I am finally finished with the rough draft of the next Tale of Ubernorden. And boy is it a doozey, coming in at almost 5o pages of intense fantasy action. But sadly, it won't be up on the site until maybe after January. The reason for that is because I might be caught up in another project for a little while. But most importantly, there's going to be a little retcon taking place in Tales of Ubernorden, precipetated (sic) by a major geological shift.
Retcon of Doooooom!
It might have escaped your notice, what with no map and all,but Ubernorden is a solid landmass. In fact, it is just a part of a larger land mass; much like China is a part of Asia. It is the size of a continent, but China is not a continent. That's Ubernorden.
And for a while this was okay. This was only some playground to a pulp hero I created. But then I developed an epic story (that I might get around to writing one day ;) ) that centered around an attack on Ubernorden by the Lich. This forced me to answer 3 questions that were forming: 1) Why was the Lich attacking now? 2) Why was the Lich attacking in such limited force (limited compared to his total power, the actual force is quite huge)? and 3) Why didn't the Lich attack until now? The answer to all of these questions was the Adune Barrier.
A look into madness!
In the beginning, the Adune Barrier didn't exist. The Lich didn't attack Ubernorden because the Lich just didn't want to. Developing this epic story neccesitated a more pronounced reason why the Lich was so inactive, or appeared that way. It also neccesitated a more richly settled Ubernorden. Cultures and empires needed to have histories and real characters to populate them. So I had a choice to make, make the countries in Ubernorden have histories going back hundreds, thousands of years, or have a supremely dynamic world that seemes as real as the characters who populate them.
Many fantasy worlds out there are rather static in nature. It began with Tolkien and his Middle-Earth. In the backstory of The Lord of the Rings, Middle-earth is actually quite dynamic, kingdoms rise and fall for any reason. But in The Lord of the Rings, there are kingdoms and peoples with thousands of years of history, though in terrible decline. George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is set a kingdom called the Seven Kindoms that comprises the entire continent of Westros (though this kingdom is continental in size and is more like and empire). Westeros also has thousands of history, that lies almost unchanged in all that time. In fact, the 7 kingdoms that comprise the Seven Kingdoms existed for hundres/thousands of years. Even the continent in Robert Jorden's The Wheel of Time, though more dynamic than most, has kingdoms that have lasted for hundreds of years.
So I chose to do something different with Ubernorden. Giving you the complete history of Ubernorden would take too long in this space, and would require a textbook to be shown (something I've been thinking of doing, incidently). But take my word for it, Ubernordend only has between 3,000-4,000 years of history, and many of the kingdoms (sovereignties) are incredibly recent. And I was okay with this.
But something else bothered me, something I regreted greatly.
I do love Ubernorden. It is a vibrant, dynamic world that is just as real and living in my eyes as the real world. That said, I do have some regrets with this. One is that there will can be no real fictional languages with it, I just do not have the linguistic skills to do that. Another regret I had was that all of the cultures and sovereignties were just too close together in order to be as differentiated as I want them to be. Indeed, I wanted Western Ubernorden and Eastern Ubernorden to have clearly different religions. The problem was that a thin river, the Adune River, seperated them.
Now, with the rest of Ubernorden, I deliniate cultures from each other by using mountains to seperate them. That is actually pretty good, that works in the real world all the time. What doesn't work is that mountains prevent nations from attacking one another, which I was going to say was happening. Also, I was saying that the Adune kept empires on both banks from conquering the other side. I would say that "no empire would ever successfully bridge the Adune." What a load of crap. Rivers do not delinate empires like that, they just do not. But I was going to go with that, and ask you the reader to suspend your disbelief. It just didn't bother me.
But there was one other regret I had with Ubernorden, and this one I was truly sorry for.
There is a tendency umong Fantasy writers to use Europe as a base for their Fantasy series. This is fine, but they completely forget that Europe wasn't filled with land powers, they were maritime powers. England, Spain, France, the Italian city-states, the Dutch Republic, Sweden, et. al., all were maritime powers that greatly supported their territorial ambitions. Much of Russia's grand strategy since Ivan the Terrible has been the acquisition of warm water ports. The history of Europe, and of her muslim enemies, is a navel history. Take a look at the Roman Empire.
As such, many Fantasy authors give thier fictional settings very little maritime activity, usually relegated to the periphery if present. George R. R. Martin and Robert Jorden have settings where there is significant naval activity, but even then it's not a major part of the setting. And this is exactly what I did with Ubernorden. And I truly regretted it. I really wanted Ubernorden to have major maritime activity. But the setting was pretty much set in stone. I couldn't figure out how to allow for major navel traditions in Ubernorden without severly corrupting the world at large and the epic story I want to write. (That story is the basis for almost the entirity of Tales of Ubernorden, just saying). So I just decided let it go and let it be one of those regrets.
But then, yesterday, I was reading up on the Battle of Lepanto. And that made me regret the lack of navel activity in Ubernorden again. But in thinking of that, I had an eureka moment. I could easily give Ubernorden a major navel tradition and still retain the essence of the epic story. All I had to do was turn the Adune River into the Adune Sea. It's just so simple, I'm a little sad I didn't think of it sooner. However, in order to make this work, I'm going to have to take a little time and think how this geological shift will affect the world. Certainly some locations will have to switch places, and the nature of the Adune Barrier needs to be tweaked. But I already have an idea of how to do it.
But it will necessitate redoing some of the geographical references in the stories already written, for accuracy's sake. But since there are only 4 stories up, and pretty much no fans to displease, I should be able to do it soon enough.