12 February 2014

the Atlas Elyden

Hi all! So much for turning the blog into a bi-weekly affair - man it's difficult keep up with a blog! Major kudos to those of you with real-world jobs and hobbies who also manage to keep up-date with your blogs! I don't think I'll ever be able to do it, but i'll try... sporadically... 

"Many are the reasons for your intrepid authors' absence, chiefest amongst them the plotting and shaping of his constructed world, known otherwise as Elyden."

Though having said that, I really haven't been doing that much work lately. I've been slowly plodding away at my second novel (don't get excited, the first one is still far from being published), though it's far from completion. What other time I have has been spent on commissions and other pursuits (sounds shifty). It's only recently that I've started work on my world again, and this time it's cartographical baby!

That damned Encylopaedia Elyden has been taking up so much of my time. Pehaps I should go into a bit more detail. The book itself is both a real and imagined things and, as such, exists in two different worlds -  

1) It exists in the real world as a series of files on my computer and google drive accounts, constantly being revised, added to, and updated. This version started out almost 10-years ago as little more than notes hand-written and sketches to help me in my own writing and world building. I'm incredibly forgetful and were it not for such notes I'd forget most of my ideas before I ever get round to implementing them. Over the years the notes were digitised (though I still have my earliest notes and the first hand-drawn Inner Sea map, dating back to around 9 years ago) and grew in scope and complexity and have become themselves a goal, rather than a means to an ends. They help me locate places, items and other things I'd otherwise forget about. 

Today I have around 600,000 words typed out with much much more to come. Over half of this is bullet points, along the lines of traditional encyclopedia entries (think an early edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica for style). I haven't actually counted how many individual entries I have, but it must be thousands (though I might be overestimating), and most link-back to other entries in an intricate web (perhaps a wikia is the next logical step, though I shudder at the thought of all hyperlinking involved). The rest of the words make up the histories (of which only a small portion are 'complete', religions, mythologies, bestiaries etc. 


2) The Encyclopedia Elyden exists as an in-world book that summarises the worldly knowledge of a particular nation (the High Empire of Korachan), much like the aforementioned Encyclopaedia Britannica's yearly updates. One thing I'm aiming for in my version is to one day create a hand-made version of this book for my own pleasure (oh my!), though I don't see that happening until many many years (or decades, even) down the line, if at all, as I'm constantly adding to it and don't want to commit to something that's so rough.

This in-world book is divided into 3 volumes: 1) the encyclopedia, 2) the world histories, mytholgies and religions, and 3) the atlas. Initially i intended the 3 volume to be synchronous: the same size and clearly of the same breed, so-to speak, with similar covers etc, though I'm beginning to rethink this as the atlas clearly necessitates a larger page-size than the encyclopaedia. At the moment I'm leaning towards A3 for the Atlas and a bit shorter than A4 for the encyclopaedia and Mythologia volumes. 

At the moment I'm mostly concerned with the third volume (atlas). After much fretting about I've finally started work on this. After an uncompleted political map of Korachan I've settled on a style I'm happy with and will now set about mapping every known nation, realm and major land formation in the world. A monumental task, that, if completed, will leave me with a many-hundred-page-long document.

Each page is A3 in size and will incorporate a map on one side and various geographical, political, religious, etc information pertaining to the region on the reverse. The images are, so far, being created as individual pieces, though can easily be bound together if the thing ever gets done. 

This is my work so far - mostly foundations for more detailed stuff to come later on. I've largely busied myself making a template I can quickly adapt for new maps, though sadly the creation of the neatlines and graticules are beyond my ability to automate and really take a lot of time to get done, even after running my equirectangluar world map through G. Projector. Hopefully this is the start of something far larger that won't peter out after a few months :)

Also, anyone familiar with my Holy Empire of Korachan map might be able to place these maps within that one. Keep in mind that these were made with far more precision than the older map and take precedence in the event of any changes






  1. As a full-time lurker, this post has finally drawn me out of my figurative cave. This whole thing is amazing, and a massive inspiration for my little conworld (which, admittedly, completely pales in comparison to yours). I hope I can get my hands on your novel sometime soon, and wish you triumph after triumph in all your endeavours.
    Yours sincerely,

    1. Thanks for the comments :) do you have a blog or anything i can check out to provide feedback?

    2. No. I am too much of a procrastinator to ever consider doing that. My conworld is also pretty minute. Am trying out an encyclopaedia-y approach, and clocking at about 400 words, probably half of which is title. Also, I've just read your entry of Hetepheres (who has to be one of the most awesome fantasy characters since Nicomo Cosca) and I was wondering if you could post anything on Malichar's backstory, as he sounds a fascinating character!

    3. thanks, it's good to hear positive comments about that character as she's one of my favourites and strangely enough one i've written little about. i also am yet to base any stories in her nation - venthir, which is also one of my faves.

      about malichar - i have his entire biography written out but am planning a biographical novel detailing his life, titled 'empire' so dont want to give too much away, but i think you've just given me an idea for a future post :)

  2. Excellent name! Is it from the perspective of someone in world on Malichar, or is it presented in a novel form? With your writing skills, I'm sure you could successfully pull off either venture.
    On the subject of the Atlas, is the currently empty box going to be the cartouche or key? Or will it hold a brief synopsis (of sorts) on the country? Once again, congratulations on your endeavours!

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  4. The empty box on the map will certainly contain normal cartouche details. I'm not too sure about a key as since its an atlas I'll probably have a single/double page spread detailing all keys found throughout the atlas, so those wont need repeating on every page. I may dispense with the empty box altogether especially since i intend to write a vague history with other details on the reverse of the map, sort of the type of thing you'd see on a roleplaying sourcebook entry for a nation.

    with regards to 'Empire' it's intended to be a commissioned biography, written in character as his biographer(s) in-world, so will undoubtedly contain propaganda and skewed facts, as dictated by the man himself. Though I've been toying with making it an annotated copy of such a book written decades or even centuries in the future, with footnotes by an unamed historian detailing factual inaccuracies. but that sounds quite difficult - a welcome challenge, but perhaps beyond my abilities to complete. But certainly something I'm willing to try.

    Problem is he's an Otherworlder* and is around 4000 years old. its a long life, spanning many technological, cultural, religious,. political climates. also i wouldnt want to give away what happens to him and the world, So itll have to wait until another series of books is written! gah! insanity.

    Also, as he's so old its unlikely his biographer is a single person - likely an entire hereditary caste of scholars who pass the histories down their family to be filled in by the next son or whatever. i just came up with that now. i like it. must elaborate :)

    *death in elyden is not final. everyone has a spirit and a vessel. death separates the two and the spirit gestates in the otherworld (with myths saying that they glint in the night skies as stars. Some are reborn as otherworlders - angelic/demonic (to be generic) creatures whose actions shape the world's fate, though to what end no-one knows

    1. Ah, I love this about Elyden. Completely original fantasy, with fascinating details like the ones on the Otherworlders ( is that the same as Isawhani, or are they something else entirely?). It boldly wanders far far away from these tiresome, medieval dragon-y worlds that populate the interwebs.

      So does the penumbra / firmament have any effect on the rebirth of these people, or is it a random event that could happen to anyone?

      On the Atlas, if you ever decide to sell it, I will happily throw oodles of pounds (or euros) at you for a copy of it! I love reading atlases, and well-made fantasy ones are simply the best. One last question :D, will this be a political map, like the Korachani one, or will it depict mountains and such?

      Sorry for all the questions, but rarely do you encounter such a fascinating world as Elyden!

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    3. from the Encyclopaedia itself:
      Isawhan: in the Korachani empire, a common word used for Otherworlder. The word is somewhat derogatory, used by commoners and work-slaves in an off-handed way in reference to the beings, which to most proletariats are distant creatures, rarely ever seen.

      the map will be political but will have 'mountains' in the form of what's affectionately known as marching caterpillars, so they wont be artistic mountains like you'd see on a Lord of the Rings Map.

      The Penumba/Firmament are 2 sides of the same coin, so to speak,and influence everything, including the rebirth of the Otherworlders.

      I'll take the money for a pre-order now, if you don't mind :D

  5. Don't worry about having a job distract you. I have no job, and my blog is still seldom updated, simply since I am so forgetful that I have ideas for blog posts, yet I let a small 2 minutes side-track make me completely forget what it was, meaning it's never updated.

    Anyway, good luck on your continued work on Elyden! It's definitely one of the more detailed fantasy realms I've seen in a while that wasn't a big name thing like TES or the Forgotten Realms games. I can't wait to see what else you post about it.

    1. Thanks for the comments :) and i know what you mean about getting side-tracked