Previously we looked at the maps of R. Scott Bakker’s Second Apocalypse novels (divided into the Prince of Nothing trilogy and the soon-to-be-completed Aspect-Emperor quartet). Since then I have written a five-part article on The Wertzone on the history and backstory to the novels, for which I created and used some new maps. These are listed below.
First up is a new map of the continent of Eärwa created by Jason Deem (aka Spiral Horizon). This is based on his first map but is updated with additional material from the latest novel in the series, The Great Ordeal, which is on sale now in North America (a British edition will be released in September). This is now the most definitive map of the continent moving forwards.
This map depicts Eärwa over 5,000 years before the events of the novels. At this time Eärwa is dominated by the Cûnuroi or Nonmen, a long-lived species who live in nine Great Mansions and scores of lesser strongholds scattered across the continent. The named mansions are Siöl, lying under the titanic peaks of the Northern Kayarsus; Nihrimsul, located under the south-eastern Yimaleti Mountains; Cil-Aujas in the east, under the peak of Aenaratiol at the south tip of the Osthwai Mountains; Ishoriöl in the far west, beyond the Demua Mountains near the shores of the Great Ocean; Viri in the north, under the peak of Antareg in the Urokkas, a small range of mountains overlooking the Neleöst, the Misty Sea; and Illiseru in the far south, under the Betmulla Mountains. Other High Mansions lay under the Araxes and Hinayati Mountains, and the last in the hills near what is now the city of Domyot, but the names of these last three mansions remains unknown to us.
The Cûnuroi civilisation was overthrown by the Inchoroi, the obscene People of Emptiness who fell from the heavens in the Ark of the Skies, which landed in the mountains west of Viri. In a series of wars raging back and forth for almost a millennia the Golden Ark was – apparently – scoured clean and a glamour raiseda round it. However, the Cûnuroi, although victorious, were doomed. They had trusted the ministrations of the Inchoroi to preserve their species through immortality but had paid the price in the Womb-Plague, which killed all of their women and unborn children.
This map moves forward the timeline to the centuries immediately following the Breaking of the Gates, the invasion of Eärwa by men out of the continent of Eänna to the east. All of the remaining Nonmen strongholds bar only Cil-Aujas and Ishoriöl were overthrown and the Four Tribes of Men became dominant: the Satyothi, Scylvendi, Norsirai and Ketyai. The Xiuhianni tribe remained in Eänna.
This map depicts Eärwa 570 years after the Breaking of the Gates, with the ancient empires of Angka, Nilnamesh and Shigek already rising in the south and west. However, the greatest civilisation of men is that found along the River Aumris, where great city-states are rising and already battling one another for supremacy.
By 1110, the Aumris River civilisation has become supreme thanks to the Nonman Tutelage, the sponsorship of the Norsirai by the Nonmen of Ishoriöl, who had taught the mortal mages the secrets of the Gnosis, the most powerful form of sorcery. Civilisation had also come to the shores of the Cerish Sea in the east and along the eastern coast of the Three Seas in the south. However, the seeds of future doom had been sewn with the founding of the Unholy Consult, an alliance between the two remaining Inchoroi Princes, their Nonman captor Cet’ingira and one of the Aumris sorcerous schools, the Mangaecca.
By 2089 the Norsirai civilisation, that of the Ancient North, had reached its apex under the domination of Kûniüri and its sister-states, Sheneor and Aörsi, whilst Kyraneas had become the dominant power of the western Three Seas and Shir that of the eastern.
However, this golden age came to an end in the Apocalypse. This began as a pre-emptive war. Learning that the Consult were planning to unleash a weapon that could destroy the world, the Sohonc sorcerer Seswatha, one of the greatest men of his age, convinced the High King of Kûniüri, Anasûrimbor Celmomas II, to launch an assault on Golgotterath, the Consult stronghold. This war began in 2125 with the crossing of the River Sursa and saw Golgotterath and the Golden Ark besieged for seven years. However, a surprise attack saw the besieging forces destroyed in 2132. In 2136 Shiarau, the capital of Aörsi, was destroyed and the way opened south into Eärwa proper.
However, the Consult was defeated by Prince Nau-Cayûti, the son of Celmomas. In a series of lightning victories, he drove the Consult back to the Ark. In 2140 Nau-Cayûti and Seswatha embarked on a dangerous infiltration of the Ark which saw the mighty Heron Spear, a weapon of legend from the old wars with the Cûnuroi, recovered. Nau-Cayûti was killed shortly after this victory, but his kinsmen continued to win victories until they were undone by the No-God, a nihilistic force of annihilation unleashed by the Consult in 2143. In 2146 the forces of humanity suffered their most grievous defeat on the Field of Eleneöt, in the aftermath of which the entire Ancient North collapsed.
Humanity would have been obliterated, but in 2155 the surviving remnants of Kyraneas managed to draw the No-God on to the battlefield at Mengedda. King Anaxophus V deployed the Heron Spear and killed the No-God, ending the Apocalypse.
In the aftermath of this victory, humanity was slow to recover. But two centuries later the city of Cenei on the Kyranean Plains gave birth to a new empire. Between 2349 and 2525 this empire grew to encompass all of the Three Seas, with the greatest series of victories coming under the century-long rule of Triamis the Great (2478-2577), the first Aspect-Emperor.
The Ceneian Empire collapsed in 3351 after the Scylvendi sacked Cenei and the provinces broke away to become independent nation-states such as High Ainon, Conriya and Galeoth.
By 4109 the Three Seas had become dominated by the Nansur Empire, the self-styled heir to Cenei, and the Kianene Empire to the south. Kian was ruled by the Fanim, a desert-born religion led by the Cishaurim, who practiced a powerful form of sorcery. Over the course of several centuries the Fanim pushed the Inrithi religion back to the borders of Nansur and seized the Holy City of Shimeh.
In 4110 the Shriah of the Thousand Temples called the Holy War against the Fanim. Hundreds of thousands of Inrithi troops joined the Holy War and marched south, braving desert wastelands, vastly superior Fanim armies and political and religious infighting to reach Holy Shimeh. Along the way, a man emerged from the ranks of the Holy War to become the first Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years: Anasûrimbor Kellhus.
This map shows the major geographic landforms of the Eärwa continent, including the major mountain ranges and river systems.
Finally, this map shows the distribution of Sranc, the horrific servants of the Consult, on the eve of the Holy War. Before the Apocalypse, the Sranc had been pushed deep into the Yimaleti Mountains and the margins of the continent, but still could be called forth in numbers that blanketed the earth. It was only at Mengedda, after almost thirty-five years of constant, continuous warfare, that the numbers of Sranc had been reduced enough to force the No-God to join the fight directly (and thus exposing him to the Heron Spear, and destruction).
For two thousand years the Sranc have dominated the northern half of the continent and been allowed to breed uninterrupted. This has resulted in a truly vast horde of millions that the Great Ordeal of Anasûrimbor Kellhus will have to defeat if it is to reach Gologotterath and destroy the Unholy Consult.