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The Map of All Things
By Anderson, Kevin J.
OrbitCopyright © 2011 Anderson, Kevin J.
All right reserved.
Six Years After the Burning of the Arkship
Shipbuilders’ Bay, Calay Harbor
Suspended in a rope cradle abeam of the vessel, a grizzled craftsman used mallet, chisel, and rasp to fashion the ornate lettering. He followed charcoal lines drawn on the sanded surface, coaxing the ship’s name from the wood.
Dyscovera. The word embodied everything that the magnificent new ship was meant to be, evoking the hopes pinned on her mission and her captain.
Criston Vora stood on the dock in Shipbuilders’ Bay, regarding the whole ship. His ship. Soon, she would sail across the unexplored seas to find the lost land of Terravitae. And he would succeed this time.
Using hooks and a block-and-tackle, seasoned workers scurried up the shroud lines, stringing a cat’s-cradle of ropes to support the masts and spars. From inside and outside the curved hull, caulkers hammered oakum between boards to prevent saltwater from leaking in; carpenters sanded and planed the golden wood that furnished the cabins, while painters and gilders added finishing touches to the exterior, making every detail as beautiful as possible—for Holy Joron.
Even under the bright sun, the late spring air remained crisp and cool. Work progressed on the three-masted carrack, six years after hateful Urecari saboteurs had burned the new Arkship that King Korastine had commissioned. A few blackened hull timbers could still be seen at the bottom of Shipbuilders’ Bay, where the ruined exploration vessel had sunk.
But this new ship proved that hope was not gone, merely delayed. This wasn’t the first time Criston Vora had resurrected hope from the ashes….
The bare-chested Iborian shipwright, Kjelnar, walked up and down the deck, indifferent to the chill. For a man who had grown up in the cold northern reach, this was a balmy day. Waving to Criston on the dock, he yelled over the bustling noise of construction work. “The fittings are ready, Captain! The ice-dragon horn will have its home on the Dyscovera’s prow.”
Criston cupped his hands around his mouth and called back, “Let’s hope your Iborian legends are as reliable as your craftsmanship. We need all the protection we can get.” The horn had originally been meant for Korastine’s first Arkship; fortunately, the relic had not been installed when the ship burned in the harbor. Now the horn would be kept under guard inside the main Aidenist kirk, until just before the Dyscovera sailed.
Feeling a tug on his sleeve, Criston looked down to see his young companion. “Are we going aboard, sir? I want to see what they’ve finished in your cabin since yesterday.”
Criston gave Javian an indulgent smile, feeling a bond with him. He remembered when he himself was fourteen, excited to sail out on fishing boats with his father. He would stare out to sea, imagining mysterious lands just beyond the horizon. “You’ll have more than enough time to memorize every splinter and every knot in every deckboard. I suggest you spend your time on dry land while you can, take advantage of what Calay has to offer.”
But Javian could not take his eyes off of the ship. “The sea has more to offer, sir.”
The young man had lost his mother in the last major gray fever epidemic that scoured the streets of Calay and had run away from his desperate and abusive father. Javian had told Criston how, since the age of ten, he had haunted the docks and eked out a living by doing odd jobs, begging afternoon scraps from fishmongers’ stalls.
The young man was curious, determined, and—most important of all—made himself useful. During the Dyscovera’s construction, if one of the craftsmen grumbled about an unpleasant task, Javian bounded off to do it without being asked. After observing him, Criston had offered to make Javian his personal cabin boy for the voyage.
So much like me, when I was his age…
It had been more than eighteen years since the Luminara sailed under Captain Andon Shay with similar dreams and determination. Back then, Criston and his crewmates had gone beyond the boundaries of any known map… and he had lost everything. Though he survived the shipwreck, his life was forever changed. After many quiet years as a hermit, Criston had decided to face life again and return to the sea. He’d been back among humanity for six years now, but he never stopped feeling alone. His focus, his obsession, set him apart from others: Criston was sure that the Luminara had been close, very close, to her sacred destination. With the Dyscovera, he intended to go back and search again.
A hush drifted across the docks like an unexpected breeze. A group of blue-uniformed royal guards escorted an old man in plush maroon robes. King Korastine leaned on a carved walking stick, though he seemed embarrassed to be using it. The king had closely watched the progress of the Dyscovera, from the laying of the keel to the setting of ribs and the mounting of hull planks. Criston knew how badly Korastine wanted to sail away from Tierra. Years ago, the king had planned to go aboard the new Arkship, along with Destrar Broeck, both of them hoping to find peace from the tragedies in their lives. But that was not meant to be.
At Korastine’s side walked a smiling ten-year-old boy, blond-haired and thin-faced. Equally fascinated by the ships in the harbor, Prince Tomas often joined his father in Shipbuilders’ Bay. The boy’s pale hair and eyes reflected those of his Iborian mother, who had died when he was but four.
The king hobbled after his son, favoring his left knee. In recent years, the gout had become so bad that he could barely walk, though he refused to be carried on a palanquin. “What news today, Captain Vora? Are we on schedule?”
Criston bowed formally. “With Kjelnar as our shipwright, Majesty, of course we’re on schedule.”
Korastine ran his wistful gaze over the lines of the vessel. With a forced smile, he patted his swollen leg. “Much as I’d like to be part of your crew, Captain, I will stay here and await your reports.”
Prince Tomas took a step ahead of his father. “I want to go along.”
Korastine smiled at him. “I don’t doubt that would be more amusing than court functions, but the voyage will be too dangerous. You have to stay here in Tierra, where it’s safe.”
Criston pulled his jacket tight as a cold breeze wove through the docks. By sailing in early spring, the Dyscovera should have months of good weather to take them farther than any man had ever gone. “We depart in three weeks, Sire, when the winds should be most favorable for a long westward voyage.”
Korastine caressed his beard. “I have high hopes for you, Captain Vora.” He squeezed Tomas’s shoulder, resting some of his weight on the boy. “Find Holy Joron. We need his aid in the crusade against the evil followers of Urec.”
Author’s Note With the first Terra Incognita novel, The Edge of the World, we added an innovative dimension by developing a companion rock CD, with story and lyrics written by me and my wife, Rebecca Moesta. Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon was performed by the supergroup Roswell Six and released by ProgRock Records. The tracks featured music written by keyboardist/producer Erik Norlander (Rocket Scientists, Asia featuring John Payne) and performances by some of the legends of rock music: Michael Sadler (ex-Saga), James LaBrie (Dream Theater), John Payne (ex-Asia), Lana Lane, Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery, Amaran’s Plight), David Ragsdale (Kansas), Chris Brown (Ghost Circus), Chris Quirarte (Prymary), Martin Orford (IQ, Jadis), Kurt Barabas (Amaran’s Plight, Under the Sun), and Mike Alvarez. I wrote the connective story between the songs, and multiple award–winning artist Bob Eggleton supplied the paintings for the CD booklet. Beyond the Horizon tells the story of young Criston Vora sailing off to sea and leaving his young wife Adrea behind; he places letters in bottles for her and throws them overboard, longing to come home—but Adrea is captured by Soldan-Shah Omra and taken off to a distant land forever. Because the first CD was such a satisfying experience, listed among the Best Progressive Rock Albums on numerous sites, we decided to create a second CD for the next novel in the series, The Map of All Things. Again working with Shawn Gordon at ProgRock Records, Rebecca and I wrote the lyrics for the new CD, Terra Incognita: A Line in the Sand. This time, the companion album tells the story of Queen Anjine and Mateo and the ever-darkening, never-ceasing war against Soldan-Shah Omra. Red was the flush of a young maiden’s lips Now it’s the color of blood. White was a blanket of pure mountain snow, Now it makes shrouds for our dead. A darker and grittier CD required a harder sound and a different mood from the songwriting and performances. To differentiate the two albums, we turned to Henning Pauly (Frameshift, Chain), whose music I have enjoyed for years. Henning—already a friend and a fan of my work—took on the project with great enthusiasm. He developed music that conveys the distinctive cultures and personalities of the two lands at war and the three main characters in the story. Rebecca and I crafted a set of lyrics focused on the war, targeting religious intolerance and the perpetual spiral of hatred. You killed our fathers, so we kill your sons. How can you say you’re the innocent ones? Because our guest performers have extremely busy careers of their own, and because A Line in the Sand tells a different part of the story with different characters, the second CD has some returning musicians and some new names. Grammy Award–winning rock, folk, and country star Janis Ian—whose song “At Seventeen” struck straight to my heart when I was in high school—cowrote the lyrics on two of the songs. Among the new participants in A Line in the Sand, we are proud to have Steve Walsh from the group Kansas (whose powerful voice on songs such as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” influenced a whole generation, including me)—as Soldan-Shah Omra. Sass Jordan (Album Rock’s Female Vocalist of the Year) belts out the vocals for Queen Anjine. Michael Sadler (from Saga) returns, this time singing the character of Mateo, and Nick Storr (from The Third Ending) sings the part of a new character, Simon. Arjen Lucassen (from Ayrean), Alex Froese, and Juan Roos add backing vocals. Lee Gibbons created another fabulous iconic cover painting for both the book and the CD, and Bob Eggleton again provided interior art. Smoke, like their souls, rises faint to the sky. If you listen to the two CDs you’ll see and hear a whole new dimension to the Terra Incognita universe. For samples and more information, go to www.wordfire.com. A last note, the story of the map in The Map of All Things: Richard Ware is an aspiring writer who attended one of my writing workshops in Los Angeles. He is also a skilled tattoo artist by trade. He contacted me via Facebook after reading The Edge of the World and offered to draw the expanded map for the second novel, which is included here. Rich also graciously provided some excellent interior paintings for the A Line in the Sand CD booklet. Thanks for joining me on these voyages to uncharted lands. I hope you enjoy the conclusion of the trilogy in The Key to Creation.
Excerpted from The Map of All Things by Anderson, Kevin J. Copyright © 2011 by Anderson, Kevin J.. Excerpted by permission.
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