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?

Gaciall of Many Things, White Lady of Polaris

Gaciall, sometimes referred to as “the White Lady of Polaris”, is the “queen” of the far northern city-state, though she is never called such.  It is unknown who or what she is to the people of Polaris, but as far as the Cirsovan empire is concerned, she is looked to as the ruler and head-of-state for all matters between the empire and the Polarans.

For all of the nearly 200 years that the Empire has been in contact with the city of Polaris, Gaciall of Many Things, or a woman bearing the name and title, has held court in Polaris.  All accounts describe her as a young woman, dressed all in white, though all who have met her claim to have forgotten most details beyond that shortly after leaving her presence.

It is customary that any personage of importance who have made the journey to Polaris (whether travelling with supplies and traders or not) are granted audience with Gaciall.  Oftentimes, these audiences are simple formalities, during which dancers are brought in, food and drink are offered to the visitors, and a songstress will sing a lay of the ancient Norther Peoples.  Sometimes, however, after the lays are sung, and the dancers sent away, Shuul will be brought forth, small azure vials resting upon ornamental red pillows with gold trim, and offered to the visitors.  Gaciall will bid them drink, for she will show them amazing visions of things both wonderful and terrible as they lie in the throws of the drug.

Gaciall is a seeress and a sorceress of unknown power.  She is quick-witted and highly intelligent, both qualities are essential in an experienced Shuul user.  It is not know whether the magic she wields in the Kingdom of Shuul can manifest itself in the physical realm (as was the case with the unnamed dreamer in the Legend of Jorgora), though it is possible that she may know how and simply chooses not to use her power in such a reckless way.

Those wishing to see the true power Shuul and be instructed in its safe use for purposes of scrying are advised to only do so by seeking out the tutelage of Gaciall.  Gaciall, however, does not grant this privilege except to a very select few who strike her fancy as those worthy of her knowledge and power.  Shuul is not a drug to be taken lightly, as its use may incapacitate an individual from anywhere from several hours to a number of days.

Bartland Brothers and a Bottle in a Case

Being a major port city, goods from all over the empire may be sampled here.  Midtown Syflanis is one grand bazaar, where food, drink and drug of all variety can be found in the markets, stalls and taverns.  One of the taverns of some renown, Bartland Brothers, has in a wooden display case behind the bar what may be the only publicly available commercial bottle of Shuul.  Drafts from the bottle are expensive, infrequent and often disappointing (it has been said).  No one who has sampled it has ever reported anything beyond its strong and unpleasant taste.  Whether the bottle is real or not is subject of numerous urban legends throughout the city.

Uptown, Syflanis

Uptown is the oldest quarter of Inner Syflanis.  The southern boundary of the quarter is still marked by the old city wall.  The seaward wall and a large portion of the southern section were removed as the city grew southward.  After it became apparent that Syflanis would likely never face martial threat, plans for a wall that would completely encircle the city were abandoned; the newer walls along the lower quarters are often unmanned and largely for show. 

Uptown is home to the old city hall (which has become disused since the new one was built in the lower city), a number of multi-family units, serving the families of sailors, dock & construction workers, and the old Syflanis keep, which has been repurposed into a prison for undesirables throughout Gatlia.  Though Guard Captain Kaern has kept the peace by cracking down on petty crime with great severity, criminal networks are said to have sprung up in the poor sections of Uptown, and a neighborhood code of silence has protected those at its core.

Temple of Water, Syflanis

People come from far and wide to visit Syflanis’s Temple of Water. The Temple, which is found in the West Downtown quarter, is large, shallow lake with a tiny island at its center. On that island grows a single giant tree. The lake is man-made, and it is said that the first Duke of Gatlia had it dug to protect the tree, which was beloved to him.

Today, couples pay boatman a coin that they may take their luncheon upon the lake under the shade of the great tree. Dining upon the island itself, while not forbidden, is frowned upon as low-class.

No botanist has been able to say with certainty what species the tree is, as no other tree like it has ever been identified in all the empire.

Lord Percival Haruun

Lord Percival Haruun the Younger, or simply Lord Percy, is a rising star in Gatlian politics. He is wildly popular among the merchants, having fought successfully to reduce shipping tariffs in Syflanis. Additionally, he made quite the splash when he publicly declared that it was his goal to stamp out crime along the Gatlian highway and break up the Pirate’s Triangle once and for all, even if it means raising a private army to do so.

Percy the younger is also the first councilman in Gatlian history to hold two seats simultaneously in the Council. Percy was elected to one of Syflanis’s popular seats in the previous election cycle. His father had been a representative of the local aristocracy for many years, but died shortly after the last election. With the aristocratic seats, it is tradition for the son or heir of the deceased to assume the father’s position for the duration of its term. There had never been a case, however, when a Lordly Representative’s son had held a popular seat of his own. There was no law against it, so it stood. Thus, the young Lord Percival holds two seats and two votes in the Council, making him the most powerful man in Gatlia, second to the Duke.

Despite Percy’s overwhelming popularity among both wealthy merchants and common folk and support among several noble families, there are a few who fear the young man’s meteoric rise.