Monday, June 23, 2014

Roads of Bone, Chapter 5: The River

I am doing a little experiment.  I am going to write a series of chapters in a fantasy world of my creation and see if it goes anywhere.  Since I have not prewritten this story and have no outline, it will probably end up a convoluted mess.  I do not know how often I will be able to update this or if it will ever finish.  This is the link to CHAPTER 1.  (I have also found that I have to go back and clean up very broken sentences in previous chapters.  This is why I need an editor.  I understand what I am writing, but I need to make sure other people do too.)

Who wants a lesson on Imaginary geography?  The reason so many fantasy stories just have a map on the inside of the cover.

Chapter 5: The River
            "I am guessing we will take the river to Bone then?"  asked Pasgard.
            "It's the fastest way out of Orchard Town," said Malachite.  "Unless you want to wait another two days for the festival to end."
            "There will be another before too long," said Pasgard.
            "I think they have them every week," said Malachite.  "The weather here never really changes and they stagger crop plantings so that there is always some fresh crop reaching time for harvest.  Last week was pumpkins.  I think the last week was squash.  They were a little gourd heavy in my opinion."
            "So Green then Brown?" asked Pasgard.
            "Out of context that listing of colors sounds a bit unhealthy," said Malachite.  "Or that you have eaten too many berries.  Just tell them we are going to Bone.  I sure they will know how to get there."
            "I just imagine we might get cheaper travel if we take the trips in parts," said Pasgard.
            "That is wise," said Malachite.  "I'll shop around."
            The river, along which all populations sprung up in this area of the world. The Color Lines, one river that forked many times.  It was called the White in the Mountains because of falls and rapids, but as it went East it changed. Green Way was what it was called in Orchard Town, which was famed for breeding exceptionally large plums and having harvest festivals to the point of trivialization, the river did not turn green it was just used for irrigation purposes.  Then it gets its first split happens at the city of River's Fork, so named for.... Obvious reasons having to do with a lack of creativity.  That fork goes South.
            The Southern fork divides the great plains into the Painted Fields and the Bloody Fields.  The Bloody fields known for clutches of warriors and bandits who take refuge in the tiny forests that spot the map grow from seeds blown by winds centuries ago; forts with walls of mudbrick and logs hold up in the core of the little forests, no siege can get thru to them and the paths are often trapped or lined with old skulls or ribs dangling in the ivy and moss of trees.  The Maunder Empire has so far failed to project their power out into the Bloody Fields against these lawless peoples.
            The Painted Fields are named for the nomadic horse people who lived there peacefully.  Though they have had clashes with everyone at south point over the use of grazing land, horse theft, kidnapping and other crimes.  But since they prefer to hunt, forage, and trade rather than settle crimes are seen as actions as individuals rather than a people.
            The river's southern branch then reaches Hasenburg, known for cows, pepper, and a sort of frontier chivalry.  Hasenburg knows the River as the Clear Divide, referring to how it separates the grasslands.  Hasenburg is an ancient County having been under the control of various kingdoms through the ages and remaining somewhat independent during each.  They consider themselves a southern outpost of the Maunder Empire though barely interact with or solicit the larger government for assistance, preferring to work thru independent cities like Port Padre or Solace.  Hasenburg considers themselves deeply attached to the Nomads of the Painted Fields and have had numerous elders of those tribes retire to Hasenburg and many young people run off to travel with them.
            It then lakes a long turn East and gets very muddy, reaching the Town of Red Clay, so named for what they call the Red Clay River.  Ultimately this branch empties out at Port Padre, who never bothered to call it anything other than River, the only population that does not refer to it by some color.  Port Padre is the last free city of repute in the South before reaching the Confederated Kingdoms much further south.
            The main Northern fork continues East and serves as the north border of the Bloody Fields but has three forks going North: the Brown, the Black, and the Grey.  The Brown feeds up to the Maunder Sea and is the home to Bone, the Southern Capital of the Maunder Empire and the vastly populated Hinterlands that surround the city.  The Black runs into a morass called the Black Marsh (Shadow Marsh, Bone Marsh, and Maunder Marsh are also used); aside from swamp people the Marsh is populated only by animals, palmettos, and Mangroves on the coast.  The Grey goes up into Southern Maunder and marks the Eastern Boarder of the Black Marsh, it has an odd dusty look to the water and where the water of the Grey and the Marsh meet there is a clear distinction between the bodies as one has more mineral, while the other looks like tea from palmetto leaves.
            The last leg of the river which forms a rather straight line from Mountain to Sea is called the Blue Line and is the Southern boarder of South Maunder.  Dotted with villages it empties into the sea at Gold Port, whose actual name is Saulker's Rest.  Saulker's rest was named for the Captain who conquered, or accepted the surrenders of everyone along the river for the Maunder Empire.  Nobody calls Gold Port it's proper name, half because it reminds them of a Saulker's legacy of conquest on continent, the other half because nobody has conquered anything since Saulker and they feel a pang of shame that no one since then has been so great a military leader.  There is a lichen covered wall that once had Saulker's visage etched into it, but one of the marble tiles was knocked off by a runaway carriage and subsequent rains have caused others to detach.  Saulker is who named the last leg of the river the Blue Line, for the blue standard his army conquered under.

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