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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I swear I’ll get to the post about the two islands soon. But just before I do, I think I should do a quick explanation about this event: the Cataclysm. I’ve mentioned it a few times, and from the name it definitely suggests a terrible event with dire consequences. But just what was the Cataclysm?
Around 2000 years after creation (remember, the people were created with knowledge and culture ready to advance) the people began to advance their technology. Prior to this, the world went through a few different cultural awakenings – from what would be the equivalent of classic Greek and Roman periods, to the early Medieval, to the Renaissance and Exploratory phase of the world, and up to about the early Technological Revolution. Science, industry, and technology began to boom, and the people advanced far beyond their previous cultures. It was a technological goldmine. Though Cathemega – due to the influence of the magic around it – retained a lot of the Renaissance-like atmosphere, it still had some technological awakenings of its own.
All throughout the vast majority of the world, people were using tech to a greater level than they ever used to. They became advanced in science to know the genome, to know about methods to exploit the land for all it was worth. Though they never developed much past electric engines, they were manipulating genetics to actually create new beings. They were on the cusp of developing internal combustion engines when all went wrong.
Magic, as I’ve mentioned, is an energy source. It’s able to be tapped into, able to be used. When one doesn’t use energy, it backs up – it has nowhere to go. While people were enjoying a technological revolution the likes of which had never been seen before, magic was not being used (except very sparingly in Cathemega and places around it.) One morning in the capital of the Freeworld, there was a loud crack, and the earth split apart along the ley line of life.
All along its length, people were hit by terrifying magical effects – icy storms, electrical explosions, bursts of light, and unnatural darkness. Other effects manifested throughout the entirety of the rest of the world (except Cathemega, which remained safe.) Cities began to crumble, destroyed by the effects of the magics around them. Many hundreds of thousands of people died, and even more were stranded with nowhere to go. The earth itself began to split and pull apart, fracturing the Freeworld into many large islands rather than the cohesive continent of its past.
Then, the plumes appeared. When all quieted down, the populous thought they were safe. Rebuilding efforts began as scientists tried to determine what had gone wrong. The missing were being counted, people were trying to get back to their homes, others were trying to get to the port cities to escape. Late in the evening on the third day after the beginning of the terror, the earth began to rumble again. The central capital shook and quivered like never before, and as people fled from their homes and the towers, the earth ripped open and a great hole opened in the ground. Gouts of magical energy pulsed out of the ground, filling the air with the thickest, blackest night they’d ever seen. A few minutes later – and a few hundred miles north – a similar energy pulsed, covering the earth with light that blinded and burned. This continued along every major trunk, at every single point where the magical energies ceased.
With that last burst, that last shudder, the planet calmed. The few survivors of the Cataclysm tried to leave, to go to Cathemega to make a new home, but they were stopped by a great wall of rocky reefs. They ran out of food on these ships, and eventually storms, waves, or the reefs claimed their lives. The ones who didn’t flee found a similar fate, as their food stores ran out and riots began. Farming was impossible, as the world had changed dramatically. Outside of Cathemega, there were only a few tiny settlements that popped up again, but soon died out.
The world had ripped itself apart, sparing only the heart of magic.
Another aside here. As I was drafting the post on the areas outside of Relay, it occurred to me that my maps were screwy.
When I drew the map, I adjusted my thoughts to noting where, approximately, the major cities and areas were, drawing borders and mountain ranges and major forested areas. However, upon reaching the other continents, I completely forgot about distances. So while Relay is properly sized for a regular world, Daikteri and Essas are not. So that is a bit of a problem.
Case in point. There’s an area on Daikteri called the Wild Haunt. When I drew this on my map, it takes up about a good chunk of the continent. Without realizing it, I made a marsh land of about the size of the state of Texas. There are large deserts and large ranges like this in the real world, but my description of this area made little sense with relation to its size.
In addition, I added a few needless cities to Essas. One makes absolutely no sense, in that it’s a major trade hub on the other side of the island from the central sea. No trade would go through that city ever. If this was, however, a small island, it would make plenty of sense, same with the Wild Haunt and the equally ridiculous Water Gardens. I had unknowingly designed the rest of the continents as if I were working with small islands rather than continents spanning something as big north-to-south as Australia.
So I have to rethink Essas and Daikteri. The essentials are still there – but in returning this to a properly sized land, I’ve got huge swaths of empty land filling these island continents. This must be taken care of! So for now, the entry on Essas and Daikteri will have to wait for another day when I’ve reasonably thought through the whole thing once more and adjusted the map accordingly.
However, I’ve got three more places to work in for one more geographical post before getting into the major cities. I’m trying to draw these out better than I did before, and I keep getting this crazy idea to make the cities in Minecraft o.o I’m insane, I know.
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.
I’ll get to the post about Cathemega next. But for now I have to explain this, otherwise you may be a little confused.
Grab a globe, or load Google Earth on your computer. I’ll wait.
Got it? Good. Now, find… oh, I dunno… Fiji will do (it’s north of New Zealand.) From this island, draw – in your mind if you don’t want to wreck your globe – a line extending to the east ending in Brazil, a line extending to the west ending in Angola, a line extending to the north ending in Russia, and a line extending to the south looping over Antarctica and ending about the south Atlantic somewhere. Congratulations, you’ve just drawn an approximation of the major ley line trunks.
Each of these trunks contain the energies of five of the major elements. The north trunk contains Life, Darkness, Light, Summer, and Winter. The west contains Holy, Moon, Sun, Earth, and Wind. The south contains Death, the Void, Stars, Desolation, and Nature. The east contains Infernal, Fate, Dreams, Fire, and Water. Along these long trunks, each of these elements has a point at which its energies stop. These termination points end in the order mentioned. From the trunks themselves, extending towards Fiji, are spider webs of thinner tunnels of energy. They criss-cross underneath the surface of the planet, the energy itself expanding upwards and outwards as they go.
As you go along each of these trunks, magic becomes weaker. The elements a master wizard can cast become limited. Going west, for example, a wizard could cast earth spells up and until the end of that energy, at which point they’d only be able to cast wind, winter, water, and nature spells. Even more, the elements are weaker in their opposite directions naturally – so a water spell would be stronger cast east of Fiji than it would if it were cast west of Fiji.
The important thing is that there is one place in the world – one grouping of large islands – that is suffused with every elemental energy type. Every other continent on the planet exists with the lack of some elements or with weak magical natures. This one continent is the melting pot of magic, a place where even the lowliest mage can perform stunning magical feats.
That continent is Cathemega.
As my blog is titled, and I’ve already said a few times, the world in my stories is known as Dramoth Gilead. This is an ancient Dragon Tongue term meaning “world of men.” This post will detail the more broad geological and cosmological details of the world as a whole, with future posts detailing specifics about the inhabited continent and the major cities on that continent. For now we’ll talk about Dramoth Gilead’s place in space and the minor details that make up this planet.
Not to be confused with the Helix Nebula (which is quite lovely,) Dramoth Gilead exists in a galaxy that its inhabitants refer to as “the Helix.” This is in reference to a legend about the elemental of the sun, Solus, whose hand directs the planet’s course through the helix of time and space. The galaxy itself is a rather average spiral galaxy, with a relatively flat disk. Dramoth Gilead’s system itself is about the same distance from the galactic center as Earth’s system. Dramoth Gilead’s sun is a tiny bit smaller than Earth’s sun and the planet itself is a tiny bit closer to the sun than Earth is. So all in all, Dramoth Gilead is pretty much in the same place and holds the same solar attitude as Earth.
There are five other planets in the system, one closer and four others outside the range. Due to its prior technological level, these all have been discovered. Only Dramoth Gilead itself is viable for life due to either the extreme closeness of the first planet, or the distance of the other planets. There are numerous smaller planetoids in the furthest ranges, again discovered by scientists, and comets and asteroids as well.
The planet of Dramoth Gilead is a little smaller than the Earth. It is mostly water, with 5 major continents – the Free World, Cordiss, Aimus, Lorkin, and Cathemega. Only Cathemega is inhabited; the Free World, Aimus, and Cordiss were devastated by the Cataclysm, and Lorkin has no ley lines through it so it’s a barren land. Besides the natural ebb and flow of the planet’s inner mantle and core, Dramoth Gilead is also weaved almost entirely over by a series of thick “trunks” of energy called the ley lines. The planet has mild weather, a mostly temperate climate with easy winters.
The planet is actually a double planet, with a moon sharing its rotation. This moon is much smaller than the planet – only a tenth of the total mass, and the two objects are tidally locked to each other, showing their faces to each other always. This moon is called the Protector, and it’s made of a soft white mineral. It’s visible during the day, and goes through phases as Earth’s moon. Additionally there is a second moon further out called the Destroyer. This moon is made of an extremely dark mineral with a low albedo that it can only be seen when the planet is closest to the sun.
That’s it for the planet itself. I’ll explain about the continent of Cathemega in my next post.