10 August 2011

Where in the Young Kingdoms is Nassea-Tiki?

I’m reading the final ‘Elric’ story written by Michael Moorcock (well, the final one so far; hopefully we’ll get a few more!). It’s called ‘Black Petals’, and is included in the sixth volume of the recent Del Rey series of Elric tales, entitled Swords and Roses. (I’ve read the other five volumes over the past several months, and hope to summarize my impressions once I finish this one and have some time.)

The story, which was written in 2007, mentions a few places that have not been mentioned in any earlier Elric stories (to my knowledge), are not shown on any existing maps of the Young Kingdoms, and are not mentioned in the most recent RPG game based upon the series (MRQII’s ‘Elric of Melniboné, by Lawrence Whitaker).

These places include the bustling port-city of ‘Nassea-Tiki’ and the ruined city of ‘Soom’. Apparently ‘Soom’ lies upriver, deep in a jungle, from the coastal city of Nassea-Tiki. Moreover, Nassea-Tiki, while some distance from the Young Kingdoms detailed in Moorcock’s stories, clearly has extensive trade relations with those realms. Neither city, though, was ever ruled by the Bright Empire.

Since this story is so recent, I certainly cannot fault Lawrence for not including it in Elric of Melniboné (which is remarkably comprehensive). And it is obvious why Nassea-Tiki and Soom would do not appear on any maps yet produced.

I’m curious, though, as to where in the Young Kingdoms Nassea-Tiki could plausibly be located. Looking at the Young Kingdoms map, and taking into account that the city is adjacent to a jungle, and that Soom lies ‘upriver’ (inland), I have no idea!

The ‘Unknown East’ clearly is ruled out by the large number of merchants from the Young Kingdoms present in Nassea-Tiki. The northeast continent looks impossible (no jungles, etc.). The southeast continent looks implausible, although I suppose that the city might be located south of Yu or (less plausibly) south of Dorel. That leaves the northwest continent, west of The Silent Lands, or somewhere on the southwest continent.

The southwest continent looks most promising, as it’s covered with jungle. But the presence of a major port city there would seem to conflict with Moorcock’s earlier descriptions of that continent. But perhaps it should simply be ‘retconned’ there?

Finally, I should mention that I actually haven’t finished reading the story, so perhaps I’ll discover the answer soon enough…

UPDATE: I finished the story last night. A very good read, but I still have no idea where it could possibly be located...


  1. Or maybe like so many other fictional universes we care about it more than Moorcock does.

    Oh, and to rain on your parade, my copy of Swords & Dark Magic, copyright 2010, contains an "all new Elric novella" called Red Pearls. Guess you've got at least one more.

  2. Herb, I think you're spot on. Moorock in particular seems not to care about consistency or coherence in his fictional worlds. I'm more curious about how one might 'fit' Nassea-Tiki into the world in a sensible way than I am about Moorcock's own view.

    Also, thanks for mentioning 'Red Pearls'! My parade certainly is not rained upon. Always nice to know that there's one more new story to read...

  3. According to the map of the Young Kingdoms you posted on your March 11, 2011 entry, those two cities lie south of Yu.

    1. Ah, I hadn't noticed that before, Greg. Thanks! It seems as good a location as any.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).