Greetings, my name is Archimede, and I pride myself as both an independent historian, and a thorough archivist, ensuring the tales of events long past are not entirely forgotten. Giving world tours is beneath me, but Allan felt it best that I do it, since I’m the one that gathered up all the information to write The Last Chronicle of Azurden. And yes, it is my work. Don’t let him tell you otherwise. In fact, Allan tried to bring me onto the site once before, but… we had our differences do to the fact he wanted me to leave characters out. Words were said, arguments took place, and we spent the better part of a season negotiating how we were going to get ALL the characters in the chronicle, not just the ones he felt ‘made sense’.
You’re doing it again. We talked about this.
*Ahem* Right. Let us begin. Above is a map of the land of Loringlund, the location of The Last Chronicle of Azurden. Part 1. “A Deal in the Darkness.” This section will provide some brief descriptions of the areas, and provide context for conversations whose topics just couldn’t be covered in the book itself. Naturally, I will write these from the viewpoint of how Loringlund existed in that book, though I might let slip a few things depending on context. Apologies in advance for the small map. My “creator” opted for doing it himself with an online program called Inkarnate.
I didn’t see you offering.
I am not a cartographer, and neither are you.
Cartographers are expensive. I think I did pretty well.
If you say so. I suppose I’ll have to make do.
Here we have a close up of lower Loringlund, the emerald jewel of this small manimal nation. Save for the Forest of Aves, this land was under the direct control of Conrad Lorington, and the results of his influence have not diminished despite his untimely death over eighty years ago. It remains the center of commerce, with humans welcome in both EvanHill and SandySide, and compared to the rest of Loringlund, and most of Atlia, the manimals here are viewed as quite civil.
Lorington Keep and Wipperpaw.
Lorington Keep was commissioned by Conrad himself when he and the other Atlian refugees fled to this land to escape the madness of thier fallen kingdom. It’s location means that any invader will need to fight their way through most of Loringlund to reach it, or risk a landing party along the southern coast, which can be quite treacherous. Because of it’s strong defensive position, Conrad did not turn it into a fortified bastion, preferring a more open plan that took advantage of the speed of his canine troops, and the cover of the surrounding forest. Its current resident, and ruler, is Adriana Lorington, direct descendent and daughter of Conrad Lorington. Some of the oldest manimals remember her having a brother, but if true, nothing has been heard of him since long before Conrad’s death.
Wipperpaw is known as the village of dogs. The land was a gift from Conrad for the dogs unwavering loyalty in following him from Atlia, and thier help in building his keep. Most serve (or served) as guards and servants, but a few took it upon themselves to be pig farmers, craftsmen, and fishermen.
Perterborough is the newest settlement along the south road, founded mostly by rabbits tired of starving in Evirros. As the name implies, it is largely self governing, though Adriana does collect a tithe every year. Rumor is, it was actually a misspelling of burrow, but the rabbits deny that vehemently. Despite harassment from the aves, they are happy to be able to grow their own food, and thier joyous celebrations during the harvest, combined with thier simple lifestyle, has turned out some of the best bards and musicians in the kingdom. It is known they do not appreciate having humans around, though they will not turn one away, especially if they are selling strawberries.
SanydSide and Evanhill
SandySide is largely a fishing village, set up along one of the few accessible beaches in Southern Loringlund. They cannot compete with the human fishing fleets up north, so they mostly just fish for themselves and the surrounding area. The biggest point of interest is the watchtower located on the sandy island east of the village. Though no longer in use, it once served as an early warning system in case invaders chose to brave the sea. Today a fox gives tours of the place for a few coins of appropriate currency, or an offering of food.
Evanhill is arguably the largest city in all of Loringlund, and it’s only port. Though merchants must either sail around Loringlund itself or brave the Python Archipelago to get there, its smaller berths are still usually full of ships, as humans believe manimals will ‘buy anything’, and Atlians are often desperate for stable trading partners. The land route also sees its fair share of caravans, making Evanhill THE place for every kind of manimal proffesion imaginable. As the saying goes, “if you can’t find it in Evanhill, you won’t find it in Loringlund.” With this increased opportunity and wealth, however, has also come an increased hubris from Loringlund’s upper class, most of which live in manor houses built in the surrounding area. It is not known if they yet have any ambitions beyond accruing more wealth, but whispers have been heard that Evanhill would be better off breaking free of Adriana’s yoke and the Lorington family.
The Forest of Aves and the Great Tree
I wish to say little of this place. The birds are arrogant, and getting records from them was an absolute headache, which is not something I can normally feel. For the most part, the forest itself is relatively untouched, with most of the birds, calling themselves Aves, preferring to nest around a large central tree known as *sigh* The Great Tree. The Tree itself is actually quite remarkable, capable of housing an entire city in it’s boughs. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to get there. The birds guard the forest jealously, and chase away any manimal that doesn’t have feathers. They were quite cross that I could fly, and were quick to list all the areas I was not to access, including the library, the palace, and the scriptorium.
Upper Northwest Loringlund
Upper Northwest Loringlund is where the lion’s share of “A Deal in the Darkness” takes place. It is an open, unforgiving landscape, where the laws of nature arguably hold more sway than anywhere else in the kingdom. Some say it is a place of madness, yet others state it is but a glimpse of a future that awaits all manimals in the end. Lacking sufficient vegetation, and being on the lee of the northern mountains, the area is dry, and often hot. When it does rain, it creates mudslides and flooding, and though it leaves behind the perfect condition for new plants to grow, the shoots and stalks of new life are quickly devoured by the starving herbivores, who are then devoured by starving carnivores. Thus, the cycle repeats itself, until in the end, one either outlasts their enemies, or is eaten.
Corvinar is a large encampment/township of primarily carnivorous manimals. Once, similar, albeit smaller, hunting camps used to cover the entirety of the plains. Now, they are all that remain, and every day is a struggle to survive. Though hunting is carried out in shifts along the boundary by the best trackers and pack leaders, rarely is enough brought back to feed everyone. As their hunger grows, so does their unrest, and unless something changes, it is doubtful they will last another decade; destined to be forgotten among the plains.
The dashed red line is the boundary drawn by Adriana Lorington, and agreed to, or coerced upon, Paxton Erindore, and Jerimiah Davenforth, which were leaders of the Corvins and the Evirrons respectively. Intended to settle the issue of manimals eating other manimals, it instead escalated it, and has been the focal point of a resource war that has spanned near three generations. Life on either side is like night and day, with dry grasses and small bits of greenery being with the Corvins, and scrawny bits of meat being… well, the Evirrons. Some say it was the biggest blunder Adriana ever made, but as a scholar, I can tell you the move was brilliant. Why? Well, to be blunt, you’d best read the books.
Comparable to Evanhill in size, Evirros is nevertheless far more fortified. Originally built as a buttress against human incursion from the north, it is more a grandiose castle than a city, and its high walls, numerous battlements, and tiered defenses, have historically thwarted forces many times the size of its defenders. Nowadays it is more akin to a prison, as its residents struggle to find food, and terrible deeds are done to attain it. To walk down the streets of Evirros looking like anything but a powerful creature, or a pitiful one, is to invite immediate misfortune. Those that take their chances at the boundary, or attempt to feed in the forest to the south, are killed by Corvins, harassed by Aves, or robbed on their way back home. To their credit, the Davenforth family has attempted to feed its citizens with purchased grain and vegetables, but any relief is often mobbed, or stolen and sold on the black market.
Many have asked why Evirrons simply don’t leave their beleaguered city and head for, literally, greener pastures, and the answer, is, that they have. However, it is important to note, that an Evirron rabbit is not the same as one say… from Rotterden, and both would let you know it. Where Corvins are not trusted due to their lack of inhibition in eating other thinking, talking beings, Evirrons are despised for being prideful, and outwardly superior to even those of similar kind. Their hatred of carnivores also tends to cause problems where meat eaters have been a long standing part of the population, and there have been isolated incidents where less connected carnivores have been run out of town by Evirron led ‘purity’ mobs. Because of this, many of the settled places in Loringlund don’t want them, and to go to human or Atlian lands requires some amount of wealth many Evirrons no longer have. Even the recently founded town of Petersborough does not wish any more Evirron rabbits, as they originally fled there to escape such dogma, and the residents of Wipperpaw and Sandyside, largely consisting of pork loving dogs, are among some of Petersborough’s best trade partners and patrons.
Abandoned Coast Road
This coastal road and its nearby ruins are all that is left of the numerous settlements that once covered the Evirron side of the plains. No longer maintained, it is a haunting memory to the Evirrons that still travel it, reminding them of better times, and fuller bellies.
Camp Wathrabbit is the only thing resembling a settlement outside of Evirros, and is primarily used as a headquarters for patrols that guard against Corvin incursion at the boundary. Unarmed, and largely unarmored, one would think it foolish to want to be among the scouts that go up and down the imaginary line, however, they are fed out of the pocket of the Davenforth family, and often travel in large enough numbers to match any Corvin blood pack. The real issue isn’t finding enough recruits for the job, it’s sending those home who don’t make the cut.
The North Ruins
Information Regarding this area has been denied to me. After an… issue, concerning misguided computer logic, I am forced to use visual accounts and basic descriptors. The northern ruins stem from a time before Loringlund, and not much is known by many of the locals. Those who have been there say it has ‘magic’ torches, noisy walls, and water makers, but I can say with confidence they are referring to electric lights, machinery, and plumbing. Rising above much of the overgrowth and twisted metal are the partial remains of a metallic dome, but more than that is just speculation.
Eastern Loringlund is largely known as the, “Wild East” as there is little oversight of the places this far from Lorington Keep, and though the roads are patrolled, the wilderness and countryside are not. As a result, larger and more independent settlements, such as Rotterden, and Remphstead, ignore the nation’s weapon ban, preferring to keep on private soldiers and militias to better defend their homes. Bandits, and mercenaries, likewise, find it far easier to operate out in the fringes of the territory, and often dare the canine soldiers of Loringlund to engage them, usually with predictable results. This has led to a hardy, if at times, chaotic lifestyle for those living here, but many prefer it to being ruled by iron paws to the southwest, or starving in ghostly lands to the direct west. Despite the general unruliness, there is still plenty this area offers the country. Verdant forests in the foothills offer excellent lumber, prized by even the humans of Stratholme. Mines provide ore and precious stones, despite interference from The Red Ears. And the tidal swamp, known as The Nettermarsh, is filled with medicinal herbs, dyes, and a wide variety of salts. Of note, there have been issues when travelers enter the Nettermarsh without a Remphsis guide. Though the Remphsis deny any foul play in the matter, bodies found at the swamp’s edges, often with stab wounds, throw doubt on this claim. In most cases, blame is quickly passed on to the Red Ears who, in turn, usually care too little to contest the accusations.
The literal ‘den’ of rot and villainy in Loringlund, Rotterden sits atop a large shelf that overlooks the northern plains and guards the entrance of Wind Scar Pass. Though many visitors and migrants see the place as being lawless, this is far from the case. Rotters, as they are often called, do enjoy a great deal more freedom then the rest of Loringlund, but this is largely because they are quite isolated from the more orderly, and better protected lands to the south. As a result, they have formed a well drilled and well equipped militia, which diligently uphold the laws they view just, and strive to maintain the peace… relatively speaking. The cities primary exports are metal, lumber, and precious gems, but they are best known far and wide for their numerous pubs and taverns, gambling halls, and the widespread solicitation of… pleasures of the flesh. Whatever one’s ‘flavor’ of desire, they can often find it in Rotterden, and… You know what? No, I’m not staying neutral on this one. Rotterden is the embodiment of a pleasure palace combined with a sewer, and how appropriate they happen to have one of the few sewers in Loringlund. Crime is rampant, the militia are crooked, and most of the population are honor-less degenerates. It has even become a popular spot for deviant humans, who are sometimes spotted frequenting the chambers of manimal foxes, felines, and reptiles. Were it burned to ashes, and swept away by floods, the ground would remain irrecoverably tainted.
Uhm… don’t you think you’re being a little har-
Little more than a stopover for most travelers and caravans headed to EvanHill, Rotterden, or further north into Stratholme, Stoitz is a vibrant little town which embodies the more idyllic notions of manimal life. Most types of manimals get along without issue, and the surrounding countryside is largely managed by farmers, lumberjacks, and a few hunters and fishers. It is a quiet, boring place, and many that live there prefer it that way. On rare occasions, Red Ear Traders will come to Stoitz to sell wares and buy supplies, but they speak only what is necessary to conduct trade, and do not partake in any of the local amusements. They also, for some reason, refuse to interact with any humans who might be staying there at the time.
The Red Ears
There is a castle, just north of the swamp, that is believed to be the oldest structure in Loringlund. Mystery surrounds the place, as there is little record of who it belonged to, and those that live in the village around it refuse to reveal its secrets to outsiders. Believed a cult by many, The Red Ears get their name from the red paint (or what I’ll assume is paint) that covers the tips of their ears, whatever shape, and marks them as being members of the tribe, pack, or clan. Honestly, I’m not sure what they call themselves. As they accept all manimals willing to take their oath, reptiles and birds, lacking ears, will often paint around the hole that functions as such, or, in the case of snakes, the ridges above their eyes. It is not known what they worship, if anything, but those that have been allowed into their village as guests claim they actually act ‘sane’ towards manimal visitors. This impression often clashes with reports of Red Ear raiders harassing nearby mines and killing unwary travelers, leading some to believe there may actually be two different sects of the group. Whichever the case, should a human approach them for any reason, they are often killed outright, resulting in the Red Ears suddenly becoming very vocal in their own defense, and insisting their actions had nothing to do with xenophobia. Naturally, many have their doubts, and human travelers are often warned in Stoitz to stick to the roads, and to avoid the lands across Littlepaw Lake.
Unlike all other manimals, Remphsis, the reptilian and amphibian inhabitants of the Nettermarsh, are cold blooded, and thus rely on external sources to maintain their body heat. This would leave one to believe a tidal swamp that sees frigid temperatures in winter would be one of the worst places for them to live, yet, the Remphsis chose this place willingly after Conrad conquered the land from its previous inhabitants. To his credit, Conrad did insist they choose another place, but the leader at the time, Lord Xanther, a large black snake, refused. It remains unknown what The Nettermarsh offered the Remphsis, but they non-the-less faced a series of biological problems. The first, was their own biology. Usually, Remphsis are a reclusive, solitary lot that tend not to care for each other’s company. This leads them to spend the summer, and warmer days of spring and fall, going and doing whatever they see fit among the swamp. In winter, however, they need a place to hunker down and stay warm during a long period of hibernation, and so, Remphstead was founded. A collection of wooden buildings on a variety of raised wooden platforms, Remphstead is the closest thing to a city the Remphsis have, and their only known settlement. Given their more nomadic nature, only shop owners and dedicated traders own property in Remphstead, and some only out of necessity, as most Remphsis see the concept of ownership as an unnecessary burden. This means that, save for the seat of governance (a large central hall towards the edge of the settlement), Remphstead is usually empty during the warmer months. In winter, however, it is packed with sleeping reptiles, or those that simply wanted a warmer place to wait out the colder weather. Below, the city, fires are lit in furnaces, that boil water, and create steam, that rises through large cracks in the bottom of the bunk houses. This keeps the Remphsis warm, and provides plenty of humidity so the dry winter air does not damage their scales. Those that man the fires, are simply called, Fireguards, and are a drawn from only the best and most hearty of the Remphsis ranks. Full time soldiers, they are given winter survival training, a shirt of scale mail, and are armed with vicious spears and crossbows. In dire circumstances, Remphsis can be roused from their winter slumber, but they will soon become sluggish, numb, and may even succumb to hyperthermia outside their heated houses. In this event, the large stockpiles of wood near the furnaces are ignited, giving the defenders time to both fight off attackers, and find more wood. Even the city itself is not above being used for fuel, should the situation require. It should be noted, however, that this is incredibly unlikely to happen, as the Nettermarsh, being already difficult to navigate in the summer, is near impossible to penetrate in the winter.
So… is that it?
That’s all I’m going to cover. If you want, you can add more yourself, but I think this provides all the pertinent information for the series, when it becomes a series…
Hey, I AM working on it.
I’ll believe you when it happens.
For those reading this, I would like to thank you for taking a peak into the depths of one of many of my fictional worlds. As time goes on, I will likely update these maps with more names, such as adding the names of mountain ranges and rivers, which I left off this time both for clarity, and because I couldn’t get the program to do wrapping. (I’m still new with it). If you enjoy these tours, and would like to see more adventures that take place within my worlds, please support my work, and purchase “A Deal in the Darkness” or other books and stories I have written. With more support, I have more time and incentive to do artwork, analyses, bios, and world building in general, outside the stories themselves. This little tour only scratches the surface of Loringlund, which in turn is only a very small part of a much larger and very dynamic world.