This is Aunbry.
It’s a village, home of farmers, herdsmen, and a lone priest of the Five Temples of the Aegis. It’s small, dull, and narrow minded. It echoes many other such small villages in fantasy literature, all designed to be left behind by the main characters. I don’t know if my readers will like it much, or think it warrants a fancy map.
Certainly not, since Aunbry exists only so two of my main characters, Thades and Jenna Morgan*, can run away from it.
Yet I’m fond of Aunbry.
I think that’s one of the quirks of world building. You generate piles of notes, and (if you’re like me) piles of sketches as you invent cultures, settings, and characters. You end up knowing and loving corners of your world that are going to be overlooked by your readers, or that don’t even make it into your novel.
Besides, just because you leave a place behind in your narrative doesn’t mean it ceases to influence your characters. Fantasies often begin in villages so the characters who leave them (and the readers looking over their shoulders) can view the rest of the world with wonder. Characters left behind (or perhaps killed) give the new heroes quick and easy motivation.
But what else, what makes Aunbry special or memorable compared to all those home villages from Eragon, and The Eye of the World, and A Wizard of Earthsea that I can’t be bothered to remember the names of?
I don’t want to give too much away, but Thades and Jenna don’t get along with their neighbors in Aunbry for reasons that are not entirely their fault. That conflict remains strong in their minds because it is the same conflict they find everywhere in their world; the conflict between magi and manuals**, between knowledge and ignorance, between youth and adults.
Aunbry isn’t the Shire — it isn’t remembered fondly, even its cranks seeming quaint from miles away. But Thades and Jenna do remember it. Hopefully, so too will my readers.
*Magus Thades Morgan and his little sister Jenna star in my first fantasy novel, Proper Magic. It hasn’t been published yet — you’ll hear about it here at The Drakehall Broadsheet first when I get lucky with an agent or publisher
**the non-magical — I couldn’t call them muggles, now could I?