A few weeks ago, I wrote about four of the Western Kingdoms in my fictional world of Alltyyr from Book I: Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble. Eight kingdoms comprise this part of the realm: Barony, Faragellyn, Dhanarra, Sulledor, Mardainn, Jendairin, Tralyxa, and Clair. The earlier post covered the first four. You can read about them here. This week I’ll get into the last four.
Directly south of Dhanarra and Faragellyn, lies Mardainn. Mardainn’s expansive borders encompass a wide section of the Scarlet Mountains to the west and the deadly Bog to the east. Mines rich with ore and gemstones riddle the mountains. Metalworkers in the various mining towns use the ore to craft weapons, tools, and farm implements to trade, along with jewelry made with the gems, for needed products from the other kingdoms. Ziiracan blades are said to be the best weapons the Western Kingdoms have to offer. Many of the mines were originally parts of Dwarven strongholds belonging to the two races of Dwarves that once lived in the Scarlet Mountains, before a terrible war between them wiped out every last one. Over the years, periodic earthquakes have claimed some of the mines, taking a heavy toll in the work force, but the greed of the mine owners ensures that new mines will be opened to keep the flow of ore and gems steady, whatever the cost.
Near the center of the kingdom, Mardainn’s capital city of Desta straddles the great Amberin River, the main north-south trade route through the Western Kingdoms. Just south of the city, the river sweeps into a towering two-tier cataract, its lower tier a hundred-foot drop to the beaten rocks below. Portage around the Falls is difficult, but manageable — and very profitable — for those experts who’ve made a business out of guiding the traders. Mardainn is ruled by a corrupt Council that keeps its cards close to the vest so no one ever knows quite what to expect from them.
East of the Amberin river lies the Bog. Dark and forbidding, the spider-infested morass of dead forest and quicksand reeks of malevolence. No one in their right mind goes anywhere near it.
The mountainous kingdom of Jendairin, which lies southwest of Mardainn, is very similar to its northern neighbor, though less civilized. Jendairin craftsmanship is lower in quality, its labor force less skilled. The many mining towns are laws unto themselves run by brutal slave traders who answer only to the Nobles who own the mines. The aristocrats are noble in name only. Their main goal is to increase their wealth and power. The Nobles — the dozen or so families of the aristocracy — vie for control of Jendairin’s capitals, the Twin Cities of Dravenmore and Dunsmore, exalted cities with sordid underbellies that lay directly across from each other, one on the west bank and one on the east bank of the West Amberin River.
The kingdom of Tralyxa lies within the deep forest of Shallin Wood, east of Mardainn and southeast of Faragellyn. The Cyranel Mountains form its eastern border. Tralyxa’s Woodsmen and women are all skilled archers. They are hunters and weavers, bards and musicians who worship the goddess Irrowen the Huntress. Their homes are built high in the ancient trees. High Priestess Evrelynn presides over all from the temple in the sacred glade of Tiandinn.
Wild and loosely governed, the southeastern kingdom of Clair is mainly populated by hunters and trappers and solitary souls with no wish to be found. The dense forest of Shallin Wood covers most all of Clair, except for a strip of grassland on the western side along the Dournel River where a few farms with sheep and cattle flourish. The Trader’s Trail stretches across the southern end of the kingdom from the river town of Norelladen on the western border to the Gypsy Crossroads at the head of Klyder Pass that carves its way through the Cyranel Mountains to the East. Trade caravans from the Eastern Frontier on the other side of the mountains meet with their western counterparts at the Crossroads for an exchange of goods, both legal and illicit. The Gypsy Crossroads boasts the single largest marketplace in all of the Western Kingdoms.
Thanks for reading this overview of some of the kingdoms of Alltyyr . It was a good exercise for me and lot of fun to write. I enjoy any excuse to dig deeper into my fictional worlds.
© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2014