Many years ago I started drawing maps to visualize the places I was writing about, at that time mostly for role playing games but later for my novels too. I started with just pencil on paper, cities, fortifications, countries… continents. At one stage in my teens I even fancied being an architect I liked drawing plans so much. I loved being able to see something wonderful emerge from a blank page. I say wonderful not because I am a gifted artist (I stink at any other kind of drawing in fact) but because it turned an entirely new cog in my mind. Suddenly I could see these places in hard copy.
So in the early days of writing my novel, when my friend and colleague Holly mentioned this great fantasy map making software called Campaign Cartographer, I just had to buy it. Many hours of practice later I started mapping the continent of Teth-Kiran (the northern and southern landmasses which are the centre of my story). After having this under wraps for years it’s finally time to share some of it with you. It’s not entirely complete, but it will give you a better idea of the setting for the book.
The map below shows the kingdom of Arkavia, a land under threat of invasion by neighbouring Tiragar to the west, and their allies the Temple of Shirith-Kah.
Most of Arkavia sits within a protective ring of mountains, the Givurnian Mountains to the west and north, and the Balkithar Mountains to the south. This great valley is a fertile heartland, split in two by the majestic River Lavainn, which takes in nearly every other river in the kingdom as tributaries before spilling out into The Godless Deep in the north.
The Velderwood forms a barrier on the east, inhabited only partly by mankind and dangerous to travel in. Some parts of the Velderwood are home to an elder race of fae called the araquan, or ghosts, so named for their pale appearance and reputed ability to remain unseen by humans. To the south of the Velderwood, fierce ulegrym roam freely down out of the Balkithar mountains, threatening human and araquan settlements, and traders daring to travel through the forest.
Beyond the mountain ring on the north-west corner lies the Westmarch, a region of sea trade but also of constant border conflicts with Tiragar, and occasional attacks by the slavers of Shalak-Toth, an island to the north.
Further east we reach the Far Coast region. In the northern part the treacherous Straits of Northdeep provide a channel between the Godless Deep and the Arcane Sea, so named for the presence of the League Arcana, the guild of magicians, upon one of its islands. Only the foolish seek the League, they discourage visitors and have cast a raging tempest upon the sea for miles around. The Far Coast is attacked frequently by the northlanders, a clannish race of men who seek to violently exploit the wealth and trade flowing through the Far Coast region.
To the south beyond the Balkithar Mountains we find the small Principality of Kellis, a city isolated by mountains whose wealthy trading fleet plies the Inner Sea. Further east the Empire of Teth-Kiran begins with the northern province of Syrantium. Across the Inner Sea and we reach the capital of the empire itself, Salaskar, the city of ten thousand domes and spires.
These lands form the backdrop for the Chronicle of the Dreaming God. But much lies beyond them, and it time we will explore these lands too.
If you haven’t yet read the intro and extracts for Knight of Aslath, you can find them elsewhere on the blog.
- Opening scene from Hand of Ashaila (draft) - December 21, 2015
- Fantasy book giveaways - October 20, 2015
- Book giveaway for Knight of Aslath - September 24, 2015
- Should I enrol in Amazon KDP Select? - September 8, 2015
- Greatest Knights of Fantasy Literature - August 17, 2015
- Fantasy gods of Teth-Kiran - July 29, 2015
- Fantasy genre news 21.7.15 - July 21, 2015
- Knight of Aslath book launch giveaway - July 17, 2015
- Fantasy genre news 13.7.15 - July 14, 2015
- Book launch offer for Knight of Aslath - July 10, 2015