Attention dear passengers, this is captain Eklas talking. Welcome on board of the flight from Odrava to Rilg! Be sure to keep your seatbelts fastened while you get to experience what could possibly be one of the most ambitious mapping projects ever, or the most disastrous plane crash in history.
Escape to Escadia (an introduction)
It's been nearly three years now since I started mapping Drabantia – turbulent, tumultuous, but ultimately wonderful years for both the country and me personally. Cultivating its soil, taking care of the tiniest of sprouts, nurturing the good and removing every feral weed, then to observe a lovable blossom of peculiarity – these three years have taught me love, patience and pain, and ultimately have brought to me a tremendous degree of satisfaction, not only the vague, lingering feeling of momentary joy, but a sense of something higher, the essential substance of true achievement,... (Virginia Woolf mode deactivated.)
From takeoff to the landing, Drabantia has been an important experience to me, finally yielding satisfactory results in its recent time, truly teaching me a lot, and not only about the world of digital geofiction, and I'm incredibly grateful for it (and most importantly, it has been really fun). But, what would life be without the constant urge to reach higher? And so it came to me, the wild, exciting thought of acquiring more, the more in question being more territory, and that territory in turn being the southern neighbor of Drabantia, UL102, or, as the name everyone seems to be more fond of goes, Escadia, a sizable expanse of land spanning a thousand kilometers in one direction and seven hundred in the other, amounting to some 295,000 km2, or the size of Poland, if you will.
Officially receiving the territory on March 8th, 2019, and claiming it April 2nd (mark your calendars, as these will have been days of utmost significance on the Escadian historical timeline), I have decided to create a communal page to organize my thought, and, to share it with the world, and you're reading it right now. So, sit back, and enjoy what's beneath from the comfort of your window seat, business class.
The Nature of UL102
Being nearly five times larger, Escadia will allow for a greater level of topographic diversity than Drabantia. From the plains of southern Escadia to the mountains in the west and east, to the 40 kilometers of shoreline Escadia has been generously allocated, each corner of the country will be completely different.
However, size could be a disadvantage, and I am fully aware of that. I will no longer be able to draw every single stream, every patch of forest, and I will almost certainly never in my lifetime achieve a satisfactory level of detail. But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and when life gives you a huge canvas, you paint something epic. And large-scale. (wow!)
Climate and vegetation
Köppen class Df for humid temperate climate, Dfb for the northern part with warm summers and Dfa for the southern part with scorching hot summers. Or should it perhaps be Dwb and Dwa, indicating dry winters, making the climate similar to the northeast of China? Either way, just like the recent discussion about phone codes, it doesn't really matter much.
The southeastern part (and i realize how incredibly confusing it is to say that, meaning the central? mid-eastern? part of the country with a shape so unpractical to describe), the southeastern part will have somewhat of a steppe character, with very little vegetation other than grasses, and possibly agricultural use. Going to the north, deciduous forest appears, slowly shifting into mixed and then coniferous forest in the mountains at the northern border. And then, once you overcome the mountain range, in the very north, you enter the Banuvian lowland, already familiar to those who know Drabantia, a smaller and a tad more humid version of the great plains in the south.
The previous owner of the territory, as it would appear to me, used an online generator to come up with vaguely Scandinavian or perhaps Baltic place names, yielding results with varying degrees of success. Then, as you might still be able to read on the Escadia wiki page, they added some elements of Germanic (?) languages and topped it off by stating English is also an official language in the country. And as far as the vibe, the general feel of the country goes based on the names, I don't have objections. But, as they currently are, the names are largely ambiguous and influenced by too many different external languages.
So, this presents a challenge: how do I bring all of these influences under the same roof, how do I combine them to create a language that's both realistic and somehow retains the old feel of the country? And how to make it stand out among all the supposedly Nordic UL150-something countries?
I first of all don't want to go the Germanic way that many others did before me, because there just... isn't any Germanic country in the neighborhood, and besides that, it's pretty basic. (Yeah, see you in Štemperk, Drabantia, the city whose name definitely isn't derived from Sternberg.) Neither could I continue in the Baltic direction, because without the knowledge of Baltic languages, that would be just awkward. Although there is the country of Chira nearby, and it would actually share borders if Mallyore didn't exist (the Treaty of Varventis was a mistake. 1799, worst year of my life - more on that later).
But luckily enough, I speak Estonian at an intermediate level. And because of the proximity of Escadia to Karolia, which is obviously Estonian inspired, I am going to take the opportunity and redo Escadia in a Finno-Baltic theme. In the future, I imagine UL099 could be the motherland to languages related to Karolian and Escadian, just like real world Siberia is to the Uralic languages. I am also finally going to use my Slavic heritage, because in a country bordered by Slavics from north, west and south, significant cultural influence can be expected. Pierogi time.
I am not looking to create an entire conlang, because that would be exhausting, and I lack the proper knowledge anyway (and also, I don't have any more time to deal with the partitive plural). What I instead did was creating a spreadsheet with basic words describing nature, geography, buildings and properties in several languages such as Czech (Drabantian), Russian (Surian), Croatian (Mallyorian), Estonian and Finnish, and then I transcribed these words into the new "Escadian" language following a relatively loose set of rules.
- Including the area of the Egalian lake, which doesn't formally belong to any region.
(more is to come)