Over the next couple weeks, I’m doing a series of blog posts delving into some aspects of the fantasy world from my book, ‘The Shield Road’. You can click here to learn more about the book itself!
The Shield Road is a collection of short stories about adventurers, and as such, we see many places from across the book’s setting. One, though, crops up more often than the others: the city of Thrynn, on the southern coast of Guenteria.
Despite being the largest and richest city in Guenteria, it’s not the country’s capital – that’s the disputed city of Uxburh in the far north. It is, however, the centre of Guenteria’s burgeoning sea trade, and as such is a place of extreme wealth – and crippling poverty.
We see a lot of the darker side of Thrynn in The Shield Road – the Waterfront and Portside, two impoverished districts close to sea level. Most of the buildings there were thrown up without any professional architecture or city planning involvement, and the soft, silty soil means that landslides are common. Thrynn is an ancient city, but is constantly built anew, because these lowest portions are always slipping slowly into the sea as the coast erodes.
One of the most well known landmarks in Thrynn is the City Library, which attracts scholars from across the world. Its talented scribes and professors work late into the night in emerald green robes, beneath high windows – to help the scholars see their papers, or to keep the dregs of society out, depending on who you ask. The library is funded from the personal pocket of the Bedivar family, the lords of Thrynn.
The Bedivars are generally seen as a kind and benevolent noble family, and many in Thrynn see their sigil – a grinning crescent moon on a midnight blue cloth – as a beloved symbol of the city. However, the Bedivars have only been in charge for little over a century: before that, the city was in the hands of a wicked, hated, and long-lived man named Lord Lovican. He left the title without heirs when he died in a fire in his personal tower in Castle Thrynn. A few whisper stories of murder, but the Bedivars act quickly to quash such rumours…
Here’s a section from the book where a character explores the city:
“Rafi watched the warden march past from the shelter of a dark alley. The lantern-light drifted down the road, leaving him in total darkness.
But Rafi knew where he was going.
These streets were like home to him: he knew them back to front. He scurried like a rat, ducking the night wardens and flitting from shadow to shadow. It wasn’t difficult. Most of them were elderly. They followed their patrol routes with time-worn instinct, hardly bothering to look for trouble.
Crime was easy in Thrynn.
He made his way to the market square. Here, the prospective thief could find the best pickings – and the toughest challenges.
Avoiding the main road, he dodged down a muddy backstreet where the buildings were cramped and tilted. Behind a vacant shop was a cart, piled high with sealed barrels. They’d sat there for years. He did not know what was in them, nor did he care – but they were an efficient route to the rooftops.
He walked cautiously over the roof tiles and took a seat. From up here, the entire square was visible. In the centre were the market stalls, most of which had been dismantled and covered with cloth to protect them from the dew. Two wardens stood talking beside a burning brazier. One wobbled and had to clutch the other’s shoulder; they were clearly deep in their drink. Another three plodded around the edge of the square, shining their lanterns through windows occasionally as they passed the storefronts.”
You can read a story from ‘The Shield Road’ for free by signing up to my mailing list – which will also inform you when the book is available to purchase! ❤