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Geography (Exile's Song reading notes)

by Thomas Edsall

[Note: distances in this book tend to be given in terms of a time spent traveling on horseback, usually given as a "days ride". This is a very inexact form of measure. A book on medieval life I consulted estimated that under normal conditions a traveler on horse back could cover thirty-five miles in a day (this is normal travel, not express messengers with relays of horses) while during the American Civil War going forty miles in a day was considered as wearing on the horses (loaded down with military gear, provisions, and weapons along with their riders), especially if repeated for several days. It should be remembered that a horse is not a machine and cannot be ridden at full speed for prolonged periods or even all day at a regular walk without rest breaks unless one is willing to kill the horse. Going up and down hills or traveling in bad weather would reduce the distance traveled in a day. The weight of the rider and the amount of baggage carried by the horse are also factors as well as the size, health, and strength of the horse.]

It is an hour's ride from the Horse Market in Thendara on a primitive but well maintained road into a countryside filled with orchards and farms. (ES134)

Out in the Drytowns there are a lot of hills. (ES135)

The Hellers and the Wall Around the World are mentioned. (ES136)

By sundown of third day the travelers from Thendara turned off the well paved road and began to climb into the hills heading East. They crossed a stone bridge over the Kadarin River and came to a village. (ES137) [Geographical note: The Kilghard Hills and the Kadarin River are therefore to the east of Thendara. At one point at least the River is roughly a three days travel from the city and the edge of the Kilghard Hills is also roughly the same distance.]

The Inn in the next mountain village has a sign with a deer like animal on it. [This village is a days journey from the other village over the hill, or four days from Thendara] Ardais is within a days ride of this Inn. (ES155) [Ardais is therefore by a route through the hills between three and five days ride from Thendara, depending on whether the additional days ride from the village is towards Thendara or away.] It is several days hard ride from Ardais to Thendara. (ES417) [Ardais is therefore most likely four or five days of regular riding from Thendara.]

There are several mushroom farms in the Kilghard Hills (ES241)

It is a four days (gentle) ride from Ardais to the lands of the Alton Domain. The countryside is hilly with green shrubs and plants that turn tinder dry in the height of the summer season. The route passes through small villages as well as larger ones. The larger ones have an inn. Along the route are also isolated farmhouses with chickens and chervines. (ES259)

There is an inn a half days ride from Armida in the direction of Thendara. (ES376) There is another at a days ride from Armida. (ES376)

It is Marguerida Alton's belief that it is a day's ride or a little more to Thendara from Armida. (ES323)

The trip from Armida to Thendara takes a day and a half to the gates of the city. (ES382) It takes some time after that to reach the Comyn Castle. The sun is getting low in the sky behind the travelers by the time they reach the castle.(ES397) [If the sun on Darkover sets in the west then they approached the castle from a westerly direction, although that could just be the result of the twists and turns in the streets of the city and not an indication of the direction of the gate from the castle.]

Hali Lake and the ruins of the Hali Tower are about a day's ride from Armida. (377)

On the trip from Armida to Thendara, the tip of the Terran skyscraper at Thendara is visible early on the second day. (ES381)

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