Sunday, January 25, 2015

Places in the World and Cultures

In the world of Evandar, there is a level of technology that is approximately equivalent to what was in the world during the middle ages (5th - 15th cent CE). The region that the first books take place in are a rough analog to Europe. I have other regions that will be approximately like other cultures from that period of history. Some of them, you might have glimpsed in the stuff I have shared here.

The Horse Lords (One tribe named for Minghaa, others yet to be named) are roughly based off of the Huns.

The Cordid/Kordid are a bit of an homage to Tolkein's Rohirrim, but I will be keeping them tied to their seafarer roots. Stories are due about how they were driven away from the sea.

Elspar is those of the Cordid who were not driven away by the first wave of invaders from the south and the descendants of those invaders. It will be loosely patterned after Italian culture from this era with a measure of Gallic and Germanic influences.

Corinth on the eastern edge of the sea and south of Elspar is going to be my analog to Byzantium, with a few notable changes. It is an opulent and wealthy kingdom that technically is a satellite of the empire of Caer Dodth, but powerful enough that it functions as its own entity.

The empire of Caer Dodth stretches along the southern landmass below the sea of shadows (whose northern shores are Evandar and Ranyth) until it reaches near the isthmus of night. It is how I envision the Roman empire would have been if they remained into the middle ages.

The isthmus of night is so named because it is accursed ground. On both sides of the isthmus is a region known as the Darklands. On the northern side, there is a great stretch of marshlands known as the fens. The people who live there are patterned roughly after various aboriginal cultures from around the world. Outside of the fens, the Darklands are peopled by the remnants of various cultures that had gone before and served the will of the Deamons.

West of the kingdom of Evandar is a desert known as The Waste. Across this desert lies Dacia. Dacia is a mishmash of pseudo-arab cultures as handed down through the imagination of Western society. There are other peoples both within the Waste and beyond it that ring truer to the Arab cultures of antiquity (as far as I can research them).

From what I know of the state of our world during the era we call the middle ages, I am attempting to place the world of Evandar in a similar context. There will be remnants of an earlier time scattered here and there. The elves will show, like Sideria and her knapped stone arrowheads, evidence of that earlier time. It will be a bit tricky, I know, to build this level of complexity but I think the end results will be well worth it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Flora et Fauna: Dragons

Dragons are creatures that men and demigods regard cautiously. There are two kinds of dragons. One kind is considered inferior to the other. Lesser dragons, also known as lesser wyrms, are animals of dangerous cunning and a very territorial attitude. Lesser wyrms can range in size from something approximately the size of a small car to something that is approximately one hundred feet long. Greater wyrms are possessed of an intelligence that is alien but comparable to humans. Adult greater wyrms are between one hundred and two hundred feet in length.

Lesser wyrms are terrestrial creatures with pseudowings that extend from their shoulders. The pseudowings of a large adult lesser wyrm are fifty feet from tip to tip at most. The pseudowings of lesser wyrms are displayed primarily in mating rituals and assertions of dominance. The greater the wingspan of a lesser wyrm's pseudowings, the more aggressive the wyrm will be. Generally, male lesser wyrms are larger then the females and possessed of more spines along the pseudowing.

Lesser wyrms are generally diurnal creatures. They all are venomous, though the degree of toxicity of the venom varies with size. The smallest of the lesser wyrms venom will immobilize an adult deer. The venom of the largest of the lesser wyrms is corrosive and serves to 'predigest' their prey. Female lesser wyrms live in a group known as a clutch which is made of three to five individuals. Male lesser wyrms stake out territory and will run off or eat juvenile lesser wyrms after their first molting, when they experience the onset of puberty.

The diet of lesser wyrms is carnivorous. When their preferred prey (deer, elk, and bear) are scarce, lesser wyrms will attack livestock and humans. Lesser wyrms have a recorded history of attacking and generally being hostile towards humans. The largest variety of lesser wyrms have been recorded as devastating settlements. Human encroachment into a clutch's territory can lead to difficulties with lesser wyrms attacking parties or consuming livestock.

Dominant females in a clutch will attack the broods of lesser females. The attrition rate of juvenile lesser wyrms is high due to this and the aggressive behaviors of the males. The alpha female mates first with the male and usually has the highest success rate in hatching and sustaining young. Lesser wyrms are oviparous. The shells of the eggs become progressively harder as the female matures. After first molting, female lesser wyrms will lay leathery shelled eggs. These eggs generally do not survive the brooding phase. Dominant females in a clutch will eat the eggs of subordinate females. Lesser wyrms have two broods every five years. Each brood starts out with between three to six eggs. After the brooding phase, usually one or two eggs remain for the hatching phase.

Juvenile lesser wyrms are hatched blind. They are dependent upon their mothers for nourishment for the first two years of their life. When the juvenile lesser wyrm has reached the age where their scales harden (approximately two and a half years old) the covering over their eyes is shed. This is known as pre-molting. Approximately three years of age, lesser wyrms begin to progress through puberty. This is when they experience their first molting.

After their first molting, lesser wyrms take on their adult coloration. The coloration of juvenile lesser wyrms is dark grey to mud brown. Adult lesser wyrms range in color from an indigo color to a sandstone yellow. Lesser wyrms that inhabit colder climes tend towards darker coloration that allows them to blend in better with the stony ground they live on. Lesser wyrms that inhabit warmer climes, such as the desert lesser wyrm, have a coloration that matches the ground they are found on.

Greater wyrms have a resemblance to their lesser counterparts as juveniles. Unlike lesser wyrms, greater wyrms have true wings and are capable of flight. Greater wyrms are solitary creatures that are considered to be highly dangerous like their lesser counterparts. Greater wyrms, however, tend to view 'thinking' life as something to be cultivated. Greater wyrms are creatures of pure magic, where as lesser wyrms are animals.

Greater wyrms have the capacity to shapeshift. They have been known to move amongst humanity and the elves in disguise. Greater wyrms, in their homid form, are of a higher core temperature. This is a reflection of their capacity to expel plasma (though it is commonly considered to be fire). Greater wyrms in their true guise look like the winged dragons of European mythos.

They favor meat but are omnivores, unlike lesser wyrms that are strictly carnivorous. Greater wyrms are of indeterminate lifespans. All known greater wyrms are adult, though of varying ages. Rumors that this 'race' is dying out have begun to pass through the regions where they are still known to be present. Greater wyrms have not expressed any indication as to if this is the case or not.

Greater wyrms are of varying temperament and personalities. Their reclusive nature does not keep them from interfering in human affairs. The influence of greater wyrms, however, is something seen over the course of generations and the rise and fall of nations. In the great war of the first age, the greater wyrms stood on either side of the conflict. Those that were in support of the deamons were driven into isolation by their opposition but they still exist in the world. Those that were in support of the elves have withdrawn from the world, for the most part, to allow humanity to 'develop on their own.' The notable exception to this is the patron of the royal lineage of Ranyth and the one who lives within Dakon-Bar, sister to the patron of Ranyth.