Some Quick Links

Featured

If you want to go to the very first post on the Atlas of Ice and Fire, click here.

Some other useful links:

How big is the world anyway?

The Size and Extent of Westeros and The Size and Extent of Essos, Sothoryos and Ulthos.

A Political Map of the Known World.

Terra Incognita: Beyond the Known World.

The Population of the Seven Kingdoms and The Population of the Free Cities.

Unreliable Timelines and Confused Dates.

A Song of Lines and Latitude.

Wonders Made by Man and The Seven Natural Wonders of the Known World.

Historical Map 1: The Dawn of Days and other Historical Maps.

Geographic Map 1: The Known World and other Geographic Maps.

Malazan Book of the Fallen Atlas.

Wheel of Time Atlas.

A Map of the Forgotten Realms

The Forgotten Realms – the default setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game – form one of the largest, most detailed and most popular fantasy worlds ever created. It is the brainchild of Canadian writer Ed Greenwood who started developing it as a setting for fantasy stories when he was just eight years old. Ten years later he began running D&D campaigns set in the same world, and also began writing articles for Dragon Magazine. The first mention of the Realms in-print came in 1978. Over the next eight years Greenwood became a popular writer of articles for the magazine and he included plenty of hints about his own campaign world in the process.

Toril Final

A new map of the world of Abeir-toril. Please click for a larger version.

In 1986 TSR, Inc., the publishers of D&D, were looking for a new setting. The Dragonlance setting had been an enormous success, but the feeling was that the continent of Ansalon was too small to serve as a setting for lots of stories. D&D creator Gary Gygax was also in the middle of his painful departure from TSR, which made the future use of his World of Greyhawk setting questionable. D&D needed a new “base” world.

TSR editor Jeff Grubb contacted Greenwood and asked exactly how much of the Realms had he actually created? Greenwood’s reply was, “lots.” Soon boxes were arriving at TSR HQ in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin by the score. Each box was packed full of notes, handwritten and typed, featuring information on hundreds of characters and cities, dozens of countries and countless new monsters, factions and magical items. Greenwood’s map of the main continent was divided across dozens of A4 sheets of paper which were painstakingly reassembled in the main TSR office, taking up almost every inch of free floor space. Greenwood’s map of the setting’s signature city, Waterdeep, was even larger and detailed and named almost every building. This was the Tolkien school of in-depth worldbuilding taken and expanded and applied to a continent several times the size of Middle-earth.

The slightly awed TSR bought the rights to the setting and began released it to the public in 1987. The first release was a novel, Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles, followed by the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, or the “Big Grey Box” as it became infamously known. The Grey Box sold over 100,000 copies in short order, a staggering number for an RPG supplement. Ed Greenwood provided his own novel, Spellfire, and a few months later another book was published by a first-time novelist named R.A. “Bob” Salvatore. The Crystal Shard introduced the character Drizzt Do’Urden, a dark elven ranger seeking to atone for the sins of his entire race, and a fantasy publishing legend was born. To date, more than 30 million Drizzt novels have been sold by themselves.

The Realms grew and expanded. The continent of Kara-Tur, previously developed in 1985 for the Oriental Adventures sourcebook, was bolted to the eastern side of the Realms (with Greenwood’s blessing). The western continent of Maztica and the southern continent of Zakhara were explored in further boxed sets. Dozens of adventures and supplements explored the gods, power groups and races of the Realms in remarkable detail. In 1989 the Realms made the transition to D&D 2nd Edition through an epic campaign known as the Time of Troubles, or Avatar Wars, the first of many “Realms-shaking events” that unified a setting noted for its expanse and scope.

The setting expanded to a successful comics run and also a line of well-received video games, such as Curse of the Azure Bonds. However, it was the epic dungeon-crawler Eye of the Beholder (1991) that became a major crossover hit with general gamers and expanded the audience even further.

D&D and the Realms ran into a major problem with the collapse of TSR in 1997, during which time it was briefly possible that both would disappear altogether. However, Wizards of the Coast stepped in and bought both the game and the setting. This led to a creative renaissance for the setting, spearheaded by the hugely popular video game Baldur’s Gate (1998), the first RPG to be released by BioWare. D&D 3rd Edition arrived in 2000 and was followed by the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book in 2001, one of the most handsome RPG books ever published. Over the next seven years the Realms continued to peak in popularity, with more video games such as Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights contributing to its success.

In 2008 D&D launched its 4th edition, but the surprising decision was made to effectively destroy the Realms, turning it into a kind of post-apocalyptic, high-concept setting. The decision was vehemently rejected by the overwhelming majority of Realms fans; sales of the 4th Edition D&D and Forgotten Realms material were disappointing and the setting spent several years in the doldrums until 2014, when Wizards of the Coast launched D&D 5th Edition. A streamlined, back-to-basics version of the game, it proved an immediate, huge hit. Even more notable was that, for the very first time, the Forgotten Realms was now the default setting for the D&D game. The new setting rolled back most of the disastrous changes from 4th Edition and restored some faith and popularity in the setting.

There are still some worlds left unconquered. A Forgotten Realms movie is in development for release in 2021 or 2022, and Larian Studios are working to relaunch the video game line with the eagerly-awaited Baldur’s Gate III. After a short hiatus, the novel line has been relaunched by R.A. Salvatore with a new run of Drizzt books, although there seem to be no plans for more material at the moment. And, watching over it all, remains Ed Greenwood, who still insists he has far more unpublished notes and setting material than has ever been seen formal print. On that basis, the Realms will be around for a long time to come.

Ed Greenwood FR Map 2

Ed Greenwood’s original, hand-drawn map of the Forgotten Realms.

Mapping the Realms

Greenwood’s original map of the Realms focused on the continent of Faerûn, extending west to the island of Evermeet; south to the jungles of Chult and the island of Nimbral beyond; east to Semphar and the Horse Plains; and north to the towering Spine of the World mountain range and the Endless Ice Sea beyond. He had little notion of what lay elsewhere in the world, except for a huge island chain to the north-west called Anchôromé.

Other writers and editors soon expanded the setting. The 1985 Oriental Adventures book by Dave “Zeb” Cook had detailed an Asia-like land called Kara-Tur. This was retconned (and shrunk in the process) into the eastern half of the continent in the Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms boxed set (1988). In 1990 the Horde boxed set explored the Tuigan plains which linked the two subcontinents. In 1991, the Maztica Campaign Set added a new continent far to the west of Faerûn. In 1992 the Al-Qadim sub-setting was launched, detailing the lands of Zakhara to the south of Faerûn.

Through all of these boxed sets, adventures and campaign guides, maps were a constant feature. Not just maps of the continents and landmasses, but maps of individual countries, cities, streets and even individual buildings. The City System (1988) set contains a colossal map of Waterdeep which is too big to fit inside most average-sized homes, and names virtually every building in the city. The Forgotten Realms is almost certainly the most heavily-mapped fantasy world in existence, with literally thousands of maps existing of its various locations.

Despite that, a full, canonical world map of the entire planet of Abeir-toril had to wait until the release of the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas (1999) on CD-ROM. The atlas featured almost every single map from every single Realms product ever released plus lots of new ones, and also a complete world map which added multiple new continents to the planet. Ed Greenwood would later reveal some new information on these continents, but, twenty years later, they have still received scant development compared to the originals.

Forgotten Realms Large Map Political

The first-ever canonical world map of Toril, from the long out-of-print Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas (1999) by ProFantasy.

A New Map of Toril

My new map of Toril depicts the planet as it stood between the 2nd and 3rd Editions of the setting. When 3rd Edition setting was released in 2001, the map-makers chose to shrink the main continent of Faerûn to remove empty space in the south; given that Faerûn was never the biggest fantasy continent in the first place, sometimes straining credulity given how packed it was, this was unnecessary and was eventually reversed in 5th Edition.

4th Edition, much more controversially, blew up the continent in a magical catastrophe known as the Spellplague and completely reshaped it. Fortunately, most of these changes were promptly abandoned in 5th Edition, which restored the continent to its former glory.

To create this map, I used a base model from my twenty-year-old copy of the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas (this also inspired some colour choices, particularly for the mountains) and information from canon sources and from some of the better fan maps out there. A more detailed map of Faerûn will – hopefully! – follow, although it will be considerable work.

globe (1)

Toril as seen from space.

The World of Abeir-toril

The world of the Forgotten Realms is an Earth-sized planet called Abeir-toril, “Cradle of Life” in Auld Wyrmish. Toril is the third of eight planets in its star system, and it possesses one large satellite, Selûne, and dozens of smaller satellites, asteroid-sized bodies called the Tears of Selûne.

Toril is divided between one very large continental landmass, almost big enough to qualify as a supercontinent, and three other continent-sized bodies. Five large island-continents and thousands of smaller continents are also known to exist.

The main continental landmass is divided into three lesser continents or subcontinents:

  • Faerûn is located in the west of this landmass, running from the Endless Ice Sea to the Great Sea and from the Trackless Sea to the Tuigan Plains (or Hordelands) in the east. Faerûn is the original and principle setting for the Forgotten Realms campaign and by far the area of the planet with the most development. Faerûn vaguely resembles Europe and the Near and Middle-East in the medieval period, with the landlocked Sea of Fallen Stars serving as a Mediterranean analogue.
  • Kara-Tur is located to the east of Faerûn and is the home of the mostly-defunct Oriental Adventures and Living Jungle sub-settings. It is an Asian-inspired land of vast empires, huge cities and adventure. Kara-Tur is the home of the largest nation on Toril, the Shou Lung Empire, and the tallest mountain range, the Yehimal, which is even taller than the Himalayas.
  • Zakhara, the Land of Fate, lies south of Faerûn and south-west of Kara-Tur. The home of the Al-Qadim sub-setting, it is a land of vast, boiling deserts and cities clustered around oases and bays. Zakhara is inspired by the mythology of Arabia. The largest single city on the planet, Golden Huzuz, can be found in Zakhara.

In addition, several other continents can be found elsewhere in the world:

  • Maztica, the True World, lies to the west of Faerûn across the Trackless Sea. It is inspired by Aztec and Mayan mythology and consists of jungles, volcanoes and deserts. North of Maztica lies a land of open plains more reminiscent of the American West, although this area has not been explored much in canon materials.
  • Katashaka lies to the south of Maztica and consists of steaming, hot jungles inhabited by various hostile lizardfolk. Katashaka seems to have been inspired by South America, but it has received relatively little development so far.
  • Ossë is a large landmass lying to the east of Kara-Tur. It is quite hot, sparsely-populated and has not yet been explored in detail in any canon materials. Based on the limited information available, it appears to be a supersized version of Australia.

There are numerous islands of note in the world, the most famous of which are Evermeet, the home of the elves located far across the Trackless Sea; the Moonshae Isles off the coast of Faerûn; Lantan, the land of engineers and tinkerers; Nimbral, the mysterious Sea-Haven; the islands of Anchôromé off the coast of Maztica; Wa and Kozakura off the coast of Kara-Tur; and the large island-continents of Myrmidune, Tabaxiland, Aurune and Braaklosia, about which relatively little has been revealed.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content before it goes live on my blogs.

A New Map of Westeros

As related previously, I’ve been planning to update my older Atlas of Ice and Fire maps focusing on Westeros and Essos, which are looking a bit low-res and long in the tooth ese days. To start with, I’ve been creating a new map of the entire known world. Although lots of work remains to be done on that, I have (more or less) completed the portion containing Westeros, which is now available to view below.

Westeros

The continent of Westeros. Please click for a (much) larger version.

There is some work still to be done. I need to clean up some of the name placements. I also still need to find a better way of depicting mountains and especially hills, which I realised a bit late in the day on this map look more like valleys or canyons.

Still, this is a vast improvement over my old maps and work continues to improve the material.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content before it goes live on my blogs.

Stellar Cartography: Homeworld

The Homeworld franchise is one of the greatest and most atmospheric strategy video game series of all time. Chronicling the exodus of an entire civilisation across a distant galaxy, it tells the story of that civilisation’s fall, rise and triumph against overwhelming odds. The series has slowly unfolded over twenty years, with a fifth title now in the works, for release in 2022.

Homeworld

A map of the Homeworld galaxy. Please click for a larger version.

The Homeworld saga began on 28 September, 1999 with the release of Homeworld, the first game by the Canadian developers at Relic Entertainment. The first space-based, fully 3D real-time strategy game, it was a huge success. It was followed by a stand-alone expansion, Homeworld: Cataclysm (2000) from Barking Dog Studios, and then a full sequel from the original development team, Homeworld 2 (2003). Due to rights complications and Relic being bought by a different publisher, THQ (and later Sega), the Homeworld series was seemingly abandoned.

In 2010 several ex-veterans of Relic set up a new company, Blackbird Interactive, and began development on Hardware: Shipbreakers, a “spiritual prequel” to Homeworld focusing on ground combat. In 2015 THQ collapsed and the Homeworld IP rights were picked up by Gearbox Software. They contacted Blackbird with two aims, the first being an ambitious next-generation remaster of Homeworld and Homeworld 2, the second being converting Hardware into a proper prequel to the original game. This resulted in Homeworld Remastered (2015) and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (2016), both reasonably successful. In August 2019, Gearbox and Blackbird confirmed they were now working on a full, proper new game in the series: Homeworld 3, due for release in late 2022.

 

The Saga

The Homeworld saga begins on the desert planet of Kharak, located near the outermost fringes of its galaxy. A race of humanoids known as the Kushan dwell on Kharak. Divided into extended family/clan groups known as kiith, the Kushan people developed high technology but at the cost of depleting their hot planet’s resources. Kharak was only barely habitable and it was becoming clear that it was effectively dying, dooming the Kushan people to extinction (and causing scientific confusion as the planet did not appear capable of allowing intelligent life to develop in the first place). One hope was that the Kushan people might be able to colonise space. This caused a religious schism, with hardline followers of the god Sajuuk pointing to an ancient, religious proscription against travelling into the void on the pain of armageddon.

During a routine sensor sweep of the planet, a satellite launched into space by the technologically advanced Northern Coalition (a cluster of kiith living in more clement conditions closer to the northern polar seas) detected an anomaly in the Great Banded Desert, a huge metallic object buried under the sand. Further attempts to study the anomaly from space were thwarted by weather conditions, so the Alliance dispatched an advanced land-carrier, the Kapisi to investigate. This meant violating the territory of Kiith Gaalsien, a powerful nomadic tribe and the most fervent followers of Sajuuk. They also had access to sophisticated technology, despite lacking the resources of the Coalition. A military confrontation turned into a long-running battle. Finally, the Kapisi and her crew defeated the Gaalsien and reached the “primary anomaly,” discovering it to be a vast spacecraft. Investigation of the wreck, dubbed the Khar-Toba, confirmed it was a generation ship which had carried the distant ancestors of the kiith from…somewhere else. On a plinth hidden deep inside the ship was discovered an object dubbed the Guidestone, a galactic map pointing to a star and planet named Hiigara: the homeworld. More startling was the discovery of a technological artefact that defied understanding, a Hyperspace Core which could tear open holes in the fabric of reality and allow ships to cross thousands of light-years in the blink of an eye.

With Kharak’s resources running low, all efforts were thrown into the construction of a huge starship, the Mothership, which would guide some 600,000 colonists and settlers back to the Homeworld and establish a beachhead for a larger-scale evacuation. Once the Mothership was completed, the Hyperspace Core was installed and activated. The Mothership made a test jump to the fringes of the Kharak system. During the Mothership’s absence, an alien fleet of unknown origin attacked and destroyed Kharak with a weapon that set fire to the planet’s atmosphere, incinerating it. Hundreds of millions of people were killed. The returning Mothership was able to complete the evacuation of the cryo-frozen colonists and then began its long, desperate flight across the galaxy.

During the course of this journey, the Kushan made contact with the Bentusi, the most powerful race in the galaxy and guardians of the galactic trade routes. The Bentusi informed the Kushan that their ancient ancestors had commanded a vast galactic empire, but had fallen to tyranny and despotism. The Taiidan had ovethrown the Hiigarans and nearly destroyed them, but a late call for mercy had seen them exile the survivors to Kharak some 3,000 years earlier. The activation of the Hyperspace Core alerted the nearest Taiidan garrison, which destroyed Kharak in retaliation. The Kushan Mothership gained great support from the other races of the Galactic Council, especially as the Taiidan Empire had become even more brutal, corrupt and genocidal than the Hiigarans ever had been before. In a final battle over Hiigara itself, the Mothership and its fleet, augmented by defectors from the Taiidan military, obliterated the flagship of the Emperor and collapsed the Empire. The Kushan reoccupied Hiigara and a new, democratic Taiidan Republic arose from the ashes of the Empire.

Fifteen years later, a powerful, extragalactic threat was unwittingly unleashed by Kiith Somtaaw. This alien threat, a cybernetic force known as “the Beast,” caused tremendous damage and loss of life until an alliance of Hiigaran, Bentusi and Taiidan forces was able to destroy it once and for all.

One hundred years after the Beast War, a new conflict erupted. Makaan, warlord of the Vaygr, united the Vaygr clans into a single fleet and declared himself the Sajuuk-Khar, the prophecised leader who would unite the Three Great Hyperspace Cores. Makaan had found the Third Core abandoned in the far reaches of the galaxy. The Hiigarans possessed the Second. The First was in the possession of the Bentusi. To secure the Second Core, Makaan invaded Hiigaran space. However, forewarned of the threat, the Hiigarans had built a new, more powerful Mothership, the Pride of Hiigara, and transferred the Second Core to it. With the Hiigaran system under siege, the Pride of Hiigara led a fleet in crossing the galaxy in search of help. The Bentusi eventually gave the First Core to the Pride, after which they seized the Third Core from Makaan’s fleet in open battle. This allowed them to retrieve Sajuuk, now revealed to be an ancient, powerful starship created (at least) tens of thousands of years earlier by the enigmatic Progenitors. The Sajuuk destroyed the Vaygr forces besieging Hiigara, securing the planet once and for all.

After the victory, the Sajuuk and the unified power of the Three Cores was able to open the Eye of Aarran, a powerful hyperspace portal leading to a vast network of gates. These gates opened up the galaxy to all races, allowing them to trade and travel much faster than ever before and beginning a new golden age of peace and discovery.

Or so it was hoped…

 

Mapping the Homeworld Saga

The Homeworld Saga takes place in the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51a, located approximately 23 million light-years from Earth. It is unknown what time period the Saga takes place in, or if it has any connection at all to our galaxy; some fans theorise the Progenitors may be humans from Earth in the far future, or that our descendants colonise the galaxy, hence the human-like appearance of the Hiigaran, Taiidan and Vaygr peoples.

Maps of the original Mothership’s journey across the galaxy are featured heavily in the original game. Rough maps and working materials were used in the development of Homeworld 2 and made public by Relic many years later, allowing other locations to be pinned down.

In 2019, as part of the Fig Campaign for the development of Homeworld 3, Blackbird and Gearbox released a canonical map (albeit light on details) of the Homeworld galaxy.

A NASA stock image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (reversed to match the maps in the games) was used to provide the base image.

Thank you for reading The Wertzone. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs. The Cities of Fantasy series is debuting on my Patreon feed and you can read it there one month before being published on the Wertzone.

The Noble Houses of Westeros

As part of a planned upgrade of my older Song of Ice and Fire maps – which are looking a bit low-res and long in the tooth compared to my more recent work – I’ve been developing a new, large-scale map of the known world. Although the main map still has many days (possibly weeks) of work ahead on it, I did take a break today to try to do something I’ve wanted to do for ages: a map of Westeros with every known house sigil and location on it.

Houses of Westeros

Please click for a much, much larger version!

The results have worked reasonably well, although to preserve the detail of the house symbols (mostly borrowed from La Garde de Nuit, the ultimate French-language resource for A Song of Ice and Fire) and also fit them onto the map required blowing the map of Westeros up to fairly gargantuan proportions. The above map clocks in at 10,564 x 16,640 pixels and 24MB in size! Apologies if it takes a long time to load as a result. Hopefully the results are worth it.

In fact, it may work better to click on the image and then save the full-size image to your device for a better browsing experience, with better zoom control.

The map above uses heraldry designs (under Creative Commons) from the excellent Wiki of Ice and Fire and La Garde de Nuit, the ultimate English and French-language guides to the Song of Ice and Fire novels.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

Dragonlance: A Map of Ansalon

Last time in our cartographic exploration of Dragonlance, I published a map of the whole world of Krynn. This time around our focus is on the continent of Ansalon, the principle location for the events in the Dragonlance novels and tabletop gaming materials.

DragonLance FINAL 1

A map of Ansalon. Please click for a (much, much) larger version.

Ansalon is a small continent located in Krynn’s southern hemisphere. It was once a much larger continent, but approximately 351 years before the events of the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the gods became incensed by the arrogance of the Kingpriest of Istar and dropped a flaming mountain onto eastern Ansalon, the very heart of the Empire. The resulting explosion tore Ansalon apart, created new seas and causing untold destruction. This event, the Cataclysm, wiped out much of the population and destroyed Istar and weakened its great western rivals, Ergoth and Solamnia. In the wake of the Cataclysm, the gods turned their back on Krynn and would no longer heed the prayers of their faithful.

Unbeknown to the other gods, these events had been engineered by Takhisis, the five-headed dragon goddess, to permit her return to Krynn, which she wished to rule over alone. Over the next three and a half centuries, she carefully built up a power base of worshippers and minions in Ansalon, headed by dozens of chromatic dragons. They in turn seized the central, mountainous Khalkist region and used this as a fortress to recruit armies and strike at surrounding lands. By the autumn of 351 AC the dragonarmies had overrun much of central and eastern Ansalon, and neutralised much of the west through pacts and treaties. In The Dragonlance Chronicles (both the adventures and novels), a band of heroes from the town of Solace in Abanasinia are drawn into the conflict and eventually rally the free nations to make a stand against the invaders and prevent Takhisis’ return to Krynn. During the conflict, the other gods also resume their contact with Krynn and the good-aligned metallic dragons join forces with the free kingdoms. The heroes also recover the “dragonlances,” powerful weapons which neutralised the advantage of the chromatic dragons in battle.

Subsequent Dragonlance novels have explored the history of the world backwards in time for thousands of years and forward for over a hundred, through the Second Cataclysm and the War of Souls.

 

Mapping Ansalon

Ansalon is one of the most heavily-mapped lands in all of fantasy. Maps of the continent accompanied both the Dragonlance adventure modules for the Dungeons & Dragons game system and the Dragonlance Chronicles novel series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, which both began in 1984. Two hundred novels and many dozens of gaming materials followed until the last new Dragonlance material was published in 2010, mapping the continent in whole or in part.

This map drew on several resources: Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas of the Dragonlance World (1987), the Tales of the Lance boxed set (1992) and Tasslehoff’s Map Pouch: The War of the Lance (2006). Fonstad’s map was the earliest attempt to seriously tackle the geography of Ansalon, that is, make it work as a realistic landscape in its own right (Fonstad had done the same previously for Middle-earth, Pern and Donaldson’s The Land, and would go on to do the same for Forgotten Realms). However, as a relatively early publication it is missing many locations added by later writers.

Tales of the Lance has one of the most gloriously huge and detailed fantasy maps ever seen, to the point where it seems the artist ran out of time. The map is clearly unfinished, with unnamed locations all over the place. However, some feel this adds to the mystique of the map.

Tasslehoff’s Map Pouch was a series of maps released by Sovereign Press (Margaret Weis’s company) when they acquired the licence to published third-party Dragonlance material for the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons, between 2003 and 2010. The map series featured maps of Ansalon during all three of its main eras of interest: the Age of Might before the Cataclysm; the Age of Mortals after the Second Cataclysm; and the Age of Despair, also the time of the War of the Lance and the most iconic period of Dragonlance history. The War of the Lance map takes the 1992 map and finishes it off, which is great, but the art style is, to be honest, something of an acquired taste. The coastlines are also a great deal less detailed than the Tales of the Lance and Atlas versions.

To create this map I drew on all three sources and on the Dragonlance Lexicon, an invaluable online fan resource run by the team at Dragonlance Nexus.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

Stellar Cartography: Bajor

Bajor is one of the key focal points for the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Although Star Trek had visited many planets over the course of its lengthy history, it had never had a series before which was so focused on just one planet. But for seven seasons and 176 episodes, Bajor was at the heart of the DS9 series.

Bajor

A map of Bajor. Please click for a larger version.

In the summer of 1991, Next Generation showrunners Rick Berman and Michael Piller met with incoming Paramount head of television Brandon Tartikoff, who directed them to create a spin-off show from The Next Generation. If the two previous Star Trek series had been, in Gene Roddenberry’s words, “Wagon Train to the stars,” a show about visiting new places each week, Tartikoff suggested the new show should be, “The Rifleman in space,” where the characters would stay still and have to make their community work.

Berman and Piller came back with the idea of setting the show on a starbase on the surface of a planet that had recently been occupied by the Cardassians, an alien race introduced in Season 4 of The Next Generation (in the episode The Wounded) that had proven popular. The show would feature Starfleet personnel helping the planet rebuild. This would allow a different kind of Star Trek show, particularly as it would pit Starfleet personnel against the aliens on the planet who would be suspicious of the new arrivals, wondering if they had exchanged one occupier for another. This would allow dramatic conflict between Starfleet and the aliens, which would overcome a perceived weakness of The Next Generation where Roddenberry had barred conflict between Starfleet characters.

The idea was well-received and groundwork for the new show was laid almost immediately in the third episode of The Next Generation‘s fifth season, Ensign Ro, which confirmed that the planet would be Bajor, home to a formerly peaceful, spiritual race of humanoids who had been driven into a terrorist campaign to force the Cardassians off their world. Development continued, although a significant hurdle was thrown up when it was revealed it would be far too expensive to have the show set on the planet’s surface, with location filming presumably in every episode. This was solved when it was decided to move the action to an abandoned Cardassian space station orbiting Bajor, and then to focus on a newly-discovered stable wormhole linking the Bajoran system to the distant Gamma Quadrant of the galaxy.

Bajor Globe

The map of Bajor projected onto a globe. Please click on the map to visit the full globe.

Deep Space Nine launched in January 1993 to high ratings and a degree of critical acclaim, although the true plaudits had to wait until later in the first season with episodes like Duet and In the Hands of the Prophets. As the series continued, its critical cachet grew. When Next Generation alum Ira Steven Behr joined as showrunner and executive producer in Season 3, along with acclaimed Next Generation TV and film writer Ronald D. Moore, they began redeveloping the show as a serialised drama, with an ongoing story arc focusing on the growing conflict between the United Federation of Planets and the alien alliance known as the Dominion, with Bajor caught in the middle. The show’s final two seasons were focused on the outbreak of all-out war between the Dominion, now allied to the Cardassians, and the Federation, now allied to the Klingons and Romulans. The show’s final episode aired in June 1999.

Deep Space Nine‘s critical cachet has only grown in the twenty years since it went off-air, with it regularly being called the best of all seven Star Trek series to date, for its serialised storyline, its dramatic conflicts and its constant challenging of Star Trek‘s themes and morals without completely destroying them.

Bajor 01

The original map of Bajor, created by Robert Hewitt Wolfe on his office whiteboard and developed during the lifetime of Deep Space Nine, from 1993 to 1999.

Mapmaking

The decision to draw a map of Bajor was made by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, a writer and producer on Deep Space Nine. He had a dry/erase whiteboard in his office on the Paramount lot which he was going to use to break stories, but given his office was too small to hold more than a couple of people, he realised this wasn’t going to happen and story breaks were moved to a larger room. After staring at the empty board for several months, he realised that it would be interesting to use it to create a map of Bajor since, unlike other Trek shows, they were going to be spending a lot of time on this one planet.

Wolfe started developing the map during Season 1 of Deep Space Nine and periodically updated it with every Bajoran location mentioned in the show up to his departure at the end of Season 5. Writer Bradley Thompson then took over the map and developed it up until the show ended.

The map was publicly first aired in Terry Erdmann and Paula Block’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (2000), the greatest Star Trek non-fiction book ever written.

Bajor is, very remarkably, the only Star Trek planet for which a full, canonical map from the original writers and creators of the show exists.

This version of the map is based directly on Wolfe’s original whiteboard map, which he recently released online for the first time.

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Dragonlance: A Map of Krynn

Krynn is the world on which the events of the Dragonlance Saga take place. A Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting, Krynn was created by TSR, Inc. in 1984 to serve as the backdrop for an epic saga of heroes, villains, dragons and mighty battles: the War of the Lance. Chronicled in both a bestselling novels trilogy (The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman) and a hugely popular D&D adventure module series, the saga served as a major entry point for many readers to both the world of D&D and to fantasy literature itself. With almost 30 million copies sold, Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance material is among the biggest-selling fantasy series of all time.

Dragonlance World Map

A map of Krynn. Please click for a larger version

Dragonlance became a mainstay of D&D, with the setting revisited multiple times. After the release of D&D 3rd Edition in 2000, Margaret Weis’s own company, Sovereign Press, was licensed by Wizards of the Coast to produce more Dragonlance material. This licence was terminated in 2008, the last year in which new Dragonlance RPG material was published. There have also been exactly 200 novels and short story anthologies published set in the Dragonlance world, with the last of these being released in 2010. Despite rumours, there are no signs of the campaign setting being revived for novels or RPG material in the near future, which is a shame.

The principle setting for most Dragonlance material is the small continent of Ansalon, located deep in Krynn’s southern hemisphere and attached to the southern polar icecap by the Icewall glacier. Many years later the continent of Taladas, located north-west of Ansalon, was added to the setting. In the 2000s, following the suspension of official support for the setting by rights-holders Wizards of the Coast, the active fan community at Dragonlance Nexus (original site, current) created the much-discussed but never seen continent of Adlatum, located east of Taladas and north-west of Ansalon.

Krynn is a small planet, merely 7,200 miles in circumference or slightly larger than our Moon (at 6,783 miles). That would make Krynn somewhat more than one-quarter but somewhat less than one-third the size of Earth. The size of Krynn is drawn from the size of Ansalon, which has been pinned down in the novels and in particular Karen Wynn Fonstad’s excellence and authoritative The Atlas of the Dragonlance World (1987).

The world map is based on the work of Justin Parkoff and the team at Dragonlance Nexus, who revised the size of Krynn so it has enough space to fit the other continents and also allow Ansalon to sprawl from the southern icecap into the tropics, despite the continent’s small size.

Next up will be a map expanding on Ansalon after the Cataclysm, at the time of the War of the Lance.

 

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A Map of Osten Ard

One of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time is Tad Williams’ epic trilogy, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Published in three volumes between 1988 and 1993 (although the third book by itself is so huge it is usually published in two volumes), the trilogy was arguably the first post-Tolkien fantasy which attempted to match or even exceed Tolkien in sheer grandeur, scope and scale.

Osten Ard

A map of the lands of Osten Ard. Please click for a larger version.

Enormously popular – with sales of well over 30 million and growing, Williams is one of the genre’s biggest-selling authors – the series has been cited as a key influence on George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson, among others. Recently, Williams returned to the world of Osten Ard for the first time to publish a sequel trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard (the second volume of which came out this year) and several related books.

Maps for the original trilogy were created by Williams himself, showing the lands of Osten Ard in some detail. For the Last King trilogy, maps were prepared by Isaac Stewart.

To prepare this map, I carefully consulted all six available Osten Ard novels and combined all of the locations on all of the local, regional maps onto the overall map of the continent.

 

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

  1. The Dragonbone Chair (1988)
  2. Stone of Farewell (1990)
  3. To Green Angel Tower (1993)

The Last King of Osten Ard

  1. The Witchwood Crown (2017)
  2. Empire of Grass (2019)
  3. The Navigator’s Children (2021, est.)

Related Works

  • The Burning Man (short story, 1998)
  • The Heart of What Was Lost (standalone novel, 2017)
  • The Shadow of What Was Lost (standalone novel, forthcoming)
  • Brothers of the Sky (standalone novel, forthcoming)
  • Lady of the Wood (short story, forthcoming

 

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A Map of Shadows of the Apt

One of the more interesting recent, long, completed epic fantasy series Shadows of the Apt, by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Published in ten volumes between 2008 and 2014, the series is set in a world where different types of human have been affected by an ancient magical merging with strains of insect, resulting in the methodical, industrial beetle-kinden and the aggressive, expansionist wasp-kinden, among many others.

Shadows of the Apt map

A map of the known world in Shadows of the Apt. Please click for a larger version.

The series features an unusually high level of technology for an epic fantasy, incorporating steampunk elements and the development of mechanical aircraft. This results in a series of conflicts which are wide-ranging and fast-moving, with hundreds of miles covered by military vehicles in rapid advances. Over the course of the series, the conflict which begins with the Wasp Empire invading the loose alliance of Lowlands city-states widens to span an entire continent and numerous other factions.

Maps for the books were created by Hamesh Alles, and later assembled by series superfan Roderick Easton into one combined map, which provided the basis for this map.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

The Wheel of Time Atlas: The Free Years

In the aftermath of the Trolloc Wars numerous new kingdoms arose to replace those that had fallen before. These countries were smaller than the Ten Nations which had fallen before them, but cumulatively were almost as populous, once the depredations of the Trolloc Wars had been recovered from. To celebrate the freedom from the Trolloc threat, Tiam of Gazar created a new calendar, celebrating the years as Free Years.

Westlands The Free Years

A map of the Westlands during the Free Years era. Please click for a larger version.

 

Twenty-nine new kingdoms arose after the wars. Unlike the relatively straightforward expansion of the Ten Nations, these new kingdoms arose out of border skirmishes and conflicts. Some large nations formed only to shatter apart into three or four lesser ones. But by FY 100 the twenty-nine nations had formed and remained relatively stable.

In the north Basharande, Elsalam and Rhamdashar bordered the Great Blight. During the Trolloc Wars the sickness and corruption of the Blight had extended southwards into and through the Mountains of Dhoom. A small strip of similarly corrupted land now ran along the southern feet of the mountains. This small area was simply called the Blight, and watchtowers were erected to watch over it for signs of Shadowspawn.

Along the west coast lay the nations of Abayan, Darmovan, Elan Dapor and Balasun, whilst bordering the south coast were Kharendor, Shiota, Fergansea and Moreina. In the east, along the Spine of the World, were Hamarea, Tova, Khodomar and Talmour. Along the Mountains of Mist lay the nations of Indrahar, Oman Dashar, Farashelle and Dhowlan.

Many more nations lay in the interior. Of these the most important and powerful were Aldeshar, north of Shiota and east of Farashelle and Dhowlan, and Caembarin, to the east of Aldeshar. Ileande lay in Kinslayer’s Dagger and the lands immediately north and south, squeezed between Hamarea, Rhamdashar, Tova and the territory held by Tar Valon. Shandalle lay south of Tar Valon, bordered by Tova in the east and Caembarin in the west. Esandara lay north of Fergansea, south of Shandalle, east of Shiota and west of Khodomar and Talmour. Nerevan lay south of Caembarin, north of Shiota, east of Aldeshar and west of Esandara. Dal Calain lay north of Aldeshar and west of Caembarin. Masenashar lay north of Dal Calain and east of Oman Dashar. Oburun lay south of Basharande, west of Elsalam, north of Masenashar and east of Indrahar. Finally, Roemalle lay west of Tar Valon, south of Elsalam, north of Caembarin and Dal Calain and east of Oburun and Masenashar.

Unlike the Ten Nations, these countries did little to distinguish themselves from one another and some of them are only known as names on maps and as minor references in ancient history books. We know that Darmovan was a powerful sea-faring nation, had almost open borders for trade and had a remarkably tolerant nobility. Shiota was a mighty military kingdom. Tova, interestingly, seems to have experimented with using a council, the Conclave, to rule the whole country rather than a king. Shandalle was a small nation with an enviable position, squeezed as it was between the profitable trade routes of the River Erinin and the River Alguenya, yet its skilled army held invaders at bay. Rhamdashar, and to a lesser extent Elsalam and Basharande, were obsessed with defending the nations from the Blight and had little interest in the affairs of the other countries (despite their watchfulness, the term “Borderlands” we currently use for the nations along the Blight did not come into use until the time of Artur Hawkwing). Aldeshar was a proud and just kingdom. Of all the nations Aldeshar appears to have been the one most closely allied with the Aes Sedai.

All of the nations built up huge armies to defend against the Trolloc threat, but a second Trolloc invasion never came. These huge armies came to be used against one another in constant border skirmishes. At separate times it seems that both Tova and Khodomar attempted to seize territory in the Aiel Waste, only to be soundly defeated by the Aiel.

The first major threat to arise in this era was that of yet another false Dragon, this time a man called Davian. He was captured in battle in FY 351 and taken to Tar Valon for gentling. This reinforced the prestige of the Aes Sedai. One thing that had been transferred intact from before the Trolloc Wars was a deep and profound respect for the Aes Sedai from the various nations. As in the years prior to the wars, some rulers were Aes Sedai, though this was less common than before. Interestingly, the strict discipline and hierarchy of the Aes Sedai was demonstrated fully in FY 450 when Princess Sulmara of Masenashar, not long raised to Aes Sedai, left the Tower without permission. She refused to let other Aes Sedai give her counsel and even, most shockingly, refused a direct summons from the Amyrlin Seat herself! The Aes Sedai declared her a renegade and less than a week after her coronation seized her by force and returned her to Tar Valon, where she spent the rest of her life mucking out the White Tower’s stables. This example of the Tower’s immense power made sure that the remaining nations continued to treat the Aes Sedai well. However, the Aes Sedai numbers were also starting a slow decline.

Despite there being far more border wars and clashes than in the time of the Ten Nations, the Free Years were also relatively chaos-free. Trade which enriched all was the main concern of this time and continent-wide wars were avoided for a while.

But then, early in the 10th Century of the Free Years, something unusual happened. For the first time since the War of the Shadow, if not before, a ta’veren was born who would change the entire history of the world on its head.

Westlands War of the Second Dragon

A map showing territory changes during the War of the Second Dragon (FY 939-943), between the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan and various coalitions of opposing nations. He was defeated by Artur Hawkwing, King of Shandalle, at the Battle of Jolvaine Pass and then again at the Battle of Tar Valon. Please click for a larger version.

The War of the Second Dragon & the Rise of Artur Hawkwing

In FY 912 Prince Artur Paendrag Tanreall was born. His parents were Myrdin Paendrag Maregore and Mailinde Paendrag Lyndhal, the King and Queen of the small Kingdom of Shandalle. Shandalle lay between the River Erinin and the River Alguenya, two great trade routes in the east of the subcontinent, and as such was a wealthy land, living off taxes imposed on trade along the rivers. The histories are unclear and contradictory, but some believe that its capital city was Jennshain, originally the second city of Almoren before it was mostly razed in the Trolloc Wars.

Shandalle was surrounded by larger, more powerful nations. In particular Tova to the east desired a port on the River Erinin. Tova attempted to gain this portage by diplomacy and, when that failed, war. Shandalle resisted the invasion and threw back the Tovan forces across the border. Shandalle’s army was small, but trained to a very high and professional standard. By the age of sixteen Artur was already an accomplished swordsman and by twenty was a skilled leader of troops, impressing his father immensely.

Two years after Artur’s birth, Guaire Amalasan was born in Darmovan. He was the son of a noble family which claimed to trace its ancestry back to the rulers of Safer before the Trolloc Wars, but the family was now almost destitute, living only off its good name and the generosity of the other noble families. Guaire was a highly intelligent young man, with an immensely charismatic presence and keen mind. He was a canny student of human nature and once said that he could foresee how the masses would respond to any piece of news. As he grew older, he became more contemptuous of his supposed peers, the sons of other, richer noble families who were only interested in gambling and women. Guaire genuinely believed that he could rule his country a lot better than the King. With a keen grasp of politics and tactics, he would probably have succeeded in his goal anyway, apart from something that would ensure his success would be even greater: as he discovered at the age of twenty-three, he could channel the One Power.

The same year, in FY 937, the Black Fever suddenly erupted across the Westlands. Apparently, it began in Shara and was spread to our land by merchants. Certainly, the way it spread from east to west supports this supposition. It struck Shandalle early on, claiming the lives of both King Myrdin and Queen Mailinde. At the age of twenty-five Artur Paendrag Tanreall suddenly found himself King of Shandalle.

The Fever reached Darmovan two years later, in the early months of FY 939. Guaire Amalasan used his knowledge of human nature to win over the common people, using what little money he had to set up basic medical facilities and soup kitchens to feed the poor and the infected. He borrowed money from friends to continue his good works, and soon he was the talk of his home city. Then, in a startling move, he Healed someone close to death from the Black Fever. Those who witnessed the incident were awe-struck and declared him to be the Dragon Reborn.

Within six months Darmovan was his. The nation fell not by military might, though many soldiers flocked to his banner, but by political wrangling. Very few died as the power was transferred to his grasp. The only slightly sinister event in this time was the inexplicable disappearance of the King’s Aes Sedai advisor. With the country in his hands, Amalasan decided to spread his justice to other lands and bring all of the Westlands into the Light (under his leadership, of course). The small nation of Elan Dapor to the south was in all accounts in chaos due to the Fever. Amalasan led his troops in to restore order and peace. The capital city, Tanchico, apparently fell without a single death.

At the start of FY 940 the Aes Sedai denounced Guaire Amalasan as a false Dragon and demanded that the nations unite to bring him to heel, as they had done against Raolin Darksbane, Yurian Stonebow and Davian. But most nations were still suffering from the Black Fever epidemic, with as much as a fifth of the entire population of the subcontinent either dead or seriously ill. In cramped conditions, say in barracks, the Fever spread fastest and most virulently, so most countries’ armed forces were particularly badly hit.

When Amalasan rolled across the border into Balasun, he met some resistance but overcame it easily to conquer the entire kingdom. Kharendor and Dhowlan fell almost as easily. But when he reached Shiota he found himself facing a better prepared enemy.

Shiota was one of the most powerful nations of this era. In addition, the capital city of Ebou Dar was home to the Kin, the most skilled group of healers outside of Tar Valon. Its army, which was primarily located in barracks and fortresses around the capital, had lost very few to the Fever, which by now had burned itself out in Shiota. The rulers of Shiota were canny and well-organised, and the war against Amalasan lasted months.

During this bitter war the Black Fever finally died out in the rest of the continent and fresh levies were raised and trained. Aes Sedai arrived in eastern Shiota, bolstered by troops from Nerevan, Esandara and Fergansea. The largest and most powerful nations in the land – Basharande, Elsalam, Rhamdashar, Hamarea, Caembarin and Aldeshar – united their armies in Aldeshar and headed south to confront Amalasan. Yet, despite all of this, Amalasan won the day. Shiota’s armies were shattered and Ebou Dar fell into his hands. The rest of the nation fell just as quickly. Six Aes Sedai tried to subdue Amalasan, but he killed one and stilled two more. Then he took his enlarged force north and defeated the allied forces brought against him. Within weeks he had crossed the border into Nerevan and within a few months more had seized that nation and Esandara.

It was at this point – mid to late FY 941 – that Artur Paendrag Tanreall began to note Amalasan’s progress and realised that Shandalle itself could be threatened within a year. He arranged a temporary alliance with Shandalle’s old adversary, Tova, and along with troops from Ileande, Khodomar and Talmour, formed an expeditionary force. This force met Amalasan in Esandara, before he could invade Fergansea. For well over a year Amalasan was kept on his toes, with the expeditionary force from the eastern nations almost dancing rings around his troops. The other generals gladly surrendered command to Artur Paendrag Tanreall, who by now had gained the nickname “Hawkwing” for the sheer speed with which he could move his troops. But eventually they became tired and had to retreat for reinforcements and resupply. Amalasan, free to move at last, took both Fergansea and most of Moreina in short order.

This was the situation as FY 943 dawned. Moreina was in a state of chaos. Amalasan had taken all of the country bar the capital, Tear. Tear took months to fall and, when it did, the nobles and the army retreated into the Stone of Tear. Curiously, it seems that as many as thirty Aes Sedai were also in the Stone, making it impossible for Amalasan capture. Amalasan became bitterly frustrated, because his claim to be the Dragon Reborn hinged on him taking the Stone and claiming Callandor, thus fulfilling the Prophecies.

Meanwhile, though the Stone had not yet fallen, most thought it a matter of time and rebellions had begun in Masenashar, Dal Calain and even parts of Aldeshar as people swore loyalty to “the Second Dragon”. Amalasan realised that if he kept the pressure up, the rest of the subcontinent could fall to him with only a few more nations taken. He led his army north into Talmour, leaving a force to continue besieging the Stone.

Hawkwing, meanwhile, had mustered a new army. Before he left Shandalle, a complement of Aes Sedai arrived from Tar Valon. Hawkwing marched south from Shandalle, through Tova, towards Amalasan’s line of advance.

Amalasan continued his invasion of Talmour but, one night, his army suddenly vanished. The Talmouran government were mystified, though relieved. What had happened was that, in the dead of night, Amalasan’s forces crossed the Erinin into Esandara. Linking up with reinforcements, Amalasan marched north, crossed the Erinin again, and attacked Khodomar. Also, without completing the conquest of that land, Amalasan then marched north on the border with Tova. Amalasan apparently believed that if Tova fell, Khodomar and Talmour, suddenly outflanked, would surrender without any more need for fighting, and he was probably right.

Along the border between Tova and Khodomar, and the current southern border of Cairhien as well, stretches a line of peaks known as the Maraside Mountains, a spur of the Spine of the World. The only major pass through this range is the Jolvaine, the southern end of which was located close to the town of Endersole (believed destroyed in the later War of the Hundred Years). Artur Hawkwing’s army crossed the mountains by this pass, emerging no more than twenty miles due north of Guaire Amalasan’s advancing forces. Hawkwing’s scouts and skirmishers quickly came into contact with Amalasan’s, and both found themselves readying for battle much sooner than either had anticipated.

Hawkwing’s forces were numbered at 23,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry, with several Aes Sedai in support (some reports suggest as many as twenty). Amalasan possessed 41,000 foot and 26,000 horse, and of course himself, the most powerful male channeller of the One Power the Aes Sedai had faced in centuries, if not ever. The countryside they fought in was forested and hilly, with steep rises and unexpected river-valleys. Cavalry found it very difficult to fight effectively and it seems that both sides unseated most of their riders, using them as footmen instead.

Battle was met and proceeded pretty much as you might expect. Outnumbered two-to-one, with his back to mountains, Hawkwing found himself swiftly outflanked. He redeployed his troops to great effect and by nightfall his army was still intact, though badly blooded. Basic military doctrine would have told Hawkwing to retreat to the pass and initially it looked like he did this. Amalasan’s scouts reported Hawkwing’s retreat and Amalasan was satisfied. He was reluctant to pursue, however, because Hawkwing now had the higher ground and even outnumbered he had still inflicted great losses on Amalasan’s force. Amalasan’s instinct was to wait for reinforcements from Esandara, or until Hawkwing had cleared the pass, so he did not pursue. Also, he wished to rest his troops after the battle.

But Hawkwing did not retreat through the pass. He fell back just far enough to make Amalasan think he was on the run, but then halted. Daringly, stupidly as some of his junior officers muttered, he divided his already decimated force in four, sending two mixed forces of infantry and cavalry to the east and west and the bulk of his cavalry in a huge loop all the way round to the rear of Amalasan’s force, a night-time ride of fifty miles. Morning came, but even before Amalasan could strike camp Hawkwing struck, his army assaulting Amalasan’s force from all sides.

Panic gripped Amalasan’s army and it nearly broke, but he held it together. He even managed to regain some semblance of order and may, eventually, have turned the battle round. But Hawkwing gave him no time. Whilst the flanks and rear reeled from the attack, Hawkwing dove for the centre. He cut his way through the thinly-stretched front lines and surrounded Amalasan with his troops and also with his Aes Sedai. They shielded Amalasan from the Power and imprisoned him. Then, his prize taken, Hawkwing retreated from the battlefield. Deprived of their leader, Amalasan’s force broke and scattered. Hawkwing regrouped at the mouth of the Jolvaine Pass and then headed north as fast as possible across Tova.

Amalasan’s officers managed to partially regroup and word was sent to Amalasan’s two senior commanders. Elinde Motheneos, a famed siege commander, was campaigning against rebels across the river in Esandara and immediately rendezvoused with the remnants of Amalasan’s force, bolstering them with around 60,000 of her own troops. She regrouped Amalasan’s forces and began a desperate pursuit of Hawkwing’s troops. Sawyn Maculhene, a skilled cavalry leader, was just a day behind her, leading 50,000 troops from Khodomar.

Hawkwing’s smaller force was considerably more mobile, however, and rapidly crossed Tova, where some reports suggest he gained fresh troops. He came to Tar Valon a mere twenty-five days after taking Amalasan, a journey most would be hard pressed to make in thirty-five. At this time the Amyrlin Seat was Bonwhin Meraighdin, raised from the Red Ajah and possessing a hatred of men far exceeding that of even a normal Red. Tower law held that an army could only enter Tar Valon’s territory only at the direct invitation of the White Tower. Whether or not the Aes Sedai who accompanied Hawkwing and held Amalasan prisoner had actually made that invitation is unclear, though Hawkwing later insisted they had. Interestingly, after being given a heroes’ welcome, those Aes Sedai sisters suddenly vanished from public office and found themselves working on a penance farm twenty miles outside the city for a period of several years. Whatever the truth of the matter, Bonwhin gave Hawkwing just five days to rest his army before leaving.

Hawkwing’s army, around 40,000 strong at this point (presumably reinforced from Tova and Shandalle to more than make up for his losses at the Battle of the Jolvaine Pass), camped not far from the banks of the Osendrelle Erinin (the northern arm of the river as it curves around the island of Tar Valon), certainly within sight of the Shining Walls. Hawkwing could have left immediately, but it seems he was determined to see Amalasan neutralised once and for all. Whilst Hawkwing was not invited to the ceremony, Amalasan was tried, found guilty, and gentled, cut off from the One Power forever. He was to spend the rest of his life (only a few years before he committed suicide) in the custody of the Aes Sedai.

On the same day Amalasan was gentled, the army led by Maculhene and Motheneos launched its attack. Over 130,000 troops strong and attacking by night, with almost no warning, this force shattered all three of the gates on the Alindrelle Erinin (the southern arm) side of the city, invading the city itself. The Aes Sedai held them at bay for a time, along with the Tower Guard, but Amalasan’s army massively outnumbered the defenders. Hawkwing observed the assault and led his troops into Tar Valon, engaging in bloody hand-to-hand street-fighting not seen since the fourth attack on Tar Valon during the Trolloc Wars. Amalasan’s would-be rescuers reached the White Tower itself before being turned back. They found that, once again, Hawkwing had divided his troops, sending a large number across the Erinin south of the city to burn the supply lines and siege engines and cut off the retreat. Maculhene died in combat and Motheneos surrendered to Hawkwing (this in particular enraged Bonwhin; the surrender of someone who had dared strike at Tar Valon should have been given to her as the Amyrlin Seat). She was tried and executed some days later. The bulk of Amalasan’s relief army was allowed to slip away unmolested.

No thanks or sign of appreciation was given to Hawkwing. He was simply told to leave. This he did, angered by the lack of recognition but not totally surprised. He returned to Shandalle to rule in peace, but the thought of the chaos now spreading in the leaderless west and the south did trouble him.

With Amalasan gone, his surviving generals attempted to wrest control of the nations they had taken, whilst loyalists of the former rulers attempted to return control to the rightful leaders. Within weeks of Amalasan’s death, Darmovan, Elan Dapor, Balasun, Kharendor, Shiota, Dhowlan, Nerevan, Esandara and Fergansea were in states of civil war. Moreina, Talmour and Khodomar, which had not completely fallen, managed to return to their former states of order. Aes Sedai mediators attempted to quell the chaos, but now they found an unusual new factor had entered the equation. Whereas before the name of Amalasan was cried in adoration, now the name of Hawkwing was similarly being cried. He had beaten their leader, and thus had to be an even greater man, a man even worthier of being their king. Even in lands completely untouched by Amalasan, people suggested that Hawkwing might make a great ruler.

Bonwhin’s hatred of Hawkwing now reached even deadlier levels. At her instigation (as revealed many decades later), Tova, Caembarin and Khodomar sent armies against Shandalle in an attempt to slay Hawkwing. Hawkwing, who had already begun disbanding his army, defeated all three of them, despite being outnumbered and pressed from three different sides. Enraged, he struck back and by the beginning of winter in FY 943 he held the western half of Tova (including the capital at Cairhien), parts of northern Khodomar and the entire west bank of the Erinin in Caembarin. Thousands from all three nations flocked to his banner. The following year Ileande, Talmour and Aldeshar entered the war, sending reinforcements to the three beleaguered nations. But, by the end of FY 944, Hawkwing had seized the rest of Tova, Khodomar and Caembarin and forged them into one whole with Shandalle.

Bonwhin could only watch, amazed, as she forced more nations into warfare against Hawkwing and then saw them crumble before him. Sometimes a year to fourteen months would pass without any fighting, then two or three nations would attack Hawkwing, but he would always defeat them and, afterwards, add them to his growing empire. Only one nation, Moreina (where the governor of the Stone of Tear surrendered the fortress to him with no demands being made), joined him voluntarily. The rest had to be forced into submission.

One summer morning in FY 963 King Joal Ramedar of Aldeshar surrendered to Artur Paendrag Tanreall, the Hawkwing. Twenty years of warfare, the Consolidation Wars, had delivered the subcontinent of the Westlands to him. The whole land, from the Aryth Ocean to the Spine of the World and from the Mountains of Dhoom to the Sea of Storms, bar only the city-state of Tar Valon, was his. Not once in that time had he lost a single battle. He was the High King, the ruler of one land at peace, and he was not yet fifty-one years old.

Some might say that was enough. He was the ruler of millions of square miles of territory and the High King of over a hundred million souls. He led over a million men under arms. He had the love of the common people and the respect of most of the nobles. He even intimidated the Aes Sedai. He had enough for one man.

But he had barely begun his accomplishments. Before he was done his name would be hated and loved in equal measure, and known in every part of the world.

 

Notes on the Map

The map is based on the map of the Free Years provided in The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. This map is very small and lacking in detail, so a few judgement calls had to be made on where to place the borders.

Cities are only placed where we know their exact location or can infer them from information in the text.

 

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.