SIR QUIDBY’S TERRAVENUM MAP
I’ve been a map buff since the day I first cracked The Fellowship of the Ring and breathlessly traced Middle Earth mountain ridges with my finger.
As a reader, I love the depth and sense of perspective maps lend a story. As an author, they stretch my imagination and force me to commit to my world.
In the hopes of sharing a taste of the wonder I felt as I followed Frodo’s trek to Mordor, I’m including a Terravenum map in my books. If I make even one thirteen year old smile as she imagines piloting an airship into the Thermals or ponders the Spires of Dubious Wisdom, my day is made.
I hope you enjoy this map as much as I enjoyed drawing it!
Angelus (pronounced “Ann-Jealous”) – Every inventor/weapons designer/coffee machine snob needs a mobile lab to escape when their inventions go awry, and Pascal Trahir is no exception. Layla, a master mechanic, keeps Angie aloft in spite of Pascal’s hazardous experiments. Angelus isn’t the fastest or most maneuverable ship in the sky, but she always brings her crew home safe (albeit, slightly singed).
Aeronoth – After the Cloud War, the Merchant Guild turned Aeronoth, the last Sky City, into their main trade hub. A shaky truce between all species on Terravenum keeps goods flowing, but the city’s Arthropid administrators crush competitors with ruthless efficiency.
The Thermals – A mushroom cloud updraft strong enough to propel airships across the Dome, saving valuable days of travel time. Don’t hit the windwall too low or your trip (and life) will meet an abrupt end.
Contrivance – Hundreds of years ago, the first Chieftess gathered the most brilliant minds in Terravenum and founded the Children of Contrivance. Every day, this city births incredible innovations and a host of preventable catastrophes. If you visit, do not, under any circumstances, participate in an experimental trial.
Shatterjoy Swamp – Many travelers are tempted to cut through Shatterjoy Swamp to avoid traversing the Quarrel Mountains. This plan rarely ends well.
The Trench – Trenchians rely on brilliant engineering feats to limit dealing with above-grounders as much as possible (particularly condescending Labyrinthians, with whom they engage in perpetual conflict).
Leviathan Mountains – Whispers of ghosts and garganchu trolls abound, but one thing is certain: only a fool ventures into the Leviathans.
Quagmyre – Ambient dynami (radiation from the Divide) collects in hot springs, making this geothermic region deadly to anyone who doesn’t follow The Way of the Myre.
Labyrinth – In a world where dynami adversely affects metal, Labyrinthians’ mastery of folding paper allowed them to build a thriving city. Their tools are prized by anyone who ventures near the Divide.
Rust – As close to a capital city as the nomadic Scatterlings need. They prefer to roam the Foraging Plains and come to Rust on Market Days.
Amnesia – An island shrouded in mystery. Multiple expeditions have attempted to explore the island’s interior, but none returned.
Cragg – Built by Cragg Trolls. Balanced by Cragg Trolls. Unreasonably guarded by Cragg Trolls.
DON’T. TOUCH. THE. CAIRNS.
Spires of Dubious Wisdom – Home to the Hermits of Mumblemere, Garrilus the Unread’s most infuriating nemeses.
Grumble Gate – Trenchian surface access tunnel. They’d rather not deal with above-grounders, but if survival requires them to trade, they aren’t going to be happy about it.
The Abyss – Ground zero in The Fracturing, this crater was the former site of Relik, capital city of the Ancients.
The Crypt – Terravenum’s most lucrative junkyard, thanks to wreckage from sky armadas that crashed there in the Cloud War.
Vigil – Formerly Tower Four of the the Nine Watchtowers, Vigil now serves as a Smuggler’s Alliance base. From here they coordinate illicit trade with Sauracia, while policing the gap (Quietus Pass) between the Fulcrum Mountains.
Sauracia – Home of the Fury King, his Maelstrom, and Skhaar the Annihilator. History and megalomania set the stage for inevitable conflict with the rest of Terravenum.
The Archive – Fortified collection of Garrilus the Unread’s writings. Curated and guarded by the Booksworn, a brotherhood of warrior librarians who are better suited to pillaging than dusting shelves.
Helios Lakes – Source of heliovapor, a highly flammable lighter-than-air gas that allows airships to fly. The Merchant Guild maintains a tight grip on the harvesting and sale of heliovapor by publicly torching unlicensed harvest operations.
Obscuria – Little is known about the Land of the Lone Arch. Permanent fog makes exploration difficult and roving packs of mutant beasts make it deadly.
Stella Signum – The Ancients used their “Star Sign” to pay tribute to the Borealis Stone, the source of their advanced technology. Following the collapse of the Moyaan civilization, the Stella Signum is found on rare and prized remnants from their culture—most notably, on tools (Stone Tech) that control and manipulate dynami.
Belua – Beasts who dwell in the Divide range widely in size and species, but are equally voracious…the Belua are a tale told to unruly children and a nightmare whispered by skyfarers who survived a Moribund Gale.
HOW TO BUILD A WORLD
I realized early on that I would need to think through locations, distances, and geography to bring Terravenum to life. Since Debunked is the first book in the series, I also had to imagine places we would visit in future stories.
Here is the hand-drawn map that started it all: