Commission - Loecwemwa, a desert land

edited March 13 in Show and Tell

Here is the completed map for one half of a commission, and I have been given permission to share this on the Forum.. It shows Loecwemwa, a desert land with a fertile strip beside a Nile-like river (the Oal). I hope we will get a fuller explanation of the land later.

I have done both climate and altitude maps.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with my 'commissioner', and am now working on his world (as previously shown).



  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 44 images Cartographer Administrator

    Nice work.

    The edge of the fertile land looks a bit sharp to me, especially when looking at the whole map. Have you considered increasing the size of the edge fade a bit?

  • No, not really. In Egypt, the division between fertile land and desert is VERY sharp.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 24 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    But is that natural division, or one created by man using irrigation and fighting against the roll of the dunes?

  • The latter - you see it everywhere in Egypt. Especially in some of the new settlements in the desert.

  • In Egypt, as also in Mesopotamia (modern southern Iraq), the man-made thing for irrigation started very early on, so telling what's truly "natural" is no longer really possible. You get a similar effect in the deserts near both places modernly where there's been a rare, heavy rainfall recently; there's a sudden explosion of greenery and flowers in a concentrated area where the rain happened, and the immediate vicinity of the run-off, surrounded by the usual "barren" waste. It lasts for at most a few weeks, and then it all dies-off, and vanishes.

  • VirVir Traveler
    edited March 14

    Hello! I am most proud to say this map is mine. Hooray! Quenten asked me a happy contribution to the thread: share some lore to go with the map. I'll try to mention a variety of topics in different chunks, and I'll try to show rather than tell. You're the first strangers to hear anything about it, so I hope my humble writing does justice to my excellent new map :)

    I discovered Loecwemwa (loh.ey.KWEY.mwah) and its fantasy humanoid inhabitants called Toánl by many years' exploration of blank pages. Or else I discovered it (ensorcelled by that ******* culinary professor-errant, the mystical-magical cat burglar Moustache Jones) by many more years' riding that globe's water cycle as a sentient drop of water. It depends on whether or not you believe in blank pages. Well, I do and I'm not repressing any memories at all: they're repressing memories and I'm just creative and I'm stark raving sane.

    So what do you want to hear about Loecwemwa? A story? About the language? If you want to skip to pronunciation, Ctrl+F ^. Who lives round there? At any rate, the Toánl live growing crops like pehya beside the Oal. Most the rest of the desert, they leave to stories--many of them stories about Ŋon Full-of-Ghosts.

    "Ŋon at Aawociŋyi Pwaþ, the Peckish Scrub"

    Once I got away I felt how Thornbush had licked my arm all bleeding. I loosed a growl and loosed my sling: whoosh and woody crack. Even then Scrub would not relent, “Your blood is tasty. Don’t look like that for compliments. I won’t go shouting to the birds… if you’ll stop and rest. It’s for your own good.” I walked onward, leaning, as ever, on Coŋcwel, Beloved Stick, my favorite stick.

    “Don’t you want some water? Water’s in the shade. It’s not out there in the sun.” Coŋcwel and I knew not to reply. They won’t eat my tongue.

    “You’ve been so long awake,” Scrub remarked. “and so little felt the shade. What does that to the mind?”

    The language and pronunciation

    They tell these stories in a language called Чlalmwae, which you can see transcribed on the climate map. The climate map puts my stickler's sheen of in-universe-correctness on Quenten's inspiring work. Quenten likes the altitude map version from before that, and we can leave that one close enough for Quenten's little cliff joke ;) In the age depicted by the map, Чlalmwae is written in knots, for they have a lot of wooly ðloe. In a manner of weeks now I hope to have nice illustrations of the "river writing" script of their future. Being the biggest and mediating (if not commanding) every other part, Чlalmwae is chief over my world-building.

    Folks are welcome to ask more about the language, but first perhaps you'd like to read something on the map. Unless accented, stress is on the second-to-last syllable: the river "OH.ahl" or one of the oases, "plah.ah.EE.twey kwey.OH.keen." Each vowel has its own syllable: never run adjacent vowels together. In Toánl culture, that's a sign of poor self-control or foolish haste--or worse: Fogger separatism. ^If you can pronounce rio and mesa, then you can pronounce Чlalmwae's four vowels. Four consonants' sounds may not be obvious to you. Click for the Чч sound. Ŋŋ is the no-"g," "ing"-like sound as when you say think slowly; contrast thin, think, and thing to hear these are three different sounds. Similarly "voiceless," Þþ is the th- in thistle. Contrast Ðð: the th- sound in this; you'll note that you can't start thistle by saying this. Nahuatl, especially, and Icelandic were key influences on what sounds Чlalmwae has and lacks.

    Care for a small grammatical puzzle? Do you know from the map what marks an adjective? How to form an "x's y" or "x of y" relationships? What shows plurality? Well, I admit languages make exceptions over time.

    About beards

    The Toánl live in ancient style. If you saw a Toánl, you might say, "Help help! A dwarf with thickly curling, two-toned hair crowning his head, but with flowing two-toned hair from the sides of his head, is slinging rocks at me! Look, I won't touch your wooly aardvarks again, okay??" And while you may be forgiven for assuming while in flight that your assailant was male, a good many Toánl naturally grow Kyp Malone-esque facial hair whether male or female. The rest cannot grow any facial hair at all, whether male or female. Virtually any Toánl is handy with a sling, though, and as a rule, it is women who at least own the ðloe herds as well as the raised fields Toánl build for their crops.

    It's typically men, on the other hand, who own the canals surrounding the raised fields, as well the fish and plants produced in the canals. Typically, a Toánl asked will express wonder about the secret construction rituals which are known only to the other sex, while in the event of necessity managing those constructions passably and without hesitation (thanks to whispers of the ancestors). It's not unlike the relationships between the eight cales where, e.g., one is always "too upset" to waterbury a member of his own armkin and so must always ask members of a cale corresponding to his own to do so. This, even though it incurs an obligation to waterbury a member of their armkin in future. Anyway, the point is about beards and above ground any sane Toánl will keep the face and neck covered (preferably using the long part of their head hair, if they can't grow facial hair) on account of the Caahi.

    Colonialism is for the birds

    Now, if you looked north and saw a Caahi you might say, "Toánl, Toánl, I'm racing for the heavy quilt-door entrance of your duggout house because a war party of countershaded crows are raining swoopvolleys of poison darts down upon me and I cannot begin to understand their musical bird grammar since I don't have perfect pitch!" Or maybe you do have perfect pitch, but if you weren't running fast enough, you'd discover how well hungry Caahi hunters aim at eyes and necks. If you were fast enough, you may live to appreciate why thick hair and sling skills are attractive in both sexes from the Toánl point of view. Caahi are the most widespread sapient on the planet (well, above the waves) and for many centuries they have been raiding back and forth with Toánl to extend their tree colonies down the Oal. Thus, the Cale of the Fourth City was named Cyitémiðán (Brother Ash); and the Fifth, Penhwálcwonil (Ready Torch).

    East and west of Oal: some beliefs and the desert

    Those few who try the lonesome east for Drylake's magic salts make the farthest journey intentionally undertaken by any Toánl (before the arrival of the Macyal), and even they have never built homes away from Oal. So one can say that all Toánl live on the Oal. Well, all Toánl except for Toánl who are Lizardeaters. But every Toánl knows that a Lizardeater is not really a Toánl. They do not cultivate the sacred pehya to prepare for the Oal's flood. Þyale, the Flowing God, entrusted the Oal every year to enact her love for Éoŋac, the Growing God: "My love for you is flood." The Oal keeps Þyale's trust, and so Éoŋac entrusted all Toánl to make certain that the Great Root always flourishes as does his love for Þyale. Toánl keep Éoŋac's trust. Lizardeaters don't, and so logically they are not Toánl.

    Lizardeaters came into the world because it came to pass that Ŋon was dying of thirst. The river Watliónl ("the Traveler") permitted he drink of her and owe his life. So by this debt the river wanted life from Ŋon and they got children: the Lizardeaters. That kind of thing is all well and good for heroes, but the fact remains that Lizardeaters lack a cosmic purpose and they are descended from a river that only sometimes flows. And anyway what can one do with a person who doesn't belong to a cale? So that's the sort of character you find chasing or digging around the western desert with her whole family in tow.

    Thirst's End in the Fogs

    The general rule that Toánl stay along the Oal is in no way direction into the delta at Thirst's End. However, if you were in Loecwemwa in need of an extraordinary boon, the inhabitant there is quite kindly as long as you can remember all the courtesies. You must never have harmed either a pangolin or a hummingbird, but that's just mortal prudence and you certainly won't be planning any long trips if you've done that. To earn your boon, carry in an appropriate sacrifice: worn-out shoes, a good song or tale of your own which you're willing never to be able to remember again, or perhaps a symbolon which you've crafted back together. Do your best to memorize as many details as you can from each individual sunset and sunrise starting at least from the time you set out: no excuse is possible, so if you once sleep in, turn back. Once in the delta, if you simply keep heading toward the smoky smell you'll arrive as soon as you're welcome. Whenever you hear a chime, you have to find it: touch the chime if it has red on it and do not touch it if there's no red. Shoes and capes are always okay, but other clothes are disrespectful of natural beauty so take them off when you arrive. Be prepared to drink. Oh gosh, what else... Don't wear feathers since it's too hard to keep them clean... Actually I believe there's several more of these things I'm forgetting, so probably just leave the delta alone.

    Hope folks enjoyed something here. Questions welcome :)

  • 29 days later
  • VirVir Traveler
    edited April 12

    I wonder if you, like me, simply enjoy contemplating rivers on maps. They are beautiful. Did you ever think how many stories a river has watched? Or have you thought of how the seemingly arbitrary details in a map could encode messages?

    I'd like to share my river writing with you. A culture of Fuegian-esque canoe nomads comes up with it, lately introduced to the concept of writing by the Toánl people of Loecwemwa. Without so many wooly beasts around, the former don't find it so convenient to write in knots. I am happy to mention my script just got posted on, the hub for these things. It's an incredibly informative site and I could also recommend for my script the full-size images at the doc I linked.

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