It started with the corvids of Bulgaria, of which there are many. Then I turned to awkwords, a random word generator I’ve played with before. One fun technique is to give the program a bank of sounds and a model for how those sounds can go together. For example, the name of the Struma River, which runs through Sofia, is a fricative (S) followed by a stop (T), an approximant (R), a vowel (U), a nasal (M), and another vowel (A). What if those phonemes were all different examples of the same kinds?
Thus, the Vbyinu sea, which divides the southern continent of Sashilo from northern Gumoy and New Ozdal. It is on the coast of this sea, on the delta of the mighty Dvar Rayash river, that our story takes place. The city of Zyobaps is ruled by the Throne Flama, tall, thin folk with black skin and wrinkled faces. They command the common Flama, whose bodies are light gray, and are black only on their faces, hands, and feet. To the west are the armies of Holy Dyalfa, whose people, the Kzhaki, are small. To the east: the Fhyega people: tall, thin, and proud of their snow-colored bellies. The fertile valleys to the south are the domain of the black and bearded Darzan: wise and powerful, but disunified. The Zapaho Mountains and upland rivers are home to tribes of Yellow Garke and Red Garke, respectively. Sandy-skinned Siuke traders from across the Vbyinu sea bring stories of the elusive Zhugoyukza: spotted people of the forests beyond the Gurdem mountains. The Ushragi, with skin of sunflower yellow, tend their orchards far to the south.
Did I say “story”? I meant “setting.” No idea what’s going on in Zyobaps. Something bad, I bet.
This picture is dedicated to Kalin Nenov of the Choveshkata Biblioteka, who beta-read The Goose’s Wing and schooled me on the spelling of “Caucasus.” Not Caucases! He asked for a map, and lookit that! A map! Don’t worry, a map of the world of The Goose’s Wing is forthcoming. It’ll be printed in the anthology, itself!
Done while listening to Railsea by China Mieville.