At Long Last, a Map of Xii

Last week I began digitally drawing the finalized map for the realm of Xii, which will be featured in the print edition of The Starry Rise.

The realm of Xii has been a bit of a mystery in the first two books, with the mention of any features there being limited to the following:

  • The Concilium, a temple of sorts where Avn goes to convene with the Xiinisi Council;
  • The Vault, a massive structure where all the worlds the Xiinisi build are kept and studied;
  • Lyceums, arenas where Students and Masters go to debate and learn;
  • Laboratories, rooms within a larger structure where worlds are built;
  • and Isolation Chambers, self contained rooms that can be turned into Voids and used to imprison those who break the Codes of Behaviour.

There is a physical-ness to their realm, based on how they interact with the worlds they build and with their own bodies. There is a societal structure, a hierarchy  based on experience and longevity, which creates a class system made of Students, Mentors, Masters, and the rarely appointed Maven. It’s a peculiar world (they manage multiple dimensions), and yet it is still familiar to our own in some ways.

Giving this place definitive boundaries and features has been an interesting exercise, one that I started roughing out in very loose concept drawings and notes in a sketch book. As the overall idea of the world fleshed out a bit more, I sketched a side view and knew I’d captured the general feel of Xii, which you can see here.

Then I began drawing out the upside of the world in more detail, which I adjusted as I wrote the first draft of The Starry Rise. That drawing unfortunately is a big ole mess, but as you can see by the photo above, taken in my work space, the adaptation of that drawing into MS Illustrator is clean and tidy and coming along well.

Similar to the map in The Other Castle, I’ve kept the same font style, Myriad Pro, and the same line style, which is a non-uniform line that gives the feeling of having been hand drawn. Keeping the textures to a minimum and relying more on drawing the elevation lines, I’ve gone with a simpler rendering rather than a complex one, so it’s easy on the eyes.

I’m taking a break from the digital version of the map for a few days before going back and doing a final look-over. I’m pleased with it, and hope you will find it just as curious as the final installment of this trilogy.

The Starry Rise is due to be released later in the year.


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