Here I am again talking about maps and adding another map to my map menu on the WP site. This week it’s Carrdia, the nation at the heart of the continent. This, everyone, is the first map I made for Ontyre, a simple sketch on the back of a sheet of scrap paper. That entire journey is chronicled in an older map blog post.
As was the case last week, I want to try and restrict this post to my impressions of the map two decades later. Yes, two decades. Twenty-one years ago, to be exact. A more formal map was created a year or so after that. In 2015 I reimagined it and not long after I colorized it. Through it all, though, it hasn’t changed much.
In fact, I’m shocked at how little it’s changed. I’m even more shocked by how inspired this map was from a storytelling perspective, and it was largely accidental (I think).
As mentioned earlier, the nation of Carrdia is at the heart of the continent. I’d wanted that, as mentioned last week, so it was isolated. Tied to that was my desire that there be lands around it to explore. That’d allow for an element of adventure to the stories. All around, excluding Forstava, the land has become a mystery owing to the Brillica Cataclysm. It was the mysquanmic event that rendered eastern Tremjara a baneful, nightmarish landscape of residual magic monsters and other horrors. I’m quoting from the worldbuilding.
Similarly, at the heart of Carrdia itself is the capital city, Transgamete, on Crown Lake (the smaller of the two at lower center). I could call it a heart within a heart, but then I’d be overanalyzing because that was more than I ever intended. More of what I never intended is how all the rivers flow towards the nation’s heart, pulling the focus that direction.
The other storytelling aspect was created with geographical intent. There are distinct regions within Carrdia, which accounts for the various books (largely) taking place in those areas…
- Bk1, Trust in the Forgotten takes place in the northwest.
- Bk2, A River in Each Hand mostly occurs in the southwest.
- Exhuming Truths, the prequel, becomes a split storyline, one in the west, the other in the east.
- Torment Surfacing, a non-Riparia novel, happens in the northeast.
- Bk3, So Others Might Remember, takes place in central Carrdia.
- Bk4, Aramon Daughters (planned) will begin in the southeast and shift farther to the south.
- Bk5, A Glorious Past Reimagined (planned), will revisit many old locations.
*Bk4 & Bk5 are slated to be drafted in November-December of 2021.
I swear, there was no master plan that moved each story around as much as circumstances and my natural curiosity about each region. Too, there were other elements. One was the present stories having ties to historical events in the past that happened in different places. It’s a case of, if you build it (worldbuild), they will come.
For instance, Riparia is in the northwest at the beginning of the series, but she was born in the southwest. The capital, as mentioned, is centrally located and naturally draws characters to it. The locations in Bk3 and planned Bk4 are completely a product of where the series naturally needed to go. Meanwhile, Bk5 is a combination of wrapping up the series, contrasting its end the series’ beginning (and, likewise, Riparia’s arc), and necessity.
After this many years, Carrdia has become a second home for me. Maybe more than that. In a way, I’ve lived in Carrdia longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. It’s my safe place. The fact that I can’t imagine ever leaving it says a lot. That thought never entered my mind when that original sketch was made, but it’s become true. It’s already given me so much, and for that I’m grateful.