Gazetteer: Warning to the reader

The gazetteer of the dragon-realms was written by the alchemist Bellepheros during his tour of the realms several years before the ascension of Speaker Hyram and thus reflects the state of the realms almost two decades before the events described in The Adamantine Palace. There are, therefore, several cautions that should be taken when using the information contained within it. The gazetteer is somewhat out of date in some places. Antros, the king of Sand and speaker-designate, for example, was still alive when Bellepheros wrote it. While the history and places described by Bellepheros are largely unchanged, subsequent events may have dated some of his remarks and in some instances, relations between the various realms may have changed significantly. In some places, Bellepheros is simply wrong, and has documented a place that he never visited, repeating rumour and here-say as though it was fact.

However, the most significant caution lies with the author himself. As may be seen from reading the gazetteer, Bellepheros brings his own interests and his own agenda to his writing. As an alchemist, later Grand Master of the Order of the Scales, Bellepheros brings a bias to his description of people, places and particularly to history. The gazetteer tows the line given out by the Order of the Scales that the realms are held together by the alchemists, that they are the great saviours who hold the dragons in check. While there is some truth to this, a history written by, say, a blood-mage, a commander of the Adamantine Men or even one of the visiting Taiytakei might portray the same events in a significantly different light. Bellepheros also brings his own pet fascinations with him. Architectural details that are, frankly, of little interest to most scholars or historians are described in, in some places, tedious detail, while matters that have quietly but substantially shaped the course of history, such as the relationship between the rulers of Furymouth and their Taiytakei guests are given only a superficial treatise. The level of detail also varies noticeably. The City of Dragons and the Palace of Alchemy, for example, are given great attention; this applies to a lesser extent to all the southern realms, while the northern realms and Bazim Crag generally receive short shrift.

Above all, the reader must be cautious when Bellepheros speaks of secrets and mysteries. As a senior alchemist, it is almost certain that he had knowledge meant only for alchemists of the order. At the very least, this information has not been shared in his gazetteer. In other places, Bellepheros continues to perpetuate myths that he would have known to be wrong. At worst, he is an outright liar, re-writing history to the designs of the order he serves.

Reader beware.

(Also, although he doesn’t think it’s going to be necessary, having sketched where certain matters are going over really quite a large arc, the real author reserves the right to change ‘reality’ on a whim whenever he feels like it if it happens to suite a plotline he hasn’t currently thought of).

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