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Chapter 24 - The Spearhead Channel

This may seem a bit esoteric, but Steve was surprisingly descriptive of this place, which is only mentioned a single time in all of his published works (as of this writing):

the Greymist Valley itself strechs some twenty or twenty-five miles, beginning next to Hanging Mountain, and continuing past the next of the three peaks that, still part of the Eastern Mountains, are together called the Ash Mountains. This next mountain is called Gyffer's Peak, and it, of the three, is the one beside which the greatest channel has been cut by the fast-flowing Blood River ... dark mountains looming above on both sides, the snowy caps of Gyffer's Peak behind, and the soft green of Round Mountain before. Gyffer's Peak ... is even populated upon some of its lower slopes, though not ... in the valley itself... there are several villages on the west side where coffee beans are grown [and] often brought overland to the Eastern River or to the Spearhead Channel and thus to the Kieron's Sea (The Paths of the Dead, Chapter 29)

Steve brought it up himself, when I asked him about the Eastern Mountains:

The long, long chain that runs all the way to Spearhead Channel and even a thousand miles north along the eastern bank, and all the way south to Tiren's Peak, a hundred miles or so north of the Shallow Sea.

On another occasion, he suggested:

somewhere or other I think I put Kieron's Sea to the South. It is far north.

I could find no such passage, but I did find this one, which seemed at odds with his description of where the Spearhead Channel was:

There was no sea closer than a thousand miles to Deathgate Falls. (Taltos, Chapter 16)

And this was apparently the very passage he was thinking of:

AH! That was the fuckup. But that's Vlad, and his knowledge of geography is pisspoor, so I don't mind that one. In fact, it's only a few miles.

Taking ship all around the continent and then going up Spearhead Channel (which, all in all, is about four hundred miles of "channel") is the easiest way to reach Deathgate Falls; the channel ends just shy of the mountain.

I initially assumed that this channel divided two landmasses (e.g., the English Channel), but when I tried to fit it to my map, I began to suspect that it was shaped more like the letter V. Steve confirmed this was the case:

The Spearhead Channel is, indeed, a very sharp V, with Deathgate just south and east of the tip. The source of the Adrilankha River is inland (west) of that point by about six or seven hundred miles.

The size of the channel, from what I've said, might lead one to believe that a side of the V is anywhere from four hundred to a thousand miles. The confusion comes from a couple of places: first, where exactly do we begin calling it the channel, rather than the sea, if we're going by boat? Though at the shortest, 500 might be closer than 400 hundred.

Second, on the Eastern bank of the channel, for most of the way, we have the Eastern Mountains, and traveling next to them means going out of our way, increasing the distance. If I mark the southern end of the channel (just a hop from Deathgate), and go in a straight line until we are, without possible doubt, in the North Sea, I think the distance is a bit over 700 miles. Note the direction of the channel is bit northeast-southwest, rather than due north-south.

I located the point of the Spearhead Channel about 50 miles northwest of Deathgate Falls, based on my belief that most mountains are at least 50 miles across, and Deathgate is located in a valley between two mountains.

Since he originally gave the western-side of the channel as being 400 miles, but then said closer to 500 miles, I decided that meant "450-500", and I went with the midpoint, or 475 miles.

A sharp angle sounds like an acute angle, which is defined as less than 90 degrees. "Very sharp" I'm guessing is probably even less, maybe less than 45 degrees. I marked off the western side as being 475 miles in length, and the eastern side as being 1000 miles in length, such that the Channel looked like a very sharp V, tilted slightly to the northeast.

The Spearhead Channel
The Spearhead Channel

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Copyright © 2011 Bryan Newell, unless otherwise noted.