World of Ontyre: Baris

Given events in Essence Stone, which I’m currently rewriting, my next choice of a location to examine is Baris. The City of Baris in Carrdia is a city best forgotten by characters, but it’s worth remembering for readers, for far more than roads intersect it…

Map: CA Hawthorne

Map: CA Hawthorne

Geography & Climate
Baris is located in north central Carrdia along the banks of the Wizard’s Well River and just south of the Interior Forest of the Wilder Hills. Though enjoying ample water from one of the largest rivers in the country due to its proximity, the city is otherwise dry and dusty.

Dry and dusty all the time.

Summers are hot, windy, and arid. On the rare occasions when there’s a storm and it brings rain, it’s severe, though not as bad as the Reaper Storms that haunt the eastern plains. In the winter the winds ease, but the cold is severe and, yes, the city remains parched. Even so, there’s limited irrigation near the river and hunting on the plains (just avoid the werewolves).

Early History
One constant in its history is that it’s a crossroads and the only major city in the central plains region. The road west runs to Coving and the southern Wilder Hills. East lies Rough Water and the Lost Hills region. South, the road takes a traveler to Transgamete and massive Lake Radiance. North, the road cuts through the easter Wilder Hills and ends at Carrdia’s northernmost city, Thain, along the banks of Winter Lake and at the feet of the Colossus.



Early on, though, the city prospered despite the climate because of mysquan mines nearby. Mysquan is a mineral that’s excellent at holding and powering spells. Then, the mines closed down and the economy wavered. Still, there was commerce and the city managed to survive.

The city’s original name was dropped and it was renamed Baris (along with the plains) following the Carrdia War for Independence (Survival) after the Empire collapsed. Callse Baris was a hero of the war, though he didn’t survive it, and helped drive the hordes that came from the Boiling Wastes out of the region (partly aided by the cold the invaders didn’t like).

Modern Baris
The Parthian Temple that remains from the days of the Empire symbolizes Baris in modern times. Huge, it dominates the middle of the city and the square before it. It’s also half a temple, the once breathtaking dome having become a broken egg shell, the rubble a maze where the destitute live and rebel Keepers hide, especially below where ruined sub levels are more like caves.

The city districts that prosper are walled off from the rest, which is most of the city. It’s status as a crossroads does little to aid it when the economy is dying across the country, but it’s become a crossroads for conflict between government troops, rebels, and Dioptric Ministry spies.

It’s a city of contrasts. Lawlessness and oppression thrive, as do starvation and the underground economy. The constant are the roads out of the city—and people in need.

Always there are people in need.

3 Replies to “World of Ontyre: Baris”

  1. Pingback: World of Ontyre | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. I think I’ve mentioned before how awesome your maps are! Just wonderful. And maps are such a vital part of any fantasy story. I was introduced to Tolkien via the Pauline Baynes map of Middle Earth. I must admit, my own efforts in that direction have produced a lot of map and virtually no story – after a LOT of false starts on the novel, I did eventually write a short novella/long short story (not sure which, it was 10,000 words, which is a bit betwixt and between) set in my own fantasy world. And it was published in an Australian sci-fi/fantasy compilation, which was great (the publisher also issued it as an e-book) – but my efforts to write in that world since have been a big zero. One day!

    • The famous Pauline Baynes map is exquisite because it walks that wondrous line between function and art and beautifully captures the essence of Tolkien.

      It would seem your desire to create the map was stronger than to tell the tale. No matter, for a short story was produced and now the map is there—waiting. You’ll know you’ve returned when you find yourself walking its roads.

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