Map Thread XVIII

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Punk Rock and the Commonwealth

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October 14, 2001 - The English Commonwealth, London

The embers of a homespun cigarette tumbled into the night in the London breeze, the screams of cars in the distance drowned out the nightlife of the city. Every now and again, a vehicle would pass on the road flanking the pair to the right, the headlights bringing them to the bright before fading just moments later. They both had their backs placed against the concrete of the support beam of the overpass above them, everything else seeming to be forgotten to them in the midst of their conversation.

“Sometimes, I just wonder why I ever came all the way out here, ya know? This here is your land, not mine…” Said Prescott, the West Floridian cant seeming as misplaced as the man himself.

“You came out here to play, at least that’s what you told me, that’s what you told Asher, and the others, figured you’d be telling the truth to at least one of us.”

Prescott laughed, a fully hearted sound, but it only trailed off for a few notes. “Yea? That’s what I told y’all. Don’t quite think I was lying. Europe… It sounded lovely on paper. A damned dream. London doesn’t seem to take too kindly to our sound though… you ever wonder what happens if this all goes belly up?”

“I try not to think of it…”

“Now, why’s that? How’d you figure? I been up the past two weeks, can’t catch a wink. Y'all have places you can get back to! Your father’s mine, Asher’s got that sweetheart of his and a place down in Cornwall, hell, even Artur can wander hisself back to Cossack Country… trekking back to the Old Colonies isn’t cheap. None of y’all told me this had a chance to go bad on me.” He took another long drag from the smoke.

There was a long period of silence, neither of them giving more to the issue, Prescott simply shutting his eyes and letting the back of his head rest against the stonework.

“Guess that’s life, pa always said that’s just how it is. We’ve always been given bad hands and none of us have really known how to right play.”

“Someone's gotta listen… we brought in-”

“We brought in enough for gas and rest-stop sandwiches at our last gig. We keep doing this shows in dive bars and backstreet alleyways! Just because some sad songs to a damned electric guitar gets people uppity enough that they won’t give us a proper stage? I told y'all, we should’ve tried in Virginia first, or the Carolinas.” There was an unstated anger in the man’s voice, still suppressed, but the words had a venom as they rolled from his tongue.

“It’s not my fault Puritans get shaky... “ Prescott continued.

“You know that’s not fair to say…”

“Yea? Well it ain’t fair we can’t play a real venue.”

“Not everyone in England is like that, Scott, not-”

Prescott stopped him, holding up a hand flat as he took another take from the cigarette before flicking it off to the road.

“Only the louder ones with power, I don’t need this lecture again…”

Prescott took a few steps away from the wall, turning to his bandmate and placing his thumbs in his beltloops as he stared at him, purposefully letting the silence hang in the air.

“We should go, next show’s over in Brighton… in what? An hour or so?”

A nod was all that was given in response, the pair starting down the sidewalk together.


Been working on this map for around a month or two off and on, mainly made it to have a little setting to write a story in, nothing major, mainly to keep me busy now that I'm out of school.

So, this is a bit of a slice of life take for a setting, just a conversation between two people existing in this world. I'm more than open for any questions though! Hopefully there's something to be gleamed from the little chat and the map.
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Switzerland in which sense? The Canton-y sense or the neutral-y sense? Something else?
the highly disciplined mercenary sense

They're more like the old swiss confederacy, in terms of cantons (the member states are highly autonomous and some have their own military) and mercenaries (although the Teutonic Order are the most well known for their Mercenaries) and more like Modern Switzerland in terms of Neutrality.
Europe in 1938, just before the outbreak of the World War.

Blue indicates the Allied Powers, yellow indicates neutral powers, black indicates the Axis Powers, and red indicates the Soviet Union.

(Note: ITTL Spain never goes through the Spanish Civil War and stays a Republic.)View attachment 466096
And a map of East Asia at the same time. Nationalist China has relatively friendly relations with Imperial Japan, since ITTL Japan agreed to cease expansion further south than Manchukuo. Tibet broke out of isolationism when both China and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, adopting closer ties with Britain, France, and Spain.


Isaac Beach


The Lands of Akal

Akal is a green land; since Aderfi the Wanderer and his Forty Concubines laid the seeds of man on this great plain in times immemorial, it has begotten thousands of souls where Issiy the Spider permits. Where sandstone cities perch upon an endless horizon like stars come to rest in Akal; where vast herds of pelorovis roam and immense, horned sivatherium butt heads; where sacellums consecrated to the forces of nature see third children proffered and sacrificed; and where the Synarchy of Wahlimarz has flowered and extended its grasp as far south as the blackened, beech-ridden shores of Irshan and as far north as the desolate wastes of the short-armed barbarians.

Wahlimarz is a state of secrets, where halls of whispers and bureaucrats may see cities razed or laman confederated, flocks numbering tens of thousands exchanged for a bride, or religions ramified and schismatic. Equus roam the vast prairie of Wahlimarz’ hinterland, policing their holy megaliths and protecting the pastureland from giant bears and barbarians. They securitize trade from the Free Cities and ensure safe passage into the metropolitan core of the Synarchy. Wahlimarz’ cities are enormous, with populations numbering in the tens of thousands, and all the wondrous delights of Akal and beyond can be found: slaves and bronze mirrors and giant sloths and silphium, ceremonial dirks and sago bread and chariots and cisterns of fresh blue water. And yet for the wealth of the Synarchy, for the thousands that arrive from distant lands, among the whispers of the saltigues and laman, the bureaucrats and magnates, there is a sensation of sibylline decline.
Where once the majority of visitors to their splendid gardens were adventurers or princelings or pluralists, now they are tented with refugees. Though the harvest is as always bountiful, the stores of grist diminish with each season. And the summer is longer and longer and the grazing circles of the pelorovis wider and further north, for some a paradise compared to the hibernal winters, but a growing concern and a poor omen so far as the saltigues are concerned.

To the south lays the Dominion of the Three Families, interbred triarchs, worshipping the infernal pneuma, partaking in coprophilic rituals, and a perennial thorn in the underbelly of Wahlimarz. If the cities of Wahlimarz are built of gold, the cities of the Three Families are built of blood. Monopolising trade from the deep south, their vendues and bazaars are among the most abundant in the world, with innumerable invaluable slaves. And through mystifying means, and despite being south of Wahlimarz, they oft’ have the brutish barbarians and the squawking men of the east for trade in numbers far greater than Wahlimarzi magnates are able to source.
But even these hedonists, with a mouth full of blood, can taste the salt in the wind. The perquisite slaves from their vavasours grow fewer in number and less generous therein, where once they may have gifted thousands now only hundreds of slaves are interred in the great borstals of the Three Families. And why? The vavasours are fearful of the tales they hear of the great Green Banner, a churning horde of itinerants from the humidifying coast further south and must man their borders with any slave and boy and votary they can muster as the turbinal horns, sun chants and ribbed drums approach.

Downstream from the Three Families lies the League of Assif, a propinquity of transspecies states that together are the strongest among the petty provinces. Here any civilised, squawking or occasional barbarian man may be patrician, and any may be slave. This is per the design of their god, They of Many of Hearts, a wall of vascular organs of every species extant and extinct. As all hearts are alike, they ought to be treated as such. And so, the streets of the League are a thronging affair of men and barbarians and squawking folk, where to lay with a bear sow is noble, and to gambol among the riverbank simians is an enviable life.
And yet for their tranquillity and equity the squawking men are simply fading away, and the multiplicity of their ecology is seeing increasing strain and even collapse. Decentralised and nescient of these tribulations, the League of Assif may well fade away into blissful oblivion.

At the edge of Akal, where the endless steppes yield to forested strands and magnanimous cities atop white beachheads, the Free Cities travail. Where there is an endless catch of fish and thalassic strangers intermingle in marble precincts, a pederastic patriciate rules, gorging and philosophising, forging odes and terzanelles, and studying the brilliant stars. They more than any know the way of the world by their commerce with the seagoing red folk, who present giant sloths and copper jewels, husked fruits from even further afield than themselves, and all manner of god and fable and art, and speak of a land of towering cenotaphs and manmade fells that touch the edge of the Firmament.
But the catches grow increasingly modest, and more than once now streets have buckled, and coliseums or herbariums have fallen into the sea. And the visitors are fewer, and though their coracles and canoes are splendid, the seas grow wider and more difficult to navigate and those that do come speak of subsidence and distress and wonder where their gods have gone. The Free Cities will remain free and beautiful for a time, but many see little more than a setting sun in that beauty.

To the east of the Three Families lies a lakeside domain of Irshan, ruled from the eponymous island-straddling city. Unlike those fearing the Green Banner, they have known them for lustra, and have held against their running legions armed with flyssa and kpinga for its extent. Unperturbed, their singular gerent has maintained the city’s opulence by trading liberally with Wahlimarz and the Three Families, assuring them that a saline sea of vicious crocodiles and picaroons lays between the fine city of Irshan and the Green Banner. And indeed Irshan is a frightful power, maintaining a cohort or some 5,000 men and 10,000 slaves on their island city alone.
But the Green Banner is patient, and knowing something that the gerent of Irshan does not they have constituted a castellum on the southern shore of the inland sea. They wait for the sea to split.

The Green Banner itself is less an army and more an entire civilisation built on the backs of aurochs and chariots. Ostensibly originating from the southern shore of Akal, what whispers make their way north cry of plague, imprecation, bale and ruination. They speak of rampant, uncontrollable jungle overwhelming what was once a temperate land more prosperous than Wahlimarz could ever hope to attain, humidification, mass extinction, an end to civilisation.
So, they moved north. Under the superintendency of a warrior and an augur, who gathered the disparate people of a hundred palatinates and directed them to the fine and comparatively sparse lands that such states as the Three Families and Wahlimarz occupy. Numbering as many people as there currently are in those dominions, though the equus and laman and triarchs and magnates rouse their men to fight and repulse the Banner many believe such an invasion is inevitable, and some even take a tact that they are something to imitate.

For what is further north of Akal? Barbarians, yes, but lands that have thawed from centuries past, where forests anew have emerged and aurochs and pelorovis are ubiquitous and there is no fear of the future, only possibility. Some have opined that, perhaps, a band or a column should descend into the valleys of that northern land much like Aderfi the Wanderer and rebuild. Blades are sharpened, steeds are saddled, and with the blessing of Issiy the Spider and a sacrifice, they embark. They farewell the Lands of Akal and descend into the Lands of Uropa.


So a couple things. Numero Uno is that I obviously don't endorse anything here, given all the slavery and pederasty and bestiality and racism and coprophilia and whatnot written in such a florid manner, just being very clear: it's flavour text. Every word here is an actual word, many are just incredibly archaic and a couple are Berber in origin. I was trying to pull a Gene Wolfe, who recently passed away, and is one of my favourite authors (He wrote The Book of the New Sun, for the record). There is actually a reference or two within this text pertaining to him. I highly recommend his work. I also took some inspiration from Conan the Barbarian and other low fantasy pulp, as well as discussions with Todyo1798 about the peculiar theory that the pre-Indo-European Irish are related to the Basque are related to the Berbers of Morocco. It's an interesting idea though I don't know if I quite believe it.
The barbarians are neanderthals, while the 'squawking men' are homo heidelbergensis. They were the first species of homo to lose their air sacs and so may have been capable of speech, albeit not particularly well. The red men are Native Americans, specifically based off of the Old Copper Complex. Because of that this might not actually make migratory sense; the idea that homo sapiens are in the Americas but not Europe, but again, consider it flavour text. This is also my first attempt at pixel art, so be kind, aha.

I hope you enjoy!
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