Welcome to The Protectorate, the dominant nation upon Ea for centuries; a land where naga float upon the horizon and where machinery fights with magic for primacy.
Readers will get to fully explore this fantasy in September 2017, when Tor.com Publishing releases JY Yang’s dual novellas The Red Threads of Fortune and The Black Tides of Heaven. Our story begins as a set of twins, one who can see the future and one who can realize the present, is born to the Protector. Each novella follows one of the twins as their lives become entangled with the larger forces of their world.
Here, author JY Yang reveals the land that the twins will be winding through, revealing the glorious history and deep schisms of the Protectorate.
From The Black Tides of Heaven:
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.
A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?
Meanwhile, in The Red Threads of Fortune:
Fallen prophet, master of the elements, and daughter of the supreme Protector, Sanao Mokoya has abandoned the life that once bound her. Once her visions shaped the lives of citizens across the land, but no matter what tragedy Mokoya foresaw, she could never reshape the future. Broken by the loss of her young daughter, she now hunts deadly, sky-obscuring naga in the harsh outer reaches of the kingdom with packs of dinosaurs at her side, far from everything she used to love.
On the trail of a massive naga that threatens the rebellious mining city of Bataanar, Mokoya meets the mysterious and alluring Rider. But all is not as it seems: the beast they both hunt harbors a secret that could ignite war throughout the Protectorate. As she is drawn into a conspiracy of magic and betrayal, Mokoya must come to terms with her extraordinary and dangerous gifts, or risk losing the little she has left to hold dear.
Yang explains their initial map of The Protectorate and the Lands Beyond:
- This is a Protectorate-centric map of Ea, focusing on the regions where the Protector holds power. Obviously, there’s more stuff in regions like Gaur Antam and Tiguman, but the map doesn’t show them. The map shows only the major waterways and cities.
- The yellow highlighter line shows the boundaries of the Protectorate. The dashed lines are the boundaries between countries.
- A bit more of the history to explain the color coding:
- The dark yellow regions encompass Kuanjin and Tesugi, which have been the core of the Protectorate for many centuries.
- The light yellow region includes the Gusai desert and tundra, and has historically been very sparsely populated.
- The orange/yellow region is Nam Min, which has been a vassal state of the Protectorate for nearly 600 years, but was annexed and declared part of Kuanjin only 50 years ago.
- The green region is Katau Kebang, which is an autonomous region consisting of several small kingdoms ruled by a Sultan, who is in turn subordinate to the Protector. They have a certain amount of control over their own affairs, but pay taxes to the Protectorate.
With this sketch, and a detailed outline including a breakdown of names for every region, mountain range, river, and feature from Yang, artist Serena Malyon assembled a fully realized world map for the Tensorate Series:
There are some historical aspects to the Protectorate and the Lands Beyond that didn’t make it into the map, but are important to note. From Yang:
- The Mengsua Pass (upper right quadrant of the map) was constructed by Tensors between the cities of Jixiang and Ruyi. It follows one of the tributaries of the Jingpai river for a bit.
- El Zaharad is a pair of barren islands full of ruins of the once-great Zaharadi empire, that existed thousands of years ago. For reasons lost to history, the soil on the islands became heavily saturated with toxic metals and killed 90% of the wildlife there. No one lives there now.
- The Quarterlands: This is a half-gravity region of the world, not very well mapped. Nobody knows what goes on there.
- “Great Storms”: Exactly what it says on the lid.