Cities of Zemědobar

Meška's map of Caerlean

Orlon – ‘hedge-lands’. Zemědobar is a land of fertile black soil, lush wild-flower meadows and the start of the imposing oak forests that encircle Stromnoha. Beneath the thick thorn hedges that dissect the land are miles of ditches, some natural, others man-made. The drainage system in Orlon, and Zemědobar as a whole, works superbly; as a result, vegetables and beets are the main industry.

The rebel prince Wulfwode was born in Orlon, within the local temple of Llew. This temple is surrounded by a belt of curiously-tinged red oaks, and at its centre stands the ‘Rhuddstone’ – a natural monolith thirty feet tall and seventy feet in circumference that is angled to the summer solstice sunrise. As the sun rises on the day of midsummer, it bathes the red-hued stone in a fiery light. A notch cut into the top of the stone fills with shadow; when the shadow is at its deepest, this is said to be the moment of ‘consummation’ between earth and sun. The shadow represents the manhood of the sun, while the notch is the earth’s womb, the red light signifying her maiden-blood. Their annual marriage complete, the earth and sun continue on their way throughout the year.

Solgenn – ‘Out of the mud’, literally ‘from the soil’. County town of Zemědobar. Once covered in a vast network of watercourses all spilling from the Great Itchen, Solgenn’s name derives from the acres of bog-oak that surround the city. Several centuries worth of decayed vegetation have made this land one of the finest in which to grow potatoes, carrots and cereals, its flat peaty fields fringed with wind-bent willows and the odd solitary oak.

In keeping with this land of plenty, a temple of Arianda, Goddess of Fertility, stands at the centre of the city, built out of pale moonstone and whitebeam. This temple was the birthplace and childhood home of the bastard family of Angear Rhudlyon, 1st Aorl of Sučovȉk, chosen for its convenient yet discreet distance from the capital. The Lyon family lived here until 546, when they were driven out by their cousin, Angheorte II, and the temple partially destroyed. Carved upon the tumbledown archways, you will still find the badge of the Lyon family – a rampant lion, standing amidst a field of snowdrops.