And an Update

Posted: February 10th, 2012 under Background, Contents, Website Update.
Tags: , , , ,

The history page on the Paksworld website has now been updated and expanded.   Ever wonder what they use for money in the different realms?   Want to know more about trade?   You folks were showing enough interest that when I went into the file to fix typos (and let’s hope I didn’t just create more typos)  I decided to add more information.


  • Comment by Moira — February 10, 2012 @ 6:12 pm


    Hey, my mental powers are growing – you felt the nudge!

    LOL, just kidding. Thank you for the new page and the additional stuffe. I love the extras! (I spent many a happy hour perusing the Appendices of LOTR in my misspent youth.)

    Upped my Amazon shipping today, so I should get EoB on the release date (hopefully). The excitement mounts…

  • Comment by Iphinome — February 10, 2012 @ 7:07 pm


    Lady Moon, if it would not be too much trouble, would you add approximate populations. We’ve seen the size of the various armies and some hints about what can be raised by calling on granges in the north but that doesn’t tell us how many are supporting all this war.

    Does the north have enough sons and daughters to keep up a steady stream of new recruits for the Aarenis meat grinder without depopulating themselves?

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 10, 2012 @ 7:37 pm


    I can’t, really. Sorry. There’s a lot of math to it, and right now I don’t have time to do that and remind myself where to look for all the references.

    But consider that Kieri took about 110 recruits south every year, and never had any trouble finding recruits…and that he stripped the northern vills of veterans in Siniava’s War for one year. 100-150 recruits was sustainable, but he recruited outside his domain. Halveric recruited in both Lyonya and the south. Kieri and Halveric were the only merc companies recruiting in their respective realms.

    Lyonya has the problem now that Halveric has not recruited since resettling in the north, some veterans have left (they never wanted to be farmers) and he’s lost almost a whole cohort to scathefire…and Riverwash was lost. Its human population is far smaller than Tsaia’s (why Halveric turned to recruiting outside.) But Tsaia could well supply more recruits, if they were wanted; Fintha is virtually untouched.

    Some areas of Aarenis were relatively depopulated by the war; the city militias can’t draw on rural recruitment as much as before. Others are well-populated and have no trouble keeping their ranks filled. But birth rates are fairly high, so you have to factor that in.

  • Comment by Iphinome — February 10, 2012 @ 9:08 pm


    No apology needed, your time crunch is what kept me from asking earlier

    I assumed that infant mortality was also fairly high given the lack of modern obstetrics and without antibiotics… Well the actuarial tables would be painful to look at.

    Thank you for your reply.

  • Comment by Mollie Marshall — February 12, 2012 @ 6:31 am


    Following Richard’s advice, I’ve been checking the background pages before querying anything. Really interesting, and another way of staving off the antsiness of waiting for Echoes.

    Throughout Deed and in KI and KII, it’s been clear, I thought, that Kefer and Vossik are two different people. Imagine my puzzlement when the ‘characters’ list shows them being the same! I believe the books.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 12, 2012 @ 4:20 pm


    Mollie: They ARE two different people! (Headdesk!!!) This is what happens when you a) lose the old notebooks that organized the original books as they were being written (the best time to make such lists!) and b) try to to produce a new list of characters just by reading the old books really-really fast and typing really-really fast. More headdesks.

    Richard: I’m hunting around–I vaguely remember another file of Vardan stuff, but I’m not seeing it easily. I probably called it something else.

  • Comment by Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 4:53 pm


    Mollie, I’m glad to see I’m not inhibiting you from asking more questions. You asked good ones before: one I happened to have struggled through myself, and one I’d not spotted. I was (and am) thinking you enjoy exploring the books and putting things from them together as much as I do. And I now know you’ve been doing so for as long as I have (or near enough to make no difference).

    I’ve spent the last week or so compiling my own, complete list of every name from PaksI – prompted, Elizabeth, by your “How things change” blog about Ifoss’ inns, and city names from the Aarenis map. Would you like a copy, and when? I’ve still got all of PaksII and III to go through.

  • Comment by Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 5:08 pm


    Elizabeth, you typed #6 faster than I did #7. The Kefer/Vossik problem in the website character list looks like a simple typo to me; not putting a line break so not sorting what should have been Vossik’s own line to its proper place.

    Regarding the new webpage, how much of what is traded north/south comes from the dwarves? (I’m thinking of raw metal especially.)

  • Comment by Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 5:56 pm


    Iphinome (#4), what struck me is the low mortality rates (apart from wartime or bandit massacres, and rare fevers like that which killed Duke Gerstad’s entire family). For example, when Cal Halveric was Siniava’s prisoner, we learn that he has nine living children between the ages of fifteeen and one. Elizabeth blogged recently that Celbrin Mahieran has lost (if I remember correctly) just one child out of six. Paks herself, daughter of a successful-as-he-could-be sheep farmer in the back of beyond, had at least five siblings when she left home. Many of her fellow-soldiers were killed in battle but there’s no sign of Phelan’s company losing half of each year’s recruits to typhus the way many armies in our world did.

    What I’m seeing is a world in which women who marry can raise large families, but human realms can afford little increase in population (other than to make up losses such as Aarenis has recently suffered, and rare instances of new land being opened up the way Kieri did in the north). From which it must follow that men who have farms or businesses – in the widest sense: being king is a business – or stand to inherit them can marry women who don’t, and vice versa; but everyone else who doesn’t die young – that would include deaths in childbirth – remains unmarried. Maybe many stay home as unmarried dependents (on the substitutes’ bench, as it were) but I’m guessing many others go out to seek a living as servants, caravanners, bandits – or soldiers. Yes? No?

  • Comment by Iphinome — February 12, 2012 @ 11:43 pm


    @Richard I was going to write something about the large families being a choice and why would people choose to spread instead of concentrate family wealth. I based that on the easy availability of birthbane at the dinner table but now I’m not so sure.

    There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of bastards so maybe their birth control isn’t all that effective and the large families are an accident.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 13, 2012 @ 12:48 am


    Ah, fertility rates and mortality rates…well. As with everything else, there are variations based on culture and degree of humanity (i.e., natural fertility of humans v. that of part-humans, such as elves.) Old Humans had a higher natural fertility than magelords, one of the reasons the magelords interbred with them. However, Old Humans also had a cultural structure that–while it valued fertility and children–also valued a particular kind of equality. Hence, birthbane, but also the lack of social pressure for people to sire or bear children. One’s parrion added value to the community; children were not necessary. Old Humans did not usually expand beyond their resource base–until the magelords came and wanted more handy workers. Many Old Human communities were at least seasonally migratory, which prevented the accumulation of non-portable goods. (Livestock counted as portable, of course.) The “woodsfolk” of Aarenis and the horse nomads of the steppes are both almost pure Old Human stock. It may be that the Dzordanyans are too

    Mortality came from accidents (drowning, falling, exposure to extreme weather), conflict, and disease. Although their magery was effective against some diseases, it was not against others; occasionally a disease no hedge-witch could treat wiped out an entire vill or circle of vills.

    Magelords were less fertile by nature than Old Humans. As it’s after midnight (again!) and my eyes are burning, I’m going to have to stop here for a bit, but–they could limit (but not expand) the birthrate using magery. Magery could prevent (and cure) some diseases that Old Humans could not, but left magelords susceptible to others. Once in the north, they forbade the use of birthbane to their serfs (and destroyed the plant on their domains wherever they found out as soon as they knew what it was.) After Gird, the cultivation and use of birthbane returned. By Paks’s day, it’s widely available in Girdish lands. It does not grow well in Aarenis except in the foothills of the mountains. There are toxins that end pregnancy rather than prevent it, but those are different. Some wizards have the formula for potions that end pregnancy.

    I’m about to fall on the keyboard with tiredness, so…alll for now.

  • Comment by Richard — February 13, 2012 @ 1:27 pm


    Iphinome, I hadn’t considered bastards. Yes there do seem to be a lot, fathered by nobles or their sons, and not just from bad families like the Verrakai.

    At a guess, Girdish families with enough wealth to divide are meant to divide it, and for the rest the eldest (son? or child? – the latter in Lyonya) gets the whole farm or inn or shop (plus a dowry to take someone else’s child in marriage). Leaving many who neither inherit nor marry heirs to become soldiers (for example), and my earlier conclusion to your #2 stands: that the problem is not keeping up the supply of soldiers to mercenary companies, but getting enough of them killed to make room for the next intake (yet not so many as to frighten off recruits).

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 13, 2012 @ 3:28 pm


    Bastards do not necessarily have the same stigma as we place on them. Nobles father bastards for a variety of reasons (besides just pleasure)–there’s the power aspect, the need (among magelords, who are not as fertile as old humans) to have sufficient heirs (no, not all children live to adulthood), etc. In some families (Andressat’s for instance) it’s considered something of a disgrace for the father (Andressat is unusually strict) and a responsibility (though gratitude is expected.) In others, it’s pretty much expected. Not all the women involved are unwilling, as the father often provides a dowry for her to wed someone else…it’s a way to get a better marriage. Bastardy as the result of rape is virtually unknown when birthbane is available.

    Primogeniture is not the rule in Girdish lands (remember, Lyonya is not Girdish) except for nobles handing down titles (Tsaia only.) Now that the magelords are (mostly) gone, others have access to birthbane if they want it. Farms (in particular) benefit from many hands; even one or two children are a great help in non-mechanized households (something most of us know nothing about.) Farms may be left to more than one child. Since marriage isn’t the only goal for most, the unmarried uncle/aunt/cousin who helps work the farm with (not for) the resident childbearing couple is common. Keep in mind that even in Fintha there are remnants of several older cultures: the Old Humans who lived north of the Honnorgat branches had some different customs from those living between the Honnorgat and the gnome hills. In general families are close; the “extras” aren’t seen as a burden but as family–they have a duty to the family, and the family has a duty to them. Some may go into trade, into crafts, and thus expand the family’s economic base (easier for those closer to towns & cities.) For the past 400 years, the economy has been growing slowly but steadily, and thus there’s opportunity.

    In Tsaian noble families it’s different–there the eldest (usually son, but in some lineages daughters are considered) inherits the title and the land; a certain number of siblings are expected to hang around making themselves useful to the family, but some of the younger ones are likely to go do something else if they’re bored at home. The Girdish “clergy” is open to both men and women, both peasant (everywhere) and noble (in Tsaia.)

  • Comment by Richard — February 13, 2012 @ 3:52 pm


    Iphinome again: I can catch up at last with your discussion from 2 days ago in “New website page”.

    I agree Divided Allegiance is the hardest of the Paks books to understand and appreciate what is going on. I had the advantage of reading the whole Deed in omnibus, so could move on.

    Lacking Elizabeth’s knowledge of what was going through Arianya’s and Amberion’s heads, and going on behind the scenes, I’ve some thoughts that I want to leave hanging in the air (no need to answer again, Elizabeth).

    Iphinome, what crime had the elflord caught in the banast taig committed – that Paks knew about – justifying her going in there with Macenion to murder him? If you accept she was right then, how can you blame Arianya for facing up to the possibility that should Paks refuse treatment after Kolobia, or the treatment fail, they might end up having to kill her?

    Was Paks’ evil infection – not just short temper, I believe it was real – solely the kuaknom’s doing (like Luap’s infection that we now know about), or did it go back to the banast taig? Whose idea was it anyway to go into Paks’ mind – with her consent, however “hard” the sell – to save her? Arianya’s, or Ardhiel’s?

    I “blame” the gods. They are real. (Well, something is real: the powers Paks gains are real; the calls, nudges and directions she receives are real; the voices Kieri, Dorrin, Arvid and even Arcolin now hear are real.) Becoming a paladin candidate Paks agreed to give herself to the gods totally, including undergoing whatever trials they chose to put her through. I’m not saying they planned all along to throw her to the kuaknom as the start of her trials, but I do think they took advantage. And got her out in the end, setting her up for the real trial/life lesson that was to come. Could Amberion’s or Arianya’s healing have worked better if the gods wanted? Did the gods influence Paks herself so she left Fin Panir in distress?

    I don’t have all the answers, I want uncertainty, but think about it.

  • Comment by Iphinome — February 13, 2012 @ 11:49 pm


    Richard they entered the banast taig in search of treasure and adventure, not to clear out the evil. The possessed elf lord tried to enslave and then kill. It was self defense against an overt set of acts.

    It was not a case of hi, we think you’re evil although you haven’t actually broken and laws, die fiend!

    If Paks had been infected earlier I doubt she’d have been accepted as a paladin candidate or even into the training company at all. She’s likely have ended up fertilizing Master Oakenhallow’s grove. And I’d have objected to _that_ end. Punishing thoughtcrime is an offense against free will. In my very humble and often wrong opinion, an evil act. But even then, death at least is permanent, a violation you have to live with. Paks suffered.

    Falk made a choice, Paks the paladin made a choice, to quote the Medieval Baebies “And to cause my deathe for all my service now take my liege, just take it all for Thee. I am bounded to endure.” Paks the paladin candidate didn’t choose, didn’t made a sacrifice, it was thrust on her by people who…

    Clergy molestation comes to mind. People in authority violated her when she was weak. The same way they pressured her to join the fellowship, a little kindness at first and then pushing her away as she became dependent. Well they got what they wanted after she left blood across half the castle. They got the kuakmon infection after violating a young woman’s mind.

    The wisest thing Paks did was choosing to follow the gods directly not the modern marshal general.

    Lady Moon, no need to reply since we’ve already been over this.

  • Comment by pjm — February 14, 2012 @ 11:41 pm


    Something I have wondered is whether a god’s nature changes in response to its/his/her worshippers. The biggest issue is around Simyits, who seems to have changed from the god of justice to the god of luck, favored by thieves. Achrya seems not to have changed, despite Pargunese worship of her as a good goddess.

    There are interesting implications either way.


  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — February 21, 2012 @ 6:41 am


    A little late, but I try anyway.

    Was the fortified cities of Aarenis (Cortes Cilwan, Vonja, Immer and Andres) built before or after the final fall of Old Aare? The People section seems to say one thing (that these societies were set up at least a centure before the fall), but the new History section says they were built after. Is this a contradiction, or should we take it to mean that there were societies at those places before the fall, but the fortifications themselves were not constructed until after?

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 21, 2012 @ 10:18 am


    I think–without writing another ‘historical’ novel set in past time in Paksworld–that settlement of Aarenis by those from Aare did in fact begin at least a century before the approaching downfall of Aare became obvious. Up the Immer valley (at least as far as the first real branching) the advance was peaceful and the settlers didn’t feel the need of fortifications. In the west it was different: the native “Old Humans” provided some resistance, and the early coastal cities there built low walls (at first) to keep out “savages.” Resistance to the slow invasion grew over time as population growth and expansion pressed more on the original inhabitants. The first Aareans in Aarenis were not the upper classes with their immense mage powers, but more ordinary folk whose mage powers impressed the natives but were not up to building stone fortifications rapidly. They had a limited workforce and many were not trained in building, so their protective structures were simpler–ditch and mound, with wood stake fences. When the main mass of refugees arrived, however, there were enough with building experience, and enough with strong magery, to build cities reminiscent of the cities they’d had in Aare.

  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — February 22, 2012 @ 9:28 am


    I would also like to add that I enjoyed the new History section very much. Much of it we might have been able to puzzle together from the clues given in the books fro ourselves (except some of the years given), but it’s nice to have it spelled out, especially for all us fact-finders.
    I also notice that you have shied away from saying anything much about the creation of Lyonya as a kingdom (as opposed to the elves allowing the Old Humans to live there, but a limited intermingling) – I suppose that is because it might be spoilerish for the current books?
    We know the elves prevented the Magelords from conquering Old Humans in Lyonya and that some Old Human customs are upheld there that have been lost other places (the bone house traditions), but we also know that the royal line includes Magelord blood, since the royal magery that Kieri has inherited seems to join elven and human magic. Does this mean that the Magelord and Old Human populations of Lyonya has had a more segregated co-existence? (seeing as the Seneschal are sure that he is of almost all Old Human lineage)

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 22, 2012 @ 9:38 am


    Rune. So glad you like the history page! Yes, too much about Lyonya would be spoilerish, though I will add some more details when the current books (maybe even just Book IV) are done. What really happened is not (as so often) what people think happened, and those who know more (the long-lived Elders) may not want it known. Echoes introduces some of the reality; Book IV reveals some more; I don’t know how relevant more than that will be in Book V until I write it. The way I conceive it, any diverse population has pressures for both segregation and integration, and which dominates in a given location will vary. When dealing with self-aware species, what they think about their ancestry is often wrong (as the newer DNA analyses of large populations is now showing.) So I’m not prepared to say the Seneschal is right…or wrong.

  • Comment by Rune Ulset Furberg — February 22, 2012 @ 11:30 am


    I believe I speak for many of us when I say: that’s very interesting, can’t wait to har more of it! 😀

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