World building is great fun, especially when you have a background in geology. It’s one of my favorite things because when I’m making up my own world anything goes! I’m no longer bound by the constraints of this world; if I say the snow falls purple and hits the ground orange then it does!
Some may say making up your own world is the lazy way out because you don’t have to do any research, but they couldn’t be more wrong. World-builders are just that: we’re making planets here from the core on up. That takes a lot of imagination and knowledge of how the world works. Therefore, If I want to do it right, there better be a good reason for the snow to fall purple and land orange- a chemical reaction with substances on the ground perhaps? Granted, most people don’t go in depth that far. Personally, I think it’s fun! Just remember that the more you explain, the more real your world becomes.
The World of Endarah
Morgan’s world is one of myth and magic. The planet is named Endarah, although it is also simply referred to as the world and sometimes- though I shouldn’t have done it- earth (the reason being that I didn’t actually name the planet until I was proofreading. Great planning, I know. I win at planning).
As seen in the map below, Endarah is made up of ten tectonic plates: Vala, Bentic, Nordean, Laike, Olvarkian, Orsa, Svalta, Ardik, Vendor and Kantash. There are also little arrows showing direction of plate movement under each name. Plates and plate movement are important for determining what the terrain will look like, so I had to put them in. It would have been silly not to!
There are five continents on Endarah: Nordean, Svalta, Laike, Olvarkian, and Vendor.
♦ By creating a whole planet and knowing where each continent is, I give myself room to reference other kingdoms, and readers will be able to consult the map and know exactly where I’m talking about. I know what you’re thinking: there are a lot of kingdoms on that map. There can’t possibly be a profile for each one. And there isn’t! Yes, each one has a name but for most of them, that’s as far as it goes. I have a whole world of worlds set up here, and the next time I come up with a new idea, I can just attach it to one of my pre-named kingdoms and I don’t have to build a completely new planet. I could write a completely different series within the same world if I wanted to, and I probably will at some point.
The Nordean Continent
Now, obviously the setting can be further reduced. All action in The Windkeeper takes place on the Nordean Continent, as pictured below:
There are three kingdoms on the continent, as well as a province of land designated to a particularly hungry dragon. Magic will be spoken of at a later time, but the kingdoms each harbor people of a particular type of elemental magic. Norbane is kingdom of air mages, Eldemere is kingdom of water mages, and Gealgath is kingdom of earth mages. In the previous map, the small island nation of Valkur can be seen directly below the Nordean Continent. This island is home to the fire mages.
There are several key landmarks in the book, all labled in the map above- except for Laryndorn, which is the little castle next to the Laride Sea (I couldn’t tell you why I didn’t just label it).
- Birchaven: A small farming town in the northern province of Norbane. The northern province is a misty, boggy, forested place. Few people venture up there, especially since it is so close to the North Lands. This is the town in which Morgan grew up. The mages of Norbane determined it was the best place to hide her so that Gealgath spies wouldn’t find her.
- Ebony Tower: A giant black tower made from obsidian, located near the Frozen Sea in the North Lands. It houses a strange band of humans that claim to be priests and priestesses for a god named “Arah.” They sacrifice their children to this god.
- Belydor’s Lair: Located in the far northern reaches of the North Lands, in the Mountain range to the east. It is a vast branching network of caves in the side of a mountain. One particular room is spelled to show the night sky at all times of the day so that Belydor can read the stars.
- Laryndorn: The crown city of Norbane. Laryndorn is located on the shore of the Laride sea, which separates most of Norbane from Eldemere. Its main road is called “The Crescent Way” because it is shaped like a crescent, following the curve of the bay.
As well as the landmarks however, there are also a few important (or maybe just important to me) geologic features.
- The Boundary: The mountains that separate The North Lands from the rest of the continent. A river rushes through them, carving out a branching cave network in the soft limestone layers. The mountains also mark the plate boundary between the Nordean Plate and the Vala Plate. The Nordean plate is moving north and the Vala Plate is moving south. There used to be a continent on each plate, but they eventually crashed into each other as the plates moved closer together, forming the mountain range that is there now. The landmass on the Vala plate was at a higher elevation, being a plateau. Therefore, entering the caves on ground level from the north means coming out several hundred feet up when you reach the other end in Norbane. Thousands of years ago, before Belydor was the only dragon left on the continent, the dragons used to use the caves in these mountains as a nesting ground. The reason being there is a hot spot underneath them. In that time, the hot spot heated the water that seeped through the rocks to considerable temperature and caused hot spings and geysers to erupt within the caves. To all but dragons, the caves were unable to be entered. Now that Belydor has claimed the land, he has cast an ice spell over it (his magic specialty is ice), and the effects have seeped into the mountains, almost equalizing the intense heat caused by the hot spot. Now, the water in the river and existing hot springs is only comfortably warm. Should Belydor ever leave and take his magic with him, the caves will go back to their previous volcanic activity.
- The Crystal Sea: In the center of Belydor’s land, there is a large sea. No one knows what it was called before, but the current inhabitants call it the Crystal Sea, so named because it is completely frozen over. Even the waves stand silent and still, poised in the never-ending act of rising, falling, cresting or crashing. The waves themselves are quite tall, and have a maze-like effect when you are standing among them.
- The Fjords of Eldemere: The Fjords are located in the southwest region of Eldemere. Because of an historical ice age, the area used to be covered in glaciers, but they have long since receded and melted away. Not, however, before they left their mark on the land.