For how absolutely essential and pivotal the world of Aryneth is to my writing and why I became a writer in the first place, it’s a little astonishing how little I talk about it here in this blog. I blame college for that; there was such a strong emphasis on avoiding genre fiction and embracing only hoity-toity contemporary prose that I started to shy away from the bright and vivid worlds I created in my youth to try a hand at more “serious” fiction. As a result, I abandoned too much talk about these fantastical worlds, though they were still held extremely close to my heart. Now that I’m working on finishing and publishing Serpent in a Cage, the book intended to launch the whole Aryneth sagas, it’s time to put on my hiking boots, strap on my backpack, and go journeying through this world again. And I’m bringing you with me.
This will be a series of posts exploring the world of Aryneth, and today’s post will take us through the rich geography of this world, which isn’t too dissimilar from that of our own. A large world, round in shape, made of mostly water and a few plops of land where a remarkable amount of life can blossom and grow. Depending on which lore you follow, some say that Aryneth was created in the image of Earth, even, as a sort of second Earth for a god who feared becoming obsolete and created his own haven. Six continents sit in the Great Ocean like jewels scattered, each with their own unique features, climates, cultures, and cities.
Glaceair: Pronounced Glah-see-air, the northernmost continent is a vast wilderness of ice and snow for most of the year; only the southernmost port cities are blessed to experience a thaw in the warmer summer months. Life in Glaceair is a hard one, and this makes the people who live there strong and durable. Travel between cities is rare, and most people live in walled fortresses and tightly knit communities, though there are large populations who have created civilizations beneath the tall, icy mountains that jut like shining spires from the frozen ground. It is said to be the land of the great tiger, a fierce and dexterous animal that can survive through the harsh winter months thanks to his cunning and his skill. Glaceair is said to be the land of the goddess Wintaer, the loving and nurturing soul with the ever cool and even temperament.
Kyano: Considered the westernmost of the middle continents, Kyano (KEE-ah-no) is a lush, vibrant land laced with rivers, lakes, and mountains. These waterways crisscross through the land like the very veins of the world. Despite the clear and evident borders these rivers and lakes can make, Kyano has always been a land ripe with war and contention. There are disputes for the possession of land and resources, as well as constant feuds between houses and alliances. There are many cities and villages peppering the countryside along the waterways, and Kyano is easily one of the most populated of the six continents. It is the land of the bat, who flies without seeing and works in the cover of night, much like the lords and ladies of Kyano work under the cover of their own machinations. The god most closely tied to this land is the goddess DiraSkyria, which reflects on the constant contention and destruction rippling throughout Kyano.
Laurasia: To the east of Kyano and the southeast of Glaceair lies Laurasia (Lore-ay-SHAH), called the Great Green Continent for its dense forests and wide grassy plains. Laurasia is considered to be one of the most peaceful lands of Aryneth, though some chalk that up to the mere fact that it isn’t as populated as some of the others and the cities are rather spread out. The Hall of the Majani is located in the great fields of Laurasia, and a great deal of farming villages are scattered throughout. It is the land of the hawk, a great, soaring bird that views everything from its lofty heights, descending only when necessary. The goddess associated with Laurasia is, of course, Aerella of the the wind, whose airy nature allows her to move with where the gusts take her.
Analisia: Considered the Jewel of Aryneth for all of its lush foliage and brilliant silks, Analisia (Ann-NAH-lis-see-ah) is the southeasternmost continent, a land of great mystery and beauty. The ancient race of the Reidvyn are said to have originated in Analisia, and this is one of the many reasons why a great spirituality has struck the hearts of most inhabitants of this land. Temples dot the landscape from the tall red cliffs of the eastern mountains to the lush valleys and lakes of the western slopes. It is a land that inspires in most people thoughts of meditation and calm, of brave warriors and an unbreakable code of honor among them. It is the land of art and beauty, home to the spider, who moves so deftly in spinning his web that one does not realize he is caught inside of it until he is already snared. It is also the land of the god Pryston, with his gift of the songs of nature and harmony.
Midacia: On the southwesternmost side of Aryneth lies another continent shrouded in mystery, but, while the mysteries of Analisia are of a great mystical nature, the veil over Midacia (Mid-AH-see-ah) is dark and chilling. Thick forests and dense swamps cover most of the land, while the southern tip is the rocky and inhospitable terrain of the Mekonese race. It is the sort of place that inspires a great deal of superstition and belief in powers well beyond our control. Some call it the Land of the Dead, and not merely because the god most closely associated with Midacia is Hadesari. The moods of its inhabitants are often mirrored in the morose mood of the place, hanging over it like a thick, dense fog. It is the land of the wolf, a restless, wandering creature that calls out to his kind in the night, always searching, always hungry.
Kassir: In the middle of the Great Sea between Midacia and Analisia lies Kassir (KAH-seer), the great Arynethian Desert continent. Though the land is ringed around the shoreline with thick, luscious jungles, the majority of Kassir exists in scorching sands and red rock mountains. Just because the sands are arid does not mean they are without life, especially for nomadic Ana’aek and Ssark tribes. The northern tip of Kassir is “cut off” by the great Red Divide, a wall of rock that opens in a single passage that divides the northern part with the southern, less civilized stretched of land. Considered strange and exotic by most of the other lands, Kassir is a harsh place where only the tough can survive. It is the land of the serpent, lithe and quick, easily hidden until it’s the right time to strike, and many attribute the fierce heat to Kassir’s association with the god Firae, all flames and fire.
Each Arynethian land has its good points and its downsides. Which one seems to call to you the most? Kassir is the setting of Serpent in a Cage, though two out of our three narrators are decidedly Kyanese. Their antagonism toward the land they’ve found themselves in and their desire to return home is one of the main driving points of the plot, while the third narrator decidedly has the heart of Kassir, and that’s the other driving force. The whole Asyentai Cycle is so heavily rooted in a sense of place and home: the Asyentai are supposed to be embodiments of the lands they are destined to rule, and so each of their characters are so inexplicably tied in to the various traits and cultures of their land, so a lot of love and care has been poured into developing this world into a rich, diverse planet of personalities and cultures. I hope it inspires my readers to want to pick up a book and stay in Aryneth for at least a little bit.