Tellen Map Preview
In which we take a look at the world of The Traveling Librarian.
Since I haven’t been able to shake my recent illness (or maybe I’m on a second round of something new?) it’s going to be another week before I’m able to send out The Seventh Moonrise Most Profound. In the meantime, I thought I’d share the latest version of my map of Tellen, the world in which both that story and The Traveling Librarian take place.
Something I’m very excited about is using The Traveling Librarian as a vehicle to explore as much of this world as possible. Though things in the first book will stay relatively close to home in a classic pseudo-European climate and culture, I have plans to explore both Rowan’s travels and the individual stories of inhabitants from all around Tellen.
Central to The Traveling Librarian is a place known simply as The Library. It’s not the only library in the region, though it is far and away the single largest repository of written knowledge anywhere on Tellen. Scholars, patrons, and pilgrims travel from far and wide to study, have texts scribed for themselves, or simply to marvel at the sheer volume of material collected therein. It’s the job of the traveling librarians to wander Tellen in search of rare and valuable texts for the Library’s collection.
The Library is also the home of a young man who, until the events of The Traveling Librarian, has known little else but life among the stacks.
Rowan had lived his entire life in the Library. Most residents arrived only when they were of an age to begin their apprenticeships, some becoming permanent librarians, scholars, or scribes, while others took their newfound skills back to the villages and towns from whence they’d come. Rowan had been born in the Library. This in and of itself was not so uncommon as to be of special note, but after losing both his parents in a rockslide during his seventh summer, Rowan had been given this small room of his own. The librarians had raised him, teaching him the ways of their order as much to give him something to do to occupy his curious mind as it was for lack of knowing what else to do with the boy. Already a great lover of books, Rowan had settled into his new life, finding solace among the stacks. Not even living among Tellen’s greatest collection of books was enough to erase the pain of his loss, but it helped ease the ache of longing enough for time to work its own particular magic of healing his fractured heart.
[Excerpt from: The Traveling Librarian]
Further south, we find the sun-baked lands of Soccorro and the holy city of Svevavevrum where a pair of peculiar rogues are about to undertake a rather strange contract.
An ill wind washed over the Darou river, bathing a lesser-used dock on the outskirts of Svevavevrum with the unsavory effluvium of rotting flesh. The necrotic stench heralded a long and shallow scow, guided by a punter who poled his craft to an unscheduled stop in order that two distinctly sunburnt and foreign men might disembark. The first to step off was tall and broad, with the countenance of a happy pig. His companion was short and slim, face pinched like a rat who’d lost his tail to a butcher’s knife and never quite gotten over the indignity of it all. Those who’d had the unfortunate displeasure of making his acquaintance knew well he had a personality to match, though they tolerated him for the sake of his more convivial, if intimidating, friend.
“Did we really have to take the corpse barge?” the tall one asked, wiping droplets from his brow with a jacket sleeve that was more sweat than cloth. “I still don’t understand why we couldn’t have walked through the front gates like normal travelers. We’ve never been to Svevavevrum before, Mrank. It’s not like anyone here would recognize us.”
The short one blew his nose on a stained handkerchief, inspected the gob of mottled olive-colored slime embedded within, then shoved the cloth back into his sleeve. “Ruminate on the circumstances which precipitate our visit, Mrink. Do you reckon giving the city guard a chance to scrutinize our arrival is a percipient course of action?”
Mrink—who had long since given up on attempting to correct his partner’s misguided conversational pretentions—had his own thoughts about how difficult it would be for the pair of pale-skinned foreigners to remain inconspicuous in this place no matter how they came into the city. But he was more than well enough acquainted with Mrank to know when an argument was better avoided. “Suppose not. Still, woulda been nice just once.”
[Excerpt from: The Seventh Moonrise Most Profound]
For the next few months, I’ll be putting all my energy into revising the first Braelorne Academy book, Saber & Stone, before diving into first-round revisions on The Traveling Librarian, so I won’t have much time to add to the map until I get around to writing the second Traveling Librarian book later this summer. At any point in the future, you can view a high-resolution version of the latest Tellen map by visiting markfeenstra.com/tellen.
In the meantime, is there any particular location that’s caught your eye? Someplace you want to know more about? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to fill in a little backstory for you.
Until next time, see you among the stacks.