A Few Geographic Clues

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 under Background, Contents, the writing life.
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Clearly I haven’t been clear enough about the geography.   Here’s some help.

1. East of the Eight Kingdoms is the Eastern Ocean.  Across the Eastern Ocean is another continent.

2.  The Seafolk came from that other continent; they farmed along the coast and in the nearer-to-coast valleys.  Inland are high mountains they did not cross, home to rockfolk.  These mountains are not exactly parallel to the coast, leaving more room between sea and the rockfolk’s lands toward the south.

3.  Magelords came across the Eastern Ocean in several waves,  first as traders (who mostly got along with the Seafolk) , then as individual invaders seeking their own domains (having had reason to leave Aare), conquering small areas and driving the Seafolk out) and finally as a group of invaders when Aare fell, whereupon they took the most fertile parts of the eastern shore and in a series of brutal battles killed or excluded the Seafolk, prompting their migration to the western continent.  Some Seafolk still live on the eastern continent, to the north where the coastal strip on which they live is very narrow.

4. Sekkady was part of the invasion, and Kieri was transported across the sea twice, though he remembers nothing of that earlier trip, both departing from, and returning to, the port of Bannerlíth.

5.  Seafolk continued to traverse the eastern ocean, both to visit kin in the north, and to trade with the magelord domains.   Such trade has been dangerous but profitable–the magelords are eager to hear news from both Aarenis and the  Eight Kingdoms.  They are fascinated by elves (if there are any in the eastern continent, they do not interact with the magelords there)  and pay well for elven artifacts.    They pay extremely well for part-elf captives, apparently hoping to learn new magic from them…some of these magelords have ambitions to return to the western continent as conquerers; others hope to reverse the situation in Aare and return there.   They are appalled by the news they’ve had of Gird, and consider that a society founded on “stupid farmers and greedy merchants” must be doomed by incompetence.  (They’re just a tiny, wee, infinitesimal bit conceited…)  They’re amazed it’s lasted this long.

Though their magery has not faded as much as that of magelords in the Eight Kingdoms, their fertility has declined, and they have not outworn their resources yet.

5.  It cannot yet be told whether the eastern continent covers as much of the world as Eurasia does, or whether there are several continents “over there.” before you get to the “western ocean” that lies (by legend) west of Kolobia.

6. How much of Aare is livable is also something that cannot be told at this time.   All the writer is allowed to say, at this point, is that it used to be more habitable than it is now, providing a population big enough to spread both north into Aarenis and eastward across the Eastern Ocean.

7. Remember that this world has no moon, so the only tide would be a solar tide, not nearly as dramatic.   Tides  affect coasts much less than they do here.  However, general climate effects, due to solar radiation and the resulting movement of air masses, do create large, stable (in terms of the time in these stories) current patterns that have allowed sailor-explorers to follow reasonably predictable routes.    Like the current patterns on our world, these form “highways” with branches that help sailors do more than one thing.

8. Sea trade is largely coast-wise in the Immerhoft Sea and up the coast to Bannerlíth and then the Honnorgat.    It’s also coast-wise up and down the west coast of the eastern continent(s.)   The trade across the eastern ocean is more seasonal and a much longer route.

Hope this helps readers keep things straight.


  • Comment by Richard Robertson — July 23, 2019 @ 8:05 am


    Did anyone mention the irony of Elizabeth Moon writing about a world without a moon?

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 23, 2019 @ 10:05 am


    I don’t think so…perhaps because they don’t think of a writer’s name as having that kind of effect on the writing (if named Black, and major character or character group isn’t wearing black, if named Green, and nobody’s wearing green, etc.) I had a reason for not having a moon around that world and thus having only solar tides, but it was more an awareness that for some readers coming over from the SF side, a moon would instantly result in some of them trying to run the numbers and see if I had worked out the physics of moons correctly…something they might ignore with a male writer, but would be sure to check up on with a female writer. Just because. And since, if I had had a moon, I’d have wanted it to be an actual mass with actual dimensions, density, etc, etc., and I was more interested in the story…and didn’t want to (though I could’ve) designed an appropriate moon…I decided not to have a moon at all. In some of my SF work there are moons here and there, but they’re not important to the story…well, not very…

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