The Cartography of S.E. Davidson
I knew that when the time came to put forth my world onto paper, it would need some sort of map to help people develop an idea of the land itself. Solatus is a small island nation, the mainland is barely fifteen thousand square kilometres and the population numbers something like half a million people if one were to include pure blooded Solati, half-blooded Solati and permitted residents.
Most of the Mainland is inhabited by the upper caste of Solati society: The Pureblooded group. This is an ethnically and culturally homogeneous group which could roughly be divided into five sub cultures which have developed over the four hundred years of Solatus’s existence as a nation.
The differences between groups vary slightly, mainly in nomenclature, willingness to allow marriage to certain foreigners or into certain other Solati households, war-paint and variations of some religious rituals in each of the five sacred groves.
The Norreians occupy the north eastern section of the Mainland, mostly in Mother City Norreia, but also in the surrounding mountains, mining communities and rural settlements.
The more rural Westfold folk occupy the north-west of the Mainland, having no cities of their own. People who dwell in communities in the Western Range and the Noldair Forest also tend to identify as “Westfolders.”
The people of White Sands and the only accessible coastline into Solatus are referred to as “Coastal Folk.”
Marshmen in the Eastern Frog Marsh are referred to as “Marshfolk.” They are probably the most reclusive of the Solati purebloods, preferring to fish and hunt the Solati wetlands. They trade mainly with the “Farmfolk” and maintain an almost semi autonomous hold over their small portion of Eastern Solatus. Nevertheless, they fulfill their obligations to the State and to the Matriarchy in the forms religious obligations, taxes to the regency as well as muster to the Solati Guard.
The residents of the rural communities spread out across the Fenlands, Plough Lands and Mannien Moors are referred to as the aforementioned “Farmfolk.”
The other map which I felt that I HAD to have in my story was the battle map. I remember watching Braveheart as a kid. When I got older and read up on Scottish history, I felt that Braveheart didn’t really do as much justice to the facts as people think.
To name but a few of those facts:
1) During the battle scenes, feudal Gaelic speaking Christians are prancing about in wode. This is a blue dye which was either painted or tattooed onto the bodies of the ancient Picts who once inhabited the south eastern parts of what is now Scotland, were pagans and probably spoke a language closer to Brittonic.
2) Kilts? In the late 1200s? I think that they only popped up later…
3) And then there’s the battle of Battle of Stirling Bridge… Where the hell was the BRIDGE??? Come ON Hollywood!!!
Nevertheless, My protagonist seemed to be of like mind to both William Wallace and Andrew Moray with his approach to the Battle of Thane’s Bridge. Though, I think that my Chief Warden had far more time to prepare and fortify in the manner by which a Republican General of Rome (Caesar perhaps?) would have done.
Given that Anaìr did train through the large Imperial War Academy of Teyrras-Lene far to the east of Solatus prior to the events which take place in the novella, the newly appointed Chief Warden had to mix and match and make do with what he had.
I would like to thank Ms. Davidson for putting things into a geographical perspective so wonderfully for my readers! I would also advise anybody perusing this blog to check out The Sketch Dragon website.
Lastly, I think that the best way to experience the whole story – and not just The Battle of Thane’s Bridge – is to actually buy the book from this link.