4 Apr 2019

The Elf's Prisoner - Commentary 23

Welcome to Silver Trailings, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 23.

It's not a dark and stormy night.  It is, however, wet and rainy because mountains cause air to cool down, condensing water vapour.  I was basing the setting on the southern mainland of British Columbia, where it rains a lot.  Since there hadn't been any bad weather yet, I tossed it in.  Jyslyn, coming from an underground city, got to experience her first rain.  She hated it.  The thunder and lightning just add to the misery.

The Realm Under the Mountain and Silver Trailings got the most thought in developing the setting on the fly.  The Realm itself is inside the mountain, as the name suggests.  The dwarves would be happy to ignore the outside world, except they need to trade.  The Realm produces raw and refined ores and finished goods.  It's big enough that it needs to import food from the outside.  Silver Trailings started as a small trade town outside the gates to the Realm, then it grew.  The city acts as a buffer between the outside world and the Realm, a way to allow trade while still maintaining a separation.

I even managed to work out a few details of the Realm, mostly that there's a few levels inside.  The entry level, the Entry Cavern because I couldn't think of a better term for it, is a second layer of defense.  If anyone gets past Silver Trailings, they then have to get inside the mountain and then figure out where to go from there, all while dealing with crack dwarven troops.  Back in Chapter 3, the Count of Varin wanted to send troops to lay seige to the Realm.  I wanted to build on the idea that the Count's invasion plan was pure folly.

What I didn't have in mind while writing the chapter was an idea of how Silver Trailings was laid out.  There's a main gate, with inns near it to take advantage of tired travellers.  Beyond that, I was still building the city as I wrote.  There is some good news, though.  Older cities, such as London, England, weren't planned out at the beginning.  Roads and buildings were put in haphazardly until the idea of urban planning got formalized.  There are districts, though; it's easier to find a shop if most shops are in or near the marketplace.  There are rich neighbourhoods and there are poor neighbourhoods.  The Bent Coin, seen in the interregnum two weeks ago is in a shadier part of Silver Trailings.

I may not have had an idea where The Elf's Prisoner was going when I started.  The past few chapters, I knew I needed my characters to get to the dwarven kingdom.  I did spend some time trying to figure out what is going to happen, but first, I needed the kingdom to be defined.  The next few chapters will use Silver Trailings; if I had to build it, I wanted to make good use.  This is a section that will take a few in-story days to gather information.  It helps to have a city that is more than just a fuzzy idea.

Friday, miscommunications, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 24.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, hiatus week.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Titans.

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