K

K

Imagine (or otherwise pretend) that you’re looking at an old, hand-drawn map: You see a curved chain of mountains, nearly a ring, falling to rocky, forested hills and eventually river-riven lowlands in the center. At the northeast side of the ring is an especially tall mountain; some distance (difficult to tell, for this map has no scale to show miles or kilometers) to the southwest of that mountain is a mark indicating the presence of a city, high on the slopes of one of the lesser mountains.

K is for Kyre.

Don’t worry that you’ve never heard of this city. Few have, since it isn’t in our universe, and stories of it have not yet reached many people here. [Translation: I’ve only had a couple of short stories and one novella in this setting published… so far.]

Kyre is sometimes referred to (by people in Haefenspoint) as “the elves’ city,” which is definitely a misnomer. For one thing, at least half of the people living there are human. It’s just that there are no non-humans (we’ll humor a certain young man in his stubbornness for now) living in Haefenspoint, the other city in this region, and no elves ever come south of the River anymore.

Take a closer look… Buildings mostly of greenish grey stone with tiled roofs, narrow streets weaving back and forth through a city like waves splashed up the side of the mountain: like Haefenspoint to the south, Kyre had its origins as a seaport, when elves and humans both first arrived from now-forgotten lands across the moons-tossed sea, and as the sea receded when the world turned cold, the city was left high above, spreading slowly down toward the new shore but never able to reach it again until the sea was gone and only the city remained.

The land drops steeply after a way, which is why it was never practical to keep building ever further down the mountain; roads lead along the few routes where heavy wagons can travel to the gentle hills and lowlands, home of the towns and villages and farms, and from there out across the wide green wilderland empty of settlements of any size except immediately next to the old High Road, which used to be a causeway above shallow sea and marsh.

 

I have always liked the idea of a setting old enough to have real weight of history on it. I also like how a story’s physical location affects its history and culture — and the immediate plot, and the people who live the story. Kyre couldn’t have the history it has without being where it is. The people who live in that city wouldn’t be the same people if they lived somewhere else instead.

 

About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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6 Responses to K

  1. Drew Llew says:

    Wonderfully descriptive. I must search your stories out and read some more.

    Like

  2. It’s always a sign of good world-crafting when not only the characters but also the locations have their own backstory. It really helps the story to be consistent within itself and, in my mind, sets apart fantasy stories with real potential from amateurish scribblings (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Like

  3. This description is fantastic and I love seeing the reasoning behind it. It’s like movie ‘extras’ for books. I will be back for more!

    Like

  4. Lyle Tanner says:

    Sounds like an interesting city. The description is great and I can really put myself there.

    Like

  5. TaMara says:

    Your description is wonderful and definitely makes me want to read more about it and its inhabitants.

    TaMara
    AJ’s AtoZ wHooligan
    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

    Like

  6. Pingback: of apples and autumn and music and writing | North of Andover

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