World of Verdin

Setting the Stage in Raven’s Deep

A lot of authors use their own names as the title of their author’s website.  George R.R. Martin has Stephen King has, and so on and so forth.  So it’s only natural that you may find yourself wondering why in the world I’ve called this site “Raven’s Deep?”  Well, it all has to do with setting.

To begin with, I’ll start by saying that Raven’s Deep is not a book title or a story title.  Instead, it’s something that I think is a little more exciting and intimate than that.

When I first began developing the world of Verdin, I was 13 years old—so a while back.  As a kid, I really wasn’t thinking much beyond the story line that I’d originally dreamed up.  I’m, um…I’m not going to embarrass myself by explaining what that first plot line was.  Just know that its cringe-level was way off the charts.

As I matured, however, so did the world I had conceived.  As my interest in archaeology and ancient cultures grew, Verdin changed from being a nebulous and generic fantasy setting into something far more lush and complex.  Over time, I’ve developed many cultures, locales, myths, and legends for Verdin.  One of those developments was Raven’s Deep and it is that setting that I’ve chosen to use as a sort of hub for the website.

Setting the Stage for Storytelling

When it comes to writing a good story, setting is a critical element of writing fiction of any length.  In short, setting lets the reader know where and when they are.  To a certain degree, it also gives them some clue regarding what to expect as each story usually conforms to one or more tropes that are specific to its genre or sub-genre.  Setting  also helps to establish a story’s mood and provides a backdrop against which events will unfold.

Establishing a good setting is so important that it can sometimes also act as a character in its own right.  Why?  Because plot and setting are inextricably interlinked.  No matter how you look at it, your setting affects your characters and how events play out in the world.  To illustrate this point, take a moment to think about how your immediate environment, whether it be school, work, or even a rainy day, affect you.  What influence does your setting have on you and the events taking place?  The setting in a story exerts similar influences on characters and plot.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here (I will in a later post) but if you want to read a little more about setting as a literary device, provides a lot of great examples.

Raven’s Deep – A history

Raven’s Deep is a port town of the seediest kind.  It is nestled along the eastern edge of the Andiran continent.  A natural harbor, the lagoon has been in use as a port for almost two thousand years.  Before that, however, it was a place shrouded in mystery.  Originally known by the Elvish word for haven, “berath,” the elves of the Imn’sin and Nem’sin held it to be sacred—and not just because the shoreline’s peculiar crescent shape reminded them of the moon goddess Imnira or because the reflection of the night sky in the harbor’s calm waters brought to mind her twin brother Nemesi.  Instead, on Midsummer’s Eve during the month of Wilting, the moon rises over the waters, appearing exactly in the middle of the crescent’s points at dusk, cutting a swath of light across the darkening lagoon.

Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, tales of the gold and silver-laden shrine reached other ears—those of the Pirate Lord Bruin’hai.  One clear midsummer’s night, as the elves of the Nem’sin and Imn’sin engaged in their rituals to the Divine Twins, Bruin’hai led his crew into the harbor using longboats, leaving his ship anchored in open water just beyond the crescent.  They slaughtered many of the worshipers, who were unarmed and caught unaware.  Those that could fled in panic.  In the end, the carnage was such that clouds of crows and ravens came to feed on the dead and Bruin’hai came to call the place Raven’s Deep.  The name has stuck ever since. A known stronghold for pirates, mercenaries, assassins, thieves, and the like, it has been grudgingly allowed to operate outside of Dracinian rule.

Home of The Hunter

Currently, it also serves as a sort of anchor within the mortal world for Neria, the Drael trickster goddess of treachery, vengeance, and madness.  One of a trio of void-born deities known collectively as the Beloved of Thalatthshe loves meddling in mortal affairs and as such plays a huge role in Verdin.  In fact, she was even mentioned in a prophecy by Osvig the Mad of Eskivik, who foretold her introduction of Drael influence into Verdin, saying:

“…I saw a darkness following close
the Lady of Laughter,
soaked in the dew of slaughter,
the toast of ravens.
Heralded by her deceiving grin, they came,
a shield-storm from the whisper-dark.
Cruelly bound were those
not sacrificed on blood-embers…”

Within the world of Verdin, Raven’s Deep is where one would find adventure and stories, intrigue and danger.  Many a great saga started with a chance meeting at this port town.  As such, it seemed fitting that it should serve not only as the namesake for my blog but also as the setting from which I would introduce Verdin to you, the reader.

So what do you think?  Fitting or no?  Let me know in the comments.

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