This week I’m stepping out of Carrdia. Way out. In honor of the short story I posted a couple of days ago I’m going to touch on the country of Pannulus. Please note, though, that Pannulus, though enjoying a high profile in more than a dozen short stories that began with Bringing Light in 2015, is still a culture under development.
Geography & Climate
Pannulus includes many islands, but three are primary. Southernmost Shorus enjoys milder temperatures because warm ocean currents travel up the coast of Tremjara from the south. Scurpia, to the north, is coldest and quite windswept. By far the largest of the three, Sancthor Island, is over 500 leagues from east to west. Situated between the other two, it in general possesses three major regions: the heavily forested west, mountainous central region, and flat, marshy east.
The Tri-Islands, as they were called, were settled by explorers from the mainland. Often those were pirates and some of their hidden treasure remains. Originally, the islands were a part of the ancient Northlands Confederation, but during yet another war with the Empire the islands broke away. The Confederation was subsequently overthrown by the Shadow Lords and became Draskrith.
The newly independent islands became Pannulus, and remained neutral in the conflicts between the Emprensen Empire and Draskrith. Pannulus survived for three reasons: (1) isolation provided by leagues of water and the dangerous creatures in those waters, (2) their skill at playing the Empire against Draskrith, and (3) the high concentration of magic centered in Vortex Gulf. That magic provided additional power to the country’s magic wielders.
Eventually, the Empire collapsed, leaving chaos behind while Draskrith grew stronger, their dark rituals and sacrifices gaining followers on Scurpia Island. The resulting cults went underground and became the driving force behind the organized crime that so often peddled unregulated and illegal potions.
The concentrated magic provided an unusual level of power, but there were side effects, including a lagging birthrate. Higher levels of magic marginally extend lifespans, but also impede fertility. Those producing even a single child are held in high regard, but the pressure to produce children has led to prejudices against those who choose not to.
Draskrith agents, prejudices, religious tensions, regional differences, and a host of other conflicts are always threatening to pull the country apart internally. There are even those who advocate resettling the coastal mainland where distance from the natural magic focal point would boost the birthrate.
On a positive note, the country possesses enlightened attitudes on a multitude of issues including magic. Their advancements in technology surpass the rest of Tremjara. There are cameras, newly emerging motion pictures, lifts, airships, and motorcars in the infancy stage. Great towers service landing airships, but others help produce crops to feed the people.
All that powerful magic spiraling up out of the Vortex Gulf? Sometimes, on the lands bordering the gulf, there are problems with specters and time bending…
*For a small, flash fiction taste of Pannulus you can read The Bridge in Distant Farthing. In addition, there’s the recent short story, Taking Flight, that provides a glimpse of airships and cultural prejudices as seen through the eyes of Clarta Baris.