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The Nature of Balance

I’m gonna take a quick break from the Nation description to explain a very important thing to my stories. Let me grab a lengthy quote from one of my commentators, Stevarious:

As far as the (sort of) dualistic major deities, I really like what you’ve done here. So much of reality is, on the surface, binary – day and night, light and dark, ignorance and knowledge, war and peace – shoot, proton and electrons, matter and energy. Why would there be only one major deity responsible for all these opposites?

Except, if you look deeper, things aren’t really binary – and thus the third godhead. Day, night – twilight. Ignorance, knowledge – the student or the apprentice. War, peace – cold war. Protons, electrons – neutrons.

The third major god is subtle, hard to find, easy to deny even it’s existence as a third option. So many see it as just a halfway measure – but as the atom shows, neutrality is a position all it’s own, with it’s own weight and purpose.

This description is exactly right. The World of Dramoth Gilead is one of balance. Everything has its opposite. The opposite of the city-building, orderly humans are the nomadic, chaotic orcs. The opposite of the down-to-earth, communion with nature elves are the cloud cuckoolander, binding of nature tallis. But for every opposite there is a third thing, a pivot or a fulcrum as you would. The human-orc opposition has the mesan – who are both nomadic and dwell in permanent homes. The elf-tallis opposition has the gnollen – industrious, yet honoring nature.

That’s what’s so intersting about my world. If you look at all my stories it’ll be very difficult to notice, but there’s always a third power engaged there. Something that doesn’t truly help either side, but serving a great importance to the story as a whole. I’ll try to spoiler out the plot of the first novel to show:

So the bad guy is doing bad things while the good guys are trying to stop him from doing these bad things. While good and bad things are happening, there are several minor subplots that shape the story, that certain good guys would not be in the story at all if they didn’t happen, and that if these good guys weren’t in the story, the bad guy would have a different path which may have been unseen.

Those subplots are the agents of Unity. Some of them are really sad, some of them are merely business as usual. If not for these – the story would be missing key individuals who help the story as a whole finish.

That’s balance, that’s the nature of Dramoth Gilead. It’s interweaved throughout the entire lifeblood of the world. Stories, legends, and peoples would be vastly different if not for the third element.

Seiis is the nation of the elves. Although largely populated by elves, it is not exclusive to them.

Seiis – The Nation

Seiis takes up almost the entire eastern part of the north Relay continent. It only has its eastern border not to the sea – and this is split by the Korderan mountain chain, north of the chain it’s shared with Moore, south of the chain it’s shared with Tavsere. The university town of Kordera rests along the river that flows east from the fork in the middle of the Korderan mountains. The country is about 150 circuits east-west and 150 circuits north-south.

Seiis’s climate is much the same as Tavsere – slightly warm temperate, with mild winters and rainy summers. The country side is very heavily forested. Besides areas outside of the Seiis forest and the grounds along the Kordera river – which are farmland. The southern fork of the Korderan mountains are entirely within Seiis, though they only have minor mineral production. Most of Seiis’ s production comes through the lumber trade.

Seiis – The City

The city of Seiis was once a giant tree, the greatest sign of magic that the ancient Nün elves performed. The tree stretched out over the old city, and a series of elevators led up high into the branches. The tree died, however, and came crashing down to the old city, killing many. The remnant stump dried up, and latent magical energy turned it into a flat-topped mountain. The old city was buried under the streets of the new – catacombs and ancient tunnels showing its nature. The only thing on the surface of the old city are the remnants of the counterweights – five pillars extending from the side of the mountain.

This mountain serves as the main center of government. Upon its top is the Temple of Creation. It is not only a place of worship and enlightenment, but also a home to Creation herself (although she usually chooses to live in one of the homes on the outside of the temple.) Beneath the higher layer of this mountain is the council hall, built on one of the plateaus extending off the side of the mountain.

The city itself is divided into four districts – north, south, east, and west. Unlike Tavsere and Moore, they are not separated by purpose. Residential homes can be found throughout the entirety of the city. Divided up on streets encircling the city – which is shaped like an almost perfect circle – if it weren’t for the shoreline to the south. The eastern district contains a few of the major guild halls – the mages’ guild, the militia, and guild of craftsmen. The northern and western districts contain some marketplaces and a larger number of shops – as these are the first where visitors come. The explorers’ guild is located in an inn situated in the center of the western district. The southern district is the docks, with the dockworkers’ guild and the merchants’ guild located here as well.

Seiis – The Villages

Seiis does not have major population centers outside of the city. Besides the few small villages that dot the countryside – usually farming or lumber production – there are only two major notable villages that could be considered major towns. The northernmost of these towns is Kera, a lumber town situated between Kordera and Dugan’s Pass. The westernmost is the town of Royrn, a farming village near to the border of Tavsere.

The town of Kordera, however, is considered a part of Kordera’s territory, although as it has no actual government, it falls under Seiis’s jurisdiction and protection. This small town is on the northern path towards Moore, just across the Korderan river. The only inhabitants are the families of the university’s professors, as well as the older students. It is a place where students go to get away from their studies. At a further date, I’ll describe the university itself.

Seiis – The Government

Seiis is a literal theocracy. It is ruled by a god. In a way, at least. Creation is manifested in the form of a girl every time she dies. The High Priestess of the Order of Creation is able to detect the new form, and she alerts the parents. At about seven years of age, the girl is taken to the temple, where she’s taught and where she’ll live. When she is around eighteen, she is given control of the nation itself. In the eighteen years she’s growing up, the High Priestess performs the duties of ruler.

Although Creation could rule on her own and make and pass laws that help her – she defers to a council of guildmen. The council hall was built for this purpose alone – to provide her with a place where the guildmasters could speak openly to her. They have no actual power in the society, but Creation has been nothing if not extraordinarily fair. She takes the input of the guildmasters, and is sure to pass judgments that serve the needs of the city as a whole. There are heated debates between guildmasters quite often, but Creation is sure to clear up any issues before calling the meetings to a close.

The second of the major nations is called Moore. The nation is named after its founder.

Moore – The Nation

Moore is a bit smaller than Tavsere, resting at the northern part of the continent of Relay. It stretches from the northeastern point of the Korderan mountains to the outer sea. It has a large coast line, but no ports because its coast is entirely on the outer sea. It stretches approximately 200 circuits east-west and about 100 north-south at its thickest. It shares a border with Seiis and Tavsere. Tiyris-Neresheim is surrounded by what is Moore’s territory, though the minor nation controls both the Neres mountains and the Tiyris forest.

Moore also has a temperate climate, although it’s a little colder than Tavsere due to its northern proximity and the cold air from the outer sea. The country is rocky and hard, with a few mountain chains in the east and west. It’s higher elevation than Tavsere. While crops can be grown, the major exports of Moore are its livestock and its gems and minerals. There is an enormous forest to the southeastern side of the city of Moore – with a gnollen tribe living deep within.

Moore – The City

The city of Moore rests on a cliff face overlooking a valley. The cliff is angled upwards, and the highest elevation of the face of the cliff is where the castle is built. The people in Moore are primarily human. The diversity of the mountainous country is less than that of Tavsere. Moore also has a large sem population. The city is divided into three shelfs, each with its own districts.

The highest shelf is the castle where the royal family live. The huge castle sits overlooking the valley and the kingdom around it, as well as the city beneath. Outside of the castle walls proper are the military barracks for the large army that Moore has. The castle itself is the seat of the government of Moore.

The second shelf holds the noble houses as well as some educational, political, and magic facilities. The noble houses are enormous mansions, family homes that hold more than just a single family. There used to be seven Houses of Moore, but after the War of Seven Thrones, three of the houses were destroyed and one was elevated to the throne. The four noble houses were turned into housing for ambassadors, colleges for students, and a place for the city’s mages to practice their arts.

The lowest shelf is the place where the common folk live. It is divided into three districts – the market district, the sem district, and the human district. The market district is the home of Moore’s marketplace, a single street from the gate of the city to the gate to the second shelf is dotted with shops, stalls, and hawkers of wares. Outside the street are numerous inns, entertainment houses, and places that serve as homes for the non-human, non-sem members of the city.

The sem district is a small district of the city designed to house its sem population. There are walls around the area and huge iron gates – for their protection. It is poorly guarded, poorly maintained, and far too overpopulated to hold the entirety of the sem population. The human district, on the other hand, is open to the humans in the city. It’s sprawled out across most of the lower city, split in the center by the market district, and taking up the portions of the western city not along the walls.

Moore – The Territory

The nation of Moore does not have states like Tavsere. Outside of the city walls there are three major population centers; Hearth, Forest’s Edge, and Dugan’s Pass. Towns dot the landscape along the major roads between Moore and Seiis, Moore and Tiyris-Neresheim, and Moore and Tavsere – as well as towards Moore’s lands in the west.

Hearth is a city in the western part of Moore’s territory, nestled in the foothills of the mountains. It is a major mining town, with gems and precious metals coming out of it beyond the plain ore. Forest’s Edge is an eleven town situated on the northeastern edge of the Moore Forest. Its people are lumberjacks, hunters, and farmers. Dugan’s Pass  rests on the end of the Korderan mountains, serving as the gateway between Moore and Seiis. Due to its proximity to the mountains, it is a mining town much like Hearth.

Moore – The Government

Moore is a pure monarchy. Before the War of Seven Thrones, it was more of a monarchical council – each House sending its ruler to the council to make the laws for the city. When House Salena won the war, it took over control of the city as its sole ruler – deferring to the three remaining houses as needed, and setting them up as heads of the cities of Hearth, Forest’s Edge, and Dugan’s Pass. Due to the pressing needs of these territorial cities, they stay out of Moore for the most part.

House Salena sat on the throne for over 200 years before its direct line ended with Loris Salena, who never had a son. His daughter married a commoner, and the two of them left Moore to live in Forest’s Edge. A cousin of the princess ascended to the throne, maintaining the House’s rule, but with the name Corin. No King of Moore has even been maliciously cruel. They have generally regarded sem as deserving to live in their poor area (they’re free to leave if they don’t like the atmosphere.) They have ruled fair and wise, although a bit too much interest in maintaining House Salena/Corin’s stakes.

Now I’ll begin the posts that everyone (well, one certain person at least) have been waiting for. There are 5 major nations, 7 minor nations, and several places that are merely “homes.” The major nations are bigger and more powerful than the minor ones, they produce more goods and have more trade and military power. The major nations make a point to assist the minor with needs both physical and martial, and they share very strong treaties and trade agreements between themselves. The first of the major nations I’ll describe is the one that is the biggest and the strongest, Tavsere (a dragon tongue name meaning “edge of the sea.”)

Tavsere – The Nation

The nation of Tavsere rests in the northern portion of the continent of Relay, with its southern border on the northern edge of the central ocean and its western border on the outer ocean. Its eastern border is shared with Seiis, its northern border is shared with Moore and Tiyris-Neresheim, and the southern with Wivverin. It’s a very large nation, spanning 225 circuits (a circuit is approximately 1.5 miles) from its border with Seiis to its border with Wivverin, and about 75 circuits the other direction at the most.

It is largely a temperate climate, nearing a warmer climate towards its border with Wivverin. The land is mostly flat plains with small groves. The country itself is home to many farming communities along the heavily traveled trade routes between Tavsere and the nearest nations. It only has one minor mountain chain in the south near Wivverin, but the entirety of the Neres River flows south towards the city itself. In the foothills around the mountains are numerous vineyards where Tavsere’s famous wine is produced.

Tavsere – The City

Tavsere itself is on an island near the delta of the Neres River. It is a rather large city, with a couple hundred thousand residents. Humans are most common, but it’s not unusual to see any of the other races living in the city. There are four major areas – the residential quarter, the merchants’ quarter, the docks, and the magic quarter.

The residential quarter is the largest part of the city, entirely half of the island is taken up with homes for the many people residing there. It is further subdivided into three general areas – High Street, Low Street, and the city center. High Street is closest to the city center, it is where the large residential buildings are built – homes for the rich and the affluent. They are usually divided into small yards, with gated fences around them. Low Street is where the more common folk live, smaller homes with shared walls or small, separated buildings. Poverty is rare, as the government tends to take care of its worst off members. The city center is the seat of government, the castle of Tavsere serving as both the council hall and home for the royal family.

The merchants’ quarter is the first place that visitors to the city will enter. The three major trading routes from Moore, Wivverin, and Seiis all come out of the central square of this area. The market is an enormous, bustling trade hub, with many wares from many people being bought and sold there. Inns, taverns, and places of entertainment share the streets and passageways spiderwebbing out from the square. There are homes in this area, but they’re mostly reserved for the owners of the various shops, inns, and establishments throughout.

The docks are, as imagined, the docks. Warehouses are the most common sight, however, there are some inns and taverns for the sailors from other countries who don’t want to travel into the merchants’ quarter to sleep. There is a large grouping of military barracks for the naval forces of Tavsere – for which the city is known.

The magic quarter is the smallest area of the city, nestled between the other three districts, there are two major buildings – the library and the wizard’s college. The library is known for its enormous collection of books, although they are all tucked away in the upper reaches of the library itself. A scholar need only ask for a title or topic and the librarian will fetch it for them. The wizard’s college is a small branch of the University of Kordera, a place for study and residence for students and mage’s guild members.

Tavsere – The States

There are nine council states in Tavsere. Each one has its own borders, its own local government, and its own interests in mind. These are largely agrarian states, farming communities located on the major roadways. Only one of these states has a major mining interest – as expected, and a few also have fisheries.

Greenfield is the northernmost state on the Tavsere-Moore road. It is a small state populated by a couple hundred farming families. Sterling shares its eastern border with Greenfield and its northern with Tiyris-Neresheim.  The region is dotted with foothills, and Sterling’s wine industry is the largest in the entire country. Forks is a state that is nestled at the point where the two northern trade routes split – one to Tiyris-Neresheim and the other to Moore. Forks, being a good distance and located in a nice location for it, is known as a rest station for weary travelers. Many inns and taverns are found in the city itself.

Oren is the easternmost state in Tavsere, sharing its border with Seiis. It is a major farming hub like Greenfield. Taleva is the state in which Tavsere is located. As it is between all three major thoroughfares to the other nations, the state is very rich. The states of Westen and Goldbrook are the first two states on the road towards Wivverin. These are mostly fishing communities, though Goldbrook has a larger farming base as well. Stonebar is the mining state of Tavsere, controlling the entirety of the mountain range in the south country. Finally Southgate is the last of the states, nestled on the border between Wivverin and Tavsere – a community of farmers as most of the country.

Tavsere – The Government

Tavsere is a representative monarchy. Each of the nine council states has its own local government. In states like Greenfield, it is made up of representatives from the smaller communities within the state, while in one like Stonebar, it’s made up of guild members. Each state government is run by a council member, who is elected to the position by the rest of the representatives. These are usually temporary assignments – held for a few years before stepping down for another to take their position.

The council members bring the needs of their states to the government seat in Tavsere, where the King (or Queen) sits over the council itself. While the council usually comes to an agreement among themselves, there are the times where a few members are unable to attend a meeting (or they abstain from a vote) and the King is needed to break the deadlock. A simple majority vote is needed to pass most edicts, except the most important laws, which require six of nine votes for, as well as the King’s agreement. The King has the power to veto any edict, as well as to return edicts with changes should he feel it necessary.

Two posts in one day? What kind of crazy superhuman am I?

The kind who writes two posts in one day.

Anyway, Essas and Daikteri, if you can recall, are the two other continents of Cathemega. My original thoughts for them are still, in essence, there. However, I’ve adjusted for size, so to speak, and they seem a bit more rationally designed.

Essas

The island known as Essas is the more northern of the two continents. Upon this island are two minor nations and one non-nation. It’s the smallest of the three major continents, and the southern half of it is an island-wide desert, spanning from the south-western to the north-eastern shores. The rest of the island is temperate mountains and forests.

Enseya is one of the two minor nations. It’s built on the western shore, facing towards Relay. The city itself is rather small, merely serving as a port town to the rest of the continent. Many small villages dot the countryside of Enseya, and each of these little towns has a growing population of farmers, lumberjacks, or vine-growers. The other minor nation is Freeholm, a city built on a large island in the center of the major riverway. The surrounding territory is largely wooded, but with an easy access to the mountains where much mining is done.

The non-nation is Mesa, the home of the ancient Mesan people. This small, peaceful city is located in the center of the huge desert. While a horrible place for most to live, the Mesan are sturdy enough to survive the climate and smart enough to follow the great herds to locate sources of water when theirs runs dry.

Daikteri

The dagger-shaped southern continent of Daikteri is a much longer one than Essas. Along its entire eastern shore is a mountain range consisting of giant mountains. While as a whole the countryside remains sparsely populated, there are two minor nations on it. In between these two nations are the locations known as the Wild Haunt and the Water Gardens. The Wild Haunt is a large swamp land, noted by an almost ever present fog bank. Few venture into the Haunt, except those lured by tales of ancient civilizations and treasure. The Water Gardens are a series of small lakes that dot the land like a patchwork quilt. These lakes are small, but very deep. Visitors can see the signs of ancient civilizations deep within the clear water, a curious sight and a mystery as to who used to live there.

The first of the two nations is Perdamas. This tiny nation is seated in the north near Essas. While it is a key location for a port, there are many hazards in the waters to the north, and the quickest trade routes are populated by pirates – forcing trade from the other of the Daikteri nations, Kiesa. This nation is at the closest tip to Relay, at the point of the dagger. This location makes it a key port for trade from Dragon’s Throat, although it is a very poor nation because of a lack of natural resources.

Thus finishes the geography of my world. In my next series of posts, I’ll explore the different major nations – Tavsere, Moore, Wivverin, Seiis, and Sedurka – including their population demographics, territory, government, and general culture.

Apologies for the gap between these posts. Rather than getting to Daikteri and Essas right now, I’m going to explain the two islands. Sedurka and Dolles. Sedurka is an actual nation, and Dolles is very special.

Sedurka

The island nation of Sedurka is the home of the Tallis. It’s a smallish nation located in the perfect spot to be a trading hub. Almost all trade routes between the cities of Relay go past Sedurka (all except the one between Wivverin’s port and Dragon’s Throat.) It’s got enough mountains and forests for production of its own goods as well as the space to build farms to support its population. The tallis home is a land of technology unlike that seen outside of it. Crossing over and through their city streets is a network of steam pipes and vents that carry energy to the homes and public buildings of all the people. Most of this is from the natural geothermal energy that bubbles up beneath the island.

Dolles

The center of the world – in relation to the ley lines – is the island of Dolles. This island is also called “The Heart of Magic.” It is a tiny island upon which rests a single large mountain and a strange fortress that protects the mountain’s entrance. This fortress does not appear to be crafted by human hands – the walls have a strange curve to them that appears both to curve inward and outward, and they are made up of single stones rather than a series of bricks or blocks. There is no room for people, either. Statues adorn the walls and the paths leading to the fortress, and sometimes they seem to be moving. The mountain itself is actually a single huge crystal from which flows the essence and energy of magic through the ley lines. A thick, rocky crust surrounds the mountain, making it appear no different from any ordinary mountain face.