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Wivverin, or more properly Wivverin-Laredo, is a city and its port in the desert. It is named after its founders.
Wivverin – The Nation
Wivverin lies south of Tavsere, connected to no other country besides that north nation. It is situated entirely in the desert country on the narrow neck that separates North Relay from South Relay. It has a shoreline on both outer and inner seas, and due to its proximity to Sedurka, it has a very good trade relationship. It spans approximately 200 circuits north-south and 75 east-west.
The climate is dry and warm, as expected in a desert environment. It is not, actually, all that hot. It’s mild for a desert climate, though still much warmer than the other cities on the continent. The city of Wivverin is located near a very large oasis, which serves to not only supply the city with water, but also to allow for minimal crop growth and especially the spices that are desired the world round. It is largely flat, except for a large mountain range in the south – which is the location of the Mesan home of Canyon. A row of mountains blocks the desert from the southern land.
Wivverin – The City
Wivverin is a desert city, mostly a square except for the bit of the wall that is slightly curved to make room for the oasis on the outskirts. The city doesn’t so much spread as it does grow upwards. The homes are built like an adobe-style building – clay walls supported by wooden frames – and as more people move in and the population increases, homes are built up on layers above the lower city. There are no real districts, as the city is not separated by any real distinct areas.
The main square is built around the market. Though not as bustling as the markets of Tavsere or Seiis, the market is a great place to find unusual goods and is one of the few places that Mesan artisans will hawk their wares. On the outskirts of the market are mostly residential homes, except for the large building dedicated to the government of Wivverin.
Wivverin – The Port
The only outside town belonging to Wivverin as a nation is the port town of Laredo. This smallish port town is an area of much excitement for the workers. The docks are always busy, trade being sent to and from Sedurka and Dragon’s Throat. Laredo, like Wivverin, has an oasis nearby that fuels the crop and spice growth of the small port town.
Wivverin – The Government
Wivverin is a democratic society, although not a pure democracy. It has a single chief representative under which are four councilors. Each of the councilors is responsible for a quarter of the area of Wivverin. The councilors listen to their residents and bring the problems to the chief representative, who then asks for a vote from each of the quarters. When the people vote, the majority opinion of each quarter is tallied, and the chief representative clears up any ties. The entire government is voted in on four-year rotational intervals – so a new representative is elected each year for one of the four quarters. The representative is voted in at the end of the four-year rotation.
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.
The continent on which my stories take place is called Cathemega. It’s another Dragon Tongue word, meaning “great cage.” It consists of three large islands – Relay, Essas, and Daikteri – and a few smaller islands in the sea. It’s the relative size – from its furthest point west-east, north-south – and location of Australia if we continue to use a familiar planet as a reference. The weather is mild temperate, and the terrain is largely forests, mountains, and plains – with a desert and a jungle along the same parallel on opposite islands.
As mentioned yesterday, Cathemega is in a unique place. It’s the only location on the planet where every kind of magic is available for use. It is also surrounded by a ring of large standing stones and thick, almost entirely impenetrable underwater walls of stone. This Guardian Reef is what gives this continent its name. There are passages through the reef, but most are too small or too difficult to navigate through. (Exception, the one in my second novel.)
The island of Relay was the first and main island inhabited by people. The name comes from the person who discovered this land in the past – long before the Guardian Reef was created in the Cataclysm. It is a large, C-shaped island. Rather thin in all of its parts, but long if you were to travel from one end to the other, several months of travel by horse. There are four major nations, three minor city-states, and a home for a single race.
Tavsere, Moore, Seiis, and Wivverin are the nations. Each have their own type of government, and each controls a fairly large amount of their nearby territory. Tavsere borders and separates all three other nations from each other, making it a major cultural and financial hub. It is a fertile land – relatively flat with a long shore to the south – so it’s very highly developed with agriculture and fishing. Moore is to the north, a mountainous, rocky area known for mining and raising sheep and goats. To the east is Seiis, an elven kingdom with a major port because of its direct access to Essas. On the west – the mid-part of the island – is Wivverin, a city in the desert with a large wealth of technology and history, as well as a booming livestock, gem, and spice trade.
The three minor city-states are Kordera, Tiyris-Neresheim, and Dragon’s Throat. Kordera is nestled into the mountains that are along Moore’s eastern border and Seiis’s northwest border. It is a small city originally designed to take advantage of the mines in the area, but has also become the foremost magic university in the area. Tiyris-Neresheim is a dual-nation of the farming town of Tiyris and the mining town of Neresheim. They are located right on the western borders of Moore and Tavsere, mid-way between the two nations. Dragon’s Throat is the only major city in the southern part of the island, a fishing village in a deep-cut fjord.
The last major area is Canyon, the home of the Mesans in Relay.
Next time I’ll talk about the other two islands – Daikteri and Essas, and follow up with the final post on the other smaller islands.