Value of a Name: The Twelve Realms

Ah, fantasy fiction, you are a fickle friend. You draw us in with your fanciful invention, and then you leave us longing to enter the pages of a book, to travel to a world of fantasy.

You and I both know the worlds created by authors have that effect on us. They dream up these places that sparkle with something tantalizingly familiar yet altogether uncanny. Trust me, I have a hard enough time with the urge and desire to see the real world.

And yet, that’s one of the wonders of a book isn’t it? We get to go to these places, at least in our imaginations. Books can inspire our imaginations and our real-life attitudes. They take us to places of which we’ve never dreamed, and that is pretty cool.

I wrote The Beauty Thief based in a world of fantasy. It’s much like the real world, but can be bent to my will.  Dangerous ground, I know, but I try to only use my powers for good! hehe  The world of the Twelve Realms is the perfect place for my characters to live, and today I’m going to give you a rundown of it.

I thought about not posting the map here, but decided it might help you see the layout better than just seeing the names. I’ll start with the castle at the center and then head over to Taisce, where our story begins.

The Twelve Realms
The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey

High Castle is a huge, walled city and is the main seat of government for the entire kingdom of the Twelve Realms. Here is where High Prince Theiandar resides. His father is High King Dante. Under his headship, each realm is considered a sub-kingdom and is ruled by its own king. Prince Theiandar is the heir to the throne.

  1. *Taisce [tash-ka] means treasure or treasury and is the realm known for diamonds and its abundance of white stone called quartzomite. The people of the Dark Lands are not friends and tend to raid Taisce to steal the precious gems. This is the home of Princess Caityn, the young woman the Beauty Thief has set his sights on.
  2. Parlan [PAR-lan] means son of the plow and is a farming realm. Here, they grow many of the staple food crops for the kingdom.
  3. Nashua [NAH-shoo-ah] means lands between two rivers. The area is mainly rolling hills and grass, a high prairie perfect for raising cattle.
  4. Marodan [mar-o-dan] is a sea port realm. Its name is derived from ‘mar’ which means ‘sea’ in French.
  5. *Larue [la-roo] means dweller by the road. The realm is a major trading hub for the people of the kingdom. Exotic things from across the Opal Sea can be bought there. Haggling is a must. (I would like to learn how to haggle. You?)
  6. Tappen [ta-pen] means top of the hanging rock and this realm is in a windswept barren area. Tappen sits at the edge of the Cliffs of Bayroh and is known for their weaponry forging. They also have outposts near the Bear River which runs between the Twelve Realms and the Desert Regions of Ahka.
  7. *Nevin [neh-vin] means saint. The land abuts the Saddle Ridge Mountains and Glass Lake, with High Castle to the north. They have orchards and vineyards, but are named for the Monasey of Nevin, which in our world is best related to a monastery or school of faith.
  8. *Wyeth [why-eth] means from land by willow tree and this is a neat little place. They have an abundance of forests, but are named after the willow trees that grow only here. Wyeth is also where the master fletchers live, creating beautiful bows and arrows for the people of the Twelve Realms.
  9. Emlyn [em-lin] means to strive or excel. Emlyn sits on the north-western edge of the Twelve Realms. The Crescent Cave Nation, to the west, are a prideful people who do not abide by the diplomatic treaties of their ancestors. Emlyn is the front line of protection against their threats.
  10. Landon [lan-dun] means from the longhill and they raise goats and sheep. They collect the fleece of the sheep and sell it for making clothing, etc.
  11. *Conleth [con-leth] means something like chief or lord. This realm is actually the smallest one and is where the most prestigious university of the Twelve Realms is located. Another important part of Conleth’s place in the kingdom is that the Hall of Historic Records is located here. The historic writings and traditions of the kingdom are housed near the university.
  12. Berne [burn] means bold as a bear and is definitely the wilderness region of the kingdom. They people here are trappers and traders. They are known for their quality-made leather and furs.

* indicates realms featured in The Beauty Thief

I love names. I’m drawn to Celtic/Irish names, but Arabic names also catch my attention. Of course, I’m happy with the sounds of almost anything foreign to my ears.  I think that’s another reason I love fantasy fiction; the foreign sound and feel of things intrigues me.

What about you? What do you like about fantasy fiction?  Do you prefer a different genre? What draws you to it?


8 thoughts on “Value of a Name: The Twelve Realms

  1. Maps are so much fun! I love the way yours turned out. I’m still working on mine, lots to figure out, hehe X) I like the foreign names you chose–I too enjoy using foreign names; it really adds to the whole fantasy feel of a world for me.
    I was going to ask about the climate too, but phoenixgrey85 beat me to it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A couple of my kids are in a special program through school which focuses on one area of education each year, building the curriculum for the one-day-a-week class around that subject. This year is geography and so I’ve been getting exposed to a whole lot of new and exotic names I was unfamiliar with or had completely forgotten. 🙂

      I could see how the climate thing would come up. It’s just a live in an area that maybe seems to defy what people think of as areas of climate….our one state has Rain forest, sea level wetlands, towering tree covered mountains, high plains, desert regions (scrub brush-type, not cactus…too cold in the winter), a huge river in a canyon running through even the desert more high plains, valleys, pine trees everywhere, hills, more mountains. The Twelve Realms comes out of this, I guess. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love fantasy fiction. I love that there are no rules,that you can make a world and have it be anything you like, invent anything you like.

    I like your map. Map-making is where I struggle. How do you decide where all the different areas go? Geographically, I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the same! 🙂 As far as map-making goes, I generally picture the flow of a story, the importance of places and what each part will contribute to the story and the underlying story that only I know. I draw rough maps first and scribble, then I dream about what the land looks like…are there mountains? Are there any special kinds of flora or fauna? How does landscape effect that in my made-up world? Does it follow the same kinds of rules as the real world or are things different? I just love real maps and globes, too, so I spend time looking at them, too.

      Since I drew my original maps early on in the book-writing process, I actually had to move a few things around and add extra features that the map didn’t show at first but were major parts of the landscape in the story (and the continuation of the series, the next book travels across the Opal Sea and back, then I’ll move off toward the north for the one after that.) 🙂 Really, I could have put the realms in any order, but because of the back story, they had to be put where they are in order to make sense for the history of the land and it’s people.

      HAHA, I probably made it sound much more complicated that it actually is!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. That’s a great question! Actually, I live in the state of Washington and it is a very good guide for me on how differing climates can be right next to each other in seeming incongruous fashion, so I don’t worry about it too much.

          I think it can be important to consider how rivers, mountains, oceans, trees, and other landscape details can effect the climate or map, but it’s amazing to me how one can go from desert to grassy high plains or forests in relatively short distances. Mountains can have deserts on one side and lush wetland on the other. There can be a large variation in elevation which also effects climates, but maps won’t always show you that, so one can use her story to determine things of that nature, I think.

          I love your questions! You are so thoughtful with them.

          Liked by 2 people

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