e’re still test-marketing this idea.
In the original Tubitz and Mergenstein, the town of Tortuga-Two was buried in a sinkhole. Three streams flowed into it, waterfalling into an underground pool. Under the overhanging ledge of crust the buildings huddled. It was the perfect space pirate base.
Of course, I can’t do that in the new one. Now, the story takes place firmly on a single planet where sailing ships skate across lava plains like iceboats. It’s a fun setting for a fun book.
But that pirate town I spoke of – I changed it so it lies in a cave which is entered through a short tunnel. The Venturi Effect (with directing sails on the high crater rim) allow wind to either suck in or blow out of the tunnel, permitting sailing craft to enter or exit. Someone at work pointed out that it would be the perfect defense of a city in an age of sails – headwinds. Loved that idea. In fact, railroad semaphores let the captains know if the winds are aligned for their use.
So it came time to name this place. I didn’t like Tortuga-Two – it’s a little overly-piratical – it is like having your pirate characters handicapped with peg-legs, hooked-hands and parrots. Just silly. While riding the train into work today, I considered a new name. It came to me that I wanted whatever name I chose to end in “Deep” (like “Helm’s Deep”) – that implies a settlement in a dark, defendable crevice.
When I got in, I took a quick scan of nautical sites, looking for appropriate names. Some possibilities…
And those were okay, but it didn’t quite light my fuse. Then, in the ‘K’s, I saw the word “Kedge”. Kedging (says Skipper Raymond around his corncob pipe) occurs when a becalmed ship has its anchor carried out via longboat and dumped. Then the anchor is capstaned in and your ship moves about a hundred yards. It’s hard and dirty work, and good to be the captain when there is kedging about.
But thinking about my little pirate cave – there would be no way for the initial explorers to sail into this grotto. They’d have to get in some other way, if perhaps kedging (yes, it’s on smooth stone, but it still applies). It’s nautical and gives a feel of backstory to the city. It fits well. But you can’t just go with “Kedge” alone, so I expanded it to “Kedgewater Deep”. And that, I really liked. It gives the city a nautical flair and a taste of history. I really liked it.
So now I need to worry about writing the story so this setting in interesting and unique, and not just impossible.