Askamar Re-Mapped

As you might know, there are two parts to my conworld. For the last year I’ve been working on the mundane world of Udaris, and I’ve made loads of progress with it – most notably by creating new maps of the continents and finishing the rotating globe. Now I’d like to do the same for the magical realm of Askamar!

I started by creating a cross-section to show how Askamar works; it’s not a globe like Udaris, but rather a plane. Since there’s no sun, it’s powered by magic that fountains up from its depths and spreads across the sky before slowly sinking into the sea (this is why the sky is red in the Inner Lands, purple in the Midlands and blue in the Outer Reaches).

A cross-section of Askamar

A cross-section of Askamar (not to scale, obviously – the land is much bigger than that, and the Sea of Smoke is ever larger!) drawn by me in Adobe Photoshop Elements 18.

Next, I decided to re-draw the map…

Askamar was the first place I mapped when I got Campaign Cartographer (CC3) back in 2014, and I’ve learned a lot since then.

Here’s what Askamar looked like in the days when I drew my maps on Corel (because whenever I publish a new map, I always like to bring out all the earlier versions I can find, and also because I’m fond of this one):

A map of Askamar drawn without Campaign Cartographer 3.

Here’s the Campaign Cartographer version, created in 2014:

Udaris has, of course, been extensively re-designed, but I didn’t feel like changing the shape of Askamar. I did, however, give more thought to the climate, using circles to help me work out how far the deserts extended etc. Here’s the new, improved version! It’s even got a scale this time!

A map of Askamar

A map of Askamar created using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18.

Arrival in Eremiro

I’ve realised that if I post an update every time I add a new chapter to Yaresora’s Marriage, my blog will get cluttered, so I’ve decided to go back to posting several chapters at a time, as I did with my last story.

I’d like to write more conworlding posts again soon! However, for those interested in reading the story, I still aim to add a new chapter to the library every week.

Here are the first four chapters of the story, focusing on Yaresora’s arrival in Eremiro, her attempts to court Prince Varadren, and the politics of the land in which she hopes to live as a duchess:

An Advantageous Match
Yaresora plans to marry an Eremiran prince, but first she must persuade the Court of Ebzazire to support the match.

The Queen’s Honoured Guest
Yaresora arrives in Eremiro, where she is welcomed by the royal court.

Courting a Battle-Mage
Yaresora challenges Varadren to a friendly duel.

Dinner with the Princess
Yaresora dines with Varadren’s twin sister Sorchiana, experiences some traditional Eremiran music, and encounters her old rival Okseda.

Some Eremiran words

Since much of my latest story is set in Eremiro, I’ve decided to make a list of some Eremiran words:

Elteyave: one of the many magical devices invented in Eremiro, the elteyave detects magical poisons. They are usually carved of wood and are shaped like table ornaments (birds, fish, cats and flowers are popular). The azuhans set into them glow when poison is near.

Kalyanen (male) / Kalyessa (female): A title used to respectfully address a mage. While it can be translated as ‘my lord’ or ‘my lady’, it is never used for non-magical aristocracy. The mages of a foreign lord’s retinue sometimes find themselves addressed as ‘kalyanen’, however.

Maranal: an ankle-length garment worn by Eremiran lords, secured with ornate buttons and a plain, narrow sash. The sleeves are long and close-fitted. Maranals are heavily embroidered down the front and around the cuffs, and are often even more splendid than the gowns worn by women.

Sanrallan: an ankle-length gown worn by Eremiran women. The sleeves are puffed and banded at the shoulders, while the collar is high and ornate. It is fashionable for a sanrallan to be embroidered down the left shoulder – birds, flowers and leaves are popular designs.

Syalta: an Eremiran liquor made from malted grain and aged in wooden casks. It is usually diluted with water and served in small glasses.

Teharalt: Non-mages (the singular is teharal). In Eremiro, this is word synonymous with ‘commoners’. Farmers, artisans, merchants, professional musicians and household servants are all teharalt, but anyone with magical blood is part of the aristocracy, no matter how impoverished they are. Some Eremiran nobles still struggle with the concept of ‘teharalt’ aristocrats.

Veyeltin: The gestures of salutation used by Eremiran women. They vary depending on the rank of the person being addressed. Eremiran men do not perform the veyeltin; instead they bow when greeting someone of higher rank.

Stories: Yaresora’s Marriage Part 1

Here’s the first instalment of the new story I’m writing.

It’s set shortly after the Yanbukan Empire’s conquest of Eremiro. Yaresora has plans to marry an Eremiran prince – not only to help secure the loyalty of the Eremirans, but also because she’s keen to become a duchess.

I’ve called the story Yaresora’s Marriage (I’m so great at thinking up titles!) If anyone feels like reading the first chapter, I’d be grateful for feedback.

  • Is it too long?
  • Are there too many characters?
  • Is it easy to follow what is happening?

I know that one of my weaknesses as a writer is that, in my eagerness to depict the world I’ve created, I try to introduce too much as once!

Artwork: A portrait of Yaresora

A portrait of Yaresora by Maggie

Artwork by Maggie

This beautiful portrait of Yaresora was painted by my sister Maggie!

Yaresora is a battle-mage of Akes-Naredeya rank. That’s the 8th highest rank of mortal mages, so she’s very powerful (this is due to her being the daughter of a human mage and one of the immortal aristocrats of the magical realm).

Yaresora has a great passion for the arts of magic, especially duelling. Her skill in combat has given her a fearsome reputation – she is known to be clever, ambitious and quick to mock others. However, there is another side to her. Yaresora is very protective of those she loves, and there are moments when she wishes she was a more patient and tactful person…

A Map of Kesauphur

Here’s my latest map, showing the human kingdom of Kesauphur. It’s place I haven’t worked on since 2012 (before I knew of Campaign Cartographer!)

A map of Kesauphur created using CC3

A map of Kesauphur created using Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3) and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18

While I’m not actually planning to set any stories in Kesauphur, it is the homeland of several of my characters.

Right now I’m writing a story about Yaresora (it’s over 15,000 words so far, which is why I haven’t updated my blog for a while!) Her mother Resiah was a Kesauphuran mage, and her half-brother’s aunt Oranah is a Kesauphuran princess, so the kingdom gets mentioned at least a few times.

Oborsurea and Skanshuria revisited

As I said in my last post, I’m working through the continents of Udaris, giving my maps what I hope will be a final polish – making sure they’re all labelled with the same font, re-positioning the labels so that they look nicer, adding in a few more names etc.

I’m also re-writing their entries in the website’s reference section. My original idea was for each page to have a map of natural features, a political map, perhaps some historical political maps (I made loads of these showing the history of Tanurea last year), descriptions of the natural landscape, histories, maybe even timelines…

This was proving hard work (I have plenty of notes on the continents, but it’s not easy to condense them down into something concise, informative and well-written!) Anyway, I recently decided that I didn’t want to clutter my website with too much detail. So, now each continent has just two paragraphs mentioning its most interesting lands (as in, the ones I feel like working on – not the most wealthy and powerful!)

Here are my new Oborsurea and Skanshuria maps. They’re no different from the old versions, except that I’ve done more work on the labels.

A map of Oborsurea created with CC3 A map of Skanshuria created with CC3

A map of Zasulia

Now I’ve created my rotating globe, I’m working my way back through the continents, producing what I hope will be the final versions of these maps. I used to think Skanshuria was my largest continent, until I re-drew Zasulia…

A map of Zasulia created with CC3

A map of Zasulia created with CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18

You can see what Zasulia used to look like on my old world map (it’s the continent in the lower-right corner, in case you can’t recognise it!)

Zasulia’s shape has changed significantly during the 2017-18 redesign. It’s now connected to the south pole, and the large island of Hasrukia (to the left of Zasulia in the old map – I really should have included some labels!) is now close enough to be part of the continent.

These changes have resulted in an expanse of land to the south that I don’t feel like populating with yet more kingdoms etc, so I’ve left it as a wilderness. Why haven’t people settled there? I haven’t decided. Possibly it was the site of an ancient magical cataclysm that left the region uninhabitable…?

I like the idea of places that the world’s inhabitants have yet to discover; while I seem to favour the ‘top-down’ approach to con-worlding, it gives me the freedom to keep imagining new things.

The Rotating Globe

Ok, here it is: my new pride and joy!

For over a year now I’ve wanted to create a rotating globe of my conworld. I worked out how to do it using the sphere effect in Adobe Photoshop Elements and slideshow option in the WordPress gallery, but it was clear that I needed to redraw the world map first.

As you can see, there were trees down in the south pole back in 2016.

A Globe of Udaris created in November 2016 using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop 13.

After spending some time working out the proportions of my conworld, I produced this draft version of the rotating globe in September 2017.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Since then I’ve been redrawing the continents in Campaign Cartographer 3 and pasting them onto a giant world map. At long last, the project is complete! Here is the animated rotating globe of Udaris!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.