This SampleSunday, I'm giving you all a real treat: a never-before-seen excerpt from the Appendices of Mathion: Book One of the Mavonduri Trilogy! The text I'll be presenting to you today is part of Appendix II, which covers the geography of the Lands of Émae, where the Mavonduri Trilogy is set. It, along with the rest of the Appendices (which will appear in each book of the Trilogy, along with notes from Prof. Cillian R. Khandjian, who discovered the Mavonduri documents--more on that later!) was written by a Wolven sage named Paliro, who survived the Cataclysm that sunk these vast landmasses over 10,000 years ago. Read carefully, and you may find some major clues to The Last Ascension: Book Two of the Mavonduri Trilogy. Enjoy!
APPENDIX II – THE LANDS OF ÉMAEMathion’s homeland of Ánovén is but the southern continent of a vast landmass, comprised of two large continents connected by a narrow land-bridge. Collectively, these are known as the Lands of Émae. This Appendix will primarily concern itself with the geography of the lands themselves, but will also touch upon the different geopolitical regions and spheres of influence of the Cénáre, the Kânín, and the Akáre.
Geography of the Three Kingdoms
Geographically speaking, the lands of Kânavad and Ánovén were vastly different from each other. Kânavad was comprised of a diverse landscape of mountains, desert, and a large forest in the north of the land. The environment that covered the most area was known as the Karváde or Deadlands, a vast desert that had taken in the harsh rays of the sun every day for many thousands of years. However, the Karváde is not a vast sea of brown sand. Rather, it is a vast grey plain of dry, cracked rock, littered with black stone and only faint thimbles of weed and brush. The heat of that land, or at least the southern portion of it, is so intense that the heat actually reverberates off of the rocks in shimmering waves.
To the north of the Karváde is a great, dark forest. No name is found for this forest in either the Kæna’ar or Old Cénárol languages, but in the Akáric tongue of Kôvudén it is called Ordos Âhānuv (Forest of the Werewolves). Cold, biting winds sweep through that forest, and the trees trap this cold air in; how they do not freeze into ice it is not said in the histories. Further north of this forest, near the base of the Great Mountains, rumor has told of vast fields of blue flowers that are ever in bloom.
Perhaps the most notable geographical feature of the Kânavadian continent is the Várhade or Great Mountains. These towers of sheer grey stone rose well over fifteen thousand feet above the sea, crowned with white snow from ever-present clouds that hovered above their summits. The Várhade stretched in a continuous range from just south of the city of Bazôkaš on the northernmost peninsula of Kânavad, down into East Ánovén, just east of the port-city of Ohakaš (these are known as the "Southern Highpeaks" among my people), making it undoubtedly the longest mountain range in the Lands of Émae.
West of the city of Padakis was the only inland sea in the Lands of Émae. It was a freshwater body of water, and some accounts from the Men of Kôvudén claim that the Padakisian werewolves, the only breed capable of swimming, use this sea as a training area.
KôvudénThe “Dominion of Kôvu” is (geographically speaking) a part of the Kânavadian continent, but is autonomous and under the protection of the South-realm. The most westerly region of “Elôvad” (the proper name of the entire Northern Continent) was unusually more fertile and lush than the rest of the northern lands: vast fields of green cover the landscape, dotted by ridges of dark stone here and there. There is only one notable mountain in Kôvudén—Had Kôvu, where Padilar Kôvu was crowned the first King of Kôvudén and where the Realm of Men was established. From that mountain, a river of crystal-clear water flowed north into the Sea of Kânavad.
Kôvudén’s capital city of Kalendu is bordered on the east by the Forest of Kalendu, which the hidden Watchers occupy, protecting their king from enemies that might wish to kill him. The city itself is built at the summit of tall seaside cliffs, against which the waves of the Kânavadian Sea continuously crash against.
One of the recognized borders of Kôvudén is the beginning of the Gulf Mountains or Ecirháde. These begin as large, round knolls of dark stone, and slowly became tall mountains, though not as tall as the Várhade or the Southern Highpeaks.
Degos EnathDegos Enath, the Dark Valley, is the name of that narrow land-bridge that separates Kânavad and Ánovén. The land-bridge was bordered on either side by mountains: the Várhade on the east and the Gulf Mountains on the west. The ranges sloped down and eventually leveled out at the bottom, forming a valley where a tangled forest grew out of the fertile soil. This forest, commonly called the Degoštel by the Cénáre loremasters, was a thick forest, warm and muggy, and hard for one to breathe in. The branches of the trees were as gnarled as old hands, yet they were thick and brown, as if they were still in the vigor of youth.
A legendary feature of this area of land was not natural, but man-made: the Guardian Towers. One built on the slopes of the Great Mountains, the other on an outcrop of the Gulf Mountains, these towers maintained a staunch vigil over the Karváde to the north. Their construction was commissioned by Hâr-Erios in the early years of the South-realm, and they endured to the time of Mathion.
ÁnovénI know more of my own land than the others so described above, so it is here where I will say the most.
The geography of the South-realm is vastly different from that of the Northern Empire. Ánovén is a land of green meadows and rolling hills, of lush forests and high mountains. Its territory comprises the area from that unseen border drawn by the Guardian Towers in Degos Enath, and extends down to the uttermost of the Southern Isles. From Mekelir to Néktas, Avakaš to Ohakaš; all of it is Ánovén.
The land along the Great Gulf bears a mountain chain of great renown: the Red Mountains or Keženháde. They are so named for their crimson stone, of which legend tells that Ka’én, the Creator, shed his own blood in a sign of blessing upon the three Wolven houses of Etheôn, Géledor, and Padilos. These mountains are our most prominent, and the Mountain-city of Hádakaš was built along that range.
The river Váracar or Greatwater is a long, winding ribbon of sapphire blue water that flows from its sources in the Mountain-walls of Degos Enath to the delta in the deep south, ultimately emptying into the Southern Bay, making the Váracar the longest river in all the Lands of Émae.
The length of the Great River divided Ánovén into two distinct regions: East Ánovén and West Ánovén (this natural boundary also contributed to the distinct dialects of the South-realm). To the west were the cities of Mekelir, Avakaš (the chief city of the whole of the South-realm), Štélue (home to the Regent of Ánovén), and Hádakaš. On the east were Kihar (the chief city of East Ánovén), Ohakaš, and Néktas, along with various other smaller towns and cities united under their banner. The city of Fordótas is unique among the great cities of the South-realm: while situated on the western bank of the Greatwater, is largely held by both its people and the rest of Ánovén, to be part of the Eastern regions, and so falls under the authority of the High Steward of Kihar. The West and the East were connected by two bridges: the Bridge of Váracar in the north, at the confluence of Greater and Lesser Váracar, and the Bridge of Štélue, just shy of twenty-eight leagues to the south of Fordótas.
In the eastern region of Ánovén was the Várhade Ánôho, the southern reach of the Great Mountains, commonly known as the Southern Highpeaks. It was here that the grey stone aladar was discovered and used as the primary stone with which the Cénáre used to construct their fortresses and walled cities. Aladar was sturdy and held up to strong winds that periodically came from the sea during the summer months.
The whole of the Ánovénean continent was shaped like that of a waxing crescent moon. The waters within the great Ohar Ánovéno were very warm, particularly during that period of the year from the Hléodai Iktir’vânol through the end of the month of Oharel. These caused great storms wielding strong winds and dark clouds to form and travel along a path that curved north and east along the coasts of both Ánovén and Kôvudén, often impacting the capital city of Kalendu and the Port-city of Taqár, and (though less frequently) the city of Mekelir on the western coast of Ánovén. These storms were also rumored to form great funnels of cloud that churned the water and destroyed many traveling ships that came across them, as well as lightning and hail. The hailstones could be (as Narios of Hádakaš and Kir-Dovosir of Štélue reported) as large as the catapult-stones that defend the city of Avakaš, and able to slice through several feet of strong oak.