Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this post, I want to take another moment to share this absolutely beautiful map made by Grayson. I adored working with them on this project, and this map is everything I could have hoped for in my debut series map.
When I was younger, my dad used to say that you could tell a book was good if there was a map at the front, so having this map felt fortuitous to me. Thank you Grayson for helping make it possible.
Fantasy worlds are so much fun for me. I love getting to play around with the geography and settings of the country, how weather and placement of kingdoms affect politics and trade, and creating locations that suit the struggles my characters will face.
The first book in the series takes place in the kingdom of Kaizia, the middle kingdom on the continent seen in the map above. There are other land masses in this world, but this continent is the only one that mattered to the story. Kaizia is a land that is lush with forests, and has its cities interspersed through out. This means that life inside the city can be very different to those living in more isolated villages, but also that power tends to be drawn to the capital city, leaving the outer cities more on their own.
The capital city of Kaizia is called Norbury, and is home to the palace, as well as having the Legionnaire barracks and rebel hideout on its borders. The city itself was a lot of fun for me to create. I envisioned this as the original settling place in the country, but then as time went on and more people flocked to the city, they started running out of places to build homes. Instead of cutting down the forest around them, people got creative, building home that squished between existing buildings or stacked on top of their neighbors. It leaves a lot of opportunities for the characters to get stuck or make quick exits, so I felt it really added to the scenes they spent in the city.
On the outskirt of the city is the Legion barracks. Since not every legionnaire becomes a guard or soldier, gifted military lives separate from the non-gifted military who live in the palace barracks. This is also because of the divide meant to keep religion out of their government, which is a huge part of what the conflict of the novel centers around.
To the north is Gotar. We don't know a lot about this kingdom because they hate the Gifted. They long ago cut off ties with both Kaizia and its southern neighbor Taezhali for supporting those with the gods gifts, and have spent that time trying to get rid of the gifted. The most we see of this kingdom comes in the form of one of Saiden and Mozare's missions, which was a lot of fun for me to write.
Taezhali is the warm, desert-filled kingdom to the south of Kaizia and an ally to the rebellions cause. They're known in this novel as an exporter of whiskey, but we will get to see more of this country in future novels.
I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peak into the world of THE LEGIONNAIRE and have fun exploring it in your own reading!