar. Argh. I actually was not aware of that at all when I came up with my name. To be honest, Tas’Qelar actually came from the Dosh Kaleen in Game of Thrones (the group of widows in the Dothraki). I just really loved those sounds together and wanted to come up with something that had a similar vibe.