28 June 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN map #9 - Hololach

I hate this map so much! The topography took so long (especially in the south). The labelling took so long (largely as this was a region that i had not explored previously, and all I knew was the coastline and mountains in the east and south). But i finally finished it, and I have to say it's one of my favourite maps. I can technically do a lot more labelling in the south, but I'm so sick of this map that I'm calling it finished for now :)

Atlas Elyden, #9 - Hololach

Hololach is very much a land out of time. It is dominated by two geographical features that separate it from the east – the Toliasor mountain chain that runs uninterrupted from north to south for 1,000-mniles; and the Holiasor mountains, which dominate the southern coast for 520-miles and is very difficult to navigate due to the large number of lochs and undulating rises along its length (attributable to ancient glaciers, whose force can still be seen in the boulder-strewn plains of Saleb).

These features have left Hololach largely separated from the east of the Inner Sea and helped forge its relations with the west – Sagittaria, Gnoth, Aquariia, and, more recently, Parthis. Its separation from the west means that many features introduced through industrialisation are not at all common here. Nomads, descended from the first Volupis of Hololach remain common, travelling the lands of Hololach and beyond in a long circuit that can take as much as a decade to complete, in caravans of hundreds of individuals.

The land is still ruled by a Volupis – halfblooded descendant of the first ruler – who is recognised as a divine being and treated as such. Hololach is divided into eight prefectures, each of which is ruled by a docent: practitioners of the Volupis’ divine teachings and shapers of unparalleled success – a dubious honour for the art of shaping is forbidden outside the docent caste, who maintain a strict vigil over the demiurge’s old art due to the dangers of its use there. The region of Oghyathav, in the north of the nation is a twisted wasteland where the Atramenta manifests as tangible nightmares thought to be ancient remains of a demiurge’s presence there millennia past. The nightmares take the form of twisted blackened formations, vaguely reminiscent of humanoid shapes or evoking emotions. Atramentists and scholars have studied the region hoping to learn more on the art of Oneiromancy (divination through dreams) and the history and mythology of the area.  

#hololach #atlaselyden #fantasycartography #elyden

08 June 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN #8 - the Free Lands of Vârr

Vârr is an unfortunate place, haunted by the echoes of a past tainted by the actions of a mad god. Vorropohaiah, he was once known as, though his name is now whispered only amongst the most learned of scholars. He was one of the Two-and-Twenty worker gods – the Demiurges. They were abandoned by their creator as punishment for their hubris in creating the mortal races. Vorropohaiah went mad following his divine emancipation and spent his days shaping the features of Elyden into monuments: first to his Father, then to himself, and finally to nothing at all. Many of these ancient monuments survive in the dead parts of Vârr, testament to his godly artifice.

None, however, as famed or feared as the twin wonders of Carceri and the Varrachon. The former is a world-spanning cavern built by the god in the latter days of his insanity. None know its purpose or how even such a monolithic edifice can survive the timeless movements of the land itself, but it simply IS. To descend into its depths is to court madness and the whispers of the languid god, or, if one is lucky, merely death. The latter - the wretched mountain known as the Varrochon - measures no less than 400-miles long and 175-miles at its widest point and is commonly thought to have been created by millions on toiling hands hauling rocks from the construction of carceri into a large valley that in the day dominated the area. over the years the valley was leveled and was slowy turned into the foul mountain we see today.   

In more recent memory, Vârr was occupied by the Korachani empire, which used it as little more than a resource to be plundered. For over two millennia the empire mined its ores, cut down its forest, and fished its seas. IT left no resource untouched and retreated only 300-year ago after taking all it could. Vârr now lives in the shadow of that empire, al and unwanted and uncared for despite its attempts at rebuilding the ruin that Korachan left behind.

A dichotomous leadership – in the form of the priestly Heirogoths and Regent-kings – picked up the pieces left by Korachan. Some of the abandoned quarries and open cast mines are not fully spent, and they work them at great toil to get what they can from the land. Forests stripped bare by Korachan are only now starting to regrow and the Vârrans have learnt to tend to them, careful not to take too much, as the risks of what await over-exploitation are all-too apparent.

the Free Lands of Vârr 


So map #8 is done, and with it the journey around the Inner Sea slowly continues. This was a relatively easy map to do – the south west was ready from previous maps (Korachan and Pelasgos), and the region of Vârr itself was pretty well-thought out in my head. This type of map doesn’t do the region justice at all. I have a mood board for this place filled with pictures of grey hills covered in tree-stumps, sprawling open cast mine, industrial pollution, wastelands and other inspiration. It’s a bleak place, but I have a morbid fascination with such things, and that’s really where Elyden came from. Vârr is probably the epitome of what Elyden and the Korachani empire are.
Some of you might recognise the word Vorropohaiah – so now you know where it comes from and what it means J

I've actually made some updates to the maps - making the territories outside the focus map paler. I’ve also made the roads thicker and clearer added a bit of hue/saturation to make the colours 'pop' a bit more.  I also started applying a greyed-out colour to show areas of corruption, which I felt was missing before. I now have to go back and update the older maps to match this one.



I've also updated the mosaic map to include the latest maps. I've also added a grey-out border showing a poster-map I hope to make of the Inner Sea once the individual nations and regions around its coastline are done. At this rate though I don't imagine I'll even start if for another year or two... If I continue at this rate I might manage 16 maps by the end of the year, which is close to circumnavigating the Inner Sea, though not enough to map all the lands that fill out that area.

Remember, you can support my work on Patreon, where you can gain access to high-res images, textless maps, more stories and background and other exclusives

#Elyden, #Fantasycartography, #Atlaselyden, #Varr