April 29, 2021

Y is for Yuwara Ul Sahd

         (My A-Z Blog Challenge theme this year is Mythical and Imaginary Places.)
        Yuwara Ul Sahd was, some 200 years ago, an empire that claimed the Central Desert, from the elvish forests around the River Tiarnath in the north to the Border Plateau above Minar in the south, and from the Sinbal Tribal Lands in the west to the Crest Mountains in the east.  For roughly a century, however, the empire has been eroded, leaving nothing more than the great crossroads city of Sisoa at its center, the small towns along the River Kazaarid, and the few trading posts on the southwestern border.  Or at least, that was until Queen Kahan Atar took the throne, and she is nothing if not ambitious.  She calls herself Empress, and has posted guards to reopen several of the border forts, claiming to rule the whole of the former territory of Yuwara Ul Sahd, including the lands of the nomads and the mesas of the sky dwarves in the eastern desert.  Of course, as they say in Sisoa, “My dog calls himself Emperor Wag…”
        Yuwara Ul Sahd is one nation of my own high fantasy world, invented for my Otherworld Series.  As hinted in previous posts, I started imagining this world when I was in middle school and high school, so it’s been in the works for more than 30 years, and although of course there has been a massive amount of revision in that time, many of the broad outlines remain the same.  Sisoa is geographically the center of the region of the Otherworld in which my stories are set, and culturally it is something like a hinge, connecting the various races and cultures all around it.  It is the most culturally diverse city in the region, and its most popular hobbies seem to be politics and haggling over commerce.
        The first picture shows Sisoa from the north, which was a bit of a cop-out as it meant I didn’t need to draw the large, messy, sprawling tent city that has sprung up around its gate in the southwest.  You can see on the map that the River Kazaarid flows away from Sisoa into the desert, supporting a few towns before it sinks into the sand.  The last picture shows a sketch and section of notes from my notebook, but this info has never really entered into the books.  I have also included a picture of two coins of Yuwara Ul Sahd, one recent coin featuring Empress Kahan Atar, and one old coin featuring Emperor Oru, whose legacy is an important plot point in the second book of my series, Sleeping Legends Lie.
        One of my favorite things in world-building is to think about proverbs.  What proverbs people use tells us a lot about them: the physical attributes of their world, the plants and animals and people they are familiar with; the attitudes they have toward various sorts of people or behaviors; the wisdom and morality they consider important to share; the things “everyone knows”…  In the proverb I quoted above, the never-spoken part is “… but that doesn’t mean he’s an emperor.”  In other words, just because you claim something doesn’t make it true, a proverb dear to the hearts of a people who love to make outrageous claims as they haggle over trade.  Another saying with a similar but less jocular implication is “Say the scorpion’s sting is impossible, but the scorpion won’t believe it.”
Here are some other Sisoan proverbs.  Can you guess what they mean?
   Even the watchful caravan master can’t count the sand he crosses.
   The merchant who peddled curiosity bought lamentation.
   He can smell fire when his robe burns.
   Where’s the merchant who tried to cross the desert on an expectation?
   You can tell a scorpion by its tail.
   You’re about to meet Error Haste-azh.  (The -azh suffix denotes a family name, so this is saying “Error of the Haste family.”)
        If you’d like a few more tidbits, here are some other posts related to Yuwara Ul Sahd:
Snippet about Jiriya, a young woman from Sisoa
Snippet about Lubun-Blue, a man from the eastern desert
Snippet about Yunib, a man from Sisoa
Ruin of Ancient Powers, sixth book of the series, set entirely within the borders of Yuwara Ul Sahd
        And of course I’d be delighted if you wanted to check out my Otherworld Series, about which you can always learn more here.
        The MORAL of Yuwara Ul Sahd:  You don’t need to travel when the world comes to you.
              OR:  There’s a special satisfaction to having the right proverb for every situation.
        So, all you other fantasy and sci fi writers, speak up.  Tell us something about the wondrous worlds you’ve created!  (Or if you're not a writer, 
what worlds are your favorites?)

[Pictures: Sisoa from the north, drawing by AEGN, 1995;
Map of Yuwara Ul Sahd, drawn by AEGN, c 2008;
Two coins of Yuwara Ul Sahd, depicting Empress Kahan Atar and Emperor Oru, drawings by AEGN, 2008;
Notes and sketch of temple in Sisoa, drawing by AEGN, probably early 1990s.]


JadeLi said...

I like the idea of building a world because in order to write about it you have to go there.

I love this:
The MORAL of Yuwara Ul Sahd: You don’t need to travel when the world comes to you.

I like Middle Earth because it has varied terrain, varied climates, and magical places. Mountains are a favorite place I like stories to have in them, probably because Michigan is so flat.

Today's Jethro Tull song:

Deborah Weber said...

Oh, Anne, I've loved all your posts and visiting all the imaginary worlds, but this glimpse at your world and its evolution is truly delightful.

Olga Godim said...

I'm a writer too. My imaginary land is called Talaria. I even have a map. I love maps of imaginary worlds. They are so inventive. When a map is published with a story, I always try to find the locations I encounter in the narrative on such maps.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I am endlessly fascinated by the rich imaginary worlds people come up with :) Especially the ones that are based on travel and the mixing of cultures...

The Multicolored Diary

Frédérique said...

Beautiful lost empire, alone in the desert! I love the first illustration.