Cities, towns and villages
Many towns and villages in Valdyas are on a river and optionally called
"Something-on-Something". Where that is the case both names are
given. This list is not at all exhaustive.
Valdis, Ildis, Veray, Rizenay and Lenay have stone walls, and so did Dol-Rayen when it still existed. Essle, larger than these six combined, has neither walls
nor gates, but is called a city because of its size. Turenay has only a wooden palisade, but it's
a city as well.
- Also called Albatire. Port city on the north coast of Iss-Peran in the kingdom of the
same name. The harbour guard alone is larger than the whole population
of Lenay. The palace of the Enshah is there.
- Settlement deep in the Iss-Peran desert,
near the equator. Without the imperial palace it would probably be an
insignificant oasis, but in fact it's the hub of the whole empire.
- Dol-Rayen (Merie Dol-Rayen)
- City in Idanyas, effectively its capital until
it was destroyed by a battle between King Athal and the primeval entity
that lived under the city. Built on the foundations of a much older city at
the mouth of the river Mera. It was an impressive
sight with its whitewashed buildings and the great gate with the words
Dol Rayin Anshein "City of the Protection of Anshen" written over it.
Its function of main port of Idanyas and location for shipyards is being
taken over by Selday.
- Erday (Valdie Erday)
- Former village in Lenyas, with about 700
inhabitants. Stronghold of the Guild of the Nameless, destroyed by King
Athal. The most famous Lenyas wine, Hostleni Grin "Swans' Blood"
comes from a vineyard very close to it. This legend
(in Dutch) tells about the origin of the wine.
- Semi-independent port city in the delta of the Valda. Opinions
differ on whether it's a diffuse city or a densely populated archipelago.
Here's an extensive description
- Name of two villages north of Ildis. There's
Reshinen Glan ("Glan in the Wood"), very small and impenetrable, and Ildie
Glan ("Glan-on-Ilda"), slightly larger and friendlier. The Ilda is navigable downstream from here, and there's
nothing of any importance further north on the Ilda (yet; more land is
being made habitable, especially by the Houses Brun and Hayan), only woods where some
trappers live. In the autumn of 525, Glan became the scene of a battle
between the usurper Rhanion, who tried to seize the throne, and Queen
Alyse's troops. Rhanion was eventually driven off and took refuge in the
castle of Sarabal.
- Gralen (Rychie Gralen)
- Village in Ryshas (about 200 inhabitants) with
the largest brewery in the region - easy, because there are only two
large breweries in this wine-growing country. The master brewer, Torin,
had a landing-stage built when he set up; before that time the village
was considered too insignificant to have one.
- Gulynay (Valdei Gulynay)
- Village grown around the inn and stables where the Valda becomes
navigable in the north. The name means "Falls of the Valda".
- City on the Ilda with about twenty thousand
inhabitants, though it would comfortably house about half that number.
It's built on the only dry spot in the middle of a swamp, making it next to
impossible to enlarge it outwards so people have been doing it upwards for
generations. Most houses have five or six floors and some have to be held
up by wooden beams. Famous for its silversmiths, who are mostly there for
historical reasons (one historical reason in fact: there was a nobleman in
Ildis in the time of King Vegelin the
Great who went down in history as "Mad Hayan" - he
collected silversmiths the way children collect pretty pebbles). Ildis
also has the Academy. The city
was the main stronghold of the Guild of the Nameless until the battle of Glan in 525, when it was thoroughly purified.
- Lenay (Valdie Lenay)
- City in Lenyas, literally on the Valda: many houses are on bridges. About 7.000
inhabitants. The Temple of Mizran
in Lenay is famous for having corrupt Mighty Servants; in the last
three hundred years, not one of them has been completely honest. Trade
is flourishing, however.
- Liorys (Valdie Liorys)
- The ancestral estate of the House Brun, half a day's ride north of
Valdis. The original keep has been enlarged and
rebuilt countless times and is now a sprawling conglomerate of towers,
halls, houses and outbuildings, dominated by an eight-sided tower that
houses the Temple of Anshen.
It overlooks a small but prosperous village.
- Nesile (Ildie Nesile)
- Small village exactly halfway between Ildis and
Glan; nes-ile means "half-way".
- Nesh (Rychie Nesh)
- Village about a day's ride west of Veray. It
serves as "gate to Veray" for travellers from Essle and Tilis as well as most
travellers from Valdis, because all traffic along
the Rycha has to pass through. Consequently,
lodging in its only inn is very expensive.
- Rizenay (Valdie Rizenay)
- The northernmost city in Valdyas, in sheep country. It has a
sub-arctic continental climate, with the ground only thawing completely
in a very warm summer. The city was founded in the early days of the
kingdom by the House Rizean, a small duyin house. It has about
2,500 inhabitants in summer, 3,000 in winter when many farmers and
shepherds seek a warmer place to live. There are three annual fairs: the
lamb market at the end of spring, the sheep-shearing festival in early
summer, and the cloth market in late summer. For the rest of the year
Rizenay is virtually isolated. Most houses have two front doors, one in the
usual position and one on a balcony on the first floor to allow entrance
when the snow is high. Rizenay is famous for its cloth and tapestry
industry, as well as for its windmills. People are reputed to turn into
sheep if they stay there too long.
- Rizene Tal-Ryth
- Village with about 400 inhabitants two days' ride south of Rizenay. It has an inn called "Halla's Right Hand"
because, like many other villages in the north, it purports to be Valdie Sali. The Valda is
navigable from here, but only from late spring (because of the
melting-water from the mountains) to early autumn (because of the
- Rychie Tal-Serth
- "Glass Village on the Rycha", where wine bottles and low-grade
drinking glasses are made.
- Headland with a castle on the south coast. Traditional refuge of grand
masters in the Guild of the Nameless,
until it was taken after Rhanion's rebellion and given to a baroness in the
Guild of Anshen by Queen Alyse II.
- Sarbale Tal-Ryth
- Fishing village on the shore under the headland of Sarabal. Lately, a large number of refugees
from Aumen Síth have settled there and turned
the village effectively Síthi.
- Port town in the eastern part of Idanyas, the
closest port to Essle. After the fall of Dol-Rayen it has become much more important for
trade and shipbuilding.
- Village on the northern border of Idanyas,
close to the Western Plain. The name means
- Small village in the Western Plain, about ten
days' travel from Ildis, with extensive horse
ranches belonging to the House Brun.
- Village just south of Rizenay. The name means
- Village in western Lenyas with a manor-house
belonging to a branch of the House Eraday. Note that nus means
"backside", in more than one sense of the word.
- Name of at least one village in every rural region. It means "Chief
- "Glass Village", name of two villages with glass industry in Ryshas: Turene Tal-Serth
and Rychie Tal-Serth. Better qualities of
glassware come from Iss-Peran and, until a
few decades ago, Solay.
- Tal-Sorn (Valdie Tal-Sorn)
- Village about four days downstream from Valdis. There's a toll-gate
there, but it's not often used. The name means "Toll Village". It has
an inn called Mornie "The Carp".
- Village in southern Ryshas, named after the
legendary mage Vurian (Vauryn is the form of his name in the local
dialect) who lived there and disappeared one day, leaving his house a
charred ruin. It is still there; nobody dares build on the site. Here's
the story (in Dutch).
- Baron's castle and two villages in the wetlands at the beginning of
the main delta of the Valda. Tilis Moy
"Great Tilis" is to the east of the castle, Tilis Rhas "Little
Tilis" to the west. All of Tilis together has about a thousand
inhabitants. There's a strong presence of the Guild of Anshen, especially in Great
Tilis. Queen Alyse's ancestors on
her mother's side were farmers from Tilis. In spring, when the Rycha is in spate, Tilis is usually under one to
three feet of water; most houses, as well as the castle, are built on
- City in Ryshas with medicinal springs and the
school of the Guild of Anshen. The name
literally means "bath-place". It has about 6.000 inhabitants and usually
about 2.000 permanent and semi-permanent guests in the season (autumn and
winter) who come to take the waters.
- Turene Tal-Serth
- "Glass Village near Turenay", where mostly window-panes and similar
things are made.
- Valdie Sali
- "Thingy on the Valda", the name that Mailei Halla, King Vegelin the Great's historian, gave to her
native village. Many if not most villages in the north sport an inn called
"Halla's Right Hand" (facts are supposed to be written with the right hand,
fiction with the left, regardless of the actual handedness of the writer;
Halla wrote a book of folk tales in her old age, called Mailei Hallei
rainei lhayi gylsin "Book of Mailei
Halla's Left Hand") and say that their village is the one and only
- Royal city and capital of Valdyas, with about 70.000 inhabitants. The
original fort was built in the fork where the Ilda
joins the Valda. A village, later a city, grew around
it. The Royal Palace, still called the Fort, has the old fort at its
centre. Valdis outgrew its walls at least twice; King Vegelin the Great finally had a set
of walls built that accommodated the growing city for nearly two hundred
years. The eight-sided Keep of Anshen, the main stronghold of the Order of the Sworn of Anshen, was
incorporated into Vegelin the Great's walls. Until that time it had been a
separate fortification south of the city. The city now also sports a
school for higher
education, the School of Knowledge, founded by Queen
- Veray (Rychie Veray)
- Market city in Ryshas with the baron's castle.
Minor stronghold of the Guild of the Nameless, though most barons have been
either neutral or in the Guild of
Anshen. The week before Midsummer fencing and wrestling tournaments are
held in Veray; the winners are considered to be the champions of all
Valdyas. The Wine Fair in autumn is famous and makes its population of
15,000 easily double for about two weeks around the Feast of Mizran at the autumn
- Chenyas Telhin
- "Western Plain": immense grasslands to the west of Valdyas. Valdyas
is encroaching on it, but not very fast because it is only marginally
habitable. Herds of wild and half-wild horses roam it, followed by
tribes of nomads. Villages like Tal-Crun attract
some trade from the plains people, who come to exchange horses, bone
objects and skins for metal weapons, tools and cooking utensils. In the
southern part of the plains, a combined army of Plains people and Valdyan
troops led by Reshan astin Eraday is
fighting against Khas who venture too far north for comfort.
- Hinyas Havin
- "The Northern Highland": the frozen wasteland surrounding the North
Pole. In summer there's probably some open water as well, because polar
bears have been sighted almost as far south as Rizenay in long bad winters. People usually stay south
of the mountains and don't cross to the highland beyond.
- Region to the west of Essle, separated from the rest of Valdyas by a
swamp to the east and virtually impenetrable woods and moors to the north.
Idanyas, like its ruling House Rhydin, has always gone its own
way, perhaps a little too much for the tastes of Queen Alyse II: she
visited it in order to establish herself as Queen of all Valdyas.
The Guild of the Nameless is
emphatically not welcome
in Idanyas; the Guild of Anshen
holds border patrols to ensure that no enemy even enters it. Even
though (or perhaps because) this means that every semte in Idanyas is
in the Guild of Anshen there's an uneasy feeling in the air, more so than
in the rest of Valdyas where both Guilds interact freely. Since the
fall of Dol-Rayen, Selday
has become more important as a port.
- Wine-growing region along the Valda. The ground
is mostly limestone here and the Valda has carved itself a deep ravine
between the hills. The most famous wine in all of Valdyas, Swans'
Blood, comes from Lenyas.
- The wine-growing region in eastern Valdyas along the river Rycha. Ryshas is the most prosperous region in all of
Valdyas, which is greatly helped by the fact that it has the best
climate (barring Idanyas, but that is so far away
that it usually isn't taken into consideration).
- Central of the Five Kingdoms. Mostly
agricultural land surrounding the immense port
city of the same name. It's ruled by the Enshah-elect
Koll Konandé and his wife, the Azure Princess Yilde, daughter
of the late Enshah.
- Easternmost of the Five Kingdoms. Its king is
- The Five Kingdoms
- Kingdoms on the north coast of Iss-Peran which
have formed an alliance to fight against the invading Khas: from east to
west Dasht, Jahan Javan,
Albetire, Il Ayande and
- Il Ayande
- One of the Five Kingdoms, immediately west of
Albetire. In danger of being conquered by the
Khas. Its queen is Darya.
- A continent, most of it one empire, across the sea to the South of
Valdyas. Exports: spices, medicines, fine textiles, glassware, dried fruit
and other luxury goods. Much of the trade with Valdyas is from the Five Kingdoms and goes through Albetire, especially now that part of the harbour
quarter there is Valdyan territory. There are many different peoples in
Iss-Peran. Iss-Peranian people are usually brown-skinned, ranging from
slightly darker than the average Valdyan to almost blue-black. There is a
common trade language, understood by almost everyone from Iss-Peran who is
involved with speakers of other languages (either on their own continent
or from overseas)
- Jahan Javan
- One of the Five Kingdoms, adjoining Albetire
on the east. Its king is Baran.
- Westernmost of the Five Kingdoms. Conquered by
the Khas. King Aheste of Jomhur is in Albetire seeking military aid to take
his country back.
- Solay (Aumen Síth)
- City state on the east coast of the desert region south of the Western Plain. Until it was completely overrun by the
Khas it was ruled by the priesthood, but it also had an emperor who thought
he was in power. It used to be an important trade partner, but after a fire
in the harbour trade almost collapsed. Ships no longer call at Solay, but
take the direct route to Iss-Peran in spite of
pirates, many of whom are former soldiers of the Emperor of Solay. The name
means "gold-place". In its own language, Síth Kura, it's called
Aumen Síth. Arnei
Arvi travelled to Solay and kept a diary (here in Dutch).
- Country to the east of Valdyas across the mountains, nominally
belonging to the royal house by marriage, but largely left alone under its
own rulers. The ruling monarch does have the official
title "king/queen of Valdyas and Velihas".
- River which runs first due south and then east from a lake in the
northern mountains to Valdis, where it joins the
- River that gives Lenyas its name. Its source is in the mountains
between southern Lenyas and Idanyas. It flows, or
rather throws itself, into the Valda just south of Lenay. For most of its
length it's shallow enough to wade through.
- The main river of Idanyas; it originates somewhere in the Western Plain and runs roughly south-east until it
flows into the sea at Dol-Rayen. Unlike all
other rivers in Valdyas, it's not part of the basin of the Valda.
- Shallow stream that runs south from high in the eastern mountains, past
Turenay, joining the Rycha
between Tal-Serth and Gralen.
- River that runs west from the mountains near Bryn
Nanei. It splits in two along the way to be called Rycha Havin
"Northern Rycha" and Rycha Hanre
"Southern Rycha", rejoins itself, and then flows into the Valda north of Tilis. The Rycha
is mostly a meltwater river, though it does have a source in the mountains,
and goes into spectacular spate every spring.
- The largest river in Valdyas. It runs more or less straight north-south
all the way from the mountains bordering the Northern
Highland to the sea at Essle. Its main tributaries
are the Ilda and the Rycha. In
fact, most of the country south of Tilis consists of
the delta of the Valda.
- Bryn Asel
- "Grey Mountain", though Asel is usually considered to be
its name, "Mount Asel". Working volcano in southern Velihas. It is part of the scenery in this story (in Dutch).
- Bryn Nanei
- "The Mother's Mountain", a holy place of the Mother in the mountains that
Valdyas from Velihas, close to the source of the
river Rycha. The sanctuary itself is a hill of
gravel: pilgrims have been bringing pebbles from home for generations.
Here is a story about it