I’ve decided to start up a new set of blog posts, which I’ll be posting as they become relevant. Insider Peeks!! Whenever something pops up in my writing that won’t make it into the finished book, I’ll post it on here for you. You’ll be getting all sorts of new info, world-history, character descriptions, etc, that are unlikely to make it into print, but are a vital part of my world-building process.
Insider Peek No#1: Breaking Empire – Lok Morran
For those of you who don’t know, Breaking Empire is my newest novel, which I’m working on as we speak. (Well, we’re not really speaking, but you get the drift). Now, a great deal of the history of this world will not be told in the book itself, but exists nonetheless. I use this history to build a believable world and I draw from it constantly. Since this history won’t be in the book, you can read it here.
For this Peek, I’ll be telling you about Lok Morran.
As of Chapter One, the peninsular nation of Lok Morran is preparing to go to war, in response to a request for aid from an allied nation. Perhaps the most interesting features of Lok Morran are; its origins and its geography.
The peninsula of Lok Morran, the Mediolan Peninsula, is approximately 200 miles long and seventy wide. It runs south to north, extending northward from the mainland. The eastern coast of the peninsula is peculiar in that nearly 150 miles of it are impassable, due to high sea-cliffs that rise nearly vertically from the ocean. The last fifty miles are bordered by low, calm beaches. These beaches, however, are faced by a steep escarpment of nearly a hundred feet. While this escarpment is by no means impassable, it does give a distinct advantage to the Sea-watch of Lok Morran.
The Sea-watch is a standing arm, raised by the first Lord of Lok Morran, that guards this fifty miles of escarpment. Their purpose is to prevent incursions by an people known as the Rilamee, who periodically attempt invasions upon Lok Morran. These invasions have been occurring since the first years of Lok Morran, even though all attempts have been utterly unsuccessful. Together with the military ability of Lok Morran and the advantage of the strange escarpment, the Rilamee are always thrown back.
The Sea-watch and the escarpment are seen in the first chapter of BE.
The origins of Lok Morran are of even more interest. The first Lord of Lok Morran was a nobleman in a city-state in the mainland. The city, called by its people “Ceor Rignan” which translates to “Rignan’s Cairn”. The nobleman, Lord Rinstan, had watched the society of Ceor Rignan fall apart, becoming ever more unstable. In the final days of the city, he had enough foresight to prepare for the collapse.
The city allowed slavery, on a vast scale, primarily from among the indebted citizens. Rinstan found as many of slaves as possible, buying those whom he felt could be trusted to some degree. He also enlisted men from among the lesser citizens and gave them a choice, one which he also set before the slaves. To become vassals, a state somewhat like slavery, though less harsh and leaving a great deal more autonomy to the vassals, until an agreed upon debt was settled. Many of the citizens and nearly all of his slaves, upon hearing his plan, accepted his terms.
This group of vassals, under the rule of Rinstan’s family, escaped the collapse of the city and fled north to the high-lands of the Mediolan Peninsula. There they founded Lok Morran. Lok Morran was ruled by the descendants of Rinstan, in a surprisingly just and fair manner. The slaves and citizens gradually worked off the debt, becoming freemen. These freemen were then given the lands that they had worked as vassals and were recognized as citizens of Lok Morran. They were not required to swear allegiance to the Lords of Lok Morran, other than what was expected of them as people of the nation. Most of them, however, chose to swear allegiance to the Lords, giving up some measure of their new freedom.
By the time of Breaking Empire, there were few vassals left, for most of them had managed to pay off the debt and become freemen. This system, though at first seeming greedy upon the part of Rinstan and his successors, was, in fact, quite just. The expense required to buy the slaves from their original owners in Ceor Rignan and to supply those who fled the city, had been great. Rinstan had also bought the rights to explore the Mediolan Peninsula, at no small cost. Therefore, the repayment of the debt was considered not only necessary, but also a matter of honor for many of the citizens. Even the slaves had seen it in the same manner, though they required considerably more time to work off the debt.
One of the main protagonists of the story was a freeman, a status which had only recently acquired. His history as a vassal has a substantial impact upon the plot.