A (Very Rough) Cirsova Timeline

I don’t know if I ever shared this, but I came across some old Cirsova notes I’d used for some basic historical guide-lines.  These probably can’t be considered canon, but if you actually enjoyed the setting, you might get a kick out of them.

-500 Migration northward from the people from Ortia and Paelnor

-200 Pre-Cirsovan culture fully assimilated with the migrants

-100 Tower of Owen purportedly built

1 Gatia is founded

20 Cirsovan culture is unified, with Gatia as its capital

25 Ga Akana(1) dies, son Angar Akana(2) assumes throne.

38 Angar Akana(2) dies, son Ger Amia(3) assumes throne.

62 Ger Amia(3) dies, Nephew Orwen Gladus(4) assumes throne.

90 Orwen Akana(5) succeeds father, Orwen Gladus(4)

100 Paelnor invades Karkuras, Cirsova intervenes, unites three provinces.

110 Davou is fortified

120 Ortia is peacefully added to the Empire, Solaris becomes a major port city, exporting goods to lands unknown

125 Orwen Akana(5) dies, is celebrated as a god. Son(6) succeeds him.
127 Son(6) dies, brother(7) succeeds.
143 younger brother(7) dies, son(8) succeeds.
150 Southern Gatlia is settled,
155 (9)
156 (10)
173 (11)
180 Conquest of Ungoza, Delivals settled
189 (12) Orrin Acana succeeds his father(11)
200 Discovery of the Ungoza crater, first envoy from Polaris

210 the Long road is completed.

400ish, encyclopedia of the cirsovan empire written

You’ll note that by this timeline City at the Top of the World takes place roughly 1000 years before “present” of the setting as well as the book I’m kind of half-working on.  I’ve changed the scope of the follow-up book to be more about these two characters and their story, removing the aspects that worked in the original D&D adventure.  I feel that the tone didn’t quite work, even if I pulled a quantum narrative.  An urban and sea adventure in Gatlia doesn’t quite jibe with the horrifying setup of Altier being burned to the ground on the night of the Goash festival.  I think I’ll split off that aspect to be its own book.  Maybe even make that one second person?  I think this book works better to establish Percy and the conspiracy for the throne he’s involved in, but the limitations of a Choose Your Own Adventure format would make it difficult to explore both the setup through this main character AND allow the reader to explore and become involved with it.  I MIGHT go with a “canon” ending of the second book, though, to the extent that the characters from the 2nd book will remain relevant in 3rd, though they will not be the “player characters”.

It’s Done! 1st Draft of City at the Top of the World is Done!

The story is written, the nodes are written, the endings are written.  The main part that’s left is to number and link nodes.

Maybe I got lazy?  I don’t know.  While there are a lot of paths and a lot of endings, several choices funnel into one particular node, but part of that was wanting to avoid the quantum nature of a lot of CYOA type books.  You get captured by the slavers, you end up going to auction.  And I wasn’t going to write totally different slave auctions for every variation on getting captured.  If I were writing classic CYOA style nodes with 50-150 words per node, maybe I would’ve done it differently, but some of these nodes are as long as 700 words.

42 nodes and 12 endings.

Yay.  This is one of the first real writing projects I ever ‘finished’ since I decided not to write a 10th book in the fantasy cycle I’d written when I was in highschool.

Some Tidbits About the Upcoming Cirsova Book

Who?
This going to be the story of a young desert woman, Aeryn, who is a member of one of the tribes of ancient Paelnor. The people of Paelnor are sometimes known as the Children of the Eye or the People of the Eye, because of their myths that they are watched over by a great eye in the deserts.

What
Aeryn has been taken by the Northmen (the Tyuravelinai, though they have not yet come to be called that) along with a number of others from her tribe. They are part of a recurring system of tribute to the great northern kingdom.

Where
While the story takes place in a city called Polaris, it is Old Polaris, a truly Polar city, far to the north of Gatlia and Ungoza, perhaps farther north from Elefloe or Jorgora than those ruins are from Solaris. The Polaris known to the modern Cirsovans is named for this great lost city.

When
This story takes place in the distant, almost mythic past, long before the ice, long before the migration of the Akhirs, and very long before the foundation of the Cirsovan Empire. As such, while some names and places may be familiar, they may also be different from what may be found in the Encyclopedia. For instance, the Sabrio valley is still heavily jungled.
Why
Because I needed to actually write something that has something to do with Cirsova and can be published. Besides, why not?

Paelnor

Paelnor is a land of contrast: where there is no Jungle, there is only desert. And the desert grows year by year. Before the migration of the Akhirs, Paelnor was likely covered entirely in Jungle, save for the rocky wastes of the western province. Deforestation and changes in weather, however, have impacted the climate and enviroment, and for many hundred years, Paelnor has been a land of sands. With the exception of Gazee, built in the Sabrio Valley, and Diirdec on the coast, the large towns of Paelnor are built around desert oases.

Traders are frequently met crossing the deserts of Paelnor. Caravans bring strange goods from the Ortian lands, as well as those things brought in from beyond the seas. The Karkuran horses are often unsuited for making the journey across the badlands of the southern empire. Instead, Camels bred in the provinces of Ortia and Paelnor are used by those making the long trek between Gazee and Solaris.

While Paelnor is part of the Cirsovan empire, it is only scantly administered. Taxes and tariffs from the province are imposed on goods exiting the province from Gazee or Diirdec, and a governor is in place in Kieab, located between Gazee and the Aiki crossroads, whose primary function is to ensure that trade continues on the road. Frolna and Xeln, which are located far to the west of Kieab, within the wastes, are under no governance from the Empire. Goods travel there and emerge from there, and so long as they do, the Empire and the Governor are satisfied. Beyond Frolna and Xeln, it is said, that there are unknowable and unspeakable monuments to the forgotten time, predating by countless centuries even the arrival of the seafaring proto-Akhirs.

 

Diirdec

Diirdec is a Dawnsea port town at the mouth of the Sabrio River. Established originally as a supply depot by the imperial fleet’s marine detachment sent to fight against the Kingdom of Sabrio, the city of Diirdec is now one of the premier ports of the Empire and Paelnor’s only harbor.

Some less scrupulous historians have claimed that the city was built on the ruins of another Sabrian city that had been at the mouth of the river. While it is true that the Kingdom of Sabrio did have an established settlement in the delta, that community was largely on the north side of the river in modern Karkuras. The original depot, though now long gone, was established along a beachhead many miles south of the Sabrio. Extensive jungles still covered much of the region at that time, which have since been clear-cut, so the original site must have been exceptionally isolated in respect to the old Sabrian port town.

From this base of operations, the imperial forces were able to receive a steady supply food, weapons, troops and money from Korsha, which were crucial for the war effort against the Sabrians. The legions stationed in Diirdec in coordination with the legions and forces of Prince Athdaelda in Karkuras served as hammer and anvil, crushing the Kingdom of Sabrio and isolating them from any succor to be found from the caravans of Kieab. Adding to this the naval blocade set up between Diirdec and Korsha, no outside aide could reach Sabrio or be sent for. Divers today often vainly search for sunken treasure near the river’s mouth; most notable wrecks, however, would surely be found deeper in the bay, off the coast.

Today, Diirdec remains a minor center of trade, largely receiving goods on their way to Athdaelda that were sent neither overland nor to Corineaus or from the heart of Paelnor to the Riverlands. Most Ortian traders opt to sail directly to Korsha if shipping to Cirsova. Deforestation of Sabrio Valley has proven problematic, as little timber is nearby for construction, though some of the primal forests remain further upriver; these, when felled, may be sent down the river as barges, where they are sold for assorted purposes in Diirdec. The people of Diirdec, however, often bemoan the mistakes of deforestation and building too closely to the river-banks, especially during the rainy seasons. Though there are no historical documents or artifacts to prove the claim, citizens bandy about the idea that the old Sabrian city just north of the river never suffered the same floods, as it was built on higher ground. The imperial decree stating that no settlements be built on Sabrian ruins is pointed to as particularly unfair in this case.

 

(The first actual Cirsova post in like a month.  Yes, you were  all breathlessly awaiting this day, I know.)

Korsha

At the mouth of the Orshiano River, Korsha serves as the principal imperial port in service of Cirsova.  Here, both the nation’s traders and the imperial armadas sail to and fro, the former delivering goods from the riverlands throughout the empire and the latter delivering justice to those who would interfere.

As the Dawnsea is more placid than the Dusksea, the Empire has poured the majority of its maritime resources into this eastern sea port, perhaps to the neglect of its western shore.  The common wisdom is, however, that most of the western coast is too hostile to attempt a landing and that the ships between Syflanis and Corineaus can very well maintain patrol of the heartland’s coastal underbelly.

Though not connected to the imperial seat or any other chartered imperial community by road, Korsha is the true commercial heart of the empire.  Logs harvested in the heartland are sent down the Orshiano River in barges to Korsha, as are the numerous trade goods manufactured in the Cirsovan river cities.  Here, they are placed on the empire’s most fabulous ships (excluding the legendary sailing vessels of Solaris), and sent to the other coastal ports, along the eastern board and as far as Syflanis.  Upon their return, the ships of Korsha are laden with the riches of the provinces, which are then sent upriver to Gatia.

Athdaelda, IV Legion Fort of

Just a few miles east of Athdaelda is a small military complex which acts as base for the IV Imperial Legion.  This fort is a major force in the region, both militarily and economically.  The Empire is able to exert its influence militarily by maintaining the largest standing army in the region, whose direct line to the Empire both subverts the Prince’s influence while maintaining it by perpetuating his family’s rule through treaty and force.

The men stationed here are nominally guarding against potential uprisings by the horsetribes and act as deterrent against those who might practice highwaymanry on the road to Gazee and Diirdec.  They serve a more immediate function in maintaining leverage for both Cirsova and Athdaelda’s position in the region.  While no one would consider Karkuras occupied, it is notable that both Gatlia and Ungoza are “protected” by a lone legion stationed in Davou while otherwise being left to their own.

The economic impact of the IV Legion has a twofold effect.  While the land itself is taxed to feed & mount the soldiers, many supplies and dry goods originate from outside Karkuras, thus bringing traders & merchants from the Heartlands and from Paelnor to keep the troops equipped.  The merchants who created the community of Doan at the crossroads have benefited the most, though some farmers around Athdaelda are aggrieved, as they are most impacted by food tax, a burden not shared with Karkuras’ other citizens.

The Athdaeldan monarchy and IV Legion keep unrest in check, though many Karkurans, not just farmers, have begun demanding more voice in the matter of the fort and legion.  Hence, the Gatian nobles have their worries about the example set by Gatlia’s experiment in republican governance.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Legion was the deforestation of the Sabrio Valley north of the river, along with the razing and total demolition of the bastions of the Kingdom of Sabrio.  At the outset, this created a great surplus of timber for the Empire, however this act is ultimately responsible for the dearth of construction lumber within the province, which today relies heavily on Cirsova and Paelnor’s logging industries.

Athdaelda, City/Principality of

Athdaelda is the seat of political power in Karkuras, its ruling family considered “cousin” (though only sometimes by marriage) to the Imperial family of Cirsova.  Though well respected (principally in the heartlands) the Princes and their kin command very littly authority outside of Karkuras (and some would say Athdaelda itself).  Still, the pomp and circumstance surrounding the trappings of royalty can be felt in the city which once stood alongside a divine king bringing low a dangerous foe in Sabrio.

The city stretches and sprawls for miles upon the plain, far beyond the old city’s walls.  The old city, at Athdaelda’s core, is built upon and around a small butte which has been formed into a stable earthwork.  The old city is divided from the rest of the city by an octagonal outer wall, which surrounds the old city and the “upper city” (really the inner citadel), a walled diamond with each point a gatehouse oriented to a cardinal direction. The paths from each gateway spiral down the rocky perch of the citadel to the lower portion of the old city.

In the walled section of the “lower city”, which surrounds the base of the butte, one may find the old guildhouses, public halls, temples and houses of wealthy patricians. Here, all manner of business public & politic is conducted.

Within the walls of the “upper city”, the cardinal lanes lead to the palace keep, residence of the Prince and immediate royal family of Athdaelda.  Though during the period of unification this keep was hardened and prepared for long sieges, the palace has long since been retrofitted for creature comforts.  Armories are now dining halls & museums and barracks are ballrooms.

The palace itself is an imposing structure of sublime symmetry.  Each cardinal path leads to a heavy wooden door carved with intricate details recounting the deeds of past Princes.  Each corner of the palace is adorned with a vine-trellised tower, and a great central spire rises up from which the Princes can gaze over the plains.

The rest of the “upper city” has largely been converted to gardens.  A few of the old barracks remain to house the palace guards, groundskeepers and other palace staff who do not reside within the keep.

 

Of a somewhat exciting note, as of this post, the Brief Guide to the Imperial Provinces now exceeds over 20,000 words!  The average length of a Campaign Mastery post.  

Corineaus

The port of Corineaus boasts the best harbor on the western coast of the Empire, rivaling even Syflanis.  However, unlike Syflanis, Corineaus lacks the great shipyards for construction (or even repairs) of large ships due to the lack of timber in the region.  This has confounded many captains sailing south along the coast who had been harassed by pirates.  As such, many vessels have taken to carrying an extensive supply of timber in addition to their merchant cargoes.  Despite this disadvantage, Corineaus sees a great deal of traffic as it is the last major port town southward along the western board, as much of the land is either geographically unsuited for any sort of serious port or too inhospitable for inhabitation (the coast winds its way along the wastes and deserts of Paelnor and Ortia, where few journey and even fewer dare live).

Ships often take on large supplies of foodstuff provisions for the long journey to Solaris if they are southbound.  Though there are some quantities of Brebean metals that reach the docks for export, food & steeds (the eastern plains are renown for the excellent horses, many of which are provided in lieu of coin taxation from the loyal horsetribes as tribute) are far and away the most plentiful and valuable commodities produced in Karkuras (a land whose fortunes have somewhat waned in recent times).

 

Corineaus does see its share of the art and goods of far northern make, though much of this finds its way to the royal houses of Karkuras and lesser imperial noble residents in the south.  These remain idle curiosities for the less provincially minded gentry, however, and are not as highly prized as in the northern provinces.  The average Karkuran native tends to prefer finely wrought and beaten metals to the odd stonework and graven crystals of Polaris.  Other imports tend to include Gatlian quarried stone (for building; many of the older structures in Karkuras are native stone and mortar) and supplies for the legion stationed in Athdaelda.

Like other cities in Karkuras, Corineaus is subject to both the Imperial Agent and the Athdaeldan crown.  There are frequent disagreements between the local, Imperial and Athdaeldan authorities in regards to jurisdiction of law and collection of taxes and tariffs (and the matter of occasional mystery ships).  The question of how to handle piracy and other maritime matters has provoked as much debate as it has inaction.  Since all timber must be brought (usually overland) from the Cirsovan heartlands, the general consensus (to the frustration of locals) is that Gatlia, by way of Syflanis, is far more capable of dealing with such trouble and should, thus, be left to them.

There are a few landmarks of particular note in Corineaus, the first being a lighthouse, old as the city itself, shining brilliantly over the harbor.  Some claim that on truly clear nights, its beacon flames can be seen from the top of Owen.  Another is a small, squat tower on the western edge of town. Made of carefully piled and stacked stones, this structure predates any others in the town (perhaps in all Karkuras).  There is only one portal, a small window (too small for anyone but a child to pass through) roughly 15 feet from the ground.  A large fence has been erected around the tower in effort to discourage the practice of youths throwing stones through the window. Attempting to climb the tower has been a violation of public ordinance since a boy fell to his death while scaling the structure.

Brebea

There are small mining communities in the hills and mountains of western Karkuras, as well as countless isolated fishing villages along the Dusksea coast, however, Brebea is the westernmost recognized imperial city in the province.  Brebea is nestled in a well-defended horseshoe in the foothills and is connected to the rest of the Empire by a road to Doan.

Though Brebea was far enough from the Sabrio Valley that the city was not directly threatened by the barbarian kingdom, the city was an integral part of the war against those murderous savages.  The Brebeans supplied additional spears, shields, helmets, axes and blades to the Athdaeldans, who provided a staunch auxiliary to the Cirsovan legions who cleansed the land of Sabrio’s threat.

The mountains of west Karkuras were rich in coal and iron, as well as gold and silver.  For at least five hundred years, Brebea’s mining has been supported by Athdaeldan grain.  Though the hills around Brebea, provided some grazing grounds for sheep and goat herds, the foodstuff sent from Athdaelda had allowed the population of Brebea to remain stable, large, and hard at work at the region’s industry, mining, smelting & refining ores to be exported throughout the empire.  The area immediately around Brebea, however, has stopped producing with the regularity and quality it once had, and the town has been in a steady decline over the last century.  Despite this, the quantity of ores produced in the regions surpasses that from Gatlia, which has quarry camps and scant mines, but no large communities devoted solely to the task of producing and refining.

Ore produced from the more remote mines of the western hill lands is transported to Brebea via the winding mountain trails into the valley to be smelted and worked, but fewer operations are willing to allow the Brebean smelting guilds, who are known to extract exorbitant fee from outside companies, to take their toll on the miner’s bottom line.  Thus, many mining companies have begun to simply sit on their claims, waiting and hoping for the political & economic climate to change.

A number of mining companies have proposed either a large-scale move or to found a wholly new community in a richer area, however these attempts have been rebuffed because they were found either to violate Brebea’s imperial charter or the treaty between the Empire and Athdaeldan Principality.  Thus, no new charters have been granted, and Brebea continues its slide into poverty and ignominy.