Posted in Oxford Odditites

That Time When No One Talks About The Unnamed Guardian…

For those of you who haven’t been to Oxford before, this is Oxford’s train station…

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It’s not the most glamorous place in the world is it? I remember hearing when I first moved down here that the town wasn’t at all keen on this whole ‘train’ idea, and many people were sure it wouldn’t catch on at all. So rather than build a nice swanky train station like London has in spades or York, they just sort of… shoved it out onto what was at that time the outskirts (ha! Oh, urban sprawl, you aggressive weed…)

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And for a long time I sort of believed this story too…

However!

No more shall we calmly accept this mundane tale! No indeed! We shall instead acknowledge the battle of a brave soul who has for so long gone unrecognised!

For if you go to Oxford’s train station, and you walk into the main hall and look up, you will see a small figure, sitting above the main doors…

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She’s only small, and you can easily miss her, but there she is… the Guardian.

There she sits, watching over us all. No matter the season, the time, or the weather, she remains at her post through it all, unstinting in her duty of care.

If you ask a member of the station team, you may be given a name for her. But if you ask more than one for her name, you will find that you get a different name every time. This is only sensible, I suppose, for Names are Important, as we have discussed here before.

Now you may say to me, ‘Cameron. You’re being ridiculous. She’s a plastic owl to ward off a few pigeons; this isn’t a big deal.’

But that’s where you’re wrong!

For one thing, if she were there to simply ward off a few pigeons, she’d be hilariously bad at it! I didn’t actually manage to get a photo of the feathered terrors perching on top of our girl, contrary creatures that they are, but I assure you that there were plenty of them doing so! And the good people of Oxford train station wouldn’t keep her around if she didn’t function! What do you think she is? One of our ticket barriers?

So she must be there to ward off another threat, a bigger threat than mere pigeons…

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Now you might wonder to yourself, what possible dangers are there hanging around at train stations, but I urge you to remember your folklore for a moment…

What are the places you must be most careful of, the places where a moment of unwary complacency can cost you all that you hold dear?

Graveyards, yes, ruins and standing stones, sure, but also? Crossroads.

Nothing good comes of being too relaxed by a crossroads, does it?

And what are train stations but big, modern crossroads? Oh, sure we don’t tend to bury our unquiet dead there, but train stations are where large groups of strangers are pressed closely together, no one looks too hard at another’s eyes, nor do we count their fingers. Everyone’s in a hurry, no time to ask enough questions, lots of quick decisions being made. And then we’re off! Never looking back, never sure who the person we just spoke to was or whence they came…

Train stations might fool you with their florescent lighting and their pop-up coffee shops, but think about it even a little and suddenly they look much more Otherworldly, no?

But fear not!

For at Oxford, there is one who stands guard against the Lord and Ladies of the Otherworld! The silent sentinel figure of the owl…

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Photo by Agto Nugroho on Unsplash

She is an apt choice in many ways. In the North of England, my own place of origin, it is said to be good luck to see an owl, and if you’re are at either the beginning or the end of a long train journey then I can assure you that you’ll take any piece of good luck you can find!

On a less … owl-friendly note, owls have long been associated with evil and wickedness owing to their nocturnal habits and liking for the quiet of graveyards and ruins. In Kent it was said that the owl kept to the nighttime hours because she had once won first prize in the animal kingdom’s beauty competition and the jealous losers punished her by only allowing her to come out at night. Poor love.

More to our purposes here, since the early Roman times and continuing right up and into the 19th Century, it was considered that nailing a dead owl to the door of a house or barn would ward off evil and ill-fortune (I think out of the idea that an owl caused the ill-fortune so an owl could jolly well take it away again.) And while that’s clearly awful and you should never do such a thing to the noble and majestic owl, a plastic owl is a perfect modern replacement, don’t you think? Can’t get more dead than being made of plastic now, can you?

All around the world, owls are often credited with powers of prophecy, wisdom and being the messengers between this world and … others. I can certainly think of no better guard against the inherent evil of public transport terminals than our dear Oxford Owl! She’ll see through any mischievous being who tries their luck on the unwary, that’s for sure! And any who have seen the talons and beaks of an owl will know that her vengeance will be both swift and vicious indeed!

So when you next pass through Oxford’s train station, look up on your way out and tip your hat to our noble guardian. She’s doing a hard and thankless job up there, but we are all safer for her presence.

Does your local train station have a guardian? What is it? As I travel around the country in the coming year I’ll keep an eye out myself…

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

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Posted in Chronicles in Creation

Lloyds of London, the Scottish Natural Heritage and the Loch Ness Monster…

Or: The Magic That Walks Among Us – Part 2

Ch.20 - The Magic that Walks Among Us

Author’s Note: This post was started months and months ago, and then ended up getting left on the wayside as I got tied up in other things. Now it has become more topical in the daftest, worst possible way, I thought I’d come back and finish it…

OK, so!

Ages ago I did a post on real-life experiences with magic, otherwise known as That One Time the city of Carlisle accidentally cursed itself and everyone just had to deal with it.

At the time of writing, I wasn’t really planning on turning it into a series at all, but then I stumbled upon a couple of comments on an internet thread, and did a bit more digging and low and behold I have another case study for us all to enjoy!

As writers, especially fantasy or science-fiction writers, we like to imagine that the discovery of a real-life example of magic would throw our whole world into turmoil. It would be a sensation! It would revolutionise everything!

For example, imagine some nice ordinary angler was fishing away, minding their own business, on the banks of the Loch Ness, in Scotland? And after a long day of not much happening – which I understand can happen a lot in fishing? – at last! There is a nibble on their line! And then there is an enormous tug! And another one! And finally with a great heave, up comes …

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The Loch Ness Monster!

Now, after what I assume must have been a … somewhat fraught few minutes, in which the angler in question apparently develops the kind of Herculean muscles necessary to haul up something of the estimated size and weight of ol’ Nessie, well… What happens next?

I mean, after he rings his wife up and panics to her, and she asks him if he’s been drinking again, and he finally assures her, presumably through a lot of camera phone photos that he really does have Nessie on the shore with him and she panics and all that.

What next?

Actually, it turns out, what comes next is that some lovely people from the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Department will be wanting to have a Conversation with our unlucky angler immediately. It would also mean that this heroic, lone office that actually has it’s paperwork in order would swoop in to finally make use of those forms they’ve been sitting on for a while.

Because of course the first thing on the agenda is ‘Do we have the forms correctly filled out yet?’

Real life, it seems, has no time for our sense of dramatic tension. Go figure.

However, it does mean that we must now take a moment to sit down and truly appreciate the fact that back in 2001, during a period of very heightened interest in Nessie and the catching thereof, the heroes over at SNH sat down in a serious office, in their serious grown-up suits and seriously asked the question: “Wait. What if someone actually catches the old girl?”

Yes. That happened.

In fact, this has actually happened a few times over the course of recent history, and friends, I cannot tell you how much every single one of these conversations delights me!

NessieWay back in 1971, Cutty Sark (the whiskey manufacturer, not the boat) offered an award of one million pounds (because of course that’s the figure you’d pluck from the air as a reward) to anyone who could capture the Loch Ness Monster. But, and I can’t imagine why or how this happened, they began to get cold feet. Because I guess in the 1970’s it was starting to look like this might actually happen?

In fairness, back in the 1970’s there had been a lot, and I do mean a lot of interest, and there were a huge number of sightings coming in every year, and a (excuse the pun) boat-load of scientific expeditions trying to find any trace of Nessie they could find. Monster-hunter, the late Robert Rines, took an underwater photo (right) deemed so convincing that scientists at Harvard and the Smithsonian Institution expressed genuine and serious interest. (It was later connected to a strobe light, I think, and thus disqualified.)

So I suppose that at the time, it might have looked like there was a very good chance that the whiskey-men would have to actually stump up some serious cash any day now.

And that clearly hadn’t been the plan.

So the nice people at Cutty Sark asked Lloyds of London, the insurance people, to underwrite the contest. The insurance company actually agreed to this, but only on the condition that it would get to keep Nessie.

Yes, Lloyds of London wanted to keep Nessie.

I have… a few questions, number one being: What on Earth was Lloyds of London going to do with their very own folkloric sea-monster?!

Where would they even put it? Did they want her alive? Was an intern going to have to feed her and take her for walks, no swims? Were they going to feed under-performing managers to her?

Lloyds Nessie NewsprintNow, in fairness, initially Lloyds had apparently turned the Cutty Sark people down. Not, I  feel I should stress here, because someone in the board room said ‘Hey, Mike? This seems a little silly, and all. Maybe we have better things to do around here?’

Please!

Nope, apparently they also considered that the risk that they would have to pay out on this thing to be “too great.”

Yes.

People who were around in the 1970’s? Your world sounds like it was amazing, and I would almost like to move there…

Anyway, in true British fashion, Lloyds got called chickens for not wanting to stump up the cash on the off-chance of finding Nessie, and Lloyds said ‘What the heck? Let’s go for this crazy scheme.’ Again, the 1970’s sound like they were a whole fantasy novel on their own, and I’m mad I didn’t get to write it…

If you’re curious, the contract apparently went as follows:

“As far as this insurance is concerned, the Loch Ness Monster shall be deemed to be:

  1. In excess of 20 feet in length.
  2. Acceptable as the Loch Ness Monster to the curators of the Natural History Museum, London.

In the event of loss hereunder, the monster shall become the property of the underwriters hereon.”

Which also means that another development in this – frankly amazing – story would have been that some unsuspecting researcher in the Natural History Museum could have one day, out of the blue, received the single greatest phone call of their life. Again, just picture the scene!Ch.24 Loch Ness Monster

“Hello?”
“Ah, good morning, are you the person to speak to about sea-reptiles?”
“Yes, how can I help?”
“Oh good! We need you to come and identify Nessie for us.”
“…What?”
“It’s Lloyds of London calling.”
“This explains absolutely nothing, but thank you.”

Nowadays, thankfully, the question of what on earth do you do with the Loch Ness Monster once you’ve gone and caught her has been nicely cleared up by those lovely people over at SNH. There is, as is the way with government, a code of practice all drawn up to offer protection to any new species found in the loch, including a monster. It stipulates that a DNA sample should be taken from any new creature, and then it should be promptly and carefully released back into the loch.

Put that thing back where it came from or so help me, indeed.

So … Sorry, Lloyds of London, no pet sea-monster for you…

In the event that you feared that the insurance companies of the world have settled down about Nessie though, I am happy to report that a touch of magic still remains for us all.

Back in 2005, when Scotland’s biggest triathlon was happening in and around Loch Ness, the swimmers were all insured, for again no less than £1 million, per swimmer, against being bitten by the Loch Ness Monster. You know… Just in case?

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

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Posted in Oxford Odditites

Those Times When There’s … A Donkey?

You know you’ve lived in Oxford too long when… when you’ve followed a procession with a donkey all the way up High Street and only as Carfax Tower comes into view do you think to yourself; ‘Huh. That’s werid. We don’t normally have a donkey, do we?’

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With thanks once again to Parker Foye who was *way* more on the ball with their camera than me this morning! In my defense, there had not yet been tea, and that is kinda essential if you want me to function… You can (and should!) check out their writing here: (http://parkerfoye.com/)

Yes, friends, in Oxford we do this thing every Palm Sunday wherein we trudge a donkey through the streets of Oxford to hold a outdoor service remembering the moment when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem by riding in on a donkey.

The things I love about these traditions is how they have been going for so long that absolutely no one thinks twice about it! You can see here that if you’re not specifically in the procession, you barely even look! And I very much include myself in this group there!

This goes great with the announcements they blast through the Clarendon Shopping Centre much too frequently declaring “If you see something odd, please report it to the authorities.” Like, sure Ma’am, but … what kind of odd? Because in Oxford, it turns out, the blatant donkey procession did not make the cut there!

Makes you wonder what *else* you could march happily down the street on a Sunday in Oxford before someone questions it… Anyone else feel like the Harry Potter Wizarding World’s Statute of Secrecy was completely superfluous? Just a little?

Anyway, just a random little snippet for today, but it tickled me! One week left of Lent for those who observe that, and then it is Time for The Easter Dragon’s visit! Who’s excited? Just me?

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

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Posted in Ivan's Adventures, Short Stories

A Cup of Dragon

Greetings all! I interrupt your week to show you this: Ivan has found himself a teacup to sleep in and it’s adorable!

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Who’s the cutest dragon? Yep, you are!

Behold the Cuteness!

Sorry, I probably should have warned you. Too much sweetness can be fatal, I hear.

Anyway, I was trying to find a tea-related dragon story to share with you all and have yet to be successful, which is a shame.

But all is not lost!

Indeed I do have a drink-related tale to tell, and I hope that you will find it to be a suitable substitute?

We are returning to Ireland, a place we haven’t visited since St Patrick’s day. Back then we remembered the fearsome Lig-na-Baste, but today’s story is a little funnier, despite the dragon being even bigger!

The Ollipeist’s Very Difficult Nap

The Ollipeist was a big dragon – no, not big, the Ollipeist was a huge dragon.

The clue is in his name: in Irish Gaelic ‘Oll’ means ‘great’ and ‘Peist’ means ‘fabulous beast’. I like to imagine him being all decked out in gems and shiny things, like Smaug but there’s no evidence that this was so. It would have been pretty fabulous though.

What we do know is that it took a whole lake for the Ollipeist to sleep in. Now most dragons used to sleep in the bends of rivers and little underground pools deep in the mountains, but that would not have fitted the Ollipeist. He was far too big to have fitted in such a tight spot.

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You’re very fabulous too, Ivan. I promise, no other dragon can out-fabulous you, stop looking like that!

Sidenote: Dragons like to sleep in water to help support their huge forms while they are unable to keep shifting their weight. Failure to solve such a problem can lead to a dragon effectively suffocating under its own body-weight, despite the strength of its ribs. Ivan’s a little too small for this to be a problem, but the tea cup seems to give him a better night’s sleep regardless.

Anyway.

The Ollipeist was a gentle giant, despite his huge size, he spent his time quietly swimming in his lake and talking to people who came to visit him. The Ollipeist liked people, and people liked him. On sunny afternoons he would come out of the lake and bask in the sunshine and the braver people might come close enough to tickle his belly and see if they could make him laugh.

Sadly, Saint Patrick had undertaken to drive all the dragons out of Ireland along with their snake and serpent cousins, and it is entirely understandable that the Ollipeist was upset when he heard this. A generally peaceful and benign dragon, rather than roaring and destroying whole villages, the Ollipeist instead went to go and sulk in his lake.

Dragons are very serious and dignified.

Sadly, just as the Ollipeist was about to fall into a grumpy nap, along the road comes a piper – a local lad called O’Rourke. O’Rourke had been celebrating a friend’s birthday, drinking after playing his pipes for the dancing, and as such was utterly sloshed.

Now, there are doubtless many people who can be completely drunk and still play beautifully, but O’Rourke was not such a man. He played with much enthusiasm, but with a skill completely unworthy of his more sober talents.

The Ollipeist grumbled to himself even more and tried to sink under the surface of the water to block out the noise.

It wasn’t working.

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Yes, Ivan, even you can be dignified sometimes. Sometimes.

He tried blowing bubbles at the piper, and making the ground shake to show that he was in no mood to be disturbed, but O’Rourke remained cheerfully oblivious.

Finally the Ollipeist had had enough. With a great wave of water, the dragon rose out of his lake, reached out with his long neck and swallowed O’Rourke in one gulp!

Swallowing him down, the Ollipeist sank back into his lake. Maybe he felt a little bit bad about eating the piper, but at least the noise had stopped.

Right?

Luckily for O’Rourke, Ollipeist was so big that he made it past the dragon’s teeth, down his throat and into his huge stomach entirely unharmed.

Not that it made much difference to him at the time, for he was still far too drunk to have realised his predicament. With the grace of the truly inebriated, he hadn’t even dropped his pipes in the excitement, and he continued to march up and down the, to him, strange squishy cave, playing away just as he had before.

The Ollipeist groaned to himself. Was there no end to his terrible day? And now the noise was coming from his own body, so there was no escaping the awful racket the piper was putting out.

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No Ivan, you don’t need to flee your tea cup, I promise no one’s coming to get you!

Some days it’s hard to be a dragon.

He tried to see if he could sleep through the noise, in case his mass had muffled the sound or the piper would stop soon?

No such luck. If anything the music was even louder now, and the piper’s marching back and forth was giving him a tummy ache.

Finally the Ollipeist could take it no longer and with a bit of wiggling and heaving all round, he was able to spit O’Rourke out again. He gave the man a bit of a push in the direction of the party he had left, and sank back below the water again.

Maybe the water would soothe the aches in his head and his stomach? Maybe when O’Rourke has staggered far enough away the Ollipeist could get some sleep and it would all be better in the morning?

Happily, in the end the Ollipeist was never killed.

Unfortunately Saint Patrick did eventually come after him, and the Ollipeist had to run away from him, fleeing to the ocean. As he fled, his tail carved the great Shannon Valley.

For more dragon stories, check out Ivan’s many adventures here.

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Posted in Chronicles in Creation

So You Want To Draw A Map? – Part 3

A Kingdom for the Oak King

Right! Now on to the actual map-drawing!

(Note: If you’ve just stumbled into this post and are wondering what’s going on, please check out the series Masterpost for some form of context)

Norwich-Cathedaral-Green-Man-1So waaay back before Easter I did a little series talking about turning some big figures of folkloric legend into real, believable characters, and one of those was Jack O’Green, or The Oak King. So I know what he’s like, but what of his kingdom?

Now, with a character like Jack, who’s effectively the God of Nature and Green Stuff, it would be really easy to just picture and reference a huge forest and call it a day, but try drawing a map of that place and I worry that it could get boring for readers (and writers!) really easily. There’s only so much to be said and inferred from trees, after all.

First Things First…

So, why do I need to draw this map?

Well, one of the reasons why I needed to start tackling The Oak and Holly Kingdoms first was because I am working off a blank sheet here.

See, when I sit down to do Tir na Nog for the Fairy Queen, with her Seelie and the Erlking’s Unseelie courts, I’ll have something to work from. There are stories that tell me something about what can be found in that kingdom, people travel there (more or less willingly) and items originate there. I have clues I can start to piece together into something I like.

Green_Man_ceiling_boss_at_St_Helen_Witton_Church,_Northwich,_CheshireThe Green Man, on the other hand… He just doesn’t have anything like that.

The Green Man is quite literally a ‘Figure of Folklore’ in that he is a lone person, a character, an image… and nothing else. I said before that there aren’t really stories about him, he’s not a major feature in any legends; he’s a bit like Tom Bombadil in that he shows up, dances and sings and feeds everyone good things and then waltzes right out of your life with nary a ripple.

He has no named castle or palace to live in, no one goes on a quest to bargain or steal a MacGuffin from him, he doesn’t kidnap a fair maiden away to his lands. He’s a figure in green who dances at May Day celebrations and he shows up in church carvings.

That’s not a lot to work from…

Ch.5 The Power of Names -smallNow, there are some wonderful people out there who can work really well from a blank page, but I am definitely not one of them! I need some form of structure to hang my ideas off of, and so, to the drawing board we go!

The map doesn’t need to be especially detailed, or even close to what the kingdom will eventually look like.

When I don’t know what a place looks like, I just draw any and all options I can think of until I find one I like. It’s like a sped up form of evolution, where any ideas I think are especially good make it over from one draft to the next, and the weaker ones drop off until I have something I think works really well.

This map is not going to end up as a finished or final draft. It’s a first draft and all writers know what happens to first drafts! Mwahahahahaha!

Stage One – Ideas!

So before I started drawing, I sat down and thought about what I could include in a kingdom dedicated to a Nature God. I thought to myself, ‘Well, hey, obviously plants, but there are plenty of plant-environments out there, let’s include as many as possible.’

Top Tip Time: When setting off on world-building missions, I watch a lot of David Attenborough. Nature came up with cool ideas long before we got hold of them, and seeing the huge scale and complexity of the world we live in helps me think of options I had simply not considered. Look at the themed shows; they’re different environments, areas that can support life which you might not have thought of, how specialised life has to be to survive in certain climates, and areas that will support a lot of lifeforms together.

So here’s a short list of the one’s I thought would go together well:

  • Coniferous Forest
  • Deciduous Forest
  • Grass lands/Plains
  • Heath-land/Moorland
  • Swamps
  • Marshes
  • Arctic Tundra
  • Desert

Ch.14 Making Men of Myths - Part 3Those last two may seem a bit weird to include to you, but my rational was that there is still plant-life in both of these environments, and they are both fascinating and really tough. For a fairy-tale world rooted deeply in a sense of dark pragmatism, it seemed appropriate to include some of the toughest vegetation on the planet.

Also, I did think about including such things as rain-forests and mangrove swamps, but I wasn’t sure I could get everything onto one landmass and I just can’t quite see Jack O’Green, famously English folkloric figure hanging out in a rain-forest.

Stage Two – Start Sketching (Badly)

Right, so having gathered up my various different areas to be included, I needed to sketch out where and how they would fit together. I started at the top and bottom, putting in the desert in the South where it could be expected to be warmer, and the tundra in the north, which is appallingly Northern-hemisphere of me, and I now that people in Australia or New Zealand have a different experience. Sometimes you just end up going with what you know, but I’d be really interested in seeing a different take on fantasy maps that play around with the notions of compass directions and whatnot.

Landmass 1

So currently my sketch looks like this:

(I know that I can’t spell Deciduous, I’m sorry…

I write because spelling is hard!)

Anyway, you can see that I basically just squished what started out as circles of environment together into this overlapping mass of different lands. The idea being that all of these places would have their own cultures and peoples living there, but it still feels very much like one kingdom ruled by one person who has a specific ascetic going on.

I experimented a lot in this early stage with where to put things, and how big certain areas would be, and I was still tinkering with it even while moving the drawing onto the next stage! You’ll probably note that all my maps start out with this big slightly ugly sketching stage where I just play around with vague ideas until things start to feel right.

I recommend making all your early sketches look a little bit messy and unattractive – it makes throwing away a bad idea much easier than it will be if you put time and effort into making it look all pretty and fantastical, only to decide that you don’t like the ideas it’s illustrating so much now you’ve slept on it for a week.

Stage Three – Insert Backbones

Right! No more disembodied shapes, now to make it look like a real map!

First to draw a coastline, it’s not a very imaginative one, but this is only a first draft after all. I need to get better at this whole ‘wiggly line’ thing, because fighting my urge to just draw straight from A to B is not what coastlines are all about!

Landmass 2

And to add in some mountain ranges to start dividing up the kingdom a bit. Not too much following of the old sketch-lines, but then again landscapes don’t tend to follow nice interlocking curves anyway.

A big mountain range to separate the desert part a bit, and a little off-shoot range to make the grass-lands look a bit more interesting. (No, I’m not avoiding drawing grass for ages, what are you talking about?)

Lots more mountains in the north, but I associate pine forests and heaths with mountains anyway, so I guess that makes sense. The marshland has been squished out a little, I may need to think about that a bit more…

Too much mountain? Possibly, but I like drawing mountain ranges, and I’m not all that great at trees on maps, so maybe that’s best for everyone! I need to put some serious practice into drawing forests at some point, but it is not this day.

Stage Four – Details!

Right, let’s turn all these elements into a proper map, shall we?

Landmass 3There’s rivers and lakes to be added, trees to put in and grass to draw. I put in some lighter lines on the mountains so they look prettier (I have priorities, you know, and mountains are all of them…)

Please excuse the terrible place-holder names! As everyone who’s read my Power of Names post knows, this is not an area I have a whole lot of imagination in at all!

Does anyone have any tips on how to draw swampland to look different from marshland? I had absolutely no idea, so it’s been left blank for a bit until I think of something! Any recommendations in the comments will be gratefully received!

I jotted in a couple of places I could imagine a city being positioned too, although taking a second look at this, none of them are near a good source of water, so the second attempt at this map is definitely going to be tackling this problem better!

What Next?

Well, I once wrote a post, In Defence of Doing Nothing, which I swear wasn’t totally an advert for idleness! Essentially I believe in letting ideas sit for a bit before going back to them. Like with editing, it gives me a bit of distance to decide if I’m attached to an idea or not.

So there’ll be some other maps and whatnot, I’ll have a bit of a play around and do a bit more research to see if there’s any folklore that I think I can make off with and apply.

Then I’ll redraw the map, probably a bit larger. There were a few places on this draft that got a bit squished as I ran out of space, so a bit of extra space will be a bonus. It will also allow me to put more detail in, and think about what kind of settlements Jack O’Green’s lands would need or want.

As always, I hope that this was helpful to some of you and interesting at least for others!

If you did like this post, do check out the Chronicles in Creation series here, and if you have any cool ideas for The Green Man’s kingdom, please do drop me a note in the comments – it’s great to hear what other people think after all!

See you next time, everyone!