It’s kinda complicated? Europe, in this setting, is basically still in a 600-year dark age. But that’s not indicative of the rest of the world!
The main diff right off the bat is the geography itself. This world has way more
land bridges. The continents are also a little closer to each other, Pangaea
style, so intermingling of cultures happened earlier and with different overall
results. Magic changes the lay of the land as well. While it’s
naturally occurring in all areas of the world, like…water, I guess, there are
hot spots of intense saturation. Wellsprings. Europe is basically one huge hot spot.
Here’s how some of the continents break down in terms of
advancement and society (I’ve only figured a handful out, sorry!). These are really rough generalizations:
Middle East holds the most technologically advanced societies in
the world. The library of Alexandria was never lost, and became a cornerstone
in the region’s scientific advancement. There’s low arcane activity in
these areas (the ley lines through here dump excess power straight into Europe,
like rivers to an ocean), so people spend less time fighting
fucking dragons or whatever and more time progressing society. Magic is used in a highly regulated manner, usually for powering automatons and gem matrixes
(kinda the equivalent to computers). Automated prosthetics and basic motor
vehicles also exist.
note: weaponry in this setting is mmmmostly still swords just because magical interference makes mechanics jam, but guns can still be used in areas of low arcane radiation
Invading the Americas went…badly for Europe. One key factor was that while
magic was well-studied there, it was—unlike in Europe—done for mostly
non-combat uses. Which led to the development of semi-modern medicine. Which
prevented the diseases brought by Europeans from ravaging their cultures, which
really fuckin helped. They’ve deadlocked
hard against the invaders across multiple centuries. The only ‘success’ was made
by the conquistadores; after decades of tensions with the Aztec and Incan
empires (which had allied to repel them), a truce was proposed involving
intermarriage of high nobility. This unified a big chunk of South America with
the Spanish Empire in a peaceful manner and encouraged a lot of beneficial immigration
on both sides. Spain + South America is kind of a power couple in this setting.
Polynesia is a
trading empire boasting the most beautiful islands and diverse peoples in the
world. It established itself early on as a safe oasis, acting as a meeting
place for international councils and haven for immigrants alike. Great 3000-foot
docks are built out into the ocean that hold some of the most diverse markets
on the planet; beneath the islands, there are underwater cities that stretch up
to a mile deep. Unlike many areas, Polynesia has endeavored to not discriminate
against anyone—or, more importantly, anything—in
order to keep the place as inviting as possible. Scholars from the east who
want to study magic will often pass over dangerous
Europe and instead go to Polynesia, seeking out more monstrous European expatriates
Lastly, Europe. Like
I said, Europe is one enormous magical hotbed. Mutation to the
degree that you see in, say, a glutton knight or dragon is super rare elsewhere—I mean, magical creatures aren’t uncommon, but
sufficient contamination for a human
to become a monster? What the fuck? That you could get that much arcane
exposure in day-to-day life is absurd and terrifying to the rest of the
world. Europeans are seen as a little bit insane and a whole lot
backwards; while they’ve made great magical progresses from sheer necessity, they
can’t even get a gun working reliably. To people who have already figured out basic cars, that’s a little ridiculous.
The saving grace of Europe is that their arcane knowledge
and internal military efforts are pretty fuckin great. All countries are allied
in a weird medieval UN, and function kind of as a single big country with lots
of little city-states. Knights are trained and educated rigorously, and legally
2/3rds of all active knights must remain in the region (even in times of war)
to deal with internal magical threats, which means that Europe has a pretty
killer defense system.
And then there are the tales of the once-human horrors rallying
alongside their former mortal companions in times of need. Of dragons mobilizing
in huge groups to blast nuclear fire down on armies, witches eating the
eyes of entire companies in the dead of night, too-quiet things of gleaming metal and teeth slinking out of woodlands to
terrorize troops. Europe is a bogeyman-filled no-man’s-land to the rest of the
Summary: As you could probably tell this is a crossover type one-shot where you are the Dragonborn from Skyrim, where there is a link between Smaug and the World Eater. This takes place when the dwarves are in Erebor trying to fight Smaug and also where you reveal your secret. This is set in an AU and I hope you enjoy it. :)
Warnings: Little bit of violence
Characters: Thorin, Smaug, The Company
Word Count: 1,267
“Thorin we’ll never make it.” Ballin exclaimed softly. You watched as Thorin looked over you all, regarding each of you in silence for a long minute, although it felt as if his gaze lingered on you the most before he finally spoke.
“Some of us might, we will lead him to the forges and we will kill that dammed dragon!” He proclaimed his tone showcasing both his determination and willingness to die fighting. “If this is to end in fire we will all burn together.” The others and Bilbo nodded vigorously in agreement their King’s speech renewing their strength and courage. You stepped forward before placing your hand on Thorin’s shoulder; he was the dwarf you loved even if he was unaware of it of course you were with him. He turned to you and (E/c) met blue your gazes locked for a fleeting moment before you removed your hand and spoke.
“We need to get moving so that all of us make it.” You steeled yourself for what was to come and for the moment where you might have to reveal your secret in order for you to protect your friends. As you took after Thorin, Bilbo and Ballin you heard Smaug’s menacing voice say maliciously. “That’s right flee! Flee even though there is nowhere for you to go!” As he made his way towards the four of you climbing quickly over the bridges that lay in his path.
“Hey Dragon! Over here!” Came the voices of Ori, Dori and Bombur successfully diverting Smaug’s attention as he turned and started towards them instead. This gave Thorin, Bilbo, Ballin a chance to make a run for the hall ahead of you. You however remained on the bridge arm reaching for the sword wrapped in cloth on your back, the sword you hadn’t used since Alduin’s demise on your own continent of Tamriel. Thorin noticed your position on the bridge yelled across to you.
“(Y/n) what are you thinking! Get over here.” You could hear the worry in his voice clear as day which despite the situation made you smile a little, it showed he at least cared for you if only as friend. He made a move to come out to you but your next words stopped him in his tracks for a moment.
“Thorin get Bilbo and Ballin to the forges, I promise I’ll meet you there I need to distract Smaug from Bifur and Gloin.” You hollered back as your hand grabbed the hilt of your sword the Dragonsbane from the cloth in your back and pulled it out holding it out in front of you in your right hand at the ready in a stance you hadn’t taken up since reaching middle earth, under the impression of course that Thorin for once would listen to someone. Oh How wrong you were, Thorin bolted back down the bridge grabbing your tensed arm that had Dragonsbane raised and at the ready. The one word he spoke resounding about the treasury his strong voice and the echo making it seem all that more powerful.
“No.” you sighed and turned to him and simply said softly.
“Well then I hope you won’t hold what I’m about to do against me.” As you placed your free hand atop the one on your sword arm looking at him waiting for his reaction. He breathed deeply before he took his other hand and squeezed the one resting on his and said softly but surely “I trust you (Y/n)” your heart soared at his words as you nodded at him before opening you mouth to speak.
“Hey Slug!” You yelled mockingly. The scaly head turned to face you pausing in his bought of trying to burn Bifur and Gloin who were hiding in a large enough crevice in the mountain.
“What did you call me!” He snarled angrily as began to furiously once more make his way towards you and Thorin.
“Durin and the nine divines help me” you mumbled quickly which did not go unheard by Thorin, his sharp intake of breath confirmed that. Closing your eyes and allowing the teachings of the Greybeards and Paarthurnax come flooding back to you and speaking words you hadn’t used in what felt like an age. “Fus Ro Dah!” The thu’um left your mouth and a powerful unrelenting force propelled Smaug backwards much to his and Thorin’s shock.
“How do you know that tongue girl?” Smaug demanded his eyes wide as realisation hit him. “You can’t be one of them!” He roared, your reply was a smirk gracing your features as he snarled in rage. “Alduin-” He began.
“Alduin is dead, slain by my hand!” You declared cutting the dragon off as you glared at the beast. “As you soon will be.” You told him defiantly any warnings Gandalf had given you regarding using your thu’um in middle earth flew out of your mind as hot white fiery determination seeped into your bones. “Wuld Nah Kest!” you shouted as your whirlwind sprint shout sent you surging forward not giving Smaug or Thorin time to react you were on Smaug’s head and plunging Dragonsbane through his head.
“But how” Smaug gargled struggling to breathe as his life force left him, “My skin is impenetrable” His disbelief evident in his tone.
“Not to the blade of the Dragonborn” You told him contempt lacing your voice. You watched as the last light finally left his eyes and the dragon Smaug was no more. You sighed in relief and waited for the familiar feeling of absorbing a dragon’s soul to envelop and just as it started you heard your name.
“(Y/n)! (Y/n)!” Thorin called your name in concern as the light of Smaug’s soul covered your body. You smiled at his concern your heart fluttering.
“It’s alright Thorin I’m Dragonborn this is a part of my job, I’m just absorbing his soul.” You responded casually as Ballin and Bilbo joined him on the bridge, you felt yourself sway slightly. “Well Gandalf wasn’t kidding when he said shouting here would drain me faster than in Tamriel.” You muttered to yourself as you felt your eyes grow heavy and the last thing you saw was Thorin’s face twisted in worry and fear as he rushed towards you and then it all went black.
You next woke to the feel of someone squeezing your left hand and a soft voice almost whimpering brokenly say. “Please (Y/n) pull through, you can’t leave me not yet I still need you… I love you.” As you slowly became more aware you recognise the voice to be that of Thorin’s.
“Thorin?” You croak. “Is what you say true.” Your voice is barely a whisper and for a moment you don’t think he’s heard you until you open your eyes and see him smiling softly down at you. He gently places a hand behind your head and raises it up to his and presses your foreheads together.
“Aye it is.” He tells you earnestly you smile back eyes twinkling.
“I’m glad” You say tearfully. “As I have loved you forever and a day” As you finally bring your lips to meet his in a soft passionate kiss. This quickly turned steamy when Thorin gently laid you back down onto floor and straddled you. Your hands went up into his hair as he parted from the kiss and began kissing down your neck. Then you heard the sound of a something clattering to the ground and the familiar voice of Nori yelling.
“Alright pay up lads I told you they’d start making out when she woke up!”
hmmm…. I answered this awhile ago but I’m pretty sure that was before i started listening to the mcelroy podcasts (which, spoilers: make up like 50% of my favorites)
So here are my favorites in the order in which they appear in my podcast library (do not make me rank them I cannot. I love all of these podcasts with my entire heart):
Sawbones - Sydnee (a medical doctor) and Justin (her husband who knows nothing about medicine) discuss medical mistakes through the ages. Very funny, super cute, lots of body horror for obvious reasons.
Rose Buddies - Griffin and Rachel Mcelroy watch Bachelor products. I’ve never watched an episode of the Bachelor in my life, but this is a super fun podcast and Rachel and Griffin are #goals.
The Adventure Zone - The Mcelboys (Justin, Travis, Griffin) and their dad play Dungeons and Dragons. Extremely rich storytelling and excellent NPCs (and PCs for that matter).
The Bridge Podcast - A bridge connecting two continents has some unexpected visitors. Excellent audio drama about the staff of Watchtower 10 trying to survive on a run down, monster infested bridge (it’s actually more human infested, but don’t get me started on that or I’ll rant for hours), and their reasons for being there.
Alice Isn’t Dead - A trucker tries to find her wife, and encounters strange entities and mysteries beyond comprehension along the way. This podcast is the scariest thing I’ve ever heard, and it’s SUPER immersive (Disparition is a god among men).
I’d add Welcome to Night Vale, but if you’re asking me what my favorite podcast is, 99.99% sure you already know that one.
I listen to a lot more, but these are the ones that make me the most excited when they update, so here you go! Thanks for the question!
A commission for swifty_zoroark on FA of a misty stone city on the underside of a flying continent. The majority of the buildings reside in gigantic stalactites hanging from the bottom of the continent and are connected by long rope bridges, with glowing braziers at the base of each and a lift in the center to get materials/people/etc up and down from the surface. It gets maybe two hours worth of sunlight a day from the sunrise and sunset, but due to the high humidity and mist, the sunlight doesn’t make it all the way through.
This was great fun to work on, I’m really enjoying learning to paint backgrounds. I’ve included the process GIF too so you can see how I work. If you’re interested in getting a commission, I’m always open - just send me a message any time.
Bridge the Continents by Tony Via Flickr: The 15 July Martyrs Bridge also called the First Bridge, is one of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait (Turkish: Boğaziçi) in Istanbul, Turkey, thus connecting Europe and Asia.
It is a gravity-anchored suspension bridge with steel towers and inclined hangers. The aerodynamic deck hangs on zigzag steel cables. It is 1,560 m (5,118 ft) long with a deck width of 33.40 m (110 ft). The distance between the towers (main span) is 1,074 m (3,524 ft) and the total height of the towers is 165 m (541 ft). The clearance of the bridge from sea level is 64 m (210 ft).
All right, you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies and they’re a lot of fun, but it seems like there’s this whole big world of characters and events beyond them, but it’s just so massive! Where do you start? LET ME TRY TO HELP YOU WITH THAT, FRIEND. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE SILMARILLION.
INTRO: Over the last year or so I’ve been doing my best to lure friends into Tolkien fandom and to do this I’ve had to explain a lot of stuff the movies wouldn’t or couldn’t put into them, including a whole lot to do with The Silmarillion. As a result, I’ve shored up my own views of those characters/places because I had to, in order to better explain them or just because I went looking for art references!
I mean, I’m still not an expert, some stuff is still fuzzy for me (so please be gentle if you want to chime in, I’m totally up for discussion, but Tolkien fandom scares me sometimes!) and it’s sort of fun to see my progress as I work through a lot of this stuff, especially because honestly the Silm isn’t exactly the easiest to read. You practically have to read it once just to get an outline of things and then go back and start over just to understand what the hell you just read. And that’s kind of a lot to ask of people!
But I find one of the things that most helped me cement things in better is having reference points for the characters. FOR EXAMPLE, when I was starting out and I would say, “Shit, I am having a lot of Maglor feelings today!” I also used to often think, “Maglor is one of the sons of Feanor and also the Elf that helped raise Elrond and his twin brother Elros when they were young.” That connection to Elrond (a character that is already firmly established in my mind) helped me keep straight who Maglor is. From there, I could branch out into the other stuff that Maglor did–like wandering forever and all the Kin-Slaying stuff.
That’s what this series of post is meant to be. A fun way for me to draw connections between characters that the wider fandom knows and the Silm characters and draw some broad strokes. And have some fun doing it–this isn’t terribly serious and I’m going to wind up condensing things down and putting my own spin on things, so don’t take this as hard fact. It’s a humorous retelling! I made myself laugh AND THAT WAS THE POINT.
So. I’ve been thinking about this and I want to start with movie characters, since many already have a reference for them and they have a lot of connections and are deeply entwined with everything that happened, especially Elrond and Sauron and Galadriel. Well, that and Gandalf, perhaps. But then I keep thinking, shit, first you need to have a basic set-up of how Tolkien’s world works! SO: Way back in the beginning, before the planet was made, there was the One True God, Eru Iluvatar. From his thoughts, he created 14 spirits called the Valar (think Archangels) and then a whole shitload of “regular” “angels” called the Maiar. Together they’re collectively called the Ainur.
Basically, they’re disembodied spirits who are making Music-With-A-Capital-M together and they create the planet (eventually). Then the Valar take physical form and go forth to help mold the planet into what they all agreed was the way to go–except for the strongest among them, a dickweed named Melkor. He’ll be important in a minute.
Once the planet has progressed far enough, we have two continents that will be important. Aman and Middle-Earth. Keep in mind that Middle-Earth is about the size of Europe, give or take, and it’s in the East. Aman is the Blessed Realm or Valinor or the Undying Lands (there are a lot of names, I know, don’t worry about it, you’ll acclimate) and is in the West. So, after a bit, Eru wakes up the Firstborn of his Children, the Elves (other stuff happens, but broad strokes here) and the Valar decide to ask the Elves to come live with them in Aman, because it’s more magical there.
While hunting in the Kamchatka Peninsula in 1987, Russian hunter Rodion Sivolobov was given something quite unusual and rarely seen, the giant white skin of an unknown bear. It was after receiving this unknown skin that Sivolobov spent the next decade researching what the locals called, the Irkuiem.
First, some quick background information on the location where the skin was found. The Kamchatka Peninsula is a 780mi long, three sided island in the Russian far east with a surface area of around 100,000sq mi. The peninsula is home to around 322,000+ residents, contains 160 volcanoes, and generally has a subarctic climate. In 1945 after WWII, the Soviet army declared the entire area a war zone and closed it off completely to all citizens until 1989. The peninsula provides home to tundra wolves, arctic foxes, the Siberian lynx, wolverines, reindeer, moose, and snow sheep. It is also where the gigantic and elusive Irkuiem makes it home, right alongside the native Kamchatka Brown Bear.
The skin that Sivolobov received in 1987 (and later sent to a museum in St. Petersburg) was described as resembling that of an extremely oversized polar bear (even though polar bears are not native to the region), but the reindeer farmers who provided the pelt were very adamant the skin was not from a normal bear in the region but rather from a bear that was much larger and much more aggressive than the regularly seen Kamchatka Brown Bear. The Irkueim is believed to weigh around 1.5 tons (3,000lbs), is nearly 6ft tall at the shoulders while on all fours, and almost 12ft tall while on just its hind legs. It is covered in very short white fur and has a small head in proportion to the rest of its body. Its back legs are said to be smaller than its front legs and because of this, the Irkueim walks and runs in a very distinct way. Witnesses state that it looks somewhat similar to how a caterpillar moves.
Reindeer herders report that the Irkueim can decimate an entire heard of reindeer in a short amount of time and that it is in ones best interest to flee the area immediately if the mysterious bear shows up. It is extremely territorial, a strict carnivore, and shows no fear of humans. There have been reports though of humans taking a stand against the Irkueim and fighting back. Reports of mysteriously large white bears killed by locals in the region have shown up in 1976, 1980, 1982, and 1987.
So what is the Irkueim? Is it a new species of bear that has not yet been scientifically recognized, or could it perhaps be a known species of bear that has not been seen for a while? And by a while, we mean since the Pleistocene epoch nearly 11,000 years ago. You see, there are some researchers who believe that the Irkueim is actually a surviving species of Short-Face Bear, more specifically Arctodus Simus, the largest carnivorous land mammal that has ever lived on earth.
Arctodus Simus made its home in North America 800,000yrs ago and could be found from Alaska all the way down to Mississippi. This bear (also known as the Bulldog Bear because of its stubby face) could stand to heights of almost 12ft tall, had a 14ft vertical arm reach, and weighed around 1 ton. Researchers believe that it was a strict carnivore as no evidence of vegetation of any kind has been found in the analysis of its bones. This means that this apex predator would have had to consume nearly 40lbs of flesh a day to continue living (something that entire herds of reindeer could easily provide). Its front legs were alos longer than its hind legs and researchers believe it could reach speeds of up to 40mph.
So if this bear lived in North America during its existence, how is it showing up in Russia? Simple, it walked over via the Bering land bridge. During the late Pleistocene epoch, Alaska was connected to Siberia by the Bering land bridge. As the earths water became frozen during the last glacial period, global sea levels rose and fell. As the seas fell, once submerged land masses between continents became exposed and provided passage between once inaccessible lands. Once the glaciers began to melt, the sea levels started to rise again and the land bridge once again became submerged. Everything that had journeyed over the bridge was now calling a new continent home, such as Arctodus Simus.
Some researchers believe that over time, Arctodus Simus evolved to become a more suitable competitor of the native Kamchatka Brown Bear as well as adapting to the more harsh environment of the Kamchatka Peninsula. As the bears started to die out in North America, they started to thrive in Russia (and develop a new white coat). As time progressed, they began to encounter native humans and eventually became known as the Irkueim.
So, could the Irkueim be a surviving member of the largest bear species that has ever lived, a new species of bear that has never been documented before, or just an overly aggressive Kamchatka Brown Bear with a color mutation? Nobody will ever know for sure until a body is available for scientific research and testing, but until that day comes, the reindeer herders in the Kamchatka Peninsula will continue to be on guard while out in the elements so as not to meet a grisly fate brought on by the gigantic claws of the Irkueim.
This Fossil Friday, learn about a fossil hunt at the bottom of the world.
Home to penguins, particularly hardy mosses, and the occasional seal paying a visit to dry land, Antarctica is a unique and uniquely harsh environment. Snow and ice cover 98 percent of the landmass, and with wind chill, temperatures in the center of the continent can plunge to 100 degrees below zero.
But it wasn’t always this way. Tens of millions of years ago, Antarctica was the heart of the supercontinent known as Gondwana, pressed between would-be South American and Australian continents at first and then likely joined to each by land bridges for millions of years after they started to drift apart. Though it was still at Earth’s southern pole, Antarctica was then much warmer. And, as fossils recovered there show, the continent was home to a diverse group of vertebrates, including non-avian dinosaurs and, later, during the Eocene period about 45 million years ago, mammals.
Paleontologists think the continent still has more fossils to yield—remnants which could show the dinosaurs that roamed there 65 million years ago shared the continent with even more ancient mammals. In February, Abagael West, a graduate student who studies South American mammals at Columbia University in a collaborative program with the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS), joined Museum Curators Ross MacPhee and Jin Meng as they headed south on a seven-week expedition in search of the evidence.
Since questions are a thing today (*side-eyes @lunamanar* *and @xuofhearts for that matter since I know you have an answer for this)…
How does everyone handle hemispheric differences? One of my biggest pet peeves about The Successor is that it didn’t occur to me until I was too far into the story to easily change things, that my setting was in the southernmost part of the world, and the seasons matched the real-world northern hemisphere. The planet in this game is definitely round so there should be hemispheric differences.
Trabia is obviously snowy, but Centra is not shown that way. And Balamb is pretty far north, but at the same time Trabia is covered in snow, Balamb is covered in grass with leaves on the trees. I figure a couple of explanations: Trabia has a significantly higher elevation, and the world is bigger than the map makes it look, so Balamb is far enough off the Trabian continent that its climate would reasonably be very different (plus seasons do change quickly across distance: I remember last year my mom in Alberta complaining about snow while we were still wearing tank tops in Virginia). But the trees have leaves on them in both Galbadia and in Centra. (I recognize this is just ease of programming, since to be fair the forest maps in Trabia also have leaves, they’re just covered in snow, but that does mean that fic writing allows for more freedom of interpretation).
Anyway, I’m mostly just curious how everyone else handles this?
I ASSUME YOU MEAN THE CONTINENTS OF NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA, WHICH WERE DISCOVERED, AND NOT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WHICH WERE CREATED.
THE CONTINENTS WERE ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED A PREHISTORIC POPULATION MIGRATING OUT OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL ASIA BETWEEN 15K AND 40K YEARS AGO, CROSSING THE BERING LAND-BRIDGE BETWEEN RUSSIA AND ALASKA THAT WAS PASSABLE DUE TO MUCH OF THE EARTH’S WATER BEING FROZEN IN GLACIERS ACROSS THE LAND.
THERE ARE VARIOUS THEORIES ON HOW LONG AGO THE EARLIEST HUMANS SET FOOT IN THE AMERICAS, ALTHOUGH IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SETTLEMENT AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN WHAT IS NOW ALASKA AND NORTHERN CANADA HAD TAKEN PLACE FOR UP TO 20000 YEARS IN ISOLATION, WITH GLACIERS PREVENTING HUMAN MIGRATION INTO THE SOUTHERN PARTS OF THE CONTINENT, HOWEVER, WITH THE MELTING OF THE GLACIERS, IT BECAME POSSIBLE FOR HUMANS TO SETTLE IN THE PARTS OF THE CONTINENTS SOUTH OF CANADA, BUT SUBMERGED THE BERING LAND-BRIDGE, SEVERING THE POPULATION’S LINK TO ASIA.
THE THINGS WE CAN SAY FOR CERTAIN ARE THAT HUMANS FIRST SET FOOT IN NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SO LONG AGO THAT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT A TIME MACHINE TO KNOW THE ACTUAL NAMES OF THE DISCOVERERS, THAT THE AMERICAS WERE THE LAST CONTINENTS ON EARTH TO BE SETTLED BY HUMANS [NORTH, THEN SOUTH], AND THAT THE POINT OF INGRESS WAS A NOW-SUBMERGED LAND-BRIDGE BETWEEN WHAT IS NOW ALASKA AND WHAT IS NOW RUSSIA.