Ithuriel: Inception (Map)
Presenting original fantasy fiction from Robert Roach, this prose series features sword and soul hero Ithuriel in adventures placed in fantasy lands.
New episodes of Ithuriel: Inception post every two weeks starting February 1, 2021.
Geographically speaking, Ithuriel's era very much mirrors the Pleistocene era. "Racially speaking," this era has a lot of authentic ignorance between people, but racism is rare. Tribalism? Yes. Very much so. But this is mainly based on region, rather than melanin.
Once more, this is a time before "history." Most traces of this long-gone era have been lost to mankind. (However, some of this era's cultural echoes -- in terms of names, customs & ethnicities -- remain.) There are three known, inhabited major regions/continents. All have varying degrees of "civilization," with Alk'bulaan & Zhou-Baek being the most developed continents. It's also noteworthy that Koryrrah -- in Aul -- is among the world's most developed countries, especially in technological terms.
One additional thought: different eras in human history are founded on different tenets -- on differing foundations. Some are founded on religion. Some are founded on science.
This particular period's foundation is magic. Magic permeates all elements of this reality. It undergirds this reality.
So, an important question should be answered: what happens to an era if the magic fades?
This "continent," present-day Europe, is largely covered by glaciers. Most people from Aul are Caucasian, ranging from very fair to the area's central-north (closest to the glaciers) to olive-skinned people to its south. Compared to Alk'bulaan & Zhou-Baek, the majority of Aul's inhabitants lag behind in terms of organization & "civilization." Most humans from Aul are still hunter-gatherers or marauding bands -- bands that are growing in size & strength.
As mentioned above, Koryrrah is the stark exception. This island nation rivals anything to the south & east in its development. In terms of myth or legend, Koryrrah compares to Atlantis. (In this story, Koryrrah is much like ancient Crete. There are theories that Crete may have been the source of Atlantis' lore -- especially since geographic & archeological evidence prove that the island, in antiquity, experienced a terrible natural cataclysm.)
Everyone is aware that Koryrrah stands apart from the rest of Aul. Some of the mainland's brightest have migrated there & some people shipwrecked on Koryrrah from the mainland have ended up here. (These people would've come in small, shipping vessels.) So people in Koryrrah are well aware of what's happening in Aul & what's happening in its extended region, due to extensive trade with Assihr & some interaction with Alk'bulaan.
Koryrrah actively resists contact with Aul's "barbarians." The island-state has determined that the hordes, by-&-large, have nothing to contribute to Koryrran civilization.
Aul is this period's least populated landmass.
As mentioned earlier, precursors to Chinese & Japanese empires dominate this story's version of Asia, Zhou-Baek. These two kingdoms spend much of their energy & concentration either trying to invade or repulse each other. This is why neither has seriously pursued diplomatic contacts with other burgeoning countries in Zhou-Baek or Alk'bulaan.
Most interaction throughout Zhou-Baek & all the way to The Nigritia is due to merchants. Wa-Koku (this story's Japan) mainly does so via ships to the area of Zhou-Baek that will become present-day's island nations, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. Once more mirroring the Pleistocene era's landmass make up, this area is connected to Burmese-Thai-Vietnamese peninsula.
The eastern side of this region is terra incognita to Alk'bulaan. The Nigritia -- even sea-wise Madragar -- lack any details of the lands east of Mueang, Saarak & Temasehk. It's thought that only a sailor both desperate & supremely foolish would ever dare the Zamboa Straits.
No known ship from Alk'bulaan had ever returned from that deadly channel. However, some stalwart sailor/merchants from Wa-Koku choose to use the straits in order to trade directly with Temasehk, Saarak, Mueang & Bharatsha. (Wa-Koku's capital is Nan'wa; the ruler is Himiko-joo. She's a sage/kenjin.) Captain Otsuka had even made it to Paarsin's Gomoro to trade directly with the Paarsin citizens in that major port city. Her two trips were the only verified evidence of Wa-Koku sailors traveling that far west.
This era's most advanced collection of countries is found on Alk'bulaan (modern Africa). After centuries of autonomous existence, sometimes cooperating, sometimes warring, six of these "civilized" countries have banded together in a loose union known as The Nigritia. Despite initial difficulties & internal rumbling, bonds forged by The Nigritia in these past 50 years have led to: 1) 2 decades of peace; 2) unqualified prosperity & 3) much more civilian authority.
These monarchal/republic governmental structures may mirror today's Thai monarchy, Japan's imperial state or the British monarchy -- not one-family rule, but highly influenced by royal lineage.
Kahnuri is the kingdom most receptive to these changes. Sandeh is the least receptive. The others within The Nigritia are at varying degrees of agreeability within these two extremes. But with Kahnuri & Sandeh's leadership -- especially considering their centuries of enmity -- these changes are coming. The old guard is teaching everyone that a better future & a more unified Nigritia are possible.
As these "houses" -- these leaders that grew up being treated almost as deities -- grow older & gradually/willingly hand over more of their power, schisms are developing. Most of the populace appreciate & applaud this societal change. But within each of the countries, a very small-but-volatile minority prefers the old pattern. There has been comfort in having a single ruler to whom one might look for answers. Self-Responsibility is demanding. Plus, there's comfort in the old enmities & warfare -- a pride & predictability. Amongst the royalty, ruling classes & politicians, similar fissures are expanding.
Nonetheless, the kings & queens running these entities, who are moving their individual countries & the continent's majority toward an egalitarian existence, presume that everyone would -- sooner-or-later -- understand & appreciate their collective effort. These are monarchs who had lived through strife & warfare. Warfare that had drained their budgets & killed their subjects.
They knew that by changing this emphasis -- from "subject" to "fellow citizen" -- the entire continent, & perhaps the world, would greatly benefit.
However, despite these lofty goals, this group of wise women & men completely overlooked the one place where dissent against their plans was most potent. Most lethal.
Each country within The Nigritia is geographically expansive. Abundant natural resources, navigable waterways, etc. are the norm for all these countries. West-to-east, north-to-south, The Nigritia's six countries: Mauri (Bahmakko is its capital), Djallon (Aboojah is its capital), Kahnuri (Aston is its capital), Sandeh (W'Bondei is its capital), Nahmbari (Tlokweng, is its capital) & Nyanjarrah (Longwe is its capital; Locar is its major port city). Every Nigritian country has multiple major metropolises. These names will be added as needed.
Words and illustrations by Robert Roach