Master Cartographer

Leopold watched with quiet fascination as Jeremus drew another line of ink across the parchment’s yellowed face with subtle delicacy. For hours he had watched the Master Cartographer at work, crafting a tapestry of lines and dots with nothing but a red feathered quill and a squat pot of ink. Mountains, fields, valleys and oceans; the sprawling lands of Avyern all captured in the space of a single spread of parchment.

‘What is that over there?’ Leopold asked, pointing over Jeremus’s shoulder at a maze of valleys that spread like webs across the right of the page.

‘That, my dear boy, is the Valley of Cartenal’s Tempest. It was right within that winding labyrinth where the chosen champion of the goddess Cartenal struck down the forces of darkness.’ Pushing up his glasses, Jeremus pointed a finger at a cluster of fields to the north. ‘And these here are the fields of Ravenhol.’

Leopold gasped. ‘The very same fields where the armies of ancient Alladeigh fought against the dark god Titan in the Battle of Redspear?’

Jeremus smiled and gave a pleased nod. ‘The very same.’

‘And that there? What of that?’ Leopold asked. He stretched to point to a lone mountain peak that stood to the east, far further from any of the previously labelled areas.

Jeremus went silent. Slowly, he set down his quill and let out an exasperated sigh. ‘That… that is Mount Greg.’

Leopold felt his brow furrow at the peculiar name. ‘Mount… Greg? That’s truly its name?’

‘Yes, it is,’ Jeremuis said bluntly, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. ‘Greg climbed the peak first not three summers past. And, since he was the one to conquer it, he had the honour of giving it its name. He clearly, however, had no courtesy for any established naming conventions’

‘Greg from the baker’s stall?’

‘Yes, Greg from the baker’s stall.’

‘Greg, that is usually at the tavern?’

‘Yes, Greg from the tavern.’

‘The same Greg that—’

‘Yes, that Greg.’

The pair sat in silence for a moment.

‘Didn’t he just leave to go mountain climbing in the west?’

Jeremus didn’t reply. Instead, he delicately lifted the partially complete map and folded it three times over, before he gently tore it in half down its centre. ‘Perhaps we shall try this again on his return.’

Photo by Jakob Braun on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Master Cartographer

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    1. I love the messiness of history and especially the fantasy of naming conventions. Always cracks me up with how much time we spend trying to make great fantasy names for places, when there are countless rivers in the world that sum up to ‘River River’.

      Liked by 1 person

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