Letters from Camp

The time has come once again for Camp NaNoWriMo! This year I’ve decided to do some more work on Imperfect Storm, a fun tale mostly focused on Elias Dawn, Eral the Arbor Pixie, and Joleth Bay as they go on an epic (and ridiculous) quest. Today, however, I focused on their villain for once. She wanted some attention.

Word Count: 675 / 15,000

Excerpt:

[Guinivere] had quickly guiled herself into a position of some clout in the region. As a respected mage and a well-traveled member of the so-called monsterkind, she offered knowledge and connections to the right people, and the more people she met, the more connections she could make. Politics were a bit boring, but she had more patience for them than her latest best friend.

He wouldn’t be very welcome among the delicate work being done in many of the workshops of Gen. Disaster followed him wherever he went.

So it was Guinivere allowing herself to be praised and showered with gratitude for her aid in various ventures, whether it was money (exceedingly easy for her to talk out of rich men), magic, or insight. After some of the things she’d dealt with on the way to her goals, this wasn’t the worst. Though people outside the workshops had an image of the engineers as antisocial and spiteful people, they treated their own with quite a lot of respect.

Guinivere, they spoiled, all because she asked.

Muunfel Unexplored

A lot of Muunfel is left without a specific map of the area. The Timewilds of Synka used to be better known to cartographers, but because of the shifting nature of the region and its hostility to settlement, that knowledge has shifted to the coastline and not far inland. Going off the road in Synka is terrible luck, so says the superstition.

Another region that comes to mind is the vast forest covered by the Faelands. Some would argue this land doesn’t count as “unexplored” because it actively prevents anyone from truly knowing where they’re going. The local fae lords and the leaders of the whole nation are able to clear the roads for visitors, but they can also trap trespassers in an area that may not let them leave.

Most regions of Korvasin, Genfierz, and the North are pretty well known. Rutan’s desert and the lands beyond it were unknown until recently, but as the country gains more of a foothold in the international world, more corners of the map are being filled in to the west.

Work in Muunfel

Mankind is known as the hard workers of Muunfel, since on the surface they have so few natural gifts that they have to cultivate and practice at. Their lives are generally shorter than most other species as well, thanks to their part in exemplifying the life/death cycle created by the first two gods. As such, most people look to them when they wonder what “work” is.

Agriculture and industry both have found niches in Muunfel, with rural areas generally doing well and urban areas building workshops and the like. Korvasin exemplifies an agriculture-based economy, with many of the industries even in the cities working to cater to the many people out working in the fields.

Genfierz, on the other hand, has far less farmland. With more beasts and monsters roaming the wilds, it is tougher for agriculture to truly thrive. The soil is not of the same quality, either, often littered with stones that need to be tilled away. In response, Genfierz is the continent’s leader in metalworking, machines, and invention.

Pastimes in Muunfel

There are a lot of team sport style games found throughout Muunfel. Regional variants of (European) football are common in Korvasin, Genfierz, and even Meraev after the Solians picked it up from their human neighbors. There aren’t very big tournaments for it (yet), but it’s a good source of entertainment in many communities.

A sport a lot like American baseball is prevalent in the east and north, with a more volleyball-like game gaining prominence in Rutan and the Northwest. In the latter cases, any game that doesn’t rely on the ground being flat and solid is more likely to be played.

Besides team games, individual pastimes for those with the leisure time to pursue them range from art to education to trades. There are few limits to the hobbies people can take up if they have a mind for it. Communities will often share in a few of these as well, usually headed by the socialites who don’t care what they’re doing, so long as they’re with other people.

Favored Hobbies by Region:

  • Korvasin – wandering/exploring, drawing/painting
  • Genfierz – Tinkering, building, researching
  • Rutan – Street sports, glassblowing, gardening
  • North – Building, cooking as art, social gatherings
  • Faelands – social gatherings, singing/dancing

These are, of course, just a general sense of the types of things people are most likely to get into in these regions, either because of the demand for that type of thing or the ease of finding the materials/space to do them.

Technology in Muunfel

Muunfel has a somewhat cautious relationship with technology and innovation. The reasoning isn’t because of resources or any specific catasrophe. In some cases, it simply can’t get a foothold to replace magical processes that work just as well. In many others, though, there is a lot of superstition around machines, as well as poorly defined ideas of what counts as a “machine.”

The reason for this is Sarin. Formerly a god of unnatural death and murder, Sarin was one of the first gods. However, during the age when mortals were ascending to godhood of their own, Sarin was cleverly trapped in his corporeal form by a very powerful mage. She enabled another mortal to ascend with a ritual that usurped Sarin’s place in the pantheon and left him with a temporary void.

They had trapped him in a machine, and it was there that he found his new purpose. The Usurped God lives in machines, making them work (or not work) and fueling their innovation where possible. Some people are terrified of meeting his wrath if they fiddle too much with machines, though he has admitted his defeat more or less.

Even so, in many of the workshops of Genfierz, where invention and industry thrive, a shrine to Sarin is a must if they don’t want a mysterious accident to befall someone while they build.

Holidays and Traditions

Holidays across Muunfel vary with the people. There are some regional variants that all center around the same idea but which are attributed to different gods. For example, a spring thaw festival over most of the continent celebrates the children of the earth god Kuro and their stewardship over plants and animals. However, in Rutan, the harsh desert nation, the same festival is held in honor of the god of storms, Elias, in the hopes that he will bring them plentiful rains.

Most people will have a low key celebration of the New Year on the first of Queen’s Eyes. It celebrates another cycle in the passing of time, and a new beginning. The Fae celebrate it for nine days, some for an excuse to party and others for their respect of the cycle.

Some other holidays found throughout Muunfel:

  • Korvasin has a Festival Day on the birthday of the reigning monarch, though it is mostly celebrated in the cities – more rural folk will actually prepare all year to bring some of their produce into more populated areas to sell.
  • Korvasin also shares a holiday with the Fae, in remembrance of the battle in which a previous king oversaw the maiming of a previous Una of the Fae. It is a somber day of reflection.
  • In Rutan, there is a three-day celebration of the formation of the Rebel Kingdom, one day for each of three key figures in the success of the rebellion: Aaron and Leah Stride, spies for the rebels, and Vale Rutan Galen, the first king of Rutan.
  • Genfierz celebrates the birthday of one of its most prominent inventors: James Mercy, the innovator of steam power. His contribution to the mainstream importance of invention is honored all over the country.

Who’s in Charge in Muunfel?

Korvasin: Run by a monarchy through bloodline, Korvasin used to be an empire that spanned a lot more land than it currently occupies. It has since stopped growing outward, but the economy is stable so the royals of Korvasin (the King/Queen of Crows, colloquially) are content to preside over their landlocked nation.

Rutan: Another monarchy through a bloodline, by virtue of being formed when a prince of Korvasin was cast out and fueled a rebellion against Korvasin. Its government is a blend of the monarchy and emissaries from the various groups throughout the vast desert.

Genfierz: Gen has a mixed Monarchy/Republic. The “royals” have always been figureheads and diplomats, and their duties reflect that. They are not offered as much decorum as the royals of Korvasin or Rutan, but they are respected as the voice of their nation’s leaders nonetheless. The sovereign and the heir-apparent of the royals of Genfierz are cursed to have tongues of living silver, though their “silver tongue” curse also grants them a natural charisma.

Meraev: Meraev’s main governance consists of several separate clans, each made up of multiple families, that govern their issues internally in most cases. Occasionally the clan heads will meet for matters of bigger importance but they usually keep to themselves. The cities in Meraev are where the non-Solian citizens tend to live, and the city governments cooperate with the nearby clans.

Faelands: The fae are governed, such as it is, by the Una and the Aubry.

Currency in Muunfel

In the middle and western regions of Muunfel, there is an easily recognized gold standard. Coins minted in Korvasin, for example, are acceptable in Genfierz or Rutan and vice versa without much haggling. Genfierz also employs a silver standard, and recently there have been calls for a copper one as well, owing to the material’s importance in the nation. In several cases, however, these three nations come to a direct bartering agreement when it comes to exports/imports.

In the North and in Meraev, the people blend bartering and currency much more fluently. With the people spread out in more isolated clusters, it’s simpler to go with what is easiest for both parties to manage when they do run into each other.

The Fae deal in favors and information. Not all of them are instantly good at striking a deal, but the ones that are should be dealt with carefully. People have gotten themselves into deep debt without realizing it, and debt to the fae will be collected.

In the elflands and the timewilds, they lean towards a barter system but have a silver standard for trade with Genfierz, their most regular trade partner.

Civilizations/Architecture in Muunfel

Because Muunfel is so varied in geography and peoples, this largely depends on the area you’re looking at. However, there are some common trends among certain locales. I’ll break these down by country.

Korvasin: With mainly fertile plains and flat or gently-hilled land, even the smaller towns have enough economy to build decent walls for defense. The buildings are a mix of wood and stone, and the streets usually meander – they don’t use grids. The biggest cities, like the capital in Divali, sport extremely high walls with multiple openings for defenses.

Rutan: The desert was once occupied by the Solians. Their cities remain in some places, with rounded buildings and advanced infrastructure like aqueducts throughout. The ruined cities are repaired with wood and newer stones in places, but are largely left unaltered. Colorful glass and tiered city levels are a theme with most large settlements in Rutan.

Genfierz: The landscape is more hilly and sometimes abrupt than other areas, but there are also several ruins of Solian cities in Gen. The Solians tended to either use grid patterns for their streets or radial patterns. The big difference between Rutan and Genfierz is that Genfierz is more friendly to technology, so it attracts more innovators, builders, and creatives, and thus the ruins are more modified with machines. Newer cities try to imitate the style of the old Solian cities, but with more consideration for building and invention.

Meraev: It is occupied by Solians, mostly, in separate clans consisting of a few families. These clans don’t often get together, and their settlements tend to differ to the tastes of the individual families. They don’t build large permanent settlements like the empire used to.

Faelands: Foresty wilds hide buildings and structures connected directly to the trees. The local fae tend to have an influence on how these clusters of buildings are organized and styled.

North: The people of the north are hardy and more familiar with war. They tend to build into the sides of cliffs, hills, or valleys so a lot of their architecture looks like it’s growing right out of the earth or being buried.

Geography of Muunfel

Muunfel is a broad continent with a few climate zones. The island as a whole has three notable offshoots defining part of its shape:

  • Scytheshadow Cape to the southeast; forms a significant bay and has a view of the Dragonrest mountains, a very jagged and tall range that forms the border between the Timewilds and Heptaena.
  • Meraev; the crescent-shaped home of the solians is an island connected to the mainland by a narrow strait in the southwestern region of Muunfel, and its point very nearly touches the southern shore of Genfierz, forming the Moondrop sea between them.
  • Sun’s Escape Archipelago; an icy collection of islands extending from the north of the continent, these reach into the arctic latitudes and are thus largely unexplored.

The geographical regions within Muunfel’s borders include:

  • The vast mixed forests of the Faelands, taking up much of the northeastern quadrant of the continent. A smaller deciduous forest stands nearly in the middle of the continent, and is part of the Faelands despite being disconnected from the main forest.
  • Purin Lake in the middle, a vast body of water that, in addition to the smaller Faeland exclave, separates the southwestern wilds of Genfierz from the north.
  • Matton Desert to the west, a vast and unforgiving land that is bordered on the north by a long, narrow mountain range and to the east and west by more fertile farmlands.
  • The Godstep Plateaus in the far north, where the gods are said to have done battle with one another before.