Some Snippets from The World

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
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elemtilas
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Sun 05 Aug 2018, 03:23

alynnidalar wrote:
Sat 04 Aug 2018, 23:47
What are the divisions of the Southern Landrealm that is Afareia, or is it not divided, or is this considered unimportant to geagraphers? (or is it perhaps undiscovered as yet?)
Oh, I see! I thought for a moment I'd forgotten to answer a Question! Hm. I chalk it up to an oversight which will require rectification.

A lot (maybe 70%?) of Gea's surface is unknown to the natural philosophers of the Eastlands, and quite a lot of what they do know is second hand (or third hand) information. Afareia, for all its historical and mythological import, kind of falls into the 70%. Mostly what they know about the place is because traders or wandering monk-scholars have brought Western maps into the East.

There are indeed divisions: in the north Phazzanea (which is very well known in the West, being the last refuge of Atelantean civilisation, in its present form of the Remano-Misserian Empire); in the midlands Vanda, broad grasslands and steppe mostly, though I'm sure that won't last long; and in the south, Afareia proper. Most of this landrealm is empty space filled up with names written in very large & fancy letters and decorated here and there with random mountain ranges and volcanoes of dubious veracity, all in an effort to make the map look not quite as empty as it actually is.

As for importance, it is of little direct import to folks in the East. But it is of general interest to geagrophers and especially cartographers who love to draw all manner of squiggly lines and little cartouches on their maps! No one from Auntimoany or any other lands of Men has gone there. A couple of Daine travellers are known to have gone at least as far as Vanda in recent millennia and more importantly come back home again. There being Daine realms there, I can only imagine that's why they'd travel through the unwelcoming heartlands of Men. No Daine or Teyor I'm aware of has ventured into the Uttermost South in many many ages. In the youth of the Daine, they used sometimes to go down there with Teyor seekers. There was, in those days, a very fair place of stone pavilions where the Teyor would make their camp for a time. The Daine with them enjoyed the hunting, but it was there they saw some strange beasts that almost looked, well, intelligent. They didn't talk or anything, but it wasn't long after the Teyor abandonned their sojourns into the deep South, never to return. I think those strange beasts could have been far distant ancestors of Men. Lord only knows what those early people thought of the strange beautiful people and their winged warriors and all the graceful stonework and gardens they left behind...
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by eldin raigmore » Sun 05 Aug 2018, 17:55

A Catechism for the Young Scholar, be she Man or Daine or any other Kindred inhabiting our Empire. --- Since
1644, Sun-Wulf Peteqer's atlases, geographies, chorographies and travelogues have proven themselves among
scholars, historiographers and travelling merchants alike as the most reliable guides and as well the least prone
to unnecessary flights of fancy. Also available are a range of First Leap books for the young scholars
of our Empire.
So, I might be one of the Young Scholars to whom these First Leap books are addressed?
Or only in World-specific subjects such as Gea-graphy?

———

BTW what’s a chorography ?

A country-writing or country-drawing?

I doubt it has anything to do with choreography!

———

What’s their (there?) equivalent of “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres”?

Or more ambitiously
“Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.”?

Or were you thinking of that when you wrote?
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Sun 05 Aug 2018, 18:16

eldin raigmore wrote:
Sun 05 Aug 2018, 17:55
A Catechism for the Young Scholar, be she Man or Daine or any other Kindred inhabiting our Empire. --- Since
1644, Sun-Wulf Peteqer's atlases, geographies, chorographies and travelogues have proven themselves among
scholars, historiographers and travelling merchants alike as the most reliable guides and as well the least prone
to unnecessary flights of fancy. Also available are a range of First Leap books for the young scholars
of our Empire.
So, I might be one of the Young Scholars to whom these First Leap books are addressed?
Or only in World-specific subjects such as Gea-graphy?
Well, typically this kind of book would be aimed at children, those who here we'd consider of grammar school age. Coming to the Illumination of Education rather, ah, later in life!, such a book could easily be used by older person. Among Men, there are no laws that govern the education of children. Social class & cultural norms dictate when or if a child attends a formal school, a sidewalk school or is attended by tutors or some combination. Formal schools are usually operated by a church or shrine or trade guild.

These kinds of books, like their primary world counterparts, exist for all the basics of education. You'll find titles like First Leap into Geagraphy and Fewyarg's Runabook and Wrihht's First Avantimannish Grammar and Spake's Logic for Scholars and Qiqerun's Rhetoric for Beginners; Xander & Yandam's Arithmetic & Geametry.
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Sun 05 Aug 2018, 18:31

eldin raigmore wrote:
Sun 05 Aug 2018, 17:55
BTW what’s a chorography ?

A country-writing or country-drawing?

I doubt it has anything to do with choreography!
Right. A chorography is a book that describes a region or several regions. Wanwise's Chorography of Narutanea is a good example, as it deals with only those lands east of the Holy Hills and north of the river Yeruin. There is a book, The Chorography that is simply a survey of all known regions, or rather, what is known of all regions!
What’s their (there?) equivalent of “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres”?

Or more ambitiously
“Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.”?

Or were you thinking of that when you wrote?
I'm sure they haven't had a Julius Caesar there! Mind you, I'm more fond of Boyardi's translation: Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam coquunt Butyro, aliam coquunt Oleo, tertiam coquunt Larido. Mmmm laridum!
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Sun 05 Aug 2018, 23:32


First Leap Into Geagraphy

LESSON VI.

  • Q. What lies below the surface of Gea?

    A. Below the surface of Gea lie the Deep Places.

    Q. What are the Deep Places called?

    A. First are the great realms of Underworld, those are the Chasms of the Deep; then the Pillars of the World; and at last the Uttermost Deeps.

    Q. What are the Chasms of the Deep?

    A. The Chasms of the Deep are akin to the Landrealms of the surface, where the Alman and Iman and Udan of those places live.

    Q. What are the Pillars of the World?

    A. Deep beyond reckoning, the Pillars of the World is the broad realm of the Ankanic Beings.

    Q. To what does Ankanic refer?

    A. Ankanic refers to the Unquenchable Fires of the deepest Realms of Gea.

    Q. What are the Uttermost Deeps?

    A. The Uttermost Deeps are the abode of the Deep Dwellers, a place of raging typhoons of pure dwimmery & magnetry.


LESSON VII.

  • Q. Who governs our Empire?

    A. The Empress Yesseraê Willunnô and her Co-Emperor, Handfast of the Bloody Blade governs our Empire.

    Q. Who governs the Queendom of Harathalliê?

    A. The Greatqueen Serendarzhan governs that Queendom.


    Q. Which is the largest Empire in the world?

    A. The Empire of Syan-Syan.

    Q. Where is the Empire of Syan-Syan located and what is its nature?

    A. The Empire of Syan-Syan is located in Irinsureia and is a land of Daine folk.


    Q. Which is the largest Queendom or Kingdom in the world?

    A. The largest such land is the Queendom of Harathalliê.


LESSON VIII.

  • Q. What is a Map?

    A. A Map is a wonderful picture of the whole, or a part, of Gea's Surface.

    Q. What are the kinds of Maps?

    A. Maps may be flat, or deep or round.

    Q. By what names are such Maps called?

    A. Flat maps are called Charts; deep maps are called Dwimmerseeings; round maps are called Globes.


    Q. What are the directions upon a Map?

    A. The directions upon a Map are delineated by the Lotus of the Winds: toward the top, East; toward the bottom, West; toward the right, South; toward the left, North.



LESSON VIIII.

  • Q. In what Division of Gea do we live?

    A. We inhabit Narutanea, which is the Eastlands.


    Q. What Division lies to the south of Narutanea?

    A. To the south of Narutanea lies Irinsurea.


    Q. When you look at the rising Sun, what Ocean is before you?

    A. The Ocean of Sunrise lies before us when we look towards the rising Sun.


    Q. Where does the Sun rise?

    A. The Sun rises in splendour from the East, beyond the Veils of Dawn.


    Q. Where, then, is the Ocean of Sunrise?

    A. The Ocean of Sunrise is east of Auntimoany.


    Q. When you look at the setting Sun, what Ocean is before you?

    A. The Ocean of Sunset lies before us when we look towards the setting Sun.


    Q. Where does the Sun set?

    A. The Sun sets in majesty into the West, beyond the Veils of Dusk.


    Q. Where, then, is the Ocean of Sunset?

    A. The Ocean of Sunset lies west of Atelante & Wespera.


    Q. What Ocean lies north of Eosphora?

    A. The Ocean of Congealed Waters lies to the north of Eosphora.
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Thu 09 Aug 2018, 05:04

YMALLEA.

Ymallea is the name given by the Wise to the regions of rolling hill country of southern Eosphora
a way to the south of the Silk Road between the Indo-Helladian Kingdoms to the west and the realms
of the Kemer to the east. To the south lies Sandhia which juts out into the warm waters of the Sea of
Sandh and is a land of verdant pasturage and well watered farms. The hills that hight Ymalli are also
known as the Southern Mountains, though in sooth they are not nearly so high or cragulous as to warrant
the name. They are ancient and worn hills, few being higher than six thousand feet, though there are
many deep vales and it is a land of many meres and rivers. Green they are and their valleys are lush
with running waters that flow in all directions from the highlands.

In the northern parts of Ymallea lies a vast steppe land dotted here and there by the ruins of many
kingdoms now long fallen and forgotten even by the loremasters who know best the history of those
times and places; for the ancient builders of these cities and roads and other works are long dead,
and anymore nothing is remembered of their histories or cultures or learning, except what little has
been gleaned from the architecture and objects they left behind. The cities are thought to have
been constructed anywhen from about eleven to fifteen thousand years ago, and most be now buried
under fields or woodlands.

Of the Daine and a few Men who now inhabit many of those lands in the reaches of central Eosphora,
some kindreds make use of several of the cities, while the rest lie abandoned and empty for most of
the Daine in those lands are wanderers tending more to their horses and herds than to any ruins of
ancientry. Most of the roads linking these cities are long greened over, though some are in good
condition, and are regularly used by Daine and also the caravans that wend their ways between our
lands in the East and the distant Empire of Sunset. At times, some adventurer will assay to explore
the ruins of one of these dead cities and some few come away again with their lives, for it is said
that they are home to little more than ghosts. And it is well known that ghosts that inhabit dead
cities are always hungering for the life force of those intrepid fools who will dare come nigh their
haunts and lairs. Far fewer indeed come away again with the treasures they seek.

Helmfast describes in his Account some of the ancient ruins to be found. Most notable are the pottery
and metal implements that may occasionally be found by digging amongst the tumbled stone walls.
Many yet bear elaborate designs and pictures of local animals and plants upon them. Wild boars,
leopards and serpents are found very commonly, and it is thought by some historiographers that these
animals were once worshipped there; though olifaunts, behemoths - which the Rumen do clep
hippopotamides - aurochs, dragons and many other beast may be found on objects in this land. Of
curious note are several objects that hight stamp seals, for they seem to be fashioned in order to
authenticate ownership or authorship of things, in likewise to a merchant or government seal in our
own country. It be impossible to learn the meaning of the writing on them though, if writing it be, for
it is thought that the writing may represent the owners name. The usual form the ruins are found in
be that of a large central complex surrounded by an oblong walled area with smaller buildings and
complexes within. Many scorched and blackened stones are thought to be part of ancient fire altars,
and these are often found at crossroads.

The ruins hight anau by the Daine who inhabit the region; although they can not say if this is the
native or true name of the people that built the places. Some historiographers hold that these ancient
peoples were ancestors of the Nibukians who later founded their empire at Hoopelle. Others believe that
the places were built by Daine or Teyor or perhaps some other long forgotten race in the dim and distant
past. Many of the cities bear the curious scars of some horrific and violent upheaval. In several places,
one may find in the middle of an abandoned roadway, a huge and vast pit and all the stones of the roadways
and walls are scattered and tumbled about as if thrown thence by some incredible tumult. The legends of
the local Men hold that in far ancient times, the gods came from the heavens in their flying cities and
made war there, thus destroying the once thriving kingdoms. There is for example, the curious story of a
battle between two kings, Carsanay and Salmay, which ends in a fiery cataclysm:

When the weapon of Admatam, a blazing missile of smokeless fire is unleashed, dense arrows of flame,
like a great shower of fire, issued forth upon the world, encompassing the enemy. A thick gloom swiftly
settled upon the enemy hosts. All points of direction were lost in darkness as fierce winds began to blow.
Clouds roared upward, showering dust and gravel. Birds reeled madly and the very elements seemed
disturbed. The sun seemed to waver in the heavens; and the earth shook, scorched by the terrible violent
heat of this weapon. Oliphants burst into flame, running to and fro in a frenzy and from the end of one
city to the ends of the other, over a vast area, other animals crumpled to the ground and died. From all
points of direction the arrows of flame rained continuously and fiercely. At the last came Carsanay
flying in his swift and powerful airship, hurling against the triple city a single missile charged with all the
power of the universe. And there an incandescent column of smoke and fire, as brilliant as ten thousand
suns, rose in all its splendor. Indeed the light of the weapon lit the heavens brighter than the sun at noon.
It was the iron thunderbolt, a gigantic and terrible messenger of death which reduced to ashes the entire
race of the Ourisnis and Antacas. Their corpses were so burnt they were no longer recognizable, and of
those who survived the first onslaught, their hair and nails fell out. Birds on the wing instantly became
ash and pottery broke without cause and the foodstuffs in every storehouse were poisoned. In order to
try and make an escape, the warriors of Ourisnis and Antacas threw themselves in streams to wash
themselves and their equipment. But try as they might to wash and cleanse themselves of the bitter ash,
none survived the mighty onslaught of king Carsanay and his mighty weapon.


The southern parts of central Eosphora are peopled by many tribes of wandering nomads and people of
moderate agricultural civilisation. The Rumeliard historiographer Mannios Tullios Cicero lists hundreds of
thedes both Mannish and Daine living in this area, but most of them have never been visited by reputable
scholars, and little or nothing is known of them.

There be four kindreds that wander the steppes: the Mung, who are most numerous and are swarthy Men
that have narrow eyes and black hair; the Aigheldaine, swarthy Wildings and also have dark hair and wings
and their eyes are shaped like almond nuts; the Turcs and Aryans, who be fairer, but no less barbarick.
Many thedes of the central and southern parts of Eosphora follow curious tribal religions. Yet there are a
number of folks that follow the Bodhian & Zoroastrusian religions and there are not a few Nestorian, or
Edezian Kristians as well.

In the midlands of Ymallea lies a beautiful land of lakes called Zampal-lay where it is said folk live in a
state of happiness and peace, where divine truth and pure thought and action find their home. Zampal-lay
is a land that no ordinary person may enter unless he is well upon the path of enlightenment. Those with
special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not
a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human
realm. And unless one has the merit and the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there.
So says the lama of the Idtotian monastery at Dang-lay, near the Silk Road, whose monastery is reported to
be in the vicinity of Zampal-lay. Idtotian monks, who spend their nights contemplating the wonders of the
all encompassing principle of Gogam or all encompassing love, produce verses on scrolls and banners in
their lovely ivy-script.

Beyond these wild lands, south of the Hills of Ymalli and east of Ehrran, there lie many rich and powerful
kingdoms yet the South of Eosphora be a land little known to us in the East, for few have travelled thither
and come back again alive. There be in those southern lands the Empire of the Sandhians; the Kingdom of
Congarashthiya; the Land of the Goat; Lomb; and the lands of the Mung.

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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Thu 30 Aug 2018, 08:38

A Story of the Old Days


It was a hot day in the City as I trudged back towards the coolth of the cloister in my black woolen robe. I envied the way other folks could wear a light wrap and sandals on days like this. But at least the crowds in the Street of the Four Fountains made way for me with a bow here or a “sister, pray” there. At last the hot square cobbles told my tired bare feet they would soon find a bit of respite!

It was then I heard a commotion coming out of the Old Stables alley. Curious, I turned my quarrelsome feet down the alley to investigate. The noise and commotion came from an open courtyard on my right. Men and women and children of many kindreds were gathered in there, undoubtedly expecting some kind of entertainment. That was one thing this great city, the center and heart of the ancient Empire, was known for: street theatre. I slipped in and took a place near the back where I could see the show, too, and also observe the people. If the people of Hoopelle loved street theatre, I reserved for myself the private love of people watching. Really, it was just another kind of street performance!

I turned towards the stage and, when the great oliphant drawn waggon was driven away, found that this was not going to be any ordinary dramatic performance. Upon the east wall of the courtyard was a wide wooden wall, its thick boards secured to broad wooden beams set into the ground. Men were at work securing something to the wooden boards with a rope. As the moved about, I could see that something was a Daine boy, tall and beautiful, his wrists and ankles bound. His midnight black hair was done up in an intricate braidwork and his black feathers served as stark contrast for his pure white skin. They cleaned him up nicely for the show. Upon a low table before the crowd were an assortment of sturdy wooden tools and bronze devices, deep brown with age. The coroner read out the charge: an aggravated theft and the killing of Woman while committing a crime. The sentence was a forgone conclusion: death. The only question remaining would be the manner.

Let the people decide, and therein, I could now see, was the opening act of the drama. The coroner pointed out various devices. As his thick, black-nailed hands passed over the table, people cried out in competing waves: “the nails, gov, the nails!” or “the collar, aye, the collar!” But when the hands passed over two simple shapes of bronze, like two R runes of thick metal, the crowd went wild: “the staples, the staples!” they all cried, maddened with eagerness. Eager for punishment!

The coroner sniffed indifferently and nodded to two assistants, who grabbed up a mattock and the great bronze staples. The crowd settled down, sure they would see a good theatre this afternoon. The men took some time to position the boy’s right wing in just the right position; then the fellow with the staple and mattock felt for the spot on the wing, placed the staple. And with a deft blow, drove the staple into the flesh. The boy yipped with the pain but controlled himself well. Another blow sent the staple through. The yipped again. Sounds of scraping from behind the wall indicated that the big metal staple had been drawn through the holes in the wood and was being secured. Turning to the left wing, the man drove the staple so hard that wood, metal and bone together resounded with a thunderous crash upon the planks. The boy groaned quietly, and whimpered. Tears formed in the corners of his brilliant green eyes.

“Oh, go on! Make him squeal!” This was shouted out by a large burly Man, one of the Maned Folk from up in the northern woodlands. He wore heavy leather boots and woolen britches and a leather apron. Probably a woodwright or bronzesmith. The mair of his mane was pale and his skin was as dark as the bronze of the torture instruments.

“Hear! Why don’t you make him squeal Landar! You’re good at that!” This should came from a tall thin fellow in front of me. A tradesman of some kind.

The great Maned Man roared with laughter, slapping his great round belly. “Ya. Him first, then you!”

The cornoner and his men, ignoring the jovial crowd, undid the thongs tying the boy’s ankles and wrists. They took away the torn wrap he was wearing And gathering up their tools, they went away. There would be no need to leave a guard. There would be no escape for the poor boy.

After a while, it became clear that, unlike many Daine prisoners, this one wasn’t going to provide the expected entertainment. People drifted away from the courtyard in ones and twos, muttering that he’d be crying a differing song on the morrow. A few folks stood by, though, just in case.

One man asked him: “So what did you really do, prag? Who did you kill and what did you steal?”

Another scoffed, saying: “Prags always rape our women before they kills em. That’s what I hear he done.”

The boy just shrugged, lowered his eyes. “I..I don’t know. Nothing really. They just coshed me and said I was in for it. They never said wh...”

“PSSHH! You’re a liar! Prags is always lying.” And with that the two Men left the courtyard. I was sure they’d be back, though. Watching a Daine die was always considered a good show.

The boy just stood there in the beating sun, perhaps uncertain as to what was expected of him now. Every now and then he’d rub his left leg with his right foot, or look to the left or right, inspecting the staples that bound his wings to the wall.


Once he tried to reach the staple with his fingers, but the coroner was too clever for that! He was pinned at a place just out of reach of his long, slender fingers. The boy sighed. As the Sun rode down the long hours of afternoon, the sweat rolled down his naked body, watering the tufts of grass where he stood. Eventually, no one else was left, and I slipped along the portico of the western wall, a shadow among shadows. As I left the courtyard I heard a quiet, sweet voice calling out, “good bye...”

I hurried away towards the coolth of the cloister, the Daine boy’s voice singing in my head.

* * *

If yesterday was hot, today was even hotter! And I sure felt the weight of my robe as I made my rounds in the City. The Sun was climbing towards the pinnacle of her journey when I finished and began roaming along the turnings and meanderings of the City’s streets.

The voices of many people came to me through the hood of my robe: “sister, pray”, “blessed sister!”, “a rune, sister, a rune!” But only one voice I heard, and it spoke or sang a song without words. I had not meant to, but I found that my feet had found their way along the blazing cobbles to the Street of the Four Fountains and the corner of Old Stables.

I hesitated. Should I go up there again? To that courtyard? Of course. The boy had me enthralled, mesmerised. They say Daine have that power, to control the minds of others. My heart pounded: I knew this one had me in his control! As I walked, I shook my hooded head. Of course he didn’t! He couldn’t! If he could control minds, why was he stapled to the wall, doomed to die, and here I was walking the streets of the burning City in freedom? I turned into the courtyard. He stood there, naked and proud before the jeering crowd. They had apparently decided to bring their own entertainment today.

I don’t know how he could have known! Just as I crossed the threshhold of the courtyard, he turned his head towards me, tears in his eyes, but his mouth was set and determined not to yield. I turned away and dove for the shadows of the portico, hiding behind one of the stone pillars. Silly girl! You don’t need to hide!

I went back to the place I was yesterday. The children had gathered up pebbles and were slinging them at the boy with great precision, each strike thumping on bone or bare flesh. High whoops of delight came from their young throats, and proud fathers and elder brothers ruffled their hair and mothers reminded their children not to use stone that were too large. Smaller stones will prolong the agaony, after all, and that’s all this nasty prag deserves, the longest torture imaginable.

Any invading army should turn and run from this legion of brats: their aim was impeccable. While the boy was bruised and bloodied all over, most of their strikes were against his fingers, his knuckes, his toes, his knees and elbows. Spots sure to cause deep and lasting pain. But they put up their slings and pebbles as a great roaring could be heard from the alley outside.

In strode a contingent of Maned Folk. The same Landar from yesterday. With him was another Man very like him in stature, but rather less in belly. A great bellied Maned Woman was with him, her big round breasts resting on her belly like the ancient icons in the Temple of the Mothers. Her hair was bound up with long bones and she roared like her mate, though I couldn’t understand what she was saying. A wave of urgent whispering rolled through the mob. Ah! This was the family of the slain Woman! Oh dear, looks like everyone was in for some theatre this hot afternoon!

Landar strode right up to the Daine boy, shouting and roaring the whole way. His big meaty hands shoved the poor boy right into the wooden wall, and he kept shouting and poking him in the chest and shoulders. The boy winced with each poke, but could make no sense of the great Man’s diatribe.

“Landar!” the great Woman called out; “Talk Ozmandish! Prag can’t undrstand our tongue!”

“Hold your whisht, Raddam!” Turning back to the boy, he continued shouting, though in Ozmandish now, about how his family was now torn apart by the death of Raddam’s sister. Though the big Man only stood as tall as the Daine boy’s throat, that didn’t stop him from yanking his braids and pinching his ears and pounding his chest with his mighty fists. At last, he thrust both fists into the boy’s belly and left him breathless and staggering.

And now it was Raddam’s turn. The boy managed to stand upright again and regain his breath a little, but Raddam bore in her right fish a short sjambok of oliphant hide. She slapped it into her left palm with a smart whack! She started with his shoulders and his chest, putting all her considerable weight and strength into each carefully chosen blow. Every now and then, the smack of the weapon was accompanied by the muffled groan of bones grinding together. The boy cried out on those occasions, and tried to defend himself as best he could from her terrible onslaught. But in her rage, she was far too strong!

If he tried to grasp the sjambok, she would jerk it back; if he tried to block her blows, she powered through until she found her mark. Sweat and blood mingled on his white skin, and she spat on him. His breath came in ragged gasps and he held his bruised hands up to ward off another blow. But Raddam only grunted and smiled. She stuffed the weapon into her leather belt and got up close. Her voice was low, now but clearly audible for the crowd’s cheering and jeering subsided so they could hear too.

“You rape my sister, Prag! You lie and you kill!” I heard a wet slap and the boys eyes opened wide in terror. A sickening crunch could be heard followed by a bestial scream of pure pain. Landar roared with laughter, his big belly rolling; and Raddam laughed too, her whole body shaking with laughter as her fist crushed and tore at the boy’s body.

Somewhere in the crowd, a familiar voice rose above the excited chatter: “Huy Landar! Your Raddam sure made the Prag squeal!!”

The boy collapsed to the blood stained grass, gasping and sobbing. The great Woman stood up straight and thrust out her chest and spat on the boy’s bowed head. Before she turned away, she landed a solid kick into his belly. People laughed, well pleased with today’s show, and filed out in their ones and twos.

As the Sun beat down on the tortured boy, only a few folks were left to watch. He pushed the mass of deep black hair behind him and began pressing here and there. Satisfied that not very many bones were broken, he drew his crossed legs up under him, straightened himself up and calmed his breathing. Someone had dropped a rag of cloth nearby and the boy reached out for it and began to clean the dried blood from his body.

The boy sighed, folded the cloth and set it to the side. As the Sun rode down the last hour of evening, the last of the people left the courtyard. Eventually, no one else was left, and I slipped along the portico of the western wall, a shadow among shadows. As I left the courtyard I waited a moment. I heard the quiet, sweet voice calling out, “good bye...”

I hurried away towards the coolth of the cloister, the Daine boy’s voice singing in my head.

* * *

If the second day was raging hot, the third day was a bronzesmith’s furnace inside a baker’s oven! I made my rounds, deliberately quicker than before. I knew I would be drawn, sooner or later, to the Street of the Four Fountains and then up the hill along the Old Stables and to the courtyard, to the theatre where an everyday drama was being played out.

My bare feet scurried along the well known course of cobbles, my hooded ears barely hearing the supplicants in the streets. “Sister, a prayer”; “blessed sister”; “a rune, sister, a rune!” Strange thoughts swam in the seas of my mind as I walked along. Sister, a prayer. How could these people pray for peace and plenty and blessings when in every quarter of the City one could witness the cruelty of our gods’ justice being played out? Blessed sister. How blessed can I be, a sister of Matay, the earthbound Wolf-woman who hunts and devours the skyfree Raven-man?

My feet found at last the burning hot squares of the cobbles of the Street of the Four Fountains. On their own, it seemed, they turned into the alley of the Old Stables. A rune, sister, a rune...

All was quiet in the alley. My heart skipped a beat and my throat caught for moment. Could the raven winged Daine boy have died?

But alas no! I crossed the threshhold for the third time, only to find the crowd silently watching. waiting for their victim to succumb at last. As I watched him suffer, I saw that most of his feathers were missing. Sometime during the morning, people had plucked him so that now he looked entirely bedraggled.

The boy stood there, now bent over and panting deeply, but still defiant. His arms and hands hung at the sides of his battered body. A strange urge seized me then. I pushed through the expectant crowd and slowly made my way towards the boy. I had never been so near a Daine before and had not realised how very tall he was, even though he was now weak and bent. I stopped a short distance away and pulled my bowl and water bag from within my robe. I poured some water into the bowl and held it before the boy. His matted hair I pushed aside, revealing his beautiful face, the green eyes, now raised to look into my own eyes. He panted deeply, but made no other sign.

“Drink this water,” I said in a whisper. “You must be parched!”

Folks in the crowd chuckled and murmured among themselves.

The boy’s eyes bore into mine and I looked away. How could I look into eyes that had suffered so, and yet seemed to bear no malice towards me?

I knelt before him and placed the bowl on the grass. I stood, turned away quickly, drawing my hood down further and went back to my place. “Bless you sister!” one old woman called out. “Now that’s a torture for a dying body and no mistake!” a man muttered, laughing as he said it.

The old woman approached me, her face sun kissed and wrinkled. The tattooed lines on her cheeks and neck and chest told me much of the story of her long life. Her white hair was cropped short. She turned and watched the boy for a while, her merciless blue eyes approving of my gesture. I had no idea why I thought to give the poor boy water to drink. He was just a worthless Prag, after all, wasn’t he?

“One of them bastards raped my daughter before slitting her throat. So the Guard told me when they fetched me down to the Guard House to make sure it were her. It were. The naked body of my beautiful child, lying cold and still on a cold stone. Her throat slit clean open, dried blood everywhere.” She sniffed and turned those hard blue eyes on me. “What you done there was a blessing, child. Sister you may be, but I’m old and know things in my heart the mothers don’t teach you. That water, he’ll drink that soon enough, you mark my words. No body can go long without a drop to drink. With that, he’ll live another two, three days. More folks will come. Mothers and children bereft of their beautiful daughters; men shorn of their brides. This Prag’ll stand in for those as don’t get justice as well as he stood for the Northmen who were lucky to get their justice on him.”

I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to tell her no! I just wanted to relieve his suffering a little. But her words were too powerful and I bowed my head.

As the Sun rose in might towards the pinnacle of her journey, the Daine boy at last sat down on the hot grass. With an effort, he brought his crossed legs up under him and he rested his hands upon the soles of his feet. He bowed his head and the dark raven hair veiled his beautiful face from the crowd.

People left, laughing. It was the hour for honest citizens to take their noon meal. Even the old woman left, satisfied that the boy would drink and still be there for tomorrow’s trial. But he had not drunk, and I watched him for a long time. Throughout the afternoon I watched, and wondered. And then, I stood. I made a hesitant step fowards into the bright sunlight, then went more boldly, crossing the sizzling flagstones until at last my feet found the relative cool of the grass a welcome change. I stood there, standing over the suffering boy. Even sitting down, he came up to my chest or higher. I leaned over and again brought the matted hair behind his head, revealing the beautiful face, his deep green eyes, the graceful lines of lips and brows. He lifted his head and looked into my eyes, and I couldn’t look away. My heart pounded in my chest. I didn’t know what to do, so I knelt before the seated figure.

It’s no wonder the Kristians make their icons after the fashion of these Prags, these Daine. Like their god, on the hand so capricious and on the other so beautiful and graceful. His white skin shone like alabaster and his black hair and feathers shone in the sunlight, contrasting the fair. He smiled faintly, his parched lips cracked. He slowly lifted his left hand and pushed aside my hood. I didn’t stop him. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. He cupped my face tenderly. The deep blue of it such a contrast to the white of this palm. I felt a thrill run through my whole body and my heart and mind blazed. At last, I summoned up the courage: “Will you not drink? Relieve your suffering — and mine — for a moment?”

He smiled again, pushing away the proffered bowl of by now Sun warmed water. His sweet voice was cracked a little by the dryness of his throat: “No. I will not drink.”

He rested his his palms again on the soles of his feet. “You bless me with your offering of refreshment in this place of fire. But though you offer it without malice, I will not drink. Here will I die, not at the hands of Men or the peltings slings of howling children or the torments of weapons. Men came to me and bound me. They said I looked good for the crime.”

I opened my mouth to ask, but he lifted a finger to my lips and I fell silent. He smiled, knowing: “I asked them. What crime? They said, Prag, any crime will do, as you well know. I knew from that time, I would soon die for their justice. Men have do idea what justice is or how to find her. They know little of mercy and nothing of wisdom. I knew from that moment that I would be a sacrifice, a downed bird gnawed by gleeful wolf pup.”

As he spoke, his voice strengthening, weaving its song in my heart and in my mind, tears flowed down my cheeks from my closed eyes and into the grass before his feet. The grass watered by the sweat of the Maned Woman. The grass watered by the tears and the blood of this innocent Daine boy. He lifted his hand again, caressing my chin and lifting up my face to his. I opened my eyes and blinked away the tears. “Do not cry for me, little sister. My part here is played out and I leave now.”

He spoke no more words, but wiped the tears from my eyes with his thumb and rested his hands now in his lap. I sat back on my heels, watching the boy as his breathing slowed. His eyes stared off into the unlit sky of the West. A hot breeze whirled through the courtyard, drawing my long white hair from the hood. I stopped sobbing and looked up. Before me, the Daine boy still sat tall and proud. His unseeing eyes still stared into the West. My white hair mingled on the grass with his black. I didn’t know when, but I knew he had left this place of sorrow on that hot breeze under the blazing Sun.

I don’t know how long I sat there and watched over him, but I could tell the Sun was sinking in majesty towards her setting. I heard the rumble of a waggon enter the courtyard, but I did not turn to watch the men. Scraping sounds from behind the wall announced the immanent freedom of the boy’s imprisoned body. Someone yanked the great bronze staples from the wood and his lifeless wings slid to earth.

“Hup ye go laddy!!” I was startled from my reverie as two of the coroner’s men grabbed the boy by ankles and wrists and casually tossed the body onto the waggon. His head thudded against the side and one of the men sniffed. “Heh! You hurt your poor noggin lad?” He grasped the boy’s hair and shoved him the rest of the way in, like a butcher loading a slaughtered lamb onto his cart.

And it was done in a fleeting moment. Cart and men and boy were gone.

But wait! A thing came floating down from the waggon as it turned into the alley. The hot breeze picked it up and blew it towards me. A feather. Almost as long as my forearm. I rose from where I’d been sitting and picked it up. Midnight black it was; but as I lifted it to the setting rays of the Sun as she bagan to sink beneath the walls of the building across the alley, the feather burst with an array of beautiful deep greens and blues and golds and reds! I had never looked on anything so beautiful before, and the tears wet my cheeks again. I pressed the soft smooth feather to my face, and then I knew.

Almost with an anger I’d never felt before, I tode the black woolen robe from my body and flung it from me with a force I did not know I posessed. In the light of dusk, I looked down at my body, now free from the robe. I collected my bowl from the grass and drank the bitter water in memory. Tucking the boy’s feather into the ties of my loincloth, I crossed the threshhold of the courtyard. I did not understand then what brought the harsh words to my lips: “A rune, sister, a rune! I will give you a rune: it will not be long, but the Raven-man will rise up and claw the eyes and feast upon the heart of the Wolf-woman!” And with that, I never served the Wolf-woman again.

I paused at the threshhold a moment longer, turned back to the now empty wooden wall, a dark shape among dark shapes.

I said: “Good bye...”

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If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
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elemtilas
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Re: Some Snippets from The World

Post by elemtilas » Fri 07 Sep 2018, 03:33

A Map of the Little Kingdoms


This is a map of the Little Kingdoms, a slightly ill-defined region of the Eastlands of The World. I'm reworking a couple old high fantasy type legends set in this region. While, technically speaking, all of the realms depicted on the map are, in point of fact, little kingdoms (except for the ones that are little queendoms), only five kingdoms comprise the Heptarchy. Those are Markland, the greatest of the little giants, Derewood, Gathenburg, Fenland and Moricia.


The lands to the east, Lanera Maram & Baltayne figure prominently in the history of the Heptarchy but are not part of it. The Kingdom of Pozzun, to the south, is closely allied to Derewood. Iangwarrê and Deregund, and also the Northrondmarck and Southrondmark are independent agents in the region. Close at hand, to the east beyond Baltayne, lies the mighty Empire of Auntimoany. To the south, beyond the Southrondmark, lies the lesser power of Mentolatum, a rival and sometime enemy and ever a dear trading partner of Auntimoany.


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If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
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