You have did a great work...!!!
You have did a great work...!!!
This map is very nice.
On your question on the OP: which of those two last maps do I like best? I'll have to say I prefer the second (the one with the coloured borders). I'd just make the colour's of the nations stand out less or make them more transparrent. Either that, or I'd make the background map's colour less saturated. Just to make it less busy on the eyes. :)
Edit: On second thought, I like the colour the way it is now. ^^
And you were right...my dutch is rusty. It is so rusty, it ceased existing :P But i can offer you german as a substitute :D
History and politics
When it comes to history and politics, I really could go on for ages. I have a Short History of Araniell written down, but it takes up tens of pages and is in completely uncomprehensible Dutch. I'll suffice with an overview.
The Four Ages
The history of my world can be split up in four main periods. The Twilit Times is the period from before the oldest stories. All that remains of this time is the physical world, which is said to be wrought at the very beginning of the Twilit times. Mountains and rivers, forests and deserts were formed and danced throughout the Twilit Times, but when they found their final resting place, the second period began.
The Age of Legends is the period in which the Gods were physical entities on this world. They created the first humans and interacted with them face to face. There is said to have been a magical empire, ruled from a magnificent city called Ictarion, where Gods and men lived side by side. No one really knows where Ictarion used to be, no traces of it have ever been found. All we know is that it was a magical place, that only beauty lived there, and that it was eventually destroyed in a war between the Gods. When Ictarion fell, the Gods left the world in shame, and the Age of Legends came to its end.
The third period in history is the Age of Heroes. Some of the people living in Ictarion managed to escape, and they roamed the world looking for a place to settle. Many stories of their adventures and those of their offspring have survided until the time of the narrative, some of those recording encounters with mythical creatures such as dragons and unicorns. Some heroes died, some found mythical weapons and conquered strange peoples, others found love at the end of their journey, and built a home for themselves and their families. They are the ones that are said to have started many of the powerful houses in the 'now' of my story. The Age of Heroes does not end abruptly. It fades into the next, which is called the Age of Kings. It is in this age that the real History of my kingdoms starts.
I already told there were several powerful houses in what is nowadays called the Lands of Aran and Ilan. Aran is roughly the region east of the central mountain ridge on the map, Ilan is the region west of it. At the beginning of the Age of Kings, there were numerous little kingdoms spread over the map. Every powerful house ruled over its own little patch of the Lands, and was at constant war with its neighbours. Kingdoms fell and were absorbed, others grew and prosperred, only to wither during a Plague. Many of the ancient houses lost their independence or simply ceased to exist. Things went on like that for hundreds of years, until something happened in a quite place on a grassy shore.
A new Kingdom
Where now lies the city of Cailltir, in those days there was only gras. It was nothing but a stretch of flat land on the edge of the river Lia, ruled by an order of priests from an insignificant convent on a muddy island in the stream. The only reason why it was of any significance at all, was a merchant fair, which took place on that grassy riverbank every spring, and attracted merchants from all over Aran. The fair was organized by the order of priests, but the ruler in that part of the world was a man named Yvrid, reigning the kingdom of Tilia from his capital Tilbar. (Tilia took up about 2/3 of what is nowadays called Barann). Tilia had been at war with several of its neighbours for more than a generation now, and its funds were critically low. They decided to take over as much of the commerce as possible, and eventually turned their attention to the merchant fair on the banks of the Lia. Tensions were already palpable between the priests and king Yvrid, and they only rised when he decided to impose heavy taxes on all merchants coming to the fair. It was the year 2823, and the world was ready for a revolution. All that was needed was a spark. And the spark came in the form of a fairly minor incident: a Tilbarian soldier raping a merchant girl.
What started as a mere revolt, killing a few Tilbarian soldiers and chasing away the others, caused a heavily undue reaction from the king. Instead of a few soldiers, he brought along every man he could miss to beat down the opposition. He thought the merchants would scatter soon enough when they heard he was approaching with his army. While about half of them did, the others, however, stayed. For a man had emerged from the masses. A man ready to fight Yvrid, knowing he could win. A man with the short but meaningful name Call. With the help of only a handful of merchant bodyguards, he managed to fire up the merchants to rebellion. The priests agreed to feed the rebels until the arrival of the king, but refused to turn their little island in the stream into a defendable position. Call understood, and envisioned another option. They had two weeks time before the enemy would arrive, far too short to build a real castle, but enough to build a motte-and-bailey.
Without going into any further detail, I can say they survided the siege that followed, though only barely. It was chance that threw off Yvrid that first time, and chance that led his other, older enemies to start a coordinated war against Tilia in the next summer, giving Call and his merchants the time to build the first permanent settlement on the banks of the Lia. He decided to call the place Sarassin, Freedom in the language of the Arans, but his followers came to name it simply Caill Tir instead, the city of Call. And that is how it came to be known to the world around. The fame of Caill Tir (or Cailltir) spread fast: a city that grew on the place of the first succesful rebellion against Tilbar! People looking for freedom came from all directions, and Cailltir started growing feverishly. When a few years later Yvrid had finally managed to fight off his enemies and came for Cailltir again, he found a small, bustling city where he left a handful of merchant rebels. That, and an army under its gates.
The battle for Cailltir raged well into the night, and things were uncertain for a long time. But eventually, as you can guess, it was the Cailltirians that won. Yvrid fled the battlefield before the end, and hid in Tilbar. Cailltir once again proved too strong for Tilbar, and this time the priests decided to reward the people of Cailltir. They declared the lands around the city a new and young kingdom named The Garden of Aran (or Arain Nial, which changed into Araniell over time), and proclaimed Call to become the first king.
Things weren't over yet, rest assured. It took a third war before Tilbar was finally defeated, and quite a bit of treason and scheming (after all that's what makes a dull war story interesting), but eventually Tilia and all its lands came to Araniell. And that was only the start. Because in the course of the following centuries, Araniell not only managed to maintain its lands - it even grew. Sometimes by battle, sometimes by marriage, until it had conquered all the lands on that side of the mountains. And then it grew further.
What with Ilan?
The western kingdoms were still at war with one another when Araniell appeared at its doorstep. They tried their best, but failed to keep the Aranians out. Araniell washed over them like a giant wave, annexing one small kingdom after the other. They founded a new capital at the western ocean and named it Fyrnan. Their power grew and grew. And then, three hundred years after Call's rebellion, the expansion stopped. Internal troubles paired with several outbreaks of the Plague resulted in a breakup of the massive kingdom. In the east, most lands remained faithful to Cailltir, though there too were uprisings. But in the lands called Ilan, several regions managed to wring themselves free from the Arain oppression. Sarand was the first to go, but they were soon brought back into the federation with massive use of force. Cell was next, and they managed to fight off the enemy. And eventually even Fyrnan itself declared itself independent. If Araniell had been in any better shape, they would have reacted to that last outrage with massive resources. But they had internal battles to fight. Ilan broke away from the federation, and started an Arain-inspired rule, but it was far too late for that. While both kingdoms were still recovering from the last outbreak of the plague, five major Ilain lords came together, and founded the Council of Lords. Together, they would define the course of the kingdom in a way the weak Fyrnan king could never hope to acquire. They never really abolished the notion of a king so they kept him and his seat, but the real power from that day on lay in their five houses. When Araniell struggled out of the post-plague destruction, they found a neighouring country in pretty good shape, and a new enemy not to be underestimated. For what could one king begin against a Council of five?
Wew, that was quite something, wasn't it? If you're still reading after all this jibber jabber, I'll gladly go on a bit about the races in Aran and Ilan.
Races and peoples, and some more history
When it comes to races, there's only really one in my world, and that's humans (at least at the moment, no one knows what I'll come up with along the way). There are wizards and seers, but those are just humans with a talent for magic and a feel for the etherial world (also called the Sphere). While humans have existed for thousands of years, wizards and seers were a fairly recent phenomenon, a slowly growing community that mostly kept to themselves and gradually split up in two factions: those that used their powers to create Order, and those that preferred Chaos. Originally this schism was on a mere philosophical level, but when the chaos faction started working themselves up in the hierarchical ranks of the 'mortal' world, somewhere in the first half of the third century after Call's rebellion, things started to look ugly for the mortals. Eventually this resulted in a Magical Advisory Council that managed to turn itself into the only advising body of the king of Araniell, which in its turn inevitably led to a cataclysmic civil war, ripping the kingdom apart. The mortals would never have won the war hadn't the Order faction come to their aid. They made a device called the Agnion, capable of tracing any etherial activity. With it, they managed to virtually exterminate the Chaos faction, though there were heavy losses on the Order and mortal side as well.
When the war was over, the Aranians decided they would never suffer the oppression by wizards again, and closed down all etherial institutes, including those of the remainders of the Order faction. The Order wizards, reduced to a tiny minority again, went underground, and devoted themselves to study, while the rest of the world slowly rebuilt itself from the ashes of the war. When years turned to centuries, eventually everyone, even the wizards and seers of the Order faction, came to believe the Chaos faction was destroyed. But was it really? Because after all, the extermination only happened in Araniell, didn't it?
And that, my friends, is the starting point of my novel. If you want to know anything more, I suggest you wait until it's published (if that ever happens) and learn Dutch in the meantime :D
Time for another updated that is actually related to cartography ;).
Changes since my last update:
- changed some of the roads in the western part of the map (several major roads (large black dots) have become provincial roads (smaller dots)
- named at least some of my rivers. Boy, such a pain in the ass, all that "text align to path" crap. Bleh!
- moved most of my city names around, so as to position them closer to where they belong according to that horrible (but unfortunately quite correct) guide I reffered to earlier
- added some texture to the ocean. While this only took about 5% of my time, it is probably the most visible change
### LATEST WIP ###
I'd be much obliged if you guys would comment on any of the points I listed above. I'm pretty unsure about each of them, to be honest. Let me know what you think!
A short intermediate update, with some more adaptions I did to my seafloor bumpmap.
### latest WIP ###
All critique is welcome, as always!
The coastlines are still pretty pixilated, though. The sea at Cailltir is also missing. Also the big lake at the north of the map lacks a name. And I still prefer the one with coloured nations (the inside of their borders, at least) - for one, that makes it easier to see to which nations the various islands belong, as well as making it easier to make out where the nations are without having to zoom in. Then I'd also use series of circles or just plain lines instead of series of squares to mark the borders, as the squares kinda make the map seem angular when zoomed in (along with the pixilated coastlines). Other than that, I generally approve. ;)
And lovely info you've got there. :)
Cool, thanks for the World Fluff! And the map keeps improving. Looking forward to more.
Too bad i'll never be able to read your novel. But if you ever make an rpg for your world, see to it that it gets translated to english ;)
- softened the coastlines. Thank god I did. I hadn't noticed the change, but apparently I changed my Land Mask somewhere along the way, and winded up with a pixelated version of it. I went back to the original path selection, and quickly corrected it
- named the lake to the north. Should've done that way back. While I was at it, I also added names to the different seas/oceans surrounding the mainland. I'm not sure about the looks of it just yet though. Let me know what you think!
- adapted the borders. I still mean to go for the line look instead of the colours, but I took your suggestion about the squares and replaced them with dot-dash lines
### LATEST WIP ###
All critique is welcome!
Much better look on those borders.