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Concerning “The Lorebringer`s Map of the Continent”

The World of The Witcher, incarnations of which are becoming hard to count in one sentence, is rich. Even though designed mostly as a decoration for the story, Andrzej Sapkowski`s typewriter has made it live its own life. Vibrant descriptions of the lands and their histories give a background and authentication to the heroes – and the other way around, myriad of heroes and foes from the Saga and stories give a temper to the Continent they inhabit.

Up to 2013 it seemed that this world was relatively known – a couple of maps existed and despite mistakes they allowed the reader or gamer to orient themself in the universe. The consecutive fan versions were created, removing non-mentioned rivers and hills, adding omitted locations… And then the Season of Storms came. Ka-boom.

Many opinions can be said about the newest novel by Sapkowski, but one must be admitted – the way it expands lore, that is the world and its mythology, is a sight to behold. New witcher school? there is. New Sign? there is. The full story of the martyrdom of Prophet Lebioda? there is. A list of the best taverns in the Northern Realms? there is.

A confusion among cartographers? There is, as well.

In the seemingly well-known witcher world, suddenly terrae incognitae were filled – terrae not even thought to exist at first place. The Pontar River, flowing through one of the best described regions, turned out to be splitted into two anabranches, with a formerly unmentioned kingdom located between. A new chain of foothills served as a locale for one of the chapters. And so on, and so on.

Suddenly we realized that unnamed hills on Stanislav Komárek`s map were not necessarily bereft of factual basis, and locating Kerack in the Adalatte`s mouth was not a decision too bold. Because terrae incognitae on the map do not denote the void in reality – they only denote places not described by the author yet.

Which does not mean we have to surrender, to give up drawing maps at all. On the contrary; it is an opportunity to draw them the closest way to the descriptions we can, while including this world`s opulence not yet shown in a proper way.

The Deficits, Inaccuracies and Oversights
We cannot truly deny that this world has been not properly depicted yet. And I do not mean the not yet depicted locations from the Season of Storms. Many characters bear, after all, surnames like von someplace, de somewhere-elsewhere – and the majority of these someplaces and somewheres-elsewheres have been hitherto scanted by the cartographers.

The overwhelming majority of the maps (probably all of them aside the Komárek`s one) place the Dragon Mountains, which are described as the northernmost border of the known world, just above Kovir – ignoring the fact that the novels mention the Far North which, while unexplored, is known to exist and visited by the merchants from time to time.

Another matter often bent if the Nilfgaardian geography. An unimpressive amount of provinces mentioned forces the mapmakers to either shorten the canonical distance between Alba and Yaruga or to make the known provinces so big so the Four Kingdoms can blush embarrassed. And yet it can be managed in different way. A careful lecture give us the previously unshown Duchy of Winneburg, while the analysis of the imperial forces` names reveals the lands of Magne and Daerlan.

The Lorebringer`s Map of the Continent and its assumptions
We get to the point, which is the creation of the new map. If you follow my activity, you are probably aware it has been in progress for a rather long time. Causes of this state are many, of which I can should mention my innate slothfulness, veryfying the sources countless times, consultations with other experts and, finally, the serious changes in the idea from time to time. Each of these causes however, probably excluding the slothfulness, serves a higher purpose – creating a map most accurate, devoid of the earlier errors and logical at the same time.

Some of my assumptions may be considered bold, of which probably the most controversial will be the previously non-depicted inland sea in Nilfgaard. I do not intend to force you into buying my “inventions”, so I will try to explain them below.

The Sea of Gales
One of the trivia on The Witcher world concerns its beginnings in our own. Before the Continent gained its shapes in Sapkowski`s notes, the author merged it with his other creations a few times. There are few who know that the short-story about Visenna and Korin, before incorporated into The Witcher canon, was a pared down version of his unreleased novel of no connection to The Witcher world. Town Breza and the Yarra River, before taking their place near Cintra, were at first located near the Sea of the Gales, a loation in his The Eye of Yrrhedes role-playing game.

I have decided to go further in this direction, including the other Yrrhedes locations on the map. I remind the canon purists that any cartography south to Maecht and Ebbing is just a wild guess and, to all intents and purposes, putting there a sea from AS` work of an ambiguous connection to the Witcherverse is just as arbitrary as enlarging the provinces into absurd sizes or shortening the canon distances “because we don`t know”. And the basis for acknowledging the sea exists, the game directly refers to Yennefer and Visenna in some other cases.

“Wait a moment”, would say someone, “The Witcher is no longer just the books, but the further made adaptations as well – and there is no sea in them!”

Well… According to The Witcher: A Game of Imagination, Nordling scholars dispute whether the Continent`s northern landmass ends on Ebbing or on Gemmera. Which is exactly where I put the inland sea from Sapkowski` RPG.

Far North
The next controversial topic will be probably the depiction of mammoth-inhabited lands north to Kovir. I had been thinking for long, but finally decided that if the novels clearly stated that no one knew what was north to the Dragon Mountains, the Far North should be located closer, between the Koviri vassals and the aforementioned mountain ranges. The AS Alphabet, which is a collection of the author`s notes on the world, places Velhad in this very area called Far North. I do not want my map to be pared down of these mountains, so you will be able to find the boreal forests and arctic tundra without a problem.

Few final details
The map is intended to have the three basic variants at the beginning, including the Polish “clear” version (devoid of non-Sapko locations), Polish “extended” (all the locations from the adaptations I will manage to fit) and the English one, which will be just a translated “Polish extended”. Later I will probably prepare a version with marked journeys of the heroes.

The map will be on free, non-commercial licence. The fully free is currently impossible due to lack of contact with the author of Photoshop brushes I intend to use. I am open to cooperation in translating the map into other languages as well as other projects.

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