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The Flight of the Red Talon

 

We start high, so high even the eagles and kestrels circle below us. We see a great continent, the Midlands, the largest landmass in the Feyrlands, at least, in the known world. Scholars and adventurers insist much more remains to be discovered in this world, but for now stays shrouded in darkness. To quote from Nether Light:

“…the planet, one side just ocean cursed with untameable winds and high seas. No one had ever sailed far enough to know what was out there, or if they had, they’d never returned to draw the charts.”

But of that which we do know, below, the fields and rivers belong to Sendal, a vast country of regions and states force-conjoined under one flag, strings of duchies in its southern reaches belligerent, the northern realms more peaceable, yet still independent of spirit. Sendal has existed thus for hundreds of years – the great political union made possible by advances in Binding far superior to the rest of the world. This country’s never-ending lands encompass great extremes of climate – sticky humidity in the south, a greener, more luscious land in the North, prone to cold in the winter.

And the people? We see blue-eyed and blonde specimens in large part, other races mixed in, although xenophobia is reserved for the wild Krellens to the north, cousins many centuries ago. So, let us visit there.

We soar upwards, crossing the rough sea of the Haffa straits, until the icy, barren lands of Krell come into view. This is no place for the fainthearted, and Sendalis expend much effort taming it, occupying and denigrating the land, exploiting its resources in the charade of defending the Binding. So long has this festering, symbiotic relationship lasted, that swathes of Krell fall under Sendali jurisdiction, and we swoop low over large settlements of prospectors, merchants and army followers.

Now we fly higher again, and Krell dissolves into a patchwork of icy ridges and dark forests. We head southwest, crossing sparkling green-blue ocean until silver cliffs and ancient cities reveal – Damor. The people here are superstitious, enamoured by strange customs, and ruled by a dictatorship. In Damor, the Chairman – Tjaldur, Great Bear – is revered as a god, at least, in polite company, and although his armies are rudimentary, Damorian sea power is formidable, its warriors’ viciousness without compare.

But, no time to linger…

We circle up again, and swoop back east, crossing the Pearl Sea for several days until we see navy ships below, lonely fortresses on patrol in roiling blue fields. We gain speed, finding the wind behind us, and a towering range approaches, a border as impassable as an ocean. The Crystal mountains. So we fly higher, into the thinnest air, as the curvature of the planet reveals against the blackness of space, then we dive.

And as the air thickens once more, we see dusty brown lands and vast stretches of white desert as we cross into Althuisa. The people here live by royal decree, their monarchy all powerful, all seeing, their divine rule granted by their god, Raiya. A culture to challenge Sendal, they boast rich arts and a heritage in the sciences, the Binding here looser but effective enough for survival. The people are numerous, as are the armies marching across the dusty expanse in great formations, snaking along for tens of miles, their columns organised and proud, honour their greatest weapon.

But now, my wings tire, and I must return to my mountain nest, for surely my chicks have missed me and require sustenance. Now, you must explore the Feyrlands on foot.