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  • Andrew M. Trauger


Because these stories take place in an imaginary world, it is important to provide a map, which every good fantasy series does. It's amazing how many people never actually refer to the map to make sense of the geography and geo-political wranglings, but as soon as I don't include one there will be no end of rants.

This is the "working model" of the map of Arelatha, essentially a functional continent planet world known as Kreth. (There's a whole cosmology behind this; maybe I'll lay that out for you some day.) Arelatha is one of five continents and in ancient times--millennia ago--was ruled by Valkyrion, son of the Great Dragon. There are two major kingdoms, Kadeth and Lothania and the continent is divided roughly through the middle with Elandra, Alikon, and Ogria siding with Kadeth on the west, and Arvoria, Yilasa, Trelini, and Carolan siding with Lothania on the east. The Border Lands are disputed territory. Daren in the northwest and Vashan are neutral and pretty much keep to themselves, while the Shadowashes and the Mistlands are wastelands that nobody cares much about. Far to the south is the Audric Jungle on a large equatorial island, but it has little influence on the northern mainland.

The Janwyn Chersonese in the southeast corner is the odd nation out. Nobody knows much about the thickly forested area on that protrusion of land. (I know it's call a peninsula, but I like calling it a word "protrusion".) But its inhabitants, a cabal of ascetics known as the Nephreqin, have recently made themselves very well-known, infamous even. After taking complete control of the Bluhusk Sea, conscripting practically every pirate fleet in existence and extorting fees from all traffic from Ogria to the Sunrise Isles, the Nephreqin began systematically assassinating rulers, both local and national, in various parts of Arelatha and watching with immense satisfaction as the suffering countries began blaming each other.

War was inevitable. Kadeth and its neighboring countries went to war with Lothania and its allies. Nations crumbled. Some were erased from the map while others sprang up to declare independence. Most were financially, logistically, politically ruined. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives and livelihoods. The map as drawn above is what settled from those continental wars that lasted most of a decade and have been called the Wars of Attrition. Our stories take place fourteen years after the signing of the Arelathan Treaty that ended all but the sporadic fighting that continues in the Border Lands.

There is a LOT to tell about this dynamic place. Some of it will come out in the novels, but the stories aren't a history lesson or a gazetteer. I'm chewing on the though of providing a gazetter-like document for those who geek out on that sort of thing. Maybe...

What would be an extreme blessing is for someone with better mapping skills than I have to design, with my guidance, a really cool map...and smaller, regional maps for context in particular books, as those become necessary. I am willing to pay.

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