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May. 17th, 2009 | 04:45 pm
posted by: shiro_no_wired in alt_worlds

Perhaps I should introduce myself instead of just lurking? Well, I'm Shiro, casual conlanger and writer, and full time classics geek/mad scientist.

I'm slowly working on a novel at the moment, leftovers from NaNo before last. It's sort of steampunk, but with a double shot of magic.

There are two continents in the world, and my story takes place on the smaller of the two. Ćęjále (/ʧe'jalɛ/) occupies the eastern seaboard, excluding the peninsula at the southernmost end, which is occupied by the Goto (/goto/) autonomous regions. To the east, separated from Ćęjále by a mountain range and a north-flowing river, is Laŕḁ́sa (/lɑ'ɾɔsɑ/), which extends from the northern seaboard south to the gulf, which is enclosed by Goto and Čos (/ʤos/), and from the Ćęjálean mountains west to the Zuraímo (/zu'ɹɑɪmo/) River and Kåskátu (/kɔs'kɑtu/) Mountains, which form the border with Baıráni (/bɑɪ'ɹɑni/), and the Dzádu (/'dzɑdu/) River, which forms the border with the Central autonomous regions. The Central autonomous regions and Baıráni are bordered on the west and south, respectively, by mountains, which separate them from Sutáve (/su'tɑvɛ/). Sutáve is nestled between the desert country ˁAṙivá (/ʕɑRi'vɑ/) and Čos. North of the continent is a volcanic island, which is composed of various small kingdoms, which had long ago established small colonies by the mouth of the river between Laŕḁ́sa and Ćęjále. The colonies are now an autonomous region. In the ocean between the small continent and the large continent is a moderately sized island controlled by a confederation of pirates known as the Golden Brethren.

Ćęjále, Laŕḁ́sa, and Baıráni are all moderately industrialised, and still retain a lot of their agrarian roots. The currencies of Ćęjále and Laŕḁ́sa are both based on measures of grain. All three countries have similar technologies, having a command of steam power, electricity, gunpowder, and high-energy magic. Fossil fuels other than coal are rare. The only commonly used one is naphtha, which bubbles up through certain underground lakes. There are trains, but no automobiles. Things that can't be run off steam or electricity are often run off magic. Streetcars, for instance, are run partially by magic, and partially by electricity. There are three ENIAC-sized computers on the continent, which are run entirely on magic (which unfortunately I have to credit to the opening lines of the O'Riley C book, aka the cow book). Trains are run by steam until they are within a certain distance of a city, at which point they switch over to electric engines. The Central autonomous regions and Goto are both less industrialised and more heavily agrarian, although Goto also has a large fishing industry.

Ćęjále is governed by dual hereditary kings, who are advised by their consorts. Their consorts have no official power, but often manipulate society from the shadows. There are three ranks of consorts, each bearing a different tattoo on the forehead--chief wives have a blue circlet tattoo, junior wives have a black circlet, and concubines have a black outline of a circlet. Consorts can ascend through the ranks. Laŕḁ́sa, on the other hand, is governed by an aristocratic triumfeminate, who are elected by popular vote, and who hold the position for life. The two countries are on good terms, and have strong trade relations. Baıráni was governed by a bicameral parliament, and each chamber had a head who served as an intermediary between the parliament and the prime minister, but is now under the control of the militaristic dictator Madzáŕes İsáli (/mɑdz'ɑɾɛs i'sɑli/), who took over during a civil war precipitated by a severe grain blight.

Major cities in Ćęjále are quite a bit like Manhattan or Baltimore, sans post-industrial crappiness. They are largely populated by Ćęjáleans, but there is a large number of immigrants, including some from the larger continent in the east, especially from the country of Dŕuz (/dɾuz/). Rural areas, on the other hand, are more like a combination of the American south and midwest.

As for Ćęjálean society, it is divided into strata based on wealth, the old system of aristocracy having largely died out. It is slowly becoming more liberal as industry increases the wealth of the nation. The state religion is polytheistic, with a Greco-Roman flavour, but there are several foreign religions and a handful of newer, monotheistic religions with large memberships. There are no dangerous tensions between religions or sects, just the usual "we're right, you're wrong" bitchiness.

Magic is complicated, so I'll post about it later.
And that's a brief snapshot of my world-in-progress. This summer is definitely going to be a major time for developing and improving!

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